Saturday, 11 June 2011

The Promenade at The Hoxton Pony, June 9th 2011

The Promenade is a band featuring my brother, Will, and two good friends from growing up in St. Albans, Jack Ridley and Remi Bumstead. Here's one of their tracks:

The Hoxton Pony was fairly full. A lot of people turned up, and whooped and cheered and helped hand out flyers. After coming down on the train and eating a terrible Subway with Sam Killin and his sister Lorna we took full advantage of the fact that every drink was half price and encouraged our enthusiasm with a few pints of Asahi (Hoxton! So trendy!). The Hoxton Pony is a nice looking place, modern and sleek, and they give you your change in a little silver dish. My change was usually about 25p so I felt this might be kind of unnecessary, but perhaps they usually get people paying for one drink with £50 notes and asking for their change in coppers. Anyway, the show was for the second-round of The Music League competition. Enough people turned up for The Promenade that they got through the second round, and they're playing Winterwell festival next week, a gig which is the final of the competition. I'm glad they got through, they've got some really good songs. The track above is the only one they have recorded so far, but more are on the way and I think I'm gonna contribute some trombone to one of them.

I got a lift back from the show in my mate's car. I've always liked driving through London at night, since I was a kid coming back from visiting family, half asleep in my dad's car, marvelling at all the lights, to the times when Kiss My Brass had gigs in Islington, Upstairs at The Garage or a tiny bar called Leonard's EC1 (both promoted by the kind of guy who "loves your music"), and we got hopelessly lost on the way back, giggling and swigging energy drinks to stay awake, and being high from playing a great set and being lost so late in London, driving right through the West End and even Kensington if I remember rightly, getting stuck in perpetual one-way systems and marvelling at the city that went on and on, and shouting out to people on the pavement when we got stuck in traffic, and when we pulled up at a red light and a young, drunk couple were kissing next to us, we wound down the windows and clapped them.

This time, though, we stopped at a late-night kebab shop, my mate, his brother and I, called something like Holloway's Best Kebab, and went in to get something to eat. The shop was mostly empty and was probably about to close. There were maybe three customers in there, a couple at a table and a drunk guy at the counter who left shortly after. We ordered some kebabs, and sat down at a table with some cans of coke and some chips to eat while we were waiting for the meat to cook, and I started feeling pretty sober. On the table next to us there was a woman and a man, both the other side of 40, eating kebabs. The woman was wearing some black dress and the man was wearing a mismatched tracksuit with white trainers. I went to the bathroom and when I came back the woman turned to us and said,

"Do you know who Emily Wilding Davidson is?" She was a little drunk.

"I don't think so," I said, I'd forgotten.

"The Suffragette," she said.

"Ah yeah, I remember," I said, "she was the one who threw herself in front of a horse."

"Yes! That's right." The woman said.

"But people say she wasn't sure that she wanted to do it," I said, but the woman had stopped listening. I guess she only wanted to prove a point to the man she was with. We went back to talking and eating the chips.

When I looked up again the woman was crying. She wasn't making any noise but a tear dropped down her cheek and she was looking far away. The man was looking at her from across the table. Just then the shop owner called us up to the counter to ask what salad we wanted on our food, and we got up to tell him. The woman was still crying. The man with her had grey hair and it was obvious that there was nothing he could do except fetch her a few napkins. He came up to the counter and asked the owner for them. After that we had our food so we left.

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