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News from Paddington, introduction

@mildbyte 6 years, 1 month ago | paddington | writing |

In the middle of 2015 I moved to London for my first job and wrote a few Facebook posts about my new life. As I found some of my friends quoting them at random, I decided to continue documenting my slow descent into madness, culminating in about 10k words worth of rambling. I finally (as of mid-2017) cleaned them up and made them available to a wider audience.

Best viewed like this.

News from Paddington, 2017-07-31

@mildbyte 6 years, 1 month ago | paddington | writing |

...By about 10am I had made the decision to throw the badminton rackets away. It's amazing how much extra stuff you become willing to let go of when your mission is to pack the contents of a large room into a suitcase that's much smaller than the room. Pure physics, really.

Before that, after a couple of failed rounds of Sokoban, I also had to say goodbye to a sleeping bag that in its rolled-up shape took up half of the suitcase. It only feels like yesterday I picked you up from Argos, I told it as I dropped it off into the clothes donation bin. Leicester won the Premier League on that day. David Cameron was Prime Minister and Hillary Clinton was making her way through the Democratic primaries. I'll miss you, old buddy.

It didn't respond. Probably trying to choke back its tears.

The cocktail shaker used to dispose of random bottles of alcohol in the fridge in a civilised way also will have to stay here. So will all the random cutlery and the massive shelf (yes, we brought a shelf here. No, I'm not taking it with me). So will the ice trays.

Remember that time I forgot to defrost the freezer and you ended up stuck inside a massive block of ice, I ask them. Isn't it ironic? Instead of having ice inside the ice trays, I ended up with ice trays inside of ice. It took me a whole weekend to get you out. Was it worth it?

As I shut the fridge door, I think I hear them say "Retribution". I open the door again and stare at them. Probably nothing.

I take one last glance around the room to make sure I disposed of all incriminating evidence. Minutes later, key handed over, I'm on a train.


News from Paddington, 2015-12-03

@mildbyte 7 years, 9 months ago | paddington | writing |

Hi, Chicken Cottage on Praed Street here. I haven't seen News from Paddington for about two weeks now and I think I know why (see the attached front page of the Guardian). I dug around in its computer and found these notes which would probably have been parts of the Friday's News from Paddington, but I think this is urgent enough to be posted here in its unfinished form with all the notes and mistakes.

Well well well, dear readers, I hope you enjoyed not having News from Paddington around for one week. Because News from Paddington knows it enjoyed not having you guys around for one week. Welcome to the final month of the year and let's get straight back into it!

This fortnight's edition of News from Paddington is brought to you by Boom Boom! Boom Boom is News from Paddington's neighbour and a Feng Shui master: his primary occupation is what sounds like moving furniture around his room every night in order to ensure his room always has a Northern Luopan aspect, since only then will Qi ride the wind and scatter. Boom Boom also seems to have obtained complete and total enlightenment and often mumbles something to himself ("need to get some chicken", "fucking lights are broken again", "shit"), a habit News from Paddington is intending to also take up.

This fortnight's edition of News from Paddington is also brought to you in partnership with Shure! Shure make earphones with amazing isolation, which is invaluable when sleeping next door to a passionate Feng Shui master.

Turns out, there are many hostels near Kings Cross and also turns out many of them actually claim to not let any guests check in without searching their bags. [TODO: snarky comment about how searching kids' suitcases will protect this country]

[TODO: figure out how to segue into the food section] [TODO: should i tell them about tuesday?]

  • Shoreditch Grind on the Old Street Roundabout! Boo, startups! 0.1% equity out of five! Also, the Google screen on the Roundabout shows off various Google services, like "Culture nearby! (Barbican Centre, 12min cycle)", "Rocking the wellies tomorrow! (Weather tomorrow: +2C, rain)", "Time for lunch! (Amnesty International, 1.3km fr".. wait, what the fuck?
  • Banana Tree near Angel! Boo, drunk French women in their 50s banging on the table! Midlife crisis out of five!
  • Scarpetta on Cannon Street! It makes like pasta and takeaway pasta and lots of City workers eat pasta there for lunch. Not many do for dinner, which is a fact News from Paddington exploited. Parmigiano Paddington points out of five!
  • Loong Kee on Kingsland Road! The queue wasn't long at all! News from Paddington had a dish called "shaking beef" and was worried it would be served an actual terrified mini-cow that it would have to murder in order to have lunch. But someone murdered the cow for News from Paddington! Moo Paddington points out of five! [maybe use this: "News from Paddington had the 'shaking beef', but it still had to stir it!", but it's so bad it will make the sky fall.]

News from Paddington, 2015-11-20

@mildbyte 7 years, 10 months ago | paddington | writing |

Hi, I'm News from Paddington and jackdaws love my big sphinx of quartz.

News from Paddington went to a database conference last Friday instead of going to work! Going to a conference is basically like going to university, except the lectures are more interesting, filled with swearwords and useful content, and all of the food is free. Five Paddington points out of five.

It's amazing how little it takes to stop a city. Somebody decided to hold the door for a second on the Jubilee Line train at Waterloo one morning and that broke the doors. After staying at the station for 10 minutes and finally moving, the train arrived to a massive crowd of happy commuters at London Bridge (a diligent reader might remember Jubilee Line has doors on some platforms and so people usually queue in front of these doors, except in this case the queues were too long for the platform and evolved into some sort of a multiplayer Snake game without losing their integrity at any point. This did prevent News from Paddington from getting out of the station in less than 10 minutes, though).

  • The Jugged Hare somewhere in where the hell is it probably near Barbican the alcohol doesn't help navigation! News from Paddington went there after the database conference afterparty. The Jugged Hare serves game which the reader has just lost. News from Paddington had quail and some roast suckling pig. Oh, and then someone got some wine. And there were starters? And News from Paddington almost didn't spend a penny the whole day -- people above it in the corporate hierarchy split the bill. Infinitely many Paddington points out of five for great value.
  • Nandos, again, but this time in the City! That's right, News from Paddington is moving up in the world. One completely random guy for whom News from Paddington held the door to the toilet said "Thanks! Oh, nice jacket!". News from Paddington's coworker observed it looks like Dread Pirate Roberts from The Princess Bride, which inspired News from Paddington to watch The Princess Bride! Four Paddington points out of five! It's really good! And since these things happened in Nandos, it's also really good!
  • Italian Pizza Connection strikes again! The U.S. Congress deciding that pizza is a vegetable means Italian Pizza Connection is now able to offer salads -- actual salads, with rocket, tomatoes, garlic bread, beef... If the pizza from Italian Pizza Connection is something to die because of, the beef salad from Italian Pizza Connection is something to die for. Yes Paddington points out of five.
  • McDonald's on Edgware Road strikes again as well! News from Paddington ordered some food on a terminal and paid for it but its order number didn't get printed. Doesn't matter, the Italian guy at the collection point gave News from Paddington its "food" anyway. So News from Paddington came back the next day to buy a 20 McNuggets ShareBox. "Share" is a bit of a misnomer. 20 Chicken McNuggets out of five.

