It’s 1989 and I’ve recently arrived back from Israel after spending time in Jerusalem traveling to odd places to earn money anyway I could - like picking olives.
So for 2 weeks I’d live on some ancient hillside earning my money in olive oil, going down to the desert and spending time with some Bedouins in The Sinai.
I did a bit of snorkelling, but most off time was hanging out by the campfire listening to the Bedouins’ stories of the past.
Anyway here I am, back in London spending time with my Father working as an electrician’s mate. I felt like I was I living in some Cat Stevens Song (for those who are much younger than me check
One day Adrian, my elder brother, phoned me to say that he had found a restaurant in Hammersmith and was going to be opening in a few weeks and did I want to give him a hand.
I had no real intention of getting involved in the restaurant business. I was planning on going back to the desert.
However, I did, as all I ever wanted to do was spend time with my older brother whom I loved and idolised.
So I find my way to Hammersmith, to this place called Temple Lodge, another strange place of religious significance. It seemed weird. I asked myself how did I end up in a Rudolf Steiner centre after being in all those other holy places that I hung out in?
The Temple Lodge crowd were a bit strange to say the least, they weren’t unfriendly but they were definitely not outgoing.
So here I am, helping my brother open a vegetarian restaurant in a Rudolf Steiner centre. While my brother didn’t know much about running a restaurant, I most definitely knew a lot less. More of this in future posts.
So why is The Gate called The Gate? Well, the Steiner Centre had a cafe call the Angel Gate and I was just back from the holy land where, to be honest, I’d become a bit of a zealot so there was no way I was going to have a Christian-centric name above the door. Oh the irony. I insisted we drop the ‘Angel’ bit and called it The Gate – even though there was a gate at the entrance which featured Angels..Go figure. I got my comeuppance though. 24 years after opening the first Gate, I opened the second one in...Angel.
While the building works were going on in Hammersmith the priest, Peter van Breda (a great friend), and I are talking about the refurbishment and I said it would be nice to use the original gate in some way and he said sadly they were stolen - surprise surprise - during the works but he did have the first copy of the gates with angels in them.
So here I am 25 years later with a Gate (and a gate) in Hammersmith with angels and a Gate in Angel. Coincidentally the name Michael translates to mich-angel in Hebrew and English as ‘he who is like god’.
I’m most certainly NOT claiming any sort of divinity but there’s quite a few lessons here, not least of which is ‘Don’t be a zealot’.
*For the unexpurgated version of this please visit http://michaelthegate.tumblr.com