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4 Dec 2013 5:41 AM
Ok, so here's a good one I just read in La Gazzetta dello Sport today.
They still have a problem with soccer violence or disturbances in Italy. A lot of the problems come from clubs known as Ultras. Ultras are the evolution of English Soccer Hooligans. They make a lot of noise & disturbance in the stadiums and sometimes pick fights with Ultras of the visiting teams, outside of the stadium.
Football or Soccer stadiums are usually built in an oval shape. Ultras usually sit in the cheap seats at the curves. Normally one curve, let' say the North curve is reserved for home team supporters and the Ultra usually buy these tickets in blocks, even at reduced prices with certain teams. The South curve then would be available for visiting Ultra fans. Keep them separated is the idea.
Another problem we have today is Racism. Fans shout a lot of evil things at non-white players (sometimes just to upset them and put them off their game) and the leagues are beginning to address this problem.
So when there are incidents of violence, disturbance or racism, the league has begun to hold the home team & club responsible. Depending on the gravity of the problems, the league can fine teams or make them play the next game with an empty section where no tickets are sold, invariably the curve, or even force them to play to an empty stadium. The home team suffers with no ticket sales & no crowd rooting for them.
So I read in the papers these days that this actually happened to my team Juventus, 2 home games ago. There was a lot of trouble, racist insults shouted out & such from the home town curve. The decision was made that the curve would be closed, the next time Juve played at home.
So then someone had the bright idea of inviting children. Along the popular theme today of making stadiums safer and more suitable to families and bringing kids back to the stadiums, Juventus proposed to the league that in their next match, they would give all the tickets for the curve away for free to children's groups & fill it up with kids. The league saw great public relations values in this gesture, approved it and they filled up the north curve with happy young children.
So the game came & went. Juventus won, 1-0 against Udinese. It was in all the papers with pictures & such. The stories were great and the columnists had a ball. Apparently the kids closest to the Udinese goalie bombarded that guy with insults and dirty language for the entire first half of the game.
The league hit Juventus with a symbolic fine of 5,000 Euros and dropped all plans for any future public relations initiatives of this sort.
1 Dec 2013 4:35 AM
Well folks, it is holiday season again. As I did last year, I will be making Arancello at home to give to my friends as gifts for Christmas. Last year I spend about $130 to make 20 bottles. I figured $130 for all of my Christmas shopping was pretty good. I can only assume that all the articles listed below will cost less in America. Anyway, here it my recipe.
Cream di Arancello
To give you an idea, Limoncello is a drink they make in the south of Italy. They skin a bunch of lemons and throw the peelings into alcohol for a couple of weeks. Then they mix the alcohol with sugar & water and serve cold. If you Google it, you'll prolly get 20 different recipes (in Italian) to choose from. Cream di Arancello means it's made from milk and oranges. It's also important to call it with it's proper name, Arancello rather than the Americanized Orangecello. It will impress your friends.
So here's mine:
20 big oranges
1 litre (quart) of 95% pure grain alcohol
2 litres (quarts) of whole milk
1 kilo (2.2 lbs) sugar (maybe you could use one of those artificial diet sugars but I wouldn't know the proportions)
1-2 big vanilla sticks
It's better if you can get oranges that haven't been sprayed with anything. Over here they call that "Bio". Anyway, you need to wash them real good in warm water. Really scrub them. Then dry and peel the oranges. I would suggest using a potato peeler because you only want the super thin orange part. The white part of the peel is useless and will only soak up alcohol. You'll still lose about 10%. So put the orange peels in the alcohol and leave them sit for 2-3 weeks. I use quart Mason jars for this. Close tight. What do you do with 20 slightly peeled oranges? Make fresh squeezed orange juice or throw them at the neighbor's cat. Be creative.
After 2-3 weeks you'll see the alcohol has a nice orange colour (unless you use grapes or pickles of course). At that point, mix the milk, sugar and vanilla in a large pot. Strain the peelings from the alcohol and chuck those in too. Bring this all to a slow boil, stirring with any adverb you prefer. Once the sugar is dissolved, turn off the heat & let it all cool down for a couple of hours.
Then you need to fish the orange peels out of the milk. I suggest a large strainer and a funnel. Using spoon takes forever. After that, you should strain the liquid again with a smaller strainer (for tea
maybe?) to get all the little particles of vanilla or what not out of there and bottle it. Forget using a coffee filter or paper napkin. It takes forever. You can suck on the vanilla stick while you're doing it. Close the bottles up tight and put them in the fridge for a few days to blend properly.
