As the Jubilee flotilla set sail I was passing over Blackfriars Bridge and momentarily glimpsed the crowds on the Southbank. Any thoughts that I should be down there in the rain, amongst the plastic flags were put to rest. I had an afternoon planned that was essentially a few beers masked as cultural pursuits at the Stoke Newington Literary Festival.
We are all familiar with matching beer (and wine) with food, but who would be able to match beer and music? It’s a subject Pete covered in Word magazine recently and for the first time was exploring it as a live session. There’s serious science underpinning the concept but I won’t go into cognitive priming theory as I simply wouldn’t do it justice with my E in GCSE Biology. What it did undoubtedly prove is that beer (and music) are truly a social lubricant. I entered a room of strangers took a seat and exchanged a few pleasantries to break the silence. Pete was finalising the matches at the front, glimpsing a half filled room, most likely wondering if it was going to fill up. It did and by 1:10pm it was full. As the beer flowed and the music played the table started to talk more and more – about beer, music, friends, memories and whatever was brought to mind. By the end, the five of us were happily draining any bottles left on our tables or those nearby until politely asked to leave.
The matches worked for me and I got the point of the session. More practice on my part maybe required and there is a thought to try the odd music match myself. I won’t list all the matches but Duvel and the Pixies was inspired – as was the description and comparison of Duvel poured into a Duvel glass and the chosen track – the foam rising up the glass ready to tear your face off (in a good way). This was the final match and by this point Pete like his audience was nicely buzzed. More than just a talk by a beer writer this was firmly in the territory of a one man show. There were plenty of laughs, those head nodding moments when something connects and Pete’s passion for music (and New Order in particular… can you taste the synths?) shining through and the odd candid moment when questioned from the audience. To hazard a guess I would think that Pete at points was loving it, as he breaks away from the mic stand and the language becomes a little sharper, but without straying too far. In between his spots when the music is playing I thought I could even detect signs that we may see a dancing Pete Brown at any second. I’m sure (hope) that this isn’t the last we see of the beer and music matching as a live event. I would go as far to say that this could even make it North of the border to the Fringe. Simply, it’s the perfect way to introduce people to beer whether above the White Hart during the Lit Fest, at the Fringe or in a festival field.