bored of excitement – the griefjunkie blog 

Kitchen Kommandant

Dear Rachel

If you were to unlock my smartphone by drawing the security pattern, then dragged the Google bar out of the way, then flicked across a couple of pages and dragged my Spotify icon around to the bottom right, then got distracted by something else so that the screen timed out and went blank, then left the phone in such a way that the light fell upon the marks left by your fingers as they moved across the screen, you’ll find – as I did when I carried out this sequence of actions on Tuesday afternoon – that to your considerable and horrified surprise you’d traced an almost perfect swastika.

Another way of having a swastika about your person is to have one tattooed on your arm, in the manner of a Nazi I had at the stall a few weekends ago.   Well, I say he was a Nazi  and he might not have been I suppose, although having a swastika tattooed on your arm is an entirely different league of ill-advised playfulness to having, I dunno, a cheeky devil tattooed on your arse, so I don’t think I’m running away with the idea too much.   He asked for a couple of quid off the somewhat Germanic ‘Kitchen Kommandant’ apron, which I felt was probably fair enough, what with him actually being in the Third Reich and everything, and therefore probably qualifying for a staff discount or, I dunno, being able to write if off as expenses for tax purposes.

I am confident that the looming Easter weekend at Greenwich will be Nazi-free, although the market will be full of Children and the Kind Of People That Have Them.   This presents a very different set of problems.   Over a four day weekend at Greenwich, you tend to find that the same people who thought that taking their children on a quick jaunt around the market on the Friday when they were all quite perky and excited was a good idea – which it is – decide to recreate the magic all over again on the Monday, when they are bored and skint.   I do on occasion have what’s known as a ‘walk in’ stall , which is exactly what it sounds like: a stall with the table removed , allowing people to ‘walk in’ and look at your stuff in detail.   Walk in stalls are usually associated with with art or clothing, except over long Bank Holiday weekends when The Kind Of People Who Have Children associate them with a handy place to store prams, pushchairs, buggies and, more often than you might think, sleeping infants while they wander around the market with a look of profound, severe and terminal disappointment.    In the far off East Yard days at Camden, I gave another dimension to a ‘walk in’ stall by hanging mannequins with t shirts on at just the right height to collide with the forehead of people walking past without paying attention.   It made a very pleasing ‘toc’ sound, which according to my records could be heard on average eighteen times a day.

Public Service Announcement for Guardian readers: our Nazi guest was from the Ukraine.   I can’t begin to imagine what kind of  catastrophic logic circuit meltdown a racist immigrant is going to cause you.   On the other hand, Guardian readers think anyone who isn’t a Guardian reader is a Nazi, so you’ll think we all look the same anyway.

Twitter: Ideal for agreeing with the last thing you heard, over and over again.

Facebook: Dwindling a bit, actually.   Down to 111, which makes our all time high of 118 at Christmas look like a crazy dream.    Oh well.

Photards – this weeks random selections from the shoebox full of Polaroids under the bed are:

Top: Champagne thoughtfully provided by Keith on the weekend after my birthday.   I was remarkably poorly over my birthday and a few paper cups of this, along with several shots of some mad Slovakian firewater provided by Lenka who has the skirt stall, saw me pretty giggly by ten in the morning.

Middle: My maternal great grandmother, flanked by my grandmother and great uncle.    My great grandmother eventually ran off to Hendon under circumstances which are still unexplained, but which show a certain predilection for glamourous living.    About twelve years after this photograph was taken, my grandmother married my grandfather, principally because he ‘had a nice hat’.

Lower: My grandmother, aged about 14, and my great uncle, aged about 10.    I think my grandmother looks very pretty here.   Note great uncle displaying the look of malevolent disdain that is something of a hallmark throughout the bloodline.


  1. Eurokennan

    Apr 22nd, 2011
    4:44 pm

    Brilliant photos! Yes your great uncle is really not amused about the whole situation.

  2. Paul

    Apr 22nd, 2011
    7:30 pm

    He was a bit of a handful when he got older, to say the very least. He seems to be saying ‘At a time of my choosing, I am going to kill you’, which actually would’ve been fairly in keeping.

  3. Ruthie formerly 'Free Massage'

    Apr 27th, 2011
    11:41 pm

    People used to try to use my stall as some sort of weird creche, one which had no facilities, one that looked like a table covered with some old piece of cloth and was in fact a bloody market stall. A few just sort of walked off, leaving their toddlers at my stall, not a quick look at something, an undertstandable quick moments peace, but actually buggering off miles away down the aisle. Well out of sight and earshot. Quite hard to persuade them to take their kids with them sometimes. I used to wonder if it was my face. Clearly not then.

  4. Paul

    Apr 28th, 2011
    12:02 am

    It isn’t, no. I did for a while think of going with the flow and having baby changing facilities and a paddling pool installed, but it would’ve been annoying to drag into storage at the end of every weekend.

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