Posted by Billy in August's Magazine
Alan Bett, literary editor at Skinny and occasional contributor to this, ahem, august periodical lately invited me out for a bite to eat. Alarmingly his first text clearly stated that the restaurant was called The Hate Garden. Another text followed swiftly ‘sorry, bloody predictive text, it’s actually The Jade Garden’ affording me no little relief whilst also leaving me slightly disappointed. I bet the service in The Hate Garden would have been something to writhe/write home about.
Which reminded me of Barbara Seaton who, through a combination of lightning fast typing and her interpretation of my admittedly indecipherable scrawl invented predictive text some 20 years before technology got round to it. As a chef at the Moulin Hotel it was my job to compose the menu – that really was the terminology back then – and hers to type it up before slotting it into one of those hideous fake leather menu folders that were ‘fashionable’ at the time and handing it to the waiting staff to be given to, presumably baffled, diners.
Between us we could have put out a book of undiscovered classics such as: young chicken sautéed in pain with stuff on (young chicken sautéed in pan with saffron); trunk of salmon with Anchor butter (tranche of salmon with anchovy butter); sardines on roast (sardines on toast); bigarade of duck (Brigadier of duck) and last, but not least, devilled kiddies with tumbled rice (devilled kidneys with timbale of rice).
In fact, looking at that list, we could have produced a cookbook that would have been much thumbed and studied by the legendary Alexander ‘Sawney’ Bean. You know the chap, head of a 48 member clan supposedly executed for the mass murder and cannibalisation of over 1,000 people. Apparently, in an on trend twist, the body parts that were left uneaten were pickled – a surprisingly on the ball (think Scandic foodie or foraging hipster) solution to potential food wastage. With the benefit of foresight the book would of course have been entitled Recipes from The Hate Garden.
In The Alan Breck Lounge Bar the other day, English Stevie was waxing lyrical on the perceived problem of ‘junkies’ clogging up the entrance to The Kirkgate. “I’d round up the whole lot of them, put them on an island in the Forth, and nuke the bastards.”
You might want to reconsider that scheme Stevie. Apparently ‘within a 40-mile radius of a nuclear blast you should expect third degree burns and permanent disfigurement or disability – plus structural devastation as far north as Dundee’.
I had thought I’d found you a safer bar to drink in, should you choose to ‘push the red button’ on the drug addled of Leith. Indeed it is Britain’s remotest – The Puff Inn on the island of St Kilda, a reassuring 241 miles from Edinburgh. But the Ministry of Defence blocked that on account of (they wouldn’t say). So yeah, regarding the junkies Stevie? You might need another cunning plan.
I offer this morsel, from KT Tunstall, with no further comment: “I spent so long being this great musician that I forgot how to be me.”
Picture: Alexander ‘Sawney’ Bean