When a friend from Sweden visited me in Brighton a while ago he insisted on going to Starbucks (as the very few Starbucks places in Sweden are super expensive). He even bought coffee to bring home, but I wouldn't count it as a cultural experience. Instead I should have taken him to my local greasy spoon, Scotties, in Portland Road where I had breakfast (with an English person) on Thursday.
I do hope these places never disappear. It's great to be able to order eggs on toast or beans on toast with a cup of tea for only £2.50, and I love the way nothing is matching crockery wise. It feels like being in somebody's kitchen eating from a random plate with flowers on and I bet there aren't two mugs that look the same.
The best about my breakfast experience though was the so-called art work on the walls. Or rather the labels stuck to the art works.
Who wouldn't want to buy the "Very old Scottish Picture" for £9 (reduced from £12)? Or what about another one simply titled "Sailing boat" for £6 (except that it was actually a rowing boat)? Then I spotted the board saying "Special January Offer - all pictures £4.50".
Just like the English pubs, the greasy spoon caffs seem to attract a certain clientele of men who go there as much to socialise as to drink or eat. Already at the door I had an old geezer stopping me just to tell me how good the food was, and that he came to Scotties every day. I haven't seen anything like it in Sweden, where you are taught to keep to yourself. (Also the people I know in Sweden who go out for breakfast usually do it as a special treat, having a "hotel breakfast".) As I sometimes worry about growing old, the greasy spoons cafes give me a hope of community, but there seem to be even less women here than in the pubs ...