Thursday, 6 May 2010

Anarchy in the UK?

I met an anarchist tonight - which was preferable to the Antichrist. (His table manners are dreadful.) The anarchist said that she hadn't voted since 1983 and didn't intend to now.

I said, "But what about the drains?"*

I quite like anarchists. I used to have them in my basement. They could never agree on anything and were forever running out of milk.

Above them was a Women's Cooperative Independent Bookshop. They once refused to sell a copy of the Lesbian Kama Sutra to a boy whose parents owned the Greek Restaurant (Eureka!) further up the road. They said he was being sexist. (Which, of course, he was.)

Above them was me, and above me was a small Methodist Chapel whose members organised breadmaking with the homeless three times a week. One of their regular breadmakers, a Big Issue seller called Dave, became the building's unofficial doorman. After a year of guarding the door, he had a heart attack and died. I felt very sad about this. I liked Dave and had bought him a bacon, egg and sausage sandwich most mornings. At his funeral, I found out that the hairdresser next door, the newsagent across the road, and the local greengrocer had also bought him a bacon, egg and sausage sandwich most mornings. He'd been larded, but at the wake he was lauded.

The most memorable moment in this most memorable of buildings was the time the poet Michael Horowitz gave a performance in the office. He was playing his anglosaxophone (a Lenor bottle with a mouthpiece) and was yodelling a selection of his poems. Outside, the street ran scarlet with hundreds of football fans chanting for their team (about to lose in a European final). Meanwhile, I was trying to explain to a young and very confused policeman how a co-worker had come to be injured by an intruder who had stolen her handbag. (She'd tripped over when she was chasing him and hurt her leg.)

"Who else was in the building?" he asked.

"Anarchists, Feminists, Homeless Bakers, Christians, a few Poets and a Priest."

It sounded like the opener to a very dodgy joke. The PC closed his notebook, made his excuses and left.

But if that was the joke, what was the punchline? Answers on a postcard - and if you can sort out the drains to the satisfaction of anarchists everywhere, you'll earn an extra ten points.

* I didn't actually say this; a friend did. But as he was quoting Joyce Grenfell, I feel quite at liberty to steal it from him.


  1. I could never work out if anarchy in the UK was a bad joke or just wishful thinking. I've known a few so-called anarchists in my time, most of them with well concealed safety nets in one form or other. Joyce Grenfell would probably have given most of them a good run for their money.

  2. The punchline would have to be something like: Rub-a-dub-dub, 3 minutes of dub, the butches, the bakers, some candles, stick-makers... and three Hail Marys... (best I could come up with - no offence to anyone)

    p.s. I can't believe you KILLED Dave with your lardy brekkies. You monsters.

  3. I think the punchline is, 'And once they were all in the building together, someone realised that the doors didn't open from the inside.'

  4. and they all lived together happily ever after, on bacon sarnies provided by a serial killer who happened to live on the mezzanine.

  5. @ Martin - But what about the DRAINS???

    @ Bébé - Mea Culpa - but what a lovely way to go.

    @ Fran - Because the barricades were in the way? (Not a joke!)

    @ Friko - Mwah-ha-ha-HA!