The Northumberland Arms, London   Leave a comment

Northumberland Arms London friday evening

It was too early to eat supper so we went to the bar across the street, the Northumberland Arms.  The neighbourhood is at the northern extreme end of Bloomsbury near the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS) campuses so we didn’t really expect a lager bar with the comfortable feel of a proper local but that’s exactly what we found.  The buurt is in the shabbier part of King’s Cross, so we shouldn’t have been surprised but we were and pleasantly so.

It wasn’t that everyone in there knew one another although the small number of tribes mixed easily with the graduate student contingent and the old-time locals separate but comfortable.  The sport channel on tele muted automatically as the strains of “Between the Wars” by Billy Bragg emanated from the juke box and it was impossible to tell which member of the crowd played it.  This was followed by two cuts from the Smiths (which, forgive me, I do not get at all…Morrissey’s self-importance has always escaped me and, moreover, the fucker is whiny).

There was a lone Caribbean gent, maybe 50-years-old or maybe 70 — hard to tell — who looked as disgusted with the sounds as I was once the Smiths started.  During the first cut he went over and dropped a few coins in the wall box and picked some hits.  As what I reckoned to be his first selection (“Night Nurse” by Gregory Isaacs) started, I caught his eye across the room and raised the remnants of my glass of Guinness his way and tipped my head toward the speakers.  He grinned and nodded slowly and raised his glass back my way.

Northumberland Arms London

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Posted January 11, 2015 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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