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Monthly Archives: August 2013

A Shop Window Request

I’m used to seeing all sorts of adverts in shop windows. Puppies for sale, free washing machines and written pleas for a live in Nanny. I’ve seen adverts for magical, mystical men who claim to solve all problems including debt, mental illness and sexual incompetencies. I’ve seen newly created religious groups advertise for new recruits. But a few days ago, I saw an advert for something I had never seen before in the window of a Peckham High Street newsagent:

Anyone tempted?

Anyone tempted?

A down the line and direct request, with a bit of patient information to boot (although I can’t help thinking that they should have put a smiling photo of the 25 year old man in question; a beaming face can move the coldest of hearts…or kidneys), the advert is clear in what it wants. What I don’t understand is well, all of it. Is this request for an organ a more common approach to getting yourself a second hand body part than we think? Is this the result of a series of let downs by the NHS? Can the operation be performed there and then by their Uncle, a “surgeon” in a specially prepared storeroom, once the Nik Naks and Quavers have been cleared away?

Well used to “creative” student projects and with Camberwell Art College down the road, I’m not entirely sure that this is real. If it is, I’ll eat my hat and cut out my kidney for them myself.

NB I emailed the address at the bottom of the page a few days ago, for more information. I still haven’t heard anything.

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Eating Bugs at The Pestaurant

On Thursday, I queued up with bankers and brokers alike to eat a pigeon.

The Pestaurant...see what they did there?

The Pestaurant…see what they did there?

The common pigeon (Columba Livia) doesn’t have any one habitat in London’s grey and pleasant land. You can find them almost anywhere; hanging out in intimidating gangs in Trafalgar Square, getting caught up in weaves on the Peckham pavement and begging for tuppence outside St Pauls Cathedral. I’ve never been inclined to kill man nor beast, and I think the last time I saw a pigeon on the menu I freaked out as only a ten year old seaside child in a Lebanese restaurant can. But I was hungry, and curious.

Yum.

Yum.

Whilst queuing with The Suits, I was offered a light starter of barbeque meal worm, a crispy and unsatisfying snack, not dissimilar to the crap bit of popcorn that you have to painfully pick out of your teeth. I doubt we will see the meal worm gracing our cinemas or supermarkets anytime soon.

Can I tempt you with some tasty nibbles?

Can I tempt you with some tasty nibbles?

The pigeon burger was alright but the disappointment of it not looking like a bit of pigeon was just too much; I wanted more of a pigeon feast for the eyes. Think hundreds of urban pigeons rotating on the spit roast, with a pile of pre-plucked carcasses waiting to be prepared for a grilling; a little more feather and a bit more drama. Instead, we were handed a standard looking burger in a bun with the small print stating that this was pigeon mixed with venison and bacon which meant it just tasted like bacon. Whilst we were told (and thank God; I’m not ready for another horse meat scandal), it was a bit lame; you can get venison and bacon anywhere and I wanted a dirty, London-tasting pigeon in a bun and in my hand. The taste of pavement and puddles.

Or something like that.

Looks like a burger, smells like a burger.  It's a pigeon.

Looks like a burger, smells like a burger. It’s a pigeon.

Disaster struck when the kind people at Rentokil ran out of all the other pesky delicacies which swarms of city workers desperate for a chocolate ants and barbequed crickets had come for, but alas, it just wasn’t meant to be. Now, I’m not trying to say that The Suits got greedy, but, well maybe they did.

Now, what to feast upon next...

Now, what to feast upon next…

The irony demonstrated by the shortage at this Rentokil Pestaurant is that we could have just found our own creepy crawlies, whacked them on the grill and had ourselves a very, merry picnic without the queues but I guess also without the media exposure. Which, at the end of the day, is what is needed to get Londoners to eat their common household pests.

Now, I’m off to find me a rat.

The Face of Peckham

The Face of Peckham

Peckham.  An area of diverse culture, from the roller-skating youths to the 90s-channelling hipsters to the Evangelical street proclaimers who have no qualms with bothering you (and God) every time you board the 436 bus.  An area ripped apart by the 2011 riots which not only saw the clothes store “Loot” well, looted, but also left the people of Peckham ultimately Greggs-less.

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A lot has been done to restore the peace of Peckham since 2011.  They’ve not only got one replacement Greggs on Rye Lane, but their second one shines in full glory on Peckham High Street.  Along with the clean ups organised by the community, a wall of post it notes grew from the remains of the smashed Poundland window.  With messages of support, such as “People and Peace” and “My Home”, the temporary post its  were preserved in the form of the “Peckham Peace Wall” now found in front of Peckham Library.

peckham peace

And artist, Josh Jeavons has started to transform the desolate hoardings of Peckham, giving it a face again.  Starting with the boards surrounding the scaffolding skeleton of what once was,  next to the burnt out Greggs, Jeavons has pasted facial features opposite a bus stop, reminding the people of Peckham of what happened two summers ago.  It looks to me as if one of the eyes peeping out from the posters is definitely on you and it doesn’t look impressed.  So please, no more rioting.  And leave poor old Greggs alone.

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