My Kinda Town, North Londonshire Is


Well that’s that then. Unless Baldrick comes up with a cunning plan within the very near future I’m gonna have to get shot of Railway Cuttings. The place I’ve called home since I managed to get myself 30ft of rope, a set of wire-cutters and fake passport and hopped over the fence of Stalag Marriage has to go on the market. Sell it or rent it, I dunno, but I can’t afford to keep it. One week’s work since June has dug deep into the coffers and my old chums at the bank and the mortgage company are starting to get a wee bit uppity.

So I need to spruce it up for the prospective buyer or the potential tenant. Get rid of half of the of rubbish laying around the place (The Incumbent can sell it on Ebay), give the walls a lick of paint, cut the grass and start thinking about how best to advertise the place.

It’s a nice part of London to live in (if you just ignore the previous 73 posts I’ve written slagging off the place) and very handy if you wanna get to London Bridge or the West End within 20 minutes. There’s the lovely Greenwich Park and common just around the corner, good connections to the M2 and M25 motorways and some of the local pubs now serve both ice, lemons and limes. There’s a farmers’ market, a Starbucks, more curry houses than your average small village oughta, and rather nice kitchen shop.

Non-CIA spook Terry Waite lives here, as does Matt Pritchett, the brilliant Daily Telegraph cartoonist and professional Millwall fan Danny Baker. Former residents include, highwayman Dick Turpin, cook Fanny Craddock and obnoxious git Lawrence Llewellyn Bowen. Very soon I shall be added to that list of ex-inhabitants and gits.

But I think I need something that little bit extra to pull in the punters. How can I sell the area to entice the loaded gentry to part with their cash to buy my place ? Will the attraction of The Cactus Pit – our combined Tex-Mex restaurant and ‘nightclub’ (guaranteed a punch-up or a bunk-up) be enough for Hedgefund managers to rent my little gaff for a couple of years? I suspect not.

So I was listening to the car radio this morning and heard an advert for North Londonshire – the place to move, for space to move”.
“Where?????? North Londonshire ??? There’s no such place” I found myself shouting at the dashboard.
The commercial continued. “It’s closer than you think”
“What the fuck does that mean ? Closer than you think ? Closer to where ???”

I sped home to my waiting laptop, determined to find out where this place was. I was convinced in my heart the North Londonshire was a made-up place. Certain in my own mind, but not enough to bet my house on it. I remembered once having an argument with a bloke about Hoxton, a district of London I was convinced was an invention of estate agents in the 1980s. After all, the place they now call Surrey Quays was what I grew up calling Rotherhithe until in 2002 some brilliant PR man for the local property developer or boundary commission came up with a new name.

Ok, I’d been slightly wrong about Hoxton – on investigation it turns out it was mentioned in the Doomsday Book – so I needed to get home this morning and double-check that only my South Londoner ignorance had prevented me from being aware or North Londonshire. Perhaps I’d actually been there, drank there, shopped there, without actually realising it.

It didn’t take me long to find it. It even has it’s own website (northlondonshire.co.uk). I went immediately for the menu Where is North Londonshire ? It read:

Closer than you think.

Located midway between London and Birmingham, North Northamptonshire is central, cost effective and well-connected.
Towns like Corby, Kettering, Rushden and Wellingborough all benefit from superb connections by road and rail.
St Pancras International, home of the Eurostar, is less than 50 minutes by train meaning Paris and Brussels are just four hours away.
Air travel is equally convenient with Birmingham, East Midlands, Luton and Stansted airports all within reach in 90 minutes.

So it’s closer than you think, if you happen to be thinking in Birmingham. Very close indeed if you live in Northampton. A short stroll down the street if you’re parked 2 hours drive north of London. Just not very close at all if you happen to be in…er…London. You may find the promotional video a little misleading too. But maybe I’m missing something.

If only all the shitty London pigeons would fuck off to Northamptonshire, the capital would be a nicer place to live. However.
The video and website may well be a load of old tosh, but it gave me an idea for an advert for the New York Post:

For Rent: 2 bedroom terraced house in Manhattan suburb.

If you think you might be growing out of New York, or are just looking to make the right move, you’ll find everything you’re looking for in Blackheath. There’s highly affordable quality housing offering considerable value. There are schools and education to rival anywhere in the country (or beyond). And there are career opportunities provided by leading forces in the Bangladeshi and Nepalese service community. Some of the pubs are even open til midnight !!

Relax in our beautiful ancient parkland and quiet surroundings. Visit quaint shops and three dry-cleaners (with ample parking). All this easily accessible from the lower east or west sides, with Grand Central Station, MOMA and Ground Zero Mosque just 2 minutes away (by phone) and our excellent links to both Laguardia and JFK airports, via the Old Kent Road, M4 and Heathrow (congestion charges may apply).

