Kenyon College

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Music, Swans, Graffiti & Good Red Wine - Part 2

There are a few things about which I promised I’d talk. One is The Cavern.

The Cavern is so called because it is literally under Gandy Street, a windowless burrow where the true fans go to rub shoulders with moles and earthworms so that they can stand centimeters away from the music that’s right there!

It’s divided into two main chambers – one of these is where the band goes, and you’re all mushed in together in the darkness with everyone else. You are a colony of grooving ants taking a break from the everyday. Next room over (it would be cool if you had to take a narrow rope bridge across an underground chasm to get to it) is the bar. Nothing much to say about this. As bars go, it’s unremarkable. In this room you can rest and not be overpowered by the music, and even carry on a yelled-out conversation or fold paper airplanes with the flyers sitting around.

And then there is Mama Stone’s. The sign outside declares this pub/music venue as “the coolest vibe in town!” At the time of my first visit to this place, that slogan threw me off, seemed forced – I mean, who gets introduced to you and says, “Hi, I’m the coolest person in town!” It’s a matter of implication. But I was just a nervous American then. Things are different now. I am, after a couple more visits, a nervous American who has had the chance to sample the food, the drinks, and talk to the bartenders. The bartenders are chatty and amiable, they will engage you in banter (whether or not this is contingent on your being an American girl I’m not sure), and they are severely apologetic that they have no teriyaki sauce, only mustard (!) to put on your steak, and no tartar sauce for your fries (not chips for this place). The English are a strange breed. Nevertheless, the food is good.

But, moving on, their red wine is relatively inexpensive by the bottle and relatively delicious. Better than fancy cheap wine from Mallorca (confirm/deny.) Furthermore, the seating by the windows is loaded with multi-colored cushions, there is quirky music-related art hung about the place, and the lamps overhead are mosaics of color. There is also live music, including a dude who plays songs on his acoustic guitar. Also, little candles on the tables. I am basically smitten. I might even go on to say that Mama Stone’s has the coolest vibe in town; it certainly has a story.

As concerns the “swans” bit of my journal entry’s title, trust me when I tell you that if you drop bread into the River Avon near the sun dial in Stratford, you will experience a storm of swans and other waterfowl. Proceed with caution.

Here are some links:

Mama Stone’s (please note their slogan at the top of the screen):

The Cavern:

And here are some pictures from our last group trip to London. I visited the Camden market and it was quite lovely.

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