London 2005: Spitalfields, Mass, Nav (on Trisha!), Grooverider

Day Four: Sunday 7 August

(My Sunday photos were lower in both quantity and quality than for the other days – I was too busy shopping. But I’ll bung some in anyway, it brightens up the page. As usual, click for larger versions.)

A Just Married red London bus with open top deck
Match made in London.

I see this on the way to Spitalfields, but just miss the bridal couple leaving the upper deck, unfortunately. What a lovely idea for a summer wedding in London. (It just wouldn’t be the same on a bendy bus now, would it? Routemaster forever!)


Saddest welcome ever.

Yes, for the third time in four days I am back in the Spitalfields/Brick Lane area, which is a bit much even for a Shoreditch twat like me, but it was always such a happy Sunday place that I can’t resist, plus I just have to go to Spitalfields before the fuckers-that-be bulldoze the whole place.


Off Cheshire Street.

As usual, Spitalfields is full of beautiful things, most of which I’m too cheap to buy. The new “(Up)Market” (yes, really) is, thank God, no more upmarket than Spitalfields, and has the advantage of being a little less crammed with stalls and people. Throughout the markets I resist the various epicurean delights on offer because I know that as long as I can hold out till I reach Brick Lane, heaven awaits me in a Beigel Bake hot salt beef bagel. (Lovely photo here.) I end my shopping in Beyond Retro where I find, sadly, that even the British woman of yesteryear is still bigger than me and no clothes fit.

Total damage:

  • A photo-print board for Alec from Tom Shedden Photography in Spitalfields. Can’t find the one I bought on the site, but it’s a close-up of an old black and white horseracing photo mounted on weathered wood.
  • Thingy which can double as a scarf, belt or hairband, also double-sided with lovely prints on either side – £5, Spitalfields.
  • Pacman badge! £1, Up(Market).
  • 2 vintage scarves – £1.50 each, Beyond Retro.
  • Hot salt beef bagel! £2-something, and worth every hot salty beefy penny.

I rush to Ogle Street for evening mass. Fr Fudge (stop laughing) is as powerful a preacher as he always was, and like last year, I savour the differences between mass here and mass in Singapore. Old hymns, none of this meandering nu-Christian pan-pipes tedium that I keep getting fed in my parish at home. A sermon I couldn’t have just made up myself from common sense. No bloody mobile phones going off, no bloody mobile phones going off, no bloody mobile phones going off! I roll my lips and tongue and heart around the small differences in the prayers here – Trespasses. Lead us not into temptation. Became incarnate of the Virgin Mary – and treasure the taste of the Blood in my mouth.

I meet Nav for dinner at Carluccio’s, where I am crushed to find they’ve taken my wild boar ragu off the menu. I try the spicy sausage penne but it isn’t as nice. A few months ago, Nav came to Singapore and broke the news that she was going to be in the audience of Trisha. This of course filled me with absolute glee, and I along with everyone else there at the time who were familiar with Trisha began reciting clichés that Nav totally had to get up and slam the guests with, e.g. “Once a cheat-ah, ALWAYS a cheat-ah!”, “Yuh need to get up and take responsibilit-y for yuh life, innit?” etc.etc. Tonight Nav updates me on this, and as usual, she doesn’t disappoint. Apparently she chewed out the mother of a murder victim for whining on TV about all her problems when she’d never sought professional help. I love Nav so much. My only disappointment is that she didn’t put on an estuary accent.

From here, Russ picks me up and we head for Herbal. Grooverider’s there tonight, and I get in for free. BOOYA! It’s a little too jazzy for my tastes at first, but the last hour is great, sweaty, junglist action. I relish the feeling of being the only yellow skin on the dancefloor (there’s a Japanese couple around, but they don’t dance), although I do wish the three immense black guys in front of me weren’t strenuously disproving that old chestnutty stereotype that all black people have rhythm. They certainly share my tastes in jungle though – Grooverider drops an amazing raggalicious track and they go wild in what I can only describe as an ape-like dance, stomping and swaying from side to side while crouched over, heads arching and rearing with each sway. One grabs the other’s shoulders and they do the dance together, laughing and cheering. If you’re looking for racism anywhere here, don’t bother – it is the perfect dance to that song, and a perfect end to the night.


  1. haha trisha rocks.

    a word of advice tho. i have a friend whose mum works in the beigel shop and he has told me horror stories. i have not eaten there since.

