What is it with English people and bakeries? You guys just go crazy for sourdough muffins and panini (never trust a food stuff that sounds like little kid slang). And when it comes to regenerating some interesting part of town into a ‘destination’, you sling in a couple of pastry shops and Bingo Bob’s your Bearded Uncle. But hey, those artizan breads we bummed from the Column Bakehouse at The Royal William Yard certainly filled the gaping hole that had been yawning through my stomach since Friday night.

Feeling in a kinda smooth Alantic mood after tipping down some champagne curtesy of a fancy crowd cheering outside a painted wall, we wonder into Ocean Studios. My attorney starts berrating the cafe staff over the lack of a proper blackjack table, and knowing how long he can talk about the time he was 86’d by the Hollywood Park Casino, I take the nearest exit up a twisting old style staircase.

In a striped-back, bare floored room there’s a circle of heavy duty speakers at the far end, pumping out squally noisecore. I stand next to the hifi and look out the cobwebbed window at the sunny fizz-sped celebration going on outside, the clink of the glasses made deaf by the gritty flecks spitting out of the sound system. This Soft Introduction unsettles me. Acres of creamy white sheets of paper are pin tacked so carefully along one side of the wall. Each sheet pencil smeared and stippled with the dirty bass scrapes vibrating in the air.

I leave with an uneasy peace via another cranky staircase. I catch sight of my attorney arm wrestling one of the waitresses and realise now is the time I should take my leave. But where did we park the ‘stang? A blood red Ford Mustang with a huge dent down one side shouldn’t be too hard to spot, but I can’t see the goddam thing anywhere.

Round the corner and there’s white plastic cows grazing on real green grass. I guess we can be thankful they’re not goddam gorillas, or elephants, or Gromits, or what ever lowest common denominator animal is currently en vogue for bit of public art. People are staring and I realise this monologue hasn’t been internal. I smile widely at anyone looking my way, and mop the sweat from my face with a couple cocktail napkins I find in the pocket of my Acapulco shirt – this champagne come down ain’t getting me nowhere.

There’s a loud blast of a car horn and I spin round to see my attorney grinning manically whilst revving the engine of the ‘the Red Shark’. “Hey my friend, you don’t look too good.” There’s some pasty-faced kid sitting in the back, gnawing on a grapefruit. I slink into the passenger seat and flick on the cassette player. Authorised Beaver Master by Suck My Culture pumps out on full volume. “Where we taking this m’f***ker next, compadre?” my attorney asks. I lean over and pull the map from the glove compartment. I squint at the tiny olde Englishe type. “Clovelly”. And we’re outta here, back on the road. Always on the road.

X