Thursday, December 22, 2005
Something About Christmas Time
Have to say I'm not a big fan of Christmas. I've just done my shopping and endured the hell of the High Street with lots of screaming children and people who don't know what there doing around. Honestly you'd swear that some of the people in HMV haven't bought a CD in their life before! Added to that you're bound to get the annual cold, with mine starting after last weekend's drinking resulting in three nights being alcohol free and only slightly better. Finally, the pubs start to get full of drunk people who apparently only drink once a year. Was in the Jack Horner a couple of Thursdays ago at six in the evening and there were a group of people just stagerring into each other and holding onto each other just to stand up. Where are these people in January I ask?
Personally my Christmas will be quite enjoyable. After a few beers with work colleagues on Friday (23) I will be at the National Film Theatre celebrating 50 years of ITV watching a documentary on the Smiths and the Stone Roses. Two great bands! Christmas Eve, as per most years, I will be in the Harrow, and this year as I would not have been drinking since 10.30am as it's not a working day! Just before we do go in the Harrow though, Sulphur will be doing what is now a traditional Christmas Eve rehearsal as we try to finalise our Cheamstck set for January 8th! The lowlight will probably be my trip to Watford on Boxing Day with some bright spark deciding it's best to close Watford tube station that day leaving me with a 2 1/2 mile walk from Moor Park. Also it's a twelve o'clock kick off! Just hope Saints get a result.
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
700 pubs / bars this year
Managed to improve my personal best and completed my 700th pub of the year yesterday. The Pineapple in Kentish Town was fairly pleasant and not what you would expect from the area. I hope to get Dan to publish my list on his site at the end of the year. Doubt I'll reach 750 but 725 is a realistic aim with eleven days left.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
Theo is Southamptons 16 year old striker who much speculation has been made. I first saw him in the flesh at a friendly at Yeovil and he looked pretty tasty then although his main assett was pace. I was beginning to cast a little doubt over his skill until his wonder goal on Sunday against Luton. This has convinced me he has a big future ahead of him and hopefully will score the goals that will push Saints into a playoff place or better. Whether he will still be with us in three years is another matter.
Cafe Mango RIP
Cafe Mango in Sutton shut recently and has been refurbished into something called the Treasury. Mangos wasn't the greatest of venues but was a place you could get in before eleven on a Friday and Saturday and stay until one or two. (remember this was pre the new laws so was quite handy). There were a few downsides, the cheesey music that was blaring and smetimes a few undesirables in Ben Shermen or Burberry. However this year the latter seemed to go down a bit as the bouncers either decided to be a bit more selective and sensible or it went out of fashion. The main redeeming fact of this place is that it always seemed to have one or two fantastic looking barmaids which was always a plus.
Mixed impressions about the Tresury. The dance floor has disappeared replaced with sofas and other all bar one type furniture inside. A few flat screen tellys showing sport and a good range of lagers. However, seems a bit pricey with a Pauliner and a Staropramen coming to over £7.00. The barstaff were ugly in comparision to what you expected in Mangos and the opening lunchtime was reservation only despite no notices showing this during its refurbishment. Will wait and see what its like on a busy evening before forming a proper opinion though.
Wednesday, December 14, 2005
Oceanic Studios 4.12.2005.
Many thanks to Rachel Fuller who put myself and my brother on the guest list for this feast of music headed by the legendary (& Rachel's boyfriend) Pete Townshend. The show was filmed for a webcam broadcast on WhoTV and there were about eighty people crammed into this intimate studio basement. There was a bar with Becks or Budweiser only a pound a bottle and splendid entertainment provided by Mikey, Foy Vance, Simon Townshend, Rachel & finally Pete. The show ended at midnight with all the artists performing a rousing version of Shine from Rachel's album Cigarettes & Housework. A fantastic evening and definately a moment to say I was there!
