A Grim North

Musings from a northerner living in the deep south…

Archive for the ‘Culture’ Category

A spotify playlist to cut to

Posted by Alan on October 9, 2010

Been another busy week here… I still haven’t managed to finish writing about the cycling holiday or the million and one things on my to do list. Oh well, if I haven’t done it yet it obviously can’t be that important!

It’s been ages since I forced a mix tape on anyone either. So here we go, a playlist to cut to.

2010-10 Cuts cuts cuts

John Cooper – ‘Ouses, ‘ouses, ‘ouses
Seth Lakeman – Poor Man’s Heaven
The xx – Infinity
Dan Le Sac – Letter From God To Man
Guillemots – Get Over It
iLiKETRAiNS – Stainless Steel

Enjoy.

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A letter from God to Man

Posted by Alan on September 15, 2010

It’s been ages since I posted any lyrics I’m particularly enjoying… so given the papal visit this week this is kind of apt.  I’m not generally into hip hop/urban etc but these lyrics just speak out – to be honest I picked up the album because I am going to see Misty’s Big Adventure support them later this year and wanted to learn a bit more. Luckily it’s on spotify. ..

A letter from God to Man (Dan le Sac vs Scroobius Pip – Angles, 2008)


Hey There, how, how’s it going?
Long time no see.
I know I haven’t been around much lately
But…it didn’t seem like you wanted me to be
The last time I sent down a message you nailed it to the cross
So I figured I’d just leave you to it, let you be your own boss

But I’ve been keeping an eye on you, I have,
and it’s amazing how you’ve grown.
With your technological advances and the problems you’ve overthrown,
And all the beautiful art you’ve created with such grace and such finesse,
But I admit there are a few things I’m afraid have impressed me less.

So I’m writing to apologize for all the horrors committed in my name,
Although that was never what I intended,
I feel I should take my share of the blame.
All the good I tried to do was corrupted
when organised religion got into full swing,
What I thought were quite clear messages were taken to unusual extremes.
My teachings taken out of context to meet the agendas of others,
Interpretations taken to many different ways and hidden meanings discovered

Religion became a tool, for the weak to control the strong
With all these new morals and ethics, survival of the fittest was gone
No longer could the biggest man simply take whatever he needed
‘cause damnation was the price if certain rules were not heeded
Some of the deeds committed in my name
just made me wonder were I went wrong.
Back at the start when I created this, the foundation seemed so strong.
See all the elements were already here, long before I began,
I just kind of put it all together
I didn’t really think out a long-term plan.

I made the sun an appropriate distance and laid the stars across the sky
So you could navigate the globe or simply watch the sun rise
I covered the earth with plants and fruits,
Some for sustenance and some for beauty
I made the sun shine and the clouds rain
so their maintenance wasn’t your duty
I tried to give each creature its own attributes
without making them enveloped
I gave you all you all your own space to
grow and in your own way space to develop

I didn’t know such development would cause rifts and jealousy
Cause you to war against each other and leave marks on this planet indelibly
You see, I wasn’t really the creater, I was just the curator of nature
I want to get something straight with homosexuals right now: I don’t hate ya
I was a simple being that happened to be the first to wield such powers
I just laid the ground, it was You that built the towers

It was You that invented bombs, and the fear that comes with them
And it was You that invented money, and the corrupt economic systems
You invented terms like just-war and terms like friendly fire
And it was You that didn’t know
when to stop digging deeper, when to stop building higher
It was You that exhausted the resources I carefully laid out on this earth,
And it was You that even saw these
problems coming but accredited them little worth
It was You that used my teachings for your own personal gain
And it was You that committed such tragedies,
even though they were in my name

So I apologize for any mistakes I made, and when my words misconstrued
But this apology’s to mother nature, cause I created you

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Cafe Culture on the North Circular

Posted by Alan on September 8, 2010

Ace Cafe, London

Ace Cafe, London

I’ve been intrigued by the Ace Cafe since I saw it on some London documentary TV show. Probably ‘Suggs survivors’ or something like that.  It’s plonked on the north bank of the North Circular (A406 to true petrolheads) in Stonebridge and sandwiched between two industrial estates.  Every time we head back to Manchester we pass on the train and have many a time planned to get down there.

Last Sunday we had Ruth’s family round and her dad, Ian, is into trial bikes so we figured it would be a good trip.  Even in my current state of ‘man-flu’d up pathetic uselessness. So we set off around the North Circular towards the West. I forgot how awful London traffic can be – very glad that I was not driving!

Cup of tea

Tea! - Solves all known problems...

