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I had Monday evening at home last week and celebrated finally having my appetite back by cooking a ridiculous weather-inappropriate roast just for myself. I went to see Common at The National on Tuesday, which starred Anne-Marie Duff as a vengeful returning rural community member at the time of enclosures: it was nicely designed and some sinister Wicker Man-ish elements but most of us seemed to come out scratching our heads about what exactly it had been trying to say, beyond some individual v. community strands.

On Wednesday I went to see The Smith Street Band at The Garage with the usual Smith Street crew: they were supported by Shit Present, female fronted, a bit grungey and pretty decent, although they were rather eclipsed by the madness of The Bennies, fellow-Melbournians, who seemed to play about one song each from every genre, all with boundless gusto: they were certainly an experience. The Smithies didn’t disappoint but I do need to get round to getting more than one of their albums at some stage. The on Thursday N and I went to Royal Inn on the [Victoria]Park, for Woodburner, a folkish night we’d been to before. It was pretty endearing with some chap singing songs themed around Henry VIII in between the acts: Tell Tale Tusk were supporting and excellent; it was an album launch for Toytown Hustle, who I’d never technically seen but whose singer I’d caught in a couple of other guises (The Debt Collective, with Tell Tale Tusk): they have some brass and a double-bass and made a nice sound but whereas we had all sat for TTT, as the wide-but-shallow upstairs room filled we all had to stand up, at which visibility went out the window and the noise levels rocketed so the songs were hard to really get to grips with.

We managed Aberrant on Friday and on Saturday M & I went to see the Hokusai exhibition at the British Museum , strolling smugly in thanks to the membership she and Cousin A had bought me: it was pretty crowded and we did a lot of queueing actually in the exhibition to shuffle from one print to another but I was glad I went, which I wouldn’t have done without the membership. I’m surprised that with this and the American Dream, the BM did two fairly atypical, print-based exhibitions so close together. After meeting N for tea when we got out, I headed back home for couple of hours before travelling to Egham to join the Ghost Stories LARP (I’d missed the first session) which was atmospheric and fun.

N and I headed back out into Surrey (Chobham) on Sunday where my brother and his wife were jointly celebrating their birthday with us and various parents, going out to lunch then hanging out back at theirs for Wimbledon and dessert. I popped down to Peckham in the evening (Rye Wax in the Bussey Building) for more music with a largely instrumental slant: wholly in the case of Cesca, who were pretty jazzy, then Paen were playing, who also seemed strongest when they dispensed with singing. Some friendly people also chatted to me as I sat around between bands too: perhaps that’s what happens when you cross the river!

I had another Monday evening in, went on Tuesday for what was initially just going to be a drink with MW (at the Thornbury Castle, where we used to go drinking from WLDC, which happily hasn’t changed much in the intervening 15 years) but I invited N, who invited his housemate, who invited a coursemate. It was a different dynamic but still very pleasant and I headed back with the Bruce Grove crew. Wednesday night I went out in Camden to the Black Heart: I got there halfway through Calva Louise, female-fronted rock that made me want to seek it out again; I was there for Fang Club who were really good and the headliners were Big Spring, who were fine, also quite rocky but the vocals a bit more swoopy.
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Once K had headed off, the day after Community Festival, I headed into town to spend some time hanging out on the South Bank roof garden with N, then came back to play board games (Plague Inc, appropriately enough!) with the Little Phoenix. I started the week with another couple of evenings-in, then headed to Upstairs at the Gatehouse in Highgate (which is always a nightmare to get to and from, despite being technically not that far from home) to see a production of The Ladykillers which C had been doing her bit with: the story's a bit creaky but fun and the performances were really good. N was in Show Hell but thought he'd be finishing about 7 on Thursday so I headed up to Hackney to meet him: he eventually got away just approaching 10pm but luckily it was very pleasant to sit out and read on the grass outside Hackney Town Hall on a balmy summer evening. The warm weather also made me bail early to sit in Russell Square after work on Friday, prior to meeting up for a drink with Cousin Andy, M and another friend which was very pleasant, although it's sad what a novelty going for a drink after work on a Friday is these days.

It was Pride on the Saturday and I'd been vacillating for ages about going: I was pretty keen to but hadn't really worked out how to fit in, there were a couple of groups I liked the sound of but they're doing this whole thing where you're only supposed to march if you've got a wristband your group has paid for which I'm not a fan of. There were some spiritual successors to the Queer Mutiny groups I used to march with (No Pride in War/Lesbians & Gays Support the Migrants) who were going to crash the march sans wristbands: I went down and scoped them out but didn't see anyone I knew and they were already getting plenty of police attention, so I went and flaneured up and down the parade as it was forming up and said hi to Kim with The Queer Alternative posse: I could easily have just slipped in but I wasn't sure I would get much added value from hanging around in the sun for another four or five hours so headed down to Lewisham to play board games instead.

I went up to Tottenham in the evening where the Pride Punx crew were having their after-party at T-Chances with a bunch of bands: reggae dudes Dub Righters, then Brit-Brazilian Erege and Master Blaster from New Zealand, who were both much more straight down the line DIY punk. It was a really nice night, a proper community feel, but I didn't know anyone there and headed off after the bands back to N's, as he'd made it home from work. We had brunch in Islington Sunday morning, then I went home for a bit before heading back out to an over-run Vauxhall to meet up with Lovely Joe et al. who had turned up for the tail end of Pride in the Park/Black Pride in the Pleasure Gardens. It wasn't an event that was really on my radar but was really nice: free, friendly and chilled out. I hung out with them for an hour or two then went back home.

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