In the Night Kitchen
I’ve been teaching on the Creative Writing MA at Liverpool John Moores University for three weeks now, and I emerge from the workshop at 9pm starving hungry; and have been looking for somewhere good to eat. The first week, I went to an Indian place; the curry was a bit fussed about, but it was OK. I had popadoms as well as a main dish, and a Cobra; total cost sixteen nicker. By the time I’ve driven from Presteigne up to Liverpool, and then down to Birmingham to grab a few hours kip before performing my role as RLF Fellow at Birmingham City University on Thursdays, I’d pretty much have blown the fee I got for going up to Liverpool if I kept eating there every week.
So in week two I found a posh-ish burger place, which was also OK; but by the time I’d had a coffee, it still came to eight quid. But last night my prayers were answered; I found an all-night cafe in Bolton Street, right next to Lime Street Station; two sausgaes, egg, bacon, black pudding, two rounds of toast, mug of tea, free pahnd firty. Proper! And, what’s more, I could have had beans or tomatoes; but, although I am very fond of both, I can’t be doing with beany juice or tinned tomatoes mixed with egg yolk, so I go without.
I will admit that it’s a bit dingy. It seems to be largely inhabited by taxi drivers; which is not to say that taxi drivers are dingy. One wall is devoted to Everton memorabilia; the other to Liverpool, which I guess solves arguments. The Everton/Liverpool FA Cup replay was playing on the radio, but no one seemed to be listening. There was a bag lady, with all her belongings tied to one of those zimmer frames with wheels, playing the quiz machine. I always feel utterly at home in dingy all night cafes. Monique used to say that if I was dropped on a desert island, I’d find a greasy spoon and someone to be naughty with, and maybe she had a point. But I’m a reader; it felt odd to sit there, reading ‘Q’ by Luther Blisset, though no one came up and did that Bill Hicks ‘Why are you reading?’ thing, so it was cool. I’m now a regular.
The Market Diner in Circus Place, by the old Fruit and Veg market in Brighton was always a favourite after gigs back in the day. You could turn up after a show and order a walloping breakfast at 4 in the morning, and all was well with the world. Sadly, the all night breakfasts in those days replaced the calories I’d burned off during the gig; now, of course, they are ruinous for the figure. But who can argue with free pahnd firty?