Saturday, July 22, 2006

Israeli Butchery Continues

The response to the "Cancer" that is Hezbollah has been on par with a response one would expect from a deranged trainee butcher. Sliced, diced and thrown into the pressure cooker - the master nods approvingly - "well done son, you can go home now - never mind the mess". The master – America, The mess - Beirut and the Trainee responsible for it all? Answers on a postcard. While the pitiful Katusha rockets fall harmlessly in the sea off the Haifa Coast (this, apparently, is worthy of a Sky "Breaking News" bulletin, the hourly missiles responsible for innocent deaths in Lebanon, isn’t) the "precision guided" bombs continue to pound Beirut, the Lebanese continue to flee in their hundreds of thousands and the International community continue to watch in horror, as the Israeli military machine ups the ante.

"We are not against the people of Lebanon, we are against Hezbollah" seems to be the mantra of this Israeli onslaught. In what can only be described as an act of flagrant
ignorance, our very own Margaret Becket agrees. She insists that the goal in this latest episode of Israeli aggression, is to help the Lebanese government take full control
of the country. Oh, pardon our ignorance. How courteous of Israel. Perhaps she can elaborate. Perhaps she could let us know how exactly, the bombing of the state owned LBC television station is helping the people of Lebanon. Perhaps she can let us how destroying roads, villages, and communication networks is helping the orphans created by the Middle East’s terror state. Yes, I’m sure the Lebanese prime minister is drafting his thank you card as we speak, and I'm equally sure that the Ehud Olmert will find that the card was printed in Damascus, thus confirming Hezbollah’s link with the Syrians.

The Anglo-American response to this all, has, as usual, been as lob-sided as an Ariel Sharon mounted see-saw. With unequivocal support of Israel, coupled with equal amounts of condemnation and disdain for the unholy threesome that is Iran, Syria and Hezbollah. For you see, Israel are just innocent bystanders in this debacle. It was Hezbollah who occupied territory illegally, it was is Hezbollah who have thousands upon thousands of innocent Israelis locked up in prisons, it is Hezbollah that launched a scud missile onto an Israeli beach, leaving a 10 yr old girl crying over her fathers dead body. Yes, it was all Hezbollah’s fault - everything is, including George Bush's lack of intellect and my alarmingly rapid hair loss.

And what of the Ceasefire? A ceasefire that could prevent the mass slaughter, a ceasefire that will bring an end to the violence, a ceasefire that would allow much needed aid into Lebanon - what of this ceasefire? Supported by all, bar the US (read Israel) and it's proxies. Untenable. Counterproductive. To quote America's second lady, "A false promise" for peace. A Ceasefire would last only months Condoleezza Rice insists, it would be pointless. For her, for Blair, for Olmert, there is only one solution to the crisis - the destruction of Hezbollah, and the destruction of anything that stands in the way of their most honorable of crusades. And when Hezbollah is destroyed, and the orphans pick up the rubble in Beirut, they will know who was responsible for the wanton destruction of their country, and from there, will arise the next wave of Hezbollah fighters - the cycle will continue, and all of Israel’s efforts, would have been in vain. Will we ever see peace?

As I write this, reports are emerging of Mr. Blair "urging restraint" from Israel - that, according to The Guardian, is a kin to criticism of Israeli action. Excuse me? My sister urges her 3 year old to show restraint. “Urging restraint” isn’t criticism, it is loving advice.

Pray for peace.

Monday, July 10, 2006

THAT Headbutt...

Zidane is a bloody hero, he really is. I wholeheartedly applaud any man who has the courage to headbut somebody on international TV in front of a worldwide audience of billions. Kudos to the man...Admitedly, I was shocked at first, dissapointed even, but one sleepless night later, im actually in awe. To take take down the

"oh, look at me, I'm Mr Macho Materazi, I used to play for Everton, I like to write crap on my arms with permanent ink"

with consumate ease should not be scoffed at, it required a skill, elegance and sheer utter madnes that should, nay, MUST be admired by all.. Legendary stuff...Absolutley legendary. And the thought of these italian 'heroes' playing in Seria C next season really does turn that frown of mine...up side bloody down.

One thing to note - As cool as his headbut was, I would have much rather he punched him. A solid punch to the chin would have made for better TV.

