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Saturday, June 19, 2004

Having spent part of Thursday afternoon with five members of Lisa's family, one of whom insisted on removing his trousers every five minutes, I continued my goodwill mission yesterday with a trip to the other side of Brighton to meet Aunt Phyllis (who I can happily name and shame here on account of the fact that she doesn't have internet access, and assures me she's too old to learn). Honestly, if Lisa made as much effort to see her relatives as I do, instead of insisting on going out to work during the day, she might not be so short of mints.

So I collected my first packet of Polos of the weekend from Lisa's mother, then drove to Aunt Phyllis's, where I happily drank her tea, ate her biscuits, and agreed to take a note back for Lisa, asking her to record Gardener's World. I also succeeded in leaving with a small coffee table, and an enthusiastic request for a copy of my last play, so all in all a successful trip.

At 8:30pm, in the middle of playing a medley of Senators songs on the guitar for Lisa's entertainment, I remembered the note from Phyllis, and dutifully passed it on. Gardener's World was finished by then of course, as was my relationship with Phyllis. I don't think I'll be getting any biscuits next time. And I'd made such a good impression too. We even discussed Shakespeare. I knew it was a mistake the moment I heard myself saying the words "Of course I can pass on a message". It was asking for trouble.

The highlight of today has been the arrival of the local paper - The Brighton Argus. Which sounds like a catalogue shop to me, but isn't. Today's issue features a section entitled 'Poetry Corner', which showcases the work of three local poets. Or rather three local people who think they're poets. My eye was drawn to a submission by the name of 'St James's Street'.

St James's Street is situated close to Lisa's place of work, and as such, has become a regular haunt of mine. I've shopped in its Safeways, had lunch in its restaurants, and mingled with drag queens in its charity shops. It's an area of Brighton close to my heart. Which explains why I have chest pains.

Anyhoo, one local man has seen fit to make the place the subject of a touching piece of poetry. And The Argus, in its wisdom, have seen fit to print it. So for family and friends who are struggling to picture the scene of my weekends away in Brighton, what better than to paint a picture of my surroundings with this heartfelt verse from Jim Platt of Eaton Place, Brighton...

St James's Street

As the bars start to close on a Saturday night,
And the pretty boys scream as the dykes start to fight,
You pay five pounds for a greasy kebab,
Full of meat discarded by a germ warfare lab,
You hear distant police sirens from respectable Hove,
As Kemptown junkies steal your TV and stove,
You see rivers of urine cascade round your feet,
Welcome, my friend, to St James's Street.

Ah yes, the fighting dykes and rivers of urine. It's no wonder I find it difficult to tear myself away from the place.