Somehow, post children, I haven't got to the Shakespeare in Stoke Newington as much as I once did, and instead seem to find myself passing it with a small daughter in tow on my way back from dance or "movement" class, going at such a slow pace that I have time to look through its windows and remember the times I would go there with my late, great brother Dave and listen to its incomparable (then, at least, and perhaps even now) jukebox, sup dark beer that somehow has a way of tasting better because there is no carpet on the floor (I don't know how this works but it is a theory that demands further investigation), and wait for the toppling of the Tory government to gladden our hearts further.
I spend some windswept mornings drawing it from a variety of angles at a time when it is shut and therefore impossible to take refuge in. The drawing is for some friends who have left London for the country, friends who evidently managed to spend more time there than we have, building up the kind of long and enduring relationship with it in a way that calls for a print of its exterior to be hanging on their wall. And the walls of their friends. As they are from the acting and theatrical fields, it's a more than suitable pub for them.
And anyone else who goes in it.