Damn, It was a good weekend. Not satisfied with going and having loads of fun on Friday, me and fellow blogger Gridrunner decided to up and leave our respective areas in South London, Camberwell and Clapham respectively, for a grand day out in Greenwich.
Quite a hike too, and we had to get two (count em') buses to get there. But a childhood in a Northern city prepares you for this kind of shit so we didn't care. And what a jape filled day it was
Don't know much about Greenwich really. It's the home of Greenwich Mean time - in the sense of average rather than a harsh species of time that might make you late for a job interview, or date perhaps (or just grow old and die). It's also quite near the Millenium dome, but no-one can hold that against it. No-one saw that one coming.
Basically, Greenwich is quite posh - but in a nice way. If Greenwich were a facial expression I wager it'd be a ruddy cheeked royster-doysterish grin, perhaps champing on a pipe, and attached to a person tending a stall mayhap (probably selling strong, organic ale, no doubt!) There's just something downright wholesome about the place - but critically, without actually being boring or catshit.
Having been decanted from the bus onto the cold pavement we walked along the high street, while my associate took the opportunity to photograph lots of stuff with his new digital SLR, which is actually really good and does everything short of record in bullet time. He's taken some amazing stuff with it, but then, he's taken some great stuff with all his cameras. I've got something a bit more like the ones out of the flintsones.. It manages about 10 shots to a charge these days, after which time, the homunculus inside which records the image feels knackered and goes back to bed.
My uncle owns a gallery there, selling antiquarian prints, and we popped in to see him, I think slightly surprising him, but then, the entire mission was something of a spur of the moment decision. Should hang out with him more, he's a dude. From here we went to the covered market, checking out the wholesome wares on display, and this is where the pirate bit of the title of this post came in.
While passing a stall selling t-shirts I saw one I recognised from a website called threadless.com, where people can basically post their t-shirt designs to a public vote, with the most highly rated getting printed. My mate had been furtively taking photos of various market-mensch all this time and, snapped one of this shirt. To which the (actually quite nice seeming) girly behind the stall stall said:
"Er, I'd rather you hadn't done that - copyright reasons?"
Heh, Ok lady. My buddy deleted it, and she then relented and let him take it again. She did seem frankly unaware it had a double on the internet when I suggested it might be indulging in 'the highest form of flattery', but maybe it's a little rich talking about copyright whilst selling designs you bit off someone else.
Has to be said, I've no problem appropriating other peoples stuff, if you put a bit of a different spin on it, but this was a pretty wholesale bit of plunder. You can check out the original one on the website here.
It must be said, the dudes who blog on that site luurve their t-shirts, so there might be a bit of a lynching in Greenwich if they get wind of it. Or some very catty words said in cyberspace.
Anyway, from here went on a bit of a wander up to the university, and thence onward to the Cutty Sark, which is a big landlocked ship, frustratingly close to actual water. It looks a bit like a giant hand emerged from the clouds one day and plonked it there because it was getting tired of carrying it. Near there there's also a tunnel, that goes right under the Thames. It looks exactly like the kind of location which would feature in a photo shoot for the now sadly defunct Jockey Slut magazine, featuring a moody looking DJ who's probably impatiently awaiting a callback from his dealer for the duration of the shoot. Alongside the Japanese tourists underneath the Thames, we dutifully mocked one up. Anyway, great place, and if maybe not quite an industrial marvel by today's standards, certainly impressive and actually, what do I know, man who's never wired a plug.
This is what's good about Greenwich though, it's actually got good stuff there. Maybe it's familiarity, but stockport's own industrial marvel - the biggest brick structure in Europe (the viaduct) never seemed quite as affecting.
After that, we went and ate Pie and mash round the corner, which was reassuring winter stodge, and just what the doctor ordered, before proceeding to a pub called 'the Gipsy Moth' to quaff ale (OK, lager) and talk rubbish for a bit. Interesting crowd as well. Quite bright eyed and bushy tailed, and there was a girl there with a complex tatoo that looked really like a pair of knickers riding up her crack, which was fascinating. Having fully discussed the merits (or lack therof) of Sony Erricsson phones - specifically the one I inherited off him, we resignedly got up and left for the seedier environs of Camberwell, and that grand boozer, 'The Hermits Cave'.