It should be served as cold as you can get it, but don't freeze it. I would also suggest not using real cream because it gets too thick & comes out of the bottle like ketchup.
Cream di Arancello is good as an after dinner drink, poured over ice cream or deserts or simply as a baby sitting aide.
27 Nov 2013 2:43 AM
Got it sorted. thanks
27 Nov 2013 2:01 AM
So I was livin in this apartment, up above the shops on Pitshanger Lane in Ealing. It' a pretty old place with wooden steps & floors & everything with a brick exterior. There's a shop on the ground floor a 2 floors of apartments above. Flat. I gotta say flat. Im talkin in Brittalk now. It's a flat. So anyway it's an old flat. It's got rugs & carpeting like 90% of the flats in Britland. The Parlor (living room) carpet is humid & smelly & not properly cleaned. It's full of fag burns (cigarette). It's also my bed for the next four weeks.
The flat is long & narrow. There are only windows in the parlor on the street side and at the back in the kitchen & bedroom. The kitchen overlooks a small garden (back yard) and it looks like a dump for the butcher shop just under me. In fact, all of these "gardens" are held by merchants who use them to dump stuff. There's not a hint of grass or anything else growing except mould. Great view.
The bathroom's got one of those old bathtubs that stand up on lil feet. There's a long rubber tube with a shower head. & all ya gotta do is slip it's lil rubber end over the water spout & you've got a shower! No curtain though. Gotta do it sittin down. Hot water is very limited and sometimes needs to be supplemented by water heated in the kitchen. They hid the toilet in a closet in the hallway.
In the parlor (living room) there's the usual array of studentesque, run down furniture like a broken down couch and a couple of crumbling old arm chairs; all comfortable stuff for laid back partyin. Then of course there's the fire. Everybody has a fire over there. Most are electric. A fancy one might be gas, Some of them look like lil miniature fireplaces with lil red bricks painted on them & made from cheap tin. I saw one with a lil asbestos Santa Claus hangin down the front of it. I thought that was cute. Others are just a 3ft high saucer shaped thing. It looks like a UFO but it's standin sideways on little feet. It's full of high tension wiring and throws off some heat. And they all sit around and look at it, like it was a real fire.
High up on the wall of the parlour there is a small block box with a tiny padlock on it. If you put 50P coins in it, you get gas, just in case you wanna heat the flat a little bit or cook some grub (food). Once every so often, the gas man comes around, reads the meter and empties the coin box. I remember coming home from the pub drunk one night. And I was kinda curious about that thing. So I got to lookin at it & playin round with it a bit and the lock came off in my hand. It just came right off. I din pull it or nuttin & it came off. So I don't know why but I sort of went into a panic. Maybe because I was drunk. But I wasn't sure what to do. So I called the telephone operator & got the emergency gas number. Then when I got the guy I told him about the lock and how I was just fiddling with it because I never seen one before and how we don't have these in America and how the thing just come off in my hands and I din want to steal any money from the gas company cuz Im an American tourist and I din want to get in no trouble and I din mean no harm and.....What? Uhhhhhhh 242 Pittshanger Lane in Ealing. Yes sir. Thank you sir. clk. Whew. He said I wan gonna get'n no truble. But wha was he laughin boout?
So I take a walk around my new neighborhood and look at the shops. Oh the Brits love their shops. There's Trustcos Groceries & Off License (liquor store), and McCreadie's Butcher and the Brady Fishmonger (monger?) Harrison's wine cheese beers spirits tobacco. Why the cheese but no crackers? There's Madam Tawdry's Best Lady's Fashions and a launderette. There's the Rathchester DIY followed by a dry cleaners, and William Hill Bookmakers (bookies). There is the standard Pakirun Daily Mail News Shop with cigarettes & lottery tickets. John Martin Estates (real estate), Charlie's Fruit bowl, The Director's Cut Gentlemen's Hair Cutters ( so where does the word barber come from?) Ealing Pharmacy, Pitshanger Book Shop, Pitshanger Village Bakery, Pitshanger Shoe Repair, Mirage Opticians, Hook & Clever High Class Butchers (there's that class thing again), Busby's Beauty Hair Wig shop, Coopertive Grocery store, Stems Flower Gallery and 50 other shops of various persuasion. A shopper's paradise.
