Bow Boy Blues
A camp, lisping Spanish stilt walker geezer accosted me on the Roman
Road about an hour ago, he was shaking a bucket for guide dogs but
because of his lisp and his accent it sounded like ' Pleath githe sim
maney for the Gay Dogs'.
I don't know. I may have got it totally wrong. It may have been genuine
paean for help.
Perhaps sequinned Bull Terriers are getting a rough deal in the
Kylie could do a benefit gig in Benjis nightclub.
Graham Norton could compare. It could be called the 'From Barking to
the Isle of Dogs Awareness Night'
I gave him twenty pence and a grimace.
My life is not what it should be.
It's half seven on this Tuesday evening. It's a strange old time. It
could go either way don't you think?
You could go down the pub with your mates.
Or to the cinema.
Just go out into the city.
You could stay in.
Like me, sat at my kitchen table of my two bedroom, sparsely decorated
maisonette, in the fading now Britannia Cool neighbourhood of Bow in
Now, you might call my home minimalist; I'd just call it poor. Tower
Hamlets isn't N1 but its close enough for the Blair babes and the
wannabes to move in. It's an up and coming area according to the
overpaid and precious estate agents and Daily Mail journalists who wear
wide-boy whistles and carry a bit of the old toot in their sky rockets
for the weekend. Most of these boys and girls have got degrees and have
families in Dorset or Somerset so Christ knows why they affect a fruit
and veg accent. They have got to submerge themselves in the manor I
suppose, you never know when you will have to tell a tall tale of
mockney guns, fists and greyhound racing at some sun dried tomato and
walnut pesto do in Shoreditch.
You have got to be prepared.
You know, I got this place when there was a slump in the market, when
the streets were a little bit raw, a bit nasty. I loved it then, but
its all changing around here of late. There's an organic pub opening in
a couple of weeks, beer for baldies who have never eaten a margarine
sandwich sprinkled with sugar.
What's it all coming to eh? If I sold this gaff right now, I'd make a
right killing; I'm laughing all the way to the bank. Christ, I'm
beginning to sound like one of them; all I need is a mobile phone and a
My name is Jamie if you are wondering. I'm thirty-five years old, skint
as a broken biscuit and crumbling by the second.
I can't afford a mobile phone.
My windows need a clean. It's all that dust that the builders in the
opposite block of flats are making. They were swinging from the
scaffolding earlier today; making ape noises at a black family passing
by with their shopping.
Don't they know that their racist dream died years ago?
I'll polish them at the weekend, the windows, and make a bit of an
effort for myself. I might even get the vacuum cleaner out as well.
Things are going to change around here. There is nothing like a new
broom to cheer, clear and maybe change the senses.
I've made a start already; I've cooked a meal. Its overcooked pasta;
infused with a tinned meat sauce. It resembles a war wound. I do not
know if I can manage to consume it. I am going to learn how to cook a
decent meal for myself though. I'm going to plan ahead, cook meals for
the week and then freeze them, organisation is the key.
My padlock to a well-balanced life has been slightly rusty of late you
Time for a bit of lubrication.
I'm going to pour myself a half-pint glass from a box of red wine. It's
rough plonk as my mother would say and she would know because she sells
this shit to unsuspecting victims like me who should know better.
My mum is the Chardonnay queen of suburbia, a real 'Basildon Blue'. She
is hoping to move into the London market, she is deluding herself of
course. She thinks I'm her way into Hampstead the silly cow.
It tastes like something that makes a lawnmower run at its very best,
at its worst it's used to clean sewers and I am not lying.
It was left over from a dramatically uneventful dinner and has scented
the air ever since.
That meal on Sunday told me once and for all that my girl would not be
That was clearly evident by the fact that she did not turn up or even
I know what you're thinking.
You are assuming that my girl is a love lost and that I'm going through
some blokey thirty-something feel-bad then feel-good saga.
You could not be further from the truth. I'll leave that sort of stuff
to Arsenal supporters and middle class ex- punks who fight with their
fading coked-up witches in the tabloids.
My girl was a different animal, not a parsons nose.
Yeah, I cooked a fine chicken on Sunday; well Sainsbury's did, at least
the cat and I thought so at midnight, mind you I had drunk two bottles
of the old Flymo / Sewer Queen at that point.
I should have got white wine to go with the chicken, apparently that is
the rule. It does not matter now does it?
Her name was Lisa by the way.
Have I already said that?
There are various names for that fucking cat.
These windows really are disgusting, but the view of the little,
lovingly kept gardens is easing my nut somewhat. A hamlet of cheery
little England's, with high walls and Sunday supplement back page
Do these people ever eat their vegetables that they grow or do they
just look at them as if they are children who have just seen their
I'd eat them, or sell them to the organic restaurant.
If you cannot beat these gentrified wankers might as well make a few
quid out of them.
I'll tell you what though, tonight is a very good twilight for gazing
at this ever-moody East End. Sometimes London throws up these tranquil
vistas in our sad summers.
When the pollution and the heat collide just right, this part of the
metropolis turns a future shade of aqua green as the sun dives.
It calms us all down as if we have all won a prescribed course of
Prozac on a special edition of the National Lottery. We saunter the
streets in a long shadow daze. We go for drinks in the pubs around
Victoria Park, stroll and engage in lucid conversation. For a short
time, we are glad that we live in this city, and perhaps at this time
we possibly love it.
Tomorrow it may rain and we will all stare at the pavements once
Fuck me, I sound like Robert Elms.
If you don't know, Robert Elms is a Journalist and broadcaster. He has
been around for years. He is sometimes pompous and flash but he is
always very well informed. He loves this city. He has an excellent
taste in music, films and friends.
He once lived with the singer Sade.
I like Robert Elms a lot.
His radio show is on from twelve till three Monday to Friday on 94.9fm,
You should listen to him sometime.
I sound like a Robert Elms stalker.
I'd stalk Sade if I had the cash to travel.
I'm twiddling with my pasta again, making absurd art.
I could exhibit this, make a few quid.
Food for thought.