Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Fuzzies Grub.

Fuzzies grub,  a chain of sandwich shops, a heart attack and an economics lesson all in one.

Sometimes our memories remain static while the world moves on around them. It was only when I revisited after a three year gap did I realise this.

'Grub' means food in English slang.

A huge meat sandwich (overcooked) always seems better in prospect than it is.
A photo posted by Richard Ford (@richard.ford) on

The City has many charming backstreets such as this. one could spend years exploring them.

I have a great many good associations with the Lithuanian Mafia (not literal mafia) who ran London sandwich making for over ten years. First came Benji's who would sell doughy rolls for 35p each or three for a pound. They would place these in great bins and commuters would choose one of each before tossing a coin in a bucket. Even then I knew the quality was not good- but this was the 1990's and we were less fussy in those distant days.

Benji's introduced me to the notion that one could eat out three times a day even if one were poor. They introduced me to American sizing too- selling bucket sized coffee for 80p. It was actually quite good and I jokingly called it 'heterosexual coffee' as it was the only place to buy a coffee without speaking cod-Italian and making twenty decisions along the way.

I cannot make decisions before coffee.

The company collapsed with much drama and I felt as if a friend had died. One day Benji's was resurrected! Yet it was not the same.. or rather, Benji's was the same and I had changed. I returned a few times out of hope and memory and then stopped.

The resurrected Benjy's soon stopped too- and became Temples. Slightly more upmarket. Same glum Lithuanians. It merged with Fuzzies- more glum Lithuanians (Lithuania has the highest suicide rate in the world by the way). Despite the changes I still wanted to believe. The old memories brought me back.

Fuzzies Grub really should be good. They sell unfashionable unhealthy food (huge meat sandwiches) without even a slice of lettuce as an apology. Value is fantastic with half a pig between two bits of bread selling for £3.65. Yet I will pass.

The meat is overcooked. I cannot digest it and the glumness is gradually wearing me down. It is a terrible shame but I will say good by.

Why do I tell you this? It demonstrates to power of nostalgia over experience. This is why companies will buy and sell brands for millions of pounds. Very often the deal will contain no plant or stock- the only thing being sold is a name.

In fact the real thing being sold is the memories attached to the name.

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