Archive for the ‘Obits’ Category

Sportsman, Croxley Green, Hertfordshire   1 comment

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About a half mile from the Croxley Tube Station stands the Sportsman, an un-promising building from the outside but a wonderful pub within with a varied and enticing selection of real ales.  The house glasses are marked with full, ½, and 1/3 pint measures in the event you want to try everything on offer and still walk to the taxi at the end of the effort.

 

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I just went for a pint of the Rebellion Brewery’s Roasted Nuts which had the oily consistency and furniture polish back notes I hope for in a dark brown beer.  One kid came up and couldn’t decide between two of the eight on the pumps so the barkeep pulled him tasters of each (about a third of a pint in total) … good trick to remember for my next visit.

 

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There was steady traffic to the bar and everyone else seemed to know everyone else and, had I stayed for a second one they probably would remember my name as well (although they probably noted my oddities).  Somehow we got into the Topic: Recent Celebrity Deaths and I thought Lord Snowdon, whose title always makes me think of a quote from Catch-22, would win the prize; but, the old guys at the corner seemed fixated on Larry Steinbeck from the Bronski Beat.  This place is weird and wonderful.  As Yossarian queried:

Ou sont les Neigedens d’antan?

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Last year can fuck right off: 2016 by the numbers (mostly)   1 comment

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Numbers, or so, listed in bold and underlined.

Everyone has shit to talk about 2016, and so do I; but, I’ll minimise that, here.  I finally sprang for two new pair of running shoes to replace the pair, featured in the photos here, that I picked up in Chattanooga in September 2015 and subsequently added 2253 running miles on before retiring them last weekend (with walking, as these were my usual day-to-day shoes, these had much closer to 4000 miles on them).

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Over the Christmas break, we watched a shitload of TV and a bunch of really cheery movies (highly recommended of these are the drama Martha Marcy Mae Marlene and the documentary The Coming War With China.  To recover from those you might want to find Twenty Feet From Fame.  But, we also caught a bunch of shit tele and some old stuff.  In keeping with the theme of the year, we downloaded a collection of the Tonight Show (with Johnny Carson) and spent the entirety of each show playing the middle-age white person version of Jew-Not-A-Jew (aka the straight person’s version of Queer-Not-A-Queer) by pointing at each corpse we spotted on screen and saying, “DEAD.” “Bob Hope. DEAD.” “Joan Rivers! DEAD.” “Gary Shandling, DEAD.” (By the way, that’s Not A Jew, Jew, and a little of both).

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So, instead of the multitude of other celebrity deaths everyone is banging on about, here are the 17 I noticed but did not eulogise (and some of whom you may have missed):

17 January: Blowfly, 76
2 February: Bob Elliott, 92
16 February: Boutros Boutros-Ghali, 93
6 March: Merle Haggard, 79
3 June: Muhammad Ali, 74
17 June: Fred Tomlinson, 88
22 August: Toots Thielemans, 94
29 August: Gene Wilder, 83
8 September: The Lady Chablis, 59
16 September: Edward Albee, 88
30 September: Hanoi Hannah, 87
18 October: Phil Chess, 95
2 November: Dolores Klosowski, 93, American baseball player (Milwaukee Chicks)
7 November: Leonard Cohen, 82
25 November: Ron Glass, 71
22 December: Miruts Yifter, 72
25 December: George Michael, 53

In a similar vein, here are the other numbers of my year…

Obits actually in the blog: 16

Bowie
Alan Rickman
Nancy Reagan
Swindon’s Stagecoach Bus Depot in Old Town
Robert Ford, Madman Mayor of Toronto
Prince
Station Jim
Atlanta/Fulton County Stadium and Turner Field in apparent murder-suicide
Brownie’s dad
The jihadi sparrow
American democracy
The villages of Longford and Harmondsworth
America, the not so great pre-Trump version
Fidel Castro
Andrew Sachs
AA Gill

New Years Honours of Note: 1 (for the name): Mr Fabulous Flournoy, (MBE)

Mileage (running): 1589.8, quite the slack year — the least in two decades of keeping track

2016-cumulative-mileage

Pub write-ups 1 January thru 30 June: 38

Pub write-ups 1 July thru 31 December (we moved house 28 July): 216 (254 for the year)

Recipes, such as they are, published here: 5

Brunswick Stew and BBQ Sauce
Chicken Llewyn
Malted Milk Ball Hot Toddy
Chicken Breasts done as if for Pakoras
Pesto

Kebabs: 2

Fish: 22

International trips: Except for returning from Cork, technically a 2015 trip, 1 (Bremen)

Marathons: 1 (Wales Marathon)

Other races: 0, but a few planned for 2017

Weight (high): 169 lbs (12 stone 1 pound, Winter drinking weight)

Weight (low): 150 (10 stone 10 pounds, at the Marathon)

2016-weight

Enefeld London Porter: Advent Calendar 2016 Day 12   2 comments

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Name: London Porter
Brewery: Enefeld
Rating (1-5): 3 out of 5 nativity scenes

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Notes:  I first came to AA Gill via The Angry Island which I bought at a Thrift Store in Athens Georgia a few days before we drove off to a new job in Arizona — to read during Jackie’s shifts driving and in the hotels along the way.  I soon became convinced he was a spectacular asshole and one of the funniest writers and critics of Englishness and the English I have ever read.  The book turned me on to a number of landmarks around London that you simply shouldn’t miss (Royal Artillery Memorial at Hyde Park Corner for its horrific detail on each of the four sides or Charles Jagger’s statue of the soldier with a letter from home on the platform at Paddington Station for poignancy) and for years I was convinced he was actually an art critic; instead, Gill was a celebrated food writer and a raging alcoholic.

