Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Journeys Round A Beer Glass


I am a vaguely misanthropic character, I like my friends (sometimes!) and enjoy spending time with interesting people but every now and again I indulge my social phobias and avoid the telephone or forget about my email inbox . I deliberately stroll the streets at times when all the massed ranks of shopping obsessed rubberneckers, slack jawed wage slaves and shark eyed fashion victims are elsewhere, times of the day when they are still in bed or either side of the weekly lunchtime when you can stumble on those strangely empty parts of London just a few yards from the crowds, for instance Postmans Park. I actively seek out cosy pubs that are empty in the middle of the day and stop for a nice, long, quiet pint.

Occasionally however a pub is such a must visit that even when it is packed to the rafters with the same people I normally shun I take a big gulp of air, brace myself and with spectacles tinted with that colour of ‘irony rose’ hold my curmudgeonly anger in and sup with the sharp elbowed masses. One such pub that I take this risk with is The Junction Tavern, normally the well heeled Tufnell Park locals have me gnashing my teeth. The punters can be particularly ‘elbows’ and the occasional twentysomething who was born in a barn (somewhere in the home counties) will have me internally raging for a return to the days of the Tooting Popular Front because their snooty self-obsession has somehow affected my enjoyment of this great pub.
I am an infrequent visitor but something forced me through the crowds last night and that was the last night of their 6th beer festival. This bi-annual festival is local legend, very few of the areas pubs can compete with the food in the ‘Junction’ and when the beer festival comes along they certainly cannot compete for number and quality of beers.

After a bright and crisp Bank Holiday I ended the evening in the company of my housemates drinking my way round Britain with a lovely lemony ‘Sun Dance’ from the Conwy brewery, an Isle of Wight festival inspired, hoppy ‘Hippy High’ and some more hop action with a Dark Star ‘Hophead’. After a final beer we were left with an emptying pub and ushered homewards by the friendly barstaff, I had strangely forgotten my dislike of humanity and was ready for the new week with my batteries recharged. The next time The Junction has their beer festival I will be elbowing my way to the front of the queue with the best of them.

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