Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Tintin and the Brazilians

It's Monday. It's just gone three. School is done for the day and I'm mid seizure. Nothing about which to get concerned as I am the doer as opposed to receiver and the seizing is of nothing more dramatic than a few moments respite before returning to the chaotic fold of the teachers' room to prepare for the weeks ahead. A macchiato and a slice of something calorie laden to goad the brain into something resembling life.

Around me are fragments of the population, serenely going about whatever it is they do: A brace of Chinese girls nursing their lattes; a brace of Chinese guys sharing a coffee but not a conversation. A nervous looking girl of possibly Irish descent, grabs her belongings and scuttles for the stairs in the manner of someone who arrived early, has been killing time and is now convinced that they're more than a thirty second walk from where they're meant to be in half an hour's time.

A sullen pair of ladies ignoring each other and a Japanese guy engrossed in his Crackberry, his English grammar book, lying spread-eagle on the table; an anxious lady of Asian origin but of blatantly suburban England fashion sense plays a gentile game of musical chairs with herself while she waits for her matronly companion to return from the barista's hallowed realm bearing caffeine based refreshment and smackerel of something indulgent.

A scene much like that being played out in coffee shops across the world.

Or is it.

Sitting at the back of this scene of global homogeneity, of intra-urban cosmopolity (yes, I made it up, but it works and so it's staying), of 21st Century socio-ethnic down-turn down-time is an incongruous bespectacled figure. His colouring and dress sense mark him out as being of northern European origin.

If I were a gambling man I'd say he was Belgian given, that is, the style of his eye-wear and his tailoring. The bottle of sparkling water underscores his irrepressible mainland European heritage; the paper he sits before bears all the outraged hallmarks of the outraged harbingers of outrage that are the outraged journalists of the Daily Mail.

A comfort-abetting shuffle in his seat, a cursory glance around, and so, without further ado, to the nudes.

For yes, there, twixt the pages of portentious doom-mongering, of middle-English, middle-class, middle-aged whinging and uber-Conservatism lies a panoply of visual titillation. A wide - in every sense of the word - cross-section of female society rubbing shoulders and everything else with the good and the great, if only from the stapled security of print.

Were you inclined to purchase of the top-shelf, would Costa Coffee on Shaftesbury Avenue, the heart of the West End, at 3 o'clock in the afternoon be your chosen reading venue?

Clearly it would if you were Tintin.

1 comment:

  1. Great observations there.
    I thought you had stopped ramblings but I am mistaken. Glad to be.


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