Homer Sykes: Britain in the 1980s. Text by Tim Wells (4/5)

Watching the Lord Mayor’s Show, 1980. © Homer Sykes/Photoshelter.

Epsolutely by Tim Wells:

Epsom, let me tell you about Epsom.

The first time I met the parents of my girlfriend Alexis they put on extra posh accents to impress. They were sweet, so was the tea, and already far posher than me. It only took one ‘Ello, luverly to meet you’ from me for them to realise they’d over-invested. But by then they couldn’t back down. Alexis whispered that they weren’t normally that posh and all she’d told them about me was that I was lovely. But they knew, that I knew, that they knew, that I knew, that they knew, that I knew, that they knew, that I knew, that…

Epsom, let me tell you about Epsom.

Bin men pick up rubbish bags with their pinky fingers daintily extended, John Nettles is the law and the starlings sing ‘You’re beautiful, you’re beautiful…’ in Epsom, let me tell you about Epsom.

I bought my girl chocolates. There were only Conscious Chocolate, Green & Black’s and Seeds of Change in the pristine shops. Middle-class chocolates with centres such as ‘the better part of town’, ‘a good college’ and ‘a bit of rough’ in Epsom, let me tell you about Epsom.

There are no coincidences but sometimes the pattern is more obvious. In Epsom, let me tell you about Epsom.

Alexis had a Porsche, in ‘not red dahling; scarlet’. She’d motor to Marks and Spencer’s, to the Downs and to country pubs for lunch. On our first outing she squeezed me in and sped off in a polite cough of dust. A few miles on she remarked worriedly that the car seemed to be dragging to the left. She drove a bit further and then pulled over. She walked around the sportster but could not find fault, drove further and said that the car was still not right. I asked her how many other fat blokes she’d had in there before?

I got the train back from Epsom, let me tell you about Epsom.

© Tim Wells.


Homer Sykes: Britain in the 1980s. Text by Charles Jennings. (2/5)

Sloane Rangers, Kensington, 1983. © Homer Sykes/Photoshelter.

Society Wedding by Charles Jennings: 

‘The Boltons, yes. And I mean, the Queen Mother’s actually been there, to dinner, apparently.’

Really?

‘But apparently she didn’t sign the visitors’ book.’

‘Well, she wouldn’t would she?’

‘So of course, James’ – the boyfriend – ‘had to volunteer first, so they gave him a box of watercolours and a brush. And he spent ages trying to get the watercolours to go on the brush, but he’d forgotten that he needed some water first.’

‘He’s so sweet, James, so funny.’

‘Thing is, Emma had James’ Jack Russell as a bridesmaid –‘

‘As in a dog?’

‘So sweet!’

‘Emma phoned, the honeymoon was fab, wants to meet up –‘

‘Istanbul? I know that city, actually. Went with Simon and Gemma and Charlie last summer. Charlie’s so funny, he stood outside that big mosque and – ’

‘Why couldn’t she make it tonight?’

‘Dinner with James’ grandmother. She’s ninety and lives in a tiny flat on Trafalgar Square.’

‘I didn’t know anyone lived there!’

So sweet!’

… for The London Column. © Charles Jennings 2011.