Pumpkin Publog

Nov 04

Pub Science Experiment #1 Pub 2: The Railway Tavern, Globe Road E2

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Pub Science Experiment #1

Pub 2: The Railway Tavern, Globe Road E2

Category: Railway

Bang goes one side-theory: that these places would all be super-quick to get to because they’re all near stations. The Railway is only a five minute walk from Stepney Green tube but I wasn’t expecting to have to walk past three pubs (all variously shut or shut down) before reaching it. There it is, though, nestling just north of the railway arches which run through Globe Town.

This isn’t the most promising of areas, but I quite like it: I’ve spent many a happy weekend afternoon in this neck of the woods traipsing merrily around the art galleries. It’s clearly not rich but it’s pretty friendly. The Railway Tavern, likewise, is plainly not rich. It’s detached and painted white and (I would guess) early Victorian. It looks OK from the outside with just a feint chance that it might be a bit forbidding. Pretty much your standard backstreet boozer.

Inside, the decor is like the storeroom of The Museum of Pub Furnishings (still an imaginary museum, sadly). Built-in comfy seating over there; low-ish ’70s wood and leather armchairs pulled up to some formica tables over here; nasty ’90s (maybe ’00s) tubular metal plus pink moulded plastic barstools. The bad part of the decor is that at some stage, probably in the early 1980s, someone plainly decided to give the place the feel of an old country inn. Their M.O.? To stick up some nasty, fake half-timbering and plaster in the gaps. It looks terrible.

All of which can be of no importance at all if there’s something else about the pub to charm or please or relax you. Early enough on a Saturday for the smell of last night’s cigs to remain unoverwhelmed by the smell of today’s, there isn’t. Everyone in the pub gives an impression of being related, or at least sufficiently close that they’ve given up even using each other’s names. The barmaid scowls as I ask for a Guinness, and sniffs and sneezes as she brings it over. The poor dear shouldn’t really be at work. I’m mostly ignored, which is fine, but I do feel like I’m intruding in a private space.

A really good pub will often beguile by lightly tripping an ambiguous line between public and private. The Railway doesn’t manage it. It’s a perfectly sound place ot go and watch the football or stop for a swifty but A Good Pub? Not really.

Overall mark: (out of 10): 4


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Possibly the oldest quiz machine still in existence found in the Grafton Arms on Grafton Way on Friday night. Instead of the gurning faces of Messers Tarrant (Millionaire) and Foxy (Pepsi Chart), we instead had the benvolent visages of BOB HOLNESS (Blockbuster) and Mike Read (Chart Challenge)! OK, we didn’t actually check to see if Mike Read appeared on Chart Challenge BUT I BET HE DOES.

Warning: quiz machines WERE harder in the olden days – Blockbusters gave one about 60 seconds in total to select your letters, answer multiple choice questions and complete a row. After a couple of pints this was impossible, but perhaps an early-doors first pint attempt might lead to lovely blockbusting fruition.

Nov 04

Publog Picture Quiz

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Publog Picture Quiz

What is this?

a) A prawn?

b) A Locust?

c) The hairest pork scratching in the world ever, as discovered in a packet of these bought from The Sekforde Arms on Friday night.

Apologies for the poor focus; the light was very poor indeed. But it had lots of hairs. And yes. It was eaten by one of the Freaky Trigger collective.

Nov 04


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“apple: generic term for all fruit other than berries but including nuts
“botulism: derived via german from Latin botulus, sausage
“cake: a flat round loaf of bread
“chip: meaning piece of dried dung first attested 1946″
“pudding: a kind of sausage

Which of the following is not a pie?

