A Bit Of East End Argy Bargy And Mr WhippyMay 6, 2010
I was pottering around at Pie Palace this afternoon. It was quiet and it was peaceful, but that peace was soon broken by the sound of raised voices outside. I went to the window. There were two people at the doorway of the block on the other side of the road. I thought it was loud, friendly banter, but it soon became clear that it was actually an argument. The taller, scrawny man was having a go at the smaller, much broader man wearing an orange high visibility jacket. There were two black dogs circling them while they continued to scream at each other. The high vis jacket man had a much higher voice. It was only then I realised it was a woman.
There’s something about old school East Enders having an argument that is simultaneously scary and funny. You’re sure one of them will suddenly land a punch, a knife or a gun, but at the same time, the meaty sound that makes no pretence of being polite, seasoned with plenty of industrial language, makes for a satisfying meal in the realm of public rows. You just wouldn’t get that with Hugh Grant. Anyway, scrawny man proved to be the louder of the two. As he was getting into his stride, the industrial language increased. Then, just like the Titanic, the balance between the use of the word ‘fuck’ and any other word finally tipped over. I now present a sample for your reading pleasure, ladies and gentlemen. Picture an East End geezer giving it everything he’s got. If it helps, imagine you’re watching a Guy Ritchie mockney gangster film like Lock Stock and Two Smoking Barrels, or any film featuring Danny Dyer: “I’ll facking fack ya facking right up, ya facking fack.” If I were outside and had laughed at that point, this blog would’ve been on suspension, while my bones took their time to merge again. As it was, I was thoroughly enjoying myself from the comfort and safety of my home. A woman emerged from the block and attempted to be the peacemaker by standing between the two. Suddenly a familiar sound filled the air: it was the chiming of the Mr Whippy van. The juxtaposition of the expletive filled argument and the gentle, slightly out of tune tinkle of that call to children, tickled me. I laughed out loud. Another man came out of the block and joined in. The dogs by now had had enough of the bad energy and walked off. High vis woman also started walking away with a phone to her ear. Scrawny man screamed at her: “Are ya calling the fackin’ police? Are ya? Go on, go an’ call the fackin’ police. I’ll call the fackin’ police an’ all, ya c**t!” Eventually, scrawny man used up all his energy and the group dispersed. The street fell silent once more, but only for a moment, because Mr Whippy started up again as if to end this spontaneous, preposterous, theatrical event. That finished me. I could not stop laughing for at least five minutes and I was crying at the end of it, particularly as the chimes continued to float through the air as the van drove off to another street.
No matter what convoluted, or strange plots are played out on TV, nothing, and I mean nothing, beats real life.