But what a day. For a nice winters day out, SE10 excells. Greenwich, I salute you!
On Friday night last, I 'bowled' out of work early (Five-Thirty to be precise) and jacket firmly buttoned against the wind caught the tube down to Elephant, where my good friend Ade and his erstwhile colleague and co-fried-chicken blogging scamp Robin were having their birthday at the bowling alley there.
That's right: Bowling. Truth be told I myself was a bit apprehensive, bearing in mind that the last time I went bowling (at Grand Central in Stockport I expect) the actual game of bowls was little more than a precursor to the arcades afterwards, where we played Streetfighter II and marvelled at the heady realism of Pitfighter's graphics.
As Notorious BIG might have it however 'Things Done Changed', and there was to be no grubby shovelling of my hard earned into machines tonight (unless you mean the cig dispenser at the centre, which is different and I went halves anyway) No, bowls it was all the way, and damn fun it was too.
The evening began, for me, with a solitary pint at the Elephant & Castle pub in, you guessed it Elephant & Castle, a pub which Wikipedia informs me is the orgin of the areas name; Accounts differ, but It in turn got this either from the crest of a local cutlery company which bore an elephant and castle, or a Spanish princess slumming in South London (Infanto de Castille).
Either way, it had very little to do with Elephants or indeed castles, unlike Swiss Cottage, which clearly has everything to do with chalets. In any event, I quite like this specific locality's knack for misappropreation. Incidentally, the big shiney cube which dominates the huge roundabout and sits above the warren of 'mug-me' subways is a tribute to Michael Farraday, apparently, and not I suspect, where the Aphex Twin parks his tank, as has been suggested to me in the past.
After there, it was a quick bite to eat at the reliably hot Nandos, before heading into the bowling centre.
Elephant and Castle shopping centre reminds me a bit of the Arndale centre in Manchester, which for any of you living in Modern European cities is well worth the plane fare alone to see as an example of how NOT to do city centre planning. In fact it should be an indispensible part of any architect-in-training's curriculum to visit this eyesore, whilst perhaps wearing a black armband and blinking back tears.
Basically both look like they were comissioned in the Sixties, when the material concrete seemed full of utopian possibilities, and using brightly coloured plastic cladding on the exterior of buildings was deemed as being actually a pretty neat idea. It wasn't, as the intervening half century or so of polluted rain and pigeon shit have proved.
Not much better inside really, but the bowling... was actually really good fun. Best to check your cynicism in at the door though, as this is birthday fun for big kids. What's not to like though? First off you get to wear these cool assed two tone bowling shoes which make you look as though you probably own both brylcreem and a Cadillac, and you don't even have to check in your own shoes to rock.. so assuming you're not too fussy about the accumulated sweat of several thousand other Londoners, could probably do some walking of their own at the end of the night. Secondly, though it does require some effort, this isn't snooker, and swigging a brew actually seems de-riguer (mind you it did for most snooker players) In fact, I'd like it to go on record that my bowling skills actually improved commeasurately with my alcohol intake, and it is insanely satisying when you get a strike... the sweet clatter twixt ball and skittle.
Things started off slowly for the eye, who after an initial couple of good bowls, started hitting the gutter, big time.
"Never mind mate, 'least you've got the shirt"
Observed someone, with reference to the pin striped Stussy number I was wearing, which I have to reflect is a fair observation and perhaps alludes to a deeper truth in my life: I've never been to Uganda, or been a member of the South West African People's alliance, or indeed know much about the band 'Cut Copy' but based on my T-shirt ownership, one could be forgiven for reasoning otherwise.
But things picked up on the second game, saving me face, and giving me cause to partake in 'the posse shot', where we all posed in front of the aisle, shoes and beers in hand.
