Over a pint of Tiger, somebody told me that Anthony Burgess used to drink in our pub. The story sounded implausible -- that Burgess had been a familiar face at the Black Horse, Aylestone in the 1950s - but I filed it away mentally.* The legend was that Anthony Burgess got drunk in the bar, chatting with the landlord, Bernard, while, his wife was keeled over in the lounge.
The Black Swan stood in a pocket of decaying village, the dirty speck round which the pearly suburb had woven itself. The village had shrunk to less than an acre. It was like a tiny reservation for aborigines. From the filthy windows imbeciles leered down at the weed-patches; cocks crowed all day; little girls in pinafores of an earlier age shnockled over stained half-eaten apples; all the boys seemed to have cleft paletes.Probably unknown to Burgess, Sanvey Lane in Aylestone was formerly called Mad Lane.
|St Andrew's, Aylestone: "'They say the church spire interferes with their bloody television reception,' he [the vicar] said."|
I had a sudden longing, like a pain, for the hot smelly East, and remembered that Everett had said something about an Indian restaurant. I asked the barman, a hot-haired Irishman, and he asked one of the business-men (who, I saw now, was a Pakistani) and then was able to tell me that the Calicut Restaurant was on Egg Street, by the Poultry Market. I went there and ate insipid dahl, tough chicken, greasy pappadams, and rice that had congealed to a pudding. The décor was depressing - brown oily wallpaper, a calendar with a Bengali pin-up (buff, deliriously plump, about thirty-eight) – and it was evident that the few Indian students were eating the special curry prepared for the staff.
With thanks to Ken Beck, Paul Rose and Big Harold.