Monday we grabbed a quick Baguette Jambon et Gruyere and headed for the Eurostar station. The 3 hour trip passed quickly, since I had a good book.
I met my ex-room-mate, Debbie, at the station. She came down from Scotland with her boyfriend to meet us. We had wanted to go to Harrod's, but apparantly the crowds there had been too much for them the day before, and they needed to decompress. So we went to our standby, the Troubadour for hamburgers and weird teas.
We were on the guest list that night for Mission of Burma at Koko's. Even though I was tired, it would have been rude to not show up. Even when it started raining. Even when the sole of my shoe became detached, and started flapping like a hounddog's tongue. We stopped at a market and I bought some duct tape. We had come this far, doggone it!
Unfortunately, everything in London starts early so people can catch the Tube home. By the time we got there at 8:30pm, Mission of Burma was over! The club was nice, so we ordered beers and watched the beginning of the next band, Broken Social Scene. They are a "musical collective" of 20 musicians who rotate 5 at a time onto the stage like a rock and roll volleyball team. Despite the intense cult-like enthusiasm of the crowd, they were over-produced and predictable, like a wedding band. The number of band members seems to follow the law of diminishing returns.
So we left in the middle of their set and got on the tube. Bob noticed that the guy sitting across from us had a Mission of Burma backstage pass, so we started talking. He was on his way to another club across town to see the Mescalitas, a girl group he manages. In spite of him saying they were kind of green, we decided to tag along. After all, I already had my nice duct tape on.
As the neighborhood we walked through got creepier and creepier, our new friend, Andy, said, "This is Jack the Ripper country." I had second thoughts for the moment about following a complete stranger into the darkness. Then I thought about how much it would freak out an Englishman if I brought him around Al's Bar, or Mr T's Bowl late at night, and I relaxed.
Finally we arrived at the Pleasure Unit, which was exactly like Al's Bar. The first band we saw was really good. And although the Mescalitas were still "finding their legs" as Andy put it, they still rocked.
Afterwards, we followed the local ritual of a late-night curry. We walked a few doors down to Curry 2000. The man working behind the counter may have been the friendliest person we met on the entire trip. We could have hung out all night chatting with him. I got a somosa drowned in Channa Masala, a spectacularly hot garbanzo bean curry. Bob got some kind of meat on a skewer (I'd really stopped wondering what I was eating by this time) that was much milder. Throw in a couple of Naans, and we were good to go. Man, I wish we had curry like that back here.
We crashed around 2 or 3am, and were up at 6am to catch our flight. We bought lots of chocolate and a bottle of absinthe at the duty-free, and flew off happily into the wild blue yonder.
Curry 2000 Take-away 357 Bethnal Green Road London F2 6L6 THE END