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i. shepherd’s/cottage pie
ii. cheese flan/pizza
iii. scotch egg
iv. boiled egg

actually i am not going to bother you w.all the ins and outs of the GREBT PIE DEBATE, as i wz not in on its inception, and besides the militia are now formed and a stiff crackdown ordered on heretics and dissidents. Hunting last night for back-up for solid new outlier positions – i naturally supported iv. but did not come up with any of these – i discovered that the linguistic origins of the word “pie” are entirely uncertain: best guess, apparently, being that


Nov 04

It’s that time of year

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It’s that time of year when ‘pub awards’ start to be handed out. Will the Freaky Trigger collective be giving a pub award? Yes they will, just as soon as we think of a sufficiently preposterous scientific way of judging it. However, some names are already jostling for space in the frame. One of them is the Shakespeare’s Head in Islington, hymned on this publog recently. We’re delighted to report that this particular boozer has just boosted its chances of getting our award in dramatic fashion.

Nov 04

Most Expensive Piece of Toast Ever.

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Most Expensive Piece of Toast Ever.

Questions this article raises:
a) Toast clearly does not go mouldy!
b) AMerican cheese really is indestructible.
c) From her depiction on this sandwich the Virgin Mary clearly had elephantisis (it may explain her virginal state). Who knew!

Nov 04

One of my favourite things about being a meat eater

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One of my favourite things about being a meat eater (aside the meat I guess) is having a casserole or stew with the meat on the bone and discovering offal popping out of the fluid near the end. This is particularly good with smaller animals which you can slop in the pot by themselves. So the peerless squirrel was made more fun by have some lights and lungs hanging off. And a rabbit stew my Dad made in Spain was made all the more delightful by having a couple of kidneys pop to the surface during the eating. Dark in hue the draw attention to themselves, but also give you meaty variety in taste. And a taste of the kidneys will always tell you what kind of nick the creature was in when killed. I am sure battery rabbits exist in Spain but by the taste of these innards I don?t think I had one of the Duracell Bunnies.

Indie Chicken

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Indie Chicken – an occasional series

#5 – Laz Fried Chicken & Pizza, 190 Archway Rd, London N6 5BB

Post-FAP last Friday night, I and my boo hopped off the bus, bid goodnight to Pete and headed for the local filthy chicken establishment. This, in close proximity to our new flat (and indeed fairly near my old one), is more of a pizza delivery place, but the fried chicken takes precedence on the shop sign so that it appears that one could purchase a pizza topped with melting chunks of deep-fried poultry. Which would be a very special experience, I think we can all agree.

Anyway, the meal: Rob, feeling lairy, went for a two-piece meal and a Diet Pepsi (‘2.95 I think, as was mine), while I was more sedate with my choice of one chunk of beast (yes, I mean that and not ‘breast’) and three hot wings, accompanied by a cheapo can of German-import Fanta (which, this reminds me, is still in the fridge). The chicken pieces were covered in satisfyingly greasy and crunchy skin, but a rather disagreeable muddy taste was evident even through a palate-thickening beer patina. The hot wings (baby drumsticks, par usuel) were better, and the fries (crispy but yielding) were downright tasty, but you know, I was a little bit refreshed at the time. So-so would be my overall verdict, what with no cleansing towelette action in evidence, but it hit the drunken spot, and what more can one desire?

Incidentally, while searching fruitlessly for the presence of Laz on that there interweb, I came across http://www.takeawaysulike.co.uk/, a marvellous site devoted to making sure that you can always find your favourite filthy food emporia. Excellent work.

Nov 04


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47 KitKats are eaten every second in the UK and ex-Bond heartthrob Pierce Brosnan is a ‘big fan’.

Not everyone is on message, though. From the Guardian (natch):
KitKat is my favourite bar, but I have not bought one since Nestle tried to extort “compensation” payments from Ethiopia. Lemon cheesecake flavoured KitKats won’t win me back – a commitment to fair trade might. Helen Colley, Manchester

I remember people like you from university, Helen. This is what you’re missing, dear:

Original KitKat: Boring, but popular. Dungaish.
Blood Orange: Strange one. Socrates.
Orange: Running down my chin like a young Jairzinho.
Caramel: Tasty. Reminds me of Ronaldinho, that blind pass he keeps doing.
White chocolate: Yeah, you know what you’re getting with this: Tafarell
Lime and yoghurt: Foul, a mistake. Who’s that bloke used to play for Sheffield United?