Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Musical Bingo

Apart from the kids song I am stumped on a song relating to bingo. Suggestions on a post card please.

Now my previous exposure to musical bingo had been at a local pub competing for a pint glass full of pound coins. So I had the basic premise you heard a song and ticked  it off your bingo card.

However I'd heard interesting things about this version that made the one I'd played seem like a pale imitation, a greying faded photo copy.

So work having finished I hopped  on the train and headed for Euston and then Old street. This was my first venture into Shoreditch proper. It turned out I was a little early and they weren't letting people  in . So I decided to wander round Shoreditch. More specifically Box park which had been recently on the Apprentice.  As the idea had been suggested as a solution to the relocation of Watford market I was particularly interested..
Now Box Park seems a very good place to find an ethically sourced , hand crafted statue of an elephant, or vintage fashion but I find it difficult to  visualise of someone buying 3 pounds of spuds from a shipping container.

Anyway back to the musical bingo. The event was at a basement basement bar Concrete and  I could not accuse them of false advertising . There was a lot of concrete and exposed ducting. It was sods law that on one of the hottest days of the year so far. I was spending the evening in a slightly damp windowless basement .

We were still a little early so we got a sneak peak at the gospel choir that was doing round 2. The decor was  sort of Italian bistro crossed with military bunker. Lots of as i mentioned before concrete and also exposed pipework.  Our table was a long plywood one with a couple of  communal benches which wouldn't have looked out of place in a soup kitchen but is probably cutting edge shabby chic.

Now the bingo rounds were themed , the three rounds were weather, religion and  music from round the world. Prizes were for one line , two lines , three lines and full house.

There was a hostess compering, whose name escapes me but apparently there are 3 on rotation who take it in turn. For each round she changed into an appropriate costume ranging from nun to holiday maker.

Musical Bingo is like the name says on the tin bingo with music what added the fun factor was what happened when you got a line especially if you drew with someone else who had a line. i cant remember all the various challenges but they included chubby bunnies, a game which consisted to stuffing more and more marshmallows into your mouth and repeating the phrase chubby bunnies. One guy in this round must have been part hamster as he managed to put away a surprising amount of marshmallows before being declared the winner. Another round consisted of two people being given lipstick and told to kiss as many people as possible.  One guy was very enthusiastic if not particularly accurate as he kissed the tops of people's heads and ears, sadly without leaving a lipstick mark. In the end it didn't make much difference as the winner was decided by the crowd yelling out if they'd been kissed

The crowd got in the spirit of it and by the end people were singing along and dancing while sitting down on their benches . The gospel choir was very good and their version of living on a prayer by Bon Jovi was well recieved amongst others. Unfortunately i had to dash off to Euston so missed one of group winning the full House on the last round and getting the grand prize of a deep fat fryer on the hottest day of the year so far!!!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

We decided to whip in and pick up some chow at the old home fill er up and keep on truckin cafe -Truck Stop

     In a slight deviation to the normally advertised programming I headed out with meet up to a food themed event .  And a very pleasant diversion it was too. Truck Stop is not as you might think from the name anything to do with artery clogging fried food  to keep our truckers rolling through the night served at a tired and slightly run down service station next to a  claw machine  with a random selection of stuffed animals from last year's summer blockbusters which you need to be Derren Brown to have the slightest need to obtain.

      No Truck Stop happened in the fairly pristine location of Canary Wharf or more accurately Wood Wharf . Wood Wharf as the name implies was historically used for the storage of  timber and the repairing of ships.  This lasted until the 1970's . Currently the 20 acre site is occupied by a mix of light industrial buildings and vacant or derelict land. Plans are afoot to develop it  but apparently not until other office developments in the area are full. Thank you Wikipedia. Wikipedia entry a side the semi island was a lovely tranquil location.

The bit Truck Stop was occupying was a stretch of tarmac presumably a car park normally surrounded by some unfeasibly verdant grass.  This we found was due to some very enthusiastic gardening staff with either hoses or sprinklers.  So despite being the hottest day of the year . The grass was sodden and in some places positively marshy. Despite this it was crowded with people . Either that or we managed to pick the only spot in permanent shade which hadn't dried out.

The damp clothing was compensated for by being right next to a group called the Trouble Notes which provided a very pleasant soundtrack to our evening.

After that slight deviation into the historical and geographical the reason we were there . The trucks ,Truck Stop is a food festival where all the vendors must sell there food from a truck or van or in one case  horsebox

Now  the events iconography is unashamedly American however the undoubted hero of the event is very definitely French. The Citroen H van , you might not know the name but it's the corrugated one with the funny nose. You've got it  the stalwart of French farmers and street markets seems to have taken to the street food scene like a duck to water or a canard a l 'eau. Other vendors had converted ice cream vans and former USA army ambulances.

Which brings us to the food.. Having wandered round the whole site I decided on mother cluckers as the source of my dinner and very nice chicken burger it was too  succulent and plenty of it. . The bread could have been better. Maybe next time I'll go for the  popcorn chicken bites.

Now where the vendors have missed a trick at an event like this is people can only handle 1 or maybe 2 mains if they're very hungry. Now a nice big filling value for money meal makes sense if you're pitched up on your own or with a couple of other vendors. Ho w ever where there is so much choice tapas style nibbles would have tempted people back for  multiple bites at the street food cherry. .

