Archive for the ‘Food and drink’ Category

I remember 4

September 18, 2016

I remember being scared of going on downward escalators when I was about nine or ten, and being ashamed of it as I knew I’d been able to go on them when I was younger.

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I remember light pink fluoride pills.

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I remember hearing Chopin’s Funeral March on the radio when I was ill and thinking how beautiful it sounded but wondering if it might just be delirium.

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I remember making a boiled egg for my father, perhaps because it was his birthday, and dropping it into the pan, under the impression that it would float, never having done it before, and the egg cracking on the bottom of the pan and the albumen emerging from beneath, and him being angry.

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I remember a Year 5 Music lesson where I became aware I couldn’t see the board because I didn’t have my glasses and hoping desperately that I wouldn’t be asked by Dr T to read anything out because it would have meant admitting I couldn’t see.

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I remember wrinkled fingertips.

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I remember my little tin of blue Humbrol enamel paint that I bought to paint a model perhaps but ended up just opening every so often, prising the lid off with the end of a teaspoon to see the magical blue inside.

humbrol

I remember visiting Hinkley Point and being given blue plastic earplugs which I kept for ages afterwards.

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I remember eating and enjoying tongue, without acknowledging to myself what it was.

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I remember assuming ‘several’ meant at least seven or so, and coming only slowly and stubbornly to the realisation that it might mean, say, three or four.

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I remember praying for God to kill me.

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I remember the big yellow metal train in Welshmill Park with the graffito on saying PENIS LOVERS MEET HERE FRIDAY 8PM, and wondering what went on at such meetings.

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I remember an awful assembly at St John’s in which I was part of a presentation on hair, explaining that people had straight hair because of flat follicles and curly hair because of round follicles, and not understanding why flat and why round, which I still don’t. And then saying of Charlotte M the line ‘Her perm won’t last long,’ not really knowing what a perm was or why anyone would want one, and dimly sensing, perhaps, the absurdity of parroting words I didn’t comprehend written by some teacher who had no idea what children were.

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I remember Mr P saying it was always worth having a go during oral exams even if you didn’t know the word, as a pupil of his had once had his Brummie-inflected ‘a bee’ taken as ‘abeille’ and accepted.

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I remember feigning that I’d expected Gianluca Vialli to be sacked as Chelsea manager, though I hadn’t and it upset me.

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I remember Maths Circus.

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Shakespeare, pastries and holy water

April 23, 2016

There’s John Falstaff, a comical fellow
And that envious Moor called Othello
But the star of the folio
Is surely Malvolio
In cross-gartered stockings of yellow

The above is my humble contribution to mark the quatercentenary of Shakespeare’s shuffling off of his brief candle.

Relatedly, this is what I recall of the dream I had last Sunday night:

I met J at an unspecified event. She was sitting in some communal room, like the Green Room at Gonville and Caius but a bit swisher. She had a bowl of water and was aspersing people. I said ‘Asperges me hyssopo’ and she chucked a bit of water at me.

Then we had a good-natured chat about Shakespeare in which I surprised myself at my knowledge of the plays. I certainly mentioned Florizel and Perdita, and we discussed Twelfth Night, which I said was my favourite. I suppose knowledge grows by accretion without one realising it.

I took a pastry at her prompting, which appeared to be a loosely coiled croissant, then walked with her as I ate. It uncoiled into a kind of baguette, much more substantial than it had seemed, the end dragging on the ground, the other still in my mouth. I was glad to see her looking so well.

Shakespeare

I remember 2

August 8, 2015

I remember going to a children’s concert at Jackdaws in Great Elm and the programme giving the name of one piece as ‘Vaginia Reel’.

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I remember the happiness of going to National Trust properties and, against the odds, not being bored, perhaps because of the shop or the tea room.

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I remember playing the word COON in a Scrabble game because I’d got it mixed up with ‘coot’, and sensing from the grown-ups’ reactions that I’d done something wrong, though no one said anything.

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I remember feeling inhibited about waving my arms when we sang hateful evangelical songs in school like ‘We are climbing Jesus’ ladder’.

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I remember feeling embarrassed by my unbroken singing voice.

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I remember the sickly smell of breakfast in Barry: pineapple juice and Weetabix.

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I remember D saying confidentially to me that there was someone in the changing room with awful BO and my suspecting that it was me. Perhaps he was trying to be diplomatic. He wasn’t an academic boy, but he was kind, like Piggy in Lord of the Flies.

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I remember seeing a comma butterfly in Welshmill Park on an inset day.

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I remember stroking my tortoiseshell butterfly until its wings fell off and all that remained was the abdomen.

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I remember the summer when I went down the road to the petrol station to buy a 500ml bottle of Sprite and the lid was a special one that meant I won a free bottle of Sprite and it happened several times in a row so the people on the checkout began to get suspicious.

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I remember Tiger Tokens.

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I remember reading The Great Gatsby and picturing the gas station as the one at the bottom of Weymouth Road.

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I remember a boy shouting ‘Queer’ at me from a window, and realising he’d only shouted it because I happened to be there, but also half thinking, How does he know?

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I remember Miss Davies showing us Blackadder the Third in class to explain about rotten boroughs.

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I remember getting shyer as I got older.

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I remember feeling absolutely indifferent to cars.

Tortoiseshell, July 2015

THE LEEDS PEOPLE versus THE TIMES NEWSPAPER

June 9, 2015

To the EDITOR of the HARMONICON.

Leeds, October 22, 1827

SIR,

I need not tell you that we have just had an opportunity of hearing Madame Pasta in this town, for the fact has been pretty generally learnt through the medium of the Times Newspaper; the editor of which has thought fit to imply, that the general disappointment which the singing of this lady produced in Leeds, is a proof, not of her want of attraction in a concert-room, but of our defective taste—of our barbaric ignorance. Now, sir, the diligence with which the art of music is cultivated by most classes here, is well known to all who are acquainted with the habits of this great town, though the Times may not have thought it worth while to acquire any information on the subject; and in proportion to our population, we have, I boldly assert, more good judges of music among our amateurs, than are to be found in the same class in London, where opinion is so much governed by fashion, and so little influenced by judgment.

I admit Madame Pasta’s merit on the stage, on which I have often heard her with pleasure, though I am only a dull, provincial manufacturer. Even there, however, I think she is over-rated, or, rather, over-puffed; but in a concert-room, the huskiness of her voice, and the uncertainty of her intonation, not being covered by superior acting, disappoint those whose expectations are raised too high by the inordinate, unqualified praise bestowed on her by the London press. I can further inform the Editor of the Times, that this is not only the feeling of us, the poor, stupid people of Leeds, but also of many professors who are in the habit of hearing her everywhere; and likewise of some able and impartial critics who were present at her performances in Norwich, Worcester, and Liverpool.

I am, Sir, &c.,

A YORKSHIREMAN.

Giuditta Pasta (1797-1865)

Giuditta Pasta (1797-1865)

If you ever find yourself in Leeds and fancy some pasta, I can recommend Salvo’s.