Saturday 1 December 2007

Spectacularly drunk

This should be all about today’s spectacularly drunken lunch. The occasion was a flying return visit to the North East by a friend who emigrated to New Zealand a few months ago. Rather surprisingly, he announced that he had found God. (If I were looking for God, which I’m not, New Zealand is definitely not where I would have started.)

Perhaps of more general relevance, he also disclosed that God’s appointed representatives right here on Earth have revealed the date of the forthcoming Apocalypse. Apparently it has been firmly inked in for 2012. Warning signs to keep an eye out for include a spectacular global economic collapse, starting in the USA, which does sound frighteningly plausible.

With hindsight, it was probably rather a failure of social responsibility just to get palatick (as we say in Newcastle) instead of summoning a couple of well-built male nurses with a syringe full of powerful sedatives. And a straitjacket.

Anyway, drink was the route I took so a proper account will have to wait until I feel better.

In the meantime, I continue to ponder yesterday’s all but inedible pub meal. Why do pubs in Northumberland apparently change hands every other week, as though their owners were playing an adult game of pass the parcel, fuelled by recreational drugs? And even in the rare cases when ownership has not changed for a while, why are they incapable of achieving any sort of consistency in the kitchen?

Why is it considered sound marketing to describe the centre-piece of my meal as a “rare breed pork chop”, when the shooting and poisoning of other rare breeds such as hen harriers and red kites causes such widespread grief and condemnation? On Friday’s evidence, the pig responsible for my chop thoroughly deserved to be hurtling to extinction. In fact, by the taste of it, it could have been in that condition for quite some time.

If marketing “rare breed” meat is perceived as a socially responsible way of ensuring that unusual blood lines are preserved, why aren’t we all being encouraged to tuck into panda steaks and pan-fried Yangste dolphin? (We used to joke at school that the grey meat in our dinners was from mammoths unearthed from the Siberian permafrost. Perhaps our cook was merely ahead of her time.)

Is the whale more likely to be saved by trying to ban everyone from hunting it, or by allowing the Japanese to market “rare breed” sushi? Discuss.

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