Conclusion: Matterazi is a cheating racist scumbag and desrved what he got and more. In fact, Matterazi should thank Zizu..10 years from now, he'll be known as the moron who got in the way of Zidane's THAT is a claim to fame.

Zizu Zindabad!

Sunday, June 04, 2006

When The Alif Team was Famous

Very late of me...but what the hey!

Like great bloggers before me, I too, have reached the dizzy heights of international acclaim. The fine bastion of modern news, The Metro newspaper of london made this lowly Anglo-Pakistani, their Blogger of the week for the week ending 26/05/05.

A few Shout Outs...

Thanks to Osama for alerting me of my new found fame. A huge thanks to Murasaki for editing my articles!

Saturday, May 20, 2006

The Bearded Commute

9/11, 7/7, 5/52, 3*x to the power of 6. All of course, events that have shaped society’s views in this, the most crazy of decades. Whereas before, Muslims were seen as eccentric Arab millionaires and kebab shop owners; they are now wife-beating terrorists hell-bent on disturbing the fabric of modern free society by way of blowing up a small part of it.

Naturally, common folk are somewhat apprehensive when encountering Muslims in their daily lives; this apprehension turns into outright pant-crapping fear when they see a bearded man of Middle Eastern appearance take a seat opposite to them on the train.

As a bearded commuter/student who uses public transport on a regular basis, I can provide a somewhat (note: somewhat is a qualifier, so cannot be used in conjunction with unique, unless you did this deliberately for comic effect) unique insight into what us poor bearded folk have to go through on the daily commute. This can be best summed up by the different types of 'looks' (evils, innit) I get from various fellow rat-race participants.

The "Cautious look"

The most common of the 'looks', the cautious look is usually characterised by a general unease, a somewhat unnerving feeling takes hold of the starer as he sees a bearded man stroll into the carriage. The cautious looker is afraid, though surprisingly calm at the same time. Unlike the other lookers, the Cautious Looker will usually give semi-threatening glances - a squint in the eye develops as the whiter-than-white Caucasian tries his darndest to pull off his best Genghis Khan impression. A feeling of doubt wonders in and out of his mind - "the likelihood of this guy doing anything is slim to nil; I'm worrying for no reason". Common sense prevails. He realises that trendy bearded men who own ipods cannot possibly be part of an all together fiendish plot to destroy the bedrock of western civilisation that is, the 7.00 am jubilee line train from Stanmore. The looks become less frequent, his shoulders relax, he gets back to reading yet another needlessly sarcastic and only mildly witty movie review in The Metro.

The "Oh my god, what's he got in his bag" look

This doesn't really happen all that often, but always a joy when it does. Most likely to occur when the beard is thick, the man is big, and the rucksack has an eerily bulging look to it. This particular stare is usually characterised by an almost overwhelming expression of distress coupled with bowel movements similar to those experienced after eating a dodgy kebab down Woodgreen High Street. If not completely flabbergasted at the 'potential' of being blown into smithereens at any given moment, the nervous wreck will proceed to think of ways in which she (yes, it's usually a she, men have common sense) can become the heroine of this nail biting Hollywood drama. Should she shout out something? A warning? Should she wrestle him to the ground? She does neither. Too scared to move, her body won’t let her do anything besides give intermittent glances to Osama's European representative. The rucksack, oh Gordon Bennet, the rucksack - he's opening it. Heavens above, lord of the worlds. Her face, already drenched in sweat, turns red. She looks around in a seemingly vain attempt to rally support for her, as yet, verbally unexpressed cause. What's this? The man pulls out...his lunch. Suddenly his rucksack seems a little less bloated and yes, oh so suddenly, she realises that Muslims don't wear bright orange turbans - the man is a Sikh.

There are various in-between looks, ranging from the "Overcautious" (one rung above Cautious) to the "Wasn't he the same guy I saw on the news last night?" Each possessed of varying degrees of seriousness, displaying, in all their glory, the full array of facial expressions bedazzled morning commuters have to offer. Joy indeed, but for fear of flogging this article’s dead horse, we won’t go into the specifics.

