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Archive for September, 2009

The Great Chip Paper Ritual

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

Dear Rachel

Yeah, no one knows how Stonehenge and the other stone circles were built, or what they are made of, or what shape they are. They are a total mystery, like where the Loch Ness Monster has gone. There’s all the smaller mysteries as well, with which I’m sure we are all familiar ie where are my doorkeys, why do I bother clinging to life, and I dunno why is there a lion in my kitchen, and so forth.

However, for me, the greatest mystery of all took place in the area of spatial uncertainty where the worlds of mass transit, chips, Leeds and football overlap. It doesn’t concern football itself, but an incident that used to happen on the way to the football, and immediately after a great deal of chips had been consumed.

[Hitting Read More now will reveal a load of stuff about, as you might expect, chips and such]


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The Unwitting Office Ladies Of Gracechurch Street

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Dear Rachel

One of the features of Tony and I’s unlikely kitchenware alliance is the very different way in which we interact with the apron-buying public. On our Leadenhall Market pitch, Tony addresses the office ladies who form the backbone of our weekday trade in the manner of a drunken uncle at a Christmas party. Even though he’s saying yeah, well this is a cotton drill catering quality apron, printed by us, and so on – all of which is perfectly reasonable information to offer a prospective customer – you can hear in his voice, if you listen closely, ‘You’re only fourteen? You’ve certainly grown! When you go on holiday, do you enjoy wearing a bikini?’ and all that. He’s like a fucking mantis or something. If he even touches himself inappropriately, it counts as assault. I tend to think that, for a lady, although an evening out with Tony would certainly not end up with being drugged, rolled in carpet, and dumped over a cliff, you would have to pretend to be interested in an awful lot of highly specialised pornography before getting the nightbus home. That said, his Unfriendly Soviet Wife doesn’t seem to mind, and the Leadenhall pitch is justifying itself, so shop on, unwitting office ladies of Gracechurch Street.

Leadenhall Market is posh and a bit creepy, so it is entirely fitting that Tony runs our stall there on Thursdays and Fridays. Currently, he is setting up outside a derelict fishmongers, the face of which is so generally done in as to suggest that he has leapt through the front of the building with the stall intact, brushed plaster and brickdust from his early 1980’s social worker haircut, and started selling aprons. Still, haircuts like that freed Nelson Mandela and tore down the Berlin Wall, so they are not to be underestimated.

[Hitting read more now will reveal how to deal with the general public in an efficient manner, among other things]


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Festivities By The Thames

Friday, September 11th, 2009

Dear Rachel

For me, the transition between summer and autumn marks a sartorial shift between my summer outfits – which, if shorts are involved, make me look like a scoutmaster you wouldn’t trust – and my winter clothing, which makes me look like an unsuccessful pirate. This year, however, it also marks our only outing into the festival season, with an appearance at the Thames Festival, this coming weekend, with our lavish aprons and kitchenware selection.

Trading at festivals is awesome. The last full season I did was in 2005, and consisted of eleven festivals in fourteen weeks, starting at WOMAD. Here, I got politely asked to leave a rendition of Korean folk songs for shouting ‘Play something we know’ after every twenty minute number, all of which sounded like the noise a cat would make if you used one to beat out a mattress fire. I also annoyed some Nice Earnest People in the Free Tibet tent by pointing out that I’d thought that Tibet was one of the Wombles until China invaded it. The people of Tibet have a lot to thank me for, as throughout the weekend I decided to test the sincerity of the middle classes by doing all our shirts for a tenner. Anything you wanted to pay over a tenner went to Free Tibet. Anything less than a tenner, I made up the difference on and donated to the Chinese military. It was a good weekend for the denial of basic education or healthcare to a larger populace in order to prop up an backward looking unelected theocratic elite too, as Tibet got about £150, so quite a victory for, I dunno, people power, probably.

[Hitting Read More now will reveal rioting tips for beginners and the miracle of conception, among other stuff]


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Richfield Road Incident

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Dear Rachel

On the 23rd of August, 2002, at about midday, I was on a bus turning right out of Blandford Road onto Hartland Road, in the Whitley Estate, Reading, where I lived at the time, on the way to Reading Festival. I dunno if you’ve ever noticed, but bus drivers will usually wave at or generally acknowledge each other when they pass on the open road. Well, that happened here. As a bus, the 21 I think, was coming down Hartland Road – which is quite a steep hill, climbing to Northumberland Road , from where the world is your oyster – the driver of my bus, the 5, waved at his oncoming colleague. Instead of casually waving back, the other driver threw his arms across his face and pretended to be helpless and screaming, as if at the wheel of a runaway vehicle. I was in an ideal position to see this, sitting directly behind the driver of my bus, and I giggled all the way to town, with the Vines on my Sony Discman.

It was still quite early when I arrived at Reading station. Zpoonz was there and Omar ‘He’s Making Eyes At Me’ Khan was there. Geraghty was there. Possibly Ladyboy, although I can’t remember now, and some friends of Zpoonz’s who I didn’t see again until I bumped into them earlier this year on the Cambridge Heath Road. Zpoonz was wearing some comedy spectacles fashioned from drinking straws that he was convinced would give him cancer, although he enthusiastically balanced this potential flaw against the fact that they only cost a quid, and that you could actually drink through them.

[Hitting Read More will reveal all kinds of stuff, among other things]


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