News from Paddington, 2015-11-14

@mildbyte 7 years, 10 months ago | paddington | writing |

News from Paddington steadily keeps approaching legal age as it's already been fourteen weeks since a drunken rant by News from Paddington got out of hand and became News from Paddington.

News from Paddington went to see a film called Crimson Peak. Unsurprisingly, the showing was preceded by half an hour of trailers and advertisements which had more plot twists than the actual film.

"Hi, this is the museum of procrastination. This is where we put your dreams. This is where we put your unfinished novels. This is where we put all the musical instruments you didn't learn how to play. This is where the gym memberships go. Blablabla. Only with HSBC."

"shows things people are terrified of, like not being able to find their phone charger, having somebody share a photo of them on Facebook, having tons of voicemails from their mother, wearing sandals with socks, having a local MP come around. Blablabla. Only on GiffGaff." (News from Paddington thought that everybody else was scared of different things, like their loved ones being slowly dismembered in front of them, limb by limb, as they can do nothing but watch, or losing all their facilities and having to rely on others to feed, bathe, and clothe them, or suffering from depression and their lover breaking up with them, or having their brain infected with a parasitic fungus that slowly turns them into zombies, or realising that their tenants' rent is no longer enough to cover their interest on an interest-only buy-to-let mortgage. Nope. It's sandals and socks.)

Or The Steve Jobs movie! This is Steve Wozniak asking Steve Jobs "you're not an engineer or a designer. Who the hell are you?" and Steve Jobs replying... oh no, cut! This is Steve Jobs getting fired by his board. This is a theatre crowded with people who are slamming their feet on the floor as Steve Jobs unveils a computer. This is some actors saying "oh, he's really important and such a man deserved a film made about him" and "the way he revolutionized our lives... it's...". Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs. Steve Jobs.

Oh yeah, Crimson Peak. It's a film about some British guys killing people with tea. Tea Paddington points out of five.

Turns out, London has a nightlife. Somebody decided to hold a dance performance on the Northbound Bakerloo line platform at Piccadilly Circus a couple of evenings ago, which then started being accompanied by a station announcement saying "please be reminded that flash photography is forbidden on all London Underground property". News from Paddington consulted with Chicken Cottage on Praed Street who owns a square of land on Praed Street, hence everything above and below it, hence part of the Edgware Road -- Paddington Bakerloo line section. Turns out, flash photography is forbidden on the platforms because drivers who pull into a station are sometimes confused by the flashing lights and think they are an actress at a movie premiere, thus demanding higher salaries.

Vietnamese food week on News from Paddington! Sponsored by Nandos in Croydon! "Nandos in Croydon! Yes, Croydon, but Nandos!"

  • Keu Banh Mi Deli in Shoreditch. They have like a classic Vietnamese Baguette and BBQ Pork Vietnamese Baguette and those are basically like a Subway sub with some spicy carrots. Oh, and a can of Coke costs 2 pounds. Three Paddington points out of five.
  • Song Que Cafe in Shoreditch. They love surgical green colour on their walls and they serve pho. One of the things that is required to eat pho is, after it has been served to you, making it unedible by adding peppers and chilli sauce, which News from Paddington succeeded in doing. They also had a newspaper cutout of an article about them saying "What do they wear? Some wear national dress. Lots of pretty girls in skirts over jeans with Havaianas". News from Paddington didn't see any pretty girls in skirts over jeans with Havaianas. Very disappointing. Perhaps because it's November. Who could have invented a month that's equidistant from spring and summer? How the hell? Three Paddington points out of five.
  • Pho and Bun on Shaftesbury Avenue. Guess what they serve. That's right, they have spring rolls! And squid! And tap water comes in little buckets! And oh yeah, they have rare beef pho, the main idea behind which is "I don't want to cook this meat, I'll just drop it into my bowl and hope it cooks itself". And it does! Four Paddington points out of five. Docking one Paddington point for a suspicious lack of pretty girls in skirts over jeans with Havaianas. WHERE DID THE BEEF COME FROM?

News from Paddington, 2015-11-06

@mildbyte 7 years, 10 months ago | paddington | writing |

"...I was visiting a bar there, not unlike this one. They serve beer, not quite as good as this, but close. ... So, I'm sitting there, and in walks the biggest News I have ever seen. Big as shit. Just walks right in like it owns the place. Now, nobody knew quite what to make of it, or quite what to think. There it was and in it walked."

Thank you, Steve Buscemi. Time for the really short flu/cold season edition of News from Paddington, named after what News from Paddington thinks it has after a two-week long paracetamol and ibuprofen binge that presumably keeps the fever and the rest of the pain away. Incidentally, if anyone ever tells you to have anything that is a fancy brand name for any two of those things and also gets offended when you instead pick up the store-branded chemical and calls you a fool, News from Paddington authorizes you to punch them in the face. Please don't mention News from Paddington when you do this -- we've had enough trouble with the Bobajam incident already. Do consider doing the same thing when you're recommended to overdose yourself on Vitamin C because that will only make sure that whoever drinks the piss of the person who drinks your piss will never have scurvy again. Prefer paracetamol to ibuprofen -- as far as News from Paddington knows, stomach lining transplants aren't a thing and liver transplants are. This should not be considered medical advice -- take this with a grain of salt. Incidentally, the jury is still out on gargling with salt.

Shout out to Arcot Verified by Visa for requiring both Flash and Javascript to be enabled in order to Verify things by Visa. While you're at it, do downgrade to SSL 3.0 and require your website to be viewed with IE 6.0. This cool new thing called ActiveX is also worth investigating. News from Paddington now feels like running up Edgware Road at midnight while wearing a gold chain and waving around several £50 notes would be a safer way to buy a Travelcard.

If you were food, where you would be? That's right, the next section.