If you've gotten this far without thinking yours truly is an overly arrogant moron with his love for sarcasm only surpassed by his love for writing wildly exaggerated pieces on the perils of Muslim commuting, there is a lesson to be learnt in all of this. A quite important one at that. You see, There is a mis-generalisation, albeit one lurking in the depths of sub-consciousness, that an awful lot of non-Muslims have about the British Muslim community. The generalisations aren't totally unfounded. Considering the general media hype surrounding terrorism, immigration and all things Islamic, it is sometimes hard to keep your mind in an informed state, ready to make judgments based on intellect, rather than a warped, inherently sensationalist western media.

You may consider yourself a well-read liberal, a cultured man of the world whose opinions aren't at all swayed by Daily Mail rants and right wing crackerjacks cast in the Littlejohn mould. Nevertheless, whether you realise it or not, somewhere in the realms of your sub-conscience lies this belief that Muslims in this country have the potential to carry out the most heinous of crimes against humanity. You may have all the Muslim friends in the world (it's funny, the 'I have a black friend' syndrome is slowly being replaced by it's 'I have a Muslim friend' cousin) but it still doesn't stop you from suspecting that rucksack carrying Muslim...does it? And why not?

So next time you see that bearded man of Middle Eastern appearance nonchalantly stroll into the carriage, rucksack on back - give him a smile. Give him a wink. Give him a hug...and give him your copy of The Metro - he needs something to hide his beard behind damnit! - figi!

Sunday, April 30, 2006

Pakistani Weddings - The Saga that is

This article is long overdue. Despite being an incredibly handsome unmarried 20 year old stallion who has never even come close to tying the proverbial knot, I feel I have more than enough experience in the realm of Pakistani weddings to be able to write an article or two or three about how weddings work in our sub-contracted Indian culture. Think of this as a sort of wedding guide for those young, soon to be married Pakistanis, and indeed, those poor unfortunate non-Pakistani souls who, unbeknownst to them, have incurred god's wrath and decided to marry into a Pakistani family. Shudder.

The Fights

No Pakistani wedding is complete without a fight or two. Be it the guest list or the color of napkins, there is always something to have a good ol’ fashioned battle royale over. Although normally inconsequential, these fights can sometimes boil over, with people (often close relatives) refusing to attend the wedding and canvassing others to do the same. The reason? No one (boycotees included) are really sure - though it most probably has its roots in the fact that the day of the wedding (planned 6 months ago) has fallen on the same day as a senior auntie’s dentist appointment. Said auntie was well within her right to ask the bride’s parents to change the day of the wedding. The parents refused outright, resulting in some 'izzat' related problems for the auntie and other members of her clique.

The Wedding Card

Always a joy to read the spelling mistakes and seventy-seven names crammed into a wedding card the size of a postage stamp.

An example:
Mr and Mrs Ahmed rekwest the pleasure of your company at the Walima Seremoneee of their beloved shon,


Grandosn of the late Tariq Ahmed and Maryam Hussain. Newphew of Hasan Khan, Cousin of Tanveer Yusuf, Ex-husband of Fatimah Raja, Friend of Ameena Sarwar.

The Guest list

Ahh...the guest list. Your social circle tops well over a thousand. Unfortunately, the Royal Albert hall was booked out on June 17th so you had to make do with the local town hall instead – capacity: 250. For a reason unknown to anyone bar god himself, desi parents are compelled to invite all sorts of barely related weirdos to the wedding.

Remember that questionably homosexual 'uncle' you met at your cousins' BBQ? - Yup, he's invited. Your close friend of 15 years, Ahmed? No space for him unfortunately.

Guest list are hard - their construction requires a lot of time, effort and patience. They also require common sense, something which in a wedding household is strictly at a premium. So stupid, idiotic, and downright barmy decisions will be made.

The Rituals

The rituals...deep breaths. All great cultures have weird and wonderful wedding customs. The Jews hold the groom up on a chair and dance round him - sweet. They proceed by breaking a glass - small scale vandalism, but again, sweet nonetheless. Pakistani wedding customs on the other hand range from theft and force feeding to eerily disturbing levels of emotional blackmail.


