Swiss Bun – a potential IPO

Jempsons and the Swiss Bun IPO


Jempsons is a noble emporium originally based in the ancient Cinque Port of Rye in East Sussex. They’ve been going a good long while, have a supermarket out in the country that attracts the celebrity set (most folk can’t afford it), a sheik bakery-come-coffee shop in Rye, and most recently have taken over, done up, and re-opened a failing bakery in King’s Road, St. Leonards. It too is a bakery-come-coffee shop, and has tables and chairs both inside and outside – for those sunny days when you fancy a lazy sit down and a snack among the dealers, dog shit and occasional pan-handler that sidles your way.

I was in there the other day to buy a loaf of bread and ‘something nice for tea.’ The bread was hellish expensive, but you feel good buying it as your loaf is personally sliced by one of Jempsons’ blonde young things (if you can attract their attention away from admiring their nails and the endless games of patience they play by the till).

My loaf arrived and I was perusing the cakes. It was rather late in the day so there wasn’t that much choice, however I spotted two Swiss Buns. Swiss Buns, for those who don’t know them, are a small cake of slightly sweet bread covered in icing sugar. They are generally the cheapest cake you can buy.

Not at Jempsons.

Ninety five pence. That’s 95p to those who have fallen off their chair in shock. Luckily, we’ve stopped asking the psychological 99p: Charge 99p – people consider they’re getting a good deal. Charge £1.00 and they think you’re expensive. 99p is dead and buried, but only because no one uses 1p pieces anymore. Now, the psychological amount is 95p.

NINETY FIVE PENCE! For a small bit of bread and some icing sugar.

If I wasn’t a religious man I would probably swear. If I wasn’t pious I might say that 95p for a Swiss Bun is a FUCKING RIP OFF! I might even go so far as to say that Jempsons are SCROFULOUS BASTARDS out to squeeze the last penny from the people of St. Leonards.

Even 50p (that’s £2.00 for 4) would be expensive. BUT 95p!

This 95p Swiss Bun malarkey lead me to think that maybe Jempsons, like FaceBook, are going to float themselves on the stock market. After all, with profit like that who wouldn’t want to buy shares?

You wait, they’ll be a Jempsons IPO soon. The Swiss Bun tells me so.


A nice bit of Sissinghurst

The foodles part of an 'official' Sissinghurst Tea.


Living in Bohemia, as I do, I try to live an ever faithful ‘Bohemian‘ lifestyle. Sadly, silk dressing gowns, opium in hookahs, exploring interesting sexualities and oodles of laudanum – and so deliciously forth – are out, primarily because of the cold (outrageous, the cost of heating one’s pile, damned outrageous) and the illegality. I’d move to casablanca where it’s all possible, but Kamakura – the band I howl for – might complain, the cats certainly would, and anyway, gosh I ain’t got the dosh. Casablanca is not what it once was – and certainly not what Evelyn Waugh‘s Brideshead Revisited painted it as.

Erm … where was I? Oh yes.

Sissinghurst in the Weald is known as one of the fave retreats for the Bloomsbury set: Virginia Woolf, Vita Sackville-West, E.M.Forster et all. And so from one we meander to another, to the Sissinghurst Tea. Yes, by far the best thing to take your mind off being without your little luxuries, and being straighter than a die when trying to write opiated poetry and fiction, is a Sissinghurst Tea – the scrumptious and most mouth wateringly drooling part of which is pictured above (oh gawd how delish! Infact the jam was almost teetering on ruinous).

Without doubt a Sissinghurst Tea makes for a truly magical, sensual, and creative afternoon – though for an ‘official’ tea you do need a dispossessed aristocrat to bake the cake (luckily, I had one to hand). For the sipping either Lady Gray or Lapsang Souchong will do, the latter being my preference.

So … take the day off. Relax in a hot bath during the morn (pre or post bath sweaty sexual and sensual massage nice, but not essential). A languid lubuncular lunch should follow and then, after a splendid siesta, prepare for and have your Sissinghurst. You won’t regret it. 🙂



Ringneck Doves and the PX

The Ringneck Doves

The big fat Pidgeon wasn’t there today. Instead, a pair of Ringneck Doves occupied his branch. Maybe they put him off, or maybe they take it in turns to branch share, who knows? I say ‘Ringneck Doves’ with caution, because the dove website says they only live in captivity and the tree in my garden isn’t.

I’m writing this having just got back from the shop where I bought a packet of Oreos. I’d forgotten quite how much I dislike them and that brought back another vivid memory.

