Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Those dreadful clipboards

Earlier on I had a pointless run-in with one of those dreadful people who stand in packs holding clipboards whilst attempting to get you to sign your life away to charity. They annoy me intensely. Why on earth should I have to feel the need to cross the road to avoid, not just one of them, but one after the other of them, with their stupid fake smiles, sidling over to me, 'cus giving to charity is “so much fun?” As I walked past a particularly cheery looking one of them, who had the demeanour of a born again Christian, I over-heard the bloke in front of me saying; “I’ve already been accosted by one of your colleagues.” I felt an appropriate response would have been for her to apologise for troubling him further, but the little clipboard emblazened with the words Amnesty International obviously lent her an over-inflated sense of her own saintliness. She responded in a grotesque fake-cutsey voice "so why didn’t you give him a donation? Come on, it's a very worthy cause, you need to do your bit for charity.” The man walked away tutting. I immediately saw red. I stormed over to her. “Why do you do this?” I said, “why can’t you just shake a bucket? Why do you run up to people and get in their faces and cause them to have to change the route they’re taking down the street?” “Because we’d only get pennies" she said "if we shook a bucket.” “But it’s not fair on people." I responded, "that bloke was complaining to you because he’d already been hassled by one of your colleagues, and instead of apologising, you hassled him more. You're like Born again Christians” I said, rather out of the blue and she didn’t like that one bit. Her eyes flashed with the indignence of a wounded evangelical. I felt I’d made my point and withdrew saying; “look, you’ve got a lovely face, and you’re very tenacious. Why don’t you just do something else for a living?” And with that, I became nothing but a horrible memory for her...

I sat in a cafe on the corner of Old Compton Street eating a goat's cheese sandwich, whilst a big purple weimarana lazed in the sun on the pavement at my feet. It was a great spot for people watching. I met up with an old friend, the singer Brian Kennedy, who was with Mark Nevin from Fairground Attraction. Obviously when I was introduced I told him I loved Fairport Covention. Oh how we all laughed uncomfortably. During our conversation, Brian suddenly said; "ooh - it's that amazing singer", and he stopped someone walking down Wardour Street to tell him what a fan of his voice he was. The singer in question was Alfie Boe, so I was able to introduce them formally. Of course the perfect end to the story would be that Alf was also a great fan of Brian's, but sadly he didn't seem to know him from Adam.

I was interviewed on the BBC London news tonight. Slightly tragically, I did set my recorder, but it’s an hour out, so missed it. I was interviewed on Old Compton Street and have no idea what section of the chat they’ll use. I have very little memory even of what I even said, so I sort of hope I at least made sense. I had an email from a Parliamentary Chaplain, so wonder if I was spouting on about the link between religion and homophobia. Perhaps I’ll never know, as it doesn’t seem to be available on iplayer.

I’ve been with Philippa and Deia in Shoreditch this afternoon. I felt like giving myself an afternoon off, so went there armed with doughnuts. We sat in the garden. Deia put hundreds of stones in a little bucket whilst Philippa used what looked like an instrument of torture to remove almost every branch from an aphid-ridden elderberry bush. It was, as ever, delightful to see them both.

Friday 24th May, 1661, and Pepys spent the morning making up his private accounts. He found himself to be worth 500l, a grand sum, which no doubt made him rather happy. Afterwards, he went to the Wardrobe to have his accounts signed off by Sandwich. He went down into the kitchens to eat a bit of bread and butter “and there I took one of the maids by the chin, thinking her to be Susan, but it proved to be her sister, who is very like her.” One assumes little Susan was a maid Pepys regularly fooled around with. Perhaps she was also the Susan who found her way into Pepys’ employment a few years later.

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