Barrow boy, World’s End, 1963. © Dmitri Kasterine.
Joanna Blachnio writes:
And then he forgets. Clearly. The formula for the circumference of the circle and the length of the arch. How to calculate mass, and how to express vacuum in numbers. He forgets the latchkey, warming slowly in his pocket, the water gathered by one of his wingless shoes. He forgets the order of notes on the musical scale. Even that game of marbles, shamefully lost to Jimmy Croghan. He forgets how mist comes into being – and it rises, contrary to experience, from the ground, spreading sideways. And envelops all except his face.
… for The London Column. © Joanna Blachnio 2011.
Hailing a cab, Mayfair, 1965. © Dmitri Kasterine.
Black Cab Blues by Tim Turnbull:
All Hail! All Hail! the cabbies of London,
who are rammed to the gunwales with Knowledge;
so stuffed to the gills with it that it would turn
any lesser bloke’s brains into porridge.
Wave! Wave your brolly! and preen there bespokely,
the cut of your coat won’t persuade them to stop;
they do if they want, and for that reason only –
they’re nothing if not democratic, Old Cock.
Hark! O Hark! to their myriad opinions
but don’t venture yours, they’re never impressed –
you’re not in chambers, they’re not your minions
and so, for all your rhetorical prowess,
you’re bleeding mistaken if you think they might
go sarf uther river at this time o’night.
… for The London Column. © Tim Turnbull 2011.
Tailor, Putney. Photo © Dmitri Kasterine.
Dead Man’s Pockets by Tim Wells:
Things found in the pockets of Tim Wells, Saturday Night, 28.02.09
Right coat pocket – mobile phone (Liquidator as ringtone), spectacles.
Ticket pocket – a dozen of his own business cards, business cards for Niall O’Sullivan, Alice Gee and S. Reiss Menswear, return train ticket to Epsom.
Left coat pocket – keys – England fob, poem entitled ‘Self-Portrait as a P G Tips Chimp’, flyer for 14 Hour 14th march show with Karen Hayley, Ashna Sarkar, Amy Blakemore and others.
Inside coat pocket – an Elvis pen.
Right trouser pocket – £8.56 in assorted change.
Left trouser pocket – empty
Hip pocket – Oyster card and wallet
Wallet (black leather) – £160 in twenty pound notes, dry cleaning ticket, Leyton Orient FC membership card from 87/88 season, visa and cash card, picture of Joan Collins in window nook, horoscope stating ‘The first thing you have to ask yourself is what has to go; the second is what is going to take its place; and the third is where will I go to celebrate. Day done.’
© Tim Wells 2009.
Man with cigar, Putney, 1967. © Dmitri Kasterine.
Andrew Martin writes:
This chap is, to my jaundiced mind, committing the error of smoking outside at a time in history when he could have been smoking inside, so he seems to me complacent, lacking in foresight. I think it was Freud, who said that oral satisfaction of smoking comes from blowing a concentrated stream of smoke, and you can’t do that out of doors, as I know because I am forced to smoke most of my half dozen weekly cigars out of doors, ideally on a fine day in Green Park, where the price of the deckchair adds £1.50 to the cost of my cheap (‘inexpensive’, my tobacconist calls them) Honduran cigars.
My tobacconist is James J. Fox in St James’s Street, one of – I think – half a dozen left in central London, where twenty years ago there were forty. I once asked the man who serves me at Fox when the shop was founded, ‘1730,’ he said, with great trenchancy, but the shop was called Carlin in those days, and sold mainly snuff. It was called Robert Lewis from 1787 to 1991, when Fox moved there from Burlington Arcade. ‘Did you ever supply Churchill?’ I asked my man. ‘Sole supplier, sir, sole supplier.’
To think that in Churchill’s London you could smoke cigars in pubs, restaurants, on Tube trains, in Tube stations. When the subterranean Cabinet War Rooms were being fixed up early in the War, Churchill repaired to the safety of the disused Down Street Tube station, which had been taken over by the Railway Executive. He smoked cigars there, and it was said the fumes from them – and from his rich food and brandy – floated along the tunnel to the shelterers at Green Park station, and tormented them.
The only place I now smoke an indoor cigar in London, is in the upper room at Fox, where it is allowed providing you are sampling one to buy a larger amount, or providing you say that’s what you say you’re doing. I listen to a lot of plutocrats in there, as they drink coffee and smoke fifty quid double coronas. (Double coronaries, more like). The other day, one of the millionaires was Australian, and he was saying you can’t smoke outdoors in many places in his country. So I shouldn’t moan really.
… for The London Column. Andrew Martin’s book, Underground, Overground – A Passenger’s History of the Tube is published by Profile Books in May 2012.