And, he was outrageously funny despite being wrong about so much and smugly, infuriatingly right about so much else.  I wanted to be English before reading him but even more so after reading the Angry Island: a lifetime spent observing the English, in one- or two-year stints — but fully embedded each time — had not turned me off my new countrymen and the recognition of them in his pages convinced me that this…musthappen.  Most Americans who call themselves {shudder} “Anglophiles” would be appalled by real English people and offended by every single [and perfectly acurate] thing he had to say about them.

I am sure I would have liked to meet Gill and that he would have been appalled by me, as well (most people are and fair play).

You don’t have to seek out this book, though.  Just go for the hyper-condensed version the Guardian published by way of contemporary commentary: it will tell you all you really need to know in less than 500 words. Everything, that is, except the title comes from the most quintessentially British of British characteristics: that repressed seething that comes from all the artificially imposed manners everywhere.  EVERYONE here is an asshole and every now and then one of them cracks and then is frightfully embarrassed by it all; except for hooliganism, closing time riots, knife crime, and on those blessed occasions when the Crown is at war and the utter cruelty this people is capable of shines through.

Ahhhh, Gill.  If I can find his grave, I shall definitely leave a single, sub-standard-pâté-smeared Tesco discount water cracker on the headstone.  And, weep a tear for a lost brother I never met.

By the way, the beer, today, was excellent.  The above rating, 3 out of 5 boozy Nativities, was only due to the overall experience (AA Gill is dead, but Trump walks the earth … where are those so-called “patriots” we hear so much about?  There is no God).

 

Wychwood Black Wych Porter: Advent Calendar 2016 Day 10   1 comment

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Name: Black Wych Porter
Brewery: Wychwood
Rating (1-5): 5 out of 5 debauched elves

 

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Notes:  A lot of conflicting details to work through on this post but first let me just state that Naomi Klein is wonderful and probably not a witch, this beer is wonderful and probably will be invited back to the house in the new year, and that John Glenn was always my second favourite astronaut (no small feat for a kid in the 60’s) behind Buzz Aldrin (no small feat for a kid that appreciated the trippier things in life).

But, capricious — if not entirely cruel — witch that 2016 has been hits us with another death, stealing Senator Glenn from us at the tender age of just 95.  A lot of quotes attributed to him turn out to be absolutely true and I read one interview with a former Senate colleague of his who responded (when asked if going to space made Glenn a little bonkers) that, no, not at all, he was always a little bonkers.  He was also humble, loyal, and moral in all the ways that most of us wish we could be.  And, a funny, funny fucker.

The Advent Calendar continues tomorrow (and maybe I’ll catch up on the pub crawl write-ups from yesterday, then, too).

 

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Guinness West Indies Porter: Advent Calendar 2016 Day 2   2 comments

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Name: West Indies Porter
Brewery: Guinness
Rating (1-5): 4 out of 5 Bootsies (Santa Collins)…

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Notes: My ratings system isn’t perfect so I convoluted Funk and Caribbean themes.  Deal with it, mofos.

Day 2 of 26, Friday, and reading the newspaper after work with a fine porter ahead of making a delicious fish pie for supper …  I love the weekends.

RIP, Manuel.

Barley Mow, Marylebone, London (& RIP Fidel, & Thanksgiving post-mortem)   2 comments

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The Barley Mow looked festive, Wednesday, and while enjoying my pint I thought I might eventually put together a post something like:

‘Twas the night before Thanksgiving
And all through the pub….

The pub is on the national register of architecturally significant interiors, and it was a pretty place for the subsequent tragedy to unfold. The yuppies in the photo were the only non-social people there. I wish I remembered more of it but there were these vaguely familiar bursts of light that had been plaguing me all day.

 

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Late in the night (or, more accurately, early Thursday morning) I realised that the aura I had been experiencing Wednesday were more than a little exhaustion — I was having my first, full-blown migraine in over 7 years. I spent the next 24 hours nauseous, unable to tolerate the dimmest light or noise above a whisper, and I was wracked with pain that made me wish I was dead. This was the first Thanksgiving I’ve missed since leaving home in 1978.

It wasn’t drink related, either — I only went to one other pub that night and only had a pint in each. As it is, though, I don’t remember a lot about either.

 

 

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Here, I chatted briefly with a plasterer that was just off work from a building down the adjacent mews; in consideration of the bankers at the bar the conversation turned toward socialism and he told me that Fidel Castro was now dead.

So, for those that ask how my long weekend went: I started hallucinating just ahead of my worst migraine in a decade and 2016 claimed yet another of my childhood heroes. Fuck this year.

fidel

 

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Posted November 28, 2016 by Drunken Bunny in Obits, Pubs

Tagged with , , , , ,

Anything interesting happen in the news, yesterday? #USElection2016   4 comments

Everyone was so happy at Cambridge my second day at work. It was 20 January 2009 and, late in the afternoon, most of the Chemistry Department retired to the commissary to watch Obama’s inauguration. My boss said I seemed a bit subdued and I told him that, yeah, this was wonderful but that it wouldn’t last and that was why I was abandoning my US citizenship.  I’ve taken a lot of mockery about that these last several years.

I hate being right.  But, this wasn’t a new prediction — I saw all of this clearly more than 40 years ago during the Bicentennial festivities.

 

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This bottle of malt that lives in my desk taunts me. If I start drinking before the day is over, I may never stop again.  RIP, America…it was occasionally a noble experiment.

You stupid, stupid motherfuckers.  You talk all that shit about needing your guns to protect you from tyranny, all that braggadocio about patriotism.  Here’s your chance, you big bunch of pussies.