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Showing posts from March, 2018

Pasta with leek, capsicum, avocado and toasted pine nuts.

That headline alone has enough appetite appeal to get you salivating. The dish itself is even better. Chop a leek lengthwise twice, and then slice the lengths to get quartered rings. Chop a red capsicum into small squares and add the leek and capsicum to a pan with a scored clove of garlic, a dash of white wine, a little olive oil, and lots of pepper. Simmer fifteen minutes. Check fluid level and adjust with more wine. Meanwhile, cook pasta shells. When the leek and capsicum are cooked and the wine has almost evaporated, add a sliced avocado, a dessertspoon of home made pesto and half a cup of cream, and simmer until cream reduces. Drain the pasta shells. This is difficult and annoying. The shells hold the water. Persist. You do not want watered-down pasta sauce. Spoon creamy vegetables sauce over pasta, add shaved parmesan cheese and toasted pine nuts. Glass of shiraz.

Mr Richards has an idea.

Mr Richards just suddenly appeared one day, looking pale. He greeted the receptionist, and walked towards his office. He wasn't wearing his regular suit. He was wearing a pale blue polo with a turned-up collar over beige chinos and the kind of boat shoes that don't go on boats. He looked like he was on his way to lunch in Brighton. Perhaps he was. He was carrying a takeaway coffee. But it wasn't coffee. 'This stuff actually tastes quite good,' he said, when I had followed him into his office and he had put it down on his desk. 'In a herby, grassy kind of way, and after you haven't had coffee for a week or two,' he added. 'You forget what coffee was like.' 'Who are you trying to fool?' I asked him. 'Me? Or yourself? These things go in trends. People used to drink a thing called Caro. It was made of mud or something. Before that was chicory. Now everyone is drinking chai, which is essentially liquid curry with tea in it. It will

Heart attack spurs publishing deal.

So there was no MD for a few weeks. The doctor had explained to me when I had visited Mr Richards in the hospital. It wasn't so much the running out of the building that had done the damage, but the shock of the situation. Sprinting won't kill you, but losing $20 million will, I guessed he was driving at. Actually it was $40 million. I hoped Richards would be fine, and that his heart attack wouldn't spark a mid-life crisis. I'd seen it before. The CEO of another agency I had worked for years ago ran his business, worked twelve hours a day, had long lunches and stressful deadlines, ate the wrong food too often, smoked, worked weekends .... all the elements of a fabulous, long, happy life. Then he had a heart scare and went and spoiled it all. He stopped working, converted to some religion not based in the same hemisphere, and joined a 'men's group'. Then he wrote one of those self-awareness books that you see on the front counters of chain bookstores,


Sometimes even I am stuck for an idea. Like what kind of flowers to buy a fifty-something managing director lying in the cardiac department of a major hospital. Sweet William? Too fussy and tiny. Lilies? They're for funerals - maybe next week. Daffodils? Just wrong for a ruptured aortic aneurism victim. Flowers are just so tricky - no wonder they are left up to the girls. However, as a man of action, I soon decided on an answer: none. * He was just waking when I walked into the ward about 11 a.m. A nurse was tip-toeing out. There was a simple table in the room with a bunch of tulips on it. They looked like they had just been delivered. I sat down quietly on a chair. He looked at me. 'How are you?' I asked. 'Hey!' he said in a feeble attempt to be pally. He tried to sit up. 'Just relax,' I said. 'We're not in a bar or the boardroom now, we're in a hospital. You really shouldn't talk. I'm just here to see you. You had a slig


I don't know what time I woke up. When I did, I waited for about half an hour before opening my eyes, and then promptly shut them again because I was falling through space at hundreds of miles an hour and the ceiling was turning around at the same time. Seeing that could make you fall out of bed. Six hundred elephants seemed to be stampeding through my head. Even one elephant would have hurt, but exaggerating seemed to help the pain. I lay there and eventually slid uncomfortably into a half-slumber. I was crawling through the Gobi desert searching for water. But I couldn't get anywhere at all because the scorpions were spinning webs around me and tying me to the sand. I know scorpions don't weave webs but these ones did. Then I woke up again and tried to remember where the kitchen was so I could drink water. I found the kitchen. I found the tap. I found a glass. I couldn't eat yet. The last of the stampeding elephants was standing still in my head. I hoped he

Editor? Editor?

We interrupt this multi-episode story to bring you possibly the worst (or best, as you like) howler seen in the Melbourne press for some time. Under the heading 'Running legend Bannister dies at 88' this morning's Herald Sun notes that after Bannister broke the four minute mile in May 1954, The athletic record stood for just 46 days, before Australian John Landy - who later became Premier of Victoria ... We'll stop it right there. Shame on you, Herald Sun .

Friday night.

It was a mystery. He hadn't returned. Did he find the courier, retrieve the letter, and decide to celebrate? Entirely plausible, given some of the benders he'd been on over the years. $20 million almost lost, $40 million gained. But it occurred to me the reverse might produce the same result. $40 million lost. A return to the office would be out of the question. I decided to play a waiting game. It had occurred to me, also, that I had been the only person who had known of the chase. No-one else had seen him run out of the building. Or had seen the incoming letter, for that matter. Friday night drinks was the usual bacchanalian mess. I have to admit that things were fractious. Usually, creatives and account executives stuff themselves with assorted chips, crackers, warm dip, sandwiches, Danish pastries and anything left over from the boardroom lunch, some sweaty cheese platter or other. But on this particular Friday night there was no food anyway, thanks to the tea lad


I strode in about nine-thirty and glared at the neophytes who had arrived early to park their wannabe-cars next to the MD's Lamborghini. He won't have it for long the way things are going. I went past the open-plan offices and into the kitchen. I made a coffee and steered it down the corridor, yawning. The MD saw me from his office and beckoned, with a worried look on his face. 'What's the matter?' I asked casually. I sat on his brown leather sofa. 'I have decided to take your advice. We have resigned the $20 million Agricultural Bearings account.' He paused, then said, 'You were right. Mr Austin treated us poorly.’ He held up a small flat package. 'This is our letter of resignation – along the lines you advised, leaving in most of your, er, colourful language. It formally advises Agricultural Bearings that we will no longer handle their business – under any circumstances. I'm just waiting for the courier to pick it up and deliver it