Saturday, October 09, 2010

Our Spanish Love Song



There is an article in todays Independent all about the street food of Britain, and it helpfully provides recipes, so we can all make our own street food, at home. We may even sell it up and down our streets. The recipes include: Scallops with celeriac, bacon and seashore vegetables; Black pudding Scotch duck eggs, and, Lemon granita. I don't know what street the bloke lives on, but I very much doubt it is the same street as me. Around here, street food consists of very dodgy burgers, sometime with a strange, sticky, yellow substance, and bacon baps, bought from heavily tattooed women in vans, and very fucking delicious they are too. Mind you, for all I know they all do scallops with sea vegetables, but I have never thought to ask.

As a lad I used to love the exotic street food of dear old Brummagem. You had the blokes all over town with their carts (think cover of Steely Dan's Pretzel Logic !) of hot dogs and burgers, sitting in hot water, and boiled onions. They hit the spot, every time. Best of all was the caravan thingy, that mysteriously appeared in the night by the pigeon park. You could get a proper cheese cob………a crusty cob and a slice of cheese cut half an inch thick. That was it, no mustard mayo or sea veg required. Invariably though, at 4 in the morning, waiting for the night bus, I would go for a pie and a bovril, and, invariably, I would suffer, because, then, as now, I had a chronic inability to learn from my mistakes.

They had a tendency to stick a wooden fork in the middle of the pie, which was always very hot, before sticking it in a paper bag and handing it to you. Week after week, I would order a pie and a bovril, bite into the pie, fork and all, burn the roof of my mouth, yelp in surprise and drop piping hot bovril down my leg. It was embarrassing and it was painful. I always used to fall over the same garden wall when I was completing the two mile yomp from the bus stop too. Exhaustion, probably.

It's been a good week for the coalition, innit?. Gideon and Dave make up policy on the hoof and make themselves look like complete tits, Michael Heseltine turns into his own spitting image puppet and gets bested by some genial old duffer on newsnight and Jeremy Hunt turns out to be a bit of a silly hunt. And the Mail on Sunday turns on Nick Clegg. I would be pissing myself if it wasn't all so depressing.

No football today, it's the international break. I hate the international break; it's bad enough when England are playing but they haven't had a game this weekend. Bloody hell, Tony Currie and Gerry Francis managed to play at the weekend having had an international in the week, surely these athletes with there scientific training methods and diets could manage as well as those podgy old buggers.

Still it allows time to reflect on the Blues. The jury is out. It's like 12 Angry Men. Brother is against brother, families are being split, blood feuds are commonplace, it's like being in the Camorra.

Eck is either an idiot or a genius. Jerome is either a misused player of the highest class, or a donkey (he is a donkey) Zigic has hardly played, but, apparently, he is shit. Michel has hardly played, but, apparently, he is shit. Redmond is 16 years old, he played 10 minutes against fucking Wimbledon. He should start every game, apparently. It seems that he is a sort of hybrid of Stanley Mathews, Pele, and  Phil Summerhill. It's the same old same old with Blues fans. We are either the best in the world or the worst in the world. There is no in-between.

Having said that, I'm not happy, but I wasn't happy last year either. We are defensive minded. For all our pretty passing, which is exaggerated anyway, we don't pass it that much, we offer no poke. I have gone on about it long enough before, there is no need to repeat myself, but I will say that as long as we have Jerome in the team, and as long as the midfield refuse to support him, for whatever reason, we will struggle to score goals, and, therefore, we will struggle.

There is a worrying new trend though. We don't appear to like it up us. In two games this season, West Brom, and, I forget the other, possibly Wigan, or Sunderland, we were cruising in the first half, looking very comfortable. In  both games though, the opposition came out in the second half with a much more purposeful intent and we caved in. We didn't have courage on the ball, we didn't pass it, we got rid of it, shifted it on, usually to an opponent and we invited pressure. It does not augur well, it augurs ill.

Life would be shit though, wouldn't it, if we didn't have a football team to worry or bicker about. I raise a glass to shit football teams and fickle fans up and down the land.

I have  had a bit of a lucky streak with books. The last Don Winslow is better than the previous one, The last Walter Mosley is superb, and the most recent Brian McGilloway, while all too reminiscent of James Lee Burke, is as readable as his others. I have just, this very day, discovered Denise Mina, and I like her a lot, a hell of a lot. Best of all Ryan David Jahn "Acts of Violence" It is brilliant. The first 60 pages got on my nerves and I thought, this isn't a novel, it is series of vignettes………..very clever, but not really a novel. But then, out of the blue, it gripped me, and it didn't let go, and it is still gripping me now.

Extract

Nearly forgot, Henry Winter, the brother of England's most influential Muslim, has written a very warm article about Joe Hart and Ben Foster. Common denominator: Us!

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