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Back Buzz - November 10, 2014

pumping heartCouch, 29-31 Campo Lane, Sheffield, South Yorkshire

When I first spotted somebody walking down the street with a Couch coffee cup I knew instantly that I had to check out this intriguingly named coffee purveyor. After all, I grew up in Southern California where we always had a couch and never a sofa, a divan, or a settee. The couch of my childhood was bright orange naugahyde, and I vaguely remember me and the neighbourhood kids crowded on the orange couch against the turquoise wall watching cartoons on TV while my mother served us pitchers of purple fruit juice. The orange naugahyde transmogrified later to a classier and much roomier beige patterned fabric pair of couches. My last American couch experience was my own large sectional. Alas, now that I live in the UK we have sofas, not couches, so it's just not the same.

Last week I found Couch in the area of Campo Lane near the cathedral. Located in a modern building it's a big cafe with wood floors and brick and chipboard walls. There are plenty of tables, both high and low -- and, of course, chairs and couches. I sat in one of the chairs of a three-piece suite arranged around an appealing waterfall coffee table that looked as if it had lived in an art studio. The cushions on the chairs and sofa were upholstered in Levis, back pocket side up. I felt as if I were sitting on someone's bum. (I admit I was tempted to check the pockets and under the cushions for loose change.)

My double macchiato at £2.10 was a bit pricey for my budget. It was served in a glass and it seemed as if there was too much liquid for two shots of espresso and a bit of milk. Perhaps it was a doppio-lungo doppio macchiato. But it was all right: perhaps a tad weak and not exactly robust but flavourful. The food menu features flatbreads, pies, burgers and dogs, sandwiches, salads, and tapas plates. There are cocktails, wine, spirits, and beer, including a few real ales and some European and Brooklyn lagers. Venting pipes straight out of the 1985 film Brazil snake around the ceiling, reminding me of some of the 21st-century Pacific Northwest coffee houses I've visited. The clientele look like locals -- in other words, solicitors and law office types.

There is another Couch in Ecclesall Road -- and, naturally, they both provide free WiFi. Surprisingly, this Couch is directly across the street from Urban Deli, which is also a trendy cafe with food and espresso. It's starting to remind me of Seattle, where it's not unusual to find three espresso cafes on one corner. Of course Sheffield reminds me more and more these days of Seattle -- without all of the water, that is. I figure it won't be long before most modern cities are indistinguishable from each other.

Speaking of modern times reminds me of a recent Facebook posting session about a language lesson for the Concrete Appreciation Society:

Language Lesson No.17: Javanese: konkrit, as in "A kelas konkrit ing Jawa kang nindakake ing Efesus saka kelas Abstrak" (A concrete class in Java is one that implements the functionalities of an abstract class) Concrete classes can be persistent...just pointing that out. Okay, then: "konkrit kelas bisa ngengkel." Okay, how does one translate that on the internet? I'm not sure. How does one say "concrete" in C++? I can't even say "concrete": in Java. I've forgotten more than I know. I've forgotten nearly everything I know. Are we now officially dinosaurs? It's fun being a dinosaur! Hey! Look at that bright star! It's getting closer! Maybe we should devolve into the sea and write nonfunctional code. This one hurts my head:]: Sorry, somebody dropped an infinite loop into the cement mixer. Mary's comments appear to have been suddenly removed from this Facebook conversation. Now it really doesn't make any sense. OMG! Has Mary reverted to an abstract class? Hey, Mary's comments are back! Must have just popped out for a Javanese lunch...