Category Archives: London chronicles

Flashback Friday: London 2015

Argh! It’s been two weeks already since I don’t update this site and I feel like shit about it, but honestly I wasn’t in the mood nor didn’t find the right time to do so, and the past days have been so weird my mind was to stressed to write. I hate when I have this shitty writer’s block. One of the reasons I keep this blog alive it’s because it usually works as some sort of funnel.

On this day two weeks ago I was having a veggie burger and a tasty spicy Turkish salad with my friend Veronica near Old Street in London. We came back to this beloved city again to attend a Ryan Adams show at Hammersmith Apollo on Friday 27th and the trip was amazing. Now there’s no point in talking about  the show, which was a blast, nor how great was to meet friends who were also spending the weekend there for the same reason, so instead I’m posting some pix of that wonderful time .

tetis

apollo

foreros

ryan4

setlist ryan adams

ryan5

crobar

vero

pints and postcards

Thanks to all the people who contributed to a weekend of laughs, lots of pints of beer, friendship and happiness. Now it seems to be ages ago, but it was fantastic.I love you! ❤

London Chronicles: Shitty Sunlight.

I don’t usually watch too much TV because the menu is basically stinking shit. Rarely I can find a film without ads, or some interesting documentary, and at the moment Spanish pay per view channels are not as good as Americans, thus at the moment I won’t pay for TV, I’m not so interested in soccer and sports in general, and I prefer paying for watching movies online or at the theaters. However sometimes before watching a series or something on my own, I usually switch on TV, also to remember the reason why I don’t actually watch it, and it takes me more or less 2-3 minutes to realize. Well, last night I found out Harry Brown was broadcast, rough story.

Most   British drama films based on people’s miseries, a quite common realistic genre, quite exploited, take place in low and poor areas, and the atmospheres depicted are decadent, depressive, dysfunctional and usually deeply marked by domestic violence, addictions, unemployment…

This film reminded me of another drama named Fish Tank, and the location for the story, Chadwell Heath, a suburban area of East London.

chadwell heath

Ok, and why am I talking about this place? Well, because I used to go there from Monday to Friday for 6 fuckin’ months to work at a huge industrial laundry named Sunlight.

Even though for many people autopilot jobs are easy to handle, with a fixed shift, including a horrible alarm to tell you to get the hell out of the place, with no big concerns nor responsibilities and your wages on a (weekly in this case) basis, it was a horrible nightmare to me.

How did I end working there? Well, that’s the typical story of a lazy girl who thought there were lots of job vacancies in the middle of July, instead of looking for something at the beginning of the season, as the rest of the world usually does. Obviously all the fast food restaurants and cafes were full, and my boyfriend was working at this place where there was a free spot for me, so I accepted, thinking that’d be a temporary job until I was coming back to Spain to resume my studies, with some cash in my pocket. That was my initial plan, but it changed.

Thus, from October to February I worked for this horrible company. The bosses were so damn ignorant they thought I was required a work permit, so I was treated like a low profile immigrant, and it took me several weeks to get my wages paid.

Whenever I watch these movies I was mentioning before, I remember people working there. Only the old ladies used to treat me kind and with respect, feeling interested in me as a human being, and not as an overalls folder. People in my age regarded me as an exotic freak, thought they were superior and never tried to mix up or befriend me. I never had a beer with any co-worker during that time. My beginnings in the big city were tough, boring and frustrating.

Behind the Scenes at Ellis Hospital

My first days at the laundry were depressive. People used to speak in that cockney, close and insane accent that I love now, impossible to understand at first, with all those gottal stops, and people saying  /’mait/ instead of /’meit/ and pronouncing f instead of /θ/ as in /’maefs/ for maths and /’faenks/ for thanks. They used to laugh at my accent, wondering why I had such a posh style, and how I had learnt it.

I realized that cultural classicism actually exists, when you trying to create some boundaries and get closer to the youngest people, asking for their music taste and other hobbies. I never asked about music because we were listening to Kiss FM everyday and stuff was crap, and I could see they were consumers of radio hits, so I didn’t bother to try, but tried to approach a girl, Kelly, asking her about literature. Her reply was astounding: ‘Oh no! I’m not into reading because I find it very difficult and it’s very hard for me to understand. Reading is for posh and  old people’. Enough said, huh? I threw the towel and went on with my life as the misfit at the factory, except for the old grannies who were absolutely adorable to me…and were readers.