From here we headed up to Hoxton for our bowls equivalent of the ninteenth hole. I had suggested Chaplins round the corner for an authentic glimpse of South London boozers, but most people seemed inexplicably happy with their teeth were they were, so Shorerditch it was.
We ended up in Bluu bar, the name of which sounds quite like an onomatopaeic rendition of what you might be doing afterwards if you drank too much. Anyway. It's big, long and quite trendy, and we had a table reserved at the front. Chatted and drank for a while until it was time to leave, whereupon we headed to...
Cargo. Which really wasn't such a great idea, as it was quite pricey, and I probably had enough alcohol in my bloodstream by then to get a stag party of Sea Lions pissed. It was all quite 'Nathan Barley' as well, and above the plodding strains of average house music, rose the voice of an MC on the stage who as Ade later confirmed, was indeed wearing a white suit and top hat. Riight. Anyway. Stood at the back swigging beer, and feeling at a distinct arms length from the revelry around me until Ade suggested we make like shepherds and get the flock out of dodge.
As with so many other nights, the rest was a bit of a blur as my patron saint the 'home fairy' magicked me safely back to my flat, unlike the birthday boy, who woke up at the end of the line in Clapham Junction.
All good fun though, and I think I'm going to make the bowling alley at Elephant a repeat destination.
Part two of my very infrequent review of different routes on London buses, and this week, it's a biggie.
I read on the Camberell Online blog, that some cats been hating on my favourite bus, the good ol' 345. In particular, some chump who writes for Time Out, claiming as they do that it takes forever to get anywhere. Tsch, eveyone knows you don't get the 345 if you've got to be anywhere fast, fool.
But fair enough, if you've actually got a job and don't just dispense comments like 'Camberwell is a bit shit' while tittering over your laptop in starbucks, then maybe you want to get there fast.
I am occasionally compelled to Work, necessary evil that it is, and In such situations, the bus for me has recently been the Number 12. In practical terms, it's theoretically unrivalled. It goes right past my flat, up the Elephant, and thence to Waterloo and ultimately Oxford Circus. The reality however, is somewhat different.
This is what some Christian website had to say about the number 12:
"Twelve is a perfect number, signifying perfection of government, or of governmental perfection. It is found as a multiple in all that has to do with rule. The sun which "rules" the day, and the moon and stars which "govern" the night, do so by their passage through the twelve signs of the Zodiac which completes the great circle of the heavens of 360 (12 x 30) degrees or divisions, and thus govern the year."
"Twelve is the product of 3 (the perfectly Divine and heavenly number) and 4 (the earthly, the number of what is material and organic)."
Blah blah blah, yadda yadda. Whoever wrote this clearly never rode the number12, because it really is shit. Shame really, because it's a really useful route, just massively oversubscribed. They really should put on about 50% more, because every morning and evening, it's rammed to capacity. It's kind of what I imagine a bus from purgatory to hell would look like, with serried ranks of grim faced commuters lashed to posts trying to ignore each other, and their own misery.
A wise man once said:
"If you want to see real grime in London, don't look to the streets - you've got to go on the buses for that"
Actually I made that up, but its true. The endemic lack of civic pride in this country reaches it's Apex on buses like this, where no journey would be complete without several small heaps of sweating chicken bones, swirling round your ankles. One of my quintessential bus experiences on the 12 recently was when some guy sat opposite me wolfed down a couple of Muller Fruit Corners, then cast the detritus under his seat (which was considerate) whilst across the aisle, some guy was sat openly weeping next to his stoney-faced and oblivious (and presumably newly ex) girlfriend, whilst all around strove to ignore it.
The number 12 is also one of London's new breed of buses the much reviled 'bendy bus'. In practise these are supposed to be more efficient and quicker, as the driver doesn't check tickets. In reality though, this generally means that he has no way of restricting the flow of passengers, so anyone can ram their way on, and generally does. The number of times I've waited at a bus stop and the 12 has rolled up, packed to capacity with a sea of piteous faces staring out of the gloom.. In anywhere sane, people would simple wait for a less crowded bus, as I usually do, but Londoners actually seem to relish hanging out in someone elses armpit, so force their way on anyway. When you're on the other side of the doors and people start inserting themselves, the overwhelming urge is do draw a concealed hedge trimmer and repel boarders.
