Krispy Kreme Dreams (34/80)

Thursday 2 May – Fulham Broadway (Square E3 on the Tube map), Gallions Reach (D9), Gants Hill (B9), Gloucester Road (D3), Golders Green (B4), Goldhawk Road (D3), Goodge Street (C5), Gospel Oak (B5)

It’s a hard act following Forest Hill but someone has to. And, while the Horniman Walrus will soon be off on his holidays to Margate (see previous post, The Walrus and the Curmudgeon), I indulge myself in what must be one of the most pointless TubeforLOLs days ever. From the South West to the far South East to far North East and back to the South West before heading North, then back West, then a stop off in Central London before heading North again. Then back home in the far South. But if I make it to Gospel Oak, I’ll have visited 125 stations in 122 days and, for the first time since my first visit on 1st January, I’ll be ahead of the TubeforLOLs game! What an achievement!

An achievement! snorts The Inner Curmudgeon. Huh! It’s alright for him but what about The Wee Professor and me? We just get lugged around hither and thither. We have no say in the matter. You’re always banging on about democracy but what about our democratic rights? You think we’re just cardboard alter-egos. But look, if I cut myself do I not bleed …  

The Metro headline is: Google tax ‘lies’. The scare quotes are the Metro’s in the unlikely event that Google aren’t lying.

I’m going to be underground so much today that I’ve elected to take the tube equivalent of the South Circular to my first stop, Fulham Broadway. That’s the Overground loop via Clapham Junction. Believe me, it’s as slow, boring and tortuous as the South Circular.

I’m reading Kathleen Jamie’s trip in Northern Pakistan and this quote dings the dong: ‘Though the journeys are long, you get used to them, and even still I feel a huge exhiliration driving around the Northern Areas. Though you ache and are bored stupid, you’ve thought every thought, dreamed every daydream, but some corner will turn and the river thrashing below [the Thames] or the soaring mountain above [Gants Hill] or the sheer wild beauty of a village [Golders Green] will remind you why you came.’

It’s eleven o’clock and it has taken an hour and a quarter to get to Fulham Broadway station (Square E3). Fulham Broadway’s USP, its Unique Selling Proposition, is that you are decanted straight from the platform to the shopping mall. There’s no bothersome street to negotiate. It’s a classy mall, too. It’s got a Metro Bank and a Krispy Kreme.

Fulham Broadway station: alas, no walrus in sight!

Fulham Broadway station: alas, no walrus in sight!

There’s not even a snarl up on the Broadway, although a woman in an Alfa ploughs straight through the red light at the pedestrian crossing, scattering Fulham flaneurs left and right. You see what I mean when I talk about bothersome streets. This is Fulham after all, not Forest Hill.

My next stop is far east on the DLR Beckton branch. I spend the time noodling an alternate universe where Krispy Kreme bushes bloomed on the savannah five hundred thousand years ago. Bliss it was in those days to be alive – a corn-syrup and saturated fat white chocolate and almond praline doughnut here, a corn-syrup and saturated fat lemmings meringue pie doughnut there. But then homo kremiens gets too fat to evade the savannah predators, those awful alligators. I’m at Gallions Reach (D9) a few minutes before noon.

What on earth made me think this was a shopping mall? Bollards mark the spot of the last sighting of the escaped alligators from the Horniman Museum.

What on earth made me think this was a shopping mall? Bollards mark the spot of the last sighting of the escaped alligators from the Horniman Museum.

For some reason I’ve always thought that the decorated tin shed above housed a shopping mall. I realise my mistake almost immediately but I walk round two long sides of it, just in case. It’s not a shopping mall. I’m not even sure what it is. It’s only when I get back and search the internet that I find out that it is a ‘distribution and fulfilment 3PL specialist’. Well, I sure am glad I sorted that one out.

