Cheers! Oh yes! I work in a pub where the men tell me they remember their East End. Nods of the head from flat caps, camel coats and dogs. Where they found solace in betting shops and Sundays meant church and roast beef. Where women were sets of keys, necessities in back pockets and Green Street was sacred. With fear in their eyes and gravel voices they tell me it’s not the same, they tell me it is changing. The kids all buy fried chicken, eat it on the bus with smatterings of ketchup and burger sauce. They remind them of a forgotten perfume, a language they don’t speak. I tell them about my Nan, how she was Cockney through and through, used to drape over her balcony to watch West Ham, insisted on pie and mash and liquor, go on try a jellied eel. She was whisky and brooches and curls, cigarettes and sovereigns, “Proper East End we are, my girl.” Declared it with pride from the back of her throat, “Proper East End”, she said. I have seen how hard it is to be a part of this furniture, It can make a young man old, But it settles into your skin, to the marrow of your bones so when I sit in the pub, with the men who pay my rent, I laugh and listen carefully. Feed on words over gin and tonic the things we share, my heritage and when they tell me it is changing, I say: “I am changing with it”. I’ll show you how to eat a pie with my spoon, shall I? I recon if you did go to a Cordon Bleu restaurant and get a Pie and Mash, It would be shit.