Archive for the ‘Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen’ Category

Oh Laura


I was in Hoxton just last night, with my wife to see Craig Finn of the Hold Steady.

Great show, but could have done with his usual band;  random venue but it really could have done with air conditioning.

We left early.

Walking to dinner beforehand I’d flashed back to this night in the same part of town ten years earlier.

Oh Laura were a Swedish indie act.

I say Indie, but the single Release Me wasn’t really my kind of indie at all.

Less spiky guitar, skinny white boy indie; more sensitive acoustic, brushed drums indie.

So why get the tickets?

There was a Swedish girl I worked with who loved the single.

And I’d convinced myself that she was into me, meaning that I was into her.

In retrospect, I was unbelievably lonely and doing this kind of desperate crushing on different people quite regularly.

Like all the others, she was lovely.

Still is, according to Facebook. With a lovely husband, son and dog.

We’d been out together with work friends before, and four weeks later there’d be a strange and awkward New Year’s Eve with the same group of people.

Anyway, she’d mentioned the show and we’d both bought tickets.

I said I’d see her there. She said she’d probably be meeting some other Swedish friends and we could all watch the show together.

I turned up to the venue early. I always showed up early in those days, it was a big thing for me.

The bar and restaurant there are separate from the room that the music’s in, so I waited at what I thought was a visible table.

When she walked in with two girlfriends and a guy, she clearly didn’t see me sitting there.

And overcome with awkwardness (like a character in an acoustic, brushed drum indie tune) I just couldn’t bring myself to go over to her.

I didn’t want to embarrass her. Everything I could think of to say sounded false.

It was easier to get another drink and wait.

I even walked out and back in again past the window they were sitting.

I hoped she’d just see me, make some introductions and fold me into the group.

But she didn’t.

At work the next day I told her that some friends had called me. That there’d been a change of plans at the last minute.

High: That first half hour early, with my drink. Sometimes the waiting is the easiest part.

Drinking:  I seem to remember the venue was ahead of the curve for its choice of beers in London. I seem to remember Sierra Nevada or Anchor Steam.

Thinking: I should have grown out of this by now.