The last several weeks have been a bit hermit-like. Self-imposed exile is tedious and, while the reasons for that exile still exist, my recent escapes into the wide world of London have bolstered spirits. I've been out more in the last 3 days than in the last 3 weeks. It's amazing to see the world again. Especially with brilliant friends.
Last night saw myself and Ru venturing into the wilds of North Kensington, past Ladbroke Grove and above the Regent's Canal to find a pub named Paradise By Way of Kensal Green. That's a pub name to make you wiggle your toes with glee. It turned out there was a great deal of glee to be had, whether it was toe wiggling or not was up to personal preference. We'd braved the wild North Ken for Kate's birthday. Neither of us knew what to expect - she's a successful musician and it could well have been some glitzy, diamond-studded, Cristal-popping affair with papparazzi and wannabes lingering at the entrance. But then she wouldn't have been Kate and the party certainly wouldn't have been in a pub on Kilburn Lane.
First of all, the pub was wicked. Chilled out, comfy decor with cozy old couches but lots of natural light. They had Spitfire and Red Stripe on tap. Red Stripe on tap is cool, and very rock and roll. I base that on the fact that the only other rock star I know drinks Red Stripe. Anyway, the private room upstairs was also funky, but in the sort of bar at a brothel kind of funky. The cool, relaxed tones of downstairs replaced by hot reds and sinful purple.
Second of all, Kate's a genius and had the best idea for a party ever. As loads of her mates are professional and very talented musicians, why not mix them all up and have them just rock out some awesome covers? Which is what happened. It was so cool - the 9 year-old daughter of one of her mates got up and did a heart-rending rendition of Bob Marley's Three Little Birds, the drummer and keyboardist from Kate's band paid homage to Van Halen's Jump with some bassist I didn't know who kicked pretty serious arse. Everyone went nuts at Jump - it was pure musical crack. All this while chucking down Red Stripes, jumping around, grinning and laughing like a moron and just getting goofy excited when the next bunch took the stage to sing a classic. Then Arnie, Kate's awesome bassist with incredible dress sense, sang the cover I've been waiting for for so long. It was the perfect Rock Me Amadeus. I'm not kidding. It was awesome and brought the house down. If they released it as a single, I'd buy it.
Third of all, I got a chance to catch up with Kate. She's ace.
Then Ru and I drunkenly staggered to the world's most dreadful, ghetto, filthy fast food chicken place and pigged out before finding a cab driver who knew where Chiswick was.
Today it took me over 2 hours to get to Regents Park for a picnic that I was, yup, over two hours late for. Beer, football, frisbee, sun, food and some nice new people and the afternoon went too quickly. Walking back to the station through the park a tremendous sense of well-being hit me and the glow still resonates. Though that may be sunburn.
And the Red Sox just won their 8th in a row.
And the other day, on my run, a pretty girl gave me a nice smile. She was running too, the other way but the same route. So when we crossed eachother's paths again (the route's a loop), she gave me an even bigger smile. I've yet to see her again. The warm smile of a woman can be haunting.