Wednesday 11 October 2006

Big Dave's Gusset

In June 2005 I wrote a poem that started with a piece of graffiti that I saw sprayed in a building on the train journey from London Bridge to Waterloo East. Its a great journey - over rooftops of ye olde London, interspaced with derelict signal buildings that would make great hideaways (typewriter laptop, kettle, perfect).

London Bridge to Waterloo East

Big Dave's Gusset
sprayed on a derelict building.
Chimney pots of Borough.
A black cat sleeps
like a king
on a discarded sofa.
A platinum blond
watery blue eyes
fluffs her Marilynesque hair.
Sunlight golden on brick.

Many people must have seen the grafitti and searched for big dave's gusset out of curiosity for what it all means. No answers were forthcoming from my blog....

Until now. I have been emailing with Big Dave himself, I suspect because he must have come across my poem. And I am pleased to be able to splash the scoop of this little bit of underground London.

So I quote Dave:

I worked as an Engineer on the Jubilee Line Extension Project on London Bridge station's expansion between summer 94 & summer 97. I was based in an office set up in the roof of the big shed you can see from the Southwark St railway bridge. Adjacent to this, at the end of the shed was a concrete batching plant which me & my colleagues in our little department were responsible for managing, it produced all the concrete that went into the structural linings of the tunnels. We also ran a materials testing laboratory on the ground level below our office, adjacent to this plant.

Now the concrete batcher was operated 24/7. 3 shifts of two men operated it so we had a responsibility to manage these guys where the quality control of the concrete was concerned. Working, as you do, with people like this, day & nightshifts, weekends etc some good friends were made and it was one of the batcher ops, Jason Gregory, who daubed the slogan ‘Big Daves Gusset’ across the end wall of the shed. There was an open gantry which he will have stood on to do it (it has been dismantled now).

The slogan was a homage to myself as I was known to some as Big Dave, or ‘The Biggun’ (that got a bit tedious actually but hey ho…) because I am a big guy & called Dave, and a placid even tempered character so very easy going and good for a laugh. The gusset reference was to my taste in underpants at the time. I had bought a job lot of Champion brand y-front style undies from TK Maxx and wore these most of the time. At the beginning and end of each shift we would change in or out of our civvies into our regulation orange hi-viz outfits and this is when folks caught a glimpse of Big Daves Gusset, it was often remarked upon as of course these trolleys weren’t the most fashionable, but comfort was the rule.

It was actually a mistake on my part that I bought these pants though as I had meant to get the same brand's trendy trunk style however I realised I’d picked up 7 – yes one for everyday of the week – pairs of the Y-front style.

There you go. I'm loving this story. And this is what I love about blogging - all the coincidental tying up of loose ends. Fab!


Mybroth said...

Cheers BDG!!

phil elston said...


the demolition boys moved in just before christmas

harriet said...

Thats really too bad - its such an iconic london image.

Mial Pagan said...

Great poem! Shame about Big Dave's Gusset...

Harriet (the fshlady) said...

Mourned by so many more than I realised!!

Unknown said...

I used to smirk every time I passed "Big Dave's Gusset" on the train. Many rain soaked Monday mornings were lifted by the sight of the slogan celebrating Big Dave and his Gusset. All hail Big Dave!