Friday, 30 September 2016

Just take the Scottish fiver...

I worked on a fabulous little quiz tonight in one of the old independent City banks. Walking in was like going back to the 1920s, and I was instantly reminded of scenes from Mary Poppins. It was all marble floors, dark wooden panels, long, straight corridors and ornate, brass decorations. On one of the shelves, a selection of top hats hinted at the bygone era of banking. I think if bankers still wore top hats, we possibly wouldn’t demonise them as much!  

The joy about working on these quizzes is that you get to visit all sorts of extraordinary places in the City of London and the Temple. There’s a whole world of snickleways, courtyards, secret pubs and hidden buildings out there if you’re brave enough to venture away from the Strand, Chancery Lane and Gray’s Inn Road. Every time I visit the City I find another treasure. Today I walked all the way from Farringdon to Embankment and very much enjoyed the adventure. 

Abbie was tonight’s quiz master and it ran flawlessly. More crucially, the quiz teams were really up for it, and, upon arrival, immediately and keenly set about answering the table round questions. They were obviously all there to quiz. So often you come across people who are on some kind of conference and would far rather be chatting their colleagues up and taking advantage of the free bar. The guy who had organised the evening was very charming and met us in the bank foyer to take us up to the cafeteria where the the quiz was taking place. He was conservatively suited and booted. After making sure we were okay, he darted away to change, and re-ermeged in a T-shirt and jeans, revealing arms covered entirely in the most extraordinary and beautiful tattoos, none of which were in any way visible underneath his business attire. It just goes to show that you should never judge a book by its cover! Sadly his team came last… 

The rest of the day was spent writing lyrics. I took myself to Jackson’s Lane where the lady behind the counter in the cafe asked if I had a different fiver to the Scottish five pound note with which I paid for my cup of tea. I must have given her the dirtiest look, because she instantly went on the defence, “it’s just my customers don’t like being given Scottish money…” “then they need to get over themselves,” I said, “this is legal tender. Take the money, or I’m going to walk out of here without paying.” I hate that sort of thing. It’s an example of the small-minded petty racism which brought the horrors of Brexit to our country. 

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