Dining on Pitshanger Lane is equally exciting with the choice of Blue Ocean Fish & Chips where they used to wrap your fish in old news papers and Pizza Piccolo in standard Italian red, green & white. West Kebab is right next to Samarat Indian Cuisine and Sushi World. Just down the block is Golden Dragon Chinese & Peking cuisine, Pizza House Mediterranean Restaurant and the Pitshanger Lane Cafe' with the lil accent thingy over the e, Cool?
And then there's the Kent. That's the local pub or Public house. There is a wine bar, Marra's Wine & Oyster Bar for intellectuals, benders and Arsenal supporters. But the pub is the true heart and soul of the neighborhood. Many pubs are owned and run by larger brewing companies as an outlet for their products. A Free House is an independently owned pub that can sell any beer they choose. My particular London favorite is Fullers with their popular ESB or Extra Special Bitter. ESB I am told is a "real" beer meaning that it is full of yeast and still alive. I found it interesting that after 3 pints of EBS, the blankets would begin to hover over me at night.
A pub needs a grand name to be a real pub. The Brits like to name their pubs after their royalty with stuff like The Duke of Kent and the Duchess of Raspberry. Or they make up names for the archetypal British pub that in their own minds somehow reflects on their heritage or national character. For example, there are over 600 pubs with the name Red Lion in England. There's also multiple pubs named Rose and Crown, The Trafalger, The Helmsman, The Talbot Arms and the Purple Pansy. There are of course, always a few oddballs like the Bucket of Blood, the Goat & Compass, the Bull and Spectacles or the Hung, Drawn & Quartered. There's a rather exclusive pub in Mayfair that caters to female professionals called the Nicely Hung, with all male waiters.
So the Kent's a nice place. I've been there with my buddies a few times and met the Gov or Governor (the boss) and other patrons. I am predictably known as the Yank (ass hole). It's a big & comfy place with lots of booths to sit at & tables out there in the middle and a few places at the bar. The graffiti in the loo (bathroom) is really great fun to read. The Brits can be very prolific when they're pissin. But there's one bartender in the Kent I don't get. Every time he serves me, he starts talkin about my Uncle Bob. Well how's he know I got an uncle? There's even an Off License attached to it so you can buy one for the road after the last bell when they tell you to bugger off.
But apparently I broke a minor rule of etiquette in there one night. I remember London had just been hit by a terrible snow storm, a blizzard by their standards and the whole city was paralyzed. There must have been a quarter inch of snow on the streets and nothing was moving. It was a cold night and the winds were howling. I asked me mates (my friends) if they wanted to go to the pub and they answered me with something like " 're ya 6's and 7's? It's fokin monkeys outside mate. Piss off!" But when they saw I was fixin to go anyway, they asked "Could ya brin' us a couple of bottles of Hammer and Tack from the bloody Frank Bough license? And maybe a bottle of plonk while yer at it." I got the bottles part. So I pulled on those big ole boots of mine & put on my Muff Diver sweatshirt with another vest over that and pulled my ski mask down and headed to the pub.
I stopped at the off license first to pick up those bottles. When I walked in, the guy just stared at me with great big eyes & didn't say hello or anything. I picked up 2 bottles of London Pride and a bottle of the cheapest red wine I could find. I handed them to him. Then I handed him 5 quid (pounds) (where I grew up a quid was a load of spit you'd coughed up to shoot at somebody) So he took the bottles from me, rang up the price on the cash register, put my money in the box, handed me correct change and my bottles in a bag without ever breaking eye contact with me or speaking a word. He just kept starin at me. Weird.
So I left the license & went into the pub. Shhhhhhhhhhhhhh What quiet. Hmm? I mean it was total silence in there. You could have heard a pin drop on a carpet. & Im thinkin, that's odd. This is usually a pretty lively place. Did I step in some pavement pizza? I turn around and see the guy from the off license has run into the pub from the back door and is holdin the Gov's arm & pointing at me & sayin something. So I pull off my jacket & hat and then hear this collective SIGHHHHHH and the whole place goes back to talking. Then the Gov runs over, grabs me by the arm and screams "YANK!!!!" I understood there was something about my attire he didn't like. I guess he doesn't care for skiing. & He ranted at me for 5 minutes about it & all the people at the bar had a real good laugh too. He sure was mad at me about something. So I had a quick beer & went home. When I got home, my friends were happy to see those bottles appear without them havin to get off their butts. I even opened them. So they said Cheers Jim & how was the pub & all. I told them fine although there was something I hadn't understood. What's the IRA anyway? "Wot 're ya on abaht mate?" They heard all about it from the Gov the next day & never let me live it down.
