Am I really gonna write about this?


Yeah so. We are humans. We are bags of infected meat banging up against each other. We can’t pretend to be perfect and anyone who has a friend who does pretend to be perfect can refer to this blog where I try to remind you that we are deeply flawed.

I’m usually very careful in public loos. I put paper on the seat. But I’m sometimes in a hurry. Sometimes in the past I have let time pressure cause me to be less careful. I can tell you now, don’t do that. I can think of two times in the last fortnight that I’ve been in such a hurry I’ve barely looked, outside of the very basic wipe. Turns out you can never be rushed where motorway service stations are concerned.

“Hi, is this the phone clinic?”

“Yes. How can I help?”

“So I’ve got something that I think is fungal, right on the bit of my arse that touches the loo seat. It looks like a verruca. But it’s on my bum. I got someone to take a photo. I can send it if you want? It’s about the size of a two pee piece.”

I send it. He calls me back. “You are bang on. I think it’s fungus too. Get something like Daktacort. If it’s still there in like ten days then get back to us, but unless you’ve been bitten by a tick lately then it’s probably what you think it is.”

Yay… But boo. I am disease ridden. Last possible tic bite is July so it’s somebody’s horribly bumfungus. I’ll have to be really mindful using public loos, in the way that whichever asshole had this before me wasn’t. It looks like a verruca. It itches. I am not at all happy about this turn of events. I’m very conscious about where my fingers go now. Applying cream, into my eyes for contact lenses, through my hair…

It’s interesting to think about disease spread nowadays. I’ve been back in London and considering what we’ve been through and the step into flu season now, I’m honestly not sure if I find it refreshing or weird that nobody gives a fuck about personal space again. Maybe we will always be a bit more aware – I remember getting flu after being too polite to move when someone streaming sat down beside me on the Victoria Line. Now I might move. We all think a bit more about disease, and just like they always have in some countries, we have people masking up if they are experiencing symptoms.

Still though, most people don’t give a fuck. I’m hearing reasonable people parrot incomprehensible science-negative rubbish about what they think is going on. Buried in it is always loads of excuses why we needn’t take personal responsibility. Loads of stuff shifting the battleground from what’s actually happening to something that’s made up by one of the dumb stoned hacker guys from 8-chan.

I’m an actor. I work in a cosmetic industry. My brand is important as it determines my job prospects. The things and the ways I consider to be important in terms of communication they aren’t universal. I am perfectly happy to tell you I am currently mister arsefungus. But who knows, there might be someone in silicon valley looking for the new face of their brand. Maybe this will be the thing that takes me out of the running. Hey ho.

I pride myself on being … this. On going to the place we aren’t supposed to. But… I’m worried because I NEED to be working more in my industry now, to justify the years. I write this shit nightly. I’ll never be the shiny liar… But can I get the work I need when Epsom Garbage from The Daily Fear can do a basic Google search and find me telling you all that I gave a strange large round itchy fungusring in my ass? “Employed actor Al Barclay once had cooties. Eeew”

I’ve got cooties. Hug me anyway.

I went to Chelsea physic garden. For healing, yeah? From my buttfungus

Hampstead Walk

And so back to Hampstead. The difference a year makes!

This time, a year ago, I met some new people and I was indoctrinated into a slightly odd walk for Halloween. We were going around being creepy in Hampstead. We did it and it was glorious. At the time I was just transitioning out of Mel’s Flat up there. I was still trying to use it and keep it in good nick, but somebody oblivious to the practicalities had filled the landlords ear with spurious figures. “On Parliament Hill? You could be getting a squillion squids! And she’s paying you how much?”

The boiler was fucked, but we worked around it. We could make it work and we knew what made it stop. It was liveable. The washing machine was fine so long as you know how to replace the fan-belt. The carpet in the bathroom was horrible with damp. My friend had dealt with a total lack of engagement and improvement from her landlord for twenty years. She spent her own money when she had to, but only when she absolutely had to, knowing that it was going to take years through the landlord and she’d never get anything back. I learnt from her by phone how to fix the washing machine and the boiler. She had made many DIY spot-fixes over decades of prompt rent, but the bulk of it the place was just bust – it needs gutting to justify the landlords behaviour. Insecure windows, crumbling grout, bad carpets and plumbing and lights… I lived there in the summer of lockdown though and it was beautiful, partly for the geography. Sadly the landlord decided she could get much more… I don’t think she will. I would lay money that she now has an empty flat. She was being baselessly greedy, and she made my friend homeless. A baseless and damaging gesture by someone who has never really thought about what they have for free.

