rakin' and scrapin'

as is our nature to do contrary "holidays", we spent a few days in london celebrating H's birthday, in what could be termed as the UK snowpocalypse - the media was full of horror stories about the terrible weather, and such... which we averted, by travelling the day before it kicked-in and leaving the day after it all stopped.
but i digress, wednesday night we hit the city in search of vintage fun+japes!
admittedly this led to spending the next morning recovering in the nearby euston station's branch of ed's diner - a chain of retro 50's diners, serving-up authentic hot food on demand(uk sized portions).
nice people in both venues though - at one point, they were so understaffed due to various unavoidable incidents/bad weather - that they had to shut the restuarant, so both us and two other customers were "locked-in" for breakfast, having the whole place to ourselves... friendly people who work there, which is a big change from usual city venues.
the weather was blisteringly cold though - most shop-owners were just glad to see someone come in, even if they were only browsing, luckily i'd packed my woolrich hunters jacket and plenty of pendletons for the sightseeing walks!
we are of course, avid fans of the poirot - thanks to the complete boxset, and so we visited the house where the tv show is set... although it looks a lot less enclosed on camera, almost like it faces onto a public park, which is in fact a locked private green, in the heart of london.
but no matter, it was a great looking art-deco building, looking very dramatic in the snow, and set back from the main drag in a little square.
being a new-wave music fan(since my sonic coming of age in '79), this rather plain street corner was strangely signifigant to me - not only rossmore road, but lissom grove in one shot!
here's me, giving some clash-style attitude, with the mythical westway behind me.
rock&roll icon time...
we headed off into an area i dubbed hipster hell, due to all the on-street shops selling skinny jeans, and second-hand nike pumps(occasionally coming across gems like the above - a great little shop called dolly diamond).
 alfie's antiques was out main destination though - several meandering floors of vintage furniture/items, anything you could want - a pile of 1920's suitcases? a huge 50's light-fitting? tables, chairs, etc...
it's all there, not a lot in clothing, unless you're a collector, but otherwise all the other stuff you don't see in vintage shops(and a hairdressers!)...
we ended-up chatting for a long time, with graham who runs the above stall - manic attic, as he loved to expound on his stock, and swap stories with customers, great guy with knowledge of just about any 50's homeware item.
fortified from the rooftop cafe, and with the blue fluffy poodle radio(no, i'm not kidding), we headed off in search of more japes.
i spotted this interesting jumper on the underground - which i immediately named the bridget jones look, although, farah seem to have issued a zip-up ski-jumper, which we saw around town a lot.
we even had our own nostalgia trip, revisiting the good mixer pub, where we'd both first met-up in fourteen years ago... where we both got carried away with the beers in, missing both our trains, causing an overnight stop-out in london.
we've been through a lot since then, but it still feels like it was yesterday.
the good mixer, has gone back to being a strange mix of aussie barmen and old drinking men, now that the britpoppers who made it famous, have all long gone.
herein is another great london rock landmark now lost forever and proof of the lack of respect that developers have for the cultural heritage of the city.
this is the birthplace of rock&roll in the UK, now a faceless restuarant.
where vince taylor, cliff, the shadows/drifters and every other UK rocker played or hung-out.

i'm not even going to mention the new piccadilly, which will one day be written about in the same hushed tones... too bad they put the rent up so that the owner had to sell-up.
shame on you, whoever you are.
we fitted-in a walk down by the thames, which was of course, tourist free, thanks to the freezing weather... where we stumbled across somerset house - which was showing a dior artwork exhibition, featuring all the classic adverts in their original form:
and, as an extra treat, i also stumbled across an exhibition of kevin cummings joy division photographs.

ok, neither of us are particularily chap, i spend most of my time loafing around looking like a truckdriver on a duckhunt, but i also dress madmen style(that's what it's called nowadays!), when the need arises, due to owning several classic suits... that's me + H. heading to the chap ball, wearing a vintage tonic aquascutum raincoat, 50's dark POW suit, and a christy's pork-pie(brogues out of shot).
we've both read the chap, from issue #3 though, and appreciate the humour... indeed i once ran a yahoo group cravateers of the world, which parallelled the world of the chap.
i do believe in being polite though - always let other people go first if appropriate, andi think it's a smart thing to help others out... although i'm too much of a ruffian, to let bad manners go unremarked.
i have a vintage attitude, to go with the haircut(shop owners, restuarantuers... why not play some really obvious nostalgia music, when i'm in your establishment, it's not only fun, but original!), so be warned, i will laugh at you for behaving like a square.
the ball was interesting though - some good acts, and plenty of people watching, which is never tiring(although i didn't regret drinking tonic water, the next morning!).
debates rage now, in regards to the people who turn up to such events, in obvious fancy dress... again, i'm not going to get into the debate(others have said it so much better), but what i wear isn't fancy dressing-up.
imagine, all you hipsters, that stuff you put-on, had a laugh with, that made you feel somehow eclectic.
i feel like that every day, so why don't you try it for real?
anyhoo, we found ourselves outside the venue, at some ungodly hour of the morning, overdressed and in need of a ride home... no taxis were forthcoming - so the fuckitt-notion kicked-in, and we caught a rickshaw home to the hotel!


Helen Highwater said...

As much as I enjoyed Ed's Diner and the heavenly chocolate milkshake, it's a tragedy of unimaginable proportions that Ed's still exists in Soho while the real goddamn ally-dally - The New Piccadilly - has been KNOCKED DOWN. but then it's a bit like a stick-on moustache: the real thing is always a bit terrifying for some people. Ed's does enormous burgers and The Piccadilly stuck to its 50s menu of peach melba ice cream and cheese omelette. The people voted with their bellies.

Derek is more than just a turquoise poodle with a radio in his stomach - he's a legend in his own lunchtime.

Was funny going back to the Good Mixer - there was an illustration on the wall of famous musicians wot used to drink in there. I didn't study it (cos I was preparing to get ROARINGLY wankered) but it featured Morrissey and... erm... the druggy woman with the big hair. Seemed such a juxtaposition with those NW1 hardnuts playing snooker and getting upset when we walked passed them and upset their stroke....

Oh - hon. mensh. to Yumchaa café in Camden who still managed to serve us despite having horrendous problems with a frozen water pipe and an arsehole customer! (and no, I wasn't the arsehole customer...).

Hon. mensh. too to Anna!

Helen Highwater said...

Amy Winehouse, that's who I meant. Would rather be in the pub with the NW1 hardnuts rather than her and her tiresome entourage.

bitter69uk said...

Shame we couldn't have met up this time -- come back to London soon! When you were at Alfie's, did you go to The Girl Can't Help It? That's the boutique run by my old friends Gail and Jasja (aka Sparkle Moore and Cad van Swankster). I haven't been to the Good Mixer in many years -- glad to read it's back to its original incarnation! Next time we'll go to The Elephants Head on a Saturday night, when they have DJs playing rockabilly. For old school 1950s cafes still in Soho, I highly recommend The Lorelei on 21 Bateman Street. A real experience. The last time I was there, Sebastian Horsley was sitting at the next table wearing his oversized tophat. (RIP).

eightball said...

it would be great to meet-up, next time!
...and definately trawl soho for good caffs!
yes, we did visit "the girl can't help it" and talked to the man behind the counter as he was being friendly... great items in the shop too, all damn perfect original stuff.
let's wait until the weather isn't so deadly ...

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