Girls can be a bit of a problem there. Those London ladies all think they're the queen. I don't mean to say they got chit under their noses but there is a drop or two of rabbit urine under there I think. They keep their noses up pretty well. It's hard to joke with them. They don't seem to understand redneck humor. They all talk in coded subtleties and understated dry Brit wit, but the simple things seem to just fly by them. I found them hard to understand. I never did "Get my leg over" a girl. You can imagine what that means. But I did seem to amuse them. I was like this rustic colonial, who had come to see England for the first time. They thought I was quaint. Make that 3 drops.
There was this one time my friends had to go somewhere and I'd come along for the ride. So we stopped at this chick's flat for a while. Her name was Sally. Sally was pretty cool. She told me about how she'd been to Philadelphia & how she knows how to make a cheese steak sandwich. And she even said how she'd like to make one for me. And she seemed to like all things American and we just got on real well. She was smilin a lot & Im sure she winked at me once. So when it came time to go, I decided to risk it & I told my friends I was gonna just call a mini cab and head back to Pitshanger Lane. I was tired & didn't really want to stay out late. Well they said they'd wait for my cab to arrive. I told them I'd be fine & they could go. And then Sally told them that it's gonna take long time for that cab to get here & they really didn't need to wait. But they insisted. They were good friends & since they'd brought me here, waitin to make sure I get a cab home was the least they could do. Dam They just don't get it, do they? So she goes to call the minicab which gets there in record time. As I'm leaving, she stops me at the door, slips me her phone number, pulls me close and whispers cheeeeeeese steak & I'm gone. Dam again.
I checked the name on her door bell so I'd know which flat was hers, the next time I came back. Salisbury. Got it. Then I got into the cab and we're on our way. So I told the cab driver "You sure got here quickly. I thought it would take you longer." And the cabbie says, " Oh I know where the place it & I was close by. I've picked up lots of blokes here." Yeah? Then after a pause he says, "Well I didn't mean to make it sound like that, mate. Uhh, Im sure she's a proper lass." Hmm Maybe they did get it.
So back at the flat one day, someone came to the door and I answered it. It was this woman who lived upstairs. She was late 30ish, couldn't be far north of 40 in any case. Short cropped hair & sensible dress, spoke proper Britspeak, she could have been a librarian, or worked in a museum maybe.
She introduced herself as Cora. Cora Pearl. "Jim Cregan, pleased to meet you." So he told me that she'd heard there was an American living in the building and had come to meet him, being me of course. So we talked for a minute, where ya from?, how do you like it here?, etc. Then she invited me to come to dinner the next night. I thought that was nice of her. I thanked her and told her I would be there and she left. When my buddy came home, I told him about her coming by and inviting me to dinner & all. Ain't that cool? "Tah Mate" is all he said.
The next night as I am getting ready, there's about 5 guys there, all sittin in a semi circle around the electric flying saucer and keepin warm. I come in, they're passin joints back & forth & swiggin plonk and I hear: "Well In'cha the dog's dinner tonoight Jim?." And someone asks: " 'ey jim, wheaya goin?" and my buddy says: "He's off to see a man bout a dog." And then another says "Jim's on da bloody pull' and then they all jump in: " 'e's 'eadin' up the chuffin' apples and pears to av a giraffe wit a slappa." "A bit of Rumpy-Pumpy ehhhh mate?"
So then they got to talkin about poor Cora liked they all knew her. "Daft cheeky cow she is." " Aye. that she is. She's off her fokin trolley" "Keep a mince pie on ya twigs and berries Mate. She's lost the plot, that one." "She's the dog's bollocks Jim. Ave a good time" So I try to explain to these guys that I'm just going to dinner and really don't expect anything else to happen. "Tossa!!!" So I left.
The evening went well. Cora was a very good cook and very enjoyable company. She was well informed on Marine Biology, Ornithology and tales of the old Canadian frontier. She could converse on many topics actually, but she never tried to show off. She was in total control of her faculties and she treated me well. She never made fun of my accent or asked stupid questions about America or called me Yank. At the end of the evening, I thanked her again, we shook hands and I left. I swear.