On top of the chicken burger I had bbq  corn on the cob   and some of  Mama s jerk station s plantain sold from the back of a milk float. My choices mainly influenced by the small portion sizes .

Another category largely overlooked was desert fortunately Fishdog selling from what else a Citroen H van had stepped into the breech with some very tasty churros style doughnuts.  With a  very tasty salted caramel sauce that you could dip them in or quite easily have eaten up with a spoon.

A quick mention of the drink . Your online booking got you 10 truck stop dollars. Given that the ticket was 10 pound plus online booking fee you pretty much got your money back in alcohol. Beers were mostly a fiver ant the pint sized festival sized cocktails were a tenner. I decide to try my first ever mojito and very refreshing it was on a hot day.

Truck stop is definitely worth a second visit and it will be back on the  first Thursday and Friday of September.

It was a very pleasant evening and food buying finished we sat on the grass late into the evening chatting , admiring the sun glinting off canary wharf and later on the twinkling off the buildings lights , listening to the music and inhaling the stray scents of food as they drifted our way and making the most of a great summer evening.

It seemed a shame that it wasn't Friday and we had to drag ourselves back to reality and go to work the next day.

Goodbye to the circus We hope you enjoyed the show Now it's nearly at the end But it will be back, you know

So Dark Circus, I got a wee bit lost finding the Princess Louise which was where we were going to meet. Which turned out to be one of those bars that is subdivided into sections .a bit like the cheese holder in trivial pursuit.

 Despite this I was still early . Having not been brave enough to venture out from the suburbs in costume I decided to seek out the toilets to complete my transformation. I'd decided dark circus meant , circus with a twist so my converted red lab coat (what industry needs red lab coats) was teamed with lion face paint to create a human tamer costume,    so armed with a poundland mirror a container formerly containing chinese takeaway ( for the hot water ) and  a picture printed off the internet for guidance and inspiration, I disappeared into a cubicle to transform myself a bit like a very warped version of superman.

With slight trepidation I ventured back upstairs to the main bar. Spotting a group in circus attire I ventured over to join them only to discover after 5 minutes conversation including . Why a lion /ringmaster, the answer to which was the not very original why not . It turned out  they weren't with meet up but their for some ones birthday.

Having finally spotted some one I recognised I prowled over to the rest of the group.Also in a variety of circus costumes. We headed over to the Bloomsbury Ballroom a very nice art deco building.

Now I had . A great night  I suspect that it was more down to a) the company b) the fact I was I n facepaint which allowed my inner exhibitionist come out to play. I certainly wouldn't have spent quite so much time spinning round a pole in the centre of the venue  if I was in plain clothes or squeezed into a cage near one wall. I also had my photo taken various times quite easily into double figures  by various people.

To be honest the cocktails were  nice but not spectacular. The entertainment was good particularly the sword shallower and the compere could have stepped out  cabaret cabaret.

For me however I think the evening was made  by the other people who had made the effort, I guess the people attracted by the  torture garden   being joint organisers are used to making a bit of an effort. Also the size of the hall meant adequate room for dancing. Towards the end of the evening I discovered a completely new room  with a bar at the back of the main room which intriguingly had two cargo nets and a rocking horse but by the point of the evening where I found it was just another bar. This must have been where they were doing the classes in costume makeup but their was no sign by the time I got in there.

On my next visit I must check it out earlier in the evening .

The evening drew to a close and the bouncers started to shoo us out . Fortunately there was a long queue for the cloak room which gave me time to De lion myself before with some make up wipes while I waited.

I was planning to venture home by night bus for the first time so didn't want to stand out too much . Fortunately the bus stop was quite near by in red lion square a location I was previously aware of  because of work. Having had to venture up to holborn a coup l e of times for co n references  in a building opposite. On my way to the bus stop I discovered a 24hr convenience shop and a McDonald's that were open.  Given that holborn seems quite quiet after dark where they get enough customers from to make it worth there while is a mystery. But it was lucky for me as it yielded an orange juice from maccy d' s and when I staggered round the corner a flapjack  from the convenience shop. I stepped onto the bus which wasn't as scary as I'd imagined and an hour later I was in Stanmore   which is unfortunately the closest I can  get to Watford. By night bus. I think I feel a letter to Boris coming on . For some odd  reason  stanmore station has a taxi office perfect you think which is indeed open in the wee small hours , the light is on the desk is staffed. However it would seem that the staff remain on duty solely to tell people that there aren't any taxis to 6am a job which could be achieved equally well by a sign post . Having been back to stanmore a couple of times now I have learnt that there are taxi firms at bushey (with no night bus) wh I ch have taxis at this time of morning between 4.30-6am  and in stanmore itself . Stanmore station terminus to a night bus route h as instead rather than the oasis of a open and operating taxi company a cruel mirage which lures you in with a friendly light only to dash you  on the rocks like a Cornish wrecker operating a fake lighthouse.

Anyway the taxi arrived from bushey and I got home and collapsed fortunately at this point face paint free. My feet did ache some from wearing my pirate boots. This time as ringmaster boots a slight heel makes a big difference to the feet and I can only imagine the agony that you ladies must suffer in your stilettos, kitten heels and other permutations of female foot torture inflicted on you by society and the fashion industry.