Sunday, 9 March 2008


March seems to be the birthday month around here. This weekend was devoted to revelries for A, who has already had my early birthday present to him, so all that was required was to dress up, turn up, get drunk and wave a camera around. For such things, I'm your girl.

We started out at The King's Arms in Bermondsey, a gastropub bedecked with lampshades of all descriptions, gourmet burgers a speciality. Being a purist, I only had caremelised onion on mine whilst the others chowed down on Welsh rarebit or goat's cheese. Thoroughly excellent, pink and juicy with big fat chips. A couple of pints of Guinness were "accidentally" consumed here too.

Stomachs thus lined, we were off to Shunt just down the road, refurbished and reopened since your correspondent last went. Couldn't see much difference on the inside except one slightly bigger area - how this justifies that it now costs £10 to get in rather than £5, I don't know. Still, as ever, it was pleasantly surreal and most excellent fun.

The main act of the evening was a talk called The Ethics of Progress, a dreadful mishmash of quantum mechanics, teleportation and blatant unscientific scaremongering, presented by an actor, not a scientist. I didn't actually attend, thank the electron - given my field of research before quitting science for the City (aka show me the money) was quantum physics, and given how utterly wrong this guy apparently was, I don't think I could have stopped myself from heckling. If I may quote from the boyfriend's review (he actually did go to the talk):

"The title focuses on ethics, and we wait and wait and wait and this discussion never comes. After the science comes the scaremongering, the alarmist view that teleportation, quantum computers and other 'science-fact' technologies will create significant problems for society rather than just be used for humanity's gain. Rather than presenting the pros and cons together, the pros are glossed over in an almost sarcastic fashion leaving plenty of time for a lowering of voice and theatrical musings on how teleportation machines will be used to make people disappear for political gain. This is irresponsible presentation, clearly done for theatric effect away from public debate and disconnected with the reality that human beings do not need massive super computers or teleportation devices to commit genocide or subvert people's human rights."

I would have become quite irate.  I was far happier installed on our table drinking copious amounts of red wine (£10 a bottle, bargain):

And mucking about with the white balance and flash on my camera, which gave this interestingly blue-toned portrait:

The group included my fellow R.E.M.-fanatics, and we were rather overenthusiastic about the upcoming tour. Clinking of glasses and beer bottles in a hearty toast to forthcoming screaming fandom activities resulted in severe damage to my drink. Cheers guys!

Finally, pretty much the epitome of Shunt is that, when you go to the loo, you are glared at by a huge fibreglass hammerhead shark hanging over the unisex stalls:

Which leads us to refer to bathroom activities not as "powdering one's nose", but rather with a cry of, "Stop! Hammertime!"

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