  • Yo! Sushi (YOSushi? Yo? Sushi?) on Finchley Road. It has like a conveyor belt that goes in circles and the chef puts little plates on it with food and yells out "Fried chicken wings nigiri on the conveyor belt that goes in circles!" and then the plates travel around in circles and people pick them up if they're interested but mostly they aren't oh and the plates are like resistors in that they're colour-coded and you pay different amounts of money for different coloured plates and like a little slice of salmon costs a ton of money and some salad costs less but it's salad so hey and it's still too much money for salad. News from Paddington isn't very sophisticated. Also, News from Paddington has eaten some Oriental things and also knows enough about Oriental food to claim that sushi is not an everyday meal in Japanese households. Two Paddington points out of five.
  • Not many people are aware that McDonald's, a well-known public toilet chain, also sells food. News from Paddington tried its salad and it was fairly disappointing. A burger called the Big Mac that came with is was slightly better, though! Perhaps McDonald's might be onto something there and should focus on being a fast food place instead. Three Paddington points out of five with a positive outlook.
  • What do you know, it's our old friend, Chicken Cottage on Praed Street! When News from Paddington paid for half a grilled chicken and some salad, it instead received half a grilled chicken and some grilled chicken salad. Like they say in that ancient proverb, "the only thing better than half a grilled chicken and some grilled chicken salad is half a grilled chicken and a surprise grilled chicken salad". Chicken Cottage on Praed Street failed to disappoint again. Five well-deserved Paddington points out of five. And the right to be called what this bookshop in Australia is.

News from Paddington, 2015-10-31

@mildbyte 7 years, 10 months ago | paddington | writing |

Hi, Chicken Cottage on Praed Street here. It's been two days now since I've seen News from Paddington and I haven...

(loud thud, scuffling)

It's time for the vacation edition of News from Paddington, named like that because News from Paddington suddenly realised it has unspent vacation days which will expire at the end of the year!

Meet Steve (name picked at random) whose conversations with his friend News from Paddington overheard as it was walking past them. Steve is a Paddington native and provides multiple valuable insights into Paddington real estate:

"(points at St Mary's Hospital) Meet the ugliest hospital in the world."
"(points at two abandoned dock warehouses by the Paddington Basin) Fuck knows what's in these derelict buildings, but they're probably worth a fortune."

News from Paddington met a Zen master the other day on the Tube. News from Paddington was standing with its back towards the door between the carriages. Some kids asked News from Paddington how to get to Leicester Square, to which News from Paddington responded and continued its journey.

Then News from Paddington heard an "excuse me, can I get through here?" behind it and was surprised to find out that a fat, door-sized kid had opened the door between the carriages (whose main feature is a massive warning sign saying "EMERGENCY USE ONLY RISK OF DEATH IF USED WHILE TRAIN IS MOVING", and yes, the train was moving), walked into the carriage and asked his friends, "Are we there yet?", to which they responded "Nope, two more stops."

Not satisfied with his display of not-giving-a-fuck, the Zen master said "Okay, see you soon!" and left the carriage the same way he came in.

News from Paddington went to Canary Wharf! Canary Wharf is like Singapore meets John Galt. It's like Poplar meets Isle of Dogs. It's like skyscrapers meet sky. It's like Costa meets Starbucks. It's like Charles Tyrwhitt meets Paul Smith. Since most of the buildings in Canary Wharf, including a residential one, are joined together with an underground mall, it is entirely possible to, without ever going outside, be born here, live here, do grocery shopping in a nearby Waitrose, work in one of the several banks, perhaps get married here, have kids here, retire here... When the apocalypse finally strikes, Canary Wharf will just seal itself from the external world and everybody in there will be safe, assuming they're not scared of LIBOR rigging.

Food with News from Paddington, sponsored by News from Paddington's wallet. "News from Paddington's wallet! Please, no more!"

  • Billy's Steak and Grillhouse in South Kensington, run by people who claim everywhere on the menu that their steaks are the best. The burger did have a distinctly Eastern European taste. The £3 portion of Coke poured out from one single can did rival whisky in its price-per-millilitre ratio. Three Paddington points out of five.
  • Ippudo in Canary Wharf. Ippudo's headquarters are, apparently, at St Giles Square opposite Kanada-Ya and News from Paddington's coworker strongly expressed his preference for Kanada-Ya instead of Ippudo, but Ippudo wasn't that bad. Three Paddington points out of five and another half a point for "wow, I've just ordered this one minute ago and it's already here, I know it's lunchtime but I don't work here and I'm not in a hurry, honestly".
  • Grazing Goat in Marylebone. How do you know people around you are rich? If you're in the Grazing Goat on a weekday at about 11am and people around you are wearing dress shirts, vests and suits and are talking about "marketing [their] offering better" instead of being at work, then they're rich. Oh, and the burger was really good too. It had like some black cheese or something. Five Paddington points out of five.
  • Trinity College Great Hall at Trinity College. Dubbed by some to be the "best food that side of Royston, assuming you can't go anywhere else", it served a Halloween dinner last Friday, which consisted of blood pudding, duck with some pumpkins (of course) and some dessert which News from Paddington doesn't remember anymore because the Hall also served lots of wine and sherry and port and oh then there was someone's birthday party and then there was a Cards Against Humanity game and absinthe and the other absinthe and oh the vegetarian main course was some minced pumpkin inside a big pumpkin. Twelve Paddington points out of five. Under no distress, News from Paddington's liver would like to extend its thanks to they know whom for making this happen and claims that it would like to do it again at some point.

News from Paddington, 2015-10-23

@mildbyte 7 years, 11 months ago | paddington | writing |

According to various sources, including and limited to the number of files on News from Paddington's computer, today is the 10th anniv... weekiversary of News from Paddington! This edition of News from Paddington is hence a special edition by means of being really short.

  • It seems like it's possible to walk from Westfield London to Edgware Road. You just have to be able to walk.
  • Boundary Road marks the boundary between the boroughs of Westminster and Camden. Camden is a borough in London whereas Macden is an Ethiopian town.
  • The scaffolding next to News from Paddington's headquarters has been removed and so News from Paddington can't find its way home reliably now as it's been using that as a landmark.
  • One more grocery store in West London News from Paddington can't go to anymore is Tesco on Praed Street after News from Paddington replied to some random girls' "let's get pink lemonade! I love pink lemonade!" with its own "Yeah, all other lemonade is shit! Let's get pink lemonade!" It's apparently a stroke of luck that News from Paddington wasn't beaten by anyone.

Thank you for reading this short edition of News from Paddington. Now it's time for food!

