Friday, 11 May 2012

It's Been a Busy Week

It’s been a busy week. Included in its highlights were a film about Bob Marley, an octogenarian birthday party, a Blues gig, an intimate supper with friends, a software upgrade and a bloody encounter with a cauliflower. They are not related to each other except insofar as I experienced them all but perhaps they will strike a chord.

Bob Marley and the Wailers captivated thousands, me included, when they toured England in the mid ‘70s. I remember loving the music and the whole colourful, dreadlocked spectacle. This week I watched Kevin MacDonald’s biographical film ‘Marley’ rapt, not because of nostalgia, but because it provided the history and cultural context of Jamaica that I had been unaware of at the time. Marijuana may have heightened my musical experience way back but it didn’t do much for my perception of what was going on in the world otherwise. But that is in the past: later in the week I was to get a taste of the future in the form of an octogenarian birthday party...

I suppose I have a residual memory (which by now I ought to have shed) of parties where the guests are all bright young things intent on dancing, getting high and making liaisons. But with advancing age the party format surely changes to reflect a more diverse life-agenda. The guest list is likely to include extended families and various circles of friends and acquaintances who meet only occasionally, if at all, and may well prefer to keep it that way. New conversational strategies are required to deal with this format and it is the mastering of these that drives the ‘senior’ party. Getting high, dancing and flirting are off the agenda. A nice lunch and an early finish are preferred...

Woke up this morning... (as they say) intent on going to a Blues gig. My friend declined an invitation to accompany me. He knows what I should know by now: that The Blues does not really have what it takes to sustain musical interest for more than a couple of consecutive numbers – notwithstanding my convivial company. I was a little early arriving at the gig and dismayed to see that there were more instruments standing ready on the stage than there were people sitting in the hall. The tiny audience inhibited me from leaving discreetly so I bought a beer and dug in. The performance turned out to be terrific but, even so, the limitations of the format left me unsatisfied so I dropped into a jazz venue on the way home. There the same combination of guitar, bass and drums (minus the vocals) made music which was more adventurous and satisfying. I must phone my friend with an alternative suggestion next time...

An intimate supper at home with close friends is not easy to get just right: If you go to a lot of trouble with fancy recipes it takes the fun and spontaneity out of it - and might even embarrass your guests. Minimal effort is easier - but lazy and a little insulting. Preparations for this particular supper began a week in advance with the concoction of an ideal menu i.e. one which would not leave us frazzled and exhausted while our friends arrive scrubbed-up and relaxed. But the ideal menu is an elusive concept: and then there is the execution which, this time, was left to me. My partner arrived just as our guests were draining their first glasses and I was beginning to fret about how I would cope solo with front-of-house, cooking and entertaining. I like to think that our friends would have helped me out rather than see our carefully laid plans turn to farce. The point of an intimate supper is to relax and enjoy - but one does so want to get it just right...

One thing I did get right was a d.i.y. software upgrade which I achieved without losing any data, functionality or cool. I must have been lucky. Although I followed the instructions assiduously we all know this to be no guarantee of success. The workings of computers, unlike those of mechanical or electrical contraptions, are not easily observed so, when they go wrong, the logic of their failure is opaque. Nothing is more infuriating...         
                                                                      
...except for being injured by a cauliflower. Somehow, while preparing dinner last evening, I managed to get a splinter of cauliflower-stem jammed under my thumbnail. Pain and bleeding ensued, which made me feel aggressive towards the vegetable. The very next day I opened a magazine and spotted a recipe, Creme Dubarry, which involves liquidising cauliflowers. I will do it to the next one I come across.

2 comments:

claudette said...

Mmm how about cauliflower cheese and a bit of jazz next time we visit !!!

Wonderman said...

Okay. I should be out of hospital soon.