So when I got back, the committee was still in session albeit, a little more slumped into those chairs and they got on me again. "ow's yer fatha Jim?" "Ya stonka get to see Fanny mate?" And someone asks "Why'd she drag the bloody septic tank up dere?" "I 'eard she's up the duff. She prolly lookin' fer a fatha." " So did ya get ya leg ova Jim? Don be tellin porkies." "Fok off! 'e got Sweet Fanny Adams. The yank's gormless." So I explained to them about what a quiet, pleasant night it had been and that nothing unusual has happened. "sod off yank!" "bog rite off ya bum" "Wy's ya fly open mate?" And I was stupid enough to look down.
Enough for now.
24 Nov 2013 4:10 AM
I remember when I first started thinking about traveling. I was in my early twenties & living on my own. Living right next to the university, I had met a lot of young people who had traveled, most often to Europe. It fascinated me to listen to them. I was doing nothing really interesting in my life, just working jobs & getting buzzed. So I started thinking about heading off to see the world. I did the appropriate research & planning. I asked a lot of questions from these wise and traveled ones. I bought the standard copy of Let's Go! Europe. I called the TWA info line and talked to a woman for half an hour about the joys of travel. She must have had nothing else to do. But she was very nice and told me her name was Betty. I even wrote the company to tell them that I would be flying TWA on my journey thanks to their wonderful info-line employee Betty, hoping that letter would get into her file.
Thanks to Let's Go, I found the Youth Hostel Association & got my card. I got my rail card for 2 months of cheap trains on the Old Continent. The rail card was a card enclose in a little plastic envelope. It has your name on it and there's a little window cut open in the plastic where you're supposed to write in the date of the day you take your first train, thus activating the card for 2 months. We weren't digital or chipped back then. So I remember when I was suppose to head home and I was a couple of days behind schedule. My rail pass had just expired and I still had to get back to London on a train. So I took the card and soaked it in dish water for about 10 minutes. When the paper got all soft & bloated from the water, I sort of erased the starting date a bit so it couldn't really be read. Then I lied my way back to London every time a conductor asked me for my ticket.
I bought a world class back pack with adjustable straps everywhere & clips & important padding for your shoulders and your hips & side pockets & big top flap pocket & the neat liner inside you can close before putting the top flap on & the special hidden, internal frame, anatomically correct of course & another series of straps & buckles that I could adjust the back pack to ride higher or lower on my back and I could adjust the tilt at the top, closer to or farther from my shoulders. I mean to tell you, this was one hell of a back pack and it cost me a fortune. But I was off to see the world.
I bought myself a pair of Lowe hiking boots from Germany. This is also serious stuff. Boots today are softer and more comfortable. But back then, they used to make these boots out of really hard leather and you had to wear them for a couple of months (and suffer) to make that leather form to your feet. After, they fit like a glove. But the first 2 months was torture. I bought a belt that had a special hidden compartment for my money. Then I bought a biker's wallet with a chain on it. That looked cool.
Then when I realized I was running out of money, I borrowed a really nasty, stanky old down sleeping bag from a buddy. I had to wash it 3 times. Then I let it soak in Woolite in the bath tub for a week & washed it again. Then I bought sort of an internal sleeping bag slip to sleep in because I didn't want to get too close to that thing.
Then when I was finally ready to go, I quit my job & gave up my apartment & sold all my stuff or dumped it at Mom's house. I bought my ticket at a travel agency and told them Betty had sent me. I got a round trip, open return, second class, stand by ticket from Chicago to London. On TWA of course. I got a girl friend to give me a ride to my brother's house, half way to Chicago & we spent the night there on his living room floor. Nothing happened and I knew it was time to go. The next day my brother took me up to Chicago O'Hara, told me to send him a post card and left me to me fate. I didn't see Betty around anywhere & no one seemed to know her, but I found my flight anyway.
Those post cards can be a pain. Id' been warned by one of those old travelers that post cards are an obligation & how I'd have to prepare my address book & schedule some serious post card writing time in Europe. And in effect, it was true. Everybody asked me to send them a card when I got there & I spent a month scribbling down folks' addresses. But I went to London prepared. I had bought 30 post cards of the St. Louis Arch and then I sat there in a pub one night getting drunk and licking English postal stamps on them & writing dumb stuff about the Brits. I thought that was funny. And some guy there asked me where I got the post cards.