  • Tequila Tex-Mex near Notting Hill. Tequila Tex-Mex serves all sorts of Mexican food, including liquid food. The usual margarita is made out of some tequila, triple sec and lime juice. A Tex-Mex margarita seems to be made just of tequila, which is never a bad thing. A Tex-Mex burrito, however, looks slightly sad and would lose to a Chilango on King William Street burrito in a fistfight if it could fistfight. Three Paddington points out of five.
  • Wagamama in the O2 centre near Finchley Road Tube Station. It is blasphemy to go to Swiss Cottage and not have any Chicken Cottage, but the Wagamama wasn't really bad. It wasn't really good either though. Three Paddington points out of five.
  • Italian Pizza Connection in Bayswater. From now on, the history will be split into two periods: before Italian Pizza Connection opened in Bayswater and after. This is the pinnacle of the evolution of the art of cooking food. According to a legend, this is the restaurant where Beethoven wrote his Ninth symphony in between his shifts as a cashier in Chicken Cottage on Praed Street. This is the restaurant where the Maastricht treaty was prepared and then, covered in greasy stains, brought to Netherlands to be signed, marking the founding of the European Union. In this place, Kevin Bacon invented bacon, Francis Bacon invented France and Morgan Freeman founded Morgan Stanley. Seven Paddington points out of five.
  • Bleecker St in Spitalfields Market. Founded by a New York lawyer who decided to stop being a New York Lawyer and found Bleecker St, it serves burgers! With actual beef! And black pudding! And chips! And charges for them through the roof because drunk hipsters will pay for anything! But it's okay when your coworker pays for it. Five Paddington points out of five.

News from Paddington's song of the week is a short informative public service announcement about the anatomy of reptiles.

News from Paddington, 2015-10-16

@mildbyte 7 years, 11 months ago | paddington | writing |

You are News from Paddington. It is 10:30pm. You enter London Bridge Station after having a nice walk-and-talk with a coworker over London Bridge. Of course, neither of you are drunk. She left you before you walked into the station -- she lives around here. You walk down the escalator on your secret unmarked route that few people know of, sharing approving glances with your fellow revellers. The train approaches, protected by suicide doors. You get in and take your favourite seat: the quarter-metre sized perch at the edge of the carriage. People get in, people get out. They seem to always be able to squeeze past you. You get off at Baker Street. The Bakerloo Line train is standing at the opposite platform, half a minute's walk away from you. If you run, you will make it. But you don't care. You are News from Paddington. A gentleman can walk but never run. As you walk into the train, the doors start beeping. They are about to close. The commuters behind you are running to get on the train. Some of them do. Some of them don't. The train leaves the platform. Minutes later, you arrive to Edgware Road. You leave the train and go up the stairs to the lift. The one on the right is gone, but the one on the left opens its doors to you. You get in and stand in front of the very exit from the lift. You are News from Paddington. You swipe your Oyster card and exit the station. You enter your Headquarters and open up your laptop. There is a file on your desktop. It says...

News from Paddington!

Meanwhile in Meanwhile Gardens...

You are standing on a Tube platform. There is a train approaching and there is another train in 1 minute. Do you 1) pile up into the first train, getting squeezed inside of it more than the British middle class or 2) wait 1 minute for the next train, which comes empty and stays empty because the train in front of it is collecting everybody else?

You are standing on a Tube platform. There is a massive crowd of people by the entrance. The end of the platform is empty. Do you 1) stand in the middle and then pile up into the middle carriage, getting squeezed inside of it more than people who shorted the SP500 before its biggest weekly gain of the year or 2) walk leisurely to the end of the platform and board an almost-empty carriage?

You are standing on a Tube platform. It is 17:30 on a weekday. A train is approaching. Do you 1) pile up into the train, getting squeezed inside of it more than small business owners by the Mafia in 1930s or 2) reevaluate your life choices and decide to never be on the platform again at 17:30 on a weekday?

Just like News from Paddington suspected, Lena's Cafe, Victor's Cafe and Sarah's Cafe, located in various parts of London, are owned by the same person whose name is neither of those.

"Oh yeah, of course! I know you!" -- everyone, meet the head manager of Waitrose on Edgware Road. After the previous time she approved a sale of an exorbitant amount of alcohol to News from Paddington, she now knows News from Paddington and says that every time she approves a sale of an exorbitant amount of alcohol to News from Paddington. Seems like there are very few stores in West London that don't know News from Paddington yet.

Quote of the week: "It fills up faster than you can say 'it fills up faster'"

News from Paddington promised once to keep monitoring the events on London Bridge and that finally paid off last Wednesday as the whole bridge was closed and cordoned by the police, with police boats on the Thames because of a "suspicious package" on the bridge. About half an hour after that, a man exited a police van, walked over to the middle of the bridge, crouched for five minutes and then got picked up by the van and left. The bridge was opened soon after. It is said that the man in question has difficulty travelling by air because his genitalia keep triggering metal detectors.

Did News from Paddington eat this week? Of course it did.

  • Chicken McNuggets from McDonald's on Edgware Road. Did you know that Chicken McNuggets only come in four distinct shapes? Did you know that they taste really good only when you're drunk? Did you know that if you eat 20 Chicken McNuggets in one go and the abdominal pain persists for more than 4 hours, you should see a doctor? Three Paddington points out of five.
  • Toa's Kitchen on Queensway. It was sandwiched between two other Chinese restaurants that had massive queues in front of them, so News from Paddington of course decided to try it out because it doesn't like queues. But the people in the queues were right. Two Paddington points out of five.
  • A pork burrito from Poncho 8 on Sheldon Square. The only reason it's better than a burrito from Chilango on King William Street is because you don't have to go to King William Street. But News from Paddington supports local businesses. Four Paddington points out of five.
  • A meal deal from Sainsbury's. Combine a £3 sandwich, a £1.50 bottle of juice and a £1 pack of crisps and pay £3 for it. The Sainsbury's meal deal has always been £3. News from Paddington is considering using it as a hedge against inflation. Five Paddington points out of five, adjusted for inflation of Paddington points.

Mixology with News from Paddington, brought to you in partnership with Jecur Organ Transplant Services. "Jecur Organ Transplant Services! When the mind is willing but the flesh is spongy and bruised!"

  • It is very well known that this year, and all years before and after it, are the year of Ernest Hemingway. One of Ernest Hemingway's favourite drinks was Death in the Afternoon: "Pour one jigger absinthe into a Champagne glass. Add iced Champagne until it attains the proper opalescent milkiness. Drink three to five of these slowly." Ernest Hemingway's writing skills were much better than his mixology skills. Three to five Paddington points out of five.
  • What to do with the rest of the absinthe? Drink it the proper way! Pour 25ml of it in a glass and then slowly drip some iced water through a sugar cube into it until it obtains a milky white colour. See, Ernest? You suck. Five Paddington points out of five.
  • What to do with the rest of everything else? News from Paddington presents to you its magnum opus, the Sheldon Square Ice Tea. This drink, named after the Long Island Ice tea, is prepared as follows: In a cocktail shaker, mix 50ml of cognac, 25ml of Grand Marnier, 40ml of absinthe, 20ml of Waitrose™ Zesty And Bright™ 30% Mexican™ Lime Juice Cordial and 330ml of Corona Extra beer. Shake with ice. The greenness of the absinthe, together with the yellowness of everything else, gives it the look, but not the healing properties, of green tea. Drink slowly for 2 + 1 + 2.2 + 0 + 1.5 = 6.7 units of fun. News from Paddington assigns it oh my God I don't feel too well Paddington points out of five! It's really good!