  2. Thanks for the warning pumpineyes, although I really wish I didn’t have to know.

    Brick lane beigels were, for me, an essential part of any day which started with a hangover. I can’t imagine I’d have noticed any additional poisoning.

    Other essentials include The Guardian, the best possible newspaper when you’re dumb and full of spite.

  3. pumpkineyes: There are actually 2 bagel shops right next to each other, so which one does your friend’s mum work in? But thankfully, neither shop’s bagels have made me ill yet!

    Alec: I think you usually went to the one just next to Beigel Bake, actually. Also, how many times must I tell you, Guardian on SATURDAY morning for the Guide, Times on SUNDAY morning for Style! We didn’t just have hangovers on Saturdays, after all. And since you were the one staggering out in the cold, buying breakfast and newspapers, and coming back and cooking breakfast for us while I snuggled selfishly and luxuriously and lazily under a warm duvet, the least you could do is make ME happy…

    Benny: See that date right under the entry title, in bold? Yeah. If only, if only I were a time traveller.

  4. ‘Apparently she chewed out the mother of a murder victim for whining on TV about all her problems when she’d never sought professional help.’

    Oh, how hilarious. I suppose this is one of the reasons why Michelle’s London friends stay in quite separate spheres.

  5. John, it’s TRISHA. Being offended by anything that happens on Trisha is like being horrified that people get assaulted on Jerry Springer, or that cheating occurs in the WWF.

    Your second sentence is kinda weird. I mean, I met my London friends in separate spheres to begin with. For example, I wasn’t always too sure how staunchly practising Christians, staunch atheists and staunch homosexuals (all of whom *I* loved) would get along, you know? I don’t think that says anything about the individual character deficiencies of any of my friends.

  6. Hey – you’re a staunchly practising Christian. And I assume you get on with staunch homosexuals and atheists, or they wouldn’t be your spheres of friends in London. I drift between Christianity and Atheism, and get on well with staunch folk from both sides, of varying sexuality. You don’t have to agree with someone to like them.

    Though, right up to the point ‘For example’, I’m with you entirely. If you meet people in separate places, then often they don’t mix. And even if they get on very well when they’re together, they’re still going to go back to their groups most of the time.

    And frankly, I would chew someone out for whining on Trisha about their problems whether they’d sought professional help or not, whatever their problems. That is, if I were in the audience, which I wouldn’t be for much the same reasons as why I’d chew them out. Trisha is no place for someone who really has a genuine problem – but a great place for someone trying to make a few quid from being a moron. Am I using the verb ‘to chew out’ correctly? I’ve just picked it up from the context.

  7. Matt: Yes, of course I get along with all of the above, but I think my chief fear in mixing my different friends together was that I knew some of them were more sensitive to attacks on their convictions than I was. Such attacks wouldn’t usually happen at the start of, say, a civilised dinner party, but things can change quite a lot once people are getting drunk.

    Yes, you’re using “chew out” correctly, and you’ve also put it better than I did by pointing out that Trisha is simply not the place for anyone with a genuine problem. And I certainly have my doubts as to the veracity of many of the problems it features. It’s not a serious television feature, it’s show business.

  8. This is a completely random and rather off-tangent note, but the time travel comment made me think (of course) of The Time Traveller’s Wife, which is the first good book I’ve read in quite a while (since I have, of course, not been reading for quite some time ugh)…

  9. ‘Apparently she chewed out the mother of a murder victim for whining on TV about all her problems when she’d never sought professional help.’

    Apparently this is perfectly acceptable to everyone, possibly because she’s an actress (which elides the pertinent question, so lets not bother getting into that), but largely because she shouldn’t be there because its not the right place to get professional help. So therefore its acceptable to “chew her out” about it? I don’t think one follows the other at all.

    As well as that, I obviously missed hitting the “laugh at murdered kid’s mothers” branch when I fell out of the “sense of humour” tree.

    I mean, you see them, doing their police press conferences, tearful, mourning, pleading for information. And obviously the reason that’s on television is because its HILARIOUS. In homes up and down the land, people’s sides are splitting with the inherent hilarity of the situation.

    I see that now. I was wrong.

    Nor, should we consider that being the mother of murdered child is quite likely going to lead to acute mental distress, depression and quite likely irrational behaviour. No! This would be incorrect. Obviously everyone in that situation behaves entirely rationally (just like people who sit in the audience of Trisha for a laugh, who are incredibly superior). I get that now. Obviously I didn’t hit the “empathy involves a complete lack of understanding of the possible psychological trauma inflicted by major family catastrophes” when I fell out of the personality tree.

