Friday, December 26, 2008

DIARY 89 - Two Gay Men - Make Mincemeat


David and I enjoyed our final Christmas in our current abode. We are two gay guys, who are, shall we say, somewhat foodie focused, and like nothing better than to 'do celebrations properly.' So our Christmas meal was a full on affair, a vegetarian version of traditional seasonal fare, well prepared and cooked to within an inch of perfection. We were, of course, being overseen by the lucious spirit of the Goddess Nigella - well, at least we'd made her Chilli Jelly (a Chilli Sauce given a less prosaic name). To accompany this I'd made a Cashew Nut & Mushroom Roast, with a richly flavoured homemade gravy, whilst David dealt with the roasties and veg side of things. Some Christmas Puddings can be so plum filled, there is a sense of foreboding for the effect they'll have on your already satiated appetite, before you've actually eaten them. My Christmas Pudding, came out dark and clean and even from its bowl, looked and tasted light, but was still full of a rich fruity flavor. All in all, it was a consummately well executed Christmas feast. However, during our afternoon perambulation down by the river, the full weight of what we'd eaten finally gained on us. My stomach felt distended beyond pleasant satisfaction, to feeling like my intestines were stuffed, stretched and twisted like barbecue sausages. So bloated, barping and burping we returned home to a welcome sleep, a brief break before we felt obliged to funnelled yet more down our gullets to our stomachs.

The rest of the day we gorged on whatever could be easily foraged from off I-Player - Have I got news for you - Porridge - Dr Who Christmas Special - bookending a DVD of The Princess Bride. Now the latter is yet another movie many people have been astounded I'd never seen, extolling its qualities to the hills, and how much I would like it. I have to say, this sort of talk already had got my distrustful ears pricking with suspicion - Hmm, well we'll see shall we. It was mildly diverting, I could see it was on occasiona a witty, if not eccentric take on a traditional fairy tale, but it seemed to seriously underplay the necessary parody and irony. In short, I found it rather underwhelming, but maybe I just didn't get fully onto its wavelength. Though it did, surprisingly, feature a barely recognisable Christopher Guest as the arch-villain. Our movie memories are often based on how we were at the time, affected by who we saw it with, how old we were, our particular interests, mood and zeitgeist. Sometimes films don't wear well too well, and seem dated all too soon. What was radical, cutting edge, or simply a hilarious film in 1985 for instance, can look clumsy and creaking even a few years later. As for The Princess Bride - well, Shrek, has done this sort of thing so much better, since this movie came out in 1997.


Well, the gut ache, like the celebrations is now passed. So I guess its back to business as usual. How boring or bored can I be in 2009? On the work front, I manned the phones on Boxing Day with Tricia. As there was absolutely no communication coming from the outside world, this meant I got round to cleaning and repairing an old artwork of mine, that has been lying on a shelf in the warehouse, awaiting the right moment to arrive. Well, today was that moment. Though it was on a stairwell wall for eleven years in my old community in Ipswich, and in the warehouse for about six months, the grime hadn't become ingrained in the artwork. A brisk brush, hoover and wipe down was sufficient. I guess this demonstrates the veracity of Quentin Crisps dictum about the build up of dirt not getting any worse after two years. Anyway, its looking rather resplendent once more, hanging up at the end of a warehouse isle. There aren't that many spaces large enough to accommodate it, though as it hangs there it looks quite small. As an artwork it is something you need to be able to stand back from to see it at its best. Though its around fifteen years since it was completed, I still feel some sort of parental responsibility for its well being, akin to that for an independent and grown up offspring. I still care about all my babies.

SATURDAY 27th 08

The centre of town was a buzz with the full throttle of folk with only bargain hunting on their minds. There is talk about this being the last flurry before people batten down the hatches on their finances. But then that's always what happens after Christmas. I don't get any sense that people are seriously feeling the pinch, but they are definitely more cautious and insecure about the future. A feeling that is only increased in intensity with every report of firms closing or going into administration. But we have been fed a daily diet of pessimism from the TV, Radio and newspapers for months now. These media prophets of doom are now proving themselves to be a major part of the problem. I can't help but wonder if we knew nothing about what was going on, whether we'd all be at least a lot calmer, if not better off. Left with only our own impressions and immediate knowledge to go on, would we be noticing anything at all? The present pace at which we've collectively lost confidence in our economy is largely a media fueled one. The information we are given about the economy (about which we have little real control) can only produce a level of anxiety bordering on hysteria. Neither I nor David are presently feeling seriously impoverished. But then we don't have much money to start with, and demand a lot less from our lives for them to be OK. If Windhorse goes bust in the next eighteen months (which is not inevitable, but is a possibility if things don't begin to improve by next Christmas) then perhaps we'll feel differently. If you presently own a house, car, and have wives and children with needs to satisfy, holidays to plan and pensions to be invested in, I guess things might feel a bit more precariously balanced right now.

I had some Christmas gift cards burning a hole in my craving controls. 'Next' was in full Sale fever, I didn't find anything there that I either must have, or really needed. I'll return once the Sale is over , and the new seasons range has arrived, and see then if my temptation can be whetted. I also had some money to spend in WH Smiths, with which I chose to purchase a CD of Ladies of Letters - Go Green. These series of delightful and spitefully written letters, are read with great skill and high camp by Prunella Scales and Patricia Routledge. David and I were greatly amused by Ladies of Letters - Make Mincemeat, whilst they were on I-player over the Christmas break, stuffed full, as they are with barely suppressed bitchiness, rivalry and backhanded compliments between these two friends - Vera Small and Irene Spencer. The scripts make regular play on their perpetual one-up-woman-ship, pretentiousness, and their mistaken use of words - like, for instance, congenial and congenital being confused. Just one of those light fingered delicacies with which one can still uplift and nourish oneself, in the possibly trying year to come.

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