Well it’s been a fun and entertaining start to our London adventure. We’re into day two now and feeling pretty relaxed about things.
I had an illuminating chat with my Uber driver on our way to the hotel from the airport. Despite his relative youth (27) he was able to set me straight on a wide range of subjects – apparently Brexit is an amazing opportunity for everyone in the UK; it’s impossible to win an argument with a woman; and if you invest in real estate you’re guaranteed a 200% return on your investment. Who knew I was wrong on so many fronts? Needless to say the hour-long drive didn’t exactly fly by, but I did enjoy taking in the sights of London out the window.
As Pete mentioned, we’re staying in Walthamstow, and it seems like the place to be right now. Reminds me a little of Preston or Reservoir back home in Melbourne: a nice mix of local markets, mum-and-pop shops and little cafes and bakeries with good coffee…. just with a few extra double decker buses cruising around. And although we’ve barely left the area we’ve managed to catch up with a bunch of old friends we haven’t seen in such a long time.
The Butterflies of Love barrelled into town yesterday bringing with them their own special brand of chaos. They arrived in London on three separate flights as they’re spread between Boston, New Jersey and Connecticut now. Since then, we’ve been sharing our various life stories from the last ten years. Kids, new music projects and London’s changing culinary identity have dominated the conversations so far. There’s been a bit of debate about how London’s new breakfasts compare with the classic fry-ups. My spinach and ricotta quiche with rocket at this morning’s gathering at Today Bread was ok but the toasties (a favourite of the locals) got a lukewarm response from our American friends. We’ll see how things play out.
After an afternoon rehearsal in the hotel room yesterday, we rode the overground train out to Hackney for a vegan dinner with a friend at The Black Cat (an old anarchist club that’s been given a new-London makeover) and then the Twenty Years of Trouble opening party at The Moth.
The Moth stands for ‘Memorable Order of the Tin Hats’, a club for military veterans that’s been around since 1927. The place now has a second life as a popular indie venue and its sparkling gold ceiling certainly helps create a festive vibe.
Inside we caught up with Sean Price, the man of the hour and Fortuna Pop kingpin who’s orchestrated this whole thing and who we have to thank for bringing everyone together this week. Over the last 20 years he’s released some 200 records on Fortuna Pop and put on countless shows. It’s an amazing achievement and I guess he does deserve a bit of a break after such a big effort. Music was played; drinks were drunk, and stories were shared – all round a great start to proceedings and we’re looking forward to the first of the full shows tonight at Bush Hall.