Wednesday 11 May 2011


So today, I'm chilling not grilling as I was yesterday. Wednesday has come around and with it Tara's gallery.

We've been visited by a cat in the office who seemed to enjoy himself here whilst the rest of us got down to hard work. As ever with cats, it was all about finding the best place to lie down and sleep. I wish I led a cat's life....

Sometimes we have a dog in the office; but I feel it would be unwise to have the cat and the dog in the office at the same time.

Tuesday 10 May 2011

Getting grilled

Bob Crow.

That's a name that should send shivers down your spine. He is the last bastion of old school unionism and probably responsible for bringing more people out on more strikes than anyone else in recent years. My heart sank when I see he has sorted out a deal with National Rail to keep the trains moving during the Olympics. Except the deal doesn't actually prevent Crow and his cronies from calling a strike if it suits them. Plus they're getting a fat pay rise, with no one to be sacked during the world's greatest festival of sport...but shock horror gasp, they can be suspended on full pay. It appears that after months of negotiation, Network Rail chief executive David Higgins has pulled his trousers down, bent over and allowed the unions to shaft him until he has a rectal prolapse, but insists on smiling about it. At RMT headquarters they'll be celebrating with the finest champagne for years to come. The inevitable consequence of this deal will be an ever more confident union willing to bring its members out at the drop of a hat (even the image of Crow getting his member out when someone drops their hat makes me squirm) knowing they hold the reigns. Pay increases like this are greedy and little better than the selfishness which we expect from City bankers. The only people who will suffer are rail travellers who have to fork out more and more from their reduced wallets. I'd like to give Crow a grilling about why he thinks this selfish greed is right when it harms many of the people who declare themselves 'working class'. But as it's been pointed out to me, you can't deny the man does his job very well. If only someone who's got a spine would stand up to him....before the next round of tube strikes.

And talking of grilling....

I'm a great fan of grilled food...The Cat's Mother prefers to fry the sausages and bake the fish in a sauce, but The Boy and I have grown up grilling our food. The Cat's Mother's response is always, "Well if you don't like it, then cook for yourself." And that seems a little unfair, as clearly my role is culinery strategy and hers is tactics. Its the division of labour and accepting your responsibilities I say....

As it happens, and in a shameless nod towards commercialism, I'd like you all to note that next week is National Get Grilling Week. I'd love to believe that this is a tradition firmly grounded in the ancient rite of boar hunting as practiced by our ancestors, but I suspect that isn't the case. It may be, but I'm not holding my breath. So the people that make George Foreman are sending us a grill, some food and some recipes for us to try next week. I used to have an electric grill, but in the clearing out of the kitchen in Brighton it joined the electric pancake maker in the skip. So it will be good to have a replacement...I used to cook all sorts of things on it; I wonder if I'll be able to cook an omelette on it liked I did the last one? I will report back on how much we've managed to turn into charcoal, which is no bad thing because in the fine weather we're having I like a good BBQ too.

Anyway, normal BBC-like service resumed tomorrow

Monday 9 May 2011

Stars of stage and screen

It seems that for the next 15-20 years nuclear power will remain the cheapest way of generating electricity, so that's where the government will be investing its (our) money. Wind, wave and solar power are better for the world, our children and our children's children, but because of economic constraints we'll be investing in nuclear which generates dangerous waste that will remain dangerous for thousands of years. That seems completely perverse to me. Let's not forget Fukushima eh?

It's been a cultural week for us.

On Tuesday we searched high and low to find a cinema that was showing Pina, Wim Wender's feature-length dance film in 3D with the ensemble of the Tanztheater Wuppertal about Pina Bausch. Now even I will admit this is pretty specialised stuff. A dance film. In German. With subtitles. About a choreographer that few people know about. But it was good. Really, really good. Perhaps a few too many face to camera comments, but the dancing was amazing...and worked extremely well in 3D too. My only disappointment? Not one single piece of Dad-dancing for me to copy.

Then on Thursday we were off to Secret Cinema...The Cat came; The Boy lingered at home feeling unwell. And we went from the sublime to the ridiculous. On walking into Leake St near Waterloo (sometimes known as Banksy's tunnel) we entered a recreated Algeria in the 1950's. We hadn't guessed the film by then, and didn't guess it then. We wondered about Cassablanca, even though it was wrong country, wrong time. There were French soldiers every where treating us badly, pushing us around shouting at us in a language we didn't understand. When it was time for the film itself to start, we were ushered through the tunnels and along narrow passageways before climbing through a wall to watch......

...a black and white film, in French, with subtitles about the Algerian revolt against 130 years of French rule. Battle for Algiers evidently won numerous awards when it was released in the mid-1960's, and was a quite incredibly even-handed narrative of events given that it was free Algeria's first feature-length film. It may not have been my first choice of film, but it couldn't have been more pertinent to the current world situation. It would have been hard to watch if it wasn't for all the theatre that comes with Secret Cinema.

Friday night and we headed for the south coast...Brighton Festival is the second largest cultural festival in the UK. It'll be the largest if the Scotties vote for independence in a couple years time as Alex Salmond hopes (or is he just hoping that southern money will continue heading across the border in ever increasing amounts?) And one of the highlights for us is to stand in an old church that's been converted into a gallery surrounded by forty loudspeakers to listen to err err errm Spem in Alium - Forty Part Motet sung by the Purcell Singers. One speaker for each chorister. And in between each part (one part for each of Elizabeth 1's 40 years), they didn't turn off the recording equipment so you can listen to coughing and spluttering, the chitter and chatter...the gossip. Pretty moving stuff. Find it here

And finally, it was Open Art House weekend in Brighton, so we took it as an opportunity to poke our noses into other people's homes in the neighbourhood. Isn't that what what 'Open House' means? Anyway, we found a treasure of a looks like an original, and judging by the fire place was put in what was the living room:

And we did buy some little bronze figurines....

This is Mrs Beaton

And a gaggle of kids in a soup ladel...and further along the row, a child reading in a spaghetti spoon

Nothing like a bit of kulcher is there?