Marcus Brigstocke’s Fantasy Dinner: Jim Henson, Victoria Wooden and Gandhi

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Gandhi arrives late and says he’s already eaten. Tacky chips, apparently. At Clapham South. The nice and cozy, oily streak down his entrance confirms his story. Not preferrred however at the least he’s right here now. I’ve seated him subsequent to Jim Henson as a result of I feel they’ll get on. As a back-up, I’ve caught googly eyes to Henson’s serviette so The Mahatma is in with a shot of some up-close puppetry from the Muppets’ creator. Henson radiates kindness and has some bread in his beard.

Blossom Dearie, a pianist and genius vocalist firmly on the kooky aspect of jazz, has volunteered to play as the primary course is served. After I inform her it’s Ajo Blanco with peeled grapes on prime, she launches into “Peel Me a Grape” and everybody loosens up — aside from Gandhi who’s slightly sheepish concerning the chips and pokes awkwardly at his soup.

I’m elated that they’ve all come to Balham. It’s the primary place that’s actually felt like house to me so to have these good folks gathered round our knackered eating desk is a thrill. I’d hoped Gandhi may need heard Peter Sellers’ “Bal-Ham — Gateway to the South” sketch, which Henson has been quoting for the reason that soup arrived. However Gandhi retains shrugging and shaking his head, which is making the remainder of us giggle. Henson is urgent on like Fozzie Bear would have. I, in the meantime, have been attempting to rearrange the dishes on the desk to hide the varied turmeric stains. Trophy mementos of wonderful feasts, every one. 

I wished to ask Peter Sellers himself however, by all accounts, he was a horrible prick. I’ve heard, heartbreakingly, that the identical is true of Miles Davis. Regardless of. I’ve invited Dizzy Gillespie as a substitute, who seems to be a trencherman and wonderful firm. He’s humorous and loud and is aware of most of Dearie’s tunes from again within the day. He intermittently toots his bent trumpet together with what passes for a Blossom Dearie refrain after which eats Gandhi’s soup — and hers. He turns to Henson and reminds him that he carried out “Swing Low, Candy Cadillac” with the Muppets. All of us agree that The Electrical Mayhem are an unimaginable band so Henson, smiling, reveals which musicians every of the gamers relies on. Dizz may need been offended to be left off the listing however he’s busy ploughing by means of a plate of Manchego and ham croquettes like he’s clearing a path for an emperor.

I suspected that Victoria Wooden is likely to be quiet. I met her a number of instances and was struck by how bashful she appeared given her quantity of labor. I’m hoping she may grace us with “The Ballad of Barry and Freda” on the piano, however I gained’t ask. It seems she is delighted by Dearie’s taking part in. She is aware of many of the phrases to “I’m Hip” and is singing alongside. 

The desk is heaving with little plates of tapas. The one method to have tapas is to have altogether an excessive amount of of it, and I’ve nailed it. There’s each oily, saffrony, lemony, peppery, ricey, prawny factor you might hope for and the passing of dishes helps to connect us all collectively.

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Marcus Brigstocke can be on the FT Weekend Competition on Saturday September 2 at Kenwood Home Gardens, London. Ebook your tickets to get pleasure from a day of debates, tastings, Q&As and extra. Register now at

That is good, as I used to be nervous for tonight. These are my heroes, and I’m nervous that my shallow fandom can be found. However up to now nobody has expressed irritation at being summoned to Balham from past the grave. I reassure myself that they’re lifeless to allow them to’t have been busy . . . Except being summoned to folks’s fantasies is how all lifeless persons are doomed to spend their afterlives. Miles Davis may very properly be having a curry with Peter Sellers at another fanboy’s home and agreeing that at the least they managed to dodge The Brigstocke Tapas Factor. I knew they had been pricks.

There’s loads to drink. Something they need, I suppose. I’m sober and have been for years now, so I don’t know what to do with booze aside from provide it and hope nobody turns into boring.

Thus far so good. Even Gillespie is quiet whereas we take heed to Wooden and Dearie focus on making a lyric. It’s all about honing in on the particular, they are saying. Noticing the element and delighting in it. This, for me, is like listening to Michelangelo discuss brushes with Da Vinci. Gandhi (who has begun to work his means by means of some rice) asks in the event that they assume tune is an efficient instrument for communication. Each clarify that it most actually is however that comedy is likely to be even higher. Henson agrees and we grow to be helpless with laughter watching Gandhi, who’s singing to Henson’s serviette — now a model of his previous adversary Viscount Mountbatten however with googly eyes. The tune is a request for the British to go away India with musical accompaniment from Gillespie and Dearie, and urged lyrics from Wooden. I’m having a squid.

Marcus Brigstocke is on the Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh, from August 2-16. He can be internet hosting a cheese tasting alongside cheesemaker James Grant on the FT Weekend Competition, September 2,

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