The theft of course, comes in the form Grand Theft Khussa. For those unfamiliar with indo-pak culture, the wedding celebrations cullminate in a somewhat bizarre ritual where sisters/cousins from the brides side steal (yes, that’s right - steal) the grooms shoes. Like a swarm of shalwar kameez clad locust, they swoop in,literally wrestling the shoes off the poor sod’s feet. He is left there, bewildered - in a state of shock. He has essentially been mugged by a group of sissy girls in front of his family and friends. If the loss of dignity wasn’t bad enough, the groom is now obliged to pay obscene amounts of money for the safe return of his begins the bargaining. What would you pay for the return uncomfortable shoes that reveal your short stature? £10...£15 at the most. Yet for some reason, the idiot groom ends up forking over £300 to get his shoes back. It is the ghetto equivalent of being mugged for your Nokia 3210 and being forced to buy it back from the mugger at over 10 times the market rate. Does nobody else find this disturbing? I swear, come my wedding day, I would rather walk out of the banqueting hall bare foot, than pay for the shoes I never wanted to wear in the first place. Or better yet, maybe I’ll fight back. Let’s see how brave the girls are when I decide to throw a few punches. One black eye = saving of £300. Well worth it if you ask me.


At some point in midst of wedding fever, the sodding groom will be force-fed ladoo (an Indian sweet, spherical in shape...mucus orange in colour. See picture) by a group of about 33 barely related 'aunties' . Each auntie will turn up with about half a ladoo, ceremoniously forcing it down the grooms throat. In a period lasting no more than half an hour, the groom will have eaten the equivalent of about 10 boxes of Ambala - adding an extra 7 kg to his weight in the process.

The Number of Events

Pakistani weddings have enough events to confuse most attendees into believing that they have been invited to the wedding of a grand Venetian prince, not Mr. Khan’s 20 year old son. The mendhi, the pre-mendhi, the pre-pre-mendhi, the registration, the shadhi, the nikkah, the valima, musical nights, laptop evenings, egg and spoon race...arrgh. By the time the wedding festivities are over, the happy couple have had 3 kids - with twins on the way.The


Perhaps the single most annoying person on the face of the earth. The semi-professional cameraman scours the wedding hall, 1987 camera in hand with an absurdly bright light attached. He will invariably catch you when you are stuffing your face with kebabs, or when you have a few grains of rice stuck to your chin. His light is almost blinding; comparable, perhaps, to a near death experience, yet he still keeps it on full blast, with an astonishing disregard for the pawns in his sordid Bollywood debut.

The Clothes

The bride comes in wearing a red bed sheet embedded with sequins and the groom is dressed like Aladdin. I am yet to see a Pakistani wedding where something other than this is the case.

The Segregation

Oh boy. Segregated weddings just do not work. The intention is fantastic, seperate the men from the women, minimise free-mixing, promote Islamic culture. Great. Unfortunatley, this holy intention isn’t shared by all. The organisers seem to think that a mere silk curtain will prevent wife-seeking loners from the men’s side from venturing into enemy teritory. The sanctity of the curtain will last for about half an hour after which the first breach will occur - usually a close male relative/uncle. Before long, the curtain will fall - much like the berlin wall, with folk flocking to either side rejoicing in their liberating victory over the tyrant organisers. A bit of advice – segregation will only work with an electric fence. And perhaps a few dogs patrolling the buffer zone.

And so, there we have it. A guide. A review - call it what you want. When is comes to the circus show that is a Pakistani wedding, there's always one looming on the horizon.

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Social gatherings - a distinctly Muslim problem

M = Muslim
NM = Non-Muslim

NM: Hiya, we're going for a drink down the bar - fancy joining us?
M: Oh, not tonight mate...I'm busy, maybe some other time
NM: problem

Phew, crisis averted. You see, most Muslims are in a bit of a bind when it comes social get togethers. You want to be seen as the cool, fun loving Muslim, but you don’t want to spend £100 getting boozed up at some seedy underground bar in hackney. It's a dilemma, some - give in.

"Sure I’ll come" (thinks to self - I’ll stay in for 10 minutes, get myself an orange juice and leave)

"Sure, I’ll come" - Ends up having coke with rum, I mean, hey, it’s only a teeny weenie bit of alcohol, it’s not like I got drunk or anything.

"Sure, I’ll come" - Gets hammered, pukes up his morning paratha - wakes up with more than JUST a hangover.