It is after all, a cafe.  Standard fayre of tea/coffee/breakfasts etc were seen.  Tea was enjoyed outside watching a series of bikers come and go.

Inside the Ace Cafe

Inside the Ace Cafe

As we left they were gearing up for a car meet. Looked like a gathering of chav-mobiles to me (sorry – I don’t know any better!) so we cleared off out of the way.  Wouldn’t mind going back sometime to grab some food and to see a (classic) meet in context.

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York

Posted by Alan on August 27, 2010

Old City of York

Old City of York

Yesterday I went for an epic trip to York to meet up with Rodge who I haven’t seen since he got married earlier this year.  (Well its not like you can really talk on a wedding day!).

We strolled round the city centre, found a greasy spoon (Jorvik Cafe) for lunch before finding the York brewery. After a successful piss up in a brewery…we wandered round the walls for a bit finding a couple more pubs to try out before I had to head back on the train around 7pm. (More on the pubs over at East London Drinker in due course!)

It was a long day out but well worth it.

Brewery visit: Success!

Brewery visit: Success!

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Austerity in the canteen

Posted by Alan on July 19, 2010

A selection of austere offering's in the office canteen

Austerity in the canteen

Recently the caterers changed at work.  Those of you who know me in real life will know that I do not appreciated salad*.  So as you can imagine I was ‘well happy’ when the canteen decided to cut down on the potato fillings (the only real hot food on offer) by filling the pots with an inch of wilted greens.

I understand we’re ‘all in this recession together’. There’s a perfectly good salad bar out of shot – put the greens in there and make them opt in. If less cheese really will save the world, make the cheese pots smaller or just have an inch of air!

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Pie Mash and/or Eels

Posted by Alan on June 15, 2010

Yesterday I had the day off to do a bit of cycling, exploring and photographing pubs for the local branch of CAMRA. Sadly the good weather I set off in quickly turned overcast so I’m not sure how useful many of the photographs will be – though at least one pub in Leytonstone appeared to be being demolished as I passed by!

More on the pubs will appear at my other blog, East London Drinker.

However… it did mean that I was in in the right place to sample the ‘Noted Eel and Pie House’ on Leytonstone High Road. Sadly they had run out of eels (damn!! – not) but I could get myself a pie and mash.

Noted Eel and Pie House, Leytonstone

Noted Eel and Pie House, Leytonstone

The menu is fantastically simple. You can have Pie, Mash, Pie & Mash, Eels & Mash or Eels. Ask nicely and you can have a cold soft drink to wash it down with. They also sold frozen pies for anyone wanting to recreate the experience at home. Décor within the restaurant is simple too – a mixture of chairs and benches arranged around stainless steel tables.

Simplicity is good. The pie was good – I even liked the liquor this time (perhaps I am being southern-ised after all?)

If you’re in Leytonstone between 11 and 3 this place is well worth a visit.

The Noted Eel and Pie House, Leytonstone

Noted Eel and Pie House

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Around London Bridge

Posted by Alan on May 21, 2010

As I was running late to meet the CAMRA ‘crew’ anyway, I wasn’t exactly in a rush. This opened up a few opportunities for photos! At Kennington, I found a house missing:

A missing house in Kennington, London

A missing house, Kennington

I hope someone didn’t wake up one day and discover next door had just disappeared!

Moving on towards London Bridge, I came across this view:

Natwest Tower/Tower 42 from the peabody estate, London

The view from the outside

London is an utterly strange place in many ways. Poverty and riches often live side by side. It’s surprisingly green and some areas are surprising quiet. Just round the corner is the Lord Clyde – next stop for the CAMRA folks.

The Lord Clyde

The Lord Clyde, Borough

A fairly standard London boozer. Nothing out of the ordinary beer wise – good, proper bitter served well. Next up was the Gladstone arms.

The Lord Gladstone

The Lord Gladstone

This place is much smaller than it looks. With 10 (ish) of us, we took up 1/3rd of the seating in the pub! There was live music promised (we ducked out halfway through the second song – 0ops, mustn’t have been a good for confidence!) and an interesting menu with pies from pieminister of Borough Market (mmm). Somewhere to check out again when not in a rush perhaps.

With the light gone there aren’t any photos from the next pubs. The Royal Oak was nice but expensive (as usual) – good to see Fullers Hock back again (a lovely dark mild), the Market Porter was really busy hence we skipped on to The Rake. I wholly agree with the philosophy of the Rake – ‘No crap on tap’. They’ve just started a blog (at http://therakeblog.wordpress.com/) and combined with their twitter feed you can check out what beers they have. I’m not going to pop in for x,y,z beer but it’s nice to see what I’m missing out on.

