Tuesday, 4 July 2006

I love it, I love it! This heat is off the hook!

Jimmy’s been a very busy boy lately and I’m thinking of getting him some TLC at the garage. Plus he had to go through the trauma of having his insides sabotaged, but more of this in a minute.

The fetes and parties have found us in all four corners of the city: Dulwich, St John’s Wood, Kingston, Bow and heading out down the old trusty M4 for a bit of country fun. On the way back from a charity event the other day there were some serious noises coming from the exhaust. Though some of the lads in the yard tried to sort it out it soon became clear that I was going to have to pull out the old AA card. Now I always thought the AA were who you called when you broke down on the motorway and they’d come and tow you home. I didn’t realise there was a role for them with this sort of ailment. And if it’s not that urgent you can even book an appointment to suit your schedule. Discovering this I asked them to come and find me at Bloomsbury Square where we were doing a gig for the Architectural Bienale.

As I set up the wares and my brother Beppo went to find us some pizza, the AA van pulled up behind with the big old (slightly inappropriate for such a tiny job) yellow lights flashing. And who should get out but the most gorgeous AA man you’ve ever seen! Now maybe I’ve been misled by the ads but I thought AA men were supposed to be slightly dowdy fellas with a touch of the anorak about them. Not this one. Tall, dark and rugged with a real glint in his eye… He got straight to work, cutting up some old can, getting under the van and DIY-ing the job until I could get Jimmy raised to have it done properly. Of course I gave him a huge ice cream (Mexican chocolate, MMMmmm) and, not being able to resist, I just had to get his number. Job done, off he went with a toot-toot and I got back to the punters.

There’s a piece in the Metro today about British chocolate. I was called up the other day by the writer and spoke with passion and eloquence about the change in attitude towards chocolate in this country; about how we’re placing our own stamp on chocolate and finally pulling away from the glib reliance on Belgian, French and Swiss as our best bets. And about my attempts with Choc Star to merge good chocolate with familiar, delicious treats. What gets pulled out of all of this? Something about good chocolate being ‘up it’s own arse’. Oh well, I guess it gets the point across.

So I went to pick up my van from his digs on Saturday only to discover to my absolute horror that the delicious ice cream that languished in the freezers inside had been sabotaged! This is the kind of thing that comes to me in my anxiety dreams and it came true! The same thing had happened a few weeks ago when I arrived to find the van unplugged. Talks with all the security guards ensued and I made a big sign which I stuck to the plug saying “Warning! Do not unplug. Freezers must be run at all times”. To happen once is unfortunate, but to happen twice is bordering on the suspicious. Why would anyone want to waste damn good ice cream? Finding secure parking for Jimmy is an ongoing struggle in London and one which often has me pining for a place in the country with a barn next door to plug him in at night….

But for the meantime this heatwave is giving London a real switch in her hips, the St Georges flags remain proud and defiant (’England til I diiie, I’m England til I die…’) and chocolate ice cream and malted chocolate milkshakes are in hot demand. Gotta go!