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Archive for September, 2011

Sarajevo Moment For Upmarket John

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Dear Rachel

The outdoors is, on the whole, very overrated, and my own natural suspicion of the countryside extends to any open space which is not enclosed by walls and a roof.  My unfamiliarity is such that if, for example, the beer garden of the Duke of Wellington public house, Toynbee Street, London E1 did not have concrete paving, wooden tables, a wardrobe and a pink scooter abandoned there in 2006 by persons unknown and now showing visible signs of disintegration in it, I would think it was part of Dorset.

The beer garden is where the lovely Chinese dvd lady, who is a welcome sight in the pubs around and between Spitalfields and Petticoat Lane markets, attends to the tipsy yet thrifty film buffs who form her core customer base.  Interestingly, selling dvds from pub to pub is not illegal, and as long as the landlord of the public house concerned is satisfied that there is no attendant illegality taking place, it is perfectly acceptable. The landlord of the Duke of Wellington is Vinny, a man whom we may safely assume is at peace with his personal interpretation of the concepts of what is legal and what isn’t. Past patrons would certainly have included both Jack the Ripper and at least a couple of his victims, and while selling digital versatile discs pub to pub is not illegal, dismembering prostitutes clearly is. To further complicate this legal minefield, prostitution in itself is not illegal either, although if the recent experience of Upmarket John, a Brick Lane trader of my acquaintance is anything to go by, not having sex with someone who isn’t a prostitute actually is.


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Doing A Luton With The Goat Bag Man

Monday, September 5th, 2011

Dear Rachel,

I’m sure you’ll know what a middle eight – or ‘bridge’ – is, but in case you don’t, it’s the ‘middle eight’ bars of a pop song, which break up the verse structure and add interest, usually by embellishing a central riff or adding a solo.  For example, this morning I listened to the Beatles’ tremendous 1965 hit I Feel Fine.  The middle eight in I Feel Fine is the instrumental bit at the end of the second chorus and before the second verse.  It’s excellent, but when removed from its context, makes no sense whatsoever.  Now imagine a tune consisting entirely of middle eights.  To return to the case of the middle eight from I Feel Fine, you’d think, after a while, ‘I like this, it’s highly enjoyable and very catchy, but I don’t know where it’s come from, I don’t know where it’s going, and I don’t know the structure in which it is supposed to exist’.  That’s what a conversation with the Goat Bag Man is like.


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