Aug 02

Week of Quiz

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Week of Quiz suffered a weekend lapse, owing to unsurprising lack of quiz to be had on a Friday and Saturday and urgent need to end a commitment of some six-months standing, namely the final episode of 24. Undeterred, ‘Jack and Nina’ spent Monday night in the Oxford Arms in Camden Town ‘ a pleasant enough corner boozer, replete with Beer Garden and Harry Hill look-alike. The nervous tension rose with promise of a ’300 snowball prize, more later. The quiz, and it was a long one, took the form of a 5-round spectacular ‘ 2 rounds of general knowledge, a music round, a film and TV round, and the sheer horror of a Sport round. While we acquitted ourselves rather splendidly on 4 of the rounds ‘ we were only able to muster a measly 3 out of 15 on the frankly unnecessary sport round; thus condemning us to an overall 4th place in the competition. The Snowball, took the form of a raffle ‘ the lucky winner facing public ridicule in a challenge to answer a tricky slice of trivia ‘ this time identifying the name of the Captain of the Titanic, prize unwon ‘ roll on the roll-over and a decidedly dangerous walk home back to the tube if you do win. Various spot prizes ensued and all participants were rewarded with a splendid sausage and chip supper.

The quiz, needless to say, was won by a team of greying comb-overs called ‘The Usual Suspects’. I ask you. The other clue to their quiz bastardry was that one member of the team had brought along his ‘special Alan’ plate and cutlery for the supper, a large ceramic number, which he piled high; while the rest of us proles ate from paper plates.

The publog chapter must surely be written on old geezers that insist on their special glass and other fawning favourtism in their locals.

Feb 02


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PUBS WHAT HAVE BEEN DONE UP. It always makes me chuckle when a dingey old man’s pub is tarted up a la Nu Shoreditch in relentless pursuit of the upwardly mobile drinker, and fails to quite shake off the old clientele. Such a Waterloo stalwart on Lower Marsh, whose original names eludes me, but was something to do with the Spanish civil war, has taken the new economy route. Now called the Ruby Lounge with yer leather sofas and cube shaped pouffes and low hanging lighting, does a brisk evening trade with the polo-neck brigade; however, of a lunch time it’s patchily filled with old blokes, dogs, market traders and careworn middle aged women on the Bacardi and Cokes. It must put the staff in a difficult position, after all what can they say? Sorry old-timer, this pub has moved on – be off to the Wetherspoons, it’s targeted at your demographic. No, they seethingly serve a pint of Guinness (Extra Cold) and pray for the polo hour of 6pm to roll on.

Jan 02

My Chain-pub Hell

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My Chain-pub Hell continues. Hogshead last night with fellow-pub-loggers Pete and John. However, Crouch End’s famous ex-funeral parlour venue was graced by not one, but TWO celebs. Sean Hughes and (I think) Paul Morley, only I was too star-struck to go and check properly. He was wearing signature polo-neck and zip-up cardi, as modelled on I Heart Clip-shows, and had the same hair-do, so it’s almost a shoe-in. Obviously pub etiquette dictates that one DOES NOT interfere with celebrity drinking, and I passed my test with flying colours. I also saw Victor Lewis Smith on the tube this morning, and didn’t bother him either. Aren’t I good?

Jan 02

Lengthy Absence

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Lengthy Absence Having forgotten all my old passwords for Blogger. I have only been to two pubs this year – 1) The Head, 2) All Bar One. This must not stand. How about going to 37 out of the 38 All Bar Ones in London, and then you could say: “I’ve been to…”

May 01


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John left the pub last night just as the large round reached it’s critical mass. And it was his round. The cur, and I had to pay for the taxi/ambulance. This on-line dissing is intensely liberating.

May 01


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Taking a partial an unilateral view on a subject. Not something that Mr Baran has been un-guilty of before (Year of New Racism eh? Not quite unilateral if you count the Tory back-benchers who also seem to applaud this reprehensible trend). Point 1: Agree non-smoking zones are the biggest waste of time, generally because they too stink of fags. Point 2: Personally I have a major grouse against the odour of fag, especially morning-after clothes and hair. Febreeze on hair? No thanks. Does Pete do any laundry, perhaps Emma can help confirm? The only way I can tolerate it is if the person and conversational gambits outweigh the fug. Mostly they do. But believe me, if I find myself stuck with an out and out toss-pot with a fag, I’ll be taking an early bath. I fully expect to be found wanting in my discrimination tactics, but don’t push your luck. Having a particularly arse day at work, hence the testy tone.

Apr 01


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A timely appraisal of this temperamental machine. Have you noticed the suspicious cartel of hand-dryer manufactures based either in Stanmore, Mx or Hemel Hempstead, Herts? Probably not, but I have, because I have paternal relatives in both of these unsalubrious neighbourhoods. I fully expect a legacy from the secret Griffiths Hand Dryer empire in due course.