Thus, I was surrounded by guys who only cared for soccer, the pub in the corner and the page 3 Sun girls, and by girls whose main target was to find a boyfriend and get married quick, waiting for the weekend to go to the mall … and the pub.

I didn’t feel like judging them. I was just shocked we were so different, and for the first time since I was 11 I couldn’t fit in particular environment, and even though I didn’t want to be part of them, I was having a bad time for being so isolated. I was a minority. At the end of the day, it’s all about socializing, communicating and exchanging ideas.

hangers

6 months I spend working for Sunlight, feeling bored and alienated. I was assigned as supervisor of a hanger machine, and was allowed to use the industrial irons for the aprons, because I WAS SMART! Honestly, at some point I thought my brains were shrinking. Thank God I had a calendar full of shows to attend, and books to sink in which made me forget about that shit.

Can you imagine how I felt when I got a job downtown and handed my resignation letter to my stupid drunk boss? That was winning Lottery!

I don’t regret that time though. I reckon it t was one of the greatest lessons life taught me which made me swallow my youthful pride, and start seeing things in the real way.

Fuckin’ Sunlight Services! Last time I was in London I saw one of their lorries and I almost puked. UGH!

LONDON CHRONICLES: THE NIGHT TOI MADE WEIRD FRIENDS

Did you think I had forgotten about my London Chronicles or that all the stories had been already told? I find your lack of faith disturbing, really, ha ha ha!

Let me put you in situation. Do you remember that day I had to spend several hours wearing my pajamas at a pub in my hood? It took 6 hours or so till one of my flat mates came back home and opened the door for me. Well, I barely spent 30 minutes there, because I was to meet my friend Lukas at 6,30pm at the Fox for having some drinks and clubbing, you know, the usual Saturday night thing. Booze, booze, booze, some random rubbish fast food, dancing, booze, dancing, booze…and at 2.50am the feared bell announcing the party was over.

This reminds me of my top 3 old London clubs I will tell you about some day: Gossips, RockScene and The Temple of Metal.

Anyway. Depending on the night and how much drunk I was, I decided whether to hire a minicab or take the night bus and spend more than an hour enjoying the bunch of weirdos in more or less the same condition as me.

That night it was night bus night, and the ride was a funny one.

night bus

I was listening to music with my Walkman. Yes, remember that device that played and sometimes ruined tapes? Anyway, even though it’s not relevant for the story I remember I was listening to Blues For The Red Sun, by Kyuss. I was on the top floor of the bus and at the back. Probably the less save sit yet my favorite. I had seen these two guys 2-3 rows ahead gesturing and laughing a lot, and almost immediately I realized they were Spanish. We are quite recognizable when we move in crowds. I felt nosy enough as to stop my Walkman and start listening to their conversation. Obviously on Saturday night the main topic of discussion was girls. Apparently they had been at a party and one of their lady friends had been prick-teasing  one of the guys real hard, and the guy had been suffering with a huge hard-on for half an hour. Comments were brilliant and I was enjoying the conversation until I cracked up laughing. I couldn’t help it. The guys noticed me and first reaction was to shut up, and then to ask me if I had heard and understood everything and if I was Spanish. When I replied yes to all their questions, the guys passed me a beer and asked me to join them, so I did. There was still a question to be clarified. Did he pick the girl? The answer was No. She only wanted to get him horny and make her ex jealous, so the guy and his friend decided the party was over. The story and its details were hilarious. I guess we exchanged phone numbers at some point but we never called each other, typical short and intense London  acquaintance.

When I took off the bus, still I had to walk a couple of kilometers to my flat. That was the worst part. It was cold, half foggy, and at 5am there was not a single soul on the street. Just me. If I think of it sometimes I get very concerned and scared about being so careless. I didn’t give a shit, and wasn’t ever afraid. With age this has changed a bit. I feel more threatened by possible dangers.

fox

Anyway, I had been walking home, listening to Kyuss, when I noticed there was something behind me, but I couldn’t figure what it was, only that it was alive and it was following. I started walking, stopping and turning around, and I saw it. it was a fox. A FOX! I had never seen one for real in my life, and it looked really cute. I started calling him trying to attract him, but the animal was very cautious although it was staring at me all the time. I started wondering if I was as drunk as to mix up a fox for a cat, but I didn’t care.

