Personal and undiluted views
Colourful James

2541 days ago

That unusual chicken recipe revealed…

A couple of folks asked about the unusual chicken recipe that I shall be preparing for the Mrs shortly. I think I have written about it before but it comes from Real Man regular Colourful James.

The side servings are roasted spuds and parsnips and there is also some kale boiled then quickly fried in garlic butter. The centrepiece is a normal roast chicken except that it is stuffed with a mixture of boursin and peanut butter. It sounds crackers but it tastes amazing! It’s the only way to eat chicken, I promise you.


2899 days ago

My acid trip continues as I become an Islamic spiritual mentor

Life is one long bizarre acid trip. I return to London and our quirky Celtic Italian restaurant in Clerkenwell enjoys its best Wednesday in history. I am sitting here listening to Despina Vandi having just sent colourful James off to bed and am now reflecting on my new role as an Islamic spiritual mentor.


2934 days ago

Thanks to the bloke in the Cab - do not worry I will not let go of Pinsent Masons


I was just sitting outside Real Man Pizza Company having a fag and looking a bit of a mess thanks to a quite surreal night with Colourful James in Clerkenwell, of which more later, but it involved, at a tangent, Johnny Depp. And a bloke shouts out from a passing cab - "well done on Pinsent Masons - keep on going." Thanks for the encouragement, I shall do so. The uber expensive bully boy lawyers whose fees will sink Sefton can expect my next broadside within 24 hours.


2935 days ago

A knock on the door at 2.30 AM

On a writing catch up I was sitting at a table in Real Man in Clerkenwell and it was 2.30 AM. Suddenly the shutters rattle again and again. The last time this happened it was a religious loon and I ended up walking her via various churches to Islington nick as she had reported herself to the old Bill as being a loon. I rather feared the worst as there are some strange folk in the corner of Clerkenwell. I was right to fear the worst.

For it was Colourful James. As you might expect he had already had a few.  It is now 4 AM and Colourful and I have set the world to rights. A glass or two for me still leaves me sober enough to drive and write. Colourful (after a glass or three on the house) will not be at his sharpest at 7 am. Perhaps I should have gone to the sociology conference at Warwick University after all?


2940 days ago

A day when friends popped in again and again and again

Perhaps they were all psychic and sensed pending news but Clerkenwell's finest celtic Italian restaurant Real Man Pizza was a buzz all day yesterday. First up was blog reader Gareth to whom I promised a Piss off Argentina T-shirt in a caption contest a while ago. We will not go into details as to how much of a while. Gareth was in town, popped in for lunch and was – as you can see – presented with his shirt by myself (wearing my Sod off Spain T-shirt which is getting stacks of positive comments). You can buy both shirts only HERE


2967 days ago

Led astray at Real Man by the Irish bird and her pal with a ring in her nose

My partner’s parents would rather she had hooked up with a nice respectable dentist or accountant than with myself. I really don't blame them at all. And if they could only have seen the mayhem last night in The Corner of Clerkenwell that is Real Man Pizza their doubts and revervations would have gone off the Richter scale. Put it this way, I awoke to find myself lying fully clothed on a sofa just inside Real Man’s front door. I cannot remember how I got there and I do not feel terribly sharp today.

Colourful James was an early arrival at Real Man with two women in tow. As they sipped Camparis and James downed Curious lagers I stayed sober and responsible knowing that the CEO Of an AIM listed company was on his way for a catch up meal with me.  He duly arrived and we were joined by a colourful member of the PR community and four bottles of wine later we had put the world to rights.

They trundled off and I was just starting to think that I could do with a sleep when fifteen younger people turned up asking for a pizza. The pizzas flowed, the wine flowed, I was sucked into the conversation by an Irish bird and a bird with a ring in her nose which we all agreed she should remove. The dancing on the tables started, more wine flowed, the limoncella flowed…

And so today is a light blogging day.


2977 days ago

Heading back to The Corner of Clerkenwell

In 40 minutes time I head off from chez Spiros. By 2 PM I shall be back in The Corner of Clerkenwell which is home to naked artist Pauline Amos, Real Man Pizza Company, colourful James and so much else. I do not want to leave Greece but if I have to go somewhere there are far worse places to go.

See you all at the quirkiest celtic Italian restaurant in London, Real Man Pizza, as of mid-afternoon 


3011 days ago

The Pirate Flag goes up at Real Man

The old Isle of Man flag was looking tatty. Besides that is a past life. And so a new flag flies outside Real Man Pizza, my quirky Celtic Italian restaurant on the Clerkenwell Road.
Colourful James was here for a drink with Pauline Amos but they declined to mount the ladder. I suffer extreme vertigo but did not look down and headed up the steps

And after about half an hour the old Isle of Man flag was in the bin. Should I burn it ceremoniously? And now we fly the Pirate flag. To those in the City who hate me, to those who will be winning AIM Cesspit awards on Monday, see if I care!



3012 days ago

Back at 2 AM from spending time at Islington Police Station

Nope, the BB morons have no reason to celebrate. I was not assisting the Old Bill with their enquiries. Nor was I being questioned for revealing who was shagging who in the Downing Street Affair. Instead…. Well it is a long story but it started mid-afternoon. I am starting to worry that I am not a complete bastard after all and can actually be a good guy on occasion. I may have to seek counselling from someone really bad and immoral. Where’s Colourful James when you need him most?

