One of my all time favourite odours has to be the delicate pungency of a KFC. The allure of this tang has been known to draw me off course down to Western Road purely to inhale its intoxicating delights. Occasionally, far too occasionally for my liking, when the thermals are in the right direction, the seductive charms of my ethereal chicken delight carry like an invisible sea fog and hover gloriously above the Seven Dials roundabout. Today, such an astonishingly auspicious phenomenon occurred and, as I drew the residue of the secret recipe into my expanding lungs, a worthy, wild, wonderful, weak, warm winter sun appeared from behind a dark cloud, causing me to smile a contented, satiated smile. Today hints at being a special day indeed.
As you know, my time with Strictly came to an abrupt and tearful end. However, the up-side of leaving has meant more time to devote to my charity activities here at home. The last few weeks I have largely, lovingly, laboured labouredly organising sponsorship for the Dials Xmas Lighting Switch On event. Credit where credit is due, because without house-guest Biggins I’m not sure I could have done this or been part of Strictly at all. Biggins cleans the duplex far better than I ever could even if I tried, and most importantly, he keeps my feet firmly on the ground and my head held up by my neck. Strictly was a massive experience in every way, hanging out with Anton and the crowd was a joy of joys and isn’t it great that the diminutive little ‘Titch’ Toniolli has asked me to look out for a property for him to buy on the West Hill?
Not many people know that Bruno Toniolli and I were both born in Ferrara, a small Catholic town in north eastern Italy, where we both grew up watching Hollywood musicals. Bruno, just like me, went to Rome for ballet lessons; then he left Italy to work with the Paris-based dance company La Grande Eugene. I was also in Paris, studying astro chemistry at both the Pond’s Institute and the Laboratoire Garnier, (Double Doctorate). Eventually, we both settled in London. He moved into choreography and I moved into a squat in Soho. It’s completely unknown that I secretly advised him when he worked on his first big break, the BBC’s comedy show Not The Nine O’Clock News. With such talent it’s no surprise Bruno didn’t remain a newscaster for long. Together, both of us, independently between us, have contributed to many films and choreographed for West End shows, as well as a huge range of music videos, working with countless names such as Hendricks, Presley, Mercury, Dean, Springfield, Harrison, Monroe, Lennon, Joplin, Jackson and Frank Ifield, to count but eight.
Having Bruno living here at the Dials will be just like old times as bambinoettas together in our little Ferrara village, except with more shops and a different climate. I know Bruno probably like no other person living or alive. Little Tonioli is like the big older Brother I had always wanted and dreamed of in my sleep. Strictly is like family. Head judge Len Goodman, bless him, is absolutely the Dad I never had (it has been well-documented that I was born without a father). Cockney Lenny is a lion amongst jungle chimps, a dance-floor-tsunami of a man, and no stranger at my West Hill door.
Tonight Biggins, Len, Bruno, Darcy Bussell and moi are the special guests at the annual gala dinner hosted by the Seven Dials Traders’ Association to celebrate the Xmas lighting switch-on. This locally-renowned, annual international event was held in our sweet, dowdy, little community hall in Compton Avenue. I must say the food was remarkable, and some of it even tasted quite nice. Gordon Ramsay, on his Dials visit last month, had the inspired idea to have each course prepared by different Dials eateries. The Starter, created by the Seven Dials Restaurant, was a cream of liver soup to die for. There were two main courses. The first by SOBS Kebap Express. Inspiringly, they produced very flattering miniature life-like sculpture busts of each celebrity guest, constructed from formed minced Halal lamb. These were expertly dipped in a saturated fat glaze. Absolutely everyone remarked that they had never seen or eaten anything to match it. The second main was a Red Snapper signature dish, a Brown Thai Curry, a secret recipe thought to be made by combining a Green Thai curry with a Red Thai curry. Dessert was created by the kitchens of the Good Companions. A most original sticky treacle profiterole meringue in a plum and hemp wine brulli, which left everyone speechless.
This glitzy evening was rounded off with a speech by guest speaker, Cheeky Dylan Moran, who quipped furiously, leaving everybody heaving with laughter and merriment at his verbal antics. Just before Dylan’s comic timing brought him to the end of his set, he praised the Dials shopkeepers and held them up as a new paradigm of inter-community, irredentist materialism. This pleased people no end and Dylan received a double standing invasion, the last from Darcy Bussell and Biggins who joined him on stage in a rendering of the Dials Anthem, sung to the theme music of the Magic Roundabout. Talk about bringing the house down, there wasn’t any dry ice in the place. It had been the most perfect precursor imaginable to the main switching-on ceremony.
At last, our assembled group of shop-keeping glitterati gaily minced triumphantly from the hall down Dyke Road, past the Dental Clinic to take up our grandstand positions. The huge frenzied crowd was huge this year. Naturally, I had been asked to do the switching-on honours, but passed the glory, in my characteristically typical self-effacing way, to Bruno and Dylan, I could see Dylan, in particular, was emotionally touched by my altruistic gesture. Bruno was all a-quiver too, his bottom lip had gone. The tears welled up in the ten thousand eyes of the five thousand assembled onlookers as Dylan and Bruno’s fingers furtively reached for the primal button. A jet flew overhead and the vast expectant crowd were expectant no longer as the fireworks displayed their display, and the lights blazed in a blazing choreographed unison. At last, the huge iridescent letters spelt out our glorious sponsor’s message across the seven corners of our historic interchange for all to see:
“KFC WISHES SEVEN DIALS WHISTLERS A FINGER LICKIN’ CHRISTMAS AND GOOD WILL AND PEACE ON EARTH TO ALL AS WELL. BONELESS BUCKET RANGE NOW ONLY £12.99. BON NOEL.”