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Or, You've gained experience!

Or, Three pints later, Britney was all but forgotten

Or, Soy! Gives you Strength! Stains your teeth!

Or, No Monkeys Were Harmed During This Gathering of UK Everythingians.

Look, you can't blame me for a picnic being a euphemism for "getting pissed in a pub", but that's how The E2 London Picnic turned out. Initially the first announcement of an Everything Get-together, those Highly Organised and Obvioulsy Have A lot Of Free Time Stateside Everythingians beat us to meeting together months ago. So the venue was changed, a date finally established, and damn every other UK people who just happened to be in other countries at the time. The good thing is that no one killed each other, and we promised to get drunk together again as soon as possible.

I didn't arrive at The Intrepid Fox until five, because I was working all night and needing a few hours sleep. As it was, a vast conspiracy was plotted that I have no idea was about. It's probably because i was the only expatriate American there. I had to suffer the usual complaints about my fellow bloated, lazy countrymen, and even had to excuse myself for never seeing an episode of Father Ted.

Not like we could have any conversations in The Intrepid Fox. It's a metalhead pub by day, and a goth hangout at night, so we were suffering the insufferable and oft-imitated riffs of one heartfelt metal song after another, played at a higher decibel each song. It brought me back to my sordid youth as a Scorpions and Metallica fan, I'm afraid, and I felt myself nodding my head and rapping the table like a pavlovian dog drooling when the bells ring. Dear god, how did my ears survive? Why didn't someone just shoot me back then for having no taste? and when was it going to end? Thankfully, enduring memories of teenage rebellion, and having the excuse not to talk to anyone else due to the loud volume was made all worthwhile when a death metal cover of Britney Spears' "Hit Me Baby One More Time" came on. After snickering over the irony of it all, we escaped to another pub. But not before heyoka took photographic evidence of E2 sabotage to a table.

The activity of signing postcards made out of tart cards culled from Red Telephone boxes turned out pretty well, to my relief. (I think somewhere around this time we lost fondue who, after reading a card for "6 feet of Goddess, Genuine photo" rushed off to make a phone call). But the strangest part of the evening turned out to be Iain suddenly exclaiming that he could read Everything2 via WAP on his mobile.

The sun was still up when we sated our hunger at Hi Sushi, allowing two people to lose their sushi virginity. (dizzy revealed that despite working for a Japanese company, he'd never had sushi.) The secret to going out to eat sushi regularly is to order a big dish of noodles so you aren't hungry enough to spend your entire week's paycheck. The wasabi was a bit potent this time around, which allowed me to admire the hues of red shifting through spiregrain's face when he ate a clump raw.

What I enjoyed most about us getting together was the sharing of knowledge, whether trivial, technical or just plain gossip. Whatever you were talking about, someone had something to add, and if not, were interested in hearing about it. It was just like any other group of friends, hanging out, getting drunk, talking a while, then heading off in various directions into the warm night.

Next time, we're going to have to do something about the monkeys.

Gnarl? dude, you have far too good a memory

Hmm, where to begin?

I forgot the chilled monkey. :-(

It was quite easy travelling to the Intrepid Fox. What wasn't so easy was recognising the other everythingians.

Ok, so I completely missed the piece of paper saying "Everything2" sitting by the table. I didn't call myself dizzy for nothing, you know.

After walking around the pub 3 times, drinking a beer and not making contact, I walked down the road to the phoneboxes and phoned iain's mobile. He met me outside the pub and escorted me to the table.

There I met heyoka, spiregrain and fondue. And proceeded to go bright red embarrassed after I realised that I had stared straight at them for several minutes and not seen the aforementioned E2 sign.

Mental Note: Pay Attention!

Sillyness: As the music got louder and louder in The Intrepid Fox, conversation got more and more difficult. As one track stopped, I prompted spiregrain and heyoka to say something, anything, before the next track started. Poor spiregrain, as soon as he opened his mouth - the guitars started up. :-)

After a pint, we decided that it would be best to retreat to a pub where we could hear each other. So, we traipsed merrily to The George, still on Wardour Street. (well, OK, we didn't traipse, but we were merry)

gnarl? Tremendous effort sir!

Gnarl collected some whore cards, which I'm sure will not get through any postal system in the world.

An enduring image was of the asian barmaid in the george trying not to look too interested in us as she tried to work out what the hell we were doing, and why we were giggling so much.

Don't try to deny it, you were giggling.

As gnarl said, fondue left at this time. Although I must defend his honour and state that he was going to see the X-Men movie, not rushing off to see the genuine pre-op transsexual (I hope)

Seeing all these cards, I feel so innocent and provincial. :-)

After the signing we moved on to discuss some, um, burning issues about stuff. Like... noding! ack! Yes, we discussed noding in real life. Are we sad or what :-) (Yours truly even keeps a pen and paper in his rucksack for offline noding, I must admit)

We moved on to the Hi, Sushi! restaurant, in... well, I forget the street. There I discovered that green tea is very nice, and that the noodles served to me were delicious (thanks for choosing them heyoka darlin' :-) (although you'll have to remind me what I had)

I wasn't too fond of the tuna or salmon rolls, a little too much soy (/me runs for cover as the E2 soy coalition starts hunting him)

I feel a little sorry for gnarl having to contend with drunken brits discussing father ted and The league of gentlemen.

This is a local node, for locals only!

After the meal finished (quite cheap, really), we made our excuses and left each other (it being maybe 10pm by now)

Some impressions: I think we all got on quite well, considering that we were all strangers. heyoka and gnarl are easy to get on with, and it's nice speaking to fondue, iain and spiregrain - who, if they wouldn't feel too insulted, I would describe as fellow geeks :-)

I suppose that what is quite hard to put across in a node is the easygoing nature of the whole day - there wasn't any tension (prolly the alcohol helping there)

To those who couldn't make it: You missed out, it was a great meeting, we all got on and had a good laugh. I hope that next time we'll be joined by others.

It was a good day :-)

See your favourite noders get drunk!

Laugh as the camera goes out of focus!

Ponder the lack of raisins

Gasp as the geeks do a spot of creative vandalism!

Cheer as the London Everythingians write postcards!

Sigh with relief as you realise heyoka is not in the pictures.

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