I’m sitting in Starbucks raised seating area – on a chair created to give customers an hour or so before the piles kick in, engaged in conversation with local resident, ‘Frank the Hat’. More to the point, Frank the Hat is engaged in a conversation with me - operating on a simple basis of ‘he talks, I listen’. Frank is a smartly dressed 77-year-old Irishman. Recently returned from a four month stay in the local hospital's mental ward, after trashing his own flat due to – in his words, Mi5 wiring the place with microphones; because he knows too much about those greedy banks, government plans to force the Euro upon us, and for telling his local council they are too lefty.
Frank tells me he has spent his past years visiting coffee shops alone, dressed in Jimmy Saville style get up of multi-coloured shell-suits, over elaborate bold shirts, variations of Elton John style sunglasses, and a collection of large, winter animal hats; hence the alias. He regales me with the months spent sitting in Brighton, Charing Cross, and other Starbucks around the UK, wearing clothes which resemble those of a practising Paedophile. He proudly proclaims to be the star of over fifty YouTube videos, hundreds of tourist photos, and how he has made people happy all over the nation; a genuine spark hits his eyes, when he speaks. While Frank is clearly a guy loaded with mental issues, he is also something of an entertainer.