Friday, 16 September 2011

Last Saturday I went to a party in Highgate. A long way from Greenwich but well worth the journey. We met fascinating people and I got to show off my ancient knowledge of Istanbul in the seventies  the Pudding shop in particular and my new friend, from Istanbul, spoke of using the place to pick up foreign women and that one of his friends had married an Englishwoman who he met there. We are hoping to go to Istanbul in November so we were delighted to meet him and asked him to try to find us a flat to hire when he goes in October.

These parties of my partner’s friends are usually quite boring with them all talking about art and photography  which I find a bit dull – probably because I can’t join in – but on Saturday we had a nice debate with an economist about capitalism and how it does or doesn’t work. Then we went on to speak of the resurgence of Stalin as popular figure in Russia and I got on to my usual shtick of the Soviet Union not being a fair representation of Communism so it got nice and lively and I guzzled and ate everything in sight (according to my love!) so when she dragged me to the tube I was nicely inebriated and in the best of form.

Something wrong with the Northern Line as usual at weekends but we got a seat and I was still rattling on about the Cuban health service when a crowd of young guys got on and distributed themselves in small posses all over the carriage. Next to me was a young woman who was reading her book and trying to ignore the two guys who were trying to get her attention. The rest of the guys watched and laughed as the two teased her, I would have told them to pee off if it had been me but the poor woman became increasingly purple in the face and looked as if she might cry.

I heard my voice yell at the men in the terms of a Billingsgate porter to leave the woman alone and they all stopped what they were doing including the two teasers who slunk away, one of these told me I was quite right and they retreated to the other end of the carriage. ‘Are you English?’ one of them shouted. ‘Of course I expletive am!!’ I yelled back and now I felt elated and scared in equal measure. ‘I shouldn’t have done that’ I said to my love. ‘Well it stopped them didn’t it!’ she said. The woman in question got off at the next station. The men got off shortly afterwards calling us obscene names almost under their breath as they went and we giggled our relief. My love said they thought I was Russian but I don’t know many Russians who are quite so lucid in the vernacular but who knows. I reckon it was my advanced age that shocked them so much. There seems to be a common belief that after a certain age swearing stops. Not true but at a recent poetry reading the compere came over to me and warned me that the next reader was a ‘bit sweary’ I retorted in the vernacular and he left.

Now I feel very proud indeed of my performance it was almost worth the hideous hangover I had on Sunday. But I don’t really recommend this method especially if you are male or under seventy!!
At last I have found an advantage in age -along with the bus pass.

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