372 Old St
020 7739 2252
by Malcolm Eggs
A couple of weeks ago I was completely unable to stop listening to a song called ‘Black Cab’ – a sad, lolloping ode to weary drunken transport by a Swedish singer named Jens Lekman. Cathy Latte has been similarly afflicted, so we decided to spend part of a Friday morning seeking out his back catalogue at Smallfish Records. We arranged to meet in the basement café.
I arrived first and ordered a bacon and egg sandwich (asking that my bacon be crispy) then sat at a table and looked through a newspaper. The absence of music gave the room a strangely tranquil atmosphere, for a record shop. Something about it was reminiscent of a student common room at daybreak, perhaps the fact that the only other customer was wearing a beanie and frowning over a Japanese fanzine. Cathy soon turned up. She decided on a health-drenched dish involving raspberries, granola and natural yoghurt.
I didn’t expect much, this being primarily a place of vinyl, plastic and thumbs. I certainly didn’t expect over a week later to still be thinking about the sandwich from time to time, about how the bread was so fresh, so thick, so crusty, so tasty; how the bacon was generous and cooked to a wonderful dark scarlet as if plucked directly from my imagination; and how the eggs detonated across all of the aforementioned as if fulfilling some Tiresian prophesy. I didn’t expect that at all. It’s made me forget about ‘Black Cab’ entirely.