"An ever-intriguing writer."
"A genuine talent."



Quality Food Served All Day

The New Piccadilly Café Is a Soho institution.
They broke the mould after they built this place.
She’s a true landmark. The last of her kind.
A veritable Tasmanian Tiger amongst Pret A Mangers.
The Rosie Lee is stewed. The rice pudding is from a can.
The mashed potato is instant and the lasagne comes with chips.
It's true, the medieval cusine won’t be winning any Michelin stars,
but that's all part of The New Piccadilly’s charm.
That and the pink enamel espresso-maker.
That and the Festival Of Britain inspired formica table-tops.
That and the well-loved Thonet chairs
and and the horseshoe-shaped menu board.
All originals. Not a reproduction amongst them.
I know I've been neglecting her of late, but I have my reasons.
I've had other old-school eateries to frequent:
huevos rancheros and freshly-squeezed OJ to order at
Keedy's Fountain & Grill on Highway 111, Palm Desert,
a 10-inch stretch chili dog to stand in line for
at Pink's stand on the corner of Melrose and La Brea.
When The New Piccadilly closes her doors tomorrow evening
and the red neon “EATS’ sign is extinguished for the last time,
Mr. Lorenzo, the padrone of this Cathedral Of Caffs,
has vowed to take a sledgehammer to the place.
He wants to smash apart the antique
fixtures-and-fittings with his own two hands.
He’s worked at the counter-top here his entire adult life.
For some 50 years or more. So who can really blame him?
It’s very much his royal prerogative.
Amongst the many regulars in their widow’s weeds
is a girl I had an infatuation with back in the Springtime of 1997.
She always had a thing for older men. Older men than me.
She was sweet 19 when we first met, and would prove
to be a something of a template for what was to follow.
She wasn’t the last precocious little upstart
I fell for, oh-no, but she was certainly the first.
Sent down as a warning which I failed to heed.
She joins me in my booth and orders a cup of hot coffee.
Her hair no longer bottle blonde. Her wonky smile still intact.
Since last we met, she’s been training to be a shaman.
She's spent time in the Amazon rainforest
with the Cofán Indians of Santa Rosa de Guamuez.
Journeying to grand cities past and future.
Witnessing the primordial origins of humankind.
Developing both her Inner and Outer Raindow.
She finishes her hot coffee and orders a bowl of peach melba.
For the final time of asking.

Today's Special: New Piccadilly (Short Film)

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Oldest Pot Plant In The World

The broodboom Cycad first arrived
on the banks of the Thames back in 1775.
Fair to say it's seen it's fair share in all that time.
The Uprising in the American colonies.
The expansion and contraction of The British Empire.
The ages of Boz Dickens and Saucy Jack.
The coming of the railways and The Industrial Revolution.
A Great Stink, a Great Famine, a Great Depression and a Great Smog.
The construction of The Crystal Palace.
The re-location of The Crystal Palace.
The immolation of The Crystal Palace.
The Battle Of Cable Street and The Troubles in Ireland.
2 World Wars and 1 World Cup.
New Wave, Punk and The Carnabetian Army.
The end of apartheid in it's homeland.
The Brixton Riots. The King’s Cross Fire.
And four terrorist bombs on a July morning.
The broodboom Cycad’s been steadily growing away
at an average rate of about 2.5 cm a year.
That’s 2.5 cm a year for the past 232 years.
It’s not in any kind of a rush that’s for sure.
Now, it’s my sister who possesses the green fingers in my family.
My fingers, in stark contrast, are toxic black. All full of glyphosate.
I fear I’ll kill this living fossil if I stand near it for too long.
And I don’t want that on my conscience.
Best I beat a hasty retreat to The Temple Of Aeolus,
and leave this ancient evergreen to continue photosynthesizing.
Or whatever that thing is that plants do.

The Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew



The Poet Laureate of Skid Row

Plot number eight seven five
of the Ocean View Section
just off Avalon Drive
in The Green Hills Memorial Park
is where you'll find the final resting place
of one Henry Charles Bukowski Junior (1920-1994).
It's a short Sunday morning drive along the PCH 1.
Deeper into the Southland; through Redondo Beach
and into the affluent bluffs of The Palos Verdes Peninsula.
The simple granite tombstone,
illustrated by a simple carving of a pugilist,
carries the equally simple epitaph; "Don't Try".
Buk, I can’t help noticing, has a woman buried on either side of him.
A woman down to his left. And a woman down to his right.
A woman either side of him in the deep ground.
A woman either side for the long sleep of the sweet by-and-by.
A woman on either side for the journey into bardo and beyond.
I dare say The Dirty Old Bastard would’ve liked that.

Send Hank Some Flowers