the weekly

The End of Everything

Farewell, Little Chef, for soon
It seems you’ll meet your final fate,
When greasy fork and greasy spoon
Will no more touch your greasy plate:
How English must I be, that I
Shed salt tears from my lardy eye?

Perhaps mid-England will awaken,
Guard your roadside habitat,
Come out in force to save your bacon
Brimming with its edge of fat –
Or must we press the final shutter
On your round of bread and butter?

Modernisers tried their magic –
Heston Blumenthal et al. –
But all their efforts verged on tragic.
Little Chef was plain hi-cal,
A breakfast menu in a hurry,
For those whose stomachs didn’t worry.

You’ve been around since I was five,
When giant cups of cappuccino
Weren’t ever scheduled to arrive.
And now, like Spangles and the Beano,
You join the past, forever slipping
Forward. And your fried bread, dripping,

Will be replaced by healthy junk,
The Yankee eggs, the toasted muffin.
Instead of tea, as thick as gunk,
Your coffee will have foreign stuff in –
But when I’m older, blind and deaf,
I’ll think of you, my Little Chef,

Your trademark whites, your hairless face,
The covered plate you hold aloft,
Your tight-fit overalls in place,
And somehow, though it’s sad and soft,
I’ll sense a melancholy mood
Despite your really awful food.

Click here for a BBC story

Click here to buy Bill’s poetry collection Ringers

Click here to visit Bill's New Statesman project


The End of Everything

The Little Chef chain is up for sale. The usual global suspects are ready to bid.

29 May 2013


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