Sunday, April 19, 2009

Stop Messing About.

A busy weekend. The weather on Friday afternoon and evening was abysmal; I took a couple of hours off work to ensure that I got to the Bexley Beer Festival in good time. A combination of torrential rain and a road traffic accident in Barnehurst meant that the 229 bus from Erith to Sidcup took the best part of two hours to make the journey, redirected via what felt like Reykjavik, but was actually the mean backstreets of Northumberland Heath. We then had to trudge a mile or so from the bus stop to Sidcup Sports Club in the teeming rain. Not pleasant at all. I had been hoping that the organisers would have learned from last years' event, where it became seriously overcrowded as nobody wanted to go outside because of the inclement conditions. I had hoped they would have provided a gazebo or marquee tent to handle the overflow of people from the main hall. No such luck - by about 8pm it was Sardine impression time. To add insult to injury, some jobsworth had stuck signs on the door leading to the club's excellent changing rooms and toilets, banning beer festival visitors from using them. We had to use pitch black, unlit portable toilets - often colourfully described as Turdises. On the upside, we located a medium sized, unused room, probably used as the cricket umpires office. Our group decamped there, and I produced my small Roberts radio, tuned to WNKR and the party began. Ian and I were joined by Alan and Debbie, along with WNKR DJ's Andy Walker, Steve Underground, Hugo LeJay and Dave Martin, along with local listener Darren from Bexley, who remembers me from my time on Radio Caroline (!) The beer was excellent, the company fun and a good time was had by all, with the caveats already mentioned. I will be contacting Bexley CAMRA with some suggestions and improvements for next year though.

Saturday morning dawned bright and clear, which boded well for the events planned for the day. Ian and I travelled up to London to watch a matinee performance of the comedy "Stop Messing About" - a recreation of the recording of the classic radio comedy show starring Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick. Click on the link in the title to take you to the shows' website. It was very well staged; the conceit was that you were attending the actual recording of the original show back in 1969, complete with brown warehouse coated recording engineers and "Applause" signs. The actors playing the Kenneth Williams and Hugh Paddick were excellent, and the whole performance was delightfully filthy, with not a single rude word being uttered - just some amazing and sophisticated innuendo which came thick and fast. I am sure I missed quite a few jokes, they were so numerous. The show is in the West End for another month before going on tour. Well worth a visit.

We then got the train back to London Bridge, where we got off to visit the Market Porter pub. The place has featured in a couple of movies recently - one of the Harry Potter films, and in Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels. It serves an amazing range of real ales, and is located right inside Borough Market. After a swift drink, sitting on the kerb outside of the pub, along with around a hundred like minded people, watching the world go past, we decided to move on. Another short train journey and we arrived at Maze Hill and the excellent Plume of Feathers pub for a quick refresh on the way home. The weather was kind, the afternoon's performance entertaining and the beer top notch - a quality excursion and something to remember.

Onto this weeks' rant. This is an old chestnut which I have mentioned before, but it is not going away and something needs to be done. Why does the Greater London Authority introduce laws which it then fails to enforce? The number of chavs I have personally witnessed drinking Stella or White Lightning on the train has increased markedly. The GLA made carrying an open container of alcohol on public transport a criminal offence from the 1st June 2008. Nothing is done to enforce or take action against offenders, and British Transport Police appear to turn a blind eye. It is inconsistent and sends out a confusing and unclear message to those who may be vulnerable to petty crime and disorder. I have mixed feelings about the whole thing; on one side I am a civil libertarian with a dislike of government intervention into private affairs, and on the other hand, those individuals who do break the rules regarding alcohol on public transport are almost invariably precisely the micro browed spongeing low - lives I so detest.

Back to a video clip this week after last weeks' experiment with the embedded Google Street View of Nuxley Road, Upper Belvedere. After wandering through London's China Town yesterday afternoon, something nice to eat from that part of the world would seem to fit the bill; here is an authentic recipe for Chinese crispy vegetable spring rolls.

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