A man walks into a bar…

… or should that be into 1000 hectopascals?  This blog does like to use the Système International d’unités wherever possible – at the risk of confusing any readers from the US, Myanmar or Liberia who have their own programme.

…dislodging two crochets and a minim?  No? Well, back to the plot then.

Yesterday was the start of the Cambridge Comedy Festival – a chance to catch performers as they hone their shows before they de-camp to Edinburgh in August (let’s just say that some need more honing than others).  Last year, the event was split between the Junction and a Cam-side pub which offered a range of cask ales on tap, coupled with a rather attractive beer garden overlooking the river.  The only fly-in-the-ointment with this rather splendid arrangement was that the two venues were on opposite sides of the city – making it quite tricky (or, if we are honest, often downright impossible) to move between gigs in the time available.

This year, all events are either at the Junction or at a bar which is a mere stone’s throw from it (even for someone of my very limited pebble-projecting ability) – so intra-gig transit is no longer an issue.

The Junction (bless ’em) have done their best to provide a beer garden – but their location does mean that it closely resembles part of a car park surrounded by Heras fencing and the back of the Junction itself while offering views over an industrial estate and the railway line as it enters Cambridge station.  They have also laid on bottled Southwold bitter from Adnams to augment the limited range of lagers which are the normal, liquid fare on offer.  I think that the standard refreshments offered are designed to reflect a clientele, rather younger than yours truly, which the Junction expects to attract.  These callow youths have, presumably, yet to put away childish things and to learn the joys of real ale (though, I am willing to entertain the notion that this was not necessarily the whole message St Paul was trying to deliver to the Corinthians).

Which brings us to the bar into which I walked yester e’en – and their liquid offerings (the comedy offering, from Matt Green, was exemplary).  No ale, even the Extra Cold Guinness was off (not that one would drink that unless in extremis) so the prospective punter was left with a selection of lagers focused on the worst excesses of the Anheuser Busch empire – and so, to my mind, rather more like making love in a canoe (a reference to its semantic proximity to water) than beer – coupled with a broad collection of rather luridly coloured alcopops.  Surely, this range of beverages is aimed (almost exclusively) at an audience too young to drink under UK law?  I have to believe that some young people must be possessed of a more refined palate and a taste for half-decent beer.  The Fish, for example, bypassed the alcopop-and-lager phase entirely – perhaps I was some sort of beer-drinking prodigy? (Checking with Mr Collins, a prodigy does not have to be a child – so the 24 year old me does qualify).

Unlike the Murphy’s, I was bitter – the only sign of that much desired product in the place!  I was forced to drink Crabbie’s (Alcoholic) Ginger Beer, which originally came from Leith and maybe still does – that, sunshine and the Proclaimers!  This was really rather potable but I fear over the next three evenings (as the Festival continues) I may approach a ginger overdose (or start a rather unfortunate addiction).  I now ride home in fear of being mugged by stag beetles, driven mad with desire by my extraordinarily high blood-ginger levels!

Feel free to continue the lunacy...

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