Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Playing the fool

I know it has been a significant amount of time since my last post, but quite frankly my working life has been manic, which has meant that the last thing I want to do when I get home is sit at my PC and write.

So, what have I been doing if I haven't been writing? Well I've been cooking, naturally, but nothing too adventurous. I'm saving all that up for Christmas. There will be turkey, braised red cabbage, baked maple ham, eggnog, Brussels sprouts, smoked salmon and caviar canap├ęs, home made fudge and truffles, goose fat roast potatoes, bubble and squeak, mulled wine, buttered rum plus much more.

In the meantime I have been glued to Coronation Street (oh please don't let Rita experience death by a wholesale jar of mint humbugs!) and Miranda. I love Miranda Hart. Her character is the embodiment of how I imagine others perceive me to be, but without the 6'1 height. She is clumsy, ridiculous, silly, geeky, gawky and foolish but at the same time extremely endearing.


Now I'm not saying I share my house with friends made out of fruit, but I certainly have a habit of playing the fool amongst a sea of more glamorous or more erudite individuals. But that does not matter, I am happy to be the clown (not literally, I don't go out over sized shoes with a big round red nose, white makeup and a fright wig....well not all the time).

And now the Christmas season is upon us, so is party time, which offers all manner of opportunities for me to drink to excess and act even more foolish. Watch out those of you attending a certain lady's 50th birthday bash with an Oscar fancy dress theme this coming Saturday. I will be on lash and in party mode, so the next victim could be 'ewe'!

Friday, 12 November 2010

D'you want me to make you a little sandwich?

So asks Beverly, the grotesque lead character in Mike Leigh's excellent TV play, Abigail's Party.


However, although Beverly is somewhat grotesque, I can see a little bit of myself in her. For example, her vain attempts at social engineering with embarrassing consequences, her tendency to drink a little more gin than is necessary, the fact she comes from Essex and her fabulous 'dancing'.

"I like Demis Roussos"

If you have never seen Abigail's Party, then I urge you to watch it now. Once seen, forever (and ever) quoted!

That's the thing I love about Mike Leigh films, the fact that you can either see yourself or people you know in the characters he creates. Beth and I saw Another Year at the weekend, which was excellent. Food plays an important role in the film as the main characters meet over various home-cooked meals, an impromptu lunch created from produce from an allotment, BBQs and copious amounts of wine. We could definitely identify with the main couple with regard to their contented lives. But at the same time, we both individually recognised that there was a time in each of our lives where we had the potential to behave like the lonely, single, needy woman who drinks too much and constantly turns to her married friends for friendship and understanding.

I have to apologise for my lack of blogging this week, but my life has been a little manic work wise and I am too flaked out in the evening to write anymore (despite what the news tells you, public sector workers are busy!). Anyway, today I have the day off and I have started it by dyeing my hair. The bathtub now looks like someone has been dismembered in it due to my mahogany hair dye.

Next I am off to TK Maxx to spoil myself and then for some solitary Dim Sum, my personal treat. Beth hates Dim Sum you see, as outlined in my first ever post. Then it's IKEA to pick up some storage boxes and then off to the market to buy the produce for the Julia Child inspired menu I am preparing for Beth tonight. We are having:

Seared scallops in beurre blanc sauce
Boeuf Bourguignon
Julia Child's chocolate mousse

Beth will let you know how it goes as she's blogging about this weekend on MovieTalk, her work blog, to coincide with Julie and Julia showing on TV.

Right, off to listen to some Demis Roussos whilst I get dressed.....

Wednesday, 3 November 2010

Don't come dine with me

Someone I went to school with is on Come Dine With Me this week. It was her turn to host last night and she did a great job. Her food looked good, she got excellent praise on its taste and it was neat and tidy.
 
Seemingly this was a very important point for Claire who has developed, since I last saw her about 20 years ago, an obsession for having things spotlessly clean and devoid of clutter. I guess it was amusing for me as I recall evenings at Claire's aged 11 when we would prepare hot dogs, oven chips and chicken goujons and loll about in her living room under duvets listening to Five Star and Belinda Carlisle or watching horror films, whilst the dirty plates and glasses of Coca Cola gathered the floor and on the side, to be cleared away much later. In fairness, I do share some of her traits. I too cannot abide clutter now, and plates and spills get cleaned up immediately. However, if you go inside my cupboards and drawers, then it's a different story.
 
This is precisely one of the myriad of reasons why I could never take part in Come Dine With Me. The thought of someone going through my cupboards and drawers and discovering actually how slovenly I am when it comes to tidying things away, would be awful. My house is spotlessly tidy on the surface, but dig deeper then the phrase "out of sight, out of mind" really comes in to play.
 
Here are the other reasons as to why Come Dine With Me would never grace my humble abode:
  • I like to convince myself that cooking is my one true gift. It is the one thing that I believe I do really well. To have people actually criticise my cooking would basically make me cry!
  • Sometimes I cannot be trusted around alcohol in that I become a bit of a liability with regard to what I say and how I conduct myself. I just know I would say something that would unintentionally insult someone, would get a bit loud and would probably end up throwing up in a bush outside. Plus, I have no wish to see myself drunk on TV.
  • The camera adds 10 pounds. Enough said (although I am rectifying this matter with my new fitness regime...walking up 16 flights of stairs at work, twice a day)
So all credit to Claire for putting herself up for scrutiny. You are a brave woman!

Thursday, 28 October 2010

Two fingers or four?

What's you favourite chocolate treat?

