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Friday, 10 February 2012

CROUCH END DAYS

In memory of Paul Anderson


There was an air of menace on the streets of Crouch End
in those days when we went flat hunting in that strange land
of mixed races, backgrounds, lifestyles, reasons for living,
an air of the new, the unfamiliar to understand.


We arrived in trenchcoats straight from the Bhs Wood Green store,
two strangers ourselves, new friends for about a fortnight,
agreeing to pool our resources, to rent a place together,
to take on this new neighbourhood on a cold night.


But first stop, a drink in The Stapleton Hall Tavern,
more like a western saloon full of moody, mean,
odd looking characters eyeing our "police" coats,
in this old-fashioned drinking den, a sight seldom seen.


One leather-hatted, lean and charismatic boozer
stood out from all the rest, a man to send out a chill
warning to anyone who invaded his air space,
an hombre from that day known as Buffalo Bill.


He spent his days and nights in the pub we came to realise,
redundant cowboy, his life's work obviously done,
no need for buffalo hunters in Crouch End anymore,
the last buffalo long gone, the hunter's battle won.


Two flat sharers and fantasy humour stuffed with jokes,
more to it than the Stapleton and Bill, more to us,
passing influential days in the late seventies,
precious value in memory as I am writing this.


The buffalo gone and now you have gone too,
dead suddenly, unbelievably, too young to die,
second of November 1993, saddest of days,
but always good thoughts of heady times, of you and I.

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