51:32:35 l0:03:22

TGI Paul

Friday, May 26, 2006

Last night at work...

"A man is fighting for his life after being shot by a hooded gunman in Upper Street"

Upper Street seems to be so famous now that even when there's a shooting, and someone gets half of their throat blown out over the pavement, that on the 'News At Ten' that they dont even bother saying "Islington" ... it seems "Upper Street" will suffice!

Around 18:45, there was a huge noise, like 4 car tyres all exploding at once. We could see a lot of commotion outside The PizzaPlace, but we couldn't work out what was happening. A lot of fuss was happening opposite, outside "The Green" - a local bar I like very much and where I have got to know the staff quite well so I was concerned.

I called the manager of the Green on his mobile, he didn't have a clue what was happening. At least they were all safe though!

I'd got the feeling by now that this was a gun thing, as lots of police vans and armed coppers were starting to arrive. The street was cordonned off and many bars and restaurants over the road were evacuated.

Before you knew it, hoardes of people were queuing at my doors for tables. Well, it was a wednesday evening, and we were now as busy as a saturday. It was hellish. We could only do our best. One man even said, "We only want puddings, we've already had main courses in Cafe Mamma's but they evacuated us... please can we 'ave a table?!"

Information was trickling in. It seemed a group of four black guys (why their colour is relevant I'm not quite sure, but I'm telling it to you the way the police told me), were appoached by two white guys. An argument broke out. One of the white guys took a hand gun out of his jacket and blasted one of the black guys through the neck. Half an hour later a woman was shot by the same grey-hooded gunman in Finsbury Park.

One of my waiters (a spanish chap) came to me, just after 10pm ish, and said;

"A girl called for you"



"But I don't know anyone called Martha"

"She said she'd seen the news and wanted to know if you were ok"

"OH!!! you mean my mother!"

Apparently, the vt they'd showed had a full shot of the front of my restaurant with three riot vans outside, as if the incident had happened there so, naturally, the phone calls then started flooding in. Family, operations managers ET AL...

Now I'm starting to think I'm jinxed. I was working on 7/7 (the most horrid shift ever, waiting for staff to arrive, no news at all as 'transport for london' tried to ensure it wasn't a system failure), and again 2 weeks later when the failed attempts happened. I was working on the day that a water main burst with such strength that it lifted the tarmac of the road six inches higher than the pavement and a torrent of water came surging along Upper Street! I was also working on the day that a bendy bus (bastard creations!) jack-knifed into Borders bookshop... then twisted back across the street and rammed three taxi's straight up through Sainsbury's front window. In fact, every time we've been cordonned off, it's been on my shift!

I was thinking of cropping my hair to a number one this summer, but am now afraid of finding the numbers....



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