Wednesday, July 04, 2007


Such is my diet, I have always made friends very quickly with owners of local take away emporia.

Wherever I am, in whatever part of the world, it doesn't take long for me to establish a rapport with these people. We have an understanding. We have a symbiotic relationship: I make kebabs; you eat kebabs; you pay me for the kebabs and I'll make some more kebabs.

I was on such good terms with the owners of Curry World on South Lambeth Road that a year after one of the brothers had left to become an AA Driving Instructor, upon spotting me, he stopped his shiny new car, got out and shook my hand, asking me how I was and what I was up to. That's how well I knew them.

When Curry World closed I was naturally devastated, and took to feeding my paltry poultry addiction in the Taste More Chippy, next to Stockwell station. And, it wasn't long before they knew me as well.

One morning I was returning from breakfast with Andy and saw the head chippy walking towards me. I'd never seen him in daylight before, nor away from the lumiscent glow of flickering neon light, so it took me a while to realise who he was.

As we passed, he gave me "the nod". Like a Masonic nod or a Fight Club nod. It said "I know". It said "We have an understanding". It said "You and me....we're the same". It said "I'll see you on Friday night for a small chips and a turkey stick".

Andy saw the man give me the nod. He looked at me, and in an instant realised what the nod meant. He just shook his head. Yeah, well we can't all be Top London Chefs, can we?

Later that year in Tokyo, I established the nod-based relationship with the lady behind the counter of the Akabane branch of Mr Donut. As soon as I was through the door, with one slight inclination of the cranium, I had ordered a ham and cheese pie (heated up ), a custard cream donut and a small Coke. I was operating at maximum efficiency.

And now Sydney in 2007. Two days ago I was walking past Indian Curry Point on the Cross, an eaterie which I have not frequented particularly often, but have patronised an occasion.

As I passed the burly Indian behind the glass topped counter looked up and, on seeing me, gave me the nod. This must be my all time record. I think I've only been in there 5 times and already I am a familiar face to him. On this particular occasion I wasn't even going in there. I was visiting Pie Face next door.

They must just know. See it in my eyes. Recognise a fellow appreciator of The Turkey Stick, The Bondi Burger, The Meat Lovers Pizza, The Thai Chicken Pie Stack (with extra mash).

However, you should know that I am balancing out this "evil" with a nice weighty helping of "good". I don't think I have eaten quite so many vegetables in my life before. Yes. I know it's difficult for you imagine, but I now don't mind the odd pea, or red onion, or sweet potato and have even developed a liking for baby corn and sweetcorn.

No, I haven't been kidnapped. Yes, it's still me. Just don't assume therefore that I am now perfectly happy to load my plate up with dirty forestry and soiled bulbs, like cabbage and cauliflower, come Sunday dinner.


Paul said...

What's happening to you Phil? First it was the heavy drinking, then the talking to girls, and now you're eating vegetables. What's next? Rollercoaster? Skydive? Bungy Jump?

Father said...

Vegetables?? Progress at last!!

George said...

Whoever you are, writing things on Phil's Blog, you sound very convincing and the whole 'South Lambeth Road' thing is quite believable but we all know PHIL DOESN'T DO VEGETABLES!