I’m in Gants Hill station (B9) by one o’clock. Gants Hill’s USP is that it is the Piccadilly Circus of the East. Not many people know that. Like Piccadilly Circus, it is organised as spokes around a central hub with the station underground and exits on the pavements by all five major spokes (just like Piccadilly Circus). There are shopping parades both sides of each of the five spokes (just like Piccadilly Circus). That’s ten shopping parades! My mind seethes with the possibilities.

The art-something underground waiting hall at Gants Hill station. Apparently, it wouldn't fit under Piccadilly Circus, so they moved it here.

The art-something underground waiting hall at Gants Hill station. Apparently, it wouldn’t fit under Piccadilly Circus, so they moved it here. Took a lot of digging.

I walk all the way round Gants Hill, up and down the spokes. One of the main roads to Essex, the A12, goes through here. Many’s the time I’ve fumed as I’ve inched towards the Gants Hill gyratory but the traffic today, such as it is, flows freely.

I’m particularly taken by Tinseltown which advertises that it does 40 different types of burgers and 60+ different milk-shakes. My mind is positively flumdummoxed by the choice. On a normal day I’d still be there, wondering which burger and shake to go for. Luckily today is one of my lactose-intolerant vegetarian days. But what a USP! 60+ milk shakes!

Astrology Corner in Gants Hill: the future is fat, the future is Krispy Kreme.

Astrology Corner in Gants Hill: the future is fat, the future is Krispy Kreme.

It’s two o’clock before I’m back at Gloucester Road station (D3). It’s three stops away from Fulham Broadway, I passed through here a couple of hours ago on the way to Galleons Reach.

Aye, says The Inner Curmudgeon, and why didn’t you pop out and have a look-see? No-one would know. I can tell he’s feeling distinctly crotchety. I’m quavering a bit myself.

Gloucester Road station: spot the lie.

Gloucester Road station: spot the lie.

This is well-heeled chain-land with a touch of the tourists. It has a spurious cosmopolitanism about it. I have a double-wrapped but otherwise unremarkable mozzarella and tomato baguette from the only non-chain sandwich shop I can find. ‘Double-wrapped but otherwise unremarkable.’ Yes, I think, that’s a description which fits Gloucester Road. No USP here.

I’m still having the Krispy Kreme heebie-jeebies. This next alternate universe involves vast savannahs filled with slow-moving, lowing herds of homo kremiens stuffing themselves on the aforementioned baked goods. They’re being tended by mean-looking alligators. Yes, alligators. In dark suits. They’re rounding up the kremiens and taking them to what look distinctly like abattoirs where … Well, they shoot horses don’t they?

My next stop is Golders Green station (B4). I arrive a few minutes before three. There’s a Quote of the Day: ‘Example moves the World more than Doctrine’ said Henry Miller, Novelist and Painter (sic). I’m not sure I agree with that.

It’s hot outside in Golders Green but not as hot as the trains underground have been getting through the day, so that’s a relief. What is even more of a relief is surfacing into bright dancing daylight. The tube’s artificial light has been wearing me down as much as its stale chuffy air, its shaking and rattling, the coughs and sneezes from fellow passengers.

Golders Green station.

Golders Green station.  

Like Gants Hill, I’ve passed through Golders Green in the car, but I’ve never visited it or its station before. It’s not quite the Jerusalem Central I was expecting though most of the restaurants whatever their cuisine – Indian, Italian, Thai – have the kosher seal-of-approval prominently displayed and there are plenty of men wearing big beards and beanies or broad-rimmed hats. It’s much more of a centre than Gants Hill or Gloucester Road and it’s more cosmopolitan than them (though Gants Hill has a large Jewish presence). I feel relaxed here. Even more relaxed after I’ve devoured a huge, though hugely expensive, caramel and pistachio ice-cream.

I get to Goldhawk Road station (D3) at four o’clock. I don’t see any hawks or raptors of any type or colour here unless they’re the stall-holders at the Shepherd’s Bush market which straggles by the side of the railway line. But in the few minutes I’m there ten ambulances and marked and unmarked police cars scream through with their sirens blaring. Tip to readers thinking of visiting Goldhawk Road: take your ear plugs with you.

