Ah, the Bitter End, what happy memories this place brings back for me. First pub I ever drank in. First pub I ever got drunk in. First and only pub I got thrown out of (it wasn't my fault, of course. I didn't ask for someone to throw a pint of beer over my head at random). So many happy, drunken memories.
So many sober, angry memories too. Back in the late 80s, when I was not quite an adult (that's why I drank there, no one else would serve people *that* young), I was dragged up there every Friday night by my mates. My soul-loving, white-sock wearing, white cider drinking mates. Nice bunch of people though they were, their taste in music was the exact opposite of mine and I used to get fed up telling them that Level 42 are NOT the most talented musicians and songwriters in the world, Luther Vandross does not have the best voice and I Found Lovin' by the Fatback Band was not the ultimate bleedin' party record, even though the Bitter End DJ would play it on the hour, every bloody hour, every day of his miserable life.
So here I am at the Bitter End on a Saturday afternoon, for the first time in about 15 years. The place hasn't changed a lot - it's gone through a few name changes - back to its old name, the White Hart, and also the Ford and Firkin, what the hell was that all about? - and back again. Fortunately things have turned around a bit recently, and much more for the better. The management of the Bitter End, in association with local promoters Allsound, have turned every Saturday night into an indie / rock extravaganza. Tonight the most recent additions to the fold are Eel Pie Island's wonderful prog/indie warriors the Mystery Jets, with Kid Harpoon and Hadleigh Ford in support.
Blaine and William from the band kindly gave me an interview and afterwards, as a nice touch, they decided to give me an exclusive bootleg recording of current single Diamonds In The Dark! Kid Harpoon grabbed his guitar and Blaine and William gave a stirring vocal performance, and the recording came out really well.
This one is going up on the next BOA Podcast - so if you want to hear it subscribe now and you'll automatically get it downloaded when number 7 goes up in a few days time.
The gig was part of an acoustic tour - the Powercut Serenades - although to be honest the sound wasn't noticeably different from the semi-acoustic sound they always managed to create on stage. Having seen the Mystery Jets a few times I knew it would be a good show, but along with the "old favourites" like Dennis and Agnes I really enjoyed the new material on show and also the cover of Syd Barrett's "The Gnome".