I like to go to this coffee shop in York. The reason for this is because it is housed in the barbican of Walmgate Bar itself. This is very cool. Allow me to indulge my history geekiness here. I have to withstand bouts of video game, science fiction and robot type geekdom many, many times, particularly since spending a lot of time on the interwebz. I basically know everything about Star Trek, for example, despite the fact that I've only ever managed to sit through half of one of the '60s episodes and The Wrath of Kahn.
It's my turn now. Unleash the geek. Walmgate Bar is mostly 14th century, but the inner walls are most likely 12th century. The barbican is the only intact gatehouse of any of the four main gates of York. It's also the nearest gate to my house (my present and my new, as it goes) and it is beautiful.
Before I moved here, and I may have mentioned this before, I noticed that estate agents (or thieving scumbag knob-rots as I prefer to call them) greasily mentioning the 'cachet' of living within the City Walls. They didn't use the word 'cachet' of course, as they couldn't possibly spell it. I've lost count of how many times I've seen the word accommodation spelled incorrectly over the last few weeks.
When I moved here and found myself walking through Walmgate Bar regularly, I noticed that just inside are the unmistakable signs of council housing. Now, I have no beef with this at all. Except that this is proper drunken scumbags with a dog on a piece of string louty kind of council housing. People are pissed all the time. The guy who serves me in the One Stop is electronically tagged. People often don't have teeth. That kind of thing. It's hardly salubrious. And it certainly has no cachet.
But in Walmgate Bar itself is a coffee shop. It's beautiful. All leather sofas and hard back books. When I first went in there I thought it odd that the people behind the counter appeared to be American and the people drinking the coffee and sitting around tapping on iPads and smartphones also seemed to be American. I asked for the wifi key and was told it's 'jesuslovesyou'. Naturally, I thought that was a joke. Subsequent visits have convinced me that no, it's not a joke. And yes, it is run by some kind of bible-bashing, rightest of right wing (from myriad overheard conversations) and, frankly, badly dressed American youths. I assume they're students. It's hard to tell. They yak a lot in accents that I thought were made up for filmic purposes and they look at English people like they're weird. Or maybe I'm looking at them like they're weird. Because they ARE.
Today, three or four porky American girls were sat around looking like they'd run through an emo convention grabbing anything in sight and then wearing it all at once. They were discussing, in the very loud, grating tones that only Americans can manage (you know the ones. The kind of tones you can feel destroying your neurons and lowering your serotonin levels), the launch of ios 6.
"Ehmergerd it's AMAZZZZZING," said one. Let's call her Fanny Lou.
"I know, rigggghhhhhht????? I lovvvvveeee iosssss6666666," said another. Probably called Crystal Fernandez. I don't know why. It just sounds like something she'd be called. She looked like a large Avril Lavigne. Naturally, I immediately wanted to flick her forehead with my thumb and index finger.
I asked for a skimmed milk cappuccino. The (American, of course) lass behind the counter said: "Oh, wait, what's skim milk?" I looked askance. She went to check.
She came back and said: "We only have non-fat or dairy."
I'm sorry, what? You have what, exactly?
"Do you mean you have skimmed milk or full-fat?" I said.
"Errrr, I guesssss."
Unable to hide my disdain I said: "Skimmed please." and turned on my heel.
She didn't notice, what with being a rampant Christian. I expect 'Jesus loves you' no matter how execrable your use of the English language.
PS. I do like some Americans. Just not bible-bashing homophobic fools. Who use phrases like 'jesuslovesyou' for a wifi key. Abhorrent.