Tuesday, 29th August.
At last, Chinotto!
Today, finally, I found somewhere that sells Chinotto.
I was close to tears when I found cans of Chinotto at a little
sandwich bar in Mortimer Street. I wanted to jump the counter and
give the old Italian bloke a big hug, but the counter was high
and this is England, after all.
Happy with my purchase, I walked the short distance to Cavendish
Square, where I usually eat my lunch. As I sat down I noticed a
bloke lying on the grass in front of a girl sitting in front of me.
Obviously chatting her up, and on the face of it not doing too
badly, either. He was wearing trackpants and a t-shirt, she was
wearing standard office chick attire. Soon she left, with him
escorting her. A few minutes later he returned, and sat with his
mates behind me.
Next thing I knew he was chatting up the good-looking blonde
girl that was sitting near me! He had less success with the blonde
girl, who cleared off after a minute or two of him badgering her
for her phone number. I'd finished my lunch by this time, and was
splitting my time between reading my book and watching his
Not discouraged, shortly after the blonde chick exited stage left
he wandered over to a young girl sitting ten metres or so away.
She looked stunned at his approach, and didn't seem too thrilled
when he gave her his phone number, which she seemed to cast away
immediately. But he came back grinning from ear to ear, and I
smiled back at him. He flopped on the grass near me. Given his
rampant display of heterosexuality, I doubted that he'd try a line
"She just kept smiling at me!" he said.
"No luck with this one?"
"No," he replied, "she said she had a boyfriend. But she kept
smiling at me, and I said 'Why are you smiling at me?' and she
just kept on smiling."
"I gave her my number, said 'Anytime you want to go for a drink,
just call me', and had a bit of a chat with her."
"She looks a bit young." observed one of his mates.
"Couple of footy seasons, mate." I said, getting a couple of
"Yeah", he continued, "she did look a bit young, but they're all up
for it, know what I mean?"
I'm the wrong person to ask, I thought.
"I don't mind a knockback," he said, turning back to me, "I just
take it in my stride go onto the next one.
"There are girls here all the time," he gestured around the park,
"and I see people just say 'Look at that', y'know, just dreaming,
but I'll go up and talk to them, y'see?" Oh yeah, I saw.
Needing no encouragement from me, he continued. "You can't win
the raffle if you don't buy a ticket."
"That's right." I said. Didn't know it was a raffle, why did it
take me so long to find out?
"Wa-hey!" he yelled at a bit of alright that walked past. I was
"Do you work around here?" he asked me.
"Yeah, just over there." I pointed.
"We work on a building site down on Oxford Street, and we get girl's
phone numbers all the time. Look, here's Jo, Kelly, what's that
say? Cara. And that's just this morning. They're all up for it
around here. Office girls, they're all up for it." Are they?
"Any good looking women where you work?" he asked me.
"No, I work for a computer company."
"So no good looking women?"
"Right. You're probably better off, without the distraction,
"Hmm" I decided to be non-committal on that one.
"Sometimes we go out down at Liverpool Street. Masses of
office girls, and they're all gagging for it." Good grief.
"I mean, it all boils down to sex, doesn't it? That's all
they're after." Oh yeah, I know what you mean, I'm so sick of
Claudia Schiffer ringing me up, demanding my body 24-7.
"Do you have a girlfriend?" he asked. Struth, maybe he is trying
to pick me up after all! Here's hoping I don't have to put him
straight, so to speak.
"I do, well sort of." There was no stopping this bloke.
"But you still ring all these other sheilas?" I asked.
"Yeah, have a bit of fun, y'know."
"How do you remember all their names?"
"It doesn't matter, I only go for high class!" Having observed
his targets for that lunch hour, I wasn't so sure of that. He
continued, despite my raised eyebrows. "The girls round here,
they're all up for it. If I was working back in East London, where
I'm from, I wouldn't be getting any of this. The girls around there
just aren't interested. Here, they want you to look at them, they
want you to whistle." Pandering to their vanity perhaps, I thought to
The conversation trailed off, and as I left I said: "I'd wish
you luck, but I don't think you need it!"