The Frog in the Throat of the Bloke on Speaker’s Corner

sun2Elements of the following short story are based on true events. My dad took me so Speaker’s Corner when I was circa eight-years-old (1978-ish), and there I heard a man give a speech exactly along the lines of that described below.

In the unlikely event I ever end up with a pub or bar of some sort, ‘The Frog in the Throat of the Bloke on Speaker’s Corner’ is what I’ll name it; which reminds that I did used to frequent a place called ‘The Frog and Nightgown’ on the Old Kent Road, while sometimes before Chelsea games I’d pop in ‘The Ferret & Firkin in a Balloon Up The Creek Without a Paddle’ (said to be the longest pub name in the world at the time) on Lots Road.

Indeed, two Firkin franchise pubs were called the ‘Frog and Firkin’ (no relationship to the Nightgown).

My local was the ‘Phoenix and Firkin’, the old ticket office at Denmark Hill train station that had burned down before being turned into a pub. I quaffed many a pint of Dogbolter (brewed on the premises) there before the favoured drinking haunts of many got bought-out by a of corporate entity that wrecked them with arrogance and stupidity (such as no longer brewing Dogbolter) to the point of the franchise ceasing to exist bar (excuse the pun) a few names still being used, and even then only in part; such as ‘The Fleece’, Bristol–the first Firkin out of London and currently an integral part of Bristol’s live music scene–that today no longer uses the Firkin part on its name/branding.

While the below has nothing to do with pubs Firkin or otherwise, it does abound aplenty with corporate arrogance, greed and inanity. 

With thanks to D. D. Buck^ for use of the header image. Continue reading

Dark Face at the Door

Watching TV with my mum over Christmas there was a programme on featuring some of the oldest buildings known in Scotland. Discussing them was Scottish comedian and historical tour guide Bruce Fummey, who is black; relevant, as when discussing old New Year traditions, he said he’d have been a very welcome visitor due to being so thanks to the tradition that the first person over the threshold once the New Year commenced should be of dark hue.

My grandfather—mum’s dad—was also from Scotland; my mum said she remembered this tradition from her childhood, which was in London (she being born there), predominately growing up in Dudley House, Paddington, the family having been lucky enough to be offered one of the council flats built in 1938. Continue reading

Gianluca Vialli, R.I.P.

Italia_vs_Brasile_-_Bologna_-_1989_-_Gianluca_Vialli_e_Ricardo_RochaExtremely saddened today to hear of the passing of Gianluca Vialli, aged 58.

During his illustrious career, Gianluca spent a couple of years at Chelsea. One game in particular sticks in my mind; though many of the reasons why are a bit bizarre.

It was a F.A. Cup match at Stamford Bridge on the 4th January, 1998; just two days over being 25 years to the day of writing this.

(Image shows Gianluca Vialli and Ricardo Rocha, Italy vs Brazil, 1989, licensing information here.)

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The Shop next to the Tower on the Top of the Hill

rocky biggs 1280px-Croydon_Transmitter_IIA poem written in November 2020, prompted by what exactly I can’t remember; there is truth to a degree in the words, and while this matters not to the reader, a need to expand on the actual facts took hold, from which followed a jaunt across the tobacco industry, teachers always being a-holes, a picture of my favourite gate, cheap snacks, Big Foot, how I used to live in the Lord of the Rings, laughing at my mum (sorry, mum), a real size but pretend Canadian Parliament, the world’s first dinosaur statues, and London’s most popular gorilla.

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Meeting Edgar Broughton

The following is an account of true events: the names of those involved have been changed (including the dog’s).

My introduction to the Great Edgar Broughton started in a pub said to have once been frequented by highwayman Dick Turpin.

Aged fourteen, me and a couple of mates found we could get served in the Schooner, located—though no longer there—where Streatham High Road meets Hermitage Lane.

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