Archive for the ‘London’ Tag

The Fire Station, Waterloo, London   Leave a comment

 

Pub #2144:

The Fire Station is absolutely dreadful EXCEPT

  1. it is essentially an airport (airport) bar out on the street in front of an international rail station, and
  2. the street scenes are tremendous … get a seat by the road.

On the other hand, don’t bother.  There are better places nearer the entrance to Waterloo Station.

 

 

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Posted August 5, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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The Prince Regent, Herne Hill, London   Leave a comment

 

Pub #2143:

I went into the Prince Regent because it was hot out, the sign confused me (why is Joan Baez on it?), and I haven’t been in before.

My bartender was a 20-something hipster American with Guy Fieri hair.  The atmosphere was very much that of an upscale American bar trying to show a dive bar side (that it doesn’t possess).  The beer was expensive.

Speaking of malignant American entities with funny hair, this was on a wall around the corner:

 

Posted July 30, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Ealing Blues Fest 2018   Leave a comment

 

Ealing’s Walpole Park hosts a lot of music and arts events and they are dirt cheap for what they offer.  This weekend was the annual Ealing Blues Festival and we each dropped £5 for Sunday tickets.  Three stages, two drinks tents*, and an awful lot of rock & roll bands to kill off a hot, sunny, Summer afternoon.  Sublime.

*I opted for this terminology instead of “two bars” because, at a blues fest you shouldn’t expect anything less than 12-bar.

 

 

Only one of the 12 acts we witnessed seem to know what the blues actually is.  Our disappointment was tempered by the passable rock all around.  Most of the acts with women leading the band sounded like Vinegar Joe (blues influenced, not blues), and the others leaned heavily on the Animals, the Who, and the Stones (blues influenced, not blues).

 

 

About half the crowd was older than me, the other half almost exclusively families with children.  CHILDREN, for fuck’s sake, and yet they were pretty cool kids.

Next week is the Jazz Festival (same price) and in August there is a Mela (free) nearby in Southall.  If you are visiting London in the summer and just happen to be at loose ends, you could do worse than one of these.

Pro tip: you can each bring in 4 cans of alcoholic beverages or a box of wine into the Walpole Park fests.  Bring a towel or a folding chair…the venue is pretty dusty.

 

Posted July 24, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in music, Tourism

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The Queen’s Head, Brixton, London   Leave a comment

 

Pub #2142:

The walk to the Queens Head was full of signs.

 

 

Any mention of bunnies is considered ominous.

 

 

The bar was fine, they had ale and yuppies.  I like ale.

 

 

I don’t have anything especially good to say about the pub.  It was open and near enough to both Stockwell and Brixton as to render itself superfluous.

 

Posted July 16, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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Anti-Trump Protests, 13 July 2018, London   1 comment

Photo credit to @rabbithedge on Twitter. Thanks for this (we’ve boycotted selfies for years, now).

 

Friday, I got together with 100,000 of my closest friends and made some noise welcoming the President [sic] of the United States of America to our fair city.

 

 

In a classically dickish Trump Administration move, the US Embassy issued a safety Alert for American citizens (most of whom, it turned out, were in the crowd with me). I think that, despite the generally festive atmosphere this will have resulted in some morons holing up in their hotel rooms to hide from the inevitable violence in this lawless town.  If it hasn’t happened yet, cue some fat family on Fox News claiming they had to miss a trip to the wax museum because of the angry crowds 1/2 a mile away.  Sad.

 

 

We didn’t take a lot of photos and there are plenty of them on the Interwebs already.  The one at the top of this article was one I found of our placards.  In browsing around, however, I haven’t seen a copy of this one:

 

 

Here’s a short video for a sense of scale:

 

 

Which also caught the eye of some Twitter wags:

 

 

Upon arrival at Trafalgar Square, we realised we could not get close enough to hear any of the speeches so I dunked my hat in the fountain to help cool off and we headed to Gordon’s Wine Bar and got stuck into a conversation with a couple of tables worth of first time protesters.  This really was the most civilised of this sort of protest, ever.

