At The Dog

I don’t know whether it’s because of the change of season, but I’ve been feeling rather exhausted lately and have been having a hard time dragging my ass out of bed. After staying in for three days painting walls, doing some light translating, watching DVDs and PC gaming, I headed into the city on Sunday night. First to U Zpevacku for a couple of beers and a chat with Mike and Lord Nelson.

On my way into Old Town, I ran into an ex-dealer who gave me a good deal on a small bag of herb. I reckoned I might as well make a night of it, so I walked to Marquis, only to find it closed at around one a.m. I went to Chateau for a beer and was pleasantly surprised to see that it wasn’t the usual sausage fest – that is, there was actually a fair number of femmes in the place. I drank, smoked and scoped and after that got a bit boring, decided to go home.

I hate taking the night tram out to Blackbridge. Actually, I take it to Lehovec, a 30-minute ride, then have to wait five to ten minutes for a bus that takes me home. Whenever I catch the tram at Bila Labut it’s always packed full of fucked-up revelers and fetid tram-sleepers. I reckoned I might as well wait until regular service started up again at five, as I didn’t really have any work to do on Monday.

I headed to Letna to drink and kill time at The Dog. Lord Nelson and I had been chatting about the place while we were drinking at UZ. I said The Dog is a pretty cool place, though a little bit of a lad’s hangout, much like UZ – though I wouldn’t exactly call either place a sausage factory, as neither bar has any kind of meat market feel to it. Nelson pointed out that the place has an atmosphere that is a bit of a downer – everybody in there tends to be either passed out or on the verge of passing out.

Part of the reason for this is the lighting. It is far too dimly lit and by the time the after-Fraktal crowd gets there, most patrons are pretty damn wrecked. While the crowd is a nice one, conversations tend to be really silly and/or really slurred.

With that in mind, I hopped on a tram to Letenske namesti. When I entered the joint, I saw Mad Chris and Gez chatting at the bar. I was happy to see both of them – Chris always has something interesting to say, and he’s been encouraging me to get back to writing poetry (as has Lord Nelson). Gez was a great guitar player to work with (he’s now playing with the Blue Valentines, a Tom Waits cover band that’s proving to be quite a hit amongst the expat community), and it would be cool to start something with him again. He told me that he really wanted to do Still on Red Island again, a poem that Chris “Sir Drinks-a-Lot” Parsons, my first guitarist, couldn’t stand. Well, he couldn’t stand the way I delivered it anyway. But that’s another story.

Gez was trashed, Mad Chris was on his way there, and also in possession of some hash (yes, hash – something that one doesn’t come across all that often in this city). We decided to pool our resources and make a tossed salad. The only problem was that we had no papers. There was a group of people in the back who probably would have given us a paper, but Mad Chris said, “If they give us a paper, we’ll have to share.”

“No we won’t,” I said.

“Yes we will, it’s protocol.”

“Oh, come on. I’ve given people skins before without expecting them to smoke me out.”

“Yeah, and whenever they didn’t smoke you out, you got pissed off, didn’t you?”

He had a point.

So, Mad Chris emptied a cigarette and got to work. The result was alright, but I find cigarette tube spliffs burn too fast and simply are not as satisfying. To make things worse, the filter was a bit crap, so I ended up with tobacco shreds on my tongue with each hit.

However, it achieved the desired effect. Big Phil showed up, followed by Mike. Gez was passed out at the bar. Mad Chris and I freestyled a bit, talked some nonsense, listened to some bullshit at the bar (some dude kept talking about putting something “in the rear” while rabitting on to Big Phil – no idea what he was on about, he just kept using the word “rear” for some reason; in the state everyone was in, that seemed real funny, of course).

The lighting in The Dog is indeed too low. And it has a bit of a nonstop Herna bar feel to it, only with far cooler decor and no fruit machines. The Dog is predominantly an expat bar, but I’m sure that, like Fraktal, it gets its fair share of Czech clientele as well. It’s another one of those places, like UZ and Blind Eye, where you know you’re going to meet good people.

Five a.m. rolled around and I took my leave, heading home while most of my fellow passengers were rubbing their eyes and moaning their way off to work. Going home at this time with the commuters always makes me feel fortunate, perhaps even a little smug. It’s even better when Jitka’s with me, both of us knowing that while so many people are heading off to jobs they hate, we’re going home to screw and sleep and screw some more. There’s always work to do, but there’s never usually any rush. And when there is a rush, it’s nothing all that difficult.

Like I said, a little smug, but, yo, I got office cred. Acquiring it gave me grey hairs, nausea (Paranoid Android became my personal theme song: “the panic, the vomit, the panic, the vomit” pretty much summed everything up), a pot belly and love handles, high blood pressure, chest pains, and a neglected girlfriend. In so many ways freelancing was the best thing that ever happened to me. I suppose the smugness should stop here. Expect a poem on the topic in this space tomorrow.

Sep 14, 11:21 (Filed under: Prague pubs, restaurants and cafes, Personal )

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