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There are boaters’ bins in London but what do you do if there isn’t one near your boat?
Before I moved from a flat to a boat, I had my own bin. I used to be someone.
This story doesn’t paint me in a particularly good light. I look worse when you consider that I was moored very near a boaters’ bin. I could have taken my little Sainsbury’s bag of rubbish there but.... I wasn’t going that way ... and it was raining. Not for the first time, my empty milk carton, banana skin and Galaxy caramel wrappers got dropped into a park bin.
100 feet ahead of me was a council cleaner.
As I walked towards him, I was aware that he was watching me.
“What was in that bag?” he asked, as I passed him.
“Erm, what bag?”
“You know what bag! What was in it? The orange bag you put in that bin over there!”
Like The Terminator, at the speed of lightening, a huge list of responses rolled through my brain. The first one to make the shortlist was, “Your mum’s pants.” I repressed it, instead opting for sarcasm.
“GOLD,” I exclaimed!
“Where do you live?” he said.
I lost my temper, a bit. Fear & defense.
“I’m not telling you where I live! Where do YOU live?”
He squinted his eyes. “Are you one of those boaters?”
“You could get in a lot of trouble for asking things like that,” I said.
“What are you talking about?”
“You’re a boatist?” I said, “This is boatism.”
I took my phone out and took his photo.
“Well, I can do that too, “ he said.
He took his phone out and tried to figure out how to operate the camera. After 30 seconds, he gave up and put his device back into his orange boiler suit.
“Btw, congratulations,” I said.
“Escaping from Syria.”
“What was in that bag?” he said, again.
“If you really want to know, it was rubbish I picked up along the towpath. I’m actually one of those rare people who goes out of his way to make your job a little easier!”
I sounded so earnest that I almost believed my own lie.
If you want to know how this panned out - and hear many more stories of boating madness - come along to my live show - ‘Angry Boater Live.’ It’s on for the next 3 Tuesday nights (March 3, 10 & 17) at The Bargehouse near Haggerston Overground. Runs from 8 pm to 9.40 pm. Advanced tickets £7 or £10 cash on the door.
Review of the Feb 24th performance here:
Joel - March 1st, 2015