A year ago though, I was still there. I was part of a team making a spooky walk around the heath. The walk is happening again. The locations are different. I’ll have to find / make up different stories. And I won’t have the wonderful common blood of working in Hampstead and needing to be there the next the morning as well to pack boxes, with a bed to sleep in over the gap. So yeah, October: anybody you can think of in Hampstead who might need a catsitter, send them me. I won’t be going to Uruguay until November and not at all if my current run of filming carries on …

Right now I’m home after a scout, and thinking of the difference between rolling home to Hampstead last year and going all the way to Chelsea now…

I took no photos but of this thing, one of many plugged into a wall. I’m just trying to work out what the heck it is… Our best guess is that it helps stop the ancient wall from bowing…

A Sunday off

On her way to teach her morning yoga, Lou stuck a day parking permit into Bergman. You gotta pay on Sundays normally down here owing to the fact that everybody from London comes down to the coast on the weekend. By giving me that little piece of paper she gave me a day free of worrying about him. We didn’t use him. We still went on an adventure.

Down to the Marina, and up to the top of the multistorey carpark near ASDA where all the guys that do house clearances try and flog their tut. Ann eclectic mix of random crap and I wanted none of it apart from perhaps a little bit of fromage from the rude cheese-man who overcharges and literally doesn’t want to sell you his cheese.

Then as we wandered down the coast we ran into Ryan. He’s part of how I met Lou. He designs the costumes for Creation many of which are made by Lou. I wore some bits in The Tempest. Ryan and I stood and spoke about that show down by the marina. It was timely, that mischievous one we did right at the start of lockdown on zoom. It catalysed some really interesting ongoing conversations.

Then we just kept wandering. A lack of decent coffee and a mild day at high tide took us all the way to Rottingdean, so we sat in the gardens of Rudyard Kipling’s old house and shut our eyes in the late summer heat.

Then we stuffed our little faces with a huge Sunday lunch at The Plough Inn, got the bus home and watched the first three episodes of Sandman – THEY MADE IT!!!! INCREDIBLE.

I had no need of dinner. One course was plenty from The Plough. It was GOOD.

I am now replete, calm, entertained and barely injured from a good long playing session with Tessie.


St Leonard’s for a quick hello

Having had a little bit of a tickly cough for the last few days I was somewhat dreading this morning. I’ve a costume fitting on Monday and someone from the production company had to come round to my flat in the morning and stick a cotton bud into my tonsils. “What happens if I get that bonus red line?” I worried.

Email just came through and I’m off the hook. No nasties. Just too much snoring. It was an unusual experience though to stand on my doorstep on a sunny day and have a young woman ask me “which nostril do you prefer?”

That nastiness having been completed, I bundled myself down to Brighton, picked up Lou and we spun out to St. Leonards. Compared to Brighton and Eastbourne it’s pretty calm over there down Hastings way, although I guess it was only about two days ago that they dumped an unprecedented amount of silage into the sea there so that might have discouraged the London tourist crowd. I like the feel of it there. My friend has got a posse of outspoken and positive humans there, and we briefly joined that coterie for her birthday. Then we hived off. I have barely had any time to see Lou recently, and it’s not going to get any less busy in either of our existences in the run up to Christmas. My social anxiety was on full power, so smalltalk was not really in my capacity, but we had some good if snatched conversations before Lou and I went and grabbed pizza at Rustico.

I’m tired today though. It was just volunteering with Scene and Heard last week, but the responsibility is wearing. By half six I was already running out of fuel, so we found evening coffee in an old swimming baths down by the seafront. They’ve converted it into a huge underground skate park. Still some of the mosaics are in place. A huge cavernous space, and I’m glad they’ve found a way to make it accessible for people. That area of St Leonard’s is populated widely by alternative minded people living their best life.

Hot sun all day there, but it fades fast at this time of year. Suddenly despite recent coffee I was cold and shifting to sleepy again standing above the grey tide and the shingle. We bundled back into the car and hit the mission back to Brighton.

Now I’m back in Lou’s cosy home, the sea to my left, the cat to my right. The Saturday night drunkies are out on the streets shouting and I’m very glad not to be amongst them. I am going to sleep well, sleep firmly and every time I snore I’ll get punched which will be good for my throat.

First draft

Things went well. I think.