Some have scruples. They stand up for what they believe in, refusing to go and engage in explicitly haram activities with individuals who, for whatever reason, enjoy spending their hard earned cash on booze, cigarettes and blander than bland pub meals. Some choose an excuse, alhamdullilah - the Muslim ummah have been blessed with their fair share of excuse-mongers. It is, in fact, the one thing we excel at. No one makes excuses like we do. Rather than explain to them the religious reasons behind your non-attendance at next weeks brew-ha-ha, the guilt ridden Muslim will use his god-given excuse making ability to avoid the event.

"I’m busy"

will usually suffice for about 2 weeks, but unless you have a social life reminiscent to that of Paris Hiltons', you're going to need something better - a bit of initiative is usually required.

"Oh, tomorrow did you say? - I can’t make it, its my umm my mums birthday"

Simple enough eh? Birthdays can get you out of pretty much anything. But they could also land u in some deep bush in eye-raq style doo-doo.

NM: "Wasn’t it your mums birthday a few months ago" (shoot, he remembered)
M:"umm, yeh, like that was my other mum".

Congratulations, people now think that you're a product of some sort of weird love triangle. Not good.

Of course, the excuses will get more and more outrageous as the weeks and months go on.

"Oh, Tuesday did you say - no can do, I've been invited to my second cousins ex-wife's mother in law's step sons' best friend bar-mitzvah - he's pretty close, he'd kill me if don’t come".

One of 2 things will happen to the well-intentioned, though slightly embarrassed of his religion excuse monger:

1. He will continue to make up more excuses, each more outlandish and mind numbingly cringe worthy than the last until eventually his friends/co-workers give up on him.
2. He will give in, sitting rather awkwardly on his bar stool with intermittent glances at his watch. Orange juice in hand, ba-da-bing: and out as quickly as possible.

Both outcomes should be avoided. The first gives the impression that you're an anti-social, infidel hating fun-do-mentalist weirdo. The second means you've compromised on your faith.

The only legitimate solution to this problem is, like most dilemmas in life, honesty. The vast, vast majority of non-Muslims are decent folk and are fully aware of cultural/religious sensitivities. One should make a concerted effort to explain, from a religious perspective, the reason for your no-show. Again, you gotta be careful with how exactly you go about doing this:

"Come? With you? To the bar...and do what exactly? Drink overpriced champagne with a bunch of socially retarded individuals who haven’t even the slightest of clue on how to enjoy themselves without getting mindlessly intoxicated? Sounds like a hoot...oh, maybe we can go to a few nightclubs too, ya know - pull a few girls and maybe, if we play our cards right, get ourselves infected with syphilis...i'll c u losers in hell!"

May very well result in you receiving a social call from MI5. Again, not good.

Ok, so you've mustered up the courage to tell them the truth, your non Muslim friends (assuming of course, they consider you as a friend, with the excuses and what not) have gathered round, eager to hear news of the latest hamster death. It has become somewhat of a ritual, a gathering of men - a sermon if you will. There is a hush as he enters the room, his face, arms and feet wet, drenched in sweat (or so they think, he's actually just gone and done his wudu. But he told them that suffers from chronic sweating).

M: Guys, I won’t be able to come today, my religion forbids it.
NM: Oh ok, fair enough. Why didn’t you tell us before?
M: I guess I was kind of embarrassed...
NM: So you lied?
M: Well...umm...yeh, I guess but -
NM: Isn’t lying forbidden in Islam
M: Yeah, but -
NM: Well, if lying is forbidden and coming out to bars is forbidden, then what’s the difference?

And there it is, you are now officially the president of moronville. Population, you.

The above scenario brings home the importance of honesty from the outset. If explained in a thoughtful, non–condescending manner, you may very well find that that same annoying dude, who would give you an FBI style grilling in pursuit of your latest excuse, is an ideal candidate for some finger-lickin dawah.

Friday, April 07, 2006


For those unfamiliar with the term -

Chav is a slang term which has been in general use throughout the United Kingdom since 2004. It refers to a subcultural stereotype of a person with fashions such as flashy "bling" jewellery and counterfeit designer clothes or sportswear, an uneducated, uncultured, impoverished background, a tendency to congregate around places such as fast-food outlets, bus stops, or other shopping areas, and a culture of antisocial behaviour.

Chavistani = Asian Chav

Chavistani's Demand Independence

In a move that has shocked political commentators Vikram Patel, head of the Chavistani liberation Front (CLF), has demanded that Chavistanis are given control of a series of states within the UK.

