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Archive for October, 2011

Awkward Moment

Monday, October 24th, 2011

Dear Rachel

I would not list the Duke of Wellington public house, Toynbee Street, London E1 alongside the Houses of Parliament or the Oxford Society as a white hot crucible of enlightened debate.   However, the fact remains that many decisions of vast importance in the lives and businesses of the people who drink there have taken place around the circular table by the dart board, the oblong table between the Gents’ and the Ladies’, and my personal favourite table beneath the portrait of the Iron Duke himself.

It was at this table, at about the time when a long evening has turned into an early morning which has in turn given way to the irrefutable truth that actual people with real jobs are on their way to work, and that very soon you’ll have to dawdle down to Liverpool Street station and take the Central Line to Soho to see your wholesaler, that I had to inform Lou that I knew nothing whatsoever about comic book art.   There are several reasons that the exact sequence of events surrounding my revelation can never be replicated, not least because Vinny the landlord has recently replaced the Duke of Wellington portrait with yet another telly, on the curious grounds that life is too short to look at anything more than eight feet away. (more…)

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Prudent Purchases In Tooting Bec

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

Dear Rachel

I have only been abroad once in my entire life – I decided on a whim to ride a mountain bike from Atlanta to New Orleans and back on my own, for reasons that now escape me – and perhaps because of this I have always found airmail writing paper curiously exciting.   It makes a lovely crackly noise when you handle it, for a start, and it has a romantic quality, too – whenever I recieve letters written on airmail paper I always imagine that the person writing them is sitting under a palm tree in the East Indies, even if they are in a rented room in Chatham.   Not that Chatham or the nature of rented accomodation are necessarily without romantic qualities of their own, of course, but they do not spring as readily to mind as a classic romantic backdrop.

I have spent a good deal of the past summer outside London, scampering around the provinces in the interests of our wider commercial affairs.   While doing so, I’ve taken to using Basildon Bond airmail paper over emails for personal correspondence as, due to what we may now call the Chatham effect, it gives a letter from Hastings or Ramsgate or Grimsby an exotic aura that it might otherwise lack.   When writing from home I usually use standard Basildon Bond post quarto paper, either blue or champagne, depending upon my mood.   For very special letters I whip out couple of sheets of Eclats D’or, which has tiny flecks of gold in it, and I favour a Parker Duofold pen.   There are only two downsides to written correspondence: 1) It could be misconstrued as self conscious whimsy, which runs the risk that the kind of women who feature prominantly in Match.com advertising will drag me off to meet their cats and parents as soon as I start to write anything, and 2) my handwriting is so atrociously bad that I routinely have to send a version of all written correspondance by email, so that the recipient can actually read it.

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Billy And My Monotone Brothers

Tuesday, October 4th, 2011

Dear Rachel

I was returning to London last week, having spent a couple of days tending to our commercial interests in the provinces, when I found myself considering the Essex countryside from the window of an inter city train.  While doing so, the following forgotten rhyme from my childhood suddenly unforgot itself and came to mind, as the greenery between Manningtree and Colchester tumbled by:

My friend Billy had a ten foot willy,
He showed it to the lady next door,
She thought it was a snake,
And hit it with a rake,
And now it’s only four foot four.

While I’m sure that none of the above is based upon actual events, I do have a friend called Billy – he sells handpainted Jerusalem pottery at Greenwich Market – and he can’t be much more than four foot four tall, being the shortest man in casual retail.   He lives in a flat in Tufnell Park, and although there is a lady living next door to him, neither of them have a garden and she is therefore unlikely to own a rake, or indeed gardening implements of any kind.  Whether she needs to chill out a bit, as the lady in the rhyme would appear to, I suspect we will never know for sure.

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