Wednesday, February 28





Adventures in British Food Chapter 3. Cows lay eggs

We all know that Britian's cows are unfortunate. And I'm not talking about fat slags Sandra and Tracey as they struggle with holding their cone of hot chips while copping it in the alleyway behind the pub.

No, I'm talking about the real cows of this small island nation, that regularly get criticised for their poor quality beef, or for the fact that they're crawling with disease and pestilence, or because occasionally they go totally mad.

Now it seems, they have started to lay eggs.

Today's Metro newspaper claims that

"thousands of British children think cows lay eggs. And a similar number believe that bacon comes from sheep.."


"1 in 12 did not know beef burgers came from cows"


"1 in 10 were clueless about where cheese came from".

Christ, how dumb ARE these people?


Friday, February 16

On assignment - The Philippines 1.

Location: Manila: Philippines

I'm going to regale you all with tales of my recent visit to Manila in the Philippines, and in true George Lucas epic style, I'm going to start at the end then work backwards, just to confuse the merry fuck out of you all.

So I’m sitting in the Emirates Business class lounge at Manila international airport – or the (insert first name of dead/deposed/deported) Aquino international airport, and let me tell you, I’ve been in coach terminal coffee shops in Midwestern USA that are better than this. There is this air of bewildered disbelief hanging in the air as middle aged business men loiter longingly around the grubby food buffet looking for something that might even remotely resemble a cocktail. (Penance perhaps, for their obvious sexcapades over the last week..)

It’s a sorry sight. In design terms, I seem to recall a Keith Lord buffet and hutch set my parents foolishly bought in the early 80’s that stylishly (and I use that term liberally) was quite Midwestern USA darkwood faux classic tack, but nonetheless, more spacious and capable of satisfying many more guests come festive season.

So at the beginning of the evening my initial response was to get absolutely blind drunk before I get onto the airoplane, by drinking the rest of the bottle of gin lurking very frightened like at the back of the shelf behind the cheap vodka. In fact, it reminds me of a student bar. Noice.

I think it was a good idea to get here early. Looking around me, there doesn’t seem to be many seats, and only a few break out spaces. And I dont think the kinds of people who fly Emirates business class are about to climb into each others personal space and start to workshop a panto. No, I just don’t. In fact. As more people arrive, I can see the drinks are flowing very freely. Quick, I’ve finished my G & T, be back in a moment.

Ok, back from the bar and onto drink no 2. I’m a little worried that I might be making an arse of myself. Wait, hang on a moment. Making an arse of myself has never bothered me before and it’s not like I’m in Kensington Palace or nuffin.

I do happen to have my ipod on extra loud on the ‘disco’ setting and no doubt disturbing the peace with the sounds of the Freemasons, who have, in anticipation of their up and coming Sydney Mardi Gras debut, released a CRACKING CD, which is rotating around my Ipod faster than Kerry Katona’s head spinning around after a vigorous talcum powdering of the dance floor at 4.00am. Not only is my music blasting out for all to hear, but I appear to be dancing along. Heaven knows, by drink no 12, I’ll probably do a whole floor show. Now, where are those feathers.

So, my collegues have just arrived, and onto drink no, 3. I have just declared to them that I am attempting to drink the bar dry. They seem impressed.

OOOHHH Bud and Chuck have arrived in their Khaki sweats and seem to be making a line for the bar. I love the new way to describe grunge, Lacoste calls their new drab range of dirty looking tripe the ECO TEES. Whatever. Just look like you should be flying business class, Chuck, if you want to hang out in here with me and my Mandarina Duck. Best top up….

Ok, so look, because I have now taken off my Ipod I’m listening to the warbling sounds of the muzak. Last track was the Hammond organs rendition of Take That’s back for good. Now it’s Toni Braxton’s ‘Unbreak my heart’. One of my collegues, a rather senior gentleman, has been talking to me and distracting my train of thought, and that’s probably why this is so rambling. I might have done a bad thing. To shut him up a let it slip that I was gay, and I think he’s now very confused and looking a touch uncomfortable. I can see him thinking about our candle-lit dinner last night, and now here’s coming around to realise that there was a reason why I didn’t go to the girly bars the other night… wait for it… waaaaiiit, here it comes, ah yes, there’s the look.