All of a sudden, there was a Police van by my side, and the two cops inside staring at me. The good one was the driver, and looked weak and thin. The bad cop, very rude and unfriendly, was huge and fat. The good one started the conversation:

G(ood)C(op): G’night, m’am. Are you ok? Can we help you?

T(oi): Oh, g’night sir! I’m fine, I’m fine. On my way home. Now that I think, can I ask you a question? I got a doubt.

GC: Yes, sure, go ahead.

T: That animal on the corner, is it a cat or a fox?

GC: It’s a fox. They’re quite common around.

T: Really? Been living here for a while and never seen one before.

B(ad) C(op): Rubbish!

T: Well, it might be rubbish for you, but it’s the first time I see one and it looks nice to me.

GC: Do you need anything else?

T: No, that’s fine, thanks a lot, and g’night.

GC: Eeeer, m’am. We’ve seen you’ve remarkably abused of alcohol tonight, and I was thinking it’d be a good idea to give you a ride home. You live far from here?

T: No sir, 5 minutes walking straight. But it’s not necessary, really. I can handle it. Plus, the full moon is shining, I’m listening to Kyuss and I like walking close to a fox. Much appreciated anyway.

GC: Ok, m’am. Have a good night and walk save home.

This conversation actually happened, I don’t make up anything. I have it in my mind fresh as if it had happened yesterday. Once the cops left I started laughing. The situation was awkward and ridiculous.

I learned time after that, in the hoods, if cops find people drunk on the streets, they often give them a ride home, but I didn’t know about it, and the thought of arriving escorted by two cops and my landlord finding out the whole scene, didn’t seem quite appropriate if I didn’t want to be kicked out.

The fox soon left and I finally arrived home. What a crazy day! I think I crushed on my bed fully dressed and slept for 8 hours straight, something miraculous back in the day.

Never saw a fox again, cops never took me home for being drunk, and the only time I talked to another cop, was during a parade, at the coffee shop I used to work, one Saturday morning, without sleeping and still drunk, when I borrowed his hat and friends started pictures of me wearing it it with the cop wearing my apron. Insane! I wonder who the hell has that picture.

LONDON CHRONICLES: MY OWN JIMI HENDRIX EXPERIENCE.

Today Jimi Hendrix would be 71 if he was still alive. Well, I wish him happy birthday wherever he is, probably with a dozen of chicks, and a Fender Stratocaster.

I cannot say I’m a huge fan, my dad is the one who likes him a lot, but I dig some of his stuff, and I don’t mean just Fire, Hey Joe or Foxy Lady. It’s the typical artist from time to time I recover and listen nonstop for a week or two and then I forget for ages. Things go like that sometimes.

His anniversary has refreshed my dizzy memory and has brought me back an unforgettable experience which happened when I was living in London. It’s nothing amazing, I don’t want to raise your expectations, but I feel like talking about it because of some similarities in my current physical condition.

Mom, dad, don’t panic, I have a flu. I’m working in the mornings and vegetating in the evenings. That’s how I must roll these days, but everything’s under control, thus I haven’t phoned you.

© Jim Marshall Photography LLC

It was January 1999. It was a super cold winter and my daily routine used to force me to expose to open air too much. It was a long way from Manor House to Ilford to take the train to Chadwell Heath (zone 6 in Essex, pure Cockney area) to work at the industrial laundry company Sunlight fuckin’ Services Group Ltd, and then the return. And then because the decks of the warehouse had to be open to load and unload trucks and lorries, that horrible place was freezing. Being hanging wet shirts and overalls wasn’t the most appropriate task to keep away from catching colds.

At that time my life in London was boring and frustrating. My relationship was falling to pieces, I completely lacked of social life, didn’t have many friends, wages were shit, and living and working so far away from downtown was killing all my illusion. I was actually depressed. Me? Can you imagine? I was 22 and felt down (thank God things changed a month later).

