Beep-Beep-Fuckin-Beep! Yep, that’s me, back in London & back in Britain with the other 97 percent of the world’s baked-bean buyers. India might have been dangerous, but in my home country there’s an accident every three minutes – I’m taking more care now I’m home than I ever did in India. So, I have cast myself loose, without a home but breathing the sweet air of summer freedom. After such a spirit-cleansing sojourn to the east it was quite a shock to be thrown into the lion’s den of Brixton underground station. The rush of life overwhelmed my senses & within 30 seconds I was offer’d weed. Met my hippy hosts in the capital, Jimmy & Annie. I had met Jimmy on the steps of the Andaman office in Chennai, & had two terrific. His girlfriend was a bonnie bohemian lassie, & b4 I knew it I was whisked off to her gig. It wasn’t far away, at the Bedford pub in Balham; what a place, four floors of Georgian class, the toppermost being the intimate venue where Annie, sat at a keyboard & back’d by her boys on brass, chilled me out completely. Other acts included a Danish bird on banjo & a Madagascan doing things on guitar that blew me away. Most bizarre, however, was what was going on underneath us. The guitarist from the Scorpions was playing Vivaldi, back’d by a string orchestra full of fit birds, one of whom, when positioned best, was wearing some very skimpy velvet knickers.
London can be a little too much at time, but there are pockets of loveliness, like deer-haunted Richmond Park. So in need of a little nature I headed for the wide open wilderness of Hampsted Heath. In its heart is the Vale of Health, an idyllic cluster of houses in the middle of the expanse of green, like a rush of magic mushrooms in a farmer’s field. From there I dallied through the Heath, by pleasant ponds & the excellent capital vista from Parliament Hill. From it you can see the telegraph tower at Euston, thro’ Saint Paul’s & the Liverpool Street Gherkin to the metropolis skyscrapers of London Docklands. At the other end of the Heath I entered Highgate, drawn by literary memorials to the house where Coleridge spent his last years, & the little church across the road where he is buried.
By now it hardly felt I was in London at all, but this sensation was soon eroded as I made my way through the sweating concrete cyst back to Brixton. My mood was alleviated by a trip to the national gallery to see my favourite paintings – four epic battle scenes from the French revolutionary wars that hang at the entrance hall. A quick zoom on the underground from Waterloo & back in Brixton I have found myself staying in this old Pub, the King of Sardinia. It’s wicked, instruments in the basement next to the old taps, acoustic guitars & sofas in the old pub bit & two floors of rooms, with a roof top terrace. I recently cooked my hosts a curry to say ta (three tins of chopped tomatoes!) & after some hearty drinking & literary chat with Jimmy feel chilled out to fuck.