Thursday, 14 February 2013

Foreign sagas

The Oscar Pistorius saga is unfolding as the day wears on today, and it's left me feeling quite melancholy.  Who knows what the eventual outcome will's sad enough that a promising young woman has been killed.  Pistorius helped light up the summer last year, and inevitably, this will cast a shadow over the memories of those glorious days.

Last night, The Cat's Mother did something that she would never have done before she met me.  It's a fascination how we can end up doing different things when we meet someone.  She has spent many years enjoying more 'mainstream' entertainment...I, on the other hand, enjoy different, new, challenging.  Together it makes for a rewarding life.  So we took to the streets of Dalston, one of London's roughest/trendiest areas to find The Dalston Boys Club.  We were going to The Art of Dining - an experiential dinner evening.  The theme was Victorian dining, called 'Eat your heart out'.  With these you turn up and sit amongst either love it or you hate it.  As well as your meal, there is this case, a lady and a gentleman extolling the (humorous) virtues and vices of Victorian marriage.  It took a strange turn when  the husband suggested that after the initial passion subsides you should turn to buggery, and the wife suggested intimate friendships with her lady friends.  But apart from that, it was a marvel.  The hall had been decorated with lots of Victoriana (mostly faux, but certainly adding to the theatre of the evening).  It was a five course meal with cocktails and a bottle of wine.  I can remember some of it - to start a beetroot and apple soup, followed by a thinly-sliced heart salad, then a mackerel pate with rhubarb jelly, and then duck and finally a delicious tart.  We started off with a champagne, gin, Cointreau and marmalade cocktail, enjoyed a beetroot bloody Mary, and finished with something else...all washed down with a scrummy red wine.  Apologies if the details are sparse, but neither of us are used to downing large amounts of alcohol in the middle of the week.  This morning was not fun at all.

We sat next to a Russian couple.  Exactly as expected, he was a digital technology guy, and she was a model (she had just come from a photo-shoot with Rankin...and had the photos to show us!).  They were very sociable, and we very much enjoyed their company.  For me what was totally extraordinary was that they hadn't come from the great metropolises of Moscow or St Petersburg, but from a city called Perm.  On his right arm...the whole length - he had a tattoo of the city's Contemporary art museum. I'm betting you've never heard of it...we certainly hadn't.  It has a population of about a million, and from the way they described it, it is a sort of communist-built Milton Keynes.  I think they said it's a three-day train journey from Moscow...that's a long way - it is definitely Europe's most eastern city, and sits in the Urals on the 'border' with Asia.  That is so remote....I looked it up on a map.  For some reason I've got a little obsessed with it, trying to work out how two people from such a far-off and remote place could end up living and working in London.  I think it says something remarkably good about how London in particular, and the UK in general is seen by the outside world.  It certainly made for an enjoyable and interesting conversation.

I don't think our model will thank me for this picture of her