I think it was a mixture of being down plus all the physical issues at work which weakened my immune systems and my inner defenses were low, so much, I caught flu twice in 3 weeks, until I went back to my hometown for 10 days holidays and all the symptoms vanished immediately, hahaha! I was sick of not enjoying real party time!

Anyway, this first flu hit me very hard, and I didn’t have the right amount of antibiotics because I had given them to a flat mate who got really sick a month earlier. You must understand that national healthcare system differs a lot from one country to the other, and so do the prescriptions, so it was really difficult to access to antibiotics while we were living there, and they were generally sold in much less quantities than in Spain, thus while Brit people were taking 200mg of paracetamol, we were used to have 650mg, and ibuprofen was dispatched under prescription, but here it’s sold without it. These differences, as ridiculous as they might seem, can impact a lot in your recovery from illnesses.

 I spent in bed 3 days, sleeping, having soup and orange juice, sweating, coughing and crying. I had no TV, internet didn’t exist, I was so weak and temperature was so high I could focus on reading or writing a letter…shit! I felt lonely and miserable. When Joe was finally back from work or his endless rehearsals we could chat a little, but I didn’t really have the energy for anything.

Because we were limited to our room, and I was sleeping most of time, Joe asked me if he could play some music in our small stereo with my CD player attached (resources were limited, but music was necessary) and because I didn’t give a shit I only asked him not to play very hard stuff.

In one of these eternal evenings I had a very pleasant dream. A strange journey through the universe, and I was floating. But I could hear the sea, and a sequence of beautiful images passed through my eyes (mind). I half opened the eyes and was seeing our bedroom, but then I closed them back and I was in the unknown. I’ve never had pure acid or LSD, but I’ve always thought that the trip should be close to my dream.

The following day, fever had gone, and I was feeling much better. I tried to make sense of my dream but I couldn’t remember any plot, just the images I’ve told you about. But I had this peace of mind and body I don’t even know how to describe. It was as if all the negative stuff had gone.

It took me some time to discover the song I had been listening in my dreams it was ‘Moon, Turn the Tides…Gently, Gently Away’, which belongs to the album Electric Ladyland, my favorite Hendrix’ album. I love it and always gives me good vibes, but I’ve never experienced such journey again, even though it’s perfect for it, so progressive, very evocative, and also increasing intensity in some parts.

So this is my tribute to one of my favorite left handed heroes, my own personal Jimi Hendrix Experience through a trippin’ song. Ha!

LONDON CHRONICLES: AN AFTERNOON IN PAJAMAS.

The neighborhood I used to live in London is named East Ham, and yes, it’s located in East London. I’m not very sure what’s the current vibe over there, because I’ve never been back since I came back to Spain, but it was a good immigration wave tester. You could say it’s a very multi-cultural hood, with a predominance of South Asiatic population (India and Pakistan), even though many latinos and Eastern Europe people arrived when I was still there.  To be honest I didn’t choose it. Joe was already there when I moved to London, and I stayed there all the time.

I used to live there, on the 3rd floor. Nice, huh?

I used to live there, on the 3rd floor. Nice, huh?

Due to this Asiatic predominance, with Indians owning most of restaurants, shops and services (there was a Muslim praying temple below my house), you can imagine the fashion. Saris, tunics, loose trousers, lots of sandals and thongs…you know, comparing to my hometown it was very exotic.

I was living in a flat shared with 3 more people I rarely saw, they were all Asiatic and we didn’t have too much in common, plus there wasn’t even a living-room so I spent all the time in my bedroom, which, I’m proud to say, had this photo of the Blues Brothers hung on the door to mark my territory.

You're entering the Toi Zone

You’re entering the Toi Zone

My story starts any given Saturday morning, with a bit hangover, the usual stuff.

After having breakfast I had the urge of calling a friend in Spain just for gossiping, but had to buy one of these pre-paid cards and another international one for cheap calls. Once explained the outfits of people on the streets in my hood now you can understand that at that moment I didn’t really give a shit about going to the newsagents to buy the cards in my plaid jams with my old and beautiful blue electric wool jumper and sneakers. The procedure would last 5 minutes the most, and I can be very lazy sometimes, plus nobody would notice, and I can assure you this is true.

