I passed by a pub called The Hunter S. on my way to a friends house, carrying my guitar and a suitcase full of underwear. I was in between flats and needed a place to put the last of my things while I went away from London to live rent free for a couple of weeks in Malta and in Washington D.C.
The Hunter S.
That pub was made for me, I thought. From the outside, it looked exactly like a pub in East London would: hanging plants, dark walls, outdoor seating full of people smoking and eating. But, the title was unique in a city full of traditional, The Noun & Noun pubs (e.g. The Hope & Anchor, The Crown & Shuttle, The Hoop & Grapes, The Cat & Mutton) and let me reminisce again about being sixteen and reading and re-reading The Rum Diary and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas.
I finally went to The Hunter S on Saturday. I was with a friend (and I had just shaved his head) and when we walked in and got our pints, we were magnetized to the back corner by a print of The Garden of Earthly Delights by Hieronymus Bosch, hanging close to a set of armchairs.
I’ve loved The Garden of Earthly Delights since I saw it in Madrid. The painting hangs in The Prado, where it’s an outlier for not being a massive portrait of Jesus. The piece is painted over three tiles and, while there is no consensus over what Bosch was trying to convey, it is generally believed to be a painting warning viewers of the danger of lust and pleasure.
The left panel shows the beginning of humanity. God just finished creating Adam and Eve and the world is peaceful and natural looking. Animals are swimming in calm ponds and pretty, manicured plants with orange and red fruits wave in the painted wind.
The middle panel shows a delightful looking world where people are being sexy and eating oversized fruits. Curvy, futuristic…