We LOVE The Phoenix! By Jack Bowman
Mariele: We need a Blog. Jack? It’s your turn again.
Me: What, already?
Me: Really, I mean, are you really sure?
Mariele: I’ll take your red wine away.
Me: I knew it, I knew it, did you know it’s my turn to do the Blog again? But what to write about?
Mariele: What about our love of the Phoenix?
Me: Aaaaah, brilliant. See that’s why you’re in charge… Can I have the red wine back now? Please?
So yes, while Many Secret And Exciting Things That We Can’t Possibly Talk About Yet are occurring at Wireless Towers (yes, actual Towers! With Less Wire! They Really Do Exist!) let’s talk about the one place you’re almost guaranteed to run into at least one of us. The Phoenix Arts Club. We’re relatively easy to spot – I will have the red wine, Mariele will have the white wine, Saskia has the champers (!) and Fran normally the coke, as she’s the responsible grown-up one (and the youngest!). That should help you approach us either collectively or separately.
Whenever these talented people and myself have to get together there’s only one place to head – it’s the Phoenix. We luckily discovered this little gem of a members bar in the early days of the London Festival Fringe’s planning (if you don’t know about them, why not? Check out their crusade!) and instantly fell in love with it. A lovely, intimate theatrical bar, full of posters and headshots of past to present, and sketches and photo-shopped posters of it’s masterful and charming owner, Maurice. He’s so incredible, he doesn’t even have a last name. He’s just Maurice, blazing a trail through the bar in a variety of unbelievably well-tailored, brightly-coloured and unique waistcoat and jackets. To anyone who’s a regular there, he’s a very much-loved man who loves taking in young creatives and giving them space to do what they need to do: socialise, network, relax or write. Maurice talks of how sitcom after sitcom was written there – The Office, Gavin And Stacey are just two examples he will quote you.
And we’ve been honoured how much Maurice has taken us to his hearts. Honestly, when we booked the after-show parties for Not Tonight Caligula and Phonophobia there for two Saturday evenings, he happily obliged. Then when Phonophobia was moved to Halloween Sunday, we had to move the party. Problem – the Phoenix never opens on a Sunday. Never. So Maurice has a think about it. Two days later he rang and said, “I’ve had a think about it, so yes, let’s do it.” So for the first time that year, or since whenever, the Phoenix was opened just for us, on a Sunday. And this is the reason why, everytime, I go in there, I still buy Maurice and Gin and Tonic. It’s that level of support why we love Maurice and the Phoenix so much. because he exemplifies how much support so many people have given Wireless since 2007.
Never been? Pop along, it’s just under the Phoenix Theatre off Charing Cross Road. Sign up, join, and get creative. This is only a fraction of what goes on there.
And remember to check whether Maurice is in, and get him a Gin and Tonic.