That's that cleared up then

HAVE you seen those adverts for one railway?They go something like this:A pretty young lady says “Shopping, dinner and drinks in Hoxton and then the train home” while smiling all the time and grabbing what I assume to be her rather vacant boyfriend in a blatant attempt to get him to recognise the shared memory.

HAVE you seen those adverts for one railway?

They go something like this:

A pretty young lady says “Shopping, dinner and drinks in Hoxton and then the train home” while smiling all the time and grabbing what I assume to be her rather vacant boyfriend in a blatant attempt to get him to recognise the shared memory. He smiles too.

Well it all sounds glorious doesn't it? But where is it?

Sounds so frightfully exotic though.

Say it out loud.

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Hox…ton, could almost be as interesting as Bang…kok.

Leave one's little Ipswich sitting room, sashay along to the station, board a train and in about an hour, thanks to one, one can be sipping a port and lemon in a bar in the capital and back in time for Book at Bedtime.

But have you ever been to Hoxton? What sort of people live there? And is it as enigmatic as it sounds? I admit it's a not of Loch Ness proportions but it's a mystery nonetheless, innit.

As an ex Londoner I know where it is - in fact I once woke up there with a shaved eyebrow and one shoe after a particularly hectic night/early morning celebrating my 26th birthday - significantly less than a decade ago.

Naturally, I no longer do that sort of thing.

But, to make sure and for those of you who don't know, I phoned a lovely young lady at London-based London promoters Visit London in London.

And she told me all about the place.

“It's really close to Liverpool Street station. It's young and trendy and full of cool restaurants and late night bars. “There's a couple of clubs. Would you like details?” She said.

I declined; knowing that if I missed my last train and woke up there again without an eyebrow and no shoe I might not be able to laugh it off like I once did.

“So what's the atmosphere like?” I enquired.

Anna, that was her name you see, said: “It's up and coming and for the last five years been really cool. About ten to 12 years ago artists started moving there because it was close to the city and the rents were cheap.

“There's lots of media type agencies.”

Well fancying myself as a media-type-boy-about-town with a fondness for a glass of Chenin, I'm wondering if I might make a visit and review the late night bars for next week's column.

When I suggested it, asking for a day off in the name of research and some significant petty cash for expenses I might incur buying dinner and drinks, news editor Jess, who's normally so supportive of investigative journalism, wasn't too forthcoming.

“No,” she said.

Anyway, I want to go so if you're heading down there and need company let me know.

Now that's cleared up I might even find my shoe.

A SPOT of karaoke never did go amiss.

And occasionally I can be found in the Hare and Hounds on Wednesday night listening to a few choice tunes.

Last week, a lady called Jackie - I'm not exactly sure how to spell her name as it's such an odd question someone to ask over a crème de cassis and lemonade - got up to sing.

“You'll Never Walk Alone” announced the karaoke man.

Jackie, keen to inform her audience, before belting out the number said: “It's an anthem about liberation and nothing to do with football.”

A moment or two later my friend Kerry, a girl who enjoys an alcopop and 1970s classics got up to sing Gloria Gaynor's “I Will Survive”.

“It's an anthem about liberation and nothing to do with football,” she rather cheekily pronounced.

All terribly profound.

WASN'T yesterday's fire on the Cutty Sark dreadful?

As I woke and tuned into my radio I was saddened to hear such terrible news.

To see this magnificent ship, which tells us so much about how our great nation was shaped, laid so low is an awful shame.

Thankfully it appears some of the ship's woodwork is safe and the devastating fire could have been worse.

As Cutty Sark Trust chariman Richard Doughty said: “When you lose original fabric, you lose the touch of the craftsman, you lose history itself.”

Let's hope she can be saved.

NOW at my age, three and one, 31, I've yet to discover the benefits of these new things called Ipods - apparently they play music in your ears.

My friend Lorraine, a landlady at one of my regular Ipswich haunts, said to me the other night as we sat at the bar while she sipped a white wine and I a cherry brandy.

“I don't understand these new things,” I said “I'm too old for new technology now.”

Lorraine, who had a quiche named after her, told me she had downloaded, with the help of one of her teenage son's friends, a number of tracks.

She added: “Well I'm heading for 50 and I've got an Ipod. There's hope for you yet James.”

I'm not convinced though, I don't know any young people.

I don't know about you but I never answer a knock at my door just in case it's the dreaded television licence detective van.

ISN'T the speedway fun?

I popped along on Thursday to watch the excitement.

I found out the bikes run on methanol, they have no brakes and no gears - a fact I thought I'd share with you.

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