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.