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Archive for November, 2009

Fame Snub For Slack Matt

Thursday, November 26th, 2009

Dear Rachel

Yeah, Emma Watson, who plays Sabrina the Teenage Witch in the Harry Potter books, went past our old pitch at Camden once. I didn’t recognise her without Bilbo, but fellow t shirt vendor Slack Matt tried optimistically to crack onto her as she walked around the East Yard. Not possessing a cinematic career of his own, I assume he did so as a result of briefly slipping into an impromtu nightmare rendering of Notting Hill. In this version, however, Hugh Grant’s affable bookshop owner character had been transposed into a hugely likeable if somewhat stunted market trader played by someone who – and I don’t know why this is true, but it is – looks like a taxi driver. I have in fact long campaigned for Slack Matt to have a rear view mirror fitted behind his stall, so that he can face away from his customers and talk to them while looking in it.

In the aftermath of being turned down by the Watson, Matt’s splendid indignation was not so much directed at the rebuff as the fact that she had come out wearing tracksuit bottoms and a baggy jumper, instead of, presumably, a cloak and pointy hat with stars on it. I agreed that yeah, you’d think that one of the most eligible women in England would make more of an effort when coming into the East Yard, considering the mouthwatering manbuffet on show, but that in any case the only reason you’d date an eighteen year old would be to get your iPod set up properly.

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Stormy Weather in SE10

Monday, November 16th, 2009

Dear Rachel,

It is common practice in the building trade to house external storage tanks in large wooden boxes consisting of two inch thick plywood paneling. One of the very many interesting things about plywood paneling is that, if it is subjected to torrential rain for a substantial length of time, it becomes inundated, heavy, and prone to detaching itself from whatever it is attached to, especially if what it is attached to is similarly unstable sections of plywood paneling.

Once this happenstance has been occurred, all that is needed is an external force – such as winds in excess of 100 mph – like those occurring in the SE10 postal district of London at three o’clock on Saturday afternoon – to apply itself to the waterlogged storage tank housing for one of the eighteen foot long side panels to break free and hurtle at great speed through the air until its progress is impeded by something, such as the roof of a covered market.

Here, momentum will either be dissipated back into the panel by the roof, thus causing it to bounce off or shatter, or it will smash straight though and plummet seventy feet earthwards towards shoppers and traders, destroying a stall selling knitted head wear, ricocheting onto the roof of a stall belonging to London’s primary apron vendor, buckling the steel bars above his lovely head, before coming to rest, thankfully as a spent force, on a lady and small child. This, as you may already have guessed, is what actually happened. It was all so quick and loud that the first I knew if it was having a woman who had been carried into my stall by the passing projectile apologise for the intrusion and explain that ‘Something like this always happens when I try to buy a hat’.

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Through Streets Broad And Narrow

Friday, November 13th, 2009

Dear Rachel,

I spend more time than most people wheeling a barrow full of stock around London, either on the way to Greenwich market, or dropping stuff off at Leadenhall or Camden. Even if I’m not going to a market, I wheel it around anyway, to show how working class I am.

My barrowcraft is excellent. I can spin it by standing on one tyre and pushing off with the other leg, in order to get it facing the right exit on crowded Northern Line carriages, and glide on and off escalators like a horrible man swan. Less finesse is required when crossing the concourse at Liverpool Street station, especially at night, when it’s just office blokes who have spent the evening in All Bar One or whatever doing tequila shots, yelling along to My Sex Is On Fire and trying to shag yoghurt guzzling desk weepers from admin called Jo who live in Godless new build estates in, I dunno, Chiswick Park or something, and who don’t own a single album that isn’t a compilation. At times like this, I eminate poverty, impatience, and a complete lack of public liability insurance, so yeah, wander about wherever you like, but forget your vintage car track day if 170 lbs of market trader pushing 140 lbs of stock ploughs into you by the Cornish Pasty Company.

[Hitting read more now will reveal further adventures at the helm of the hardest working barrow in London]

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Swaying Gourmet On Junction Road

Thursday, November 5th, 2009

Dear Rachel

Reading while drunk is one of the most annoying things you can do, as your eyes just roll around all over the page like marbles on a tray. I found myself doing this on the Northern Line recently, immediatley prior to tackling Junction Road in the uncertain but nonetheless determined manner of a gentleman who has consumed eight pints of snakebite in the George on Borough High Street. I may well have been nodding in agreement with the book as I read in order to maintain the air of quiet dignity for which I am noted among my peers.

Pinballing my way out of Archway tube, I was horried to find that Panic Kebabs – north London’s home of deluxe artery-deleting post pub snackery for the discerning but incoherent, (and for the record, actually called Planet Kebabs) – was closed for the first time since the late middle ages. I once stated before the House of Commons that I would not set foot in Archway Kebabs, on the other side of Junction Road, even if it was the only part of the world not on fire. This left me, masquerading in my late night guise as the Swaying Gourmet, with Chicken Spot, next to the Lion on the corner of Holloway Road.

[Hitting Read More will reveal north London food adventures]

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