The Clown, The Waiter and the Monkey Sanctuary…..

Firstly, I didn’t get the job…. This isn’t a surprise but the reason was. Apparently I had all the skills and experience but didn’t show the necessary enthusiasm to work for the firm in question….. nice…. No matter…. we move on….other opportunities will arise and so I need to regain the lost enthusiasm and focus on my current employer for a bit.

Back to work….

I head to the station and realise that I haven’t seen The God Squadder for weeks. The area by the back entrance has been vacant, religion free. There has been no manhandling of the weak, no thrusting of pamphlets, no damp smell of urine and digestives. 

I turn the corner and see that he has returned however he’s different.  He has a new hat (flat) and appears to be sporting the moustache of an Austrian house painter.  It’s the clincher.. this should have the crowds rolling in… I give him my most contemptible glance and head to the Jesus free platform.

…0815 hours…. The Freak Box…..

Its the wrong time to get this train so I position myself by the door I will eventually alight from perching on that useless half seat.  I figure it’s going to get banged out and so it’s best to make the exit easier by being in position early doors.  This strategy is 99% effective but can backfire. 

A few months back I was minding my own business in this spot when I realised we had been in the station for a long time.  I also noticed a commotion to my left. I care little for the Freaks of the Box but I was intrigued and so disconnected from the joys of early Van Halen to see what was happening

It appeared that some real negative vibe merchant had decided to pass out half on and half off the carriage.  This wasn’t good.  I was supposed to be getting a bacon roll at this point but I’m stuck looking at the helpful…the interfering and helpful, the worst of all combo’s.  There appears to be a lot of fussing with no decision making.  I’m about to suggest a vote amongst the conscious within the carriage along the lines of ‘drag her on or roll her off’ when I’m poked by an older women who wants me to pull the chord and speak to bloke in charge of propelling this tube.  I can’t call them ‘drivers’ as that indicates a level of skill above the dead mans handle this plum controls.  I’ve never pulled the chord and so willingly oblige.

“. Can someone tell me what is happening to block the doorway in your carriage?..” says a voice free from politeness…

“..hello Freak… the door is being blocked by someone’s hips…They are prone…” says I.

“..Eh?..” he grunts… Clearly he’s incapable of moving from his pod at the front to see what’s happening due to the inevitable health and safety issues so I just part the crowd, step over the body and walk from the station I’m at… I didn’t look back, bacon has triumphed over Schadenfreude….

As I said earlier my door strategy is 99% effective and a quick scan of the carriage reveals no potential fainters so I relax.

This train is surprisingly empty but when we reach the next stop there’s a rush for seats from a packed station. Bursting through the doors I see it. It’s a treat that I’ve heard of but never witnessed…

The Clown….

It’s big, overly nourished with ham hock arms and tiny, tiny feet that defy physics…This ain’t no Charlie Cairoli turnout but the make up is similar. She gets the last seat as no one is big enough or brave enough to stop her and sits down with such force that the two punters either side involuntarily rise up. From my position I can see the caked on make up. It’s cheap…and like the shoddy work of a cockney plasterer it needs several coats to be sufficient. I’m hoping she smiles as the cracking will be magnificent and flaky like a puff pastry mince pie.

She goes for her bag.. I’m expecting toffees or a pie but she brings out an immense make up bag in order to apply more gunk and gloop to the eyes. She’s at that point that only Da Vinci could understand after trying to perfect the Mona Lisa smirk… The more she slaps on the more she takes off. Less should be more but I imagine that’s an alien concept in this case. I study her face from my vantage point. There is so much make up that it’s impossible to age her unless you look at the hands. She is the spitting image of the daughter of that funny Jewish family on “Gogglebox”… as I think they are hilarious I move my attention to another carriage dweller to her right….

A young Asian guy is squeezed in next to her. He’s wearing an oversized beaney hat which I have always seen as a sign of mental illness. The collar of his jacket is up and his hair pokes out from under the hat… He looks like “ensemble cast” from Les Miserable. He’s motionless. He hasn’t moved since he was propelled in the air by The Clown. Standby…. we have movement.

