Monday, July 27

The Food Of Love - Part II

I packed up the Taste the World tent last night after Andy White, assisted by professional toast-maker John Leckie assembled and served a spectacular Rock ‘n’ Roll Breakfast.

Coco Pops & Kalua
Granola with Strawberries Flambéed in Irish Whiskey
Champagne with Marmite Soldiers.
with a side order of beer

John had said that he would make Eggs Benedict, but then decided that he wasn’t up to making a hollandaise sauce
Andy: but you’ve produced Radiohead
John: making Hollandaise is much more difficult than producing Radiohead

My work done, there was still time to go and see more musicbefore the end of the festival, all the food left had to be thrown out or given away, there were 4kgs of lamb in the fridge with no takers, so I divided the meat between my shopper and my handbag and took with me to go and meet Miss Whiplash who was watching Roy Ayers at the other end of the arena - I was halted in my tracks by music from this band*

and got no further. I saw no more of the Whiplash but she sent a text to say that Roy was totally amazing and she was running after his tour bus to see if she could have his babies.

I did see/hear a lot of great music, The Hypnotic Brass Ensemble are raw pulsating sex on 18 legs, if there’s a show coming near you - see them.

I bought Antikrisis after seeing this and I’ve been playing it non-stop since I got home.

* Sorry about rubbish sound but it's as near as I can find to what I heard from Ba Cissoko a man currently being touted as Africa's Jimi Hendrix.

Wednesday, July 22

The Food Of Love

In Real Life I’m a cook, these days I take short cooking jobs and fit them around the work going on at the production house. In my early cooking days I catered for pop stars and I still do quite lot of work with children, but it tends to be non-musical events. I am therefore, really excited, about  my job this weekend at WOMAD, a music festival set in a vast parkland strewn with people performing songs and dancing, I'm especially looking forward to seeing these people.

One of the performance tents has a stage set with a kitchen – artists, who are also performing on the larger stages, come here and cook something for the public who come to watch the spectacle - it’s like Food Art with music.

My role in all this? I am The Girl Who Shops; I get sent details of what the musicians want to make, I buy the ingredients, make sure they have enough of the right sorts of pots, and when the cooking gets going I might end up stirring a sauce while they toss pancakes.

My shopping list includes ‘crumbs of salt cod’, chorizo, smoked ham and ‘moong divide', the Food Events start with Cuban Chicken on Friday and end with a rock ‘n’ roll breakfast on Sunday evening (Kalua and Coco pops and a demonstration of the sort of meals you can make inside a hotel kettle).

the musicians often send accompanying notes, placing their choice of dish in context. Many WOMAD performers are in some way exiled from their homeland, Mariam Hassan is currently resident in Spain, she will be making a lamb dish from the Sahara, to finish she will serve 3 different sorts of tea, the first will be As Bitter as Life, the second will be As Sweet as Love and the third will be As Soft as Death.

Sunday, July 19

Bringing It All Back Home

The Director is back from filming in Botswana, most of the kit is in storage but the lenses are up in the spare room for testing and cleaning. He's mostly been asleep since his return, which is a shame as I was hoping he might do some Man Jobs, like get the congealed fat out of the drain.

He's hoping I'll do some Woman Jobs, like fix all the broken trousers that are in his clothes bag. I won't be doing that because I'll have my arm down a drain, but I will model the trousers that show what happens if you stand too close to the camp fire.

Saturday, July 18

Young, Dumb And Sponging Off Mum

I rely on other people to point me in the direction of telly that's worth watching, in view of the post I put up a few days ago I'll be watching Charlie Brooker's recommendation from behind the sofa.

Thursday, July 16

Dilo Doll Mania Starts Here

Now that we’re blessed with so many television channels, the content needed to fill the yawning chasms of televisual space must be found from somewhere. Mr Dilo in Romania has come up with a winning proposal for a game show; his idea is to pitch his wife Banzai-style (who I totally back to win) against some other people with an unconventional take on their chosen religion.

I’m planning to steal his idea (Genius Steals – Mssrs Picasso, Wilde & Elliot said so), but first I need a photo of Mrs D so I can get some plastic dolls made and a load of other stuff with her image on it – then I’ll be onto a winner and get rich.

I know this because I have recently had a lesson in the economics of children’s television from a lady working for a Spanish television channel - she has a budget of 8 euros ($11) per minute to spend on children’s programming*.

