Last time I was in London I had a half day off and used it to trapse around hot hard streets linking various art galleries. I had a great time but in the last hour before I had to go and do a lecture I wanted to flop somewhere peaceful with a cold drink. A mango frappachino on a leather sofa on the Cafe Nero on Southampton Row was just the ticket. My weary sitting bones sank into the cushions, my shoes got kicked off. Cool floor tiles soothed my bunions, crushed ice soothed my throat. Ah, bliss.
Then I spotted them. People. Setting up amplifiers . Right near me.
I was not pleased. Is it not possible to get a drink these days without being subject to other people's choice of noise? And then she started to sing. And boy was she good.
Her name is Esther Alexander and she was Cafe Nero's artist of the month. You can hear three of her tracks from her latest album here for free and ( as I have just done) by the whole CD if you like her. And given that I average CD purchases of one very two years, this is a bit of a recommendation! The first free tcak was the one she started with in the store. I am rubbish at categorising music but I'd say if you like Dido, Katie Meluia and Norah Jones you might want to check her out.