News from Paddington, 2015-10-09

@mildbyte 7 years, 11 months ago | paddington | writing |

"Hi, I'm PC Savile from the Metropolitan Police Service. We're looking for News... News from Paddington?"
"What a weird name. Afraid I don't know anyone like that. What happened?"
"Well, we've been forced to arrest some people who were harassing some girls around Chinatown..."
"Oh dear..."
"They kept following them and saying they want to... bobajam?"
"Go on?"
"And said that they've been told to not mention News from Paddington?"
"Well, that's terrible, sir, but I've never heard of News from Paddington."
"Alright then, thanks. Oh, do you know of any good places to eat around here?"
"Okay. Well, if you hear anything about News from Paddington, give me a call on this number!"

Damn, that was close! I told you guys to be careful! Oh well, let's see what happened this week.

News from Paddington went to the UCL freshers' fair and pretended to be a student (there is this sweet spot of aging where neither bars nor Universities ID you). The first victim of News from Paddington was the UCL Energy Society, which News from Paddington signed up for as a certain James Smith. If any of the readers know James Smith, a second-year at UCL, please apologize to him on News from Paddington's behalf. As a consolation, he is eligible to be treated to a lunch in Chicken Cottage of value up to £3. News from Paddington recommends an innovative burger from which Chicken Cottage has removed all buns -- it consists of a piece of chicken between two pieces of chicken. It's really good!

News from Paddington then walked around the fair, collecting flyers and making fun of everyone and everything:

-- "Join the scuba diving society!" -- "No, thanks, I'm afraid of water."
-- "Haha, funny, this sheet for the sign language society says 'Sign-up sheet' on it!"
-- "Sign up for the European Society!" -- "Okay!" -- "It's only 5 pounds!" -- "Actually, I forgot my university card at home :("
-- "gives flyer Join the UCL Marxists!" -- "takes flyer, in a Russian accent Thanks, comrade!"
-- "How did you find the Fair? Would you like to fill out this survey?" -- "Sure! gives the nicest answers ever and says 'better than the last year's fair!' in the end"

There was even a stage there! News from Paddington saw the Kendo society. A Kendo spar involves taking turns to 1) yell at the opponent 2) hit them with a stick. The yelling is especially funny when girls do it. This is how News from Paddington sounds like when the alcohol in its fridge runs out.

Then News from Paddington miraculously met the girl it scared off last week with its friends. News from Paddington contemplated saying hi again and seeing if she would give up her hard-earned place in the queue, but decided not to. News from Paddington is really bad with the ladies.

The time has come for supermarkets to start charging for all plastic bags. The time has also come for News from Paddington to start showing the middle finger to the checkout machine and carry all of its shopping without a bag.

News from Paddington, alongside every other room in its accommodation, got a letter! The letter was from News from Foxtons and they were wondering if News from Paddington wanted to rent out its room. News from Paddington likes its room too much to rent it out and doesn't own it anyway.

News from Paddington was sitting in the Tube once with its friend opposite a dodgy-looking guy. News from Paddington then stood up and started walking to exit the carriage. The dodgy-looking guy for some reason stood up and ran away from News from Paddington towards a different exit. When he saw that News from Paddington simply exited the train, he said "Oh come on!" and walked back to his previous seat. Did News from Paddington and its friend look like ticket inspectors? Hopefully.

Next up, it's this week's culinary adventures!

  • Guess what's located on University Street. Correct! Guess what else is located on University Street. It's Japanese Canteen! It's a canteen that serves Japanese food! It's really good! And good value for money! Five Paddington points out of five.
  • Kalamaras on Inverness Mews. News from Paddington was surprised to find out it was located right opposite the place where News spent a night back in March 2014. News from Paddington shouldn't have been surprised, since back then it noted to visit that restaurant at some point. More surprising was the fact that the place was just 10 minutes away from News from Paddington's old headquarters! Kalamaras is a Greek restaurant that serves souvlaki. To rank the souvlaki that News from Paddington has tried:
    3. From Gardenia on Rose Crescent, Central Cambridge
    2. The Slowdive album
    1. From Kalamaras
    News from Paddington even got some free olives, peppers and bread. It's really good! But not good value for money. Four Paddington points out of five.
  • Asadal on High Holborn. It's a Korean BBQ place where the chefs can't be arsed to cook the meat, so they give the raw meat to you and place a hot stove on your table. Then also hit you with a service charge. The food is good though. Three Paddington points out of five.

Bartending with News from Paddington! Tired of making Sidecars and trying to dispose of Grand Marnier by pouring it into tea, News from Paddington explored the exciting field of mixology some more.

  • The Coffee Cart: make a Sidecar and add two tablespoons of instant coffee. Shake in a cocktail shaker. Be disgusted. Two Paddington points out of five.
  • A Trolley Of Light Refreshments Is Available On This Train: take one part Coffee Cart and add five parts Diet Coke. Shake in a cocktail shaker. Regret when it foams up. Wait for five minutes and drink. It magically is much better! Four Paddington points out of five.
  • The Trainwreck: make a Sidecar, but use 2/3 parts of Waitrose™ Zesty And Bright™ 30% Mexican™ Lime Juice Cordial instead of 2 parts lemon juice. Add 5 parts Diet Coke. Drink. Give it five Paddington points out of five.

This edition of News from Paddington was brought to you by Surprise Surprise on Queensway. "Surprise Surprise on Queensway: Surprise Surprise! It's Surprise Surprise!"

(originally from

News from Paddington, 2015-10-02

@mildbyte 7 years, 11 months ago | paddington | writing |

"Hi, we're from the Guardian and we're looking for the guy..."
"Sang cheo reur chi ryo hae jur sa ram eo di eopt na ga man hi nwa du da gan kkeunh I’m eops I deot na"
"...that names himself News from Paddington and hasn't been doing his..."
"Sa rang do sa ram do neo mu na do geop na hon ja in ge mu seo wo nan it hyeo jil kka du ryeo wo"
"...duty as a rational economic agent and instead is living in some cheap student place and eating in..."
"Sang cheo reur chi ryo hae jur sa ram eo di eopt na ga man hi nwa du da gan kkeunh I’m eops I deot na"
" Chicken Cottage on Praed Street and pricing other people out of aff..."
"Sa rang do sa ram do neo mu na do geop na hon ja in ge mu seo wo nan it hyeo jil kka du ryeo wo"
"affordable parts of London, do you know where he is?"
"No. Also, Edgware Road is not an affordable part of London."
"Okay, thank you!"

