an idiot in london


Saturday, 13th May.

Seldom do I go shopping for clothes. That will shock none of you, I'm sure. But this morning I went shopping.

High Street Kensington was my destination. There are a few "outdoors" shops next to each other there. I went into one and found a short-sleeved shirt (with breathable fabric, sure) and asked at the counter if I could try it on. The antipodean said something that ended with the word "sweet". I couldn't quite pick the accent, perhaps he's from East Keilor.

He persistently used the word "sweet", and it dawned on me that he was a choice New Zealander. I bought the shirt, and those of you on the home front will be pleased to know that I bought a shirt that was neither grey nor blue, it is in fact green.

After tea (dinner for you city types, or supper if you're a little bit posh) I got changed, ready to go out. I put on my New Green Shirt, with a pair of cargo pants. I went into the living room and asked all assembled if it looked like I was wearing a safari suit.

"What's a safari suit?" asked Phil, twin brother of Mox. We tried to explain, but I challenge all of you to describe a safari suit!

I was convinced sufficiently that I didn't look like I was wearing a safari suit, and Charmari and I left for Highbury.

We went to the venue (called The Garage) via a pub called the Hen and Chicken. By the time we rocked up at The Garage the first band was well into its first set. A unique blend of punk, indie and techno beats, they could best be described as crap. The crowd was a mixed lot of punks and people who weren't punks, just sort of...people.

After they mercifully finished, I went to the bar to get us some drinks. There were masses of people waiting at the bar, and it took quite some time for me to be served. Charmari wanted a lemon lime and bitters. The barmaid didn't understand me, and eventually she thought she had it. After she had mixed what she thought was lemon lime and bitters I didn't have the heart to tell her that she didn't exactly get it right. To my surprise Charmari actually drank the mixture of lemonade, lime juice and bitter.

(While I was waiting to be served, I noticed a poster on the wall advertising a compilation album the club had done...called the "queer compilation". That got me thinking.)

When I returned from the bar, some bloke was talking to Charmari. I walked over and gave her her "drink", and the mystery bloke leaned over and introduced himself. "I'm Tim!" he yelled into my ear over the noise of the DJ, "What's your name?" Bloody Australians are everywhere. I looked around and the penny dropped that there were nearly ten other Australians in the club. The others all had long hair tied back in a ponytail, like pseudo-surfies do.

The second band were an all-girl band. The bassist looked a bit old and haggard. When Charmari commented on this, I said that she might actually be young but suffering from years of hard drug abuse. The singer had great stage presence. I suspect she may have been a drama student. (My brother reckons that all drama students think they can sing. I should point out that my brother is a music student, and that drama students are the natural enemy of the music student.) The band was a bit rough around the edges, but actually had some interesting ideas.

About a quarter of an hour before the end of their set, the gays and lesbians started arriving. Strange how they all knew to get there at the same time.

Alas we had to leave after the second band, in order to catch the last train back. When I returned to the Dawes Road Palace, Mox and Phil were still awake, watching TV. "Ah, here's safari suit man" said Phil. Good onya.