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Category Archives: environment

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.

World Naked Bike Ride: I’ll Do It Next Year

On Saturday 8th June, hundreds of naked cyclists took to the streets of London wearing little more than a smile and a pair of sunglasses.

bike2

The cyclists baring all. I hope they’re wearing suncream.

Taking off (pardon the pun) from five stations (Marble Arch, Regent’s Park, King’s Cross, Clapham Junction and West Norwood), the cyclists of the annual World Naked Bike Ride literally put themselves out there, protesting against car culture and oil dependency, before converging at Hyde Park Corner.  Having caught up with the WNBR cruising down Haymarket, it became evident that “burning fat, not oil”, was not the only burning that was taking place; bare cheeks on sweaty seats could anticipate a fair bit of bum chaffage, after a few miles, to be sure.

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A WNBR seat cover

I was more than tempted to do the bike ride this year, however in order to do so, I would have had to get over my fear; not of nakedness but of bicycles, or rather the riding of said bicycle.  Having crashed one of those dodgy mopeds in Laos a few years ago, I have since avoided all locomotives apart from my legs as I just can’t be trusted to operate any moving vehicle.  However, after seeing two naked pensioners being pulled along in a makeshift chariot, I’m sure there will be other ways to participate in the World Naked Bike Ride next year.

But before that day comes, I have some burning questions.  Where does one leave their clothes; are there special naked bike race day lockers put up at various points around the route?  I remember finding myself dancing next to a naked man in a club once and thinking the same thing; does he turn up in clothes and check each item in at the cloakroom once he’s unrobed and ready to rock, or does he just queue for the club, naked bar a suspect trench coat, and stash it under one of the tables?

It's all about the body freedom

It’s all about the body freedom

Where does one keep their phones, keys and cash?  Without wishing to be vulgar, perhaps it gives an all new meaning to the term, “bum bag”?

What about the actual moment of undress?  When you go the doctor and end up having an examination of your bits, they always leave the room, as if undressing in front of them is more intimate than the internal examination; well it is a bit.

And then there’s the end of the race; does everyone just hang around, slapping each other on the back having completed the nine mile ride, in true naked camaraderie?  Or is there a dash to the nearest pile of clothes, a flurry of hurried dressing and the potential of ending up in a stranger’s jeans?

I was glad I saw the race in all its naked glory plus all the added extras;  bow ties, masks, body paint and their own messages of protest.  One such gentlemen (accessorising his nakedness with a hat and pair of walking boots) had “free the naked rambler” attached to his bicycle and had no qualms about getting his point out there, dismounting his bike to ask a passer by to take a photo of him on the West End street.  Outside Pizza Express; very political.  I also very much enjoyed sharing the pavement with him.

The real naked rambler

The real naked rambler

There was plenty to see and learn in order to be fully prepared next year.  The most important thing to consider came from seeing the panic stricken face of one cyclist as he raced to catch up with the naked mass.  It would seem that the WNBR is like the fire drills you have at school; the key is to never get left behind.  Otherwise, a fantastic way to make a statement quickly becomes the equivalent to the walk of shame.  There’s enough of that in Piccadilly Circus as it stands, so keep up with the race and leave the shame to the hen parties.


For more information see the official website.