Monday, July 11, 2005

Punk poets, miner’s marches and writers ripping up their books… it can only be the annual CLF Bloody Mary competition

It was a sunny evening and an attractive crowd was milling outside the Three Kings, drawn by the jazz music and the scent of vodka being given out in shots. It didn’t take them too long to overcome their shyness and rush forward to claim their free drinks, snatching them up before the last drop even landed in the glass.

Once things got going, the 150-plus crowd was gathered on St James’s Church steps, perched on the curb and even in the road. It’s amazing how a drink mixed with vodka and tomato juice can bring out the bring out the daredevil in us, but somehow everyone survived the evening (although I’m sure most were a little worse for wear in the morning, judging by how quickly those BM’s were knocked back!)

The atmosphere was as electric as a Spice Girls concert (although way cooler), as Phil Dirtbox compeered. Now this guy makes me laugh. When I first met him he kept telling me that a miner’s march ended in the square, a fact which I found mildly interesting, but which the audience reacted to with applause, which leads me to wonder if under that middle-class façade there weren’t a few hidden miners.

Richie Scurvy (seen geeing-up the crowd below), a punk poet, whose alter ego is Richard the Flyering-King (see blog of 7 July) gave a hysterical rendition of his Maggie Thatcher poem which had the crowd (especially those secret miners) stamping their feet and punching the air. Richie, I salute you. Who else would come up with the fabulous line ‘Maggie Thatcher, Maggie Thatcher… from what reptilian egg did they hatch her?’ You saw him first at Clerkenwell… and learnt the truth about the Iron Lady.

Now… what about those Bloody Marys I hear you cry? Well, while we were entertained by the in-yer-face Mr Scurvy, the fabulous jazz band and by Sophie Parkin and her beautiful hair-flowers, the talented local baristas mixed up a storm. In case you tried one and need to know where to get it again, those who took part were: Janine at Medcalfe (who won last year and was back to defend the title in style), Polly at Al’s Bar (a mean mixer), Mario at The Zetter (also hosting Friday’s Cooks and Their Books event – a must see, that one), fantastic Jeremy at Cicada, the cute Glenn at Epicurean Lounge, sexy Natasha at the Crown, the buzzing Chris at the Green, the dazzling Diana at the Eagle and the effervescent Marcos at the Well. Our judge was – ‘is it really… oh yes it is!’ – Martin Hancock, Clerkenwell Celebrity and Spider from Coronation Street, who, it was great to see, really took to the ‘spirit’ of the occasion (see left- posing!)

But before I tell you the outcome – which is what you really want to know! – I have to make a special mention of Mark Watson. Someone give him a TV show, a comedy night spot, heck, a patch of grass in Hyde park, because this guy can rock a crowd. I’ve never laughed so hard. Mark, you understand, was meant to be reading from his book ‘Bullet Points’ but chaos ensued when he claimed ‘I don’t want you to hang yourselves’ and tried instead to flog the book. Unfortunately, instead of rushing to buy it, the crowds cried with laughter, particularly after he declared that ‘anyone who has writing on their t-shirt must be literate’. This sent Mark into a pleading spiral which ended with him ripping up his own book (‘2-3 years of work becomes a piece of shit!’), making one possibly frightened girl concede to the pressure (that's her getting her book signed, right). I like to see a man bare his soul and Mark, you gave great street theatre!

Ok, Ok, you’ve been waiting long enough. After a drink-off equaliser Glenn (left, ‘if Angelina Jolie walked in right now, I’d get down on my knee…s’) at Epicurean Lounge won. It might be my hearing, but I think he won a trip to Mauritius, although they might just have said that his BM was vicious. Glenn, you did great, but I have to leave the last word to Marcus from the Well (right, who came either second or third, I have no idea): ‘It’s totally unfair. I was drunk’. Drunk on Bloody Marys, I hope.


Anonymous Marcos said...

Hi there!
Such good time I had there! But is so unffair u post that photo of mine! I`m sure u have betters...
Anyway, I`m just passing to leave a thanks and agree with everything u wrote about that delightful evening . By the way I got 2nd! But it really doesn`t matter cos went there just to have fun =) !!!

5:47 pm  
Blogger Ben Yeoh said...

Great blog. I was at the event and it was fun and you capture it well. Keep up the good work (and nice pics!)

10:09 pm  
Anonymous sally said...

phil dirtbox is secret miner he hails from merther tydfyll mines now closed its full of slags heeaps that is but he lives in the past.

2:47 am  
Anonymous sally said...

phil dirtbox is secret miner he hails from merther tydfyll mines now closed its full of slags heeaps that is but he lives in the past.

2:49 am  

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