Mar 01

just a thought: getting pissed off by nicky wire is sort of like getting pissed off by your cat refusing to come when you call it, but

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just a thought: getting pissed off by nicky wire is sort of like getting pissed off by your cat refusing to come when you call it, but this is a bit much. i’m honestly glad i don’t live in england so that i don’t have to hear his natter non-stop. best part: “fidel, as i now call him…” what were you calling him before? charlie? how does the rest of the band put up with him?

and yes, this was posted especially to raise the wrath of a certain nylpm staffer. it’ll be fun to watch her head explode from unnecessary stress one day.

Jan 01

Ordinary Decent Boozer -(ODB) because EC2 does that too

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Ordinary Decent Boozer -(ODB) because EC2 does that too

A little pause from the ramblings of last Thursday, for a brief perusal of the more down-to-earth and honest offerings of EC2.

Since I work (for the next 6 working days) at a company that has oft relocated. The concept of ‘drink after work down the” remains just that. An ellipsis. The NFO UK branch at Bonhill Street does not have a designated local, despite, or perhaps because of the plethora of options.

This makes it all the more difficult to pick a venue for my leaving-do. As it has been made plain, the Sosho triangle is the home of Bar Wank, multiplied. To pick a Bar Wank for one’s leaving-do, would be to label oneself so. You’re not out to impress anyone, you’ve done that by resigning. You simply want to get drunk with the benighted drudges that you’re leaving behind, figuratively, and try to ensure the least pitiful turn-out possible. What you want is a lower common denominator venue (not lowest, because that would leave you in the clutches of the DJ at Bar Med, perennially stuck with the concept of the 1980s Radio 1 Weekender). What you want is an ODB.

Well, what do we have:

The Windmill – Epworth Street/Tabernacle Street.,

Not a lot to say about the Windmill. It’s main purpose in life, for me at least, is the Friday brush-off – “I can’t stay for long, but I’ll come for a half at the Windmill”. You wouldn’t bother staying longer. It’s the closest one, it’s the pub where you can meet/wait and as soon as everyone’s arrived, there’s no argument about leaving. Once I leave this area, it’s the pub I’m least likely to suggest for a return visit. Strangely, it’s like a All Bar One without the branding and with a carpet. You wouldn’t go near the wine.

Verdict: unimaginative

The Artillery Arms – Bunhill Row

From the Bonhill Street perspective, this one requires commitment, as you need to cross City Road, and walk through the grave-yard, with its attendant early curfew procedures. Principally a lunch-time pub, and one that I quite like. The area is residential, so I suspect that it is quite a schizophrenic pub. The tender hearted market researchers rush to the upstairs room and wait eagerly for the kitchen order of generous doorstep or fish-finger sandwich to arrive. Downstairs meanwhile reminds me of going into a pub full of Northern businessmen in 1970s, in a good way.

Verdict: Ghostly

The Angel – City Road (South)

A bit like the Artillery, although without the necessity to traverse the graveyard. Very near the Old Street roundabout and ideal location to build up the brave party posse before heading east en masse to a branch of Bar Wank. Just round the corner from the Dragon Bar. Has a decent upstairs room which could be hired for a gathering of 20-40 – always good to know. A pub that’s neither too busy, nor too quiet at commuter times. I’ve always had a serviceable time whenever I’ve been in, not a pub that requires hyperbole, but quietly gets on with its job in an earnest fashion. Promises lager in frozen glasses over the summer.

Verdict: Great, but, too far away for lily-livered South of the River types, probably

Finches – Finsbury Pavement

The Young’s Brewery take on an All Bar One. Crap bar staff and worse acoustics. ’nuff said.

Verdict: Not unless I’m concussed.

The Fox – Paul Street

I never went in this place before the refurb. But frankly, given the refurb – the bar downstairs must have been an absolute dive. It’s all a bit bare, not minimal, just bare wood and stools. A bit like one of those bars you go into in a French village with snarling locals, a baby-foot, a PMU counter and an electronic dartboard. Only it doesn’t even have those.

Seems to care about its ales in a fairly unpretentious fashion – does draft Hoegaarden – but hardly exotica these days! It also does food of the wilted coulis variety. It does not have one of those crappy bar top coke/lemonade taps – which is to be applauded. Amazingly no diet drinks were on offer at all, which is flaming marvellous in my opinion – no-one but a puritan should drink Diet Coke in a pub.

The jewel in the crown is the fantastic upstairs ‘club-room’. This rather battered salon is done out like an Edwardian parlour with looming green varnished wall-coverings and standard lamps and two extremely poorly sprung green leather chesterfields (these have been much loved).

Verdict: This is my leaving venue of choice, resting on a test visit this Friday evening. Locals and semi-locals most welcome.

Jan 01

Well here’s another live publog from “Sosho”

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Well here’s another live publog from “Sosho”. John, Magnus and Kate are on the tiles, mopping up a few wannabe haunts. And so we find ourselves strangely drawn to the prospect of revealing our innermost drinking thoughts in a style that I’msure we’ll regret come the morning after. This APPALLING keybaord isn’t helping much. Look:The quick broan fox jusmprs over the al yf adog. There,see how difficult it is?

Please forgive us. Some Amber has been consumed (the lager, not the semi-precious stone). REport to be filed tomorrow. Over and out.