Whew! Surprise surprise, it's News from Paddington time again!

It's also time for News from Paddington to disclose a very dark secret. In fact, News from Paddington is usually in no shape on Friday evenings to write News from Paddington and so this edition (as were multiple ones before it) has been written over the course of the whole week.

After a few weeks of not having been to Sainsbury's, News from Paddington finally went there and was rewarded with a 200 Nectar point voucher. Is Sainsbury's scared that after 5 years of productive patronage Paddington perhaps pondered preferring prestigious places? No, News naturally nominates nearer nooks. Also, alliteration.

News from Paddington's work ordered lots of hot dog assembly kits from Herman Ze German for lunch once (Herman Ze German! Our wurst is ze best!) and News from Paddington decided to keep the bucket of dried onions instead of throwing them away at the end. News from Paddington then went out to a bar with its coworkers in the evening and was stopped at the entrance by some bouncers:

"Can I look at your bag, mate?"
"Sure, here you go."
"What the heck is that?"
"That's dried onions."
"What the fuck, is that for your breakfast?"
"Okay, go ahead!"

Good thing they didn't find the mustard bottle!

News from Paddington thinks it has a split personality that awakens when it's asleep. This second personality is most likely a prominent member of some crime syndicate. For example:

  • The warden in the accommodation that houses the headquarters of News from Paddington greets News from Paddington with "How you doin', boss?"
  • A random guy was walking up the stairs while News from Paddington was waiting upstairs for its turn (because the stairs are so narrow). The guy finally got there and said "Good afternoon, sir"
  • News from Paddington went with some of its friends to Bobajam (a bubble tea place on oh who the fuck knows street, just go to Chinatown and follow flocks of Asian girls. If you get stopped by the police, do not mention News from Paddington) to get some bubble tea. There, they saw a girl that they all knew. They said hi to her and sat down at her table. The girl proceeded to stand up and leave without saying anything. Later on, her friends came in looking for her because they were supposed to meet there. She had disappeared. Is News from Paddington's second personality really good with the ladies? Or really bad with the ladies? Find out in the next edition!

Culinary adventures with News from Paddington!

  • Nandos in Croydon! Pros: Nandos. Cons: Croydon. It's good!
  • DIY fajitas from M&S on Edgware Road! In this exciting resource management game, you have to allocate some chicken, vegetables and sauce amongst 4 tortilla wraps and eat them all! Try not to run out of either of those things! It's really good!
  • Melur on Edgware Road! It's really Malaysian! Also, it serves bandung! They have banned all dung from this drink and so it's quite good!
  • This week's cocktail is the Sidecar! Named after where relative to your car you should be after drinking it, it's made out of 2 parts Grand Marnier, 5 parts cognac, 2 parts lemon juice, some ice and a plastic cocktail shaker from Sainsbury's. Don't eat the cocktail shaker! It's good! The cocktail is good too!
  • McDonald's on Edgware Road! Like many McDonald's restaurants in London and unlike the McDonald's restaurant in Cambridge, you can order your meal on a terminal and then collect it without saying anything more than a "Thanks!" Very useful when you are as drunk as a News from Paddington on a weekday. McDonald's on Edgware Road! It's really good!

Wanna know how News from Paddington got these scars? News from Paddington tried to jump into a Tube train as the door was closing. It succeeded. The door succeeded too.

In other news, Tube on the weekends is amateur hour. "Covent Garden! Covent Garden!" -- some kids boarding the Piccadilly Line train at Leicester Square (known for being 100 metres away from Covent Garden). "Boy, getting through these ticket gates sure was tough! Better stop right here and have a little rest!" "Goodness, what could 'move down inside the carriage' possibly mean?" "I see this guy is mashing his wallet on this yellow spot and going through the gates, I should do the sa... oh God why are my ribs broken"

News of Paddington's song of the week is this -- especially see 1:48 when the guy goes full-on Scatman.

This edition of News from Paddington was brought to you by Surprise Surprise on Edgware Road. "Surprise Surprise on Edgware Road: Surprise Surprise! It's Surprise Surprise!"

(originally from

News from Paddington, 2015-09-25

@mildbyte 7 years, 12 months ago | paddington | writing |

"Hi, we're from the ONS and we're surveying people's preferences in mass media. Do you have a..."
"News from Paddington."
"News from Paddington."
"Okay, and how about..."
"News from Paddington."
"Great, umm, okay, can I have your name and address please? It's so that we can cross-reference the..."
"I'm Chicken Cottage."
"Chicken... Cottage? Is that your... "
"Praed Street."

Straight from the edge of the world, not where rich people live, but not from the outside of London where actual Londoners live either, where cultures clash, smoke from shisha pipes and roars from Lamborghinis and Bentleys with Kuwait license plates fill the streets, it's News from... Paddington again! Yes, it turns out that Edgware Road is in fact part of Paddington. News from Paddington is currently in the process of claiming a refund from Chicken Cottage Consultancy Services.

  • News from Paddington made another friend! This time it's an unnamed Italian guy who works in ChoZen Noodle on Saturdays. He knows News from Paddington so well that even when News from Paddington walks down the street, he waves at News from Paddington through the window! And News from Paddington waves back! And is considering not walking past the store anymore because it's too awkward!
  • After News from Paddington had a haircut, it noticed people started taking it more seriously. The security guard at Moss Bros on Oxford Street said "come in, sir" after News from Paddington accidentally made eye contact with him while walking past the store. News from Paddington had to come in, browse around and go out again.
  • News from Paddington bought some cutlery. It later turned out that the cutlery was not for sale to persons under 18 years. Nobody asked if News from Paddington was over 18 years.
  • News from Paddington bought some rum. The cashier at Waitrose took off the security tag without even looking at News from Paddington's passport in front of his eyes. News from Paddington now has scientific proof that rich people who shop at Waitrose look much younger than News from Paddington.
  • Taking out the trash with News from Paddington! 1) take your bag 2) put it next to the bus stop 3) if somebody complains, say "I pay council tax!" 4) pay council tax
  • News from Paddington met the first female occupant of its "student" accommodation! It was a middle-aged woman who decided to go out to the bathroom at the same time (~2am) as News from Paddington. News from Paddington never believed in love less than it does now.

More culinary adventures!

