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Archive for January, 2010

Coughing Up A Storm

Friday, January 29th, 2010

Dear Rachel

There is a primary school report of mine somewhere in which my teacher, Miss Spickett, writes ‘Paul has been poorly for much of this term, and describes his cough as ‘like a clown leaping from a wardrobe’, and I must say I agree with him’. This is a description I stand by to this day, although I’d possibly add that it also sounds a bit like a shark trying to cough up a seal.

It doesn’t, you know, produce anything, or anything horrible like that, it just comes as quite a surprise sometimes. Coughing runs in our family, as my old dear and I established the other day while talking about my grandfather. My old dear always wistfully mentions that he ‘had such a desire to be a teacher’.   This is true, and, as I usually point out, if only it was as strong as his other desire – to repeatedly steal curtain material from warehouses in Limehouse and sell it at Petticoat Lane market – a lot of things might have been very different.

[HItting read more now will reveal all manner of lung related rambling]

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Throwing A Phone Through A Taxi

Sunday, January 24th, 2010

Dear Rachel

Yeah there’s a saying – I forget exactly what it is, or what it is supposed to demonstrate – but it’s something about if you have a monkey at a typewriter hitting random keys for an infinite amount of time, he will eventually produce the complete works of William Shakespeare. No, I don’t get it either. Anyway, now imagine the same monkey, surrounded presumably by balls of screwed up paper, monkey vending machine coffee cups and banana skins, still hitting the keys randomly, but with the added pressure of an editorial deadline. This extra element means that at the end of a set amount of time, he has to go with what he’s got, no matter what it is or how little sense it makes.

After some months of careful observation, I have reached the conclusion that this monkey supplies the scripts from which Winkle, Greenwich Market photograph trader of distinction, reads by way of conversation. Trading near Winkle is to drown in a tidal wave of total irrelevant fucking nonsense. I sometimes think he only talks to me because he is lonely. However, he is a man of hidden depths, and these to a large extent compensate for also being a man of ill-hidden dimensions, suggesting a diet of butter, glazed ham, cushions, and entire buffaloes.


[Hitting Read More will reveal possible ancestors and poorly concieved sporting challenges]

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Greenwich Lean Time

Sunday, January 10th, 2010

Dear Rachel

A few years ago, when Camden first began to really slide, its decline was slowed by the Israeli traders bringing awesome stuff. Then, the Israelis stopped coming, and the Chinese came instead. Then the Chinese stopped coming, and it was left to the mentally ill to fill the breech. Camden is now in a situation where even the mentally ill – and anyone who has traded the Lock can name the human timebombs – have realised that they’re backing the wrong horse. So when, like us, you find that you’re supporting an outlet in an environment that even people who hear voices telling them that they are Pontius Pilate have realised is no good, it may be time to consider your overall strategic approach.

This is not exactly news, of course. It was half-man half-debris East Yard plastic handbag magnate Pikey Dave who first pointed out that Camden had become a place where you buy rubbish and sell it to idiots. This has always been substantially true, and was a remarkable observation for a man who smells of stolen motorbikes. Also, I leant him a pen once, and he tarmacced it.

[Hitting Read More now will reveal cold weather skillz]

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Cheerful Theft and Ben-heaviness

Tuesday, January 5th, 2010

Dear Rachel

My first customer of the year at Greenwich was a lady who I didn’t fancy, but also did a tiny bit on the grounds that she was wearing a National Portrait Gallery hoodie, and therefore looked very much how I imagine urban street youths would if they appeared in an Enid Blyton book.

It put me in mind of an occasion in which an acquaintance of mine had his van stolen by two friendly thieves in Canning Town, who advised him that, contrary to his protests, they were going to steal his van, and that he was going to watch them. They then drove off within the speed limit, stopping at the traffic lights, where, this being summer, he could hear them retuning the radio through the open passenger window. It was, as he pointed out later, the acceptable face of theft.

[Hitting Read More now will reveal slum secrets of Spitalfields, among other things]

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