Wednesday, September 19, 2007


Dr Rick was in this morning. He's been reading the blog. I did the usual and changed the subject asap - why do I hate talking about blogging? I like to think no-one reads this crap - that they do is a worry and something I try not to think about...

I love Scooterworks. Adam and I stumbled in there the first time we ever went to look at the shop. Every time we came back we visited Scooterworks and much of the shop was planned in there (as well as the Hermit's Cave pub in Camberwell). Scooterworks even appeared in the latest Matt Damon Bourne film, though they changed the name to E-Net Cafe.

Dr Rick suggested I try to describe Scooterworks. So here goes...

Scooterworks is a refuge and an inspiration. The relentless London drive; the wild-eyed, quick-heeled life that makes our city at once the most exhilarating and exhausting place to be, melts away on entering Scooterworks. The shouts of the market traders on Lower Marsh fade to be replaced with the gentle crooning of a French chanteuse or maybe some jaunty plastic euro-pop cover of a Beetles song, or a beautiful Bach violin concerto, or some reggae or a little jazz - the music at Scooterworks is always good, never predictable.

Before selling coffee and Scooters the premises sold records. Indeed there are two framed spaces on the wall where you can see layers of posters showing the top 10 from the 1930s and 40s. These were uncovered when the present owners started to decorate. I spoke with a customer who remembered buying punk and new wave records there in his youth and I have spoken to several people who claim to have visited illegal raves on the premises in the early 1990's - Scooterworks are certainly known to host floor-bouncing parties periodically. (My sister ended up at one by chance after wandering home to Kennington Lane in the middle of the night. Her description of this great place on Lower Marsh where an Italian guy was DJing in a pair of old WW1 flying goggles was instantly recognisable.)

On an early visit I remember being struck by the bloke behind the counter. He had straggly hair and wore an old fashioned shirt and trousers with braces. Had he just stepped out of the 1930's. Was this some sort of time warp? I tried to pay and he waved his hand at me - "Later". I thought he was a bit rude - a bit full of himself. But now I know he's Charlie and a super-cool-wonder-boy who now haunts our cellar. (Don't ask)

Indeed the staff are a constant source of wonder. There's Craig in his overalls, Fifi and her Italian charm, always mid-project Charlie, Natalie and her kookie dress sense, Claire the ceramicist who lives in the same block as Finn's child-minder. All unconventional, all miraculously surviving in one of the fiercest cities in the world doing - what? Exactly...

Scooterworks subtly subverts and refuses classification. Is it a coffee shop? Then why are there folk who come in asking for number plates or to sort out an MOT? Is it a place that fixes Scooters? Then why the tables and coffee?

Scooterworks asks to be taken as it is found.

It is the perfect antidote to the world made mass. Starbucks would never do it this way.

Scooterworks is to coffee shops what I hope C & P might become for bookshops.

Unique. Individual. Interesting. Stimulating. Fun.

There, Dr Rick, I've had a go...


  1. And they have a cat. The cat is very important.