King of the Castle

Edinburgh Castle on Geary between Larkin and Polk Streets will always have a special place in my heart. On that fateful March 30th (better known round our house as “Banana Day”, but that’s another story), I met the Mrs. Gooner or as she is known these days, She Who Must Be Obeyed (apologies to Rumpole of the Bailey).

In an ever changing San Francisco, the Castle has remained a constant. Winston the parrot is long gone as are the original owners whose portraits adorn the wall above the caber (the telephone pole thing Scots are fond of tossing), but you can still get fish & chips (brought in from Old Chelsea around the corner), accompanied by a lovely pint, and there are still regular happenings in the upstairs room, everything from plays, stand-up, and performances by up-and-coming bands.

If you’ve been to the Edinburgh, chances are you’ve come into contact with Alan Black. Besides occasionally tending bar, staging music and literary events, he pretty much runs the place as far as I can tell. I don’t know him personally, though I’ve chatted with him once or twice about footie, and ordered many a pint of Newcastle from him.

Alan has new book coming out, entitled “Kick The Balls”, which comes with this personal recommendation from Irvine Welsh (author of Trainspotting): A hilarious and utterly irreverent tale of a Scotsman coaching in the junior ‘soccer’ leagues in the USA. It is the funniest book you will ever read about what the insignificants in the rest of world call ‘football’.

The book release party for Kick The Balls is this Saturday, June 21, 2008, 8:00PM, at the Edinburgh Castle. Also on hand will be The Shakespearos, who take their name from a song by The Stranglers, just one of many bands they cover, including Stiff Little Fingers, Ramones, The Smiths, Buzzcocks, The Jam and The Undertones. I’m not much for cover bands usually, but last time I saw them, they were good fun.

I expect to be there. Maybe you will too.

Cheers, Mark

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