Review: Coffee Express, London E6

It’s official: East Ham is getting a tonne of new coffee places. I make it my business to review them. Some of the old, established places like Sunrise Cafe need no introduction, and there are places making the requisite noise on social media (Erstwhile Parrot). Some need a mention, a boost. Thus, I chose a simple method: an espresso in each one, compared. Like for like. A dipstick test. A benchmarking, a kind of apples against apples, or, to use a more Brexist analogy, cabbages for cabbages.

I begin wherever I chose : why be tied down by the weight of tradition? That weight of expectation will drown your soul. I visited Coffee Express on Barking Road by the Town Hall and the Denmark Arms. Here’s the frontage.

A rain-slicked tarmacadam and the overuse of the Express suffix benchmarks this part of town, which used to house a famous fast food joint that pioneered the three toppings for a quid personal pizza. Now its gone, like so much of our youths and the notion of the social contract.

The espresso was good. A long, slow pour, a very dark roast and a suitable glass. The coffee shop has diner style benches and bright lights and is done up in anti-hipster touches like shop-bought pastries and Indian finger food.

A strong effort with almost the hint of a Turkish coffee (reminiscent of some of the finer efforts of Sunrise and D&D)

As I drank, it left a crema and sediment behind like memories carved into the trunk of a beloved tree.

I left, having drunk the coffee, thus concluding my business at this establishment.

Rating: 6 beans out of 10

Let’s Talk About … Nothing

A phenomenon that is all the rage back home. A news blackout, a social media log out, a Stoptober sprinkled with some mediocre PR magic. Henrietta from the Home Counties. Even this blog gets it in the neck. Everything is shot through with guilt. Some modicum of balance is restored. All this worldstage of frazzled postcapitalism anxiety with nowhere to run to (baby) / nowhere to hide. Fragments. Sing song snippets on the route home. Nothing.

Bossanova

Kind of true, I guess, despite so much angst the other way but yes

War On Drugs is just music for people who lke Dylan and Springsteen but hate the politics or can’t deal with the politcs and so they get a facsimile and celebrate it. And the name, har har, because, har, ‘the war on drugs, Nixon, viet – erm, yeah, har ! War on drugs.’.

I once worked in an office in NYC and when I cranked open the courtyard/internal window, and then leaned out a little to get a breeze, the head of Editorial came in very quickly to check I wasn’t going to kill myself. NYC everyone. He previously hadn’t cared much about anything I was doing but there was a trigger.

Well done, society. Well done, postmodernism !

v a p o (u) r w a r e

have been perusing soundcloud and bandcamp and immersing myself in the strange world of half-drowned nostalgia that is vaporware, this odd genre that exists in liminal spaces and mines 80s and 90s tracks, distorting them out of all recognition.  bandpass filters and chopped and screwed beats, limited edition cassette only issues and a sense that the (mainly) Western world of postmodern culture is collapsing into itself.  it is unable to sustain its structure, or centre (and of course we go back to the totemic ‘the centre cannot hold’).  maybe the centre never could hold.  maybe there never was a centre.  that is, possibly, what vaporware suggests.  more to come on this, i presume, unless i get back into Depeche Mode and forget this whole sorry incident called the ‘2010s.’

Cardiff

Do I need Welsh dollars? My passport? Cardiff is a primal scream. I see a woman walk into the Prince of Wales pub wearing a see through skirt and a thong. I see many, many drug addicts and vagrants making their way up and down High St. In Kong, the mead is eight quid a bottle and we’re in any Europe capital. But the day sees morning drinkers in the Spoons downing pints like only the UK can muster: tepid ale washing down a microwaved full English. This is the Great Western and it has that familiar Witherspoons atmosphere. The ghost of Tim Martin beating an old man around the face with a wet shoe.

Bute Park offers a beauty and respite that’s outstanding and the architecture of the University is gorgeous. I spot this neo-classical beast.

And shortly afterwards I’m here;

But I can’t make my feelings coalesced: the Taff runs as clear as glass at this point but I’m all over the place, sewn to this phone and discombobulated. There’s a thread but it’s torn. I head back to the hotel and pick up a free newspaper.