Not such a salubrious exit as some stations. Now, what does that mean?

Not such a salubrious exit as some stations. Now, what does that mean?

I walk towards the corner of Shepherd’s Bush Green. I have fond memories of the Bush Theatre and of 7:84’s production of John Arden and Margaretta D’Arcy’s The Ballygombeen Bequest. One of the funniest and most political plays ever (alas subsequently banned under our libel laws). I smile as I remember Stephen Rea and Roger Sloman’s performances. It’s only when I get to the corner that I realise that the Bush has moved over to Shepherd’s Bush Road. The old Bush Theatre is now an O’Neill’s. I turn back, a little disappointed.

The Hammersmith & City line sculls busily past Westfield with the Westway and the mainline railway tracks to the north and office blocks, tower blocks and sixties social housing to the south, plus the occasional Victorian street smuggled in. A couple of bulldozers duel under the sun on a brick-strewn wasteland. I imagine another homo kremiens universe. The whole universe is packed with vast crowds of kremiens devouring the doughnut-producing Krispy Kreme bushes. The kremiens are stacked one on top of another. But, sooner or later, something has to give: the savannah can’t sustain this huge number of huge kremiens. There is a sudden, irretrievable population crash …

My penultimate stop, Goodge Street station (C5) arrives at around five o’clock. I’ve already thought of a rip-roaring prank and almost miss the Thought of the Day. ‘Look within. Within you is the fountain of good, and it will ever bubble up if you ever dig.’ That’s a pearl from good old Marcus Aurelius. There’s nothing like an old-time Stoic to cheer one up.

Scientology at Goodge Street. Despite my two chums (bottom right) phoning for Tom, no-one came to make me a better person and my wallet an emptier pocket-book.

Scientology at Goodge Street. Despite my two chums (bottom right) phoning for Tom Missile (shurely not his right name, Editor), no-one came to make me a better person and my wallet an emptier pocket-book.

My prank is to get persuaded by one of the nice young men or women who hang around outside this shop to be dianetically tested. Scientology, that mash-up of messianic science fiction, celebrity marketing and spurious self-improvement; the krispy kreme sect. Alas! There’s no-one hanging around on the pavement and the shop itself is shut. I bet I know where they are: down at the nearest Krispy Kreme.

I go back down in the lift with half a dozen policemen off to keep order at the Chelsea-Basle match. I try to persuade them that it’s bound to be a less hairy experience than policing a Celtic-Rangers match but they’re not having that. Clearly, a Scottish football hooligan is no a match for your actual English hooligan. Plus, hairiness is, apparently, no longer an indicator of lawlessness. Shaven baldy-headedness is. Your English hools do that better.

There’s problems on the Overground between Highbury & Islington and Willesden Junction again but promise of a train coming through in the next quarter of an hour. The train is packed and I mean, packed: you couldn’t slip a Krispy Kreme in anywhere. I get a space in one of the overhead luggage racks along with a young Mum and her buggie. It’s half past six before I get to Gospel Oak station (B5).

It’s aptly named: the pub opposite is called the Old Oak and, to judge by the flabby shaven baldy-headed white men stripped to the waist drinking and shouting outside, the Gospel around here is the Gospel according to Football. In the beginning was the Ball …

Gospel Oak station. No alligators, no walruses, no krispy kreme scientologists.

Gospel Oak station. No alligators, no walruses, no krispy kreme scientologists.

I walk along and turn on to the hallowed turf of Hampstead Heath where Keats walked. Except, of course, this is Parliament Hills Field which Margaret Thatcher, late of this alligator, donated to the City of London as part of the dispersal of the GLC’s assets. Ah well! No point in having good building land under some form of democratic control. There might come a time when the democrats decide to build on it or sell it to others for building and then, good golly, land prices would come down and the hoi polloi might start owning rather than renting their homes. (A good little earner, this renting business.)

