Tuesday, January 3, 2017


I had a British friend who went off to become a policeman in Hong Kong.  His surname was Singleton, and he was known in the force as Sing Lee Ton.  Hold that thought.

Should you be glancing through the giant Taschen book of David Hockney (and a very fine big volume it is) you’ll likely come across a very fine “Polaroid composite” of Hockney’s mum and a couple of other people in Harry Ramsden’s fish and chip shop in Bradford.

For a long time Harry Ramsden’s was widely regarded as the best fish and chip shop in England.  It was established in 1928 in a wooden hut in Guiseley in Yorkshire.  Then it expanded to become the world’s biggest fish and chip shop (according to the Guinness Book of Records), seating 250.  In due course Harry sold out to his business partner Eddie Stokes, who subsequently sold the company on to Associated Fisheries who turned it into a national chain.  That was in 1965, so inevitably by the time I got to taste any Harry Ramsden fare it had become pretty ordinary, though by no means bad.

Anyway, the good folks at Taschen (some of them being German) are apparently unfamiliar with this bit of English fish and chip lore, and so the caption of the Hockney photograph reads “My Mother, Ann Upton and David Graves.  Harry Rams-Dens Fish & Chip Shop, Bradford 5th May 1982.”

I do wonder who this Harry Rams-Dens might be.  I’ve been having some trouble and some fun, imagining his ethnicity and history.  While I do that, here’s a postcard of a street food seller in (I believe) Aberdeen Road, in Hong Kong.  See how it all ties in.

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