On the twelfth day of Christmas,
The Bakery gave to us all:
a boring report.
The Bakery Conference 2010: A warm bowl in London Town.
Hello, it’s Tom German here, writing not under one of my many aliases, but as my undiluted, majestic self. I was originally going to write about Wizardry, and it is still my intention to do so, however in the spirit of not actually writing the blog post I intend to, I thought I would write about the Bakery’s conference that we held this weekend somewhere in greater London.
I arrived on the Friday after a particularly torturous week of teacher training, anxious as to what I might find. Would Dan Fryer finally be pursuing a career as an Angler? Would Richard Dadd have taken up Bagatelle professionally? I arrived with more questions than answers. Imagine my relief when I was met by a familiar and friendly bearded face at the train station, in a grey overcoat and a pair of suspiciously fashionable plastic media glasses. I was hailed in a mighty Stentorian roar that drowned out all of London’s traffic and bought a plane down on Selfridges. It was everyone’s favourite Bakery Chef, Pom–Bear (aka Dan Fryer). He proceeded, much to my delight, to whisk me into the nearest pipe emporium, a treasure trove of unhealthy delights I might add, and buy me a cardboard box of Dr Plumbs pipe filters. He also purchased pipe cleaners, 25g of Holland House Cavendish Shag, 50g of Petersons Deluxe blend and a cigar for after dinner. Our weekly shopping done, we neared the train station, bowls a blazing, with ancient Bakery stories of yore tripping off our tongues.
I found that I needn’t have worried as I approached the conference centre. The Bakery far from becoming a collection of Blackberry wielding ‘cityballs’, have effectively transferred a small part of Canterbury to London. Elements of this magical place of joy looked very similar to Canterbury, and the conference centre looked like their previous residence on the mighty Whitstable Road. Entering into their smart and modern residence, I was strangely unsurprised to find a Tate Modern style exhibition of paintings with hilarious captions underneath, one of which was an Andy Warhol style painting of me, in which I was referred to as an ‘eccentric recluse’, which happily gives me a snappy phrase to use on application forms and dating sites.
I was accepted heartily on entrance, a rare occurrence indeed, by Chef Richard, whose highly committed hugs have caused his parents and girlfriend to question his sexuality, and my chiropractor to worry about the future deterioration of my spine. If you have not seen these hugs, they can be best described as similar those which a Baby Rhesus monkey gives to his/her mother. After this short meet and greet, we descended on the local drinkery with Pom-Bear, Brummie Legoman, and Pom-Bear’s lovely girlfriend Hannah, whose similarity to an undiscovered God Particle baffles scientist s and religious leaders alike (Bakery in–joke alert). I then began to quaff several foaming tankards of ale, and ordered up an ‘Elizabethan sausage’ and mash. I wasn’t quite sure what an Elizabethan sausage was. I had a fair idea that Anne Hathaway did, but that plan fell on the rocks due to her death in 1623.
Waking up to surprising silence, I started out on the day with a twelve o’clock Martini and a warm bowl with Pom-Bear. We decided to undertake a short train journey and take a turn around Crystal Palace park and discuss the Bakery’s Middle East expansion plan. I was genuinely amazed at how lovely the park was, and I was reminded that there are few things more satisfying in life than beautiful surroundings, good companionship and a bent apple billiard filled to the brim with flaming Cavendish shag. I was especially impressed by the stone Victorian dinosaur collection on the lake, which inspired me to suggest a Bakery remake of Jurassic park with Richard Dadd cast in the lead role. We were also stopped by a remarkably odd man, who materialised next to us mainly to tell us that he had a twenty year old hat that he had bought in a small village outside Loch Ness. I have nothing more to say on this issue. We travelled home, Dan Fryer had a shave into the lid of a Clarks shoebox and we moved on.
Setting out to central London in the evening to meet with some friends (shout out to Gaetan the Belgian Prince and the Billericay Sunshine Boy aka Flex), we arrived in Leicester Square to be greeted by hundreds of Santas. They were out on some kind of ‘night out’ and they proceeded to chant, drink and fall over. I was amazed that some of the Santresses managed to survive in Lapland wearing such skimpy coats. Pom-Bear, ever the diplomat, managed to persuade a group of Santas to give him a uniform, which he wore proudly for a couple of hours, before getting hot and grumpy and giving the hat to a homeless gentleman.
Emboldened by ale we packed into the Lamb and Flag, a famous pub in Leicester Square and drew quite a crowd with our increasingly fruity tales. Key in this Viking storytelling was the Fryer, his voice getting ever louder, his performance becoming increasingly animated. He bought the house down, and we all left with smiles on our faces, a bellyful of London seafood (rollmops mostly), and hearts full of dreams. A lady who had been particularly taken with Dan’s performance stopped me downstairs and said, “Is your friend an actor?” “Yes,” I said. She continued, “He reminds me of a young man I used to know at college: Rufus Hound”. Praise indeed.
So, thank you very much for the Bakery Conference. The Middle East expansion is certainly on track. The NASDAQ hasn’t fallen in a month, times are good. Al King wasn’t there, but then neither was Jim Laslett, or Julian Assange. You can’t have everything. Peace out Bakery and here’s to another year of moderately average media tomfoolery.