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Archive for May, 2009

Love Among The Callipers

Monday, May 25th, 2009

Dear Rachel

Yeah I was at Greenwich last Saturday when I had a right laugh with two guys who were not only deaf, and not only disabled, but to cap it all would you believe gay with each other as well. In an odd way, it was a bit like a full house in poker. I first realised that they might be deaf when they didn’t hear me repeatedly saying hello to them, and I first realised that they might be disabled when I noticed that they both had wheelchairs. They were in fact quite reminiscent of the cover of lovely old Suede’s tremendous first album, which features two disabled lesbians kissing, and I was tempted to break into a couple of verses of Animal Nitrate, but thought that they probably get that all the time. However, if my experience in casual retail is anything to go by, disabled people are usually quite a giggle. Indeed, it was a wheelchair fan who supplied me with my single favourite moment of market trading, when a bloke with cerebral palsy bought one of our ‘Help! I Can’t Speak Properly!’ baby bibs, because, you see, he literally couldn’t. I suppose that if you find yourself in a wheelchair, you can afford to lighten up a bit, as things are hardly likely to get any worse.

Anyway. At some length, I suggested that they get their wheelchairs welded together for added romance, which they agreed would save a fair amount of tyre expenditure, and also remarked at how lucky they were to each find a fella with a thing for deaf disabled guys. Otherwise, as I pointed out, they would have been like two ships that got pushed past each other in the night.

[Hitting Read More now will reveal dismal tales from a fun pub in Slough]

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Cookery for Crackheads, and Trout-based Sports

Saturday, May 16th, 2009

Dear Rachel,

Yeah I had a nice chat with a bloke at Greenwich on Sunday, whose job was to teach cookery skills to people coming off crack in Kingston, Jamiaca. Ironically, I’ve been trying to get Pikey Dave back on crack for a laugh for the last two years, but decided it would be inappropriate to mention this. Anyway, it turns out that, amid all the hallucinations, cold sweats, and screaming, a person coming off crack can whip up a mean butternut squash, lemon sorbet or Spanish omelette, providing of course they are kept away from knives, guns, or drugs. Or, come to think of it, recipes involving knives, guns, or drugs. Anyway, he was a nice bloke, and bought three aprons from the stall for his shivering maniacs. The thought that there are Yardies coming off crack via choux pastry while wearing aprons with Soups Upside Your Head, How Spoon Is Now? and I See Bread People printed on them – my kitchenware tributes to the Gap Band, the Smiths and Sixth Sense respectively – will bring me lasting pleasure.

[Hitting up Read More now will reveal how many years aircraft carriers have been going, and how kicking trout can while away an afternoon]

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Cigarettes and Alcohol

Sunday, May 10th, 2009

Dear Rachel

It’s not that I don’t like Camden, it’s just that I don’t like Camden. Or rather, I like a lot of the people who trade there, from the familiar Spastics Parade in the East Yard to the darker recesses of the Stables Market where I am known to traders of Asian origin as ‘Mr Paul’ – which gives me the air of smouldering mystery that I really rather like – but overall Camden is grim. It’s like a joke with no punchline, or rather, a sentence that you expect to be a joke, but then isn’t, but that you feel you have to laugh at anyway. Oddly enough, it is the newer bits that everyone always whines will destroy the character of the place that are the best, because they are destroying a character that was in dire need of a good destroying. I’m not sure I am entirely in favour of the huge shopping mall they are building behind Cyberdog, but whatever, most of the people who claim to love the character of Camden Market do all their shopping in New Look anyway, and the new development will give them the opportunity to do both at once.

That said, I do like the place more since discovering that the Britpop fued between Blur and Oasis was sparked by Noel and Liam Gallagher jostling Alex James while he was at the urinal in the Good Mixer, and causing him to piss on his shoes. I learned this from John Harris’ excellent The Last Party, about the fantastic British popular music scene of the 1990’s, which was centred around Camden Town.

[Hitting Read More now will reveal entertainments guaranteed to bring delight to any social occasion]

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It’s Kicked Off On The Train!

Wednesday, May 6th, 2009

Dear Rachel

I’m sure most of us have at one time or other accidentally started a riot, and I found myself discussing my experience in ths area over the weekend. This is a bit of a cheat of a blog, as I wrote it in my Livejournal at the time, but as far as I am aware there is no law against plagarising yourself, so I am going to write it again here:

I was quietly minding my own business on the train coming back from trading at Camden, when at Ealing Broadway a load of Chelsea piled on being generally loud and boisterous. Not behaving in an especially aggressive way, just making a lot of noise and being a bit lairy between themselves. A couple of anti West Ham chants (I was wearing a West Ham shirt) but nothing especially nasty. Mainly, a reworking of the Oliver Twist classic Chim Chimeny, with the line about sweeps replaced with ‘We hate those bastards in claret and blue’. Ideally, I would have responded with a common reworking of the Crystal’s nonsensical 1963 hit Da Do Ron Ron, with the the chorus changed to ‘The Chelsea run run, the Chelsea run’, but I would have felt a bit strange launching into it on my own. As creative as football chants can be, they are not ideally suited to solo rendition. Anyway, things escalate a bit, until inevitably one of them chucks an empty can at one of the others. Then they are all throwing stuff at each other. You might already see where this is going.

[Scuffling with Read More at this point will reveal clever tricks for out thinking would-be assailants at suburban train stations]

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