Banned from the Pubs

In the early 90s I worked London’s markets; the following is an account of true events (continued from: Geezers and Goldfish Bowls):

Gotta wonder what kinda image ‘workingmen’s club’ conjures for anyone without a clue.

Almost unique to the U.K. (apart from a couple in Australia and Ireland; at least according to Wikipedia [though citation needed apparently]) they’re private clubs with committees, rules and membership.

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Geezers and Goldfish Bowls

In the early 90s I worked London’s markets; the following is an account of true events (continued from: Songs T Taught Me and the Mystery of Charlie Chaplin):

Spaces always look smaller when empty; something in this case helped big time by the stage being hidden behind a curtain. The area once full of merry drinkers now occupied by a solitary pool table, five ‘chaps‘ drinking and smoking round it.

It’d become one of those pubs where unless you knew someone already there, everyone there would assume you undercover plod worthy of a good stabbingup. The fact one of us was a loud Aussie doing nothing to allay suspicions; on the contrary, what better way for a rozzer to hide than appearing to be from a different country.


Last thing to do: turn tail and leave.


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Songs T Taught Me and the Mystery of Charlie Chaplin

In the early 90s I worked London’s markets; the following is an account of true events (continued from: Horses for Courses):

In Croydon my attempts to give socks away were met with outright resistance:

‘He don’t like the ones with elastic at the top’

‘Too thick; will make his feet sweat’

Replying, ‘how about for another much loved and cared for family member, such as a cherished grandchild?’ did nothing to entice the taking of free socks.

There was nothing for it but the songs T had taught me:

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Horses for Courses

In the early 90s I worked London’s markets; the following is an account of true events:

“What you reckon?”

T looked at me across the table of the ‘workingmen’s café’ he’d chosen to meet in for ‘a bit of breakfast’.

He’d been running up and down Oxford Street selling out of a suitcase; just he hadn’t been running fast enough. A three person operation (seller/fake excited buyer/lookout), T had decided he had enough winning charm not to need the second—granted, I’d give him that—and enough cunning and sly to outwit plod: wrong; numerous times too.

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Welcome to Weston: A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Quicksand and Curses

Weston-super-Mare is located on the South West coast of England, twenty-two miles from Bristol. Once a glorious Victorian seaside resort, more recently host to Banksy’s Dismaland, it has unique ways and customs found nowhere else in the West Country region, regardless of how dark and deep into it one is willing to go. (Weston—as it is more commonly abbreviated to—indicated by the red marker below)

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What a Waste (Tickets, Please)

“I could be a writer with a growing reputation; I could be the ticket man at Fulham Broadway Station. What a waste . . . What a waste.”

I used to walk past that ticket man made famous by Ian Dury’s lyrics on regular occasion. Going to and from Chelsea matches at Stamford Bridge. It was always a man, as I remember. Not that I paid too much attention.

Except for one particular game against  Continue reading