I'm rather partial to anything that contains peanuts, such as Cadbury Star Bar, Reece's, Peanut M&Ms. Although my taste for all things nutty does not extend to hazelnut flavour praline....I hate, hate, hate it! The Ambassador would certainly not be spoiling me with his tray of Ferrero Rocher. I would tell him to take his tray of cheap confectionery and fuck off and get me something more dignified, preferably something dark from Montezuma's or Hotel Chocolat.

Why don't they utilise the benefits of more tasty nuts, such as pecans, macadamias, walnuts and almonds. I know there is almond in praline, but its gentle feminine sweetness is trampled on by the aggressive male flavour of the hazelnut. Yes, I believe flavours can be either masculine or feminine. But, wouldn't that be lovely, a Reece's Cup with a pecan or walnut filling, instead of peanut. Hmmm.

Anyway, a chocolate bar played a pivotal role in my burgeoning sexuality at the age of 16. I know what you're thinking and all I can say is don't be so dirty minded! It was in fact a Kit Kat, or rather a bumper pack of Kit Kats. Of the four fingered variety, in case you're curious.

When I was 16 I had a Saturday job at Iceland freezer stores. The stories I could write about that place would fill a book, such as the man who came in and pretended he was blind and who used to gurn at the end of the till. Or the couple that believed that if you scanned an item then it contaminated the food. Never mind that the food they were buying was the worst kind of frozen processed crap that Iceland specialised in. This meant that you had to type in the bar code for absolutely every item that went through the till and if, God forbid, you accidentally scanned something, then the husband sent his wife off to change it with the snap of his fingers. A charming man.

Anyway, whilst I worked in Iceland, a friend from sixth form college worked in a shop down the road. Not that I admitted it at the time, but I clearly had the biggest crush on this girl and when she told me that she loved Kit Kats, as a hidden declaration of my affection I bought her the biggest bumper pack of Kits Kats you will ever see with my Iceland staff discount card and presented it to her during her Saturday lunch break. I think it was that evening that I finally admitted to myself that I was gay. Would I ever declare my love with Kit Kats for a boy, would I hell!

Anyway, the crush disappeared over time when I realised that my friend was impossibly straight and clearly more attracted to boys with long hair who modelled themselves on Rob Newman, someone who straight girls
in the early 90s went inexplicably doo lally over. So I transferred my affections to my celebrity crushes of Kim Wilde and Belinda Carlisle (equally unobtainable, but at least I didn't have to buy them Kit Kats) and started dipping my toes in the London gay scene with my friend Holly.


Now these first forays on to the London gay scene are whole other story, but I will finish by telling you how Holly and I decided to take those first steps on the scene. We identified place to go to by the fact that it welcomed 'gays, lesbians, bisexuals, transsexuals, transvestites, straights and theatrical friends'. Not wanting to admit our true nature, Holly and I both surmised we were indeed 'theatrical friends' and that was a good enough reason to go. I mean we were studying A-Level Theatre Studies, and if that didn't make theatrical, I don't know what did. Don't you just love the power of a euphemism?

Out of interest, Holly is now happily married in New Zealand....to her lovely wife Sara.

Sunday, 24 October 2010

Sober up

Beth and I went for lunch with the boys yesterday in celebration of GBBF (gay boy best friend) Richard's birthday.

We went to Roast in Borough Market where we dined on potted salt beef, scotch eggs, oysters, guinea fowl, partridge, pork belly, Goosnargh chicken, potatoes cooked in beef dripping, kale with garlic, spinach with pine nuts, English cheeses, damson Queen of puddings, chocolate banoffee pudding, apple and blackberry crumble, whisky and gin cocktails, champagne, English sparkling wine, bottles of Bordeaux, Sauternes, maraschino liqueur, port and sloe gin. It was seriously decadent!

Being an intelligent bunch - consisting of a psychiatrist, an operations manager, a lawyer, a journalist and a government policy adviser - the conversation flowed with the wine and led on to discussions about the X Factor, licking dogs, spotting the fellow gays in the restaurant, how St Paul's Cathedral looks like a big breast (we could see it from our table), how one of our set of parents are currently hob-nobbing with the lesbian sex shop owners down their local golf club, Dynasty, Dollywood, Lip Service, our individual voting records (why do I have so many friends who vote Tory when I am a die hard Labourite?), the Spending Review, siblings, the benefits of Valium on a flight, men visiting the club buffet after coming out of the dark room at XXL (urrrgh!), school days, how drinks and mixers are so much better served in the US (always crushed ice, never cubed), Oxford vs Cambridge university and can men and women ever really be friends, a la When Harry met Sally.

The answer to that last question is yes, if both the male and female in question are gay. Both Beth and I have GBBFs as do many of our Sapphic sisters. You see, in this situation the GBBFs don't need to deal with all that unrequited love which often occurs with fag hags and us gay girls don't have to deal with our heterosexual male 'dikey likeys' having secret lascivious thoughts about us. It can really fuck up a friendship if you subsequently find out that someone is harbouring romantic feelings and has some misguided belief that you would reciprocate and change sexuality if they just tried it on. It doesn't work like that, being gay is not a choice!

After lunch and two drinks in a pub by the Millennium Bridge, the lightweight boys went home, whilst Beth and I carried on down to the Retro Bar for a chaser and then on to the vigil against hate crime in Trafalgar Square. We heard the inspiring Stuart Milk speak (nephew of Harvey) and cried when they read out the names of LGBT people who have died as the result of hate crime in the past ten years. A sobering end to a not so sober day.