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Category Archives: review

Eating Bugs at The Pestaurant

On Thursday, I queued up with bankers and brokers alike to eat a pigeon.

The Pestaurant...see what they did there?

The Pestaurant…see what they did there?

The common pigeon (Columba Livia) doesn’t have any one habitat in London’s grey and pleasant land. You can find them almost anywhere; hanging out in intimidating gangs in Trafalgar Square, getting caught up in weaves on the Peckham pavement and begging for tuppence outside St Pauls Cathedral. I’ve never been inclined to kill man nor beast, and I think the last time I saw a pigeon on the menu I freaked out as only a ten year old seaside child in a Lebanese restaurant can. But I was hungry, and curious.

Yum.

Yum.

Whilst queuing with The Suits, I was offered a light starter of barbeque meal worm, a crispy and unsatisfying snack, not dissimilar to the crap bit of popcorn that you have to painfully pick out of your teeth. I doubt we will see the meal worm gracing our cinemas or supermarkets anytime soon.

Can I tempt you with some tasty nibbles?

Can I tempt you with some tasty nibbles?

The pigeon burger was alright but the disappointment of it not looking like a bit of pigeon was just too much; I wanted more of a pigeon feast for the eyes. Think hundreds of urban pigeons rotating on the spit roast, with a pile of pre-plucked carcasses waiting to be prepared for a grilling; a little more feather and a bit more drama. Instead, we were handed a standard looking burger in a bun with the small print stating that this was pigeon mixed with venison and bacon which meant it just tasted like bacon. Whilst we were told (and thank God; I’m not ready for another horse meat scandal), it was a bit lame; you can get venison and bacon anywhere and I wanted a dirty, London-tasting pigeon in a bun and in my hand. The taste of pavement and puddles.

Or something like that.

Looks like a burger, smells like a burger.  It's a pigeon.

Looks like a burger, smells like a burger. It’s a pigeon.

Disaster struck when the kind people at Rentokil ran out of all the other pesky delicacies which swarms of city workers desperate for a chocolate ants and barbequed crickets had come for, but alas, it just wasn’t meant to be. Now, I’m not trying to say that The Suits got greedy, but, well maybe they did.

Now, what to feast upon next...

Now, what to feast upon next…

The irony demonstrated by the shortage at this Rentokil Pestaurant is that we could have just found our own creepy crawlies, whacked them on the grill and had ourselves a very, merry picnic without the queues but I guess also without the media exposure. Which, at the end of the day, is what is needed to get Londoners to eat their common household pests.

Now, I’m off to find me a rat.

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Valentine’s Day: Why So Fluffy?

Valentine’s day.  Another manufactured holiday designed to make us spend all our money and feel under pressure if we’re in a relationship, bitterly down wine after wine whilst shouting along to Kelly Clarkson if we’re single or try our luck at a horrendous lock and key party if we’re young and up for it.  We don’t have this with pancake day!

I’ve heard many a self-assured sistah claim that they have no time for Valentine’s day because “you-should-show-your-loved-ones-how-you-feel-about-them-each-and-everyday-and-love-and-care-and-hold-and-shower-them-with- affection- and-romantic-gestures, lad-eee!”.  Which is fair enough.  But for those of us who slowly fall into the trap of “being comfortable” with one another where you find yourself wearing stained tracky bottoms to bed (to cover hairy legs) and spend night after night being more physical in the shower (hair washing can be hard work) than in the bedroom, a day which encourages a little bit of effort is something to look forward to.  Not for the whole year mind.  It’s not Christmas.

Wayne and Waynetta:  Comfortable or complacent?

But with all that said and done, I’m hardly one to go running into Clintons buying up all the unnecessary crap that can only be out of its box for one day before it becomes embarrassing (no one wants to see fluffy nonsense about the place unless it’s a kitten).  I don’t buy those often deformed synthetic chicks at Easter to be the pride of my mantelpiece, brittle plastic skeletons for Halloween nor special addition coal for Ash Wednesday.  In fact, I don’t purchase any tacky delights for Valentine’s Day; receiving mass produced token make you feel as special as spam in your inbox.

So what for it?  Oysters?  Champagne?  Rose petals in the bath?   If you want.  Or heading out to a restaurant bursting at the seams with shmoozy  “officially in love” couples?  Maybe not so much.  Crikey, imagine table after table of saccharine sweethearts, each couple trying to out-romance each other.  I present thee a rose.  I present thee a rose on one knee.  I present thee a rose, balancing on one knee from a rare pink Indian Elephant.  Who know what could happen!

And why is it all so fluffy???  What has fluff got to do with the story?  Mr “lover lover” Valentine married couples in secret, when the evil Emperor Claudius outlawed marriage for young men, as he thought it made them pussies at war!  But when Valentine was discovered being an undercover match maker, he was put to death.

More of a romance killer then turning on the lights.