This morning we went through the play together. “Do you want to say more here?” “No.” We went through every line. “Here?” “No.” My playwright was happy. The other day at the end of writing she got tired and just said “and now he says goodbye and leaves.” We eventually expanded things into a brief exchange that made sense of the exit. Today we were asked to put a button on the play. There were so many wonderful possibilities, but I wanted it to be hers not mine so I sat on my ideas completely. I’m glad I did. She only put in one more line and even that was reluctant but it works. She really didn’t want more text. But … the line was a good one. And her whole attitude is helpful for writing and, frankly, it aligns with what I’ve been doing here for so long. I often put out my first draft. No revision. There isn’t enough time in the day to make it sexy. It’s why this crap will never get me a job in my spare time as columnist.

Sometimes I emergency edit the next day, just because I am sometimes writing … augmented. I might get terribly obsessed with a detail and go circular and then wake up in the morning and disagree with myself. That happened recently.

Today was lovely. We went back to The Wellcome Collection. Our team’s writer showed Jill the painting that inspired the whole thing, and they talked about it. The dance of death.

She’s something of a linguist, already interested and learning French on the curriculum and Latin extra. This is the first German she’s hit on and it clearly struck her. I can imagine her ending up in Berlin.

The art on this C18th oil painting is mischievous and rich, and death is made to look like kinda fun. Death varies the dance depending on what the person does, and they all hang out in the middle before going off to wherever it is souls go to. Death holds the builder by both of those hard hands. The soldier is held just by the sword arm and with a threatening gesture. We see actions and consequences. Eden leading to hell. Crucifixion leading to heaven. My writer has a faith and her mother isn’t there. This is a considered piece in the way that we don’t really consider such things anymore. As I’ve just been saying – this blog is just extruded nightly without edit or thought. You can see that the painting you can see above has been thought through and lovingly crafted.

Death is coming for all of us, and for everything and everybody we love. All of us will join that dance. If the dance goes anywhere, that’ll be for us to discovet. But the inevitability of it… That’s something they are all just properly precessing now. My playwright isn’t the only one. Death. 14 is a good age to start to properly look at it. Making peace with it can only come much later really, or through terrible hardship. But we all have a timer. It is running out. This is the one life we have this time. And still we procrastinate or fail to represent ourselves. It’s crazy when you think about it…

I’m done with it now. The play goes to the actors, and a director. It’ll be put on in late September with costume and props and even some tech, at Theatro Technis. I’m not acting in this one so I’ll just get to enjoy the finished product. We had a first reading upstairs in The Wellcome. I sat with the other dramaturgs and we just had a lovely time watching. I’ll be something random again before long I’m sure. But this time, the writing was a powerful part of the mentoring and helped me get a deeper handle on the whole game of making something out of nothing.

Two shakes. A stupid breakdown.

Little baby sheep, and we eat them. I often think of my dad when I eat lamb. Of all the meats, the most complicated one for my vegetarian father was lamb. I think his parents might have had some sheep. It doesn’t quite fit my inherited picture – his dad Jamie Barclay was running whiskey into America from Scotland. JB lived the second half of his life with a policeman’s bullet in his gut. Apparently it was visible through the skin, gradually being pushed out. Perhaps he used what he had made to look after sheep. I don’t know much about my unknown mobster grandpa.

So, a lamb is lamb for a year. Just a year. No more. After that the second year they call it hoggart. Then after that it’s mutton – the stuff they call ‘meat” in Indian restaurants. They aren’t offering lamb, nor should they l. You are gonna be fine with a “meat” vindaloo. You’re not the princess and the pea.

Dad was a vegetarian in the eighties, by choice and yes, with a degree of flexibility. He was extremely well traveled. In some circumstances you starve if you can’t compromise. He hit on The Gerson Technique when his cancer manifested though.. Extreme abstinence. He mostly had juice and supplements and enemas for years at the end of his life. But at the very end, perhaps when he knew that the pathogens were finally winning no matter what, he would eat mutton pies, and he’d pretend that it was my brother and I eating them. So yeah, he missed eating mutton. That was the meat that he returned to at the end. Grown up sheepmeat. Baah

I did some research about sheep. This all happened because my friend told me they would be with me in “two shakes of a lamb’s tail. I got to thinking: what is the longest possible time between the first and second shake.

If a lamb were to shake its tail once, immediately, upon being born and then if it were to lose the ability to make such a tail shake action until just before its first birthday… Well, it means that the distance between the first and second lambtail shake can be up to buy no more than a single calendar year. If it shakes that booty any later, it’s too late, it’s hoggart.

