Weekend Review: 26-27 April 2008

I’ve heard of Tupperware parties. I’ve even heard of Ann Summers parties. I have not been a participant – but now there are Taser Parties

The Telegraph reports: “Miss Shafman, 35, is on a mission to persuade the fearful, but fashion-conscious, women of America to pack 50,000 volts of self-defence in their handbags.”

Excellent nonsense. The Land of The Free? I appreciate that quite a few people in the United States are armed, and some heavily, as they go to work or go out socially but it is somewhat ironic, in the world’s biggest democracy, that people feel the need to be armed with guns and, now, tasers.

I had an excellent lunch on Friday with the team at LawandMore to discuss restaurant reviews, life, the universe and everything. We enjoyed our wines. Not a Taser in sight.

Excuse me… I’m trying to smoke!…

So there I was, shortly after 8.30 this morning, sitting outside a cafe in Chiswick High Road, enjoying a coffee and perfecting my smoking technique – or ‘Smokedo’ as I like to describe it now – ‘The way of the smoker’.

I was reading about Lord Laidlaw’s excellent and stylish Monaco based bondage / sex / drugs parties in The News of The World before turning my attention to rather more serious matters in The Observer.

A Chiswickmummy with two E-numbered up children (boys) sat down. One of the spawn was still in a pushchair. The other was not. I was smoking – as one is entitled to do outside and was three tables away. The woman looked at me with a degree of disdain and then at her children as if to suggest that I was going to give them emphysema immediately.

Brat 1 in pushchair starts screaming because his egg yuck mix, or whatever it was his mother gave him, was not to his precocious middle class taste. Brat 2 then threw a strop because his mother told him to stop banging the salt and pepper containers on the table. This went on for several minutes. I glanced at the woman who was beaming away at these spawn of satan but she did not catch the malevolence in my gaze. I wanted to say “Excuse me, Madam, but would you be kind enough to control your child accessories, please”. Instead, I said, taking a full frontal approach: “Excuse me, I’m trying to smoke – and it is too early for screaming children. Please… I surrender. Can you quieten them down?” The woman was not too impressed by this attempt at black humour  and took the children inside. No apology, just another look of disdain. Result.

After breakfast I nipped over to The Inconvenience Store to buy a bottle of Rioja and some smoking equipment. I stood patiently in the queue while a f**kwit, Russian from the language he was using to SHOUT into his mobile phone, f**ked about trying to find loose change to pay for his provisions. F**kwit then dropped his change all over the sweets on display in the cabinet in front of him. Making no effort at all to hurry, mobile phone cradled between shoulder and very large right ear, f**kwit then starts rummaging around trying to find his change and – there is a god – mobile phone drops onto the floor and the battery falls off the phone. Result.

It was, perhaps, rude of me to start laughing uncontrollably, triggering off laughter from the shop assistant behind the counter and someone behind me. Russian looked completely baffled, puts his phone together and redials, at which point the shopkeeper told him that he had other customers to serve and voided the transaction on the till. The British may be polite and tolerant on the whole – but this morning I decided not to be after my smoking / newspaper reading session had been ruined by Lady Disdain and her progeny.

I shall return to Weekend Review later. I feel like a quick walk.

9 thoughts on “Weekend Review: 26-27 April 2008

  1. Andrew: In the case of Max Mosley and Lord Laidlaw – arses seem to be part of their leisure curriculum.

    I wonder if bernie Ecclestone invited Max Mosley ‘to take a seat’ when they last met!

  2. I’m not a big lover of lawyers – but for you I could make an exception !! A non-smoker myself, I am tempted to start campaigning for the return of smoking, if only to keep ‘yummy mummies’ and their ill-disciplined little darlings under control.

    And I salute Mr Keogh’s comment above – even at the risk of showing myself to be a cantankerous working class fart..

    Keep up the good work..


  3. Excellent – thank you for your post Bedd Gelert. I have, of course, replied personally by email.

    We must act now to control the middle classes with their e-numbered up children who are taking over. The Victorians had the right idea… seen and not heard.

    I am not a Jesuit – I far prefer to spend my time in the company of adults….

    West London is full of precocious children…. I’m afraid. I have seen with ‘mine own eyes’ children at the Bollo and The Swan (Although at the Swan children are chucked out at 7.00 pm) – and I am now boycotting any pub where children are allowed in – this means that I may well have to set up my own ‘speakeasy’… so be it!… at least we’ll be able to smoke… illegally.

  4. The Swan is my local. As a nonsmoking nonfather I find the children both inside and in the garden well behaved, like the adults. Lunch on a Sunday is a convivial family affair. Luckily
    Charon QC was not told by the friendly bar staff, “We don’t serve children” or she could have replied, “I don’t eat children.”.

  5. Charles

    The Swan is an excellent pub. I have been going there for years. I’ve known Catherine for some time.

    I do think the policy at The Swan of no kids after 7.00 is a good one. I do agree that the kids on Sundays at lunch are generally well behaved though 🙂

    I have, however, seen some shocking behaviour by children at The Bollo – running around inside when staff are trying to serve meals.

  6. I have a teenage sproglet of my own, but I don’t ever recall letting him run riot as I see some parents let their little darlings do today!

    I work at a private members’ club, and it amazes me at the way kids are allowed to behave out in public!! And woe betide you if you try and politely tell the little gits to stop what they are doing… the parents look at you as if you’re a paedo and you’re going to do something bad with their children!!

    Sorry for commenting so late in the day, Charon, Sir, but I’m working my way through your back archives!

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