bored of excitement – the griefjunkie blog
Gateau Moment In Greenwich
Thursday, June 28th, 2012 at 6:29 pm | Write a comment
You can’t have fat mods. It’s not allowed – understated tailoring doesn’t work over 160 lbs, and scooters are harder to control at low speeds – and while I am not a fat as such, I am increasingly unthin. In my usual direct manner, I recently decided that instead of dieting in the conventional way, I would simply stop eating. Or rather, eat as little as I could for as long as I could every day, and see what happened.
One of the things that happened – although probably unrelated – was finding myself refereeing a dispute between Danny and Keith over post-trading beverages at Greenwich Market. Danny and Keith have argued about almost every single thing on earth, although are always happy to explore new ground. As if to prove this, the lyrics of ‘My Old Man’s A Dustman’ by Lonnie Donegan were being called into question. Danny withheld that the correct chorus was ‘He wears gor blimey trousers and he lives in a council flat’. Keith, however, maintained that the trousers were ‘brown corduroy’, and that Danny was deaf and an idiot. Lonnie Donegan was also responsible for such deathless classics as ‘Does Your Chewing Gum Lose It’s Flavour On The Bedpost Overnight?’ and ‘You’ll Have To Speak Up (I’ve Got Beans In My Ears)’, but these remained unreferenced as Danny said ‘I left a book of Lonnie Donegan lyrics round your place when I was having a go on your mrs the other day, I’ll give her a quick bell and we’ll sort it out’, in a favourite debating strategy of his.
At this point, I compromised my impartiality by saying ‘Actually Keith, he’s got a point. I also had a go on Barbara the other day, and saw it on the dressing table next to the photo of Jamal from the kebeb shop she’s put in that nice frame’. To cushion the blow, I pointed out that I hadn’t planned to have a go on her, but I’d missed my bus and didn’t want to wait about in the rain. After what can only be described as a hurricane of violent and foul language – during which we ascertained that the correct lyric is indeed ‘gor blimey’ – I finished my drink and wandered off to Greenwich station. Having lost 20 lbs in five weeks, I was surprised at how squiffy I was. I put this down as a benefit of dieting, and reported it to Michelle, a jewellery vendor. ‘Yes, isn’t it brilliant!’ she replied, ‘I’m a size six, but that’s why I keep doing it’.
Apart from making alcohol far more potent, dieting sometimes make you miss stuff – if someone, for example, mentions eating an entire gateau, you can find yourself thinking ‘You know what, now you mention it, I do fancy eating an entire gateau, yes’. I have discovered that this also applies to kicking it off in pubs. I had popped into the St Christopher by Greenwich station for a swift one while waiting for my train, and standing at the bar watching the footie found myself subjected to thinly veiled taunts and insults by the staff, who seemed intent upon antagonising their patrons. After about ten minutes, one of the barmen stamped off to find the landlord after the bloke next to me demanded change from the twenty pound note he had handed over, rather than the tenner it seemed to have magically transformed into when it reached the till. I had defended my new companion, who turned to me and said ‘I can’t be seen to start anything as I’m on probation, but if you want to kick if off, I’ll follow you in and we’ll say he slapped you first’. This was my gateau moment. I realised that actually, now he mentioned it I did quite fancy kicking it off, yes. For a second or two I considered the implications of a return to recreational violence – coming out of retirement did wonders for Tom Jones, after all. However, this line of reasoning is also why I am threatened with being locked in a wardrobe whenever West Ham play Millwall, and in any case forty is an undignified age to be assaulting bar staff, no matter how much they might be asking for it. In the event, the landlord appeared, fired two of them on the spot, apologised to everyone, and bought the entire pub a drink, which as you can probably imagine rapidly elevated the place to the greatest hostelry the world has ever seen.
I was quite lit up by this point and, declining the offer of a further pint with my new friend, decided to head back over the water and catch up with the Goat Bag Man and the other East End traders. On autopilot, I went to the Duke of Wellington public house, Toynbee Street, London E1, and discussed the evening’s events with Vinny the Landlord. After a short time, I saw that my need for familiar surroundings had led me to the wrong pub – I was in the Duke, but everyone else was in the Pride of Spitalfields, which is down Fashion Street and across Brick Lane, on Heneage Street. Resolving that I wasn’t going to move, I rang the Goat Bag Man and demanded that everyone made their way over, as I had a good view of the footie which was by this point reaching an intriguing finale, and didn’t fancy shifting.
I am a happy drunk and, finishing another pint, had a change of heart. Ringing the Goat Bag Man again, I said that upon reflection it wasn’t really cricket for me to expect everyone to leave the Pride, so instead I would magnanimously go over there. ‘We’ve just got up and headed to the door on your bloody account’ said the Goat Bag Man, failing to see how reasonable I had been, ‘I’ll see if I can get our table back’. I bade goodnight to Vinny and strolled along Brick Lane, touched and heartened that friends, colleagues, and acquaintances would voluntarily change pubs to keep me company. I explained this to the Goat Bag Man when I got there. ‘Oh don’t worry’, he said, ‘We were giving you a right slagging off’. ‘It’s true’, confirmed Artist Lou sagely, ‘We really were’, a sentiment independently verified and subsequently recapped in detail for my benefit over the rest of the evening by Viran, Sox, and, as I left, Upmarket John.
Kindle. For reasons which I don’t understand, the page keeps defaulting to ‘Not available to customers from the United Kingdom’ which isn’t ideal. I don’t think it makes much difference though, so sturdy Britons need not be deterred.
Podcast. This week’s podcast examines fictitious market traders selling fictitious goods, the Victorian theory that bear fat will cure baldness, and a quick sprint though last week’s blog.
Pictards. This week’s full colour photards are:
Top – Tooting Bec, London SW17, celebrates the Diamond Jubilee. There was a lot of this sort of thing, which was nice, and also a street party on Balham High Road which enabled several small children to get visibly drunk for the first time in their lives.
Middle – A reminder of why I had to stop Childbrain doing our printing. This is an example of his excellent work, exactly as it was handed over. He claimed he ‘couldn’t see anything wrong with it.’
Lower – A Second World War British field gun, with camouflage paintwork suggesting service in the North African campaign. If you find yourself being hassled by the bar staff in the St Christopher, Greenwich, discharge one of these into the ceiling and watch them settle down nicely.