The Bird Cage, Stoke Newington
58 Stamford Hill
020 8806 6740
by H.P. Seuss
I burst into the Birdcage at 11.17am on Saturday 6th May, my head pounding, my soul weary after a week of disappointment.
A few washed-up morning drinkers read the papers, each one as far away from the others as possible. I cast around for the loneliest table, feeling like a bird in a cage, and hit upon a perch in the gloomiest corner. I set myself down with a scotch and spread my paper out in front of me, trying to block out the bad trip-hop - a lousy gastropub substitute for the melancholy jazz of those old noir movies. Nausea and regret hit me with a one-two punch as I put a cigarette to my lips.
Christ, my limbs hurt. I shut my eyes, opening them only upon sensing the waitress looming over me like a bored vulture. I put in an order for the Brunch Special, easy on the vegetables, then read the funnies listlessly, unable to conceive of this mood ever drifting into the past. After a suspiciously long time, they put my breakfast in front of me.
Eagerly, I slit open the yolk and let the orange goo ooze over the bacon. I cut off a piece and thrust it towards my mouth. Cold. A crushing blow. Too listless to complain, I put up with tepid sausage, lukewarm tomato, dulling mushroom. These fine ingredients, left to chill unloved in a service hatch, cost me the princely sum of £7.50. I quit the Birdcage in a state of despair. Sometimes breakfast, like life, promises so much and delivers so little. But then again, sometimes breakfast, like time, is what we make it.