<< Mon 18th Mar | Sat 16th Mar >>
Sunday 17th March 2013
The wife and I walked up to Notting Hill to have Sunday lunch in Itsu. I love a bit of sushi and Itsu is always reliable. And it's a bit healthier than a Sunday roast which had been the other option. We were not the only ones who opted for this untraditional repast. I was surprised to see how many families had opted for a sushi lunch. Maybe it's just because I was such a fussy child or maybe because we didn't have such a rich variety of cuisines in 1970s Somerset, but I wouldn't have thought kids would touch this stuff. But they all seemed to be enjoying the food. And it's fun the way that your food is delivered on a conveyor belt. I rather envied these kids their choices and their sophisticated tastes.
If anyone tells you that the past was better than the present tell them to go fuck themselves.
There was even more fun to be had from the conveyor belt than usual today because gravity or a ghost caused it to go wrong. I had my back to it, but I heard a plate smash and saw my wife looking on aghast. Somehow a dish had left its tiny pedestal and there was crockery on the floor and uncooked fish on the tracks. With more dishes of sushi heading towards disaster. It was going to be a pile up of dead fish and rice. How exciting. The belt had to be stopped and staff rushed to clear up the mess, apologising, whilst smiling at the catastrophe. We'd got extra bang for our buck today. Sushi restaurants are like formula one races: you go saying you just want to watch but you're hoping for an accident. It's worth the slight risk of death when it finally occurs.
It brought back a slightly repressed early memory from the seminal children's show "Play School". As you will recall if you over 30 this pre-school programme had a section where a piece of video was played supposedly via one of three windows (round, square and arched) and you had to guess which one it would be (I always liked the round window - I don't know if a bookie every did any odds of the likelihood of which window it would be). One of the films that I vividly recall (and I know they showed it more than once because I recall my delight at it being repeated) was set in a milk bottle factory. We were shown the bottles on their conveyor belt, being filled with milk, having their foil tops put on (I am guessing) - all of this must seem like something from an ancient era to those of you brought up on Tetrapaks. But then something went wrong with the machine and the bottles started crashing off the conveyor belt on to the floor. I found this brilliantly hilarious. There's nothing more enjoyable than smashing stuff when you're three and to see this organised conformity descend into anarchic chaos appealed to the rebel inside me. I don't know if the cameras just happened to be in the factory on the day that this occurred or if the whole thing was set up to provide this thrill (I suspect the latter, but if so the BBC should be held to account for it - this is much worse than David Attenborough filming polar bears in a zoo. How could they lie to children?), but either way I believed it was a real accident and it's stuck with me, along with the clips of "Un Chien Andalou" and a Schools programme about human fertilisation (I explained to my parents that babies were created by little tadpoles). I clearly was intrigued by destruction and sex as a child.
They were trying to teach us about where milk came from (well kind of - I don't know if they showed us the cows) but instead that's the bit that I remember. The peril, the world in chaos, the thrill of destruction.
I got a little whiff of that again today. Even in the highly organised and technical world of Itsu something like this can go wrong. It's what makes life worth living.
<< Mon 18th Mar | Sat 16th Mar >>