So why not make your new life in Blackheath, East Manhattan. SE3 ? Just 3,471 miles around the corner. Come live where the Limeys live. It’s closer than you think.

Fußball Kommt Nach Hause


Day 24 in the Why Bother House and Mike is in the diary room…

The most extraordinary news to come out of South Africa is not that we lost, not that we were given a lesson in football, not even that the world now accepts that Sepp Blatter is a git, no more qualified to run FIFA than I am to run The Smaritans. No, what is quite extraordinary is that there were no reported acts of mindless hooliganism after the match. Whether the Foreign Office and Officer Smellie successfully stopped the English Formation Garden Chair Throwing Team from traveling to the World Cup, or the Nazis of St George were simply priced out of the market is unclear.

Some have suggested the preposterous theory that our footy fans have learned to accept defeat and to respect Johnny Foreigner. Whatever the reason, it does seem rather ironic that on the night that England go down to the biggest defeat and humiliation in their World Cup history, their fans have finally stopped rearranging the furniture of the world’s bars and bistros and have started to get themselves a reputation as “true sports fans”. Who’d a thunk it? I wonder if they mastered the tune to “No Surrender to the IRA” on the Vuvuzela?

So now we enter that traditional period of mourning when the only noise to be heard is the scraping of knife sharpeners all over Fleet Street and the jingle jangle of coins in sporrans as the jocks giggle themselves silly while they revel in the Auld Enemy’s demise. And it’s a fair cop. Who but the most one-eyed of Englishmen could fail to see the humour, inevitability and justice of last night’s debacle? One Caledonian chum with understandable glee sent me this “newsflash” this morning:

“The England players’ plane home is being diverted from Heathrow to Glasgow, where they are expected to receive a heroes’ welcome”

I expect the bars of Glasgae and Embra were rammed-out last night, packed with revellers with Gorbals accents and fake German replica shirts. Inspector Smellie had seized a shedload of dodgy shirts bound for “Up the Road”, but one must assume a few got through. There’s nothing our brother fitba fans enjoy more than see the English bastards take a good shoeing (on or off the field).

Talking of shoeings, the Groinstrain Correspondents of the British press sure are giving the once great Fabio a severe pounding in the knackers this morning. How things change? Just a few months ago the back pages were gushing about this Italian genius, lauding his tactical nous and giving thanks for his not being Sven. True to form, they’ve dropped him like ‘Arry Redknapp drops ‘is aitches and will, in all probability, hound him out of office.
Fabio Capello and England’s timeline of failure. Countdown to meltdown: how it all went wrong for Capello and Co.” offers The Telegraph. “Should Fabio Capello have resigned as England manager after their defeat?” asks the Guardian.”On Your Bike, You Greasy Wop” orders the Daily Mail (I may have made one of those up). You get the picture. The bandwagon has been kick started and its springs are heaving under the weight of the Groins, itching to say “we told you so” when, in fact, they said exactly the opposite.

Why Appy Arry or Woy of the Wovers would even consider taking on the job is beyond me, but the Fourth Estate’s finest seem set on the fact that it should be one or the other. I shall send my commiserations to them now, poor sods. The first task for whoever gets the job is to send out that search party for John Terry. He went missing in the English penalty area last night and hasn’t been seen since. Whatever Fabio could be blamed for, we surely can’t take him to task for the Keystone Cops defence last night. Cole and Johnson had all the speed and acceleration of Glacial Erosion, while Terry looked like he was wearing callipers. It’s a pity Matthew Upson didn’t show up, he would have loved it. Has Gareth Barry actually lost a leg?

Once Fabio has been dealt with, the journalists will doubtless turn their attention to the team. Our Wayne, Frank, Steven etc will suddenly be dubbed “useless wankers” having been feted as Gods for years. Perhaps Theo Walcott will actually have a chance of making the squad next time ? (unless he’s burnt out by then, of course), but whatever happens, the headlines will be vicious and hurtful to several young men who only months before were, apparently, world-class.

The Colonial press, of course, take a different view. It’s not the manager’s (sorry, coach’s) fault they went out, nor do they blame the team. No, it’s the game itself which is to blame.

I guess that means the American population will retreat to the ball parks and the basketball courts, to watching The Lakers and The Cowboys, The Yankees and The Blackhawks. They can give up pretending they either understand or care about ‘soccer’ for another four years. I wish I could. Charlton Athletic are due to lose to AFC Bournemouth on August 7th. If the New York Post think it’s a stupid game, they should come down to the Valley one weekend.

We don’t know the meaning of stupid.