Reminises: Taking Tramps for Dinner

When I was about twenty seven and a half I took two homeless men to dinner in Chinatown, London.

I met them in Leicester square one Friday evening. We were sharing the lawn and they started chatting to me, as tramps tend to.

I had just been paid and so a few "starter cans" of Stella in it was like "I'm hungry, do you guys want a Chinese". (I had recently finished reading Songlines where the narrator does the same, only in the Outback (In Australia not the Franchise Antipode bar))

They accepted. I remember one was called just "Billericay" and he was, you got it, Oirish.

I assume the cause of their acceptance was the sound of a free meal rather than any desperate need to spend more time with a lanky "student twat type" (My quotes) but nonetheless, as a trio, we did go.

Hing Loon’s was our destination, it’s still there and remains my fave - I was there last time in London. I had been going there for years with friends and family and, on that summer in the late 90s, two pissedup tramps. Both of whom, in the confines of a building it was revealed, stunk like they had been living on the streets for decades.

We sat on a big round table.

We sat under a drizzle of uncouthness that gradually, by the time the Won Ton's had arrived, increased to an embarrassing torrent of uncouthness.

I don’t think the tale needs the details.

It was a truly educational experience. One I was keen to end fast (I think we skipped the ice-cream with Lychees) and even more keen never to repeat.

Don’t ever take drunken tramps for dinner.