FOLLOWING THE HAMMERS

I declared my ticking for the day on six (6) after the Lamb. Could have been better, but a man needs to allow space for an ESB in the Parcel Yard, and London will always be there (I hope).

And I wanted to see what was in Hackney Wick, home to my End of the Road Christmas gig and jumping off point for hundreds of happy Hammers on their way to the Olympic Stadium (which is no Upton Park).

The arty Wick is Hackney’s equivalent of Ancoats or The Calls quarter, I guess, with Crate and Howling Hop Taps, and Beer Merchants the obvious destination as it allowed me to stand outside in the drizzle drinking a lovely schooner of Floc with a Scotch egg.

Don’t ask how much the Scotch egg cost, you can’t afford it, but the Hammers fans can cos they come from Pleshey, not Plaistow these days.

Kick-off approached and there were plenty of West Ham colours still in the bar. I guess you can play out the matches on table football and not have to worry about VAR or having to stand up every 5 minutes to let folk go to the loos.

With no sign of life at Studio 9294,

I crossed the Lee Navigation,

and had an unnecessary but tasty portion of onion bhajis from Tamila in the Echo food court.

Great view over the Olympic site (top), but equally good art in the courtyards and alleys around the Wick. If I hadn’t had Scotch egg AND bhajis I’d have stopped for some calamari.

End of the Road put on an annual (with one obvious exception) party at a changing East London venue and I always feel compelled to go, even though the beer is invariable dull (Camden Pale tonight) and I invariably have to leave early to catch the last train home because I don’t trust London Overground.

And that was the case tonight at Studio 9294, but at least I got to see stand-up comedian poet Rob Auton,

and an indie supergroup called Christmas Clearwater Revival. I have NO idea whose stuff they were covering (press play).

It’s great to be close up to the barriers again.

Sadly, I arrived at King’s Cross with 3 minutes till the last train back to Waterbeach, and even Si wouldn’t have risked a last pint of ESB in the Parcel Yard.

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