The most romantic gesture I made on V-Day was a homemade card, inspired by art attack that I sent to two boys on two separate occasions when I was six.  And the only Valentine gesture I ever received was a rose with “I lost my phone number, can I borrow yours” attached to it from a “secret admirer” who put his name at the bottom.  Maybe women are better at these things.

So Valentine’s Day.  Generally, it makes me feel like I’ve eaten too many chocolates from my metaphorical Milk Tray but I like the sentiment.  But please remember: there’s no need to perform for an audience; it doesn’t have to be a showdown.  And if all else fails, originality can only be a good thing.

Drums Through The Wall

He was born in July, like a new star in the sky,

He announced his arrival with a sharp little cry.

His brothers and sisters were all big and grown,

His dad had moved out but wasn’t far from his home.

He grew up in a street, surrounded by friends,

With flowers and wind chimes and rainbows and hens.

Spencer Street was a great place to be,

He just wished that still there lived his family.

The neighbours all loved him as their own,

Sheila next door used to come round and phone.

And like her own son, she had to sometimes scold,

But she did so gently so he understood what she told.

“You’re drumming is getting better”, she said gently one eve,

“And you very good, but sometimes people need to sleep”.

“Carry on with your drumming and you can be a star,

“But I don’t want to hear you through the wall, I want to watch you from afar.”

So he kept quiet with the drums, and soon the cat came near,

You see the cat didn’t like noise and cowered in fear.

Soon he and the cat were as close as could be,

They played on the carpet and danced on the settee.

 

You wouldn’t think it possible, but there was one time,

That boy and cat came together to dine.

Mum put cubes of cheese in a bowl on the floor,

And he knelt with the cat and ate with mouth but no paws.

A few years later, he wasn’t a child alone

For his siblings were having kids of their own.

Now there were lots of them toddling around,

Having picnics in the park and crawling on the ground.

So after feeling like he was born to late,

Who would have thought it but there came fate.

And his the siblings who he wanted to grow up around,

Had some babies of their own who with he could bound.

A family is not just brothers and sisters,

It can be nieces and nephews and misses and misters.

It’s whoever you want for and care for and live for,

Or those who you sit on the ground with and want nothing more.

Ladies Lido

My Uncle songed it.  He songs everything.

 

Everyone thinks the lady’s pond in easy,

Never any queue nor male eyes a-sleazy

But what they don’t know is what lurks within

Alcohol free, tits out, lack of din.

We arrived at midday with beers and a vest,

To a warped utopia, old nakedness

Lez-be friends I wanted to be

But non of the ladies wanted to friend me.

Chorus

But the Victorian water will always be fair

Bottomless, bottomless but thankfully not topless.

Swim like they did in the 1920s, yeah

Let’s get hysterical and talk about Freud!

Should I strip off my protective bikini

Mother Goose and chicklets, dreamy scenery

Thrilling conversation, laughing is a riot

She’s looking at me and saying “be quiet!”

Ok, Yes I will obey the sign

I’ll keep the noise down, my sounds will be mine

But in return, you naked old prune

Respond to the signs that say you can’t be nude.

Chorus

But the Victorian water will always be fair

Bottomless, bottomless but thankfully not topless.

Swim like they did in the 1920s, yeah

Let’s get hysterical and talk about Freud!

I like nakedness as much as Eve and Adam

Before God came down, like a clothing madman

Get naked if you wanna, at least for a while

Everyone would be happier wearing nothing but a
smile.

But a note to the naked, the ones at the pool

I accept your lack of clothes, let this be the rule

So on this day, when I want to laugh at the ducks

Let me do this in peace, without your look of muck

Chorus

The Victorian water will always be fair

Bottomless, bottomless but thankfully not topless.

Swim like they did in the 1920s, yeah

Let’s get hysterical and talk about Freud!

The Grass is Always Greener in the Urban Jungle

To come across a farm in the midst of the city is akin to panning for gold with cracked lips and discovering a tin of vaseline amongst the wet pebbles.  You’re not looking for it, but when it comes to you, you realise it is just what you need.  And hindsight makes the experience even more beautiful; what is it doing there???

Just off Hackney Road, nestles just the rural treat.  Whilst Hackney City Farm is pretty small (I think I counted two goats, five chickens, a pig, some geese, two calves, a donkey named Larry, three sheep and a cat, although it could have been a stray), there is much wholesome fun to be had!

Lazza, the donkey

With pigs hanging around in the sun and unbalanced looking ducks (it looks like they don’t have any arms!) dashing about, a three legged cat and a beautiful garden, Hackney City Farm is glorious and makes you forget the big smoke.  Don’t go on a Monday as it is closed (even animals need days off) and after hanging with the herd pop into the cafe for a bacon or sausage sandwich (I think it’s made from their pigs – don’t think of Babe) and an ice cream.

Perfect if you have youngsters to entertain, want to convince your latest squeeze that you’re a wholesome gentleman, or if you just crave some quality time with the animals, like the middle aged man I caught having a conversation with a goose.