In fact, so sardine like is the net result, that you could pump a 'bendy' full of olive oil and it would make a covenient snack for a balrog on whatever circle of Dante's hell the 12 is currently stopping at.
Uggh Hellish.. But as I said, it would be a hell of a lot better if there were just half as many again. In the space of time it took for one 12 to arrive at the top of Regent Street last night, three 453s (I think) themselves of the bendy disposition, sauntered past like vast empty red corridors; you could install driving ranges on some of them, and for practically a fraction of the cost of the buses themselves.
As you may be able to tell, I aint got a whole lot of love for the 12. It seems to bring out all that is worst about public transport, and the unflinching meanness of modern life in the modern city. Needs must though, and I gotta say, it gets me to the coalface on time. I was going to give it a (1+2=) 3 but for sheer handiness:
Or anyway, freelance work where the emphasis is on the 'free' bit anyway. Working in the creative industry, albeit at the relatively lowly rung I currently occupy, I find no shortage of people (usually people I know personally) who want a hand with a bit of design, but don't actually want to pay for it.. The assumption being I suppose that as it's a predominantly a visual (for this read 'arty') medium, and therefore 'fun', that I'm in such a state of unfettered joy every time I do it that, hell yeah! I'll do it for free, in fact, can I pay you for the opportunity to do it?
I know musiscians who experience similar woes in actually getting paid, people who've played in professional venues and received a pittance, which seems scant reward in recognition of the love for their art, and years of dedicated practise and study they've invested in it.
But nobody really wants to pay, even though they could probably appreciate that no-one really wants to work for free. "Hey, I've got some rocks need digging up on the bottom of the Irish sea, fancy giving me a hand? I'll buy you a pint.."
Actually though, the idea of doing pro bono work for little or no money is not complete anaethema to me, providing it's an interesting project, and I least get beer money. There have been occasions though, where I've actually ended up out of pocket, and even the smallest job has the tendency to become a royal pain in the ass, usually more because you embarked upon it as a favour.
Much the same is happening to me this week, as 'a little job' I'm doing for my housemate threatens to become a full blown albatross, cawwing and flapping around my neck. I'll get it done, no problem, as I believe that once you've commited to something like this, you should try and do it with all the good grace that you can muster.
This really is it though. Next time? Pay the hell up!
Fire really does work, as anyone who's seen the top floor of their house ablaze aged 11 or so can cheerfully attest. Fickle fire, man's friend or foe? This bonfire night, the eye determined to find out by crossing the river to check out a display of pyrotechnics at Alexandra Palace, donning mittens and remembering of course, not to tuck my jeans into my wellingtons - imagine what would happen if a firework flew in.
I suppose you could argue that in today's climate of heightened fear regarding the proliferation of terrorism, bonfire night is a cultural event of real resonance, celebrating as it does the foiling of a bomb threat that thratened to strike at the very heart of our government. Personally I think people just like to look at shiney stuff and say "wwwooooh!" lots.
Certainly there were no shortage of people thronging out of Wood Green train station, when we decamped there en-masse for our fix of the sparkly stuff. Indeed it took at least fifteen minutes mereley to get up and over the footbridge. Once there, we headed to an off-license for Bonfire night essentials (2 cans of Heineken, pistachios, fags) before climbing up to 'Ally Pally' with our fellow pilgrims. Once we arrived we were treated to a Capital FM DJ 'working the crowd' over cheesey records before the fireworks began, and I must admit, it was pretty impressive.