So I remember when I got to Heathrow Airport, I changed some money and got my first pounds. I didn't know anything about buses, so I told a cab to take me to the Holland Park Youth Hostel, which is like taking a cab at Kennedy to go to the YMCA in Manhattan. Odd expenditure priorities. I had a printed tee shirt on and it said Grisbo the Putz from an old joke back home. When the cab driver saw that, he laughed. He told me that in England, a putz was a guy who goes around sniffing the seats of girls' bicycles. I thought that was interesting. A cultural thing I guess. I stopped wearing the shirt though.
So a youth hostel is like a low level Bed & Breakfast. They've got big bunk rooms and showers, separated by gender. They've got a room where you can lock up your gear all day while you're out touristing and they've got a large room for breakfast. For breakfast they take the fattest, greasiest, most grizzled, ground up mess of mystery meat you can imagine, put it in a condom and call it sausage. There's a fried egg and then they pour Heinz baked beans all over it. Some places even offer fried bread. This amazes me. How can a nation so civilized & well behaved as them eat so badly?
So the hostel is a good place to meet people from all over the world. You make new friends at breakfast & then go out exploring London together. But you have to be careful crossing the streets of London. All that look left then look right stuff your parents taught you can get you killed. The Brits drive on the wrong side of the road and if you don't look right first, you can get blind-sided by a Vauxhall. I found out that's a car.
So we walked around all day looking at the bridge and the tower and the square and the palace and all that other stuff you've got to look at when you go there. I was standing outside Buckingham Palace waiting for the guard to change. That's when all these soldiers in big funny hats march around all over the place with about 100 guys so they can go change the two guards standing there at the front gate. I don't know why they need to change them. Those guys don't do anything but stand there. The guards aren't supposed to move or smile or anything & so people stand next to them to get their pictures taken or make stupid faces at the guard, trying to get him to blink. And they all look alike. I think they could put two department store dummies out there & no one would notice. Although they might vote Tory.
So I was standing out there and this London cop comes over to me. I think his name was Bobby. But he came over and asked me to come with him. I was innocent, so I went with him. He took me to a group of his police buddies. I think they all had the same name, Bobby. But we got there & then he asked me to turn round so they could look at my back. And when they broke out laughing, I finally got it. I had this printed sweat shirt on (I liked printed things) and it said "US Olympic Muff Diving Championship 1976" and they seemed pleased to find out that we had the same sport in America. The hostel didn't have oysters though.
I went into my first pub. There were 2 front doors to choose from. I took the left. From inside I could see there was a bar in the middle with rooms full of customers on either side. I was sipping my first Yorkshire bitter which I immediately liked. All of a sudden, a fight broke out in the other room. Then I saw the bartender go right over the bar like John Wayne and dive in to the melee. I sort of asked out loud "Does that happen often here?" And some guy answered "not over here it doesn't, just over there." So I asked why that was and he explained to me that we were in the saloon bar and the other side was the pub bar. And? Well, it seems the beers cost a few pence more in the saloon bar and this seemed to be a mechanism for keeping the riff raff on the other side of the bar. I don't know if that was the Class system but I drank my beer in peace.
While I was still in the Chicago airport, I had actually met a guy who lived in London and I sort of chatted him up. Isn't that cool? That means I got to talking to him, but in Britspeak. It turned out he was a small business man and had a warehouse there where he dealt in all sorts of things like pop art and home-made shampoo and cheap Japanese transistor radios. He gave me his number and told me to call him. Maybe he'd have a job for me. So after I finished my regulation 3-day stay at the hostel, I called him. He gave me the address of an apartment way out on the west end of London, on a street called Pitshanger lane in a place called Ealing Broadway.
There were some guys there who worked for him and they put me up. These guys were all on the Dole, or as they called it, The Old Jam Roll, which means they were on public assistance and working off the books at the same time. It was very light warehouse work and they paid us Â£1 an hour. I didn't have to pay any rent so I was fine. I remember when I left America, I swore I would not get involved in any pot or anything because as they used to say in television, "When you're busted over there, you're in for the hassle of your life." So on my first night in the apartment, when I found myself with a doobie in my mouth, I realized I had no will power.
