“The society which has abolished every kind of adventure makes its own abolition the only possible adventure.” Paris, May 1968

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Get yer hands off our pasties posh boy.

Even creating the kind of panic that resulted in chaos at service stations and some poor woman being very seriously burnt. Even diversions of this scale have not been able to calm down the Pastygate fiasco. Apart from anything else, all this talk of pasties has left me feeling permanently hungry but has also got me thinking about workers food. Note that I say "workers" rather than "working class" food because the two are not necessarily the same thing. I'm referring to food bought and eaten during dinner (lunch?) breaks. Although when people worked close to home many would go home to eat, sit down meals in the works canteen used to make up a big proportion of workers grub. The cafe was, still is when you can find them, another haven of cheap food and cheerful ladies to look after you. Before I went to sea and entrusted my digestion to the whims of a ships cook I worked on the paper stand at Liverpool Street Station. My favourite eating house was the chop house in Bishopsgate. Huge plates of pies, chops etc all served with a mountain of chips. It can't have been very expensive as I seem to remember that I was earning £3 a week at the time. Works canteens, like "works" themselves are about as rare as rocking horse shit these days but decent cafes can still be found even if they do need to be sought out. Take away food has traditionally been based on the chippie but the pasty tax is an attack on that other great source of on the job food - going down the bakers. Gregg's pasties may not be worthy of the name but that is not the point. The fact is that for many workers the bakers is a place to get cheap hot food to take back to work or eat in the van. These people tend not to be on mega bonuses. Tend not to have second homes or a string of polo ponies. This is a world that for the fuckwits on the ConDem front bench must seem as difficult to understand as anything encountered by 19th century colonialist. This is what Pastygate is really all about. We are governed by a bunch of dim ex-public school District Commissioners who think that we have bones through our noses and boil missionaries.


Dave E said...

Reading about works canteens has got me reminiscing about the one at British Ropes in Doncaster. I was a skinny 17 year old when I started working at Ropes, but just 6 months of the canteen meals put about a stone on me. The dinner ladies really indulged me, and it was all free.

Gitane said...

In Germany canteens in public sector workplaces are open to the public so anyone can indulge in a subsidised meal.
Most companies in Germany have canteens, and up to recently you could buy beer from a vending machine at work!