I got over to the pub a shade after six to be met with a bizarre groaning by pretty much all the regulars in the pub who then talked about me rather loudly to each other in the hope I would join in the conversation. I'd not been in there since before Edinburgh and clearly they had missed me. Mex (The one gentleman among them) bought me a Guinness. Steve and I left before half past and got to Luton bang on time to get the 18.42 to St. Pancras International. It arrived. It then spent ten minutes at every subsequent station because of signalling problems at Blackfriars. I hate that journey at the best of times as it's a real dawdle into London (not like the magical east Coast line that I enjoy to and from Herts & Kings Cross) but this was made particularly bad by one of the most extreme eejits I've ever heard get on a train. He was with two women. It became apparent over the (hour and ten minutes plus) long trip that he was a trained chef, lived in London, had been single-handedly responsible for the success of some barbecue thing on Brick Lane, had ripped a guys ear off, bitten another guy's nose off, didn't exactly speak the Queen's English (When "like" became "lark" I have no idea) and was liable to go off at any point, man, but thanks to a combination of therapy and having to take some very strong tablets for the extreme acne he had suffered as a teenager he could now use his brain and exploit his interpersonal vocal systems to talk his way out of extreme violence. His words, not mine. No one else on the train was expecting the line interpersonal vocal systems, believe me. Most worryingly of all the girls hung on his every word, even when he told them that he had only ever hit one woman himself but she deserved it.
Things improved when we got off the train. We were straight on a tube to Highbury & Islington, immediately onto a train to Essex Road and then immediately walking down the road towards the pub with time to spare for a rumoured 8pm start. Obivously I had led us entirely the wrong way. Obviously when we then got back on a bus back to where we had started we overshot our stop. Obviously we very quickly gave up trying to be clever and got a cab. Obviously our taxi driver wasn't sure where the pub was. Obviously Steve came to our aid with his iPhone thingy (I still hate them but this one got us out of a pickle) and obviously when we did get to the pub we walked in to find King Salami had just finished sound checking and wouldn't be starting until 9pm. Panic over then? Not really.
The Stag's Head is great. The beer is really good and (for London) relatively cheap. The bit where the bands go on is a pretty tight spot but (right down the front on the right) there's a handy little table to put your beer. There's a lovely big outdoor bit with a massive orange Opel Manta in the middle of it. It's also a very good place for Steve to drop around sixty quid on the floor and it unsurprisingly vanish, presumably into one of the regulars' pockets. We didn't notice that had happened until after King Salami though, who were suitably brilliant. Ooh look! I took photos!
|King Salami And The Cumberland 3 - yes they are THIS bizarre.|
|And Seb the lead singer is good at pretending he has severely injured his right leg|
|And sometimes they wear comedy Native American headgear - you can only get these photos if you have gone to the front so there is somewhere to put your beer.|
|Eric, Maki and myself - she was quite genuinely a rose between two thorns in this photo.|