Making friends in a new country is hard. Or rather, making friends here is hard; I’ve no idea about other countries. In all honesty, London is probably a harder place to meet people on account of the average Londoner’s uptight-quotient. Still, we’ve been doing surprisingly satisfactorily. Last week we were invited to our first dinner party. This week we were invited to see a Philly band play a well-known local music venue in Manayunk. We were both quite excited about it; not only had we been invited out, but it also sounded pretty good! Woohoo! Maybe we could tick the “social-life” box. At the last minute the venue was switched…somewhere nearer to our current abode. As it was very, very, cold and as the local weather forecasters were threatening snow, this sounded like good news. All the local places we have noticed appear to be quite hospitable and normal, apart from one place, so we were quite excited to be trying a new venue. By the way, the dodgy bar is just along from the local Sally Army AA place and a couple of other dodgy spots so we have regularly joked about going there for a nice quiet drink – it looks like the sort of place you’d go to on getting our of prison so that you could meet up with your old friends.
Can you guess where the band ended up playing ?
The first thing that struck us about the place, apart from the Hammer-studio decor, was the smoke. Philadelphia has a blanket ban on smoking in bars, but this place was inexplicably exempt. We went over to the bar, which was populated by either coke-heads, aged winos, or generic weirdos, and tried to order a drink. Obviously I went for a Yeungling, but Michele had a few problems. The lack of Irish Whisky (despite having cardboard shamrocks and hideous, bloated, leprechauns all over the shop), and no red wine led her to follow my example and get a beer. “Good choice” remarked a gentleman punter standing next to us. We made a swift exit to “the back” where the band were setting up. Apart from the band there was a pile of old shite, a little bar with no obvious signs of beer on sale, and a bunch of semi-circular, waist-height booths that had apparently been rescued from 1980; one of which was occupied by a pissed-up homeless-looking guy who had fallen asleep and was gently secreting a line of drool onto his trousers. By now Michele and I were enjoying the atmosphere because it reminded us of being in our early 20’s – either in New York or London.
Earlier that day I had been at work and, as we had some cunt from Megacorp coming in, jeans were banned. This is because jeans are made from denim, which “business professionals” are so allergic to that even being in the same room as them can cause perspiration. Or something. Going to this bar in pin-striped trousers caused a few conflicting feelings. Which path should I be on ? Sensible trousers, tofu, and stuffed vegetables, or buffalo wings, pissed-up, beery, comedy punk bands in rough dives throughout the world. We had a bloody great evening there to be honest so now I’m even more confused 🙂 What would Mark Steel do ?
Maybe the confusion is related to our proximity to a huge parallel universe split that is about to occur. Either:
- We get final approval for the mortgage – which means we have a new house, new parrots and a US life ahead of us for a while…or
- We get turned down for the mortgage and have to seriously reconsider our options.
In all honesty I think that both universes offer a lot of decent possibilities. That’s probably why I’m not currently crapping my pants.