Boarding in half an hour. OK, that’ll do for now.


Saturday, February 10

Sorry Madam, I will be right there.

I am lying in bed this morning nusrsing a bit of a hangover. Not the type that says quick, decapatate me and bury my head in a large pile of epsom salts, douse with evian, and reattach when lighty fizzed. Its more the Vicky Pollard type of "OOOH my god I can't be LIEVE you just did thaaaat.

You see, last night we went out for dinner with my delightful cousins Jo and Lou to celebrate Jo's birthday. We went to a restaurant in Marble Arch, and I'm not ashamed to tell you its name - Rhodes at W1.

It's quite a nice restaurant/bar, in the foyer of a very posh west end hotel. So in this kind of establishment, one would expect pretty damned good service.

Well, this is a transcript of a converstation between my cousin Jo and the waitress:

Jo: Can you please top up my wine? Or perhaps leave the bottle on the table.

Waitress: I will bring it to you.

time passes, no wine, entrees are brought to the table.

Jo: can you please top up my wine? I have already asked once.

Waitress: I have many tables to look after

Jo: I dont care about the other tables

Waitress: Well I do, thats my job, its very busy...

WRONG. BZZZ. You lose.

As Louise said, you should just smile and apologise and then go and spit in the food.

So after some WORDS to the manager, the service was excellent, as we had the manager topping up our wine almost to excess, so that's how we got a bit drunk.

Anyway, I hope the silly betch got the heave ho for that.

We're not in Melbourne anymore toto....


Friday, February 9


prrrr prrrr prrrrr prrrrr


Wednesday, February 7

A Million Dollar home in the sun

Recently I watched a funny little show on Lifestyle TV where some overtanned crumpet with a little bit of real estate nouse took cashed up Chavs over to some unsuspecting Mediterranean island and bought them an overpriced piece of crap real estate.

Normally, this is the sort of TV I squeal with delight to when it comes on, almost as much as Doctor Quinn, Medicine Woman. However, considering my line of work, this show actually means something to me, and frankly, I have never looked good in a frilly bonnet and jodhpurs.

I thought it particularly frightening that on this show, there wasn't a single panarama of the village or town that was about to be infected with a new level of two star residents. It was as if even the production house or the TV channel was embarrassed by the reality show's underwhelming 'stars'. And what an overwhelming quantity of these underwhelming people abound in the UK and especially on reality TV here. So you've got to feel sorry for the local residents in these sleepy towns when plane loads of fish and chippies descend every summer for sun, cocktails and the delusion that they're Posh and Becks in their tropical versions of Beckingham Palace.

Upon my return from Cyprus yesterday I came to this sad realisation, which hit me with a thump to the back of the head, harder than the 5 ouzo and cokes I'd had on Sunday night. When asked by my collegues how the trip was, I have had to really think about whether I enjoyed it or not, and the truth is, I didn't really enjoy this place. Not because of the local people, or the local culture, which I'm sure are all wonderful, but because of what it has become.

I really feel for the peoples of these sunny sleepy seaside towns, that yearly become overwhelmed with with the legions of such underwhelming British people. They come to their shores and park themselves in the most disgustingly designed, poorly constructed villas, screaming obscentities and drinking beer from 8.00am daily.

Then in the cooler months, the scores of filthy cheap tourist trattorias that line the main streets struggle to make a few dollars in the off season ghost town market.

Though I'm sure the merchants all love the respite and the quiet that the cooler months bring.

When I asked my client, who is attempting to build a five star resort facility here, about the most difficult thing about building in this climate, his response is that it is just so sad to see his town becoming so ugly with the mass construction of poor quality villa developments. In turn, the expectation of the quality of everything suffers. It must be really awful to see your heritage sink under a pile of crisp wrappers and tanning lotion bottles.

Oh well, once fuel prices start to skyrocket, we wont be able to fly anywhere anymore, so I guess the prognosis might just be looking up!