It's the protein man's birthday today. I used to see him every weekday in the early eighties as I got off the tube at Oxford Circus on my way to Riding House Street. Perhaps rather than thinking of him as a classic crepuscular suburban eccentric, we should simply regard him as being a bit before his time. These days he'd be a nutritionist, and have a certificate bought with good American dollars saying so. He'd have a show on Channel 4, a column in several women's magazines, a range of expensive supplements in pill and powder form and a place on a committee worrying over the contents of school meals. He'd be a complete fucking nuisance rather than a drab, poignant fellow who lost his way a bit. Say what you like, one thing the anglo-Saxon economy has been good at over the past thirty years is monetising crackpots.