10 April 2006

Braving The Drought In Brixton

It was raining when I left the house yesterday afternoon, raining when I got to Oxford Circus to meet Sebby Zatopek and Wesley, raining when we got off the Victoria line at Stockwell (yes, since we were going to Brixton, it might have made more sense to carry on to Brixton station, but London Underground in its wisdom has closed said station for a week or two, no doubt doing untold damage to the local mugging industry).

From Stockwell, we clambered onto an incredibly crowded and wet shuttle bus for the ride to Brixton where it was - you'll never guess - raining. Faced with a half mile or mile walk up Brixton Hill, we thought ourselves lucky to find a bus going that way and thus save ourselves getting soaked. The bus dropped us off a block away from the Brixton Windmill, a block in which it was raining hard enough to ensure that we got a good soaking anyway. Five and a half hours later, we emerged from the club into - what else? - the rain. One hour, three buses and two trains later (a combination of London Transport's ineptitude and bloody-minded insistence on closing the Tube an hour early on Sunday nights), I was in Royal Oak, from whence I had a mere 15 minute walk home - in the rain.

Such are the travails of the horrible drought which continues to grip the country. On the bright side, millions of gardeners who might otherwise have been out in their gardens violating the hosepipe ban were kept indooors by rain and mud. And snow, as it turned out: I wasn't just imagining that it felt awfully cold last night, even for an English spring. The outlying suburbs and countryside woke up to a few inches of the stuff.

Nevertheless, our arduous journey was worth it. I normally have an inflexible policy of not going south of Waterloo Station and of avoiding Brixton at all costs, but the Brixton Windmill turns out to be a rather nice venue, and throws in a Sunday barbecue with the cheap (£4) price of admission. Considering the weather, I was mildly curious as to where all this "barbecued" food ahd been, erm, barbecued, but thought it better to eat and not ask.

The central focus of the evening's festivities was the tenth anniversary show of the Griswalds, Orpington's most famous and possibly only punk rock band. Wesley has a few pictures here, and while you're at it, check out the sad and apparently fruitless story of the phone that we (well, Wesley, mainly) found on the Underground and tried to reunite with its owner.

The Griswalds were great, but almost had the show stolen out from under them by the recently re-formed Punchpuppet. the last time I saw these guys - quite a few years ago, I suspect - they were still struggling with playing their instruments while remembering to sing into the microphone, but after a couple of years on hiatus, they've got back together, and what a thrill it was to see them sounding and looking like consummate pros, and putting out a sound that was something like an English-flavoured amalgam of the Methadones and the Lillingtons.

Punchpuppet opened the show and the Griswalds, naturally, closed it; in between came the Morons (their description, not mine), the Sharons (advertised as "pretty boy punk" and featurings lots of hats and tattooed-arm air-punching), and long-time scene veterans Skimmer, who for some reason reminded me of the Bouncing Souls crossed with Goober Patrol, no insult intended to any of the above. All in all, a good night, marred only by the continuing rain drought and the fact that it's still another year and some before the English smoking ban comes into effect.

No comments: