Monthly Archives: June 2012

GFD: Oscars, Ladywell


Ladywell is a bit of a contradiction. Too close to Catford to be really nice, but with a great organic shop, El’s Kitchen, and this café, Oscar’s, nestled amongst the kebab shops and newsagents with broken shop signs. I like Oscars. It’s tidy and cute, like a well-behaved kitten, but playful too, also like a kitten. Yes, the kitten metaphor has an extensive and varied utility, perfect for characterising certain cafés. There’s a lot of colour, and art on the walls, some of which is OK. The kind of pleasant local things that people unassumingly produce and hang in places like this. It’s the antithesis to First Thursday posturing, and there’s nothing wrong with that. There’s a huge Klimt covering a wall, but for some reason here I’m willing to tolerate it. Maybe that’s because you feel quite calm here.

The food looks good, not too expensive. (Well, too expensive for me, but still.) They also have ice cream. Coffee at £1.90 per Americano. Today I got a Latte and it’s pretty good. Today there is a new member of staff, who evidently snapped this job up before I got the chance. ‘Excuse me, fellow, but I could deliver this Latte even better than yourself, so says I.’ I sit in the garden prising open a Derrida book for the first time. Ah, unemployed in the UK – so conveniently excusable in the current climate – just enjoy it.

Far away a young lady prepares to visit the opera: Wagner, I am informed through the modern telegram we know as SMS. In isolation, jealous, I am outside, under the clouds, under an umbrella.

by Adam

GFD: The Poetry Place, Covent Garden

Went straight past the door of this café, Chris clawed me back. It’s a fine place to be on a warm afternoon. Other people are scarce here: a woman peers into a laptop, scribbling notes occasionally; a balding gent reads a book; the barista is planted by a table to one side, reading, pained to arise to serve us. Poetry books line the shelves; poets in picture frames line the walls. Something tells me this particular café leans towards the poetic. Indeed, The Poetry Society are behind this outlet, I’m dutifully informed. A couple of voices resonate from below, the basement, where performances take place. Someone is planning, planning poetry.

It was the American poet David Ferry who’s naive elderly man asked,’When I come into places like these
and there are people holding
Coffee cups to their lips and they
look at me,
Are they about to drink the coffee
or not to drink the coffee?’

What a quiet place. The few coffee drinkers do not stir from what preoccupies them. Chris and I, low tones and civilised conversation, puncturing the calm with our witty remarks. A stereo plays from somewhere, songs which sound like sentimental advert songs. You know the type – life is good, I have a ukulele, let’s all sing and dance and start a mobile phone contract… It’s not bad though, musicwise – I rushed to cynical judgement. The lampshades are like translucent pieces of paper hanging from wires, with scrawled writing across them. The Poetry Place plays with the rustic look, wooden tables, wooden floor boards, but selectively modern. It’s not cheap. I would advance the sentiment that in the past I have had better mochas. But mochas are a tricky beast, everyone knows this.
Real nice. Good for afternoon reading / working / composing poems. Just need to become a poet.
By Adam

GFD: Rococo Chocolates, Belgravia

 

‘The stairs down to the back are proper house’, says Chris, as we feel our way through the leafy garden towards a vacant table. Sometimes an aimless wander really works out, we say to ourselves, for our being here is no less than chance in the purest form, chance in its manifest self-representation of ontological continuity, authentic chance of the best kind. After trekking down the mathematical perpendicular roads of Belgravia we came across the welcoming decor outside Rococo. And there I did say to Chris ‘Yay, let us stop here, for our journey is long and our legs are tired.’ And he did reply, ‘Indeed, for thouest travel far and here we can replenish with the fruits of caffeine and bitesize chocolates.’

For Rococo is a chocolatier, no less, and when you enter your eyes are greeted with a kaleidoscope of tiny chocolates on shelves, curated into the large homey room with its few scattered tables and two different counters (one of which boasts tasty-looking cigars).

It’s the Jubilee at the moment, and Union Jacks are knocking about, flapping about and otherwise making themselves known. In the distance, over the walls that look over us like towering protective guards, provocative chanting resounds. A subtle eavesdrop into the conversation on the other table reveals that it is a protest at the Syrian Embassy. Apart from that a hedge trimmer grates away somewhere nearby. I hope that it doesn’t belong to the police, as they inevitably bear down on the protesters with fire in their eyes.

But here in the garden such things are unthinkable, for we sit in an oasis shielded from the real world, amongst pots of thyme and rogue unhinged doors leaning against the garden walls. The young woman who serves us couldn’t be friendlier. This friendliness materialises in the form of free chocolates with our coffee. Now that’s a good way to make a Jammatologist happy. The coffee is good, black as night and not too demanding, but there’s no brown sugar. We head back into the chocolate jungle to listen to Soft Cell, Spandau Ballet and Dexy’s Midnight Runners.

by Adam

Chris’ Final Thought

Geranium Cream 

I stand before a plethora of delights, trying to decide what to have amongst this cabinet of curiosities. Some of these chocolates are delightfully curious indeed, their flavours ranging from basil and lime to green tea combinations. I’m excited about these components working together within the realm of chocolate, and even more so by the sheer beauty of some of them. I find decision making difficult at the best of times, let alone when faced with such an aesthetically pleasing variety such as this. My eyes run over the various names and I finally settle on a ‘geranium cream.’ With the chocolate on my palm my feelings betray me to that cliché of a kid in a candy store, I take a bite and its floral cream filling exudes something unknown yet so very lovely. It is a taste akin to the Turkish Delight, and I find myself consumed in the act of consuming this small artefact. This could get dangerous, I want to try another one, and I will no doubt want to try a different flavour after that. They’ve got white chocolates that look exactly like new potatoes over there, adorned with crystallised mint leaves no less. I must return soon.