Dr Frederick Shmack, head of Multicultural Studies at University College London, had this to say about the movement:

"The Chavistanis are a proud people, standing up against the evils of education, manners and good dress sense all over the UK. Although finding their inspiration from the traditional white chav movement, they seem to have carved out their very own distinctly desi sub-niche. Asians in the UK are a varied lot - more often than not, you can tell the difference between a Pakistani and an Indian, or a Bengali and a Sri-Lankan. The beauty of the chavistani is that it transcends the usually bitter sub-continental divisions. Pakistanis, Indians, Bengalis and Sri Lankan’s become one, a sort of unholy alliance of uncouth morons. A chavistani is a chavistani, not an Indian, not a Pakistani...a chavistani, and will remain so till he realises the error of his ways and renounces his former lifestyle. "

Fuelled by anger, idiocy and "coz they got nuttin better to do innit", the chavistani movement is calling for a series of semi-independent, self-governed regions of autonomy in the UK. They claim that their way of life is being threatened by the rule of law.

In a statement, Vikram Patel said:

"Bruv, mans needs his own crib innit. Ma boyzzz iz gettin hassled ways to much by dem racist. Mans trina chirps er n they always get in da way, tru say."


"Brother, we need our own state. We fear racial abuse from the police, to the extent that we cant even cultivate meaningful relationships with members of the opposite sex. That, my friends, is the truth."

He went on:

"Raa bruv, were goin dan to Blair’s ouse innit, we gonna bash em up roodebwoy style...don’t wanna mess wid ma crew man, ma crew is sick bruv."


"We are organising a protest outside the Houses of Parliament, demanding that they give us the right to govern ourselves. All senior members of the Chavistani Liberation Front will be present. They will not be able to ignore a protest of such magnitude."

Patel, a graduate from the Chavistani School of Sickness – more popularly known as the University of East London – and organiser of tomorrow’s march recently drew up proposals outlining which parts of the UK should be ceded to the CLF. The proposals took longer than expected, with senior members confusing a map of Argentina with that of the UK.

Singh: Bruv, there aint a bo-nnies aei-eh-ries in England, man.
Patel: Mans no nutting bout Geography..i got an E in ma GCSE bruv..give me tha map innit.
Singh: Raa...bruv, mans a genius...i got a G innit..
Patel: Izzit..haha..g fo g-unit.

The topic soon turned to Fiddy's beef with the game. 3 days later, they managed to secure a map of what they thought was the UK. It wasn’t.

Singh: Bruv, New York aint in England man.
Patel: Haha..mans no nuttin bout Geography...New York’s in Yorkshire, innit?
Singh: Oh seen..raa bruv, man’s a genius.
Patel: Tru dat, I got a E in ma GCSE geography, innit?
Singh: Respect bruv, respect...i got a G innit?
Patel: Haha...G for G-unit.

The topic soon turned to 50 cent’s latest album. After finally getting their hands on an actual map of the UK, Patel demanded that Bradford, North West London, East London and Leicester be given independence. In a surprisingly coherent statement released today, the CLF were adamant that their plans would be a success:

"We hope the Blair government will listen to us. We believe that as moronic idiots, we should be given an opportunity to govern ourselves. All peoples should have the right to self-determination. We are a disgusting, illiterate, foul-mouthed people and should not be exposed to the masses."

The statement was later retracted, with Patel claiming it had been "messed up by a hater" or, in conventional English "sabotaged".

Political commentators have pointed out that the march tomorrow may not have much of an effect. It is believed that coachloads of people from all over the country are confused as to the exact location of Parliament, with most setting up camp in Upminster instead of Westminster. A group of about 100 grass roots CLF members were seen protesting outside 10 Dowling street in Swindon. When asked what they were doing there, one Adidas clad teenager replied "We’re hatin President Bush, innit?" A friend corrected him, "Naa bruv, its Prime Minister Bush, trust bruv – I got a E in GCSE Geograpy".

Burberry Inc refused to comment on the issue.

Edgware Road - Refuge of the Damned!

