bored of excitement – the griefjunkie blog
Archive for May, 2010
Saturday, May 29th, 2010
I am writing this on a train. I travel on trains a lot, and on the whole I enjoy it. I almost always travel First Class – I think the nation expects it of me – and in any case reading on trains is one of my favourite things, and it is nice to do this in a usually silent carriage. Very often, I write stuff while on the train too, and one of these occasions is, as we have already established, now.
The reason I am writing this now is that I have just been to the buffet for tea. I like to get suitably provisioned before the journey starts in earnest, and when I arrived, the buffet wasn’t quite open. While I was waiting, I noticed a heterosexual man in a pink shirt also waiting, just in front of me. It takes a certain type of heterosexual man to carry off a pink shirt confidently – I tried it once with a Fred Perry, and binned it after being called a bender all evening – but this bloke was one of those people, and we acknowledged each other in the Unspoken Language of Men as we waited. He then nipped off for a second, perhaps to check something at his seat. At that moment two things happened: the buffet shutter opened, and a Third Man appeared, leant on the counter, and ordered a cup of tea. This constitutes queue jumping, which is a crime against civility, and therefore, perhaps the worst kind of crime there is.
Tuesday, May 25th, 2010
The churchyard of Christ Church Spitalfields, near the market on Commercial Road, was at one time inhabited by tramps and vagrants so verminous and lice ridden that it was locally known as Itchy Park. Fact fans, trivia buffs and tittle tattle afficionados will be interested to learn that this ‘Itchy Park’ was the inspiration for the Small Faces’ 1966 hit – which for some reason I just don’t get on with – Itchycoo Park.
Even more interestingly, it was on the jukebox of the adjacent and dearly beloved (by us) Duke of Wellington public house during my two hour stint as de facto landlord, on March 7th this year. Vinny, the actual landlord, had nipped out for a while, and the only other punter in the place was a bloke in his twenties reading Byron. I know he was reading Byron, because when I asked him what he was reading, he showed me the cover of the book for half a second without saying anything or moving his eyes or head at all. I got the impression that he was really reading Byron, in a way that someone like myself simply could not, even if I chose to try. It wouldn’t surprise me to learn that he dressed up like Bryon in order to further enjoy the book, but unless Bryon wore Pink Floyd t shirts like some sort of twat I don’t think he had on this occasion.
Wednesday, May 19th, 2010
Keith inadvertantly struck a public sector worker in the face with a banana at Greenwich Market on Sunday. If you’re reading this outside the UK, the public sector is a thing which either employs three people to do one person’s job, or one person to do three people’s jobs, and whose main role in wider society is to provide secure employment for terminally but non-specifically unhappy women. It’s cats, yoghurts, and crying at desks, basically, and we quickly knew that this woman was a public sector employee because she said ‘I’m a social worker, you know’ a bit angrily, and is probably just settling in to a couple of years off work with depression as I write.
In case you aren’t aware of who Keith is, he sells photographic art in our section of the market, and if a picture of him in shorts in the ’80s is to be believed, is eight inches on the slack. The catalyst between the public sector worker, the trouser proud photography vendor and the accidental fruity missile is Danny, who sells jewellery opposite my usual pitch. When bored, Danny will throw leftover foodstuffs onto the top of Keith’s stall, in order to attract pidgeons who, if everything goes to plan, will relieve themselves all over Keith’s stuff. It’s a remarkably successful ploy, and never one to be outdone, I’m thinking of putting a meadow in the market roof, to see if it works with cows.
Monday, May 10th, 2010
I have been looking at expanding our lavish kitchenware department recently, and I know a man who knows a man who knows a man who can cut toughened laminate glass. It isn’t his main line of business, but we are usually dealing with people who are doing things that aren’t their main line of business, or else their main line of business would be as ramshackle, haphazard and defined by endless grinding poverty as ours. Anyway. One of the properties I find most pleasing about toughened laminate glass is that, at a thickness of 40mm, it will stop a bullet. This appealed to me greatly, as I thought it would be a bit of a larf to produce a bulletproof chopping board.
Last week, I headed west to Acton to see the prototype. It had ‘Lovely Chopper’ on it, which I’m afraid was the best I could come up with design-wise at short notice, but otherwise it was very Anne Boleyn, which incidentally is London market slang for ‘well executed.’ It did look a bit on the thin side, though, and as the pair of us stood in a long and rather rusty open sided corregated iron shed, which I suppose at some point in the distant past was probably a repair depot for railway rolling stock, I said ‘Yeah it’s nice, but bollocks is it bulletproof’. My astonishment at what happened next – that our new kitchenware manufacturer took out a Glock automatic pistol and shot it, with a bored air more suited to someone examining a wine list in a restaurant they didn’t like but were resigned to eating in – was matched only by my astonishment that I had miraculously not shat myself.
Wednesday, May 5th, 2010
‘All nicked, nuffink legal, take it orf me ‘ands’. Wise words there from my own grandfather, who as some of you may recall operated a reasonably successful curtain material business from a stall at Petticoat Lane for many years, before, as he put it, his supplier went bust. Or, as everyone else would put it, the London docks closed, causing a catastrophic decline in the number of warehouses you could steal curtain material from. He may well also have been responsible for perennial crowd pleaser ‘English Cox – a lady knows what’s best’ from my uncle’s fruit and veg days, and was in any case a big fan of selling things he hadn’t actually bought in the first place.
With genetic material of this quality locked into my DNA, it is unsurprising that I have an ear for a heckle. My current favourite is ‘Do you have eczema at all, madam?‘ which is the deathless gambit of the handcream stall in the centre of Greenwich market. It’s a bold challange alright, and if they would just follow it up with ‘On your elbows perhaps? Or your minge?‘ it would make me laugh uncontrollably for, I would imagine, about twenty five minutes.