Enough drivel for now. Early start tomorrow!

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The Meatwagon

Posted by Alan on May 21, 2010

As is the norm for these days, I am late. It’s just one of those things that the City does to you I think. There always something else more important / broken / … that is a great excuse! Last Thursday (13 May) saw me trek to both ‘The Meatwagon’ and the East London & City pub crawl. The meatwagon is essentially a burger van – but with a difference. You have to follow them via their website ( http://www.themeatwagon.co.uk ) and they make the burgers themselves.

The Meatwagon, parked up in Herne Hill

The Meatwagon, parked up in the garden of the Florence, Herne Hill

It’s certainly better quality than the burger van I once briefly worked in (a story for the pub…!) and everything did have a real home made feel to it. That said it’s probably not something I’d indulge in too frequently – A couple of my workmates Jon & Adam have been raving about it for weeks now and I think I’d let my expectations get a little high. But hey – if it rocks up near you do give it a go.

That night the Meatwagon was being hosted by the Florence, Herne Hill.

The Florence public house, Herne Hill

The Florence

The Florence is a brew pub and I did get to sample two of their beers trying a half of the Beaver and a half of the Weasel. There seems to be a burgeoning brew-pub scene in London now which can only be good news. Fed and watered, it was time to head off and catch up with the younger CAMRA people out in London Bridge…

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Whisky in the Attic

Posted by Alan on May 16, 2010

Last Tuesday I went to a whisky tasting with Billy and Chris. Luckily Billy has written up the whisky element here so I don’t have to 🙂

The attic is in the pan peninsula tower, on South Quay. Right at the top. So there are some great views.

Central London Skyline from the Docklands

Central London from Docklands

We’d all won a competition by Chivas Regal for a free tasting event featuring their whisky. On the day the Chivas Regal 12 (the regular one) had been mixed up with Glenlivet 12 (nice) but that wasn’t really a big deal.

Part of the evening was of course a sales pitch – we leant about the origins of the Chivas brand (2 of the Chivas brothers started a shop in Aberdeen for the rich) and of blended whisky (a shortage of Cognac). All of this sampled from the 48th storey.

The Attic Bar, South Quay

The Attic Bar

The Docklands towers at dusk

Dusk on Docklands

I couldn’t pick a single favourite – but the Strathisla 18 and Chivas Regal 18 were both exceedingly nice… shame the former is mostly employed in the production of the latter and isn’t really sold anywhere.

Nightfall at Canary Wharf

Nightfall at Canary Wharf

The millennium dome at night

The millennium dome at night

And so with a miniature Chivas 18 and some chocolates to take home, we were dispatched into the night…

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Sussex Pub Crawl

Posted by Alan on May 8, 2010

After the trip to Arundel Castle we went for a beer. Having an epic train ticket – we had plenty of choice of where to go, but decided to start in Arundel. After all that castle viewing we were kinda thirsty.

First up, the Kings Arms in Arundel:

The Kings Arms public house, Arundel

Kings Arms/Arundel

Recommended highly by the good beer guide we thought this place was OK. Beer c. £3/pint is pretty normal for the south, the glasses could have been a bit cleaner and the anti-mobile phone rant on the wall was a bit much. It did look like it had a good crowd of locals and there were still games around to play – darts in particular.

Inside the kings arms public house, Arundel

A proper solid boozer - Kings Arms/Arundel - featuring Emo and Simon

Next up, we took the train round to Chichester for a cab out to the Gribble in Oving.

The Gribble public house, Oving near Chichester

The Gribble

Listed in the good beer guide as a brewery, this was also recommended highly by Emo. Personally, I thought the beer was a bit ‘watery’ – pleasant but not really much too it.  The food was pretty awesome though and it was nice to try out something a bit different.

Alan P with a half of Gribble Mild

Yours truly with a dinky half pint of Gribble 'mild' (I am allowed halves - I live in the south!)

Back to Chichester where we had a choice. Train home or train to Brighton? We’d picked up a bottle for the journey whatever…but when the Brighton train rolled in first and we figured out we could get back and still make the last tube decision was made.

The final stop for the night was the evening star in Brighton. This was a cracking pub with really well kept beer and a great atmosphere. We only got to stick around for 1 hour – but I’ll definitely be calling in again whenever I get back to Brighton.

Simon & Emo finally start to object to the photographs in the Evening Star Brighton

Simon & Emo finally start to object to the photographs, Evening Star/Brighton

With that we took the last fast train back to London at 11pm – making the last tube home to boot. Awesome day out.

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