Mid-afternoon two ladies from Informa popped in to Real Man Pizza Company seeking prizes from local businesses for a charity raffle. Since I only support one charity (Woodlarks) my standard answer to such requests is No! But I found myself offering a prize of a meal for four. I clearly was on a slippery slope towards virtue.

And so after an evening of being exceptionally nice to everyone, sending staff home early so I could tend to the last few customers (two of whom hung around forever) I sat down fully intending to spend the whole night writing. But at midnight I heard the sound of banging on the shutters. I peered out and there was an Indian bird in obvious distress.  So I opened the door and through the shutter she said she needed to find a church to pray at, a priest to speak to and that the Catholic Church would put her up for the night as she was homeless but needed directions. Hmmm “We are a catholic restaurant hang on while I get an A-Z”

Before I knew it she was sitting inside Real Man and had made me turn off my music (AC DC by Joan Jett was playing at the time) and from my laptop she was playing her favourite hymn. She then explained


3014 days ago

Pauline Amos at the Tramshed

Friend of colourful James, fan of the Real Man and artist – what more could be said about Pauline Amos.  My initial article about her performance art at the opening of her show attracted a few comments. The video of that art (showing her taking her clothes off and inviting folk to paint her body) attracted rather more views. In case you missed it, the video is below.

But as promised I went along to Pauline’s exhibition which is in the basement art gallery at the Tramshed on Rivington Street Shoreditch and runs for another week or so. The gallery details can be found at

The Tramshed itself has become a Mark Hicks restaurant which is pleasant enough, if far from cheap. The new world of Shoreditch. But the bird was paying and so after seeing Pauline’s show I had a pleasant enough glass of wine and a few – overpriced – nibbles. As to the show…

Its theme is how man has killed man through the ages. There are prints and some contemporary art paintings hung in an unusual way. The colours and layout are meant to shock and they do. It took the bird and I about 15 minutes to wander around the cold basement checking out the 20 or so smaller pieces on the wall and the ten or so large main features (including the canvas which Pauline was painted on). 

As I think most folks know I am not a great art expert so cannot offer up 500 words on the inner meaning of it all. If it was meant to appear violent, angry and shocking (as I think it was) then Pauline has succeeded.  The bird and I both took that message from the show and if you are in the area you could find a lot worse ways to kill a quarter of an hour before heading off to The Grill, or The Diner or even, if it is still going, that Moroccan Place on Old Street ( but not the Tramshed) for something to eat.


3022 days ago

Contraband cigarettes in Brick Lane - why punitive tax fails

My partner is in London and so for a laugh we are staying in a hotel just off Brick Lane in Spitalfields. Needing some of my poison of choice I wandered to a small store opposite the hotel last night and asked for 20 Marlboro Light. £8.50 I was told. Sure.

A pack of 20 cigarettes costs anywhere between £8 and £9.50 if you are mad enough to use WH Smith on Network Rail.

As I fumbled for a tenner the chap said, want a cheaper pack? £5. Yup, I slurred, having had a few drinks with my partner and colourful James earlier. And so from under the counter I was offered 20 Marlboro Light from Russia as you can see in the picture below.

When I pay £8.50 normally, around £7.65 goes to the UK Government. The rest is shares between Marlboro, its distribution company and the retailer. Under this revised arrangement Marlboro probably still gets 50p. The Russian taxman gets another 50p ( or perhaps nothing) and the criminal gangs who import this stuff ( I read today that this is how many of St Gerry's former comrads in the IRA are now employed) and retailer share between £4 and £4.50. The UK taxman gets nothing.

The huge profits you can make from flogging illegal fags means that crime DOES pay. The greed of the UK Government which knows that smokers fund not only the costs of treating them on the NHS but far more besides but are an easy target as one is supposedly "taxing for a moral purpose" means that it has created an opportunity for crime.  Punitive taxation like prohibition is not only regressive taxation but also a real crime generator.

So what should I do? Should I go to the police and tip them off? I do not agree with crime and suppose I should. But crime is inevitable as things stand. I guess I shall buy one more back before I do anything.


3024 days ago

Video article: Pauline the naked artist and colourful James at Real Man

One of the joys of being involved with a good, if quirky, restaurant is the customers. And so last in on a busy Thursday at Real Man Pizza Company was colourful James, the local spaghetti vongole loving art entrepreneur.Time for a quick pizza? Of course. And a pint of Curious beer? Of course. James being James it was not one pint. His guest was an artist called Pauline Amos who has an exhibition running at the Tramshed in Shoreditch just down the road from Clerkenwell. I used to live in the 'Ditch and know the Tramshed well. 

The exhibition is about how man has killed man over time. And so naturally at the opening Pauline had to take all her clothes off and allow visitors to paint her naked body. 'Natch. You don't believe me? The video is below. Given my interest in contemporary art, I shall be popping along at the weekend to see more.


3040 days ago

Today’s Real Man Special – Spaghetti Vongole just for James

Can’t speak Italian? Aha. Well that would be spaghetti and clams in English. It is a traditional Italian recipe with the fresh clams cooked gently in their shells in a white wine, garlic and parsley sauce until they open and then mixed in with the sauce included in the spaghetti.

It is not on our menu yet but it is available as today’s special at Real Man Pizza in Clerkenwell and can be ordered every day as of now once you are addicted.

Why add it to the menu? James asked us to. He’s a local resident and a hugely entertaining man. For you James…your wish is our command.