Decor at the little Belgium beer bar around the corner from our apartment in Barcelona.
Hustling to a bus, Uncle Weed ends the festive period with vaporization session and recounts highlights, hi-jinks and life remixes from 2010 including gut surgery, True North Media House social reporting at the Olympics including Olympic Outsider podcasts, Subpop Records, Hockey Hall of Fame, SXSW, Komasket Music Festival, UW40 party, Halloween at the Waldorf hotel, visits from friends, and then a decompression road trip to Nelson with forays to ferries, hot springs and local organic beers. Ends with clumsy thanks to the Chooglers who had my back during the past year. Musical interludes including an skat/vocal rendition of a Charlie Parker tune by Nico from Savage Blade. See also Best Year in Years ~ 2010 Flashback blog post including more 2010 highlights a video from the aforementioned ferry ride.
Sit on the park bench for Festive Flashback from Orion to Nelson – Choogle On! #99 (.mp3, 30MB, 23:49)
Starting at the Great Canadian Beer Fest in Victoria, BC (Vancouver Island), Uncle Weed samples some tasty ales and listens to lovely lasses play Hip tunes and chats with barmen and revelers. Much later (post appendectomy) UW and friends attend Oktoberfest at the German Alpen House in Vancouver where he recounts trips to Munich for while a young choogler and then rambles about old men dancing and such …
Line-up for Dual Beer Fest Action – Choogle on #72 (.mp3, 18:56, 18MB)
On New Year’s Day, Uncle Weed takes a snowy ramble into the woods around Mt. Cypress encountering earnest tobogganists, snowshoe prints, and windswept Hollyburn cabins. Over a bowl of Purple Kush, he recounts tales of tasty ales, resolutions, cross country skiing, foreign expeditions, and personal documentation while remarking on the varieties of lichen and moss on the trees.
Put on yer snowshoes Tracking Sasquatch on New Year’s Day – Choogle on #58 (.mp3, 16:17, 13MB)
My on the ground West Greenwich connection pointed out this article “Belly Up! Old Hemingway Haunt Chumley’s Could Reopen by Spring – City inches toward approving wrecked Village watering hole’s restoration” in NY Observer (Dec. 3rd 2007 edition which is in 4 days).
My attempt to drink at this noted literary haunt which oozes with counter-culture history from the underground railroad to prohibition to dog laws (damn health authorities), was thwarted by de-construction and i was met by a mass of scaffolding rather than a tasty pint. You can follow along on my ill-fated, personalized tour at: NYC Speakeasy Stroll with Bubble Bands and Falafel Bars – Choogle on #45.
[photo Wally G The interior of Chumley’s, pre-collapse.]
So what’s going on? A conundrum betwixt landlord, leaseholders, building permits and neighbors and drinkers … here’s a snippet fromt he Observer article by Chris Shott,
Nearly eight months after a brick wall collapsed, forcing famed Greenwich Village tavern Chumley’s to indefinitely lock up its notably unmarked entrance, the once illustrious literary haunt remains a mere shell of its former self.
Barely a shell, even; the old bar is beyond gutted.
“A gutted building implies that there are walls standing,” said Steve Shlopak, proud proprietor of the former Prohibition-era speakeasy turned fully liquor-licensed landmark turned much-lamented pile of rubble at 86 Bedford Street.
“There are only two walls that are still up,” Mr. Shlopak said. “The rest of the building is held up with construction scaffolding. There is no ceiling and there is no floor; it’s just a dirt hole.
“It’s almost as if you’re watching an old World War II film,” he added. “You know how soldiers would gather in the corner of a bombed-out farmhouse where just two walls are still up? That’s what we’ve got here.”
I took the liberty of commenting at the Observer’s remarkably decent site, thusly (pardon the redundancy):
As an enthusiast of tasty beer and quality literature, I was disappointed to find the scaffolding surrounding the building on a recent trip from Vancouver BC. I recorded a Choogle on! podcast while out and about in the village so all was not lost (i love falafel at 3AM). I’ll be watching for the reopen and hope to make another trip east from the idyllic left coast to imbibe a few pints in the legendary atmosphere.
A great bar with their own house beers (though they were out of the Porter and a few others ;-( and fine guest taps too. I mixed it up a bit but mostly enjoyed their Dry Stout (on Nitro), the Red Spot – tried Death and taxes but fond it a bit hoppy for my taste. Also enjoyed a few New Belgian 1554s which is an all time fave.
Three levels of seating, a dumb waiter upstairs, friendly wait staff, a stage and an outdoor terrace with trees, the inky sky, the moon, smell of limes – playing the first night was a jazzy/proggy rock quartet (guitar, bass, drums, sax) and the second night was a mellow Latin conga, vocals, guitar act (i recorded asnippet around here somewhere).
Best part though is i came home with a heavy duty Jupiter beer glass – they don’t sell them (or serve in them so you can’t steal one) – instead they sit as decor in a locked glass case. I offered bribes but managed to score one on kind words alone.
I made an oath to never drink schwag beer from this vessel so i am quaffing Howe Sound Hefeweizen (made in Squamish) with lemon while listening to Elvis in Paradise and Joe Jackson’s 3-sided LP Big World on scratchy vinyl and listening to the rain fall on the skylight.
Just though you should know.
Over martinis at a fancy Covent Garden bar in London, a charming Russian student indulges a somewhat flustered Uncle Weed’s questions about Siberian winters, police corruption, fixers and bribes, communist nostalgia, gulags, late-night disapperences, hockey teams plus his comrade quearies into the effectiveness of her tactical KGB skills.
Pay your bribe for Interrogating a Russian over Drinks – Choogle on #50 (.mp3, 13:24, 14MB)
Photos by Victoria Potter – art’ed up by Uncle Weed Music: Two Gallants “Feels Like Home to Me”
An extended length (ideal for summertime listening) features a late night walk around the heart of London Town with rambling topics from public drunkeness, Cleopatra’s Obelisk, party boats, Shakespeare’s Globe theater, Internet kiosks, Sir Drake’s Golden Hind, The Clink Jail, Millennium, Black Friars and Tower bridges, Cornish pasties, take away falafels, cellar temperature ales, Dali art, Falklands naval veterans, CCTV cameras, miscellaneous wars, royal largess, overfilled hotel baths and a spontaneous fire in Piccadilly.
Grab ahold of London Town Wander Night – Choogle on #46 (.mp3, 54:39, 50MB – and worth it!)
Aspiring actor and noted carouser O-dawg tells Uncle Weed about his hi-jinks starring in a French reality TV show called “The Lucky Bastard.” He recounts the production foibles, drunken debacles and beach fire exploits of hanging out with African immigrants, smoking hash and scoring with international lassies at the bar and spreads rumours of a existing video tape. Then, after rollling a joint of outdoor Mendicino Sunshine and Mango in fascinating clear cellulose papers, they head up to San Francisco’s historic Buena Vista Park to dig the view, roast out and continue the story about security nonsense and NYC funtime. >
Download Choogle On! with Uncle Weed #33 (32:36, 29.9MB, .mp3)
Exiting the Castro chaos in geta sandals, Mad Dog and Uncle Weed stroll through San Francisco’seclectic Mission district talking about urban planning and related social conundrums and sorting out tense Nepalese political negotiations en route to a fine neighborhood pub called the Homestead with a bench full of hidden wine, naked wimmin on the walls and men with old-timey hats.
Download Choogle On! with Uncle Weed #30 (21:26, 19.9MB, .mp3)