So I took my debit card and my mobile phone (one of these first Nokia bricks), and went straight to the store. It actually took me 3 minutes to complete all the transaction but when I arrived home I discovered my keys were missing. SHEEEEEEEIT! Nobody was home! I called Rashid, my landlord and flatmate, and he told me he was in Brussels on a business trip, and his girlfriend was in Kensington shopping. When I asked him what kind of shopping he confirmed the worst: clothes. The other guy was unavailable. The only option was waiting until one of them would eventually come back home, so I left a note on the door and Rashid also texted them. It was 12.30h.

I had my card, my travelcard, my mobile phone…and my pajamas, which in my hood were unnoticeable, but once I was on the tube everybody would realize about hem, thus going to some friends’ in West London wasn’t an option. I saw the sports pub in the corner, The Overdraft, and saw it clear, that had to be the place. I withdrew some cash and got in. 3-4 barflies, horse races, not crowded…seemed ok. I ordered a pint and called my friend for an hour. It was a good laugh. Then I called my friend Lukas to confirm when he’d be at The Fox and explained perhaps I was late. He laughed at me, obviously. It was 13.45h.

The Overdraft Tavern

The Overdraft Tavern

Second phonecall, but before I ordered a pint of calimocho. The bartender, a young girl was flipping when I explained to her how she had to prepare it “a glass of red wine in a pint with ice, and then fill it with Coke to the top”. I called another friend in my hometown, Ana, for another hour till credit in the international card run out. Batteries were low too. I was hungry and now there was Premier League on TV and there were more barflies. 15.00h.

How long was this gonna take? I didn’t have the clue and I couldn’t go on talking on the phone. I order some chips and onion rings, another pint of calimocho and asked the bartender to look after my table, I was buying some press. So I went to the newsagents and purchased The Times (call me posh or classic, I am), Kerrang magazine, and Heavy Metal magazine, just in case. Now I was ready to wait till pub closed if necessary.

While reading, well reading, admiring a photo session with Miss Guy of Toilet Boys and Corey and Ruyter of Nashville Pussy, a barfly, probably the spokesperson of the regular crowd, came and asked me if he could sit down for a while. He didn’t look menacing and my appearance wasn’t attractive enough as to try to pick me so I said it was fine. First question was about my phone bill. They were all amazed I had spent 2 hours on the phone, all thinking I was ruining. Second, they all were very curious about what I was drinking, so I explained him about it and when I mentioned it tasted similar to sangria, the guy went crazy super excited. Finally, he asked me why I was alone. When I had cleared his doubts he offered me to join the crew of barflies, and I, very polite and grateful, declined the invitation telling I had plenty to read while waiting. He didn’t mention my outfit. Yesss!

Mmm, what’s the time? 16.45h. And still waiting. Lukas called me for an update. “Same shit, man”. Keep on reading, another pint of calimocho coming. The barflies were drinking calimocho too. The bartender was having a break and came straight to my table to ask if she could sip a bit. She tried and her face changed into a wide smile. Awesome!

Rashid finally called. His girlfriend was on her way home. I could see the end of the tunnel! “Waiter, another one!”.  17.00h. I was supposed to meet Lukas at 19.00h. difficult yet not impossible. I was mentally organizing my emergency plan. This was, having a shower, make up, the outfit…Ok! It seemed I had everything under control and went on with my reading, till I heard someone saying “Hey, hello! Can I sit and talk to you?” I lifted my eyes and found this rasta man with long redlocks and a tennis player bandana with the flag of Jamaica, full of necklaces, and all the reggae paraphernalia you could imagine. I thought “what the Hell!”, and replied “please take a sit”. So the guy couldn’t stop smiling at me. To be honest he wasn’t ugly at all, in fact was a very magnetic guy, thus I was smiling at him too. He asked me whether I was having a good time and told me I was sparkling in the middle of the bar because my attitude was a very clear sign of a strong character, since I was on my own, and that never happened there. I explained the whole thing and the guy was all the time telling wonders about me. I couldn’t believe it. Then he started to say I was very pretty, my hair was beautiful dark, my eyes, my…”Hey, wait! I’m in my pajamas! I smell, haven’t combed my hair, I’m terrible! What he fuck are you talking about?” Whatever! The guy kept on saying I was beautiful just like that, blah blah blah…  After 5 hours in a pub, several pints, a terrible look…this guy was flirting with me! At that point I didn’t care about anything and couldn’t stop laughing.

