I spent much of this afternoon sitting in a cafe near Stoke Newington. Good atmosphere, good coffee, execrable music. Their entire music collection seems to consist of one CD on repeat; that CD appears to be a collection of covers of obvious Bob Marley songs done in corporate-jazz/R&B-ballad/bland-acoustic-b
If I ran a café, one of my key hiring criteria for staff would be that they have to be passionate about music. It doesn't matter what kind of music: whether it's hip hop, krautrock, country and western or whatever. As long as they care enough to bring in things that have inspired someone, rather than falling in the valley of the undead at the statistical average of public taste, and dig up the good things that don't end up getting played otherwise. Part of the job description would involve bringing in CDs to put on.
(Of course, they'd have to be able to make a decent cup of coffee, but that can be learned.)
They're doing chai now? Excellent; that was the one thing they didn't have when I was around.
Nouvelle Vague doesn't surprise me at all. Half an hour earlier or later, they could just as easily be playing Le Tigre or Johnny Cash or Prince or PJ Harvey or Architecture In Helsinki or a thousand other things.
And yes, my business plan could be summed up as "start another Tin Pot". It's sort of the Platonic ideal café in my view of things, the Moon Under Water of cafés.
No, I just made do with cappucinos. I asked about chai, and they said that it was too much hassle.
Which waitress, btw? When I came back in May, I was pleasantly surprised that Alicia (she has fair skin and wavy jet-black hair) was still working there on Saturdays, and she was just as surprised to see me. I wonder how many of the staff I knew are still there.
That sounds like her, actually, although I don't know what her name was. I noticed her lips were quite red so the fair skin seems right. Not short but not very tall. She was quite friendly and seemed to have the job of greeting you when you first come in.
The only other person who caught my eye was a tall youngish guy with black hair with that very in long-at-the-back-fringe-at-the-front haircut who looked very fashionable wearing two singlet type tops. Not sure why I would have kept noticing him, heh :-)
If it was on a Saturday afternoon, it probably was her. She is lovely. Give her my regards if you see her again.
The other chap doesn't sound personally familiar from the description, though doesn't sound out of place there either.
Ah yes, the half-decent cafe of the afternoon. Please let me know where there's any good ones in London. Only the cafe at Candid Arts at Angel has any of that peculiar indefenite something they were supposed to have killed at the end of the sixties.
Hell, I only go to Monsoon in Willesden Green because they don't kick me out when I stay there writing for an afternoon. Tolerate? Well I've been going there nearly ever day for three years and they still don't even know my name. Hell, that's London for yous...
I'll have to try the Candid Arts.
There are a few OK ones in Portobello Road (Mau Mau Bar, the Ground Floor and Progresso are variously passable), and some in Highbury (the Grove Cafe is OK, except for their penchant for having commercial radio on). The Acoustic Cafe near Newington Green and the "literary cafe" whose name I forget in Fortess Road, Kentish Town, fall into this category as well.
On January 13th, 2006 08:27 am (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
You couldnt have put it better. I have sat in that cafe on countless occasions trying my best to block out the hideous drone. the owner likes jazz/fusion/funk /brazilian/reggae covers/urban beats type guff. so its his doing. its insipid music for people who dont really like music at all. and they take so long to serve you as well.
its such a shame, as it does have a good atmosphere and a great position. try the french patisserie across the green. amazing bread, cakes, its top notch, almost perfect, if you can negociate your way amongst the prams..
On January 14th, 2006 04:46 pm (UTC), (Anonymous) commented:
( i assume we are talking about acoustic cafe on newington green ) terrible, unforgiveable music. ugh.
same goes for one of my favourite pubs. the alma, newington green road. i love the atmosphere, food, booze, staff. its almost perfect, but oh, the music, the wretched r + b swingbeat jazz beats just torture my soul. please help..