If you're a Muslim and you live in and around London, the likelihood is that you would have had the unfortunate pleasure of visiting the morally bankrupt cesspool of sleaze and corruption that is Edgware road. For the uninitiated, Edgware road (well, part of it anyway) is a place where young hip/cool Muslims hang out, smoke sheesha, chew khat and eat outrageously priced, sub par chicken shwarmas, served by rude arrogant Arab bus-boys who believe that their job title as "Head Waiter" gives them some sort of intellectual and/or moral authority over you.

It started of as a place popular for rich, lonely Arabs from abroad, who would bring their white girlfriends to ridiculously overpriced restaurants and show her off to their fellow pervert friends, while, of course, hitting on any remotely good looking girl who happened to walk in. Causing a scene in the process and eventually being thrown out by an overzealous, pissed off "Head Waiter". E-Road (as it is referred to by regulars) soon became popular with Pakistani's, and, more recently, P-Diddy clones (aka Somalis).

Over time, something quite remarkable happened. The non-Arabs had slowly begun (for want of a better word) to metamorphosise into Arabs - This spread of Arab culture amongst non-Arabs was nothing short of astonishing. Pakistani's were using words like "yalla", "akhi" and "habibi" in their regular conversations. The tea towel scarf was now being worn with the shalwar kameez...the song "habibi dah" was on everyone’s' play list... men fantasized about one day marrying a fair skinned Arab girl and made plans on how they would take up residence in Dubai once they graduate.

The trend continues today, and has gotten to the stage where many have deluded themselves into believing that they actually ARE of Arab extraction, making up some outlandish story about how his/her great-grandfather was of one eighth Syrian. Or, that their "Ahmed" surname somehow proves their Arabian heritage. Morons.

You see, normally you have to be careful when making gross generalisations about people en mass, but in this case, the generalisations are completely justified. Take, for example, the now famous E-Road rude boys. They normally hang around in groups of about 300, making the already overcrowded road an absolute chore to get around. They adorn, almost without exception, the standard chavistani attire. Hoody's, baseball caps, low riders and Persil white Adidas trainers… fake silver chains are also common. Their sole purpose (in life?) is to roam the streets looking for their female counterparts (hojabi's) who they will invariably greet with the words "whagwan sister" before proceeding to one of the multitude of classless Arab cafe's where they will practise smoking near perfect rings and indulge themselves in groundbreaking conversational topics such as"why biggie is better than tupac" or "the latest Nokia hand set which has, get this, 512mb space for MP3’s, wicked!"

But Edgware road isn’t all rude Arabs, and Pakistani chavs. You also get the more distinguished crowd. The well educated stiff upper lip types. Normally in their mid-to-late 20's, they turn up dressed like metrosexuals models and can usually be found clutching a copy of today's Financial Times. The groups are a lot smaller, not more than 4..a pot of herbal tea can always be found on their table. The topic of choice is usually work (oh yes, I went to see a client in Singapore last week...went to this fab must go) although sometimes marriage (depending on their relationship status) is discussed. For the most part, their manner is a refreshing change from the usual redneck types mentioned above. Although obnoxious at times, the elder crowd tend to be pretty decent folk.

Finally, we move on to the elderly. The 60 something Arab men who, rather than spend their precious time with grandchildren, prefer instead, to sit in a sleazy underground cafe with equally sleazy men discussing god knows what up into small hours of the morning. I’m not sure whether they are hard of hearing, but their discussion seems to be more like a shouting contest than an actual conversation. "I CAN SHOUT LOUDER THAN YOU" said one "NO YOU CANT, I CAN SHOUT LOUDER THAN YOU" said the other, using the most gutter form of Slang Arabic known to man. I actually find this particular group quite amusing, especially when they turn the local Mc D's into a social hang out reminiscent of a cafe in downtown Beirut - believe me, there is nothing, NOTHING, funnier than seeing a congregation of about 10 elderly Arab men sitting in McDonalds, eating bismillah hamburgers. You can only shudder at the thought of what the god-forsaken employees at Mc D's must go through - round the clock requests for shisha instead of milkshake, filet-o-fish running out of stock, aggressive men complaining about the lack of salt in their French fries. May god have mercy.

Yet, despite all this. Despite the idiots. Despite the atmosphere, despite the distinct lack of class shown by about, say, 80% of the regulars and about 100% of those moron waiters....I still go there, every week. Without Fail...and I'm not sure why. Am I compelled by idiots? Am I just another e-road stereotype?