I’m in Richmond. Falling asleep. Done for the night, hanging out with friends. Thinking about ridiculous pointless phrases. Life is good. But I’ve gotta connect with my playwright tomorrow. I’m glad. A touch more space to make sure she feels it’s hers…

Day two on the volunteer dramaturgy

Today my new friend wrote a play. It’s the first time I’ve dramaturged for someone in this programme and it did make me anxious. They’re writing a play. They’ve made up the character. They have certain strictures they have to observe and I have to help them. It was flowing beautifully in the morning, but then suddenly in the afternoon session things petered out because we moved from outside to inside and we were being LISTENED TO. Also I hadn’t taken into account that my young writer is part of a peer group and might have had her ideas negated by the louder and more confident members of her group in the lunch break. She suddenly after lunch didn’t feel like she wanted to say anything, partly because probably somebody tried to dictate her character, partly because of busy busy in the room we were in.

She’s tired from time to time my new friend, but at the hardest point of the writing we had someone busying themselves in the background. Just as we were about to try to say the important things we were unlucky as there was buzzing around and it really did feel like she was listening even if she wasn’t. She wouldn’t take the hints I dropped which proves she actually probably wasn’t listening it just felt that way for us. “It’s hard to concentrate when there are people bustling around and listening like this, isn’t it?” I said to the playwright. That’s about as close as nice me will I’ll ever get to saying “Go away! I’ve got this.” So… the final third of the script was solved with the stage direction “They fight”.

I feel that my young adult has written a delightful piece. It might have been different if we had not chosen a busy place to write the second part. I’m glad the first half was fecund. My desire for the scene isn’t her desire, and I’m trying to scribe for her not me. That’s important.

Everything comes from the best possible intentions with this lot. We are all volunteers. It’s tonic to be part of it. I have to check my privilege and my luck at every stage. Glorious people. Glorious work. It’s my first dramaturging, so yeah, of course I’m anxious that I get the best out of my writer.

My writer was so bold 1 on 1. I hope I’ve done well by her. I hope she feels her voice is heard. In the end, that’s all that matters.

My dear friend from Guildhall met up with me in Belsize Park after work. Her mum still lives on Crowndale Road. She grew up in Somerstown and would have definitely been part of the programme had it existed back then. As we left the pub, two young men stopped her. “Are you Miss 0? We all loved you in Dubai!” She’s been international for years, teaching. She’s just come home. I don’t think that happens every night, so I was glad to hear it from them on her behalf, and to hear how well they’re doing and how much they respect her, my old mate… My old drama school partner, Single mum at 16, training as an actress miss thirties, from hardship, alleviating hardship, full of life.

I’m not being paid for this mentoring. I’m doing it because I know how incredible these young adults are. I’m happy to be a tiny tiny part of their journey. My friend from Somerstown found drama. It has changed her life and – by the feel of it she has gone on to change that of many many people.

She also has ridiculously cute cats

The Wellcome Collection with a young adult

I spent the day in The Wellcome Collection. We were very kindly given a tour by one of the curators. I think if you’re presiding over an ethnographic museum from that era, you are going to have to be aware of the colonialism that made such things possible. Ditto the exploitation that led to all that money. But our tour was so completely wrapped up in hesitant apologetics for the very existence of the collection that it failed to take into account that there were some really interesting items with history and power. I was there with Scene and Heard, working with a young writer who lives in Mornington Crescent. She will be making a part of a play based on the collection. We were only shown a fraction of the public galleries, and it was mostly just a very well meaning woman apologising. We wanted to know things and see things. We can make our own minds up.

The tour didn’t stop us from finding things. Our team started off by looking at the device by which people blend and consume one another’s poo in order to ensure a diverse gut biome. Then we were curious about The Odin: DIY gene editing. Our guide had nothing about it though so we wandered into other less modern areas. Upstairs in the reading room we found pictures and posters. A big selection of period AIDS posters from different countries. “Did you notice the difference between the American posters and the French ones,” she asked me. I hadn’t. “The American ones are all threatening and negative, but the French ones are positive.” I look again. She’s right. But one from America strikes her and me for being outside of the narrative: “I have AIDS, please hug me, I can’t make you sick.” Mostly though its America doing toes on a gurney with a tag. “He didn’t use a condom”, and France with cartoons or sunshine and smiling. “This holiday I forgot everything. Except protection!!”

