Sunday, May 6, 2012

Melancholy and Archives

1 Brondesbury Park; Willesden; London, N.W.6

It was Brondesbury Park, not Brondersbury, Mr. Western Union Man.

In London in 1966, my friend Dennis and I became tenants in a beautiful brick house that had been chopped up into flats.  It was in the Willesden section, not far from an Underground Station.  We came and went anonymously, and usually drunkenly, for weeks, until we were finally confronted on the stairs landing by a couple of ladies who lived in other flats in the house; clearly they could abide no longer not knowing who we were, and of what sort, and so forth.  During our chat with them we learned that we’d been getting ripped off by the landlord, paying more than was fair.  We decided to move.  Then we decided to return to the States.  We casually mentioned to the landlord when he came to collect the weekly rent that we were going to go to Holland for a few days vacation.  His greed-eyes lit up and grew large.  He gave us a bunch of money with which we agreed to bring back to him fine chocolates and cigars from the duty-free shop.

On our last night in the rip-off flat we broke into the electric meter box we’d been dropping shillings into whenever we wanted hot water for tea, or needed to boil a pan of potatoes.  We added all those shillings to our cash-stash.

Then, since we really were going to Holland, and eventually on to Luxembourg for a flight back to the States, we got paranoid that the landlord, upon discovering the destroyed meter, and realizing we'd ripped him off just as he'd ripped us off, would have the police watching for us at Ostend, where we were going to take the ferry to Holland.  We layed low at a friend’s flat in the West End for a week before heading for Ostend.

Obviously, I never did show up for the job at Western Union International Inc.  And I didn't land in Holloway Prison or in Reading Gaol.

But it's really cool that I can go on Google Earth and see a picture of the house we lived in.  Our single-room flat was in the upstairs on the right.

And, never shunning an opportunity for melancholy, I wish Dennis was still alive so he could see this.


  1. I had a good silent chuckle while reading your blog story. I wish I could have "hung out" with you back in the day. -- Leesa

  2. Can imagine many of those scenes in a film;-) Cool dudes!!!!