I’m home at Forest Hill shortly before seven thirty. The Leaf festival is in full swing on the Albion Millennium Green. Prospero is giving Ariel a run for his money. Shakespeare is in the alley, eating Krispy Kremes. I’m homeward bound, I’m wracked by dreams.

6 thoughts on “Krispy Kreme Dreams (34/80)

  1. sandycraig2013 Post author

    The Wee Professor: Oh, thank you, Peth. More than happy to oblige. Flaneur – there should be a circumflex about the ‘e’ there but Mr TubeforLOLs can’t work out how to do that – comes from the French flaner (again with the circumflex) meaning a walker who walks with nowhere purposefully to go. (There are class connotations here.) It’s associated with 19th Century France, mainly Paris, and mainly with males, usually leisured, often with artistic pretensions, sometimes a little transgressive, and – at least sometimes – a ‘statement’ (though that is too harsh a word) against the bourgeois universe that surrounded them. Walter Benjamin in his Arcades project gives a much fuller description, but unfortunately that book is out on loan at present so I can’t give you the reference.
    As to flaneurs today: there is less evidence that flaneurs still exist. They are like slow walkers as in slow food.

    Reply
  2. Peth

    And, Professor, would Sandy normally fall into this category ? Is this Tubing business really a mechanised and cartographical act of Flaneurism ?

    Reply
  3. sandycraig2013 Post author

    Now that, Peth, is a fascinating thought. A technological updating – after all the tube or metro hadn’t been invented in the mid-nineteeth century. Therefore, certainly Tubing could be considered a mechanised and cartographical act of Flaneurism. Alas, Mr TubeforLOLs does not have some of the characteristics of the true flaneur. A flaneur flans (no relation to food, slow or otherwise) with a calm heart. He loafs (again, no relation to food, etc.) around. Mr TubeforLOLs only occasionally loafs. His heart is calm only from time to time. Also, his use of the camera and photography, only hints at the flaneur’s love of the picturesque. Of all the photos above, for instance, only the interior shot of Gants Hill station could be considered picturesque. But that is to dwell solely on Mr TubeforLOLs’ personality and attitudes and – perhaps, and only perhaps – his flaning limitations. Your apercu that ‘Tubing’ could be the new, modern flaneuring is positively Benjaminesque.

    Reply
  4. Nick Hayes

    Why I’ve always had a soft spot for Goodge Street is the Donovan song of 1965 from the Fairy Tale album – I have it on a compilation album along with Sunshine Superman. No Krispies, creme rice or otherwise but other substances referenced ( see lyrics below), and probably a lot more flaneurs about than in the hi-octane Tottenham Court Road of today- a destination still some way off for you my friend. For more on flaneurs see my Twitter profile tho’ procrastinator might be more apt.

    “On the firefly platform on sunny Goodge Street
    Violent hash-smoker shook a chocolate machine
    Bobbed in an eating scene
    Smashing into neon streets in their stillness

    Smearing their eyes on the crazy Kali goddess
    Listenin’ to sounds of Mingus mellow fantastic

    “My, my,” they sigh “My, my,” they sigh

    In dull house rooms with colored lights swingin’
    Strange music boxes sadly tinklin’
    Drinkin’ the sun shining all around you

    “My, my,” they sigh “My, my,” they sigh
    “My, my,” they sigh “My, my,” they sigh

    The magician, he sparkles in satin and velvet
    You gaze at his splendor with eyes you’ve not used yet I tell you, his name is
    Love, Love, Love
    “My, my,” they sigh “My, my,” they sigh “My, my,” sigh”

    aah those were the days as little Mary Hopkin sang – Donovan just might have been the TubeforLols of an earlier age.

    Reply
    1. sandycraig2013S

      The Inner Curmudgeon replies: Don’t encourage softie Sandy to go all dewy and sentimental. It won’t do and you of all people, Nick, should know better. As for this Donovan chappie – I’ve just had to watch a Youtube version of this Sunny Goodge Street ditty – he’s all got up in ruffles like some medieval troubadour!

      Reply

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