She’s right. Different countries employing different ways of controlling the flow of popular thought through the prism of a disease control imperative. Considering it is just a small section in the reading room, it was a powerful feeling towards what we have all been experiencing now. The world is no longer late eighties believe it or not. Looking at those posters we learnt a bit more about how the narrative has shifted. The internet has brought groupings. The internet has gathered. Advertising metrics have worked out the thoughtpoints around which most people coalesce, and has flagged us all with so many notional labels. Algorithms have realised that we respond more if certain dialogues are encouraged. And if we aren’t paying attention we are gently ushered into extremism by robots, even if we can’t read very well.

“You can teach her a little,” Lou responded when I told her something of the circumstances of the young adult I’m working with. “She can teach me,” I responded because we are both outside one another’s experience, but strangely bonded by Latin. Her school has made provision. She’s doing it as a fourth GCSE, coming in out of hours. She told me where Caecilius is. 33 years later and he’s STILL in the bloody horto.

We found a picture of The Dance of Death though, and that seemed to be the catalyst for her character. It’s a German picture. Death dancing with everybody. The rich and the poor, the powerful and the crushed. We will all have a part in her dance, and when it finishes she will help us go to the place we are “supposed” to go to. It’s a tough job, but somebody’s got to do it. She helps make things better by dressing up cheerfully and being friendly and bright.

We’ve sewn the bones of something here today. Tomorrow we just need to reap what we’ve sewn. She will write her piece and I will interfere as little as possible other than typing. I’m excited about what she might bring though. She’s a force.

In terms of light it’s not really possible to get a good picture of the glass covered dance of death. Here’s the best I’ve got.

The things we are “supposed” to be thinking about

It’s my first night at home for a week. There is no cat to feed.

I ran a bath, and employed unusual restraint on the size of it. Scrubbed and then lay until I was pickled. I hadn’t got back home until about 3pm and I’d probably still be in the bath if I hadn’t had a briefing on Zoom at 5pm. Scene and Heard. I’ve volunteered for something interesting again. It’ll keep me occupied this week and will hopefully put something back into the London I love.

I haven’t been home for a week. All the lights have been off. According to my smart meter, that bath cost me the best part of £3.14. The fridge freezer was set too high though and has been chipping away for months. It was burning about 0.10p an hour.

These things can make you obsessive! There’s a setting where it tells you your kilowatt hours live. You can switch something on, wait a few seconds and see a result. It is terrifying being able to break things down quite to this extent. With everything but the fish aerator switched off we were looking pretty clear though, so at least I know I don’t have any weird drains on my power.

I’ve been swept up in the narrative even if I haven’t meant to be. I listen to lots of Radio 4 as I’m driving around etc, and right now it’s all about “What luxuries do you think you can’t do without? Call us and share.” We are being primed for a decade of hardship. But it’s weirder and darker than that, because there’s no windfall tax and energy companies are posting record profits. Theatre Royal Bury St Edmunds have just seen a £47000 price hike on their energy bills. They are looking at what they can to be able to continue to operate – they are asking for donations but theatre is a wonderful industry that has been scratching by forever. Nobody goes into theatre to get rich. And it is an industry under fire. “Singing is a vector for COVID,” says the narrative. While the energy bills are soaring, so the theatres are being quietly styled as dangerous places and their running costs are being hiked. The audience that fills the seats are being discouraged from filling the seats by the narrative. Lockdown didn’t kill theatre. We rose up. We believed. We rallied. Brian was opening and closing so frequently it was like he was a saloon door. People with money at the top of production chains quietly bankrolled losses just because they knew they were employing people who needed employment… That was lockdown but I’m not sure we can sustain it if they start to attack us like they have been attacking the NHS for years. Pulling basic grassroots funding, deprioritising, patronising, crushing. I don’t want to live in a world where, as with the Gainsborough Studios, the old theatres are turned into flats for Captain Job-Description and her howling ninnies to have their pad in the smoke ya? I mean yeah, if you charge way too much for tickets then of course you’re a Cock. But we’ve all got to make a living. And theatre provides an early home for some really interesting thinker who, given their rein, could change the world. It’s almost like the people in charge don’t want the world to be changed… I guess that’s what “Conservative” means really. You have to stop the plants from growing freely in your conversatory. And If you cause the plants distress then they can yield better fruit to eat. You can even imitate a crisis – like setting a controlled fire in a pineapple conservatory – and yield record fruit by making the plants panic and push out all their best stuff.

