Monday, 6 June 2016

Liking the river

I got a message through on Facebook this morning inviting me to "like" my good friend Julian's page about his recording studio, DIN, a place in which I've recorded music countless times over the last fifteen years. "Liking" something on Facebook is a funny old concept, which feels a little too easy to be flattering or useful, but I adore Julian and his studio, so I dutifully clicked like. What surprised me, however, was Facebook's immediate attempt to get me to like something else. Words flashed up on the screen: "Related to DIN... 'Butter, Sugar, Eggs, Magik: custom cake creations made in Loughton Essex.'" Now, I'm sure this bakery business is quite wonderful with its cupcakes looking like penguins and its enormous pastel bouquets of flowers made from sugar paste, but it's not a recording studio. And the last time I checked, the word magic was spelt with a c. A little digging revealed the only reason it had been suggested was that a mutual friend had "liked" both. Sometimes these algorithms don't quite work...

We went down to Baron's Court this afternoon for lunch and a lovely walk along the Thames with Philip and Daryl. It's an area of London I don't know that well. Well, in fact, at all. It was a gloriously sunny day and we took ourselves on a tour of a number of pubs. There are a large number of very charming and rather quirky drinking establishments littered along the river in those parts.

We ate lunch in a pub where the French Open tennis final was being broadcast on scores of TV screens. Andy Murray was playing and had just won the first set when we arrived. He proceeded to lose pretty much every subsequent game, which triggered me to make the suggestion that I had jinxed the match by watching it. Pretty much every time I invest in British sports, the match I'm watching goes tits up. Daryl reckons he is similarly jinxed. Philip, of course, pointed out how ludicrous we both were to talk such nonsense. He's right of course. In fact, it's possibly the most self-centred thing it's possible to claim!

Anyway, we were sitting at a table in the restaurant part of the pub where there were no TV cameras, but the guys in the courtyard outside were watching the match, and we could see their faces slowly glazing over and losing interest. We didn't need to watch the match to know what was going on.

We finished our lunch and walked along the Thames path, past the old Riverside Studios, once an iconic theatre space, now a building site where they're creating aspirational apartments over-looking Hammersmith Bridge. We spent some time looking at the images on the billboards surrounding the site which show passers by exactly the sort of place the builders are hoping to create. The flats are destined to be filled with beautiful objects d'art and books about Luis Vitton and everyone who lives in them is going to be thin, young and white.

The next pub was a tiny little place called The Dove, just beyond Furnival Gardens, which I'm told has the smallest bar room in the world. The staff seemed a bit rude to me, but it was a very pleasant place to hang out. I drank fizzy raspberry juice.

There were people everywhere along the river bank, spilling out of pubs, perched on the river walls and picnicking in pocket parks. It's amazing how a sunny day sends people running for water!

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