I ventured out into the frosty Friday air to find a pub in Dalston. I was going to see a band (a friend of a friend of a friend thing) and was grateful it was close to home. Feeling weary from a long week (and hoping my friends would be there when I arrived) I boarded a bus and watched the cool kids on the pavement in the fragile snow as we drove by. Disembarking and venturing off the high street I wondered whether it would be wise to keep my phone out to follow the GPS blip. Whilst not menacing the area does have that mildly exciting/threatening patchy streetlight feel. I thought getting lost would be worse and perservered, looking like a tourist.
The pub website promised a kind of grungy, vibey, hipster-like experience. Upon arriving, the pub exterior looked like a shebeen, or someone’s garage. Named The Victoria, her majesty’s portrait hanging above the front door had an appropriate disapproving glare for the loiterers on the cracked concrete pavement, much like the bored bouncer I felt obliged to greet upon entering.
The pub itself smelled of fishfingers. Perhaps it was the reek of guilt, the large sign discouraging drug use above the bar giving away the nature of the clientele. Before anyone calls the health inspector, the drinks were relatively cheap and the staff friendly. Finding my friends I sat slightly wedged between the doorway leading to the live band space and a speaker blaring all manner of fabulously retro tunes. I don’t care if it smells a bit like toilet if I’m singing along to Killing Moon.
The first band started and sounded a bit like drowning cats. The sound engineer hadn’t had enough fresh air or was an avid Spinal Tap fan since everything was turned up to eleven. A lesson in distortion. The second band seemd heavily influenced by the Pixies accompanied by a lead singer who sounded like Francis Black…having a coronary. Graded C+, must try harder.
The numbers at the bar increased and many seemed to be dressed as extras from Almost Famous. The band I went to see (Cut) were really enjoyable. They were giving away their single on cassette tape so if anyone has facilities to play it I wouldn’t mind listening again.
Despite sounding like a grumpy granny in my pessimistic rant above I had an absolutely fabulous evening. Fuelled by beer, yes, but also by the great people I was with. The evening even included Annette and myself singing Bananarama to all who could hear us above the nearby speaker (which later on ‘magically’ became unplugged…) Whilst I am in no hurry to make this pub my ‘local’, I am certainly very glad I ventured out on a cold, dark and snowy Friday night to come home with a cassette tape and warm memories. It’s about time.