It has been brought to my attention that one Mr. Don Red, an American gentleman of some infamy, will be visiting the British Empire from Tuesday the 21st of January 2003, up until such point at Her Majesty's convenience whenceforth his services will no longer be required, or are exhausted, whichever is the sooner.

To mark this 'special' occasion, the fine upstanding body of men, women, cats and monkeys known collectively as 'Britnoders' have been requested to gather at a public house to regale Mr. Don Red with stories of their exploits, and to consume alcoholic beverages and exotic vittles from the Indian subcontinent and other places.

The date:
Friday 24th January 2003, 1730Hrs onwards
The venue:
Penderel's Oak
283-287 High Holborn
London WC1V 7PF
tel: 020-7242-5669
nearest tubes: Chancery Lane, Holborn

Backup plan: Knights Templar, Chancery Lane WC2A 1DT

Criteria was a pub in the vicinity of Central London with cheap beer. Suggestions welcome, including backup plans and directions (feel free to post below). Also, attendees should try to have the phone number of someone else involved in case of last minute changes.

Definite*: donfreenut, pandora, strawberryfrog, kidas, frankie, TheLady, iocane, great neb, catchpole

Maybe: fondue, ascorbic, oolong, tiefling, Gritchka, trembling, just_tom

Thank you, but no: booyaa (work), wyldwynd, spiregrain ('he's' a 'broad', I mean, abroad), call (in Ireland), wertperch, CatherineB, tallroo, Teiresias, bariau, Hexter (school on Saturday morning- the freak! ;), Ponder

Please /msg britnoders, join and /msg britnoders, /msg me, or put your head out of a window and shout for more info.

*Until proven otherwise.

Don (real name Eric) can be reached on 001 617 669 3526. Apparently.

I learned a couple of things at the meet:

The name Donfreenut was not conceived as a rearrangement of "donut free" or "free donut"
Don is in fact tired of the whole Butterfinger McFlurry thing and its unending airtime. But anyhow someone reads this masterpiece for the first time every week. It's fresh to them.
there is a McDonalds near to the pub. I stepped out, and for the first time in a decade, entered this den of iniquity, and returned to the pub with suspicious parcel. All in order to be able to utter the words "I've got your McFlurry right here". No butterfinger on offer, so we had smartie and crunchie McFlurries . They live up to their reputation as McDonalds "food-like" products. They are almost but not quite edible.
As we left we saw a hand lettered sign reading "E2" Who were you? Finding a nodermeet in a crowded pub can be daunting when you don't recognise anyone's face. Next time must exchange mobile numbers beforehand.

PS: there are two pictures of don from the meet on Wertperch's site: http://www.wertperch.co.uk/gallery/

or: How trembling missed meeting both donfreenut and the whole damn London crew.

17:45 - Arrive at Penderel's Oak. I've been told to look out for either a monkey or a sign. Neither is immediately visible, so I plod downstairs and buy a beer.
17:50 - Look casually around the bar, hoping to look like a noder: carefree and cool.
17:55 - Previous tactic unsuccessful, so begin to look intimidatingly at everyone, hoping to be mistaken for StrawberryFrog.
18:00 - Start dancing to Justin Timberlake, with furtive glances to see if anyone is watching me. Eureka! Someone in a kilt with the glazed eyes and hooded stare of a noder is staring at me; whether in fascination or revulsion, I cannot tell which.
18:02 - I ask it: "Do you like to node?"
18:02 and 3 seconds - Am rewarded with a swift kick to the groin. Decide to retire upstairs and try my luck on the less obviously Scottish elements of the bar.
18:06 - 18:09 - Down two beers to try and quell pain in groin.
18:11 - Succeed, marginally, in regaining some feeling in thighs. Decide this small victory warrants a different approach. I try to flag down the barlady.
18:15 -

Me: "Is there some sort of gathering here tonight?"
Barlady: "Luvvey, thar be many a gathering her tonight, if ye ken what I mean, and I fink ye does, hur hur."
Me: "Any from E2?"
Barlady: "Wha?"
Me: "E2."
Barlady: "Wha?"
Me: "Are you having problems with the vowel or the number, because I can write either one of them down for you."
Barlady: "I'll just go check, luvvey."
18:20 - She comes back after staring at the menu for three minutes. In this time, I've downed a glass of rum and a pint of cider.
Barlady: "E2? Is that wot does have to do wif birds?"
Me: "Well...sometimes."
Then I remember that we're in England, and this is E2 we're talking about.
Me: "Actually, very much so. In fact, almost constantly."
Barlady: "Wurl, if 'at's 'em, ye can find 'em downstairs in the No Smoking section."
Me: "Ok, thanks."
Barlady: "The No Smoking section. It's different to the other section 'cos you can't smoke there."
Me: "Right."
Barlady: "See, that's what No Smoking means.
Me: "Ok, fine. Goodbye. Godspeed."
18:25 - Marvelling at the poor lady's disappearing accent, and saddened by her obviously degenerative brain disorder, I light up a smoke and saunter downstairs. A few people look at me like I'm crazy, so, thinking that these might be the people I'm looking for, I ask them (in the friendliest way possible) if they have something I can ash into, seeing as how this particular area seems woefully undercatered in the ashtray department.
18:28 - Replies are far from gracious, and I am forced to beat one particularly large creature off with my backpack.
18:30 - "There's nowt so strange as London folk," I hear myself say from my fetal position under the bar, although the barman apparently mishears me and pours me two Fosters'. I drink these, grateful for some time to breathe.
18:40 - Suddenly, I saw someone who looked like how I imagine all Americans look like: Henry Rollins. This particular Henry Rollins-like American appeared to be crushing a bar stool with his fist. If this was indeed donfreenut, then Butterfinger McFlurry, Everything2 and in fact the whole goddamn universe had a lot of explaining to do.
18:42 - Wonder if, by telling me to look for a 'sign', they meant Sign from God. Decide to pray.
18:43 - Stop praying. Realise that not even a deity can help me now. Decide to start screaming.
18:44 - Too drunk to scream. Decide to moan instead.
18:45 - In a feverish rush of desperation, I decide to draw a sign saying "Hi. My name is trembling and I'm looking for the E2 nodermeet. Can you direct me, please? Thank you."
18:58 - Manage to take pencil from backpack.
19:04 - Manage to take paper from backpack.
19:07 - Manage to apply one to other. Get as far as "Hi" before running out of space.
19:10 - Think about just writing "trembling", but realise that this is not the kind of image I want to portray to the casual drinker. Settle on "E2".
19:15 - Grab another Fosters and lurk around the bathrooms, in green backpack, grey woolen hat and sign on back saying "E2", drinking and smoking. I try to show my back to everyone who walks past, but this just seems to infuriate the crowd.
19:31 - Firm hands pull me around. Something like the north face of Everest asks me what I am doing loitering around the bathrooms. I make an excuse about cystitis and depart the bar, stopping only briefly to be shoved by some angry old lady in a raincoat, and drop my sign on the carpet.
19:34 - Walk home. In the rain. Wearing sackcloth.

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