Thursday, December 01, 2005
The Black Country Saturday 26.11.05
So an away game at Wolves (a 0-0 draw if you must with Saints better in the first half but unable to score for toffee) and time to take advantage of an afternoon and evening out somewhere different. Having pursuaded Matt to come up, and knowing that another friend's girlfriend lives in the area for accommodation a plan was put in place. After the game after grabbing a late lunch we trundled off into Wolverhampton town centre. The first pub of the day was the Giffard Arms. A heavy metal pub with a DJ spinning stuff like The Spear Of Destiny. Goth night was upstairs from eight. Like most metal places I found it very friendly and a place you could easily head bang a couple of hours away. Upon Dan's recommendation we then attempted to find the Chindit, however a schoolboy error was made by looking in Merridale Road and not Merridale Street. We settled upon the Merridale Arms a pub reminiscent of the Queen Vic in North Cheam. We wandered back towards the tram where we were going to stop at a few places on the way to Birmingham. As one of us had to make a phone call we made it in to the Wheatsheaf for a swift one. Here was the first (and only as it turned out) decent looking barmaid of the crawl. A tram was then had to The Crescent where we intended to walk to Bilston. However a wrong turn was made and we had to walk through a spooky park. However, this one had an open air theatre so I took the opportunity to take the stage to perform some impropmtu mime! The first pub in Bilston was the Swan. A fairly average pub and nothing really to mention except we were surrounded by lots of local accents! Our next stop was going to be the legendary Trumpet however it did not open for anouther hour & half! Disaster! We took the opportunity to go to the Greyhound & Punchbowl opposite for another half and were confronted with a jukebox playing classic rock such as Alice Cooper's Poison. After a swift half here, we decided to eat in the next door Wetherspoons, The Sir Henry Newbolt. Typical type establishment. With the Trumpet still not open we walked down Bilston High Street and came to the Market Tavern. A small pub with a mixed clientele and a rough looking barman. After this it was 7.40 and time to walk back to the Trumpet. This is a legendary place as Slade made it their local in their seventies heyday. A very small pub with outside toilets we all decided to have a pint and sat in the corner whilst a jazz band were tuning up. Very characteristic with concert tickets attached round the bar and a few Slade photos around. My favorite piece on the wall however were some newspapers clippings, one from the seventies with Noddy Holder and Don Powell looking on at a Jazz artist in the pub and one in May of this year, confirming that Noddy still pops in from time to time and had donated £10,000 to save the pub from closure. Upon leaving the pub happy, we walked past Bilston Central to the Olde White Rose, a Camra recommended pub. No woonder with over 15 different ales. A few surprise lagers too as I had a Bitburger. A long thin place they also had a band that were playing Free's The Hunter as we walked in. Alas a request for some Slade was turned down as they didn't know any. Time was against us so we got back on the tram alighting at Black Lake. A walk up the aptly named Hill Top found us at the Sow & Pigs. An old man locals this was with some steps leading up to the bar and some pig clocks hanging around. Quaint in its own way but nothing special. Back on the Tram to West Bromwich. At a request of a colleague (as it had some young people in there) we went into the Anchor, a venue I was prepared to walk past. I think my feeelings were justified as in this extremely smoky place filled with baseball caps and tracksuits we did not feel comfortable at all. At lease other people can say they've been to West Bromwich. Ignoring the local Wetherspoons, we moved back on the tram hooping to take advantage of the new opening hours. Arriving at Snow Hill at 22.50 we legged it to the Old Contempibles, a Fullers place. However, they had just rung last orders, same story in the Hill pub a good place I went to a few months back. As it was no just a couple of minutes before 11, we decided against the walk to Broad Street and had a couple in the Wetherspoons pub called the Briar Rose which at least did have Summer Lightning on tap. We got the 00.02 bus back to Harborne with one of us still owing a round. We were about to forego it as we got off the bus but saw in the distance an O'Neills still serving. However, the bouncer closed the door on us clearly showing that no admittance was allowed at this late hour. Same story at the Varsity. We were then resigned to a glass of wine at the place we were staying, however upon the walk home we passed a pub called the Green Man with a man outside. "You still serving", "Yes untill half one". Fantastic! The pub was a typical Ember Inn (think identical to the Harrow as it is now) which is perfectly pleasant. We left this pub before last orders and decided that the crawl had been a good one! All in all, including the football ground 15 pubs were added to the list this year!