  • News from Paddington thought it had invented a cocktail. Add 1 part rum to 4 parts Ceylon tea. Call the cocktail "Elephant in the rum". It's probably really good! Sadly, somebody has already thought of mixing tea and rum. But their naming skills are much worse.
  • A burrito from Chilango on King William Street that wasn't rolled properly and fell apart when News from Paddington tried to eat it. It's not really good!
  • Little Four Seasons in Chinatown! It's a restaurant! And the manager even picked News from Paddington out of the queue and served it himself! Was it because News from Paddington went with a friend? Or because see bullet point 2? In any case, it's really good!

And now, for a very special guest, It's Chicken Cottage from Praed Street!

"Hi, Mr Chicken Cottage! How are y..."
"News from Paddington."
"Thank you, Mr Chicken Cottage! And h..."
"It's really good!"

News from Paddington, 2015-09-18

@mildbyte 8 years ago | paddington | writing |

"Hi, I've just moved here, do you know of a good place to eat?"
"Well, there's Praed Street nearby. You could go to the Chicken Cottage there. I heard it's re..."
" good?"

Hello and welcome to the inaugural edition of News from Edgware Road, formerly known as News from Paddington! Yes, in cooperation with Chicken Cottage Consultancy Services, News from Paddington underwent an extensive re-branding programme that involved being renamed to News from Edgware Road and moving just right to the end of Praed Street where it meets Edgware Road, 2 minutes away from Edgware Road Station. More good news include the fact that everything News from Paddington loved about Paddington (Kenneth from M&S on Edgware Road, Chicken Cottage on Praed Street and ChoZen Noodle on Praed Street) is now paradoxically closer than it used to be. News from Edgware Road's commute now takes 28 minutes door-to-door and a new runbook of where and when to change trains is currently being written!

The headquarters of News from Edgware Road could best be described as a room designed by a person who accidentally used the Seven Deadly Sins as a how-to manual:

LUST: Market it as accommodation for students. 20-year old sophomore girls always stay 20 years old.
GLUTTONY: The room should have everything. Cram a fridge, a microwave, a kettle, a kitchen sink, a wardrobe, a bed, some cupboards etc in the same room.
GREED: Make sure there's a lettings agency occupying the first floor of the building.
SLOTH: All bills, including Internet, electricity, water and council tax, shall be included in the rent.
WRATH: Four rooms shall share one bathroom and a shower. This should cause sufficient wrath in the mornings.
ENVY: Look at all these sports cars you don't own!
PRIDE: Base the building as close to Praed Street as possible.

Culinary Adventures with News from Edgware Road!

  • Grilled chicken from Chicken Cottage on Praed Street! It's really-really good!
  • Various ready meals from M&S on Edgware Road: It's okay!
  • A random falafel from a falafel shop in the City: It's really good!

News from Edgware Road had a haircut! It was in Costas Barber Shop on Queensway, but News from Edgware Road wasn't cut by Costa(s?), instead being cut by his apprentice who was being really sad that people that were in front of News from Edgware Road in the queue would not take him and instead wait for Costa(s?) and so News from Edgware Road wanted to take pity on him. Costa(s?)'s(?) apprentice's signature move is smashing the scissors against the comb even when there's no point in doing that. But News from Edgware Road survived and lived to collate another edition of News from Edgware Road!

This edition of News from Edgware Road was sponsored by Chicken Cottage Consultancy Services. "Chicken Cottage Consultancy Services! When chickens come home to roost!"

News from Paddington, 2015-09-11

@mildbyte 8 years ago | paddington | writing |

"Excuse me, sir, do you know how to get to Chicken Spot?"
"You mean, Chicken Cottage?"
"No, Chicken Spot. Someone told me it's really go- OH GOD WHY DID YOU STAB ME?!"
"Sorry, my grandmother died today and the only thing humans can do in the face of mortality is laugh, so here goes..."

Well, butter my butt and call me a biscuit, it's time for more news from Paddington!

  • When News from Paddington was a really small News, it really liked vacations. What can be better than not having to go to school where the only thing you could do was practising teenage politics? But then things changed and News from Paddington realised that not doing anything is quite boring and started to like studying. In fact, there was one term in which News from Paddington didn't miss any lectures at university and was really proud of it (disregard the fact that there were about 2.5 terms in a later year in which News from Paddington missed all lectures and was really proud of it as well). But now News from Paddington has this weird state of mind in which it likes when other people have vacations. Because when their vacations end, like they did this week, and News from Paddington's Tube train to Paddington becomes overcrowded to the point where News from Paddington's dinner from Chilango on King William Street gets squished, News from Paddington becomes very fucking pissed indeed and wishes it didn't have to work for a living.
  • News from Paddington recently realised that it's become famous for its KFC (yes, KFC. It would appear that News from Paddington doesn't practice what it preaches. This remark was sponsored by KFC on Praed Street. KFC on Praed Street! It's really good!) habit to many of its coworkers, including a couple of C-level executives. Hence it's been considering expanding its culinary horizons. So far it has tried:
    • An unnamed (probably not) Chinese/Korean restaurant on Praed Street whose menu includes "RAOST DUCK" (sic). It's okay!
    • Le Gourmet on Praed Street (Le stands for Lebanese). It's good!
    • A chicken-and-mushroom-and-rice meal made by a resident of the News from Paddington headquarters. It's good!
    • Microwave-cookable dim sum from Sainsbury's on Sheldon Square. It's okay!
    • Kanada-Ya on St Giles High Street. It's really good!
    • The office bar (yes, there's a regulation bar at the NfP day job that opens at 5:30 and sometimes serves free (!) food circa 8pm). It's... good?
  • Some residents of the headquarters of News from Paddington have decided to do productive things, such as cleaning up and vacuuming parts of the Headquarters, at 11:30 on a Thursday night. Judging by the fact that the outside door had creaked open and close several dozen times, they also are either moving out or moving bodies. It also seems that they didn't get the NfPHQ public announcement that the vacuum cleaner didn't have a bag in it.
    UPDATE: a very valuable resident of NfPHQ has indeed moved out. He left behind a flask that said "PhD" on it, which was indeed his occupation. The owner of the flask will be dearly missed.
  • There's a bottle in the trashcan that says "Aussie 3 Minute Miracle" on it, which is funnily also News from Paddington's nickname among the single ladies.
  • News from Paddington's disturbing gif of the week is this.
  • Bar culture is weird. This week, News from Paddington bought about 4 drinks for various people and consumed about a dozen. It pays to be a junior person in the company. News from Paddington also spent time in the bar on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. Tuesday was the day News from Paddington went home on a normal time and then its dinner from Chilango on King William Street got squished etc etc
  • On Thursday again, somebody tried to hang a massive poster off of London Bridge and then quickly took it down. While it was flapping in the wind, News from Paddington could recognise that it read "FEED HUMANS NOT...". The identity of the second part of the phrase still remains unknown. The top 3 candidates are "BANKERS", "INTO TEMPTATION BUT DELIVER THEM SPICY WINGS FROM CHICKEN COTTAGE ON PRAED STREET CHICKEN COTTAGE ON PRAED STREET IT'S REALLY GOOD" and "FAT HUMANS". News from Paddington will keep monitoring the events on London Bridge.
  • Speaking of the events on London Bridge, News from Paddington every morning routinely passes through 1) a Big Issue vendor named Sharon who's really popular over there 2) some people giving out Ocado vouchers 3) some people giving out %RANDOMSTARTUPOFTHEDAYOHWOULDYOULIKETOSUBSIDISESOMEOFYOURLIFESCONVENIENCESWITHVCMONEYYOUKNOWATSOMEPOINTITCOMESOUTOFYOURPENSIONFUNDBECAUSETHEBOEDIDNTRAISERATESTHISYEARANDSOTHEFUNDSARESEEKINGBETTERINFLATIONBEATINGINVESTMENTSANDSINCESTARTUPSARESOCOOLANDSEXYANDWORLDCHANGINGLOOKWEEVENPAYSOMEPEOPLETODOYOURLAUNDRYFOR_YOU% vouchers 4) some people collecting for something 5) a nice view of Canary Wharf and some ships

