BACK TO JACK: A MOVEABLE FEAST-OLOGY
'Douchebag' now seems to be as popular with the Brits as 'awesome' is. They even used 'awesome' on the BBC news the other night. Now that's just wrong.
Food trucks are also big business, although they don't call them food trucks here. I'm not sure what they are to be honest ("Posh burger vans?") but you can't move for four-wheeled falafal, Jamaican goat curry and 'authentic' American hot-dogs being served up to the hungry masses on the South Bank of a balmy summer's evening.
I met the most fabulous Nichola Smith, who owns the @healthyummies food truck (her show Red, Hot and Yummy, airs on the Food Network UK) and tried some of her incredible steak and salads. She also co-founded Fabric nightclub so as you can imagine her music choices were as tasty as her grub. She told me that the food van/truck explosion was now so big in the UK that they were lobbying the government to release more permits. There's not enough parking for everyone. But this is London, when is there ever enough parking?
This summer's been utterly delightful. Actually, the fact that there's been a summer at all seems to be something of a miracle from what I hear, but it's always nice to sit in a dark room and be entertained.
When I left for California there wasn't a small but perfectly formed theatre in Finsbury Park but now there is. It's called the Park Theatre and boasts two spaces, one that seats 200 and another snug little room that seats 90. That's virtually a Brits in LA breakfast mixer.
My cousin booked tickets for Daytona starring Maureen Lipman, Corrie's John Bowe and Harry Shearer. It blew my mind that the bloke who makes a fortune every year as the voice of Mr Burns in The Simpsons, was appearing in a small north London theatre in his holidays.
(Surely he should be chartering that yacht Simon Cowell is rather fond of, and singing "I'm On A Boat" at the top of his voice?).
The play, by Oliver Cotton, tells the story of Joe and Elli, whose plans to win a dancing competition are interrupted by the arrival of a mysterious man. It was so wonderful and I was so near Maureen Lipman I wanted to cry with happiness.
Maureen, who was superb (of course), was emotional for other reasons. She spied some douchebag (there you go) in the front row texting throughout the second half. Afterwards, in the bar, she told me, "If I could have found a way to mention sending a text in a play set in 1986 I would have. I was livid."
The run ends soon, as will summer, and I will be filling my nights watching my box set of Luther (seasons 1-3 now available from BBC Worldwide, I'll have you know). Although it's not so much Idris Elba who's gripping the nation right now (but he will - check out the Mandela trailer), more Alan Partridge, in Alpha Papa.
Thanks to the mostly lukewarm reviews, I had supremely low expectations for the movie even though I love the Partridge, but my Orange Wednesday screening was packed to the rafters with eager hipsters, and I giggled from start to finish. (Sadly, it's not slated for a US release yet but hey, we're not getting Blue Jasmine til the end of Sept, so that sort of evens things out).
My companion for the screening was playwright Bettina Gracias, and because she's more high-brow than me (and writes plays for Radio 4) let me know that she was dreading it. But later, over noodles and Tiger beer in some nefarious Chinatown eaterie she told me she thought it was totally awesome.
Make the most of me while I'm in London! If you want your event to be featured in “Back to Jack” or suggestions about what I should review or where I should go, contact firstname.lastname@example.org. No guarantees but if there's food and drink on offer, I'll be your friend forever. Follow me @lisamarks