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Writer: Cereal Killer Cafe twins would have hate mob for breakfast

By David Young

Published 03/10/2015

Belfast brothers Gary and Alan Keery, owners of The Cereal Killer Cafe in London
Belfast brothers Gary and Alan Keery, owners of The Cereal Killer Cafe in London
Adrian McKinty

Best-selling Northern Ireland crime writer Adrian McKinty has sprung to the defence of two Belfast entrepreneur twins whose hipster breakfast bar was targeted by a London anarchist mob.

Alan and Gary Keery (33) are owners of the Cereal Killer Cafe in east London's Brick Lane. The cafe sells more than 100 varieties of cereals to busy Londoners breakfasting on their way to work, with a bowl of Rice Krispies and milk costing around £3.

The Keery twins employ 20 people - but starting an innovative small business in a rundown part of east London hasn't gone down well with Class War, an extreme leftist anarchist group opposed to what its sees as the "gentrification" of the area.

Last weekend a 200-strong mob carrying pitchforks and wearing pig masks marched down Brick Lane - scene of street battles between anti-fascists and Oswald Mosley's blackshirts in the 1930s - and attacked the brothers' cafe, daubing the building with red paint and scrawling 'Scum' across the facade.

The attack on the two Belfast hipsters incensed the Carrickfergus-born crime writer, who said: "The Class War protesters were carrying severed pigs' heads and brandishing torches, and rather in the manner of Kristallnacht bricks were thrown at the cafe's windows, paint was daubed on the walls and the patrons were prevented from leaving.

"The Guardian article on the attack has video from inside the cafe as part of the assault was happening.

"Children can be heard crying inside the cafe while Gary assures the customers that they will be kept safe."

But for the novelist, the Class War crowd and its apologists in the media have underestimated the calibre of the Keery twins. "The brothers are from Belfast and people from Belfast don't go to pieces because a bunch of upper middle-class chinless wonders carrying torches are trying to intimidate them," he wrote in his blog. "The average kid from Belfast is tough... and a beardy twin hipster boy from Belfast would have had to have been very tough indeed not to get the **** knocked out of him walking home from Lavery's come a Saturday night.

"The whole episode, moreover, is rife with irony: one of the banners the mob was carrying said 'Refugees Welcome', just not, apparently, refugees from Ireland.

"It should also be remembered that the East End of London used to proudly display signs in shop windows stating 'No Blacks, No Irish'.

"The journey from fascist to fervent anti-fascist and back again is not the journey of a million miles."

It's a pugnacious intervention from the crime novelist - who now lives in Australia - and mirrors the no-nonsense attitude of the two entrepreneurs themselves as they rebuild their business after the onslaught.

They grew up in working class Belfast. Neither could afford to go to university, and they acquired their business savvy the hard way - by starting at the bottom.

"You can't let the b*****ds get you down," Gary said after the attack.

"We are easy targets, who have become poster boys for gentrification, but we don't have to defend anything we do and aren't going to let anyone bully us. This mob doesn't speak for the people."

Belfast Telegraph

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