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.