We joined a variety of other supporters and activists for the National Libraries, Museums, and Galleries March Saturday. Starting at The British Library, a few thousand of us chanted slogans and blocked traffic the 2 mile journey to Trafalgar Square.
The Police Support Officers were comradely and professional.
And, it was our first chance to really have a look around at some of the architecture we’ve passed, unnoticed, dozens of times before:
The speeches were plagued by multiple failures of the sound systems. My fellow socialists need a class in piss ups at breweries.
The bird logo also looks, appropriately enough, like a hand putting up two fingers.
I went to Shoreditch because it is renowned as Street Art Central and this would give me G for Graffiti as a run theme. However, I had a back up plan to hit pubs with G in the name. Here’s the net result.
Over the street market not far from Liverpool Street Station, I spotted one in the waning light and torrential rain (above). This would be easy, I thought. The occasional vandalism of the better thought out vandalism was inevitable:
But, it took a lot more hunting than I was led to believe to find anything like the treasure trove of spray can masterpieces that I was led to believe existed in this realm.
The graffiti pickings were pretty scant with most of the suggested roads (by friends and colleagues) heavily abraded for the sake of the Philistine homesteaders’ (who have gentrified the buurt) property value and presentation. A shame, really, but to be expected. Ironic art that they didn’t choose has no place in the hipster habitat; or, perhaps the irony is that this IS the habitat they chose before they pulled a Palmyra on the place.
If you really explore the still-dodgy-looking back alleys near the industrial and council estate parts of the neighbourhood, you can find a little bit of what I was expecting.
But, generally, this had no more (and, in many ways, less and not as impressive) thoughtful tags than even my suburban region way up in the Northwest (I really should document the A-40 ‘galleries’ outside Uxbridge sometime soon).
The best stuff seems to be commissioned for construction hoarding …
… and looks for all the world like the sort of stuff you get in Holland or Germany on every spare piece of trackside ‘canvas’ available.
So, I took what little was to be found in the rainy dusk. I gave up after a few miles and focused on the G pubs: the Grocer in Spitalfields, the Griffin at the northern reach of Shoreditch, the missing Golden Bee (no write-up as it has yielded to new construction), and the Globe just beyond Bunhill Fields on the way to Bank.
I have started — but, never finished — The Magic Mountain annually for over 30 years. I did lighting once for a student production of Strange Interlude but whenever I hear the title I think of Groucho Marx. But, as Nobel Prize Winners in Literature go, Bob Dylan holds a place in my heart that the others can never approach. I have attended literally dozens of his shows, some of them actually good and two or three of them among the best experiences of my life.
So there I was, no shit, when an email arrives from Jackie with the subject, “this is not a joke.” Inside, it had two lines which read
“Bob just won the Lit Nobel,” and
“Sooo boring at work today.”
Assuming she’d been reading some parody website, I replied,
“Ain’t it just like the web
To play tricks
When the library’s
She shot back,
“No, no, no,
It ain’t fake, babe.”
I checked it out and the ridiculous and sublime Bob-head had actually been elevated to Nobel Laureate. I came into work an hour and a half early and had toiled through lunch so I didn’t think twice (it’s alright) to leave a half hour early to find a bar with either an appropriate soundtrack or some other Dylanesque trait.
My train arrived in Hammersmith at sunset. It was time for my boot heels to be wandering. The first stop would be the Queen’s Head (approximately). The quest continued at the Jameson and the Bird in Hand before a most remarkable success at the Havelock Tavern.
Sort of related, I seem to reference Bob in these pages more than any other writer or musician:
A photo that looks like the cover of “Bringin’ It All Back Home”
Quoting “On the Road Again” in re: a trip to the States
Quoting “Outlaw Blues” for a Toronto Mayor’s obituary
Quoting “Like A Rolling Stone” in my Citizenship announcement
A tourist trip past the site where the film version of Subterranean Homesick Blues was shot
A plethora of Dylan lyrics for a house move post
A weird one about the move from Cambridge Uni to the U of Oxford
Nudity, beer, and a tiger refuge in Tennessee
Mis-heard lyrics from “On the Road Again”
And, “Bringin’ it All Back Home,” again, on a birthday run write-up
The last weekend of the August 2016 Pub Per Day Challenge is going to involve some breakfast pints at not-too-far from the house Wetherspoons and the nearest of these that I haven’t already ticked off the list turned out to be the William Jolle in Northwood Hills, about 3 miles away (so an easy out-and-back run for my weekend 5-or-6). Apparently, Wetherspoons wants to sell it off but the community has banded together to block this fine bar becoming something other than what it seems meant to be.
Redemption beers are usually a good choice and the Urban Dusk did not disappoint. Just dark enough to give a burnt oak to toffee mouth and just viscous enough to feel filling for my nutritional needs, I need to remember this one.
The pub is right next to the Northwood Hills Tube station which is on the same leg of the Metropolitan line that takes you to Watford. I kind of like the surreal mural on the rail bridge: it goes with the weird vibe the town has (sort of David Lynch-y, like Twin Peaks before they started having dancing midgets speaking backwards).
The most disturbing part of the mural is this bit by the public toilets. There’s the family walking down the secluded path with some freak lurking in the woods nearby (is that Will-I-Am? That fucker is everywhere in the UK!) . Creepy.
UPDATE 21 Nov 2016:
It will be weeks before we recover from this move. Whilst making the house live able, we dug out some Atlanta music to get us back into the semi-urban groove.
I repaired the BBQ and cooked out some burgers and came up with the idea of hitting a Pub Per Day for the next month. This differs from a Pub Everyday in that it is an average and allows me to do things where I don’t have to find a new pub one day and make up for it with two on a subsequent day. Stay tuned.
The garden has come together. I have hauled the trophy in the photo around for years intending to melt it down and cast something in the silver. The recipient was an evil sack of shit who fucked his daughter and sired a child in the bargain (which would be my oldest nephew if I hadn’t disowned the whole white trash lot of my sister’s brood). In the meantime, I’m using it as the Third Gnome in the garden. Edie seems to approve:
Although the outlets are now mostly sealed, these used to be a thing; so much so, in fact, that they are still found every 10 feet or so along most of the streets around Holborn in London. Or, on occasion, every 20 feet or so.
Some guys have great hair and some are great thinkers. Mine is thinning but from this photo of his statue in Red Lion Square it appears that peace activist Fenner Brockway was a spectacular thinker.
I misread the assignment this week…BOLD, not BALD. Here were the winners, this week: