Monthly Archives: April 2009

Apprentice Guide

If only they issued this to the candidates before they went in…

Cakes in the cheese fridge

Katherine and I have enjoyed the restaurant Domali in Crystal Palace. It’s got good food, but it’s vegetarian – which is clearly wrong. We don’t really go for the food though, we are much more interested in the Happy Hour cocktails.

They have a “Dark and Stormy”* which Katherine is particularly partial to. I do mix things up quite a bit, I am always interested to see what options they have. However I don’t see this as a venue for the constant cocktails game…

Joe and I invented the constant cocktails game one time in a Giraffe on the South Bank (near the National Theatre in case you are interested in the actual scene of the crime). We had been going to a recording of the television programme QI on my birthday. Katherine hadn’t been able to come sadly. I had got the tickets for the two of us. Joe had stood in at the last minute. The night before my birthday there had been an unexpected football match. Apparently in European football things can happen that result in matches that you don’t expect to happen or something. And the Arsenal had had one more match than they expected to have – or something.

Alan Davis is an Arsenal fan of football and so they cancelled the recording of the show the night before my birthday. This meant that all of the friends of the show and hangers on and so on didn’t get to go. So all of them were given free tickets to the next night. This meant that we didn’t have a hope of going on my birthday. There were simply too many hangers on. Joe and I decided that we needed to turn those frowns upside down. And that the best way to do this was with a cocktail or five. So we headed to Giraffe.

The problem, we discovered quite quickly, is that cocktails actually come quite slowly. They involve a lot of shaking it, moving it and making it. I knew we shouldn’t have ordered a pair of Zigazigahs. So I made a bold suggestion to Joe. Why don’t we order the next cocktail with the person who brings us this one. It seemed like a good idea at the time. We did it. I didn’t realise I was starting a trend, but 10 cocktails later we knew we were on to a good thing. That is the constant cocktails game.

…Back at Domali Katherine and I ordered a pair of Dark and Stormies. They arrive, we order another pair. Maybe it is a constant cocktails venue after all. I drain mine and leave Katherine nursing hers. I need the loo. It’s upstairs. On the way I spot a fridge. It has a sign written on it which says, “Cakes in cheese fridge”. The fridge is unplugged and miles away from the bar. You imagine the situation… The fridge doesn’t work and so they move the cakes to the cheese fridge. They write a sign. All efficient. Then somebody says, “lets order a new fridge”. The new fridge comes, it’s installed, it starts to perform its fridgely function of keeping the cakes at the ideal temperature. And somebody says, “what do we do with the old one?”

* Dark rum and ginger beer, with lime juice, if you want to make one.

A slip up

I once used to go out with somebody that I didn’t respect very much. This is not a very good idea. The problem is, of course, that you think you might only ever be loved by that person and this can be a bit difficult to deal with. I often wanted to say things like, “maybe you should be a bit nicer to me”. But obviously I couldn’t because if I told them anything approaching the truth – at all – then I would immediately remove the only thing they liked about me, which was my supreme ability to lie. Or at least that’s what I didn’t think.

I say didn’t think because it was impossible to realise at the time that I was as screwed up as I actually was. I knew that the one thing I had as a life skill was being myself and yet I also knew that I had to deny that if I was going to be with this person. I should have run away as fast as I could, but of course, like a great big stupid idiot, I didn’t. I just hung around waiting for nice things to happen to me in exchange for lying. Men and women are idiots. Just so you know.

I said, up there in the opening paragraph, that I didn’t respect her. But that’s not entirely true. I respected her taste. That’s the thing that’s hard to get away from in these situations. They fancy you so of course it’s hard to deal with the fact that you feel they have no taste. If they have no taste then what does it say about you?

It turned out that she had even less respect for me than I did for her. Over time I realised this. She thought I was stupid, that my friends were stupid, and that our outlook on life was stupid. Luckily we were all teenage boys so we were right!

However, with the space of time between then and now I know one thing is true. We were totally different people. I wanted to have a fun time, I wanted to make people laugh and I didn’t mind if I was made to look stupid to achieve this. And she thought that all anyone should do was make money, worry about their bank balance and worry about appearing cool. There’s nothing wrong with the different approaches I suppose. Just that we weren’t suited.

Anyway on the way to Reading Festival one year we were walking along the streets of Reading and she slipped on a banana peel. I had never seen anyone, in actual life, actually perform this comedy stalwart. And despite the situation basically demanding sympathy I am afraid to say I laughed.