For this sector, programme ideas come mainly from people who want to sell stuff; so a set of characters is thought up by a marketing person, they get together with a manufacturer who then make a load of toys, clothing - you name it they'll make it, branding the characters over as many bits of old tat as possible. The marketing people write out guidelines for the merchandise and then get it strung together into an extended advert which is then called a children’s television programme.

Dilo's idea is perfect for kids, they love punch ups don't they? Earwig Sandwich will soon be given over exclusively to offering you our latest range of Dilo Dolls, Mrs Dilo Lunch Boxes, football strips and ear wax holders. Hand over her photo Mr Dilo and I’ll cut you in – don’t make me make it up!

*To get a broadcast-quality tape of an hour-long programme copied and sent to a tv channel, it would cost in the region of $150 plus courier costs.

Monday, July 13

The Point Of It All...

Barney has been in the office helping out for a few days, I’ve known him since he was very young, he’s now 18 and has become awfully tall and spotty, I have my suspicions that aliens visited him a couple of years ago and exchanged his brains for bits of fluff and mice.

He finished with ‘school and stuff’ over a year ago but hasn’t been able to get more work than the odd shift at a local bar. We talk about what he could do with his life, I make encouraging noises about the things he’s good at, he makes polite noises back.

Finally, frustrated at my lack of perception he puts the nub of his problem more clearly

I just want to get some money.
(with that uplift at the end, like it’s a question)

Thursday, July 9

RIP Monsieur Splendido

I have spent the evening trying to find the words to write to someone who has just lost her husband. As a couple they clasped me to their bosoms, became my friends and gave me an unparalleled introduction into the tight little society that is rural France.

I was in France looking for a farmhouse that we could use as a filming location and crew accommodation. I had spent my first few nights in increasingly dismal hotels, so when I walked into the lounge of Hotel Splendido, a sixties timewarp of black quilted vinyl, shiny teak veneer and flamboyant floral displays, I felt I’d come home.

Monsieur Splendido and his magnificent moustache were rivetted to a banquette his eyes fixed to a fuzzy image that might have been a sport game on a huge old television screen, he must have divined my presence through his whiskers because he didn’t take his eyes off the box as he bawled for his wife to come and sort me out.

Madame Splendido was stiffly coiffed and wore the sort of makeup that frightens horses. She was sharp and to the point and gave me a thorough interrogation before handing me the keys to my room.

The hotel's restaurant is popular with the locals, in the summer, dinner is served outside on a sunny terrace. The evening that I arrived most of the tables were full of chatty laughing couples, I was shown to a table in the middle of the terrace and Monsieur Splendido (now dressed in chef's whites) appeared by my side, he introduced me to the other diners with a grand flourish, as though he had produced me from a hat;

This is Lulu she is looking for a house to rent, please help her if you can.

The Splendidos were a double act, the magician and his glamorous assistant and it is impossible to imagine one without the other.

Sunday, July 5

Holy Turtles

Carnival is basically a Good Thing, but I usually try and be out of town when it's on, partly because of the racket, but also because the police chases and firework fights can get tedious, I also find it alarming when people hide behind my wheelie bin to shoot up.

Having spent most of the last 3 years out of the country, I had completely forgotten about this annual Caribbean bonanza. However I finally twigged by noon on Saturday when my radio had become inaudible despite only being two feet away from me. I decided that I might as well give up and join in.

I crossed the road to the main body of the party alongside a girl in a vest and face paint, her toes had scraped their way through the fabric of her red slippers and she was propping up a grinning man with a propeller on his head.

The parade was cranked up to full volume, local community groups samba-ed along in enormous glittery costumes, banging drums and pushing trolleys piled high with sound systems. Punctuating the groups were dancing girls wearing little more than body crayon, big shoes and feather headdresses.

The only community group that had decided not to compete in the sparkle stakes were Team God who had opted for a theme entitled 'What I wear To Shop At Asda’. Unity was achieved by dint of large gold cardboard stars tied to their backs, making them look like a flock of holy turtles. Each star was customised with text, mainly a single inspiring word: Give, Smart (??), Happy... emphasized by repetition, like the turtle-man who had the word hopefully written many times in biro all the way down his back.

I think they must have salsa’d too hard, too early on, because by the time I saw them they were trudging wearily and trying not to look at naked girls and men on stilts with bananas in their jockstraps.

This morning I swept up the remains of the television I heard being kicked down the street during the night.
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