As I've mentioned in the past, give me somewhere half-empty with plenty of space to move about any time, over heaving masses of sweaty bodies any day.
Honestly, I could be watching Cov City winning the Champions League Final amongst a crowd of 95,000, and still not really get this idea of 'atmosphere' that others seem to relish. Unlikely as this prospect is, I reckon I'd still be getting all annoyed at the restrictions on my personal space when I should be celebrating...
Anyway, I'll stop ranting.
It would have been great to spend the Jubilee long weekend hiding away from anything crowdy - staying indoors, cooking, eating, drinking... but unfortunately that wasn't possible.
I was singing in the East meets West concert at the Royal Albert Hall last night, with two solid days of rehearsals beforehand, which meant I had to brave several journeys through a central London chock-full of flag-waving mobs. Which I didn't enjoy very much.
OK, so I didn't stop ranting. My bad.
Queen and Cunty
I suppose I'm a Monarchist, but not a Royalist, if that makes sense. I just don't see why people who would otherwise be sat at home feel the need to take to the streets, getting in my way, forcing me to queue for longer in pubs, and making me stand all the way on the train...
|Where am I?|
The crowds and 'atmosphere' didn't stop there, either. With Andrea Bocelli, Song Zuying and Lang Lang on the bill, and backed by the Royal Philharmonic, it was just about the 'biggest' concert I've ever done, though as a lowly member of the 150-strong chorus, I was an extremely small cog in a vast, International music machine.
I have to admit, I'm used to being a slightly bigger fish. A cod, at least, or perhaps a river gar.
But it was an exciting experience, and an honour to be invited to sing. And at least thousands of people in the Albert Hall and potentially millions watching on Chinese television got to have their weekend brightened up by the sight of my beaming face.
|Ah, there I am!|
Unfortunately the pubs have been filled to bursting with the Jubilant flag-wavers at times when when they'd otherwise be half-empty, just the way I like 'em.
No free tables. Long queues. Stupid twats not knowing what (usually soft) drink to order and asking stupid questions of the beleagured bar staff. It was like onslaught of fairweather pubcunts that you see in the weeks immediately before Christmas. It's hypocritical, and it stinks.
I actually saw somebody pay for a single half of lager in the Lord Moon of the Mall using a card! Fuck that.
There should be preferential treatment for those of us who support the British pub industry all year round. We're the real patriots!
Right, I'll stop ranting. For real this time. Seriously. I'm going to talk about beer. (OK, maybe there'll be a little ranting.)
Adnams Diamond - 4.1%, quite bland and sweet. Basically a malty bitter with a little added honey. Not my sort of thing and I've not wanted to have it again. 4/9.
By The Horns Prince Albert - 5.5%, spicy dark lager. Interesting mix of fruit and spice, but not what I'd choose to drink regularly! 5/9.
Greene King Celebration - 4.2%, pale and bland but pleasantly refreshing. An unmemorable 'average' pint. 6/9.
Leeds Jubilee IPA - 4.8%, pale and subdued. I was expecting something more. Another rather bland bitter, and I know this brewery can do a lot better. 5/9.
Marston's Pedigree Diamond - 5.0%, pale-ish and refreshing. Hoppier than I expected, and without the trademark 'Ped' sulphur. 6/9.
Maxim Queen of Diamonds - 4.2%, pale but malty. Again, very few hops. Apparently an ale-lager hybrid. Eminently unmemorable. 4/9.
Thwaite's Fine Reign - 4.1%, amber and citrussy. Again, not exactly bursting with flavours. Very light hop profile. 5/9.
Westerham Jubilation Ale - 4.0%, pale and fairly hoppy. A decent summer ale. Uses nine different hops representing different eras of Her Majesty's reign, apparently! Probably the pick of the bunch. 6/9.
So, in conclusion, queuing up behind the hordes might not even have been worth it. God, what is it with this Jubilee and bland, tastless pale ales?!?
Not a single one of these brewers really attempted to make a 1952-style beer, and I feel they've missed a trick here.
Availability of most of these beers has been fairly wide (eg Wetherspoons, Antic and Nicholsons pubs and a whole load of other places). They will probably continue to be available over the next couple of weeks at least.
Not that this is something you should be unduly bothered about...