On marathon day twenty-somethings from Essex migrate down to Narrow Street, to the Narrow Boat, to do some boozing. The women dress in delicate colours and cream high heals, the men in jeans and shirts, they often walk as if their knees had been smashed in, pronated legs. By the time the marathon has finished and the last of the mesomorphs has trundled their way, at around about five or six o’clock, the boys are tanked up, lollapoloozing across the road, like skittles that have just felt the fine edge of a number ten bowling ball. In 2014 one such group, ten, twelve strong, were spread out across the road, heading to what one of their number referred to as “Vur Canairwee”, they made little progress, stumbling around, some of them sufficiently inebriated that they were beyond independent thought, instead swaying from side to side on the tide of the group, subconsciously attuned to the movements of one man, the dynamo, the Alpha Male, the Clown and Bully Boy to boot. Bully Boy, black shirt, designer stubble booming a beard, achieved dominance by being an ever-present force, demanding submission through weight of voice and physical display. To one of the men in the group Bully Boy inquisited, “Oi, whoi are you wearing facking shorts?” Everyone else was wearing jeans. His inquisitee tried to disarm Bully Boy with a smile, and an unconvincing stock Essex response, “Cos I’m a geezer“. The Alpha Male moved towards the beshorted and pushed him with his arm, the guy put his hands around the Alpha’s head, and they engaged in mock battle. At the same time several ladies on an assortment of bikes happened to be coming in the opposite direction, which met with whoops of delight, “Heh heh heh!”, “Oi oi!”, “Oooooh!” “Aughhhh!” just a cacophony of noise. One woman, on a Boris Bike, braked for the boys had grouped around her like wolves, the Alpha Male poised himself, and as the girl biked past he built himself up, supported by a collegiate chorus, “Wooooooooh” he bent over and smacked the woman’s behind, the demure look on the woman’s face turned to apprehension and mild distress on being touched, and she shrugged her shoulders hoping that she could make herself sufficiently small so as to be invisible. A few yards away a policeman, a tall young man, with ginger hair, dressed from head to toe in black and white gleaming in the evening sun, watched. A second woman biked through the crowd, this time on her own elegant bicycle with rucksack carrying a large leafy plant. She too was stopped and touched. Out of the crowd she emerged with a look of exasperation on her face, walking her bike towards Horseferry Road, and to the policeman. The anger in her voice stopped her from breaking into tears and she shouted across to the policeman, “They just smacked my arse’ at which point the policeman refusing to acknowledge the girl, what she had said or what he had seen happen to her, softened his gaze, staring through what was happening to a thousand yards away, and muttered to himself, “Did he really?” The boys moved on slowly, continuing to launch verbal fireworks into the air, the Bully Boy, seeing the sheepishness of the police officer, and eyeing another opportunity to assert dominance yelled, “Ol Bill! Ol Bill!” and something about how he paid for the officer’s home.
References on misogynistic London