For this week's edition of News from Paddington, we have a special guest, Paddington Brown. Paddington Brown is well known for having invented the brown colour and founded Braun, a consumer goods company.

"Sir, are you aware you're a bear?"

And finally, next week on News from Paddington! A reveal of the new headquarters of News from Paddington! Will News from Paddington stay in Paddington? Or will it become News from somewhere else? Or perhaps it will be something else from Paddington? Maybe News something else Paddington? Find out next Friday! In the meantime, this has been News from Paddington! Stay safe and stay Paddington!

News from Paddington, 2015-09-04

@mildbyte 8 years ago | paddington | writing |

Guess what time it is! It's time to paddle over here for yet another edition of News from Paddington!

  • There are two benefits to a long weekend. First, the weekend is long. Second, the week after it is short.
  • There's a Bloomberg Television above News from Paddington's desk. The Bloomberg Television loves making shitty puns. For example, "Oil Eyes On Fed". This is strictly worse than BBC's puns, for example, "Chinese stock exchange a scene of wonton destruction".
  • The Bloomberg Television also loves talking about the interest reeds and whether the interest reeds will rise in September. Full disclosure: News from Paddington is long spicy wings from Chicken Cottage on Praed Street. "Chicken Cottage on Praed Street! It's really good!"
  • "Wait, I remember you!" -- everyone, meet Kenneth. Kenneth works in M&S on Edgware Road and remembers the previous time News from Paddington wanted to buy alcohol (in fact, he is the person who claimed that News from Paddington looks older than him). It would appear that News from Paddington has a friend. It feels weird, having a friend.
  • The Nothing Hill Carnival! Police helicopters, unfinished bottles of alcohol on every horizontal surface near News from Paddington's headquarters and lots of people having no idea how they ended up in Paddington!
  • The escalator on Paddington station was broken today and News from Paddington had to take a scenic route, taking the Circle Line to the headquarters of News from Edgware Road and then continuing to Waterloo and then taking the Waterloo and City Line, which is probably the most depressing place in London, as it only has two stops (Waterloo and Bank) and serves solely to take people that arrive from the commuter belt to Waterloo to work in the City and back.
  • News from Paddington went to the bar yesterday with its coworkers, which entailed taking a lift down. When the completely packed lift instead went up and seconds later opened to a floor with some lawyers from a firm upstairs who were looking really angry at the fact that the lift was full, News from Paddington decided to be social and said "Hello!" Awkward silence, doors close, lift goes down.

More announcements!

It is with great regret that News from Paddington has to announce the death of King William Chilango, founder of Chilango on King William Street and the owner and sole proprietor of King William Street where Chilango on King William Street is located. Mr William Chilango died in a terrible accident during a kayaKING trip with his close friend, Stephen King. In the words of Mr King, the death of Mr William Chilango is "an enormous tragedy. I would like to express my full condolences to Will's family. But hey, that fucker shouldn't have named himself King. There can be only one and I enjoyed taking his lif... wait, are you still recording? Turn that off right now!"

During the search for a new sponsor, News from Paddington spoke to Robert 'Zen' Pirsig. Mr 'Zen' Pirsig is perhaps known best for being the only person who has been to the mysterious town of Motorcycle Maintenance. His accounts of various items of art discovered in this town are documented in his autobiography titled Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.

Back in 1974, when this book was released, the baby boomers who had spent their twenties smoking weed and enjoying the prosperous economic times were suddenly beginning to become aware of their own mortality and the need to finally face the real world. Trying to escape that, they sought something spiritual and mistook Mr 'Zen' Pirsig's book for exactly that.

In a sorry attempt at damage control, the namesake of the science of Ecology, Umberto Eco, tried to embed subliminal messaging into Foucalt's Pendulum, saying "But you, to avenge yourselves on the bourgeoisie you hadn't managed to overthrow, sold them videocassettes and fanzines, brainwashed them with Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance. You've made us buy, at a discount, your copies of the thoughts of Chairman Mao, ...", but failed. Mr 'Zen' Pirsig's creation got out of hand and brought him to international fame.

Decades later, Mr 'Zen' Pirsig owns the trademark on the Creative Zen line of portable music players, has a claim at having invented the idea of citiZENship, and has founded multiple stores, restaurants and religions. Of interest to News from Paddington is a restaurant called ChoZen Noodle on Praed Street. We asked Mr 'Zen' Pirsig about this restaurant.

"Mr 'Zen' Pirsig, how would you describe your restaurant in two words to a newcomer?"
"Well, it serves noodles and sushi and... hmm, that's not two words, right? I'd say it's... an exciting place. Yes, that's right, an exciting place."
"Yes, but would you say that it's good?"
"Hmm? Well, of course it's good! Why would I ever say oth..."
"We understand, Mr 'Zen' Pirsig, but... well, how good is your restaurant?"
"What do you mean? I like it myself, but everyone is free to have their own opinion about..."
"No, Mr 'Zen' Pirsig, we're afraid we're not on the same page. See, we've been contacted by the editor of the Michelin guide and he is interested in hearing more about your restaurant. How would you..."
"Really? Good! I--"
"Thank you, Mr 'Zen' Pirsig!"

This has been News from Paddington with Mr 'Zen' Pirsig. This edition of News from Paddington was brought to you by ChoZen Noodle on Praed Street. "ChoZen Noodle on Praed Street! It's really good!"


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