When I was a young teenager my best friend was Dan, an American whose father worked for the U.S. government. In those days we had nothing American  other than Levis and Kojak. Consequently I loved hanging out at his house where they had a weird cornucopia of fantastic comestibles. It was there I was turned on to root beer, discovered the delights of salsa and corn chips, became addicted to Reeces Pieces (and the ever sickly but moorish Reeces Peanut Butter Cups), and found out that Hersey chocolate wasn’t the be all and end all, but was actually rather foul – though not as foul as Cadbury’s chocolate was to the American palate, apparently.

And then, once I’d been thoroughly inculcated into their strange and enticing foreign ways, I was taken to the PX! OMFG! I thought it was better than sex – though at the time I hadn’t the foggiest idea what that was and I’d now like to officially retract the sentiment. The PX was amazing, though. A supermarket full of American goods not available in the U.K.. I was a pig in heaven and spent all my pocket money.

Now, of course, there’s nothing you can’t get either in your local corner shop, where I bought the Oreos, or via the net. In a way it’s sad, because you really don’t need to meet new people, or travel, to try the weirdly strange – Amazon will deliver.

Fluffy things and soya.

Aww, ducklings. How cute!

Walking to the studio yesterday I came across these ducklings and their mother. Mr. X who breeds them is not my favourite person – not that I know him or have ever seen him. He has a little floating duck house moored in the middle of the canal and, presumably to supplement his income – or because he’s a ferocious meat eater, he breeds ducks and geese. And they’re so, soooo cute and fluffy and cuddly.

Last year, while we were recording the album, Mick and I would feed them. We’d call out ‘ducks, ducks, ducks, ducks, DUCKS!’ and they’d come swimming up for all they were worth, quacking away for their snacks. Eventually Mark, who’d come out to see what we were up to, cleared his throat and said ‘you know they belong to Mr. X and they’re for the pot.’

The fact of the matter is that I’m a sucker for cute wee beasties: be they cats, ducks,  lambs or whatever. It breaks my heart thinking of eating them and yet I’m not a vegetarian. Why? Obviously the flaw is mine and not Mr. X’s. After all, you can’t get attached to soya protein, can you?

The People’s Supermarket

What a mind-bogglingly brilliant idea The People’s Supermarket is. If I lived in central London I would become a member. Like a shot.

The People’s Supermarket Mission statement:
Our vision is to create a commercially sustainable, social enterprise that achieves its growth and profitability targets whilst operating within values based on community development and cohesion. Our intent is to offer an alternative food buying network, by connecting an urban community with the local farming community.

Somebody had to do something about the big supermarkets who are taking over our lives in ever more subtle and insidious ways, and in my view The People’s Supermarket are right up there at the forefront of the battle. I only hope they manage to keep the dream alive.

Now, if only they’d open a branch in Hastings!

Breast Milk Ice Cream

What with Gaddafi blaming Osama Bin Laden for all his troubles (for sure) and an earthquake killing people on New Zealand’s idylic southern island the news is pretty dire. But then I stumbled upon possibly the oddest item I’ve seen in a while: Breast Milk Ice Cream.


Yes, breast milk ice cream. It’s for sale in a uber chic Covent Garden ice cream parlour called The Icecreamists, so those that don’t travel and live in the fringes won’t be seeing it on their local high streets for a good long while. Also, at £14.oo a portion it’s a bitty expensive.


Personally, I don’t see it catching on … but you can never tell! Maybe, once they source a good supply of raw material (sort out their herd), Breast Milk Ice Cream will make an appearance on all good restaurant menus alongside Strawberries and Cum.

Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt – Day 10

Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt

While I have been safe and ensconced in front of my computer writing fatuous pictorial blog entries and worrying about: getting a job; if the band will take off; what to write with view to podcasting, etc, a couple of thousand miles away Egypt is in the middle of a revolution.

Today is day ten. It’s taken me ten bloody days to get to grips with it and that worries me … a lot.

The thing is this world on which we live is tiny in real terms, yet to us as individuals it’s HUGE. I know I should be worried about those that have died in the name of freedom in Tahrir Square; those that are sitting there at this very moment. And yet….

There are children starving, entire nations without hope, and I live in relative luxury and feed the cats with food I’d not touch yet others would kill for. What kind of person does that make me?

This ongoing struggle for democracy in Egypt is opening my eyes. I take democracy for granted and yet the whole world is changing, ever faster, in front of my blinkered eyes.


From the BBC Website

  • Anti-government protesters have clashed with groups of government loyalists once again, 10 days since mass protests began.
  • President Hosni Mubarak says in an interview with US broadcaster ABC that he is fed up of being in power, but fears chaos if he steps down immediately.
  • The authorities have arrested a growing number of journalists, charity workers and rights activists.