“Right. We catch the tube into Camden and head for the nearest bog-standard Indie oriented bar…”

On Saturday night, as the slowly fading stamp on the back of my hand suggests, we headed out in our new neighbourhood to enjoy the delights of drinking in a couple of slightly too crowded venues. After a few drinks at the typically heaving Lock Tavern, where we were forced out onto the terrace, we made our way to the Barfly for what we had hoped would be a suitably indie-themed evening of randomness. The music policy was a touch too eclectic for my liking, and the DJs were largely unresponsive to Sal’s requests, despite the fact that she had self-consciously plumped for choices at the cooler end of the spectrum of our shared interests (although she did manage to extract a few moments of The Killers out of them, and they also came through with a sublime electroclash remix of Seven Nation Army). Upstairs, we caught a couple of ok bands: the Edwyn Collins-esque Vincent Vincent and the Villains (who prompted Rhys to alert me to the recent sad news about said Scottish crooner), and the strangely entertaining Metro Riots, fronted by a rather shouty chap wearing army uniform and a captain’s armband, who prompted the front half of the tiny performance room to begin moshing furiously.

I spent most of the rest of the evening spilling beer over myself, although there was just time to squeeze in a celebrity spot, which brings to two the number of presenters I’ve seen off of T4’s shabby music show…

Celebrity Spotting Haiku

that girl from Pop World
drinking in the Barfly club,
looking a bit bored


On Sunday, we eventually decided to sort out what remained of our hangovers by heading for leafy, gentle Hampstead. Rather disappointingly, the pub we suggested for Sunday lunch (the Freemason’s Arms) has been taken over in the 6 or so months since I was last there. What used to be a lovely little pub has had its charm and atmosphere ripped out to be replaced by what amounts to a slick but rather soulless restaurant. The last time we were there, (also a Sunday, and at about the same time of day), the place was packed full of people enjoying a leisurely Sunday lunch. Now, most of what used to be a very large pub has been turned into a restaurant that you can’t sit in if you aren’t eating and that stops serving food at 2.30. You also can’t sit in the restaurant part when the restaurant is closed because “we need to set up for dinner”. Luckily, the fact that this limits your choice of seating to the four or five tables they’ve deigned to leave available near the bar doesn’t actually matter because the new management appear to have successfully turned a thriving and busy pub into one that is almost empty. Given that the only food on offer was a small bowl of nuts at £2.50, they successfully turned us away too, and we took our hungry business somewhere else.