There's something curiously hypnotic and soothing about loud bangs and explosions viewed at a distance; a sentiment seemingly shared by those around me judging from their reactions. Pickpockets must make a killing at events like this - assuming that is, they can tear their eyes away from the gratifyingly bright stuff ocurring overhead themselves. I could however imagine it getting somewhat banal after a while as the novelty bright lights afford is pretty limited; There's basically two types of fireworks at an event like this, those that explode with a boom over a radius of several hundred metres - which is what everyone goes to see, let's be honest, and the multitude of crackly sparkly ones which as act dramatic counterpoint to the big boys. In light of this, the timeframe of half an hour was ideal.
After this display, the crowd promptly spun 180 degrees, and with very little ceremony began the trudge back down the hill which it had ascended half an hour or so before. A crowd also congregated outside the entrance to the palace where we waited for a while in the vain hope of sighting my friend's brother, who'd arrived seperately from us. Luckily for anyone who hadn't quite got their fix of the festivities, someone took it upon themselves to start casting live fireworks into the crowd, creating pyrotechnics AND mass panic. Great! Luckily a PC was there with the grit to run over and stamp on the firework just pror to its explosion, for which he was awarded a muted round of applause.
After this we exited as fast as crowds would allow, and in truth it was slow going all the way to Wood Green. Me and my friend Dunc reasoned we might cut through the crowds a great deal quicker if we both had catherine wheels strapped to our chests.
From Wood Green we caught the tube to Liverpool Street, and from here hiked to my friend's night 'It's Bigger Than', at 93 Feet East on Brick Lane, where we drank Red Strip and swayed to electro disco.
After this, we popped into a bagel shop further up the road. Can't remember what it's called, but there's two of them, they both spell bagel 'beigel' in their titles, and it was the secondmost of the two. Here we ordered saltbeef bagels/beigels with mustard and mayo which are delicious, and not something I've experienced outside London. Wolfed these down, and headed for the 35 nightbus home.
So fire, friend or foe? Both actually - in the hands of experts, it is a thing of great beauty my friend, but lit, and in the hands of chavs... actually I'm not so bothered about them being in the hands of chavs, it's when the little fuckers chuck them in my general direction that I start getting twitchy.
On Friday last, upon swiftly exiting work, I headed beer-wards in the company of fellow blogger Gridrunner. Can't remember exactly where but it was just off Oxford Street, and had some interesting stained glass - the image of a pugilist remaining particularly firmly etched in my conciousness. The other thing is it was owned by the brewery that makes that pokey Prinz Beer.. which has the virtue of being cheap and looking German, but tends to make me feel like I've had an ethanol brain-rub the morning after.
After that headed back to Clapham, which was choked with people down for the Bonfire night festivities. We wanted to eat so headed for one of my fave eateries, Bodeans, only to discover it was predictably rammed with the 'fire-folk'. Indeed our request for a table was greeted with the kind of amused negative the American waitress must usually reserve for questions regarding the availability of moon-geese. Whatever. YOUR LOSS.
So went to Bentos round the corner, where, despite it being busy we got a table almost immediately, and they then proceeded to dish up good food in a really uncoordinated fashion. I like Japanese food very much, and was really looking forward to this, so was a bit pissed when I only got main course jut as my friends were finishing theirs. The waiter said it was because they were so busy, but considering my friends were served in about 15 minutes I think everyone would have been happier if they'd just taken an extra ten minutes and syncopated the arrival of everyones food.
Told them we didn't really want to pay the service charge, and with a pen stroke through this, yet nary an apology, the manageress wrote us off as collateral. So anyway, good food. but slightly duff service.
Then went to the Smoke Rooms next door, which used to be the 100 Pub (club?) and which despite changing hands, doesn't actually seem very different at all. The DJ was playing the kind of records for which they could practically invent a new genre: Forgettable house. Beer was nice and expensive though, which reassured me I was experiencing a 'premium' quality evening.
I practically only use buses these days. After a period of initial fascination, my love affair with the tube has ended, and to be perfectly honest, it was more like a series of increasingly unpleasant dates, cruel mistress that she is. Tubes are grimey, especially Elephant, that looks like a level from Quake that they couldn't actually be arsed including in the finished game as it looked too rough. Actually It's probably more like Castle Wolfenstein, though I'd probably take a member of Wolfenstein's badly rendered mutant SS Guard over a South London monday morning commuter anyday. And then there's the dirt.. That filthy warm burp that preempts the arrival of a train, and the dark sooty kiss imparted should you actually touch any of the props in this infernal warren. Eww.
