25 November 2009 Advice to a Friend in London
Sorry it took me so long to get back. Inboxes get overwhelmed. One of my favorite London scenes was Smithfield’s Meat Market at 2:00am. It’s where William Wallace was executed outside the City wall, where butchers sold & slaughtered livestock. It’s now a massive wholesale meat market that opens at 1:00am(?). Walk among the stalls, where in the back are hung hundreds of skinned dead animals and butchers with razor sharp knifes and thick hands cut through bone like butter. Take pictures. Then go to one of the butcher’s pubs, which have special medieval-issued liquor licenses to open until 2am. Smithfield’s is only a few blocks away from St. Paul’s Cathedral.
Go with your boyfriend; bring iPods; split up; take pictures; reunite; go to the pub & revel in butcher slang, a metaphorical chaos born of latenight hard negotiations. And the photo ops are outstanding: The butchers. The suppliers (a world of ethnicities from a city of ethnic restaurants). The steaks. The puddles. Everything about the place is a London album’s dream. Then we’d buy two wheels brie. They barely fit in our fridge and the only other foods we kept in our apartment were bread, peach preserves, and emergency Ramen. It’s a good way to go. Wholesale, wheels of brie were 8 pounds each.
I could ramble on and on about that place. But it seems you leave soon so here’s a list:
- The Coal Hoal on The Strand, 2nd Floor, Oscar Wilde & co. hung out
- Lunchtime concerts at St. Martin’s in the Field, always
- Turner’s “Rain, Steam, and Speed” in the National Gallery
- The St. Stevens Tavern across the street and beneath Big Bend
- And there is no finer Indian food on Earth than on Brick Lane. Even Ghandi agreed.
- Also, The Wargrave Arms just off Edgware Road on Brendan Street in Marylebone. Ask for Gary or Michael. Tell them Pablo sent you. I once tended that pub; and Gary is a worldclass gentleman from Ireland.
Lemme know if any of this works out.
Oh, and Radiohead was my “Smithfield’s Playlist”.