The Protein Man

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Posted on May 18, 2012 by

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UPDATE: A pdf of Eight Passion Proteins With Care can now be downloaded from the blog by clicking on the link below:

Eight Passion Proteins With Care

In 1987 I went on a CND (Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament) rally in London. We started off in Hyde Park listening to speeches by politicians like Tony Benn, and then wandered over to Oxford Street where the protesters were trying to block the traffic. It ended up with a giant rugby scrum between the police on one side and a mass of Anarchists, Socialist Worker Party members and Quakers on the other.

I was watching one guy with a spiked Mohican straight out of Mad Max 2 being carried off upside down between two policeman when I was poked in the back. I turned and half a dozen little old ladies pushed past with cries of ‘Come on Tabitha and Florence, let’s smash the state!’ They were Quakers, and they ran out into the middle of the road and lay down in front of a big red London bus.

The Quaker grannies scared the bejeezus out of the police. Paint-throwing anarchists they could handle with a bit of discreet thuggery, but when confronted with an army of tiny 70 and 80 year olds in flowery hats they were helpless. I saw one huge Police Constable red faced with embarrassment while one lady three times his age and half his height wagged her finger in his face and berated him for being the agent of an oppressive war-mongering regime.

Among the sea of placards  and raised truncheons surging back and forth one board stood out. For a start it seemed detached from the lurching crowd. It just blithely coasted along like black-sailed ship cutting through rough waves. Secondly it said ‘LESS LUST BY LESS PROTEIN‘, which was a bit incongruous, given the circumstances.

The placard belonged to Stanley Green, who spent 25 years walking up and down Oxford Street in London, declaiming in sepulchral tones “Beware the Passion Proteins!”. For 11p you could buy his self-printed booklet, outlining his philosophy. He argued that eating protein inflamed desire, and led to marital and social breakdown. Sitting has the same effect, though it’s never fully explained why, (presumably because it causes the passion proteins to puddle round your groin and start stirring things up). I regret never buying a copy because the contents are a wonder to behold. He mixed fonts, sometimes mid-sentence, had his own concept of grammar and would cheerfully insert random statements (again, in different fonts) as a new notion struck him. The style is somewhere between St Augustine and a James Joycean stream of consciousness:

Alas! When such denied children have come to youth, they are often primed with a sort of foolish self-reliance, to make for themselves a world of fantasy and pleasure. They are without shame or discretion, and unaware that moments of abandon bring misery.             —When this protein-MANIA has passed, there will be more — happy homes; fewer criminals, delinquent youths, and psychopaths; fewer suicides; and not so many patients in hospitals.    -Taking tranquilizers is unwise when a LOWER LEVEL of PROTEINS would calm you.

According to Wikipedia he sold 87,000 copies of this before his death in 1993. He belongs to that pantheon of mad eccentric English people who cheerfully sail along pursuing their own obsessions, untouched by the small-minded grind of the real world. Sadly they seem a dying breed. Born out of the confident excesses of Victorian and Edwardian crackpot radicalism, they struggle in a society increasingly using surveillance and technology to herd us down very narrow paths. Oxford Street is a duller place without him.

Stanley Green, 1915 – 1993

Simon Crubellier has uploaded scans of the entire booklet here. Stanley Green’s possessions ended up in the Museum of London and Gunnersbury Park Museum. I will stitch together the scans into a pdf and post here. I worry that, as websites come and go, we may one day lose the electronic version of that masterpiece Eight Passion Proteins With Care forever.

Response to The Protein Man

  1. Richard M

    I remember him when I was a student at london Uni in the mid-1970s. Lonely and long haired I sat, was it in Siddoli’s Buttery or some other caff in the Charing Cross Road or Oxford Street? There he was, with his soft yet assertive voice gently rising above the sing-song sound of Routemaster buses pulling away behind him. For me his face became a familiar one that made London seem somehow a friendlier place. His lifestyle was a simple one, and yet perhaps he was more fulfilled than many of us today whose lives are rather more complicated. He will not be forgotten.

    • John Guy Collick Post author

      That’s a great memory – Oxford Street is definitely a far poorer place without him. I worked in John Lewis’s one Christmas round about 1985 and he was always there, serenely coasting through the throng.

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