    Thanks. I’ll sort those personality problems out today!

  10. I don’t tihnk I conveyed my contempt for audience, panel and hostess, where Trisha is concerned. Police conferences, the news, fine. Trisha is emotional porn as far as I’m concerned, and if people want to degrade themselves that much, then the twisted people who enjoy watching it are welcome to take whatever pleasure they can from it.

    Though obviously that’s just my opinion.

  11. John, I can see this hit a nerve and I’m sorry you found my description flippant. To be honest, since I was under the impression that most people take Trisha about as seriously as they take Jerry Springer and the WWF, I didn’t bother much about the words I chose because I didn’t think it would matter. Would you have been equally offended if I had used “counselled” instead of “chewed out”?

    The thing is, I really don’t think saying “No one denies that your son’s death was a tragedy – but if you haven’t been able to deal with it by yourself for the past 11 years, the logical next step would have been to seek professional help in private, not make a one-off appearance on national television now. I think you should be doing that instead. Why do you think coming here will help you?” is anything that would raise eyebrows on TV, and certainly not on Trisha.

    I think most of us would agree that talk shows like Trisha are vulgar and possibly exploitative of people with real problems (that is, if *any* of the guests are actually real people with real problems rather than hired actors).

    But I don’t think it’s in order to suggest that those of us who shrug this off (because Trisha is show business, it’s not Panorama, or police press conferences, or the news) have personality problems. You already know the lengths I’m willing to go to when someone loses a family member, and I’m sure most other people who laugh at Trisha are also deeply compassionate when faced with real tragedies.

  12. Reading the anecdote left me with the odd feeling you sometimes get; when your being told a tale by someone, and suddenly, as they reach the crescendo and the punchline you realise they have quite a different sense of humour to you (I’m not suggesting we do, but simply attempting to describe the visceral response in a similar situation), that they find things amusing that you really don’t.

    I don’t know, perhaps you could call put it down to unexpected perturbations of a moral compass?

    Would I have been equally offended if you’d said “counselled” than “chew out”? Of course not. In exactly the same way I wouldn’t had you wished everyone had a pony as well. Since you simply didn’t write that, there’s no point in commenting. What I would say is that “counselled” and “chewed out” strike me as very different, the latter being more agonistic. Neither term, in this context, it appears to me, lead to the basis of an amusing anecdote.

    My problem is particularly, with your friend Nav. What, exactly, was she doing there? Maybe Matt is right, and Trisha is emotional pornography, perhaps in the way that a mentally ill person on the tube is not merely a performer of madcap comedy japes for the entertainment of jaded urban would-be sophicates, but a kind of a sad indictment of a failing mental health care system.

    But that “merely a performer” doesn’t quite work does it?


    And that’s because its dangerous, isn’t it? You don’t know what’s going to happen in that situation, but joining the audience of Trisha: that’s safe. The bereaved mother isn’t going to suddenly pull a knife, run up a few steps and stab you in the stomach. There’s security. You can laugh at the povs like they aren’t real. Bit like watching it on tv, actually.

    So yeah, my beef is with your friend.

  13. John, I’m not exactly sure you and Matt are using “emotional pornography” in the same way, but I’ll leave Matt to clarify that.

    My friend doesn’t read this blog and isn’t here to correct any misconceptions you may have about her, so I’d really prefer it if you directed your criticisms at me.

    I don’t see the differences between the mentally ill person on the tube and the Trisha guest the way you do. To me, the difference is that there’s no chance the mentally ill person on the tube is faking it for money and attention, or merely someone paid to act mentally ill on tube trains. It isn’t about laughing at people when it’s safe to do so, and refraining when it’s not.

    Honestly, I don’t see anything *morally* wrong about being part of a Trisha audience. I’d have no qualms about going myself, though whether I spoke up or not, and how I did so, would obviously depend on what I thought of the featured situation.

    You may personally find it tasteless to do so, in that it helps to perpetuate a talk show phenomenon which generates entertainment for people in a tasteless way. And that’s totally understandable. But in that case, surely the real source of offence to you should be the people who produce such shows in the first place rather than one person who was part of the audience and said something neither of us watched or heard?

  14. Perhaps it’s as simple as this… If someone with a genuine emotional problem signs up to Trisha, they’re either really, really stupid, or they know they’re going to get f*cked. I think that’s what I meant, though I didn’t expect to have to defend it… Must learn to think before speaking/typing…

Comments are closed.