Finally SHE came from shopping carrying 2 shitty bags and picked me up. It was 17.35h when I left, with a general ovation. I made it for my appointment with Lukas and was able to charge my batteries.

Just another Saturday in London 🙂

 

LONDON CHRONICLES: THE DAY I MET DAVE WYNDORF

It was easy to start my London Chronicles talking about my favorite joint there, but I must step forward and start digging in my mind and bring back memories and stories. There are plenty and I’m not going to follow any timeline order but will write about them as they come.

I needed an extra push to recover some inspiration and asked a couple of friends which story they’d love to read and remember first, and they’ve both agreed this chapter has to be dedicated to the evening I met Dave Wyndorf.

For those who are not acquainted with him, Mr. Wyndorf is the leader of Monster Magnet, a very cool band which has released genuine rock treasures, and he’s hell of a badass.

At that time Monster Magnet were very popular after releasing Powertrip in 1998, which blew the minds of many, and it’s a winner album. I was lucky myself for attending an amazing show of the band opening for Rob Zombie in first row. What a blast!

Now it was June 2000. To be more accurate, June the 2nd.

We had been joking around about a waiter at a pub who resembled so much we used to call him the fake Dave Wyndorf. Dark long hair, goatee, not handsome but attractive, and sharing the same outfit style, based on leather vests and trousers and cowboy/biker boots. The main difference among the real and the fake was that the first was shorter and more muscled that the impersonator.

This been first remarked, let’s focus on the story.

qotsa ticket

Like I said it was June 2000. We had been having few drinks earlier waiting for QOTSA show introducing their new album just released, Rated R. they were playing at the Underworld, a very cool club, not particularly big, with 500 people capacity.

In the middle of the show Ben came back from the bar with a pint of cider and a huge smile saying he’d been talking to Dave Wyndorf, and we all started laughing thinking he meant fake Dave Wyndorf. Joe went for another beer and returned exactly the same, remarking DAVE WYNDORF was at the bar. I started thinking my friends are trying to make fun of me or something so I’m determined to go to the bar and see who the fuck is the guy over there.

real dave wyndorf

I saw him, went straight to him and asked him if he was the real Dave Wyndorf, to what he replied he was Dave Wyndorf and asked my name right away. I said I was the real Toi, and he started laughing. After such introduction, the following question was what the hell he was doing at the Underworld in London, and he explained he was recording and mixing their next Monster Magnet album, which turned to be God Says No, and Josh and Nick had invited him to come over the show. Thus, we started a conversation which lasted about 2-3 hours, only interrupted by fans at the end of the show who wanted to take a picture with him…and me. I do not exaggerate if there are 15 pictures of me with unknown people and Dave Wyndorf. I tried not to appear, but guys thought I was his girlfriend or that night catch insisted on my posing with them. Completely surreal, yet very hilarious. And yes, he’s grabbing my waist hard in the picture.

Dave was having still water and smoked ultra light super slim fags, you know this Vogue style, the least manly cigarettes on Earth, I gotta said, and I was having Watermelon Bacardi Breezer (at that point I was sick of ale, Guinness and calimocho) and regular fags. I asked him again, and he justified saying he was recording and had to look after his voice. I remember he paid me lots of breezers and didn’t let me pay at all.

toi and wyndorf

We started a Q&A conversation I wish it had been recorded, as probably it would have turn into one of the funniest interviews ever. He told me about his girlfriend, LSD as his favorite drug over any, admitted being a drug dealer in the past, we talked about music, things he like, he also asked me lots of things about my personal life, looking really interested…

There was an aftershow party and he invited me to stay with him. I initially accepted, always being conscious I had to work the day after and should leave at som point. It was then when I was introduced to both Josh Homme and Nick Oliveri. Josh! He’s so tall and overwhelming in presence and attitude!

The final scene was something I consider one of my personal highlights ever, in many senses.

