Hangin’ Wiv the Gypsies… Balkan-mania in the City

October 6, 2008 at 3:48 pm 11 comments

They promised us an exciting night of Balkan Boogie and Gypsies, and since I needed to schlep into the city to collect my Staind (avec Seether) ticket for their gig at the Astoria in January (yeah, I’m going to see them AGAIN), it seemed like a good idea to make a night of it. My friend made the drop (with the ticket) on the steps of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and off we went to what is apparently an Italian restaurant by day, and a Romanian restaurant by night. (Those cossetted city boys probably can’t handle anything more exotic than a plate of spag bol for lunch anyway.)

Our authentic Romanian meal (very good, I might add) was served by a rather cute and authentic Romanian waiter with a tiny silver spear through his left eyebrow (I thought the Romanians only put these things through the hearts of vampires? I guess times have changed…). I couldn’t help noticing that he always made certain some part of him was in contact with some part of me whenever he came to serve us. Now before you go getting all excited here, bear in mind that this was a respectable establishment in a respectable part of town – with St. Paul’s Cathedral within spitting distance, I might add!

While waiting for the live music to kick off, we were treated to an endless stream of pre-MTV black-and-white music videos (circa 1950s-60s) of Romanian singers and dancers – obviously an attempt to entertain us as we scarfed down our stuffed cabbage. It was amusing… for about five minutes, after which the natives became restless (or at least I did) and clamoured for the real thing. And at last we got it… though it wasn’t quite what I expected when I signed up for a night of Balkan music and Gypsies. The food and the waiter (and music videos) might have been authentic, but the band sure as hell wasn’t. Not unless Cornwall has suddenly been chopped off from Southwest England and moved to the Danube-Sava-Kupa line.

“Now Mitzi, will you please tell me what in heck Cornwall has to do with the Balkans?” I can hear you asking. Well, you’d best direct that query to the Ragged Trousered Philanthropists – a “Balkan” band from – you guessed it – CORNWALL. Indeed, their pedigree becomes ever more dubious when you discover that their lead singer has a heavy-duty Cockney accent coming from beneath his waxed handlebar tache. I have to admit I really enjoyed them, despite the song they did about cockroaches and despite the argument I had with my friend about the age of their drummer – a lad I placed at about 12 years old and he placed at about 21. We did agree on one thing – that someone either spiked the sour beef soup we had for a starter or our vision was much worse than we thought, because we both swore that the band’s name was misspelled on their bass drum, reading Philantropist, not Philanthropist. Photographic evidence has proved us both wrong, however. From now on, I think I’m going to start hanging out with people who can see better than I do. (Anyone have Stevie Wonder‘s phone number?)

Philanthropist, Shilanthropist, it was all good fun. The band’s music had a very Russian flavour to it, with that manic speeding-up tempo that makes you want to abandon your chair, drop to the floor and start kicking your legs up into the air. In fact, I kept expecting the Russians at the table behind me to suddenly break into one of these Cossack breakdance routines that would’ve put my back out for sure if I dared to attempt it. Sadly, I had to content myself with banging the flat of my hand onto the table in time with the music. I still can’t move my fingers.

Now no self-respecting faux-Balkan band would have been complete without faux-Romany Gypsy girls dancing and jumping about and making that nasty little trilling noise with their tongues (I kept wondering if I’d somehow ended up at a Middle-Eastern wedding). And yup, we had ’em aplenty. In fact, more and more kept turning up throughout the evening, one of whom looked like a reject from Camden Town with her multicoloured dreadlocks and tattoos, another I’m sure had to be named either Sharmila or Preethi and was about as Romany Gypsy as Dame Edna Everage. I had to feel sorry for the poor Romanian waitress who kept dodging them with plates of food – she didn’t look at all happy. Frankly, I’m surprised one of the Gypsy girls didn’t end up with a stuffed cabbage stuffed up her –

On that note…


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The Things You See When You Haven’t Got Your Gun Camden Crawl

11 Comments Add your own

  • 1. mikecane  |  October 6, 2008 at 8:36 pm

    >>>I still can’t move my fingers

    Ew. You coudln’t find a SUBTLE way of telling us you typed this with your toes?!

  • 2. Joy  |  October 6, 2008 at 10:38 pm

    yummy what fun! I hope you’ll come check my blog too as I update it daily.
    I’m having a blog giveaway too with a short tale about what defines poetry & or siamese cats.
    you may like it Mitzi!

  • 3. review11  |  October 6, 2008 at 11:09 pm

    That was fun to read!

  • 4. review11  |  October 6, 2008 at 11:10 pm


    review11 aka Dee Airey.



  • 5. Esri Rose  |  October 6, 2008 at 11:55 pm

    Ha! You know, I bet there are Romas native to the East End.

  • 6. curiouser and curiouser  |  October 7, 2008 at 5:24 am

    should it not technically be “ragged trousered philanthropists”? do we do linked nouns? is that allowed? did i miss that day?

    and while we’re at it, should these lads not be looking out for their own well-being first? credit crisis be damned indeed…

  • 7. curiouser and curiouser  |  October 7, 2008 at 5:26 am

    oh i guess i caught a typo. i just went to their site. my bad. whoops!

  • 8. Maria  |  October 7, 2008 at 6:45 pm

    I enjoyed the story and your wit, Mitzy. 🙂

  • 9. Maria  |  October 7, 2008 at 6:47 pm

    Mitzi with an i…sorry 😉

  • 10. clankenstein  |  August 21, 2009 at 11:40 am

    making that nasty little trilling noise with their tongues

    That whole last para is gold, pure gold.


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What I Get Up To

I write, I blog, I Mitzi TV, I network, I breathe, I get my name in the press... I'm a true Renaissance lass! My books include IN SLEEPING BEAUTY'S BED: EROTIC FAIRY TALES; GETTING EVEN: REVENGE STORIES (crime); THE NEW BLACK LACE BOOK OF WOMEN'S SEXUAL FANTASIES (non-fiction/survey); DYING FOR IT: TALES OF SEX AND DEATH (multi-genre); THE WORLD’S BEST SEX WRITING 2005 (non-fiction/criticism); WICKED: SEXY TALES OF LEGENDARY LOVERS; the EROTIC TRAVEL TALES anthology series; the M. S. Valentine erotic novels; and a slew of titles available on Amazon Kindle. Find me on Facebook, MySpace, Twitter, Flickr, LinkedIn, Plaxo, Tumblr, Plurk, Social Median, and wherever else I might decide to turn up!

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