The current trend for ‘pop-up’ retailers is showing no sign of abating in the Greater Dalston area.
Last month alone saw the opening and prompt closure of around 100 pop-up restaurants and a dozen wine bars, plus a fair number of pop-up bicycle repair shops, canine grooming parlours, a mosque, two abortion clinics and an old people’s home that left bemused residents sitting in an empty car park selling their medication for food when the thing went tits-up after three days.
In better news, several elderly people have since established themselves in the area as big time dealers, but most are still in the car park waiting to be picked up.
But now, one of the borough’s most celebrated entrepreneurs is set to join the pop-up madness and, no doubt, further enhance Dalston’s hard-won reputation as a nationwide laughing-stock.
Mr Vernon ‘Little Vern’ Calhoun, proprietor of the popular Ridley Road retailer Calhoun’s – Purveyors of Bushmeat and Exotic Roadkill to the Gentry, is to open a pop-up cafe on the Balls Pond Road after being banned from selling food everywhere else. They won’t even have him in Camden Town, apparently, and they’re really not fussy.
‘Yeah, we’ve got a great selection of… erm… unusual specialities to titillate the public palette,’ said Mr Calhoun, who was accompanied at the cafe’s glittering launch party by his wife and his parole officer.
‘We’ve had to take live monkey brains off the menu today, sadly, because Jeremy ran off,’ Mr Calhoun told the Mercury, ‘but we’ll have lured him back by tomorrow. Saturday at the latest.’
‘We are, of course, entering the prime period of the year for spring chimp with mint sauce. And we only have about another month to wait before the glorious twelfth, when the gorilla strafing season starts in earnest.’
Then he offered us a complimentary gibbon bollock à la bretonne, but we said we’d just overdone it at Percy Ingle.
Mr Calhoun continued: ‘All of our produce comes from reliable suppliers in the Democratic Republic of Congo, who ensure that every joint of meat, every single zebra colon and wildebeest spleen is as fresh as can be when they seal it in the shipping container.’
‘It’s not so good when it gets to us three weeks later, naturally, but it’s definitely farm fresh when it leaves the nature reserve.’
‘And,’ continued Mr Calhoun as we fought to suppress a powerful gag reflex, ‘every dish comes with a complimentary soft drink, because ocelot tartar does tend to play havoc with your insides – it needs some swilling down, does your ocelot.’
‘So for our opening period, everyone gets a free glass of Um Bongo, famed worldwide as the national beverage of the Congo.’
Just then Jeremy the monkey came back, so we legged it while Mr Calhoun was swearing at it and looking for his taser.