Now where was I? Ah yes buses. Can't get enough of them. Use em lots. So I thought I'd write about the routes I used in this big bad city, for little other reason than it kills dead minutes between drinking/working (though as I write this I'm swigging a catering size grasshopper)
I'll start with the 345, as I took it just the other day when this 'amazing' post occurred to me. Depending on which way you ride this mother, it's basically a rags to riches parable told in the unfolding vista surrounding you, or a riches to rags parable told in the unfolding vista surrounding you, sweeping as it does from the grime of the Sarf East, to the plummy bling of the East South East.
From my end, It starts in 'Grime-Town' Peckham. I feel like I should like Peckham, but in reality rarely feel compelled to visit there, apart from when stocking up on salt cod. Basically Peckham's so street level it's untrue. The last occaision I went I boarded the number 12 (of which I'll speak later), and headed off with the intention of scouring Charity shops for vinyl and cool t-shirts. Unfortunately, school had just ended for the day, and the bus filled up rapidly with rude boys giving everybody cold assed stares. I reasoned against my original plan and opted for something safer like, I dunno, smacking box-jellyfish with spades, and headed off home at a brisk pace.
From here it rocks up Camberwell Church Street to the green, where in Summer you can see lots of people sat drinking cider, and at least in this respect it's Summer all year round in Camberwell. Camberwell's alright though, Camberwell's got soul, and of course, I live there.
From here the bus heads off to Loughborough, which I can't recommend having never visited save to use the train station one particularly bleak new years eve, and probably won't bother going again to be honest. It was where that MacIntyre(?) guy filmed the documentary in which he walked round for two days pointing at a laptop and phone silently mouthing "MUG ME" until, god bless em, a crew of hoods dutifully did. Great journalism Mac, I see what you did there. Anyway. This is the kind of place BBC researchers come up with when they wants somewhere suitably inner city, now that Brixton has a Sainsburys.
Thence on to yay! Brixton, which is great, but not as nice as the 35 route, as it just whips up past the Ritzy. You do get to see the skate park on this route however, though the other day it was being resurfaced. On a good day there's kids injuring themselves in all kinds of interesting highly kinetic ways.
Then to Stockwell. Now, I can't I go to Stockwell much, and in fact the most time I spend there is when the 345 stops at the tube to change drivers for 10 minutes or so, and by then I'm already getting twitchy.
Clapham next, shining like a big smug grin. I've got some friends who live there so I'll not be be rude about it, and actually it's alright. Heading up the high street on this route however, you get to see the mile or so of crappy aspirational bars that line the high street. Especially great if you're not really interested in music, people or atnosphere, but don't mind paying a premium for your beers. It's got some good places to eat though, Bodeans being an especial fave, and the common is lovely in Summer. In fact, you drive straight through it en route to:
Clapham Junction, which is busy, and has the busiest train station in Europe. You do get to go up Lavender hill though, which is where the mob lived I suppose. It's also got a few interesting shops.
Battersea. It's got a huge, empty derelict power station, and an overcrowded dog's home. Maybe they should combine the two. Whatever. At this stage you cross over Battersea bridge, or would do normally, were it not for some div smashing a barge into it about a month ago. Apparently it might have to close permanently as the ancient Victorian structure was so badly damaged; but it's a cool view even if you're walking I guess. I love crossing bridges.
Better ditch that hoody now kids and rock your Hackett sweater cause now as we enter the final leg of our journey, we roll into Chelsea. Basically, this place is scarily 'money', and everything looks like it should cost loads, and it probably does. Huge fuck off white Georgian houses and expensive cars. I find this place weirder than places like Peckham sometimes, and ocasionally come here to wander round In the vain hope of soaking up some of the ambient wealth via osmosis. Small hope.