 

 

Oh, right.  Our placards had my earlier mock-up of the Seal of Il Duce on one side and a modified Time magazine cover on the other, with the original file here for clarity:

 

Posted July 15, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in art, Politics

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The Half Moon Pub, Herne Hill, London   Leave a comment

 

Pub #2140:

A short walk from the Commercial sits the Half Moon, another gorgeous building, inside and out. I was swarmed by the staff both at the bar and by waiters prompting me to think they were expecting a much more important, sweaty, balding, middle-aged American. But, no, after sitting awhile I realized the house is just really overstaffed and the kids are just bored off their tits.

 

 

Case in point: a woman came in with a commercial video camera and was accosted by one of the staff. “Nice camera. I have a digital SLR.” She nodded politely while adjusting the shoulder grip and he continued, “what’s that set you back? A grand?” I succeeded in stifling a laugh.

“More like 10,” she replied.
“Wow, great deal.”
“Ten grand, not ten quid,” she corrected.
“Ten thousand?” he paraphrased doubtfully then continued on explaining features his camera has for, maybe, ten seconds.
“That’s great,” she cut him off, “but I’m working.” She headed toward the back. “I’ll stop by later,” she lied.

 

 

A family group (mum, dad, three stair-stepped kids all under 10-years-old) emerged from the dining area, so there were some other customers. From their outfits and the rainbow coloured afro wig the oldest boy wore I reckoned they were on their way to the Pride March and Festivities. Good for them.

BUT, that’s one of the reasons I never go to Pride anymore. It used to be transgressive and dangerous and, more to the point, I was about the straightest thing you could find for miles. Now, it’s full of families. Families! And, far more clothing than any homo party should have.¹

¹Re-reading that last line and thinking back to Atlanta in the 70’s and 80’s, that statement is by no means a blanket one (not written in Stonewall, as it were).

 

 

Posted July 11, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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The Commercial, Herne Hill, London   2 comments

 

Pub #2141:

Saturday, I was in Herne Hill to catch up with a friend who had recently moved to the outskirts of the neighbourhood; but, I left his address and phone number at home (I only have Jackie, my brother-in-law, and a couple of [ahem] ‘vendors’ in my burner phone).  So that the trip wouldn’t be a total write-off, I reckoned I’d get a beverage before walking up to Brixton to visit another friend (whose number, indeed, I had with me).  I looked around outside the station and thought, “Fuckin’ ‘ell, ‘Erne ‘Ill is Yuppie Scum Central, so what is [name redacted] doing living here?”  My world doesn’t have firm foundations and this was a disturbing development that shook them severely.

The Commercial sits directly across from the station and inside is quite nice with a fine selection of refreshments. But, the weather has been so spectacular of late that it would be a shame to waste it sitting inside, alone with the hardwoods and soft jazz (was that Kenny G? Christ almighty…get out, now. OUT!).

 

 

England was battling Sweden for a World Cup Semifinal position later that afternoon and it was all anyone was willing to talk about. Of course, with this accent I couldn’t possibly know anything about football.  I coached kids in the 70’s, was a FIFA certified referee working at my local recreation department during high school, and had spent more time in Commonwealth and other football nations than in the US in my first 20 years, but of course I didn’t remember that in the ’74 WC England failed to qualify (living in Darwin, Northern Territory meant that Australia qualifying for the first time was seared into my memories but hey-ho).

I managed to work in facts about ‘Soccer’ into the chat (such as, “soccer” is short for Association Football the same way that “rugger” is short for Rugby Football and both are completely English in origin and the term, “soccer,” was only abandoned in the UK when the Americans started to get excited about the sport in the 70’s).  One guy in the red shorts with blue shirt yuppie scum uniform made a comment about the Americans not being very good at it so they imported all their talent; I agreed, but insisted that this is because Americans consider soccer a girls sport and men playing it are not really, y’know, men, in the classic sense.  This did not go over as well as the etymological portion of the convo.

 

 

I excused myself to phone the Brixton connection. Motherfucker…he was in Brighton until late evening so we agreed to meet up next time one of us was in the other’s territory. I figured I had an hour to beat the crowds on the Tube — or three, if I waited till after kick off — and wondered what else to do with my time.  Perhaps a second beverage in a more copacetic (and less coprophilic) location was in order, I thought, as I made a move toward central Herne Hill….

 

 

Posted July 11, 2018 by Drunken Bunny in Pubs

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