Friday, January 25, 2002

What an epic night Ian and I had last night. In an attempt to do something different, something cultural, something quirky, we combined a crawl of the bars we don't usually go to with a quick look at art.

7:15pm: The City Of Quebec. When I walked in, I thought I'd got the wrong bar. In an attempt to attract a younger crowd, they've done the place up like an All Bar One. Still full of the same leching old soaks. A failed attempt, then.

7:30pm: Selfridges.

We gawped at the people having a dinner party in the microflat in the window.
We sneered at their taste - or more probably the stylist's taste - in books: Harry Potter, John Simpson and War And Peace? As if!
We took a brief, disorientating trip through Selfridges's basement. When did Selfridges become a trade fair? It's concessionarama down there. A very surreal moment when we walked into HMV and tried to figure out if we had somehow crossed under the street and ended up in the big HMV.
We watched the new Pet Shop Boys video, directed by the oh-so-trendy-darling Wolfgang Tillmans. So there's these mice, right? Running up and down the tracks of an Underground station, right? Yes, and...? The little gallery in Selfridges does have some pretty cool stuff - I loved the Hearsay kebab machine:

8:15pm: "Do we really want to go the comedy thing at Barcode, or have we done quite enough quirky yet?" "Quite enough quirky, I'd say." The Kings Arms - home of the Bear. Large, large, hairy men. The place was packed, with no room to manouevre - there were ten of them. One of whom was Charles. We like Charles, but after listening to his urban nightmare stories of having a knife pressed into his back outside Peckham station and having his mobile stolen in Comptons, we fled to more refined surrounds.

8:45pm: The Friendly Society: My, this place has changed for the better. Gone! The glacial lighting! Gone! The poncey tossers! Instead, there's groovy music, chatty people, intimate alcoves and cult movies on the big screen. And two-pint pitchers of lager. We like it here. Sample of conversation: Me: "You really should get a digital camera, you know." Ian: "I'm in danger of heading into a dark existential cul-de-sac here." Me: "Mmmmmm. What?"

9:30pm: The Village: Ha ha ha! They haven't a clue! "I know! Let's put some fancy decanters filled with coloured water on the shelves - won't that look posh?" No, it looks like a crap barbershop. And the basement bar is themed to within an inch of its pathetic life, trying so hard to be an Andalucian grotto. It may be Moorish, but it certainly ain't more-ish. Sample of conversation: Me: "This place is so over, it has so missed the moment. In its own way, it's just as untrendy as the City Of Quebec. Look at these people, look at them! They're driftwood!" Ian: "Mmmmmm. What?"

10:00: The Duke Of Wellington or The Pub Formerly Known As The Rat And Parrot: This place doesn't know what it is yet, and is all the better for that. Is it a boozer? Is it a bar? No-one knows yet. The sofas upstairs lend themselves to intimate conversation. Sample of conversation: Ian: "We can still do it you know." Me: "But it's moved on since we did it. There's all sorts of things we don't understand." Ian: "We can do stylesheets." Me: "Yeah, but it's not just that these days. There's like, I don't know, things! that just magically call up other things and there's your page." Both: "Mmmmmm. What?"

10:45: Barcode: Sample of conversation: Ian: "Xgnbvkssh" Me: "Mmmmmm."

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