Moving in Sequence

17 12 2010

Hard at work at No.43

A tricky one next door to the chemist was Bar Sequence. It’s only open later in the week and often looked too busy to go in asking questions. Eventually managed it though and added No. 43 Essex Road to the list.

Sequence is one of two bars next door to each other, both pretty much the same size and shape. I walked in just after six one evening, taking advantage of the fact that they were setting up. A couple of customers, a DJ and a busy looking barman were the only people in there. I thought I’d buy a drink first and then kick off with the questions. The barman served me then immediately directed me to the guy in the DJ booth at the back.

Aria was a friendly looking guy but it felt a bit strange speaking up to him three feet above me in the booth. He took off his headphones and came round but made it clear he just had a couple of minutes. I assured him it would be fine and he grabbed a drink then sat down. I’d got one and half questions in and he cocked his head to one side saying that it sounded like I was from the tax office or something. I assured him I wasn’t and spooled through my notebook to show him I was legit and not out to bust him. Not sure why that offered him any reassurance, it was the wrong notebook and had a series of illegible scribbles and some pressed flowers and a mini-strawberry in it that my wife picked on holiday last year. Great, professional grade work here.

We carried on and Aria gradually relaxed, smiling as we chatted about why I was doing the project and who I’d met. He spoke effusively about the people in the chemist next door, confirming how friendly they were and how much they were a fixture of the local area. Funnily enough when we started talking about other businesses he used, I got an almost identical response to the one given by the guys at Giraffe and The Diner. They’d borrow things from the bar next door and didn’t think much of the people in The Winchester and Wenlock and Essex. Too cool for school it seems. They had plenty of dealings with Café Mocha across the road as they outsourced food to them for events and such but other than that there was a loyalty to the same side of the road that I’ve seen before.

We chatted about the rules project I did and when I talked about the difficulty of crossing the road Aria laughed and mentioned his Iranian heritage. He heads back to see family and friends once in a while and talked about how you’d see traffic and people interwoven at a junction, everyone beeping horns and shouting but amazingly somehow it worked, a sort of chaotic ballet of humans and vehicles just about avoiding each other.

He liked the idea of some sort of map for this project showing the interconnections between business. It would be fun to do a google maps mashup with all the elements plotted on. As I explained that I had to buy something at each business he said he hoped I was rich because Essex Road is long. I’m hoping that pretty much everything I buy will be something I need or can actually use which would prevent it being too much of a burden.

That would actually be an interesting twist – trying to get by only buying stuff from Essex Road for the duration of the project. I can’t think of much that I need that you can’t get, unless being deprived of Moleskine notebooks became too hard to bear. It would certainly make me get through the project faster.

I realised that I’d used well over the two minutes Aria had to spare and he mentioned how he needed to get back to setting up some music for the night. I quickly raised the ‘up’ versus ‘down’ debate. A simple rationale – He described Angel as busier and more central so thus it was up to Angel and down to Hackney. As I left I noticed the chemist shutting up and partygoers crossing the road to come into the bar. I enjoyed a thought about a consistent business presence, live and active with the baton being passed from one to another all down the road.

I headed off happy again but was momentarily diverted by thinking about the Christmas tree seller opposite. That’s a temporary business. What do I do with that? Will it be next year before I get to meet them? If it’s not Christmas do I have to wait for the next one before I can move on?

Excised by these crushing first world problems I strolled home thoughtfully.

 

  • Business has been there since – 2008
  • Guaranteed cumulative years in business – 41
  • Previous business was – another bar – possibly called Kasimo
  • Three people work there
  • Interviewee arrives there by tube or bus
  • I bought a bottle of London Pride for £4.00
  • Cumulative spend – £25.75

This was a London Pride

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