After several drinks, a great evening, a pretty cool chat, I had to go. I was knackered and had to wake up in 4-5 hours to go to the coffee shop, thus I told Dave it was time to leave and thanked him for being so cool. He hold my hand and asked me to go to his hotel. I’m laughing really loud while I write this, because I remember I didn’t expected such invitation and this was like a huge WTF moment. Plus I was drunk and just wanted to sleep. So, I again expressed my gratitude and confessed him that “Dave, if I go with you to your hotel, after so many drinks, I’m positive I will throw up, and I don’t want you to see that. But hey! Thanks!”. Wyndorf took it fine and started laughing again saying “you’re a cool girl” and kissed my forehead (I swear), and I left.

And do you know the best? I was right! I went to sleep to some friends’ living close to Camden and when I took off the bus I puked in front of a Jewish school, and was scolded by a man on the street. And you know? I felt fine for leaving on time 🙂

 

LONDON CHRONICLES: THE (OLD) INTREPID FOX

At the end of this month, 13 years ago, one of the most valuable and rewarding life experiences came to an end. Those 2 years in London were the schooling for life which shaped me in the way I’m nowadays. The intensity and weight of experiences abroad, in an alien environment and a narrow period of time were far more influential than 5-10 years in my hometown. I stopped being a dependent teenager to become a young adult. But hey! Don’t think I was a nun or a saint! Well, I already know you can’t imagine me being such, after what you’ve been reading here.

My London memories are still fresh and vivid in my mind, and I have so many great stories I enjoyed, I’ve been thinking for a while it’s be funny to tell some here, and see if I can manage to bring them back as if they were short episodes of my personal book.  From being fined for sneaking into the train to the industrial laundry factory I used to work, to the night I got pissed with Dave Wyndorf while attending a show performed by QOTSA, there are definitely good moments worth telling.

As a prologue chapter it’s necessary to tell about the center point in the city. My personal Mecca, and one of the coolest places in London, which unfortunately no longer exists: THE INTREPID FOX in Wardour St.

The intrepid fox

Sure many of you will yell at me remarking The Intrepid Fox still exists, but that’s the one close to Denmark st, which opened right after the original one was closed down. Huge and a better looking place, but lacking of the charm my Fox used to spread. Gotta admit they’ve perfectly reproduced the essence of those stinking toilets and those Saturday night floods. Disgusting!

The old Fox was in the heart of Soho, in the very same street at the classic Marquee Club, and it was my personal paradise, the place I hung out most together with my place of work. Really, I used to spend more time there than in my own room.

Many personalities I’ve seen there: Dregen of Backyard Babies, Ginger of The Wildhearts, all the local artists and rock personalities and there’s a popular legend stating that Slash was banned due to a quarrel which finished with someone thrown off to the street through the window pane. It was the heart of the rock-metal scene.

I loved the street floor, full of posters, red lights, very gothic and lively. It was super noisy and packed on weekends and very cool on weekdays, and music, was great depending on the waiters. It was there where I listened to Fu Manchu and Buckcherry for the first time. impossible to forget.

waiter at the fox

Waiters used to rotate very often but I could meet some of the supervisors. It was different than in Spain, if they paid you a beer it was actually they paying, as breweries used to accurately control what was served, and everything was measured. It was a bit distressing for them when I started drinking calimocho and it became fashionable. They had to mark a price and set some kind of measures, thus, a pint of calimocho was a glass of red wine, ice, and coke for filling. It was 3,25. Ha! And it tasted awesome!

It was funny when a couple of night ago when chatting with my Achilles’ Heel, he started remembering the crazy nights live which always started at the Fox. We shared great ones. All who used to hang around remember epic stories over there. Now it comes to my mind one evening they started playing Iron Maiden songs, one hit after another, people were standing on the tables and I was lifted and moved from one side of the bar to the other, as if crowdsurfing. That place had something and it was great for meeting people and getting picked. I never had a problem being there on my own. There were always acquaintances around.

The old Intrepid Fox was the extension of my house, actually it felt like my personal living room, and definitely it was one of the coolest bars I’ve ever had the pleasure to hang out at. It’s great to think of a place and relate it to good times. Miss those days.