Sure Shot

We were in a Soho pub on Friday, enjoying a quiet, late celebration of Rev Sherlock’s fortyhurhurff birthday. It was a busy night, but the staff were their usual peppy, on-the-ball self. The drinks were flowing smoothly.

All of a sudden, everyone behind the bar stopped what they were doing, and poured out a line of shots. The music was cut. A solemn toast was pronounced, and when the music came back up it was the Beastie Boys, played boneshakingly loud.

I took a moment to lift a glass, as I had just seen the news that the bar staff at the Ship on Wardour Street had needed to mark. Adam Yauch, MCA of the Beastie Boys, had just died of cancer. He was 47. His sandpaper-and-whiskey voice had made him my favourite, and he was a prime mover of the Beastie’s shift to a more conscious, if just as funky, lyrical stance.

His loss is a kick in the nuts. MCA was a richly talented musician, a rapper with a unique flow, a generous and intelligent presence. This shot is for him.