Then it's South Ken, which is basically more of the same, though it has the British Museum, and the V&A, justifying riding to the end of the line if nothing else. The Conran shop's also nice if you like that kind of thing.
So to sum up: This route is actually great to ride all the way from a cod-anthroplological point of if you've got 45 minutes to spare (or an hour or three in rush hour) and want to stare at peaks and troughs in property value. It's also interesting the way the buses clientelle shifts slightly fom end to end, and there's loads of places to go en route etc. If I had to come up with a 'Mayor of Lond-ON' type slogan to sum it up it probably wouldn't be this, but you get the general idea.
I mentioned in an earlier blog about the appearance of Christmas decorations on Regent Street. I spotted this the other day. Now, is this the kind of thing you'd like to see while innocently buying presents for your loved ones? I think not. Unless you're buying porn for some rats of course.
I awoke this morning at around six o'clock feeling dessicated and parched. The room felt like an oven, and stumbling over to the radiator I discovered you could cook an egg on it. The entire experience was akin to being trapped inside a giant, hot, pop tart (probably strawberry flavour knowing my luck) although unmitigated by napalm like jam.
With the passing of Summer one of my roomies has taken it upon themselves to crank up the heating to degree that it feels like an oven – simply because it's not sweltering outside. Maybe it's the northener in me. but I was actually quite enjoying it being a little cooler, and it's clearly, clearly, not even that cold.
I find this kind of siege mentality slightly odd. The person who did this was the same who burbled about being unable to sleep because it was too hot in Summer, but the minute the weather turns slightly, ups the ante like there was a glacier bearing down on London, and polar bears capering across the green.
Hmm. This is a bit of a non post really, especially as I turned the heating down right after so the problem is resolved.
Well doing this retrospectively as it happened on Saturday and this is now Tuesday if I'm not much mistaken, but anyway here's the deal. Basically my friend and drinking buddy Ben is escaping from the grimey metropolis that is London (where the streets are paved with chips, don't ya know?) for pastures new, in this case Bologna, Italy. Good luck Ben! or actually, maybe good luck Bologna, as I've had firsthand experience of Ben after he's had a few.. harharhar but anyway great lad etc.. and I'll stop before this turns into a wedding speech.
Anyway. Met up with him and various other friends on the roof terrace of The Lock Tavern in Camden, which is actually rather a nice place if you can get a seat, and the perfect place to enjoy the fag-end of this 'Indian Summer' the papers tell us we're enjoying. I've had the food there before and it's also rather special, so definitely worth a look on Sunday. Beers were consumed the breeze was shot, until, somewhat anticlimactically, the place decided to close at about 11.
We then ended up in some oriental themed cocktail bar up the road, where we drank bottles of Sol or something similar (limes were involved), and Mojitos – a snip at six quid each. There was a DJ playing somewhat generic soul and disco, and though it didn't really sound like he'd been diggin' in the crates too deeply no-one generally goes to oriental themed cocktail bars around midnight for the sounds I'm sure.
Lesser mortals might have taken baulked at even this much hedonism, but following our auspicious leader we sallied forth once more into the night (numbers admittedly depleted) in pursuit of yet more 'action'.
Next stop was some pokey shebeen in the city centre, manned on the door by an earnest looking Spanish guy who explained to us the rules of Spanish Drinking Club: "First rule, you don't ake any drinks inside, second rule you don't bring any drinks out" OK fair enough, but we can talk about it yeah?
Inside it was predictably bare with lots of graffitti, and a trestle table at one end selling bottles of Carlsberg. It was quiet for a while, but eventually filled up with lots of Spaniards, dancing enthusiastically to slightly ropey spanish music. There was some girl who had lots of white fabric bandaged round her legs, and none of us could quite work out if this was Halloween related or not. Eventually we'd seen (and drank) enough, so exited, whereupon the doorman exercised the second rule of Spanish Drinking Club, and filleted a bottle from where I'd secreted it in my jacket though it has to be said, was very nice about the entire thing, and even offered to let me finish it. Didn't. Went home.