I wonder what history will say about this period. About Boris the jolly arsonclown, and about the empty-faced parade still dancing behind his shadow. We are supposed to care if it is Liz or Rishi who is chosen to deliberately drive us into the iceberg. Rishi is supposed to understand money and is openly disapproving of Liz, so it looks like Liz has been chosen so she can sink us and then Rishi can say “I told you so” and be presented in a few years as an option for a “recovery” that’s just as fucked as everything before it. Empty transparent nasty mean humans the lot of them. No more empathy or kindness than a flock of geese. Leaders? Nah. None of them ever were. None of them ever can be. None of them ever will be. Like the officers in WW1. Dangerous proud fools with too much power.

Convenience, rent and coffee

It’s a funny old thing, living in London. Where I am, in Chelsea, the area is pointedly and angrily residential. There are well organised groups of concerned citizens who do mailouts. When The Tamezin Club – who are an Opus Dei receiving house next door to me – when they started hosting a girls’ school in their premises, there was local outrage. There is no school anymore.

As a result of this tendency there’s no decent coffee in my immediate area. The only shop in easy walking distance is the worst stocked Tesco Metro in the world, on Royal Hospital Road, woefully understaffed and selling an eccentric range of whatever they think people will want. I would love to see how much of their annual sales go on booze, even though a previous manager deliberately took the beer out of the fridge because he didn’t like local workmen buying cold beer and drinking it on the bench outside. They’ve recently put in two self checkouts and nobody uses them – either because the people are too old fashioned, they aren’t going to support the job automation, or – statistically most likely – the machines are both out of order again. Some Zuckerborg has made these crap machines and flogged them half broken to Tesco who have cut their staff and blocked out even more space to host them before it became apparent that they are just a humongous pile of failed bollocks like the Metaverse.

But yeah. That’s my only outlet until we get to The King’s Road, which is a warning to us all. Even up to the nineties it was a sexy and interesting place. The landlord – (I believe it’s the Cadogan Estate) – utterly ruined Chelsea by putting the rent up so high that only chains that are still dumb enough to think that The King’s Road means anything anymore can afford to be there. Big brands only. The Chelsea Kitchen went. The angry mangal place went. I think we might even have lost Picasso. Pucci Pizza. R Soles the shoe shop… All the personality has been excised, most of it a long time ago. Halfway up in the farmer’s market Phat Phuc still sells you basic decent ramen in their garden tent. Even The Stock Pot went though. I think Wilde Ones might still be trading, selling you a decent 0.20p incense stick for like £3.00, but good on them, they’ve got a market. There’s a lot of money in posh hippy kids. I blew my allowance there week in week out and I still occasionally buy stuff there because they are somehow still clinging on despite most of the road being assimilated by the borg. I haven’t been up in a while though. I’m more likely to buy the same stuff in Brixton market for a bit less of a mark up.

This is my last night in Camden,. It’s very very different up here in North London. 5 minutes walk from bed will bring me an exceptionally good independent coffee tomorrow morning from the place that used to be Leyas. It’s the same at Lou’s in Brighton with the Kemptown Bakery, which we both affectionately dub the Crack House. It’s just The King’s Road where I live that I’m disappointed by the cofferings. Starwucks. Pwet. Pwaul. Homogenised and insipid coffee from stressed out mass produced beans and indifferent staff. Ok so I take the quality of the available coffee as a benchmark for an area, but that’s because it’s an obvious thing to sell for a huge mark-up. It’s when the only outlets are actually these property empires that have streamlined their coffeemaking process until it is justjust good enough that you can’t quite get away with sending it back… “Excuse me, my but coffee is… Well … It’s … It’s insipid.” “We have correctly added the Fwargucks Fairtrade* beans to the perfect quantity. You agreed that you liked your coffee as part of the transaction when you made your payment. It’s the the tees and sees. And either way, there’s no point in you getting angry about it, we literally own you. We actually own you. Dance little piggy dance.” *(This is a brand name, not ethical practice)

I’ve lived in Chelsea for years. I don’t go out in Chelsea. It’s either lazy and standardized or its absurdly overpriced. It’s been lovely to be here in Camden. It’s a tiny bit more free here. I saw two old friends and remembered a bit more of those pre-lockdown days. Unfortunately though, we got fucked. The chains are moving in. The borg is assimilating Camden. Cwosta and Nwero and the others are all still there but we were after grub. “Hooray” we thought as Rossopomodoro told us they could take us on a late Sunday night.

£75 quid for two small bowls of pasta, two drinks and two tiramisu. Oh you villains. John is about to be a dad and it all ended up on his card too. Lovely jubbly until I have to return and favour. I can pop into Wilde Ones with all my unspent wealth and buy a single stick of palo santo… Might even get some change from it.