Season 2007-2008CLARK'S; 46 Exmouth Market, Finsbury
(5 pts)
(4 pts)
(3 pts)
(2 pts)
(1 pts)
ROY FLOOKS1142022929
TOM LEADER1222022626
NICK EVANS1122012020
JAMIE TANNER1031011616
ALAN SMITH1111011313
REHAN QAYOOM1021011212
TONY CHUNG1021011212

After the famous 'non-summer-wot-a-bummer' of o-seven and a four-month 'close season', the club was more than ready for a basin of hot scoff. The panoramic shows (left to right) the London Eye, the Emergency Release Handle, Westminster Abbey, Big Ben, reigning Pie Champion Rikk Lucas and bebereted associate,Tony Chung. You'll never read a picture caption like that again.

Our travel plans to Exmouth Market were stymied by closure of the highway at the junction of Gray's Inn and Clerkenwell Roads. A shortcut down Elm Street revealed a disconcertingly-named lunchtime venue. I like a butty as much as the next man, but a 'buttyboy' I am not. Better 'Buttybods' I reckon. But do not be alarmed, for we were singleminded in our ascent of Mount Pleasant. It was the promise of a fantasy foodscape like the one on the far right that kept us going.

That plate of four pies was demolished in the slow and measured strokes of the Pie and Mash League's 'Grinder'. Like a latter-day Cliff Thorburn, he adds a touch of green baize to the proceedings. Let me extend that metaphor by making the observation that there are six 'pie holes' at your average booth and, well . . . let's leave it there. I wouldn't want to snooker anyone.

Just beyond him is the impeccably attired Rehan Qayoom, truly a vision of shimmering corduroy. But when you realise the gentleman from Barking is a man of refined literary sensibility it all starts to make sense. We have long needed a poet to praise our pies, a minstrel to merit our mash, a lyricist to laud the liquor (etc. ad nauseum) and at last I think we may have found our man.

For more musings, you can visit his Facebook group, or his profile on Blogspot.

Having glorified the talents of Mister Q, let us not overlook the polished prose that exudes from the burnished nib of former champ Mister Darlow, seen here looming large over yonder booth. I give you his recent pre-season missive to me:

'Eels, who can speak of their glory apart from me: that silvery look as they slither over each other on the brimful tray; turned to dull, lifeless, greenish-grey, within a swamp green likker, as the plate is presented, and finally, that first tang of eelness, as they slip past the laughing gear to explode their sea girt ripeness on the tongue. Ah me.'

Tony Chung is seen here keeping his beret firmly on, perhaps as a prophylactic against possible purple prose. Meanwhile Roy Flooks, autumnally be-sweatered, sports an expression of esoteric inscrutability. He might have closed his account, or he might be going back for seconds. As it happened, it was the latter. I could almost believe he is making up for lost time - perhaps a misspent youth? His cohort from fashionable Fitzrovia features at the top of this page. They call him 'Jet'.

Here's a cosy shot of our booth at Clark's. On the near side, left to right, is me, Eddy Mosse and Tom Leader. Others who came and went were Alan and Jill, and Mister Graham McLaurin, who was back after nearly nine years. It was an impressive showing for the first meet of a new season, and the Clark's experience did not disappoint, as these pleasantly plump pie faces attest.