OK, here it is, my fifth successive IndyMan, just so you can go “How Much ?!”.
The pre-match bants had been all about the pricing of the thirds.
Frankly I was only there because it’s too much effort not to go and I’m scared to break the run; the craft beer equivalent of my National Geographic subscription which now stretches to 31 years.
But first of all, “The Farewell“, a charming 90 minutes of Chinese/US human drama at the lovely (and cheap) Home cinema.
and some bao buns for tea with Matt in Mackie Mayor, where I just about resisted the Blackjack pale that everyone was drinking.
At 6.30pm, I was half minded to catch the next train back to Crewe, despite the undeniable fact I was neither heading out again or eating more crispy shredded beef.
But then the 192 arrived at Piccadilly Gardens and I said “single to Ardwick please“, just like a real Mancunian does.
And 20 minutes later I was here;
And I suddenly remembered.
IndyMan isn’t really about the beer for me, anymore than End of the Road is about music.
It’s about the baths. I buy 3 tokens at £2.80 a pop, and head for the changing rooms.
Just like the annual trek into the Larmer Gardens, my IndyMan highlight is the ten minute reaquaintance with the hidden bits, that mosaic and the inspirational quotes.
I’ve turned up late and I’m not planning staying long. So I won’t be nabbing one of those tables in the music room and talking pubs with an interesting bloke from Wolves or Woking tonight.
I don’t like standing, so it’s just as well there’s plenty of barrels in the food tents. But without Mrs RM or a random stranger, IndyMan loses something for me.
I have a Peach Melba Sour from Pilot, because they’ve come all the way from Edinburgh, a Hazy DIPA from Fierce, because they’ve come all the way from Aberdeen, and a Red Wine Sour from Squawk, who have come all the way from, er, Ardwick. I’m all heart.
They were all really good, too, though possibly not a great deal different from the interesting beers I can get in Mikkeller. Or BrewDog. Or Crewe.
Before I finish my Squawk, I carefully match it with a craft donut, just to make Mrs RM jealous when she reads this.
And I enjoy the two in the privacy of my changing room as the DJs move on to the crowd pleasers.
Only three thirds in an hour, so perhaps it’s the donut, but “True Faith” really saves the evening.
Their last vital single (OK, OK, Regret), and their last great lines.
“When I was a very small boy,
Very small boys talked to me
Now that we’ve grown up together
They’re afraid of what they see
That’s the price that we all pay
And the value of destiny comes to nothing
I can’t tell you where we’re going
I guess there was just no way of knowing”
Just for the DJ, and the baths, and the cute glass, I’ll probably be back in 2020.