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Showing posts from January, 2018

Food in fiction: an occasional series.

The expensive French restaurants in New York are nearly all east of Fifth Avenue. In most of them, depending on what wine he drinks and whether or not he orders cognac with his coffee, a man and his date can spend the equivalent of the U.S. legal weekly minimum wage in an evening, or the price of a case of good Scotch or a TV set or the complete recorded works of Beethoven or a ticket to a political fund-raising ball. It is possible that in the last instance, the restaurant dinner is the better bargain; but the price is still rather steep. And for this reason, and for the benefit of impoverished lovers of French cooking and for bona-fide Frenchmen stuck in New York in average-paying jobs, the unfashionable area on the West Side has seen a mushrooming of moderately priced French restaurants. Some of them approach a good Paris bistro; others are only slightly better than the restaurants on Second and Third avenues that cater to the skid-row derelicts, with the day's bargains chalked


We spent New Year's Day at a lunchtime barbecue hosted by friends at their country house outside Maldon. It was a hot, windy day and the wind was whipping the dust up. Gold dust. I read recently there is more previously-unobtainable gold under the ground in Victoria than has ever been dug up, and that technology is now becoming available to get it. We talked about the gold but it was too hot to start digging. Eventually our host switched on the grill. It was about one o'clock. The girls were playing in the butter house (the old churn plinth is still there) and the boys were tearing up and down the four acres, having been told not to go in the long grass. We were still talking about gold. More goldfields prospectors died from snake bite than any other cause of death aside from dysentery. Imagine finding gold and then being bitten to death by a snake. Horrible. Then the other diggers might fight over your gold, leaving your body to bloat in the sun. Perhaps they would be hel

Craven gets carried away.

In a boardroom high in a tall building in a big city. Through the window of the tall building can be seen scores of other tall buildings full of thousands of people doing important work useful to society in myriad ways, just like the people in this building; in fact, just like in this very boardroom. If you were to look out the window and downwards, you would see ants walking around. The ants are people. These people are not doing any important work useful to society yet - except for the lunch delivery people - but they are on their way to do so, such as working in government departments or robbing a bank. Guy, a copywriter, and Rob, an art director, are not staring out the window. They are sitting at the boardroom table looking at Craven, an advertising account director. Craven has a piece of paper in his hand and his gaze is directed at it. The piece of paper is a television script . Language warning. CRAVEN: Guys, this is not a TV commercial, it's a fucking Raymond Chandle

"It's hard to believe the Stones have been around for ten whole years." - beach reading for the jaded mind.

I lay on the sand in the dappled shade of a ti-tree and picked up the book and started reading it. I finished it two hours later. Not bad for 214 pages, plus appendix, plus index. When I read history I like to read it incomplete; as in the history, not the book. Rock Revolution stops dead in 1976 because that is when it was published. It is all the more interesting for that, as you get a mid-seventies view of what rock music was - but, more importantly, what it was becoming. The headline above is a quote from Chapter 5, 'The Rolling Stones: Ecstasy and Evil'. The book is a collection of essays from Creem magazine which proclaims it 'is not intended to be a rock'n'roll textbook', alluding to some of the obtuse music writing that was around even then. Lester Bangs contributes several articles, concluding in the above-quoted chapter 'that the Stones' tour in the summer of '75 ... boded well for the future of the Stones and (implicitly) for the fut

The New Advertising Breakthrough. Part Five: Craven reads the script.

Account Director Craven is the first to arrive in the office after the Christmas break. He unlocks his office and steps towards his ship-sized desk before noticing a folded piece of paper that has been pushed under the door. He stoops to pick it up. A scribbled note on the outside reads: I think you'll find we haven't let you down. R. & G. Craven takes the paper to his desk, unfolds it and starts to read. It is a script for the proposed television commercial featuring two clients. Changing his mind, Craven stands up and crosses to his luxurious sofa, sits back and puts his feet up. He is still the only person in the quiet agency. Far down below can be heard the faraway drone of the traffic. THE SCRIPT WE OPEN ON A BEAUTIFULLY MANICURED LAWN IN FRONT OF A MASSIVE NEO-COLONIAL MANSION THAT PROBABLY HAS ONLY ABOUT EIGHTY ROOMS. THE LAWN STRETCHES AWAY TO INFINITY WHERE IT IS EDGED WITH MASSIVE EXOTIC GARDEN BEDS. THIS SPECIAL PARADISE IS COSSETTED FROM THE OUTSIDE WORLD