bored of excitement – the griefjunkie blog 

For Idle Hands To Do

Dear Rachel

We didn’t have a valid insurance certificate the last time we traded at the Thames Festival, so to be on the safe side Tony drew one for us.  Resourceful bluffing of this kind is a valuable asset when trading at events, and a great deal cheaper than getting actual insurance.  Sadly, I do not have Tony’s easy familiarity with the calligraphic arts, so when I trade at it this year I will be fully insured to do something for the first time in my life.  Lack of insurance is also a hindrance when attempting to drive legally, but fortunately not if you’re driving illegally, so I foresee no problem getting the considerable amounts of stock involved to and from the event itself.

Some time ago, a lady came to the Greenwich Market pitch and said ‘These aprons are great.  I’d like fourteen of them’.  I leaned across the stall and, sobbing with relief, gently cupped her breasts in gratitude.  That exact sequence of events didn’t actually happen, of course.  While I do have a stall at Greenwich Market, while I did sob on occasion as an infant, and while a lady whose breasts we may plausibly conclude have known a recreational cupping did once buy fourteen aprons at once from me, all these things did not happen at the same time.   I am merely fabricating an illustrative story from known or assumed facts in order to convey just how much trouble we’ll be in if we have a shocker on September 10th and 11th, which is when the Thames Festival is.   If we pull it off, though – and a caper like this can go either way – the sighs of relief will be audible from as far away as Great Yarmouth.

The chorus to the Charlatan’s marvellous 1990 hit The Only One I Know is not ‘Everyone’s been to Crowthorne – everybody knows the pain’, but does sounds very much like it could be.   Crowthorne is a small and inoffensive Berkshire town of my slight and occasional acquaintance, and although my forays there are rare, they are not in any way painful, either physically or emotionally.  The Charlatans cannot be accused of forgery in the same manner that Tony at the Thames Festival in 2009 assuredly can – they haven’t set out to deliberately mislead, for a start – but malhearage can nonetheless be very pleasing when dealing with the general public across a market stall.   For example, I was talking to some knackered old slag at the weekend, and for a larf pretended to mishear something she said.   ‘It’s my age’ I explained, tapping my ear.  ‘That’ll get worse as you get older’, she assured me, adding that ‘You lose more faculties as you go along’.   ‘Ah no sorry’ I replied, feigning embarrassment, ‘Not my age. My AIDS.’    I haven’t got AIDS – well, I’ve always assumed I haven’t, which is the main thing – but it was worth momentarily pretending that I have in order to see the horrified look on her Chevy Chase.

Anyway.  I reckon Thames will be alright, even though it’s a horrendous risk.   There is, as the Duke of Wellington was heard to mutter to himself as he watched Napoleon’s army taking up positions shortly before the Battle of Waterloo, always a time to cut cards with the Devil.   We have to start branching out into larger events, as you can stand behind a market stall for as long as you like and you probably won’t starve, but you’ll never do anything other than stand behind a market stall, either.    In any case, on the unexpected subject of the anti-Christ, my happy knack of always having ‘the luck of the Devil’ at exactly the right moment might just see us through: I had a great great aunt who was convinced that the entire male line of our family was descended from Satan, via a bastard child of Henry II.   She was completely nuts, obviously – although, equally obviously, if I actually was descended from Satan that’s exactly the sort of thing I would say, so as not to arouse suspicion.    In conclusion, I may or may not be descended from Satan, and we may or may not do well at the Thames Festival.    I’m quietly confident that the latter is reasonably likely, and that the former is untrue, although both may be subject to clerical enquiry.

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Photards: this weeks breathtaking photographic scenery is:

Top: Myself, as a cartoon, by Cartoon Ben.   It sort of looks like me, and sort of doesn’t.   Incidentally, Cartoon Ben was in Kidulthood and also Hot Fuzz, where he played a minor criminal being chased.   His girlfriend managed to have a stroke at 29, although happily has fully recovered and is now in considerably better health than his acting career.

Middle: London County Council sign embedded in brickwork in Brune Street, E1.   Well, I assume it’s the London County Council, unless the Loboc Children’s Choir have been pretty aggressively expanding their property portfolio.

Lower: A building on Union Street, Southwark, which I think may once have been a shop or workshop of some kind.  This picture was taken about eighteen months ago, and although I don’t go to Southwark as often as I used to, whenever I do this forlorn little building looks happier and happier as it’s being done up very nicely.

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