AUTHOR: James Dowen

A player is only happy when he’s playing

I love to see a true professional at work. Someone with not only a passion, but also a flair, and almost intrinsic connection with their vocation-like-trade.

John Francombe, a horseman, always impresses me when you see him on Channel 4 doing a stable tour, as he reviews the star of the show. He tells the viewer things that not just the amateur, but even the trained eye, would never notice. He is at one with the animal. Totally in tune with, and appreciating, every nuance of it’s being.

Blog, if you too, enjoy and are intrigued by meeting similar exponents and experts of their art, you really should book yourself in for a consultation with Mr Max Shoes…

Max spoils me. He tells me I’m his favourite. I bet he says that to everyone’s feet though, really.

Our Christmas order has been made, and Mr Shoes came to see me today, as a thank you, to bring me three of the finest pairs of shoes ever put on this planet, to fit around a human foot. Anyone who questions this statement is either of no taste, or is a liar. I will hear no more on the matter.

Max refers to his shoes as his ‘babies’ and before he removes them from their red cashmere socks, almost does a pretend drumroll and gesticulates to increase the excitement of the moment. He also loves the Elderly and Infirm and was today even making smooth moves upon the female department, going as far to tell her that she looked ‘hot’!! It’s all part of the service.

Thank you, Mr Shoes.

In other news:

One man who used to love a pair of Max Shoes, shoes, being delivered to his office, was ‘The Baron’…

The Baron came to Walthamstow dogs twice during my time there, and whilst he held court in the restaurant, Max was on hand to kneel in front of him, and put on and take off his feet, a selection of shoes for him to choose from.

The Baron would then emerge, like Caesar, onto the steps of the betting ring and pose for a while before commencing with battle. I would look out at him quickly and then scan the crowd whilst whispering out into the ring ‘Mirror, mirror, on the wall.. who is the greatest punter of them all…?’. Then I’d fix a steeled look into his eyes and answer out with another whisper ‘Yooou, Baron, Yooou..’. The Baron got turned on quicker than a fourteen year old boy with a porno mag sitting on his lap and would be firing before he even knew it himself. Happy times. Good memories. Those nights at Walthamstow seem a long way away now.

I would have thought though, that for Asil Nadir; for whom, when the reality of his absurd recent delussion, of trying to persuade himself he was innocent, didn’t go according to plan, and for The Baron last Monday; when the judge appeared and read out a number to them, before they were then led away, the safety of non-extraditable Northern Cyprus felt a lot, lot, further away than Walthamstow dogs. On arrival at Belmarsh for Mr Nadir, and at Wandsworth for The Baron, I have been bold enough to think too, that NC suddenly appeared like a hallucination in front of their eyes as being a really rather luxury and high end emigration choice, rather than the khazi it actually is, in reality.

’13′ was a particularly ‘bad beat’ for The Baron. Numbers like ’6′ and ’7′ had even been mentioned before the fat lady, or rather, the judge, came out to sing, and whatever desperate liberties had been taken when he was running wild, one has to feel that The Greatest Punter has rather been made an example of. That said; against him, but in his favour, for those of a wicked streak in their humour, a mutual friend, ‘Big Timer’, said to me the other day, that he has made The Great Train Robbers look like positive amateurs with the sums of money that have been mentioned in the press!

Greatest Punter, Extreme Mutilator, Savage Competitor, I have a feeling you will be reading this. Immerse yourself. Try to forget about all of us. It’s the only way. Make a life in your new world, because that’s what it is. You are so sophisticated and canny. Find out who the boss is, who the little Indians and big chiefs are, where the serpents and dragons lie, and who the goodies and baddies are too. Get yourself a good mate who can tell you how the land lies – get him ‘on the firm’. Like you have done so many times before, to your benefit; ingratiate yourself with your new audience. Play to their tune for a while. And once again, I’m sure they will all dance around you, given just a little time.

Mr A.F. Needleman, your former legal guardian-angel and professional padder-awayer, for so many years, returned from holiday on Friday. I meet him for lunch on Tuesday and I’m sure he will want to be informed of the full fall-out of your recent temporary exclusion from affairs and sabbatical. We shall leave half a salt-beef sandwich on the side, in your honour. I can’t guarantee it will be left there long, but it shall be left there for a period of time, no less.

Over and out,

B x