So these guys speak brittalk which is Britspeak for the lower classes. So they'd say stuff like "Aeye Jim! Ows it angin mate?" (which is pronounced something like mah-ate or maybe with a y in it to make mah-yate which puts a bit of bite into it, or else the real serious version, (with () for the silent consonants) Mah-yayeee(t), for the down trodden. Class is everything in England. Remember one time the guy said: "wot timzi(t) mahyeae(t)? S'af aya(t)e" said the other." I'm not sure if it was 7:30 or 8:30 but would have been 7:30 in Switzerland. Interesting, no?
Brittalk is English abbreviated, boiled and reduced to thick beef stock. It's elegance is forgotten and it's eloquence is buggered. The Queen's subjects seem to have a particular aversion to the letters H and R. They also seem to have difficulties with last letter consonants. Letters in parenthesis are only for scribes and were never intended to be heard by the peasantry. "oh i don(t) av any addys suc. boggoff wiv ur orde(r)s sucky, bollox wiv u(r) bum." [extrapiss] 6:08 am: "i'd prefe(r) a premenstrua(l) expatria(t)e texan, marra." "Lol, suckyB & extrapiss avin a piss."
So here I am in this apartment in London with these guys & they would be asking me stuff like: " Awright geeezzaa! so where ya from yew? Sorted ma(t)e. Fok geeezzaa! Why yew come ter London? Sorted ma(t)e. (H)ey ma(t)e, are yew 'ryin' ter get yew leg ova'n sum lass? Pen in ink mate, pen in ink." Those guys I was workin with would always be askin me: "Gawdon Bennet! have yew go(t) a cigre'e? OKaay?, Bugga off, (h)ey?"
The English also seem to have a particular feeling for the expression Bugger Off. They use it all the time in their day to day conversation. Mums send their children to school "Bugger off Billy, Sally! Bugger off before you miss the fokin bus." The signs at Gatwick Airport show Bugger Off Departure times. They even start famous horse races like Ascot where some old dude in tight, long underwear, boots and a top hat that yells Bugge(r) Off! to the jockeys. It's said that the Queen get's a tickle from it. God Shave the Queen! I remember one time in the Information Office of Victoria Station when a lovely little lady who looked exactly like Lady Dianne told me how to take the Tube from there to London Liverpool, switch to the train for Stansted and catch the coach to Epping for a taxi to Chipping Ongar. And as I was leaving, she smiled and said "Boggoff Yank. Tah!" The London Tourist Board gives special attention to these little cultural peculiarities the American tourists seem to enjoy so much.
There is a place in London you should all see. It is the Speaker's Corner of Hyde Park. The last bastion of free speech in the world. At Speaker's Corner, people go there with wooden soap boxes to stand on and they can say anything the like. They get up on their soap box there and start talkin about all sorts of silly stuff. One guy was rantin about how you shouldn't buy shoes for your woman, the barefoot in the kitchen scheme I think. Another fellow was up on his box speaking out in favor of The Society for Indecency to Naked Animals, headed by G. Clifford Prout.
Whatever the topic was, a few people would always gather around each speaker and listen. Some would comment or make questions, a few would laugh but no one heckled or abused. I saw Bob standin over there in the corner, sort of keepin an eye on things. So I walked over to ask him, " Can people really say anything they want?" And he said no. He told me that someone can't propose marchin down to Buckingham Palace and draggin the Queen out. "That?s the red line?" I asked. "Yes sir, that's the red line."
So there was this one guy who really got my attention. He was standing on this really old wooden soap box. It looked like an antique. This thing was all cleaned & polished and had brass corners to hold it together. And this daffer was dressed up like a daffer, whatever that is.
"I wish ter speak abaht the bleedin' Two and Eight of the bloomin' world. Ya 're messin' everythin' up. Nostalgia aint wot it used ter be. It's not loike the old days anymore. You're too rathead ter kna wot ya 're doin'. Just 'cause the bloody tomato is a fruit doesn't mean ya put it in fruit salad. You're never too old ter learn summit stupid rathead. Bread and Honey can't score 'appiness, but it Bobby makes misery easier ter bee 'ive wif. I didn't say it was your Whiskey Malt, I said I was blamin' ya. If I agreed wif ya, we'd bof be Pete Tong. Garn ter Left in the bloody Lurch doesn't make ya a christian any more than standin' in a Steve Claridge makes ya a Jam Jar."
I?ve seen old guys tell this story to trash dumpsters in New York City before, but never to a crowd of politely interested bystanders.
In our next episode, Cregan shocks the pub, goes to a Christmas party and avoids after dinner sex .