Brad Spurgeon's Blog

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A Last Stop at the Open-Mic Friendly Harcourt Arms, Despite the “Football”

July 12, 2016



Britain may be imploding – and my last five days in England confirmed to me that it has indeed lost its significance – but I do leave the formerly great Britain feeling that at least they do know how to hold an open mic during a major soccer match. My last night in Oxford I had to stop by the Harcourt Arms open mic, which I have been attending for the last five or so years – and before that it was at another pub down the street – and I entered the place finding the open mic in high gear on one side of the pub, and the soccer match final between France and Portugal being screened on a television on the other side of the pub, with no volume. And so unlike so many other pubs that do not understand how to double their clientele – rather than just dropping the open mic in order to hear a bunch of fans singing out of tune at the event over the TV, the Harcourt managed to keep two things going at once.

Having said that, as the English had already long ago performed their Brexit in the soccer tournament – unlike the victories of Lewis Hamilton in the Grand Prix on Sunday just a little before Andy Murray won at Wimbledon – there was little enthusiasm for the soccer game amongst the viewers in the pub, after all.

second at harcourt

That left room for much enthusiasm amongst the open mic participants, but unfortunately, there were so many of them that it ended up being just one song behind the mic, as quickly executed as the EU would like to see the departure of Britain. So I then decided that I would go down the street to see if for once I could take part also in the open mic of the Bookbinder’s pub, which I have always been too late to attend in years past.

I arrived to find that it was not – exceptionally running – and the pub was closing down for the night. And soccer was not to blame. It had something to do with an annual carnival that happened earlier that day in Oxford…. whatever that might mean.

first at harcourt

So it was that left the weekend nevertheless slightly frustrated at trying to cram everything in, and finding not enough time or room. I also discovered that I had left my recording device at the hotel and my phone was practically uncharged, so I could only films a couple of quick bits at the Harcourt to let the readers of this blog see and hear for yourselves….

Next stop, Budapest…. (Well, after a bit of time at home in Paris.)

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