18 March 2008
Good news, everyone! London is now officially the World's Grubbiest City. Hoorah and huzzah! Good job, Limeys; not content with making a mess of the rest of the world, now you've gone and rubbished your own back yard...literally!
So I've been exploring the new area which is officially known as Clapton Pond. It's in the East End at the top of Clapton Road, just east of Hackney, which is the most culturally (a polite way of saying "ethnically") diverse area of London. Clapton Road is nicknamed The Murder Mile because of the high crime rate (go figure!), but all the action is centred down the lower end, not Upper Clapton where all us cool kids live free in harmony and majesty with authority.
There's an awesome church just north of me called the Church of the Good Shepherd, but it used to be the Church of the Ark of the Covenant. The very first parish priest was one Father Indiana Jones...I shit you not! It was built in 1892 by the Agapemonite cult which had some weirdo ideas about women and the true station of womankind and had mad orgies all day all night, Maryanne. From what I gather, the Agapemonites considered women as nothing more than vassals and vessels...put on earth to serve mankind (emphasis on the Man part, ooh err!) and cook the tea and tidy up the place and have babies to keep the cult going. Henry Prince was the original leader who, although claimed he was immortal, died in 1899. A sleazebag named John Hugh Smyth-Pigott took over, declaring himself to be the messiah until a bunch of pissed-off parishoners challenged him to prove it by walking across Clapton Pond. Predictably, he pussied out and buggered off to live in the country and have non-stop orgies with his numerous spiritual brides. Go on, my son! Mind you, I wouldn't fancy a walk across Clapton Pond either. It's not the most picturesque of water features and you can't even get that close to it without running the gauntlet of drunks pooing in fried chicken boxes and pidgeons having knife fights over scraps of stale bread. Despite also claiming to be immortal, Smyth-Pigott carked it in 1927 and the cult lost a bit of steam. All that sex with- and oppression of the ladies must really take it out of you...
The church is in an area that has a large Haredi jewish community. They're those far-out funky dudes with the nu-metal beards and the ringlet sideburns and the tights and the dresses and the shawls and the furry toilet brush hats, oi vey! There was a whole gang of them out on the weekend with their old-before-their-time jewish kids and their brown-house-coat-and-head-scarves plain jewish wives, why not. I felt a little bit funny about taking pictures of them just so I could mock their appearance to youse all, so I waited until they were looking the other way, already.
Also in my area is the Whitechapel Bell Foundry which is the oldest commercial business in London and has been churning out top-notch ding-dongs since 1570. These guys cast the Liberty Bell and the bells for Big Ben and the bell for the new Freedom Tower in New York. They're all about the bells over here...they're bell CRAZAY, I tell you! I went down there and who should I bump into but LL Cool J (you know he's hard as hell, he'll battle anybody I don't care who you tell). It's been a while since I'd heard from him so I was all like, "I've been waitin' and debatin' for oh so long...just starvin' like Marvin for a Cool J song." And he was all like, "If you cried and thought I died, you definitely was wrong...it took a thought, plus I brought Cut Creator along." Then Cut Creator (he'll cut the record in a second, make your d.j. look blind) whom I hadn't noticed up until that point, scratched the record with his fingernail and we totally Rocked the Bells....rrrraaaahhhh!
Last week's work do was at an ultra-swanky conference centre where we had a bit of dinner, not enough dessert and way too many drinks. All of which is OK because it's free, but it's getting a little predictable. This week's work do promises to be a whole lot more interesting. After a boring team meeting we're going on a moonlit ghost walk through some of the more seedy areas of the City and then off for a curry. Kick arse! It's the Easter long weekend so there's plenty of opportunities for drunken hedonism in the East End (which kind of sounds like a saucy euphemism, does it not?).
So Lily's in her last year as a pre-teen, which is totally surreal as she's rapidly approaching the point where she'll be more mature and sensible than me. I managed to wake her up on her birthday, though, heh heh. Sucked in, Chook! Calvin's started at a new school this year and he's got in to the school band playing trumpet, yay! Now I not only have two people I can call 'trumpet bum', but I also have two potential cash cows to look after me when they become famous musicians and I become a pathetic old mooch. And it's a perfect excuse to hang out in seedy jazz clubs when I'm a dirty old guy trawling for chicks. "I hate the music, honey child, I'm just here to support my kids...now give us a quick shuftie of your bristols."
Who said romance was dead?