The old tin box factory on Blackstock Road

In my post-pub dreams the old deserted tin box factory on Blackstock Road was going to be turned into something exciting. Any day now. Over the years it has been the site of:

1) A writers’ retreat with running water and personalised minibars
2) A cafe for nymphomaniac jazz chicks
3) A zoo for put-upon grey squirrels
4) A cinema for stay-at-home dads
5) A swimming pool for people with dodgy knees
6) A museum of cheese

Unfortunately I always dreamed these things but never did anything about them. Now the bulldozers have arrived and the old deserted tin box factory on Blackstcok Road is now just a few piles of browny-yellow brick.

So which of my ideas will become reailty? Or will it become just another shite block of modernist flats?

Avoiding the sailor

On days like this when I’m really busy it’s essential that, when popping out on errands, I manage to avoid the sailor. Whenever I bump into the sailor he tends to take up a blocking position that is impossible to counter. And I am stuck.

The sailor’s favourite topics of conversation are:
1) The speedbumps in the road that lorries drive over and keep him awake at night
2) The inevitablity of the UK become a Muslim state
3) Women and how he doesn’t have much luck with them

A while ago I rushed out to the corner shop to buy some herbs for some fish I was cooking. The sailor must have been hiding in undergrowth in his front garden for he suddenly popped out in front of me, took up the blocking position and started to tell me about his relationship with Michael Flatley, the Riverdance bloke. He even had a photo of the two of them in his jacket pocket.

ME: Got to go. I’m in a hurry.
THE SAILOR: You’re always in a hurry. You need to relax a bit more.

And it’s true. I only ever seem to meet the sailor when I’m pushed for time.

Now and again I will try to predict where I’ll meet him. I’ll change direction at the last minute, but there he’ll be. He must have some kind of high tech sonar equipment built into his fedora.

“In 15 years time we will all be Muslim, you know.”

Supporting Eric Random and the Bedlamites

I’m at a time in my life right now in where I’m asking one of life’s important questions. What should I do with my Eros Les Paul Copy? I bought the guitar when I was 14 years old and it’s hard to imagine getting rid of it. But we’re about to move away for a year or so and I’ve been chucking out all kinds of stuff that I haven’t used for years – I’ve given away my Wem Copycat and Electro Harmonix drum machine and lent out the Korg MS-10. But I can’t face getting rid of the Eros Les Paul Copy.

The last time I used it was at a band practice in 1994. I’d just had it serviced at Fiddles and Sticks on All Saints Road and the bloke there had told me that it was probably a late 60s issue and worth a couple of hundred quid so I thought I’d try and get back into it again. By this time I was in a countryish band and the eros Les Paul Copy sound was just not mellow enough, being better suited for 1234 barre chord thrashes. I’d assumed the guitar was new when I bought it in 1979. I’d saved up for months to get it, and had convinced my parents that I could just plug it into the wall socket and play without any amplifiers.

DAD: Great. So it won’t be loud then.
ME: Ha ha. No. The sound gets diffused into the wires of the house and feeds back into the National Grid.
DAD: So it’s the mains socket, then. You definitely won’t be buying an amplifier.
ME: Won’t need one, dad. Got the mains plug.
DAD: Excellent.

I ended up taking my grandfather to a big music warehouse in Bingley, where he helped me choose a little practice amp with a tremelo feature.

DAD: What’s that? Is it an amplifier?
ME: Ha ha. No, Dad. It’s an early prototype of what’s called a ‘personal computer’.
DAD: Why is it making so much noise?
ME: That’s the computer’s memory.
DAD: Why is your guitar plugged into it?

The guitar saw me through the glory years of various bands – Heart Attack, Easy Listening, Boys at their Worst, The Brezhnev Brothers, The Gifted Children and the Fat and Lazy Jazz Experience. The high spot was supporting Eric Random and the Bedlamites at Nottingham’s Ad Lib Club. It was to be the culmination of lots of practice and hard work. Then Eric got ill and the gig was cancelled – we ended up playing a rubbishy Kazoo set for an 18th birthday party at Glentham Village Hall.

Parkland Walk

A slow walk with my daughter to Park Walk on the western edge of Finsbury Park. It’s on the route of an old railway line which the Victorians built to link Stroud Green to the Winchester Hall Tavern on Archway Road. Commuters would leave the Finsbury Park area in the eary morning then get massively drunk at The Winchester and roll off home in the evening.
“Did you have a good day at the office, dear?”
“God it was tough. Took ages to get served.”

Kestrel Dowsing Overview

This afternoon I spotted a can of Kestrel Super K on the route of the lost Hackney Brook. I’ve noticed over the last few months that Super K has been making inroads into the Clissold Park scene (formerly a Tennants Super hotspot). I would have done some compass readings from where the can lay, but I was in character – I was King of the Dragon Pirates and we were escaping to Narnia via the track on the north side of Clissold Park, being chased by Giant Pirates. Giant Pirates are bad and Dragon Pirates are, generally, thought to be good – at least in the world of 6 and 3 year olds.)

You had to be there.

Too scared to open the packet

Greetings fans of Grumman Wildcat models. If you’re like me you’ve long ago given up making models of other planes, boats and tanks and are now concentrating solely on the Grumman Wildcat. At the moment I’ve got two Grumman Wildcats but I haven’t made either of them yet. One is a 1980s Revell kit and the other is an early 70s Frog set. I’ve had them both about a year. At the moment I’m too scared to open the packet.