Rod Stewart in Boisdale of Mayfair’s surreal fairy tale Vinyl Bar & Groove Room taking a selfie with Alice (also known as Elisabeth) and bartenders team who speak in poetic rhyming riddles www.boisdale.co.uk

Welcome to the 11th edition of Boisdale Life. As always we are very proud of the content, although this time its extreme diversity is harder to neatly summarise. Dip in and have fun. Only then can you discover what you thought you didn’t know. No, you’re quite right, that did not make sense, but it took me a while to realise it! Whilst most of us will be very thankful that Tom Parker Bowles does not ‘Rule the World’, there is pretty much something for everybody in this edition. Even Nicola Sturgeon might agree, although sadly she may not be so delighted with Brian Wilson’s excellent adjudication of her party’s past performance and potentially prurient future. We also discover that there are ‘50 Shades of Brown’, but not all of them should apply to brown furniture. It was the post-industrial population explosion of the Victorian era that created the demand for mass-produced furniture, which became an ever increasingly ghastly dull brown and possibly drove sensitive men like Lewis Carrol to seek refuge with opiates.

Had Carrol written his fantasy novel a century later under similar hallucinogenic influences in 1967, I think it most probable that Alice would have been given another name, possibly something like Apple or Sky. He would also have either used a different pseudonym or not assumed a nom de plume and written under his real name, which was of course Charles Dodgson. I like to imagine that he might have placed Apple in a giant surreal juke box, in which there was an enchanted cocktail bar with classic vinyl album covers decorating the walls. The barman would have had the face of a walrus and spoken in poetic rhyming riddles about egg men. To escape, all she had to do was point at The Beatles Magical Mystery Tour to move on to the next room, which hopefully would have been the Jungle Room at Graceland! We could have had a lot of fun there. Elvis as a lion? Aslam with a Southern drawl! I digress!

Well folks, Charlie Dodgson’s undreamt futuristic fantasy has come true! Boisdale of Mayfair has now opened The Vinyl Bar & Groove Room. The walls are adorned with myriad LPs dating from 1934 to 1979 and there is a cocktail bar at which the bartenders speak only in rhyming couplets (not really!). Strict laws as yet not written will apply and inevitably be broken, but in essence you can point at any record on the wall and we will place the original vinyl on the turntable. Though ‘Never Mind The Bollocks’ for Sunday lunch may well be set in stone as a no play! But wait for it, this is when it really starts to become a fairy tale, because then, hopefully armed with an inspiring cocktail sat on a high-backed comfortable leather stool, you will hear your chosen music powered by Devialet Phantom, the most refined and powerful wireless speaker in the world. This is not a joke, but it will make you smile, possibly rather insanely. The sound has a visceral density and range that reaches and embraces all the senses. One speaker has 4500W of power (we have two) and can fill the Albert Hall with the required volume for a rock concert! The Vinyl Bar will only hold up to 40 music loving cocktail enthusiasts at any one time! Whilst we are naturally more than excited, we are also worried that someone might turn the volume up too loud.

Quite how this evolves only time will tell. I love all the music from Fats Waller to Led Zeppelin and almost everything in between. Will we be dominated by fans of one particular genre? It is a tantalising and fascinating thought. To start the New Year, on Monday January 8th we will be celebrating the births of the two greatest musical icons of all time with a double birthday celebration in The Vinyl Bar for Elvis Presley and David Bowie, who were born on the same day, 12 years apart. I suspect this sounds rather counter intuitive. Personally I absolutely love both without reservation, albeit as Elvis is my kinsman I have to declare a family bias. Though very sadly I won’t be there for long because the biggest Boisdale excitement of 2018 is also set to happen on Monday 8th January. The fabulous Rebecca Ferguson will start her residency at Boisdale of Canary Wharf – take your pick!.


Ranald Macdonald
Editor-in-Chief Boisdale Life Magazine Founder Boisdale Restaurants & Bars