Gig 3: The Abbey Tavern, London – 5th July 2016

Monday 4th July 2016

Waking up in Barking at the start of a working week, I expected the streets to be super busy and a bit manic, however I could not have been more wrong.
The high street was bustling and there was a general atmosphere of ‘work’ but the area seemed really relaxed; not too many people trying to move around, lovely wide streets and lots of independent cafés and shops.
We made our way to the Mali Café for coffees; a small but friendly space with a lovely beer garden and very friendly staff. The coffee was good and the sun was shining – a lovely way to start the day.

We headed over to Earl’s Court to drop some posters and flyers off at The Troubadour and spec out hotel number 2 (yes we’re those people, we like to know where we’re going before we have to get there). In true London fashion we were welcomed by the staff and made to feel at home in this iconic venue – we are even more excited to be playing there now, knowing that everyone is so accommodating & friendly.
As a side note, their brunch menu is rather tempting and the coffee is superb!
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After spending some time in the area we decided that it was time for lunch. Keeping our eyes peeled for something not too pricey but still fresh and tasty, we spotted Franco Manca, an organic pizza place specialising in sour-dough based and organic ingredients, we ordered, and before you could say “leaning tower of Pisa” our delicious lunch was ready. 2 large pizzas, homemade lemonade and an apple juice for £16.00 – now that’s a ‘bon prix’.

Feeling very pleased with ourselves (and also very full) we made our way over to Charing Cross for a spot of shopping and people watching + a little time in a café to make use of the WiFi and check in with emails and social media.

We sat outside at St Giles and watched Andy Murray win his quarter-final match at Wimbledon before heading into The Angel (bar / lounge) to meet up with our good friend Keith.
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Time flies when you are having fun & catching up with friends (or discussing politics and verbally annihilating a common acquaintance as was in our case), and soon the bell for last orders was ringing.

Tuesday 5th July 2016
We decided to spend a bit of time in the morning in Barking and headed out to the Abbey. Originally founded in the year 666 (not that there is much still visible from that time) it really is very beautiful. The nun’s cemetery looked French to me; Alexis reminded me that this because of the religion (Catholic) and not really a ‘stylistic’ or ‘aesthetic’ design. The Abbey was destroyed by the Danes, rebuilt by William the Conqueror and over the years St Margaret’s Church and the Curfew Tower were added to the grounds. Today it is a peaceful space which houses a café and visitor centre.
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For me a trip to London is not complete without a wander down Brick Lane.
This is the 1st place I ever played a solo London show (at The Vibe Bar which is now gone) and is also home to Rough Trade East, Café 1001, 93 Feet East and some of the best local designers and artists currently in the city.

The area is also responsible for some of the most amazing smells via the Brick Lane curry mile so after a quick stop at Rough Trade (where we literally bumped into Bobby Gillespie from Primal Scream) we found the friendliest Bangladeshi waiter, who sold us his menu by mentioning the fixed price menu included lots of veggie options, we could have a round of drinks and they could do me a great mango lassi – done.
It was a great lunch and the service was superb until it came time to pay and the waiter asked if we had any “British money” when we tried to pay using Scottish notes.
REALLY?
No tip for you buddy!

We walked from there to Old Street Station past some great street art and getting a little lost along the way.
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Musician spotting no. 2: Jarvis Cocker

We spent some time in Camden, relaxing by the lock before searching out a fantastic local café, whose staff sorted us out with fresh pressed apple juice and homemade lemon polenta cake.
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Next stop The Abbey Tavern for tonight promotional activities; the Open Mic night for eARmusic with some superbly talented people. As is always the case when we play this type of event in London, we were blown away by the diverse range of talents on show. There were a few guitar/vocal song-writing types, a saxophonist/vocalist, a conga playing singer and my favourite of the night ‘Stylophobia’ (a fanatically entertaining chap who delivered a mini pop-rock festival of covers on a Stylophone).

Back in our hotel we did a little reading / TV watching before it was time for bed.
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