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"Use every man after his desert, and who should 'scape whipping?"

Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Black pudding, the after-life and the best barber in south-west London: Daniel Ruiz Tison is still available, thanks be

Dear reader (s) (in the hope that there's more than one of you),

Please let me draw your attention to the latest episode of a south London radio series which is a bitter-sweet classic of an as yet not fully-defined genre.

It's Daniel Ruiz Tison Is Available, Episode One Hundred and Two, first broadcast on ResonanceFM on Monday 10 November 2015, but now available in perpetuity (until hell freezeth over) as a podcast from iTunes via Daniel's own website.

Unforgivably I was not aware of his series until he stumbled across a piece I'd written about the the best men's haircutter in all of the south-west London postcodes, Andy's of Landor Road. He has now interviewed Andy – who sadly for us, is on the verge of retirement – for a special podcast which is expected go live very soon.

Meanwhile I am struggling to find time to catch up with his back-catalgoue, as well as keeping up with the weekly broadcasts.

Last night's was another classic, and it had me doing that thing which I don't really do anymore: laughing out loud in private.

I was laughing inwardly, with only my cheap Phillips headphones for company, most of the time.  About the hipster coffee shop somewhere in north-east London. About Solo Electric in Clapham High Street in the 1980s, and everyone else, failing to get Daniel's name right.  About the English and languages.  About the wearing of winter coats. Gingevitis.

About what we're going to find in heaven when we die, assuming we get there. Free music lessons, apparently, on a synthesiser. So not as good as Lambeth back in 1983 then, when you could get free lessons on a range of musical instruments, if you were unemployed.

Honestly, I don't laugh easily, but as soon as the show starts, I am primed. Like all great commentators on our times, he has his obsessions. He has certain phrases which, in his voice, open up great chasms of absurdity. As soon as 'Attempts on the gate' are mentioned, I get this surreal image in my head, and…I laugh inwardly.

It was when he got the bit where he overhears a Portuguese trucker speaking Spanish in a South Lambeth Road Portuguese cafe that triggered the explosion of hysteria.

Daniel repeated some of overheard Spanish dialogue, which was all about the full English breakfast they had just been served. Seems they were wondering why it included hash browns but not black pudding.

He then translated the punchline: "Black pudding is nice. Anything with blood is nice."

Reader, believe me, I woke the sleeping bankers up and down this wide and tree-lined Clapham street.

But like I said it's bitter-sweet. You must also listen to this to get the latest news on Stockwell - on Brenda's fruit and veg stall,  or to be reminded of Jack Cornelius, the wrestler of Stockwell who ran a cafe which is now the Sainsburys local. Or the graffiti about Jazzman of Battersea.  I remember that graffiti, I also remember thinking it must have been about George Shearing…but somehow Shearing and graffiti don't seem to mix.

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