With a rapidity which defies belief, Mr Bezos, of Amazon.com, has delivered to my grasping hand Professor Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s The Myth of National Defense, and a copy of Ludwig von Mises’ Bureaucracy, direct from Amazon’s Seattle headquarters, via standard shipping, in less than a week. Remarkable.
I thought I’d warm myself up for the big one, from Herr Hoppe, with the 1944 classic from Herr Von Mises. And what a true classic it is. I’m only on page 19, of its one hundred and thirty four pages, but already it has staggered me with its guillotine-sharp language, its brutal power, and its Germanic eloquence. Magnificent.
We simply are unworthy of this greatest of the twentieth century’s bearers of the flame of liberty.
One quote has already caught my eye, after a recent David Carr article:
It [modern socialism] is totalitarian in the strict sense of the term. It holds the individual in tight rein from the womb to the tomb. At every instant of his life the ‘comrade’ is bound to obey implicitly the orders issued by the supreme authority. The State is both his guardian and his employer. The State determines his work, his diet, and his pleasures. The State tells him what to think and what to believe in.
Now I could mention how clever it was, in 1944, for Von Mises to spot the increasing role, in the 21st century, for our illiberal friends at a certain UK newspaper, but let’s take a closer look at the subject of diet, something Professor Mises told us in 1944 the totalitarians would feel bound to try to control us with, for whatever miserable reasons they dream up.
I must also thank Uncle Stephen Pollard for his excellent Times-published article about the Atkins diet. I relapsed from Atkins, somewhat, over November and December. But Uncle Stephen has slapped me round the jowls and got me back on track. When I was that healthy vision of virility, which I keep in my mind, and a blindside rugby flanker, less than 10 years ago, my fighting weight was 14 stone. This crept up to an outlandish 17 stone 10 pounds, over the next few years, following retirement from the scrum, meaning I was 52 pounds overweight. Crikey.
A simple use of Atkins, over a few months, got this down to 15 stone 8 pounds, i.e., I lost 30 pounds, and only had 22 to go. But you get smug on Atkins when none of your clothes fit any more, because you’ve lost so much weight. So I relaxed the regime and drifted slowly back up to 16 stone 4 pounds. This means I now have 32 pounds to lose, instead of 22. But now I’m back on the program, much to the consternation of UK taxpayer-funded nutritionists, dieticians, and other Von Mises predicted health fascists, everywhere. One was on the UK Today program this morning, virtually accusing the Atkins diet of being worse than that most evil of consumptive habits, smoking, shrilly accusing Boots the Chemist of virtual genocide for daring to stock Atkins-brand chocolate bars. How dare they! Don’t they know who rules this country?
So in my bid to repay Ludwig von Mises, Stephen Pollard, and the late great Dr Atkins himself, and to induce apoplexy into socialist health control fetishists, wherever the sad useless fools may be, I thought I’d pass on a recommendation as to my favourite greasy spoon restaurant, in the whole wide world.
This is, of course, the spectacular Gorge Cafe on the south side of the Caversham Bridge, in Reading. Popular with Reading Festival attendees, motorbikers, and other discerning denizens of monster grills, you just cannot beat the Gorge. Good prices, quick service, top quality sausages, excellent tea, fried eggs always done just the way you like them, and all cooked and served by people who really look like they’re enjoying themselves, especially the girls in those modern jeans which only start going down halfway round the bum. Most excellent.
The parking’s a bit tough, with only a few spaces outside for Gorge customers, in the BP garage forecourt next door. But as you’ll be arriving on your Harley Davidson anyway, don’t worry about it (or you can park by the Caversham rowing club, down behind the Holiday Inn hotel opposite, if you get a bit stuck, or in the Rivermeade leisure centre car park, just up the road).
With two split levels in the Gorge, non-smokers like me, who are waiting for the UK government to ban the filthy weed so they can start up again, are well served by the lower non-smoking level, and top quality smokers can relax in the upper level, imbibing their nicotine amongst friends (though good air-conditioning quickly cleans the air). I often dine up there, just to get the fumes. Ah, memories.
What else can I say about the Gorge? They have an excellent Atkins-style breakfast, which is basically their monster grill without the beans or toast, and there’s usually plenty of seating room inside, despite the unusual pink ceiling cave decoration which makes you feel like Fred Flintstone would be happy in there.
As greasy spoons go, the Gorge is also a true classic, like Bureaucracy, as any of its regulars will testify. Despite searching, I’ve yet to find a greasy spoon restaurant as good, or as memorable. Its ceiling, particularly, truly is world class.
After your splendid Atkins-style Gorge breakfast, take a walk down by the Thames, to see the swans, or do this beforehand to build up your appetite. Either way, if you’re in Reading, in the Caversham area, and you want to stick two fingers up to the diet and health control freaks you’re forced to pay for through your taxes, always make sure you pay a culinary visit to the Gorge. If you can do this on your 1000 cc Ducati Monster, this gets bonus extra points. And remember, extra points means extra rashers of bacon.