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Two men in London pub
Where are you from?



February 25, 2006

BOB: Where are you from?
MAK: Battersea.
BOB: I've never seen you there and I live there.
MAK: It's actually Clapham, not far.
BOB: My uncle lived in Clapham. He would have said something.
MAK: Okay. I grew up in Enfield.
BOB: Enfield? Hmm. My brother-in-law, he lived there.
MAK: Okay not Enfield, not Clapham. Richmond! That's where I'm from - by the river.
BOB: Nah. You're having me on. Went to school with a Richmond bloke.
MAK: “He would have said something.”
BOB: You from London?
MAK: Where does it sound like?
BOB: I've never seen you once on a bus, or the tube.
MAK: Well, here we are, pleased to meet you - Makan.
BOB: Pleased to meet you Mak -- Bob. Tell me, not a Harrow boy are ya?
MAK: No. More of a barrow boy, me.
BOB: Only um, I don't know anyone who lives there.
MAK: You don't? Harrow it is then! Hold it, no. Me granddad was from Harrow.
MAK: Never mind. Anywhere else you haven't been to? Sod it, I tell you what. I'm from Iran. That's where I am from. Persia.
BOB: Purrrrrrsia, eh? Like the floating, grinning cat?
MAK: No that's Cheshire.
BOB: My brother used to work there in the seventies.
MAK: What Cheshire?
BOB: No, Persia.
MAK: Well, obviously I can't be from there then.
BOB: Eh?
MAK: He would have informed you, would he not?
BOB: You're right, he would.
MAK: What was he doing in Iran, your brother?
BOB: He was training the Savak.
MAK: The Shah's secret police? You are having a laugh!
BOB: He was. SAS. Training the Iranians.
MAK: To do what?
BOB: Bake biscuits.
MAK: Eh?
BOB: And cakes, Danish, pain au chocolate - the lot.
MAK: The British coached Iran's Stasi to make cookies?
BOB: Yeah, well.
MAK: It's not what you'd expect is it? I would have thought extracting confessions, forklift driving - not home economics.
BOB: It wasn't all about violence. It was about cookery too. Reverie. Crockery.
MAK: Mockery. That's probably where the expression “Take the biscuit comes from.”
BOB: Eh?
MAK: Brits teaching us how to cook the damn things.
BOB: Possibly. Look, my brother wasn't in surveillance. It was more counter-surveillance.
MAK: What's the difference?
BOB: Surveillance, you're watching someone - or someone's watching you. Counter-surveillance, you draw the curtains.
MAK: They needed the Brits to tell them that?
BOB: Well, a lot of people in your country had blinds. Not everyone had curtains. Lucky to have had him, you lot. Still, it's got to be said. He never saw you.
MAK: Yeah, well, if truth be told, I was actually born in Baku in Azerbaijan. Not Iran.
BOB: Azerbaijan?
MAK: Don't tell me someone - your niece, grandfather, uncle, your great-granny -
BOB: - No. No-no. Cousin. She got married in Azerbaijan.
MAK: I'm running out of land mass. Oh dear. Just out of interest how about Rio? De Janeiro.
BOB: Nephew, Stan.
MAK: Johannesburg?
BOB: Stepsister.
MAK: Reykjavik.
BOB: Aunt.
MAK: (LOSING PATIENCE) Tokyo. Adelaide. Prague. Lima. Tell me something, where are you from?
BOB: Hanwell.
MAK: Hanwell? Charlie Chaplin went to school there.
BOB: He did, you're right.
MAK: He never said he saw you.

For letters section
To Peyvand Khorsandi

Peyvand Khorsandi



Book of the day

My Uncle, Napoleon
A Comic Novel
by Iraj Pezeshkad
translated by Dick Davis
>>> Excerpt

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