He reaches into his coat pocket and produces a small silver tray reminiscent of the kind of thing you get your bill on in an expensive restaurant from an aloof waiter. He looks at the tray. I’m waiting for him to deposit some form of chocolate stack on the tray before offering it up to truffle monster beside him when I realise it’s an iPhone 6…the big one. It’s a ludicrous size. He’s clearly making some kind of statement with a phone that big….I reckon that statement is “Please mug me..I have a £700 device”…

I work with a bloke who has a large phone… He’s a small bloke and so the phone looks like an iPad in the hands of a 10 year old. When he receives a call you can’t see his head side on. When you’re buying a new coat in order to store your phone then you have the wrong phone… it’s basic…

We trundle along and I go to work with the usual enthusiasm…. It’s over for me… but Half term is imminent and I’m off for a week so I fight on..

As a man I find half term, looking after kids utter drudgery. I know I’m supposed to cherish these moments with the kids but as usual I’m tasked with washing, cleaning, cooking and dealing with tradesmen…. It’s a shit business..

This half term is different. We head to the North to visit the in-laws, and one in particular, Jen’s grandmother who is a fantastic women clocking in at 102 years old, sharp as a tack and worthy of another 100 years. Strangely, and for all my piss taking about Northern Monkeys, I like the North… It’s simple…like the people..(did you see what I did there?). I jest. It’s friendly with less stress than London with more character.

Jen is the Queen of research and so she finds us a magnificent independent hotel to stay for a couple of nights.

We arrive and check in and my first impressions are great. It has a buzzing, welcoming bar and I can spot the Guinness tap. I’m sorted and care little for anyone else, I mean let’s face it… You can’t fuck up a coke can you?

We head off to visit grandma for a couple of hours and upon our return I’m keen to visit the bar and feed the kids who love being out at night… it’s an adventure for them.

After a brief freshen up we head down the sweeping staircase to the bar where I see some cones marked “caution! wet floor”. I look and then look again. Cordoned off with the cones is a trail of vomit about 20 feet long with a larger deposit every 2-3 feet. It’s a magnificent effort… real piss head quality with fantastic distance, lots of bile and pink to boot. I’m thinking ‘stomach lining’ after an afternoon of Cider…

“Excuse me Northern Monkey” I say to our host, “Is that vomit?”

“Aye”…he grunts deciding not to offer any other information. I stare at him and he informs me that a child has spewed and his staff are dealing with it.. This is excellent news and I expect no less from an establishment of this quality.

Years ago I was in a curry house in North London where an refreshed young man chundered on the table and merely covered it with a napkin before continuing to scoop in large mouthfuls of Aloo Gobi… Nobody in there cared to position a cone as a warning… Halcyon days…

We have some bar food in the presence of the sick and the kids find it hilarious… Then we retire to the room for a restless night on a wooden bed so hard that I wake as those my internal organs are being pushed out of my mouth…

The next morning, after reassembling my body, we head for breakfast where against all the Gods of Ecky Thump I’m presented with a continental breakfast…

… Fuck that….

I expect meat so I decide to move outside the parameters of ‘included in the price’ and go for a marvellously described meat fest…

… The plate arrives and it looks suitably Northern so I tuck in. I stare at the hash brown and re read the menu in an attempt to link it to the items on the listed. I hate to bring this to the attention of the residents of Yorkshire but an Iceland Frozen Hash Brown isn’t the ‘crispy bubble and squeak cake’ described in italic font on the menu…. I am undeterred and anyway the sausages made up for it.

We swan off and enjoy the countryside and the open spaces of Yorkshire. It truly is a fantastic place and deserves more recognition from my Soft Southern heart….

Things seem easier here… I’m a bit sick of London and the grief but what could I do here? Farm? Run a pub? Maybe…. How about Armed Robbery?

This moment will pass, when upon our return I see a sign that says ‘London 101’… That’s all it took… I’m an expert in London…

Greatest City in the world….if you ain’t in it you should be…


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