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.)
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...
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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.