I went to the theatre in town the other night. First time for far too long.
I took my daughters and it was such a trauma organizing us all to be there at the right time, with tickets, in one piece, I began to wonder what on earth I had been thinking about. I felt punch drunk by mid-afternoon.
The whole day and evening also reminded me of a great old cigar story too, but bear with me for that.
We went to see Dear Evan Hansen (which incidentally was utterly magnificent) and once the lights dropped and the music began, our stresses, tiredness and everyday woes fell away. We had a magical evening. I’d forgotten what live theatre can do for you.
This made me think of several things relevant to this column. Firstly, as I’ve already mentioned, that sometimes the best things have to be worked for. You have to sometimes put yourself out of your comfort zone for great things to happen. Don’t always rely on them falling on your lap.
Secondly, that cigar story; I first learned it from the late, great Simon Chase of Hunters & Frankau. It concerned the origins of that heavenly, snack size of cigar, the Half Corona. So, the story goes that the chap behind the creation was a regular theatregoer. He’d hop into his carriage with his beloved and light up a corona for the journey. Except that when they reached it, he was still enjoying his cigar. He – like many of us – was loathe to ditch a good smoke – and it annoyed the hell out of his wife, who waited impatiently in the cold with him night after night.
Then he had a brainwave – he’d just snip a corona in half. It was a masterstroke. His wife was happy (not an insignificant boon to a happy life, many of us realise) and so was he. He began to manufacture the new size specifically and sales went through the roof.
Thirdly, my night out made me appreciate, for the millionth time, what cigars bring. When the girls were in bed and asleep, I slipped onto the balcony with, what else, a H. Upmann Half Corona.
It was a chill night and as always, I was amazed by the number of people milling about at such an hour. So, I watched them for a little while, wrapped up in my scarf and savouring this small-sized, big-flavoured cigar.
The smoke spilled into night air and I thanked the lucky stars above for a fantastic night out for a myriad of reasons. As I did so, I thought of something else I needed to tell you about. And that was that cigars give you the opportunity – every time you light one up – to thank your own lucky stars and show some gratitude for all that you have and enjoy.
What other passion, pastime, hobby gives so much? I couldn’t think of any, so I finished the Upmann, locked up and climbed into a warm, soft bed while London rumbled ever on.