bored of excitement – the griefjunkie blog 

Dairy Medley

Dear Rachel

I horrified an artisan baker recently by making a sandwich out of crisps and a focaccia. If you’re unfamiliar, a focaccia is a type of bread originally eaten by Italian peasants but now made by people called Angus and Fergus and sold to people called Laura and Matilda, and Greenwich Market is knee deep in it. I pointed out that they were artisan crisps, but he was still upset.

It’s because of this sort of thing that I have developed an intolerance to artisan food. I’m fine with nuts and wheat, but I have to avoid anything that claims to have been prepared with love. It’s not that it isn’t nice – on the contrary. I have no problem with artisan bakers baking stuff, but I do have a problem with the expectation that we should be grateful to them for having done so. ‘I don’t care if God’s made it,’ said Danny at Greenwich on Sunday, summing things up quite nicely, ‘four quid is a lot to pay for a Viennese whirl’.

This raises the question of what non-artisan food is. You’d need to go to a supermarket for that, but unfortunately I have to be drunk to go to a supermarket, as it is one of the most depressing experiences a person can have. I am roped into a big supermarket expedition perhaps three times a year. Nobody enjoys it, and I mainly use the opportunity to go Advice Tattoo spotting. I have many favourite Advice Tattoos: Follow Your Heart, YOLO, Carpe Diem and so forth, all of which are tattoo-speak for ‘I Am Both Boring And Pleased With Myself’. Making big waves on the Advice Tattoo front at the moment is Dare To Dream. While I appreciate the sentiment, it is ultimately poor advice, unless you’re actually Martin Luther King – and how many of us can truthfully claim that? For almost everyone else the trick, surely, is to dare not to dream. You’ll get a lot more done. Dare To Plan would be more realistic, although as a statement I concede that it lacks sparkle. It’s possible, I suppose, that the last time I saw Dare To Dream the lady in question had, with the whole world to aim at, dreamed of morbid obesity and pushing angry crisp filled children around Asda in an Arsenal shirt with ‘Gooner Bird’ written on it, in which case she was winning.

My own eating habits are far from exemplary: as I am fond of saying, I eat like someone whose parents have gone out for the evening. My favourite meals are chips in bed and dairy medley, two of my own inventions. Chips in bed is a favourite winter treat, and consists of getting fish and chips from the chippie on the way home from a cold days trading, and eating them fully clothed in bed. It is a simple meal to prepare, and works best if you have no central heating. Dairy medley consists of two (or more) varieties of ice cream in a bowl with double cream poured liberally on top, and is intended as a light summer treat. I last had dairy medley in Ipswich, when it was prepared for me by a kind waitress at that city’s fine Premier Inn. I like Premier Inns. They are unpretentious and know what they’re about; providing a cheap, quiet, unfussy environment in which to either a) have an affair b) attend a conference or c) kill yourself. The same kind waitress also gave me a large amount of Premier Inn shower gel, to which I am partial. I use it at home to make myself feel more businesslike and dynamic.

It was while enjoying my dairy medley that I overheard Fergus and Angus discussing artisan food. They were trading at the same event as us and staying in the same Premier Inn, and it was easy to overhear them because they were important and talking loudly. It turned out that they were selling their artisan bread on behalf of someone else, rather than baking it themselves. This is more honest than another popular artisan baker trick, which is to buy a ton of stuff from Tesco’s, scuff it up a bit, put it in one of your own boxes, write ‘Prepared With Love’ on the side, and quadruple the price. Myself, I am at fine with Angus and Fergus’ little fib. After all, how many cherry bakewells does Mr Kipling see? How much rice is Uncle Ben rinsing off under the kitchen tap? As a capitalist, however, rest assured that when I have teams of them making me rich and staying in Premier Inns in the line of duty I will force them to eat in the car park, so that the rest of us can enjoy our idiotic desserts in peace.



Photards – this week’s photographic studies, on loan from the Tate Modern, are:

Top: Self, sleeping under a stall at a show. Combination of long morning, comfy blanket, Kindle and staff.

Middle: My main bike, captured here on the upper mezzanine gallery of the Market Hall, Camden Lock. By the look of things, I was dropping stock off, having ferried it up from Greenwich. Those panniers weigh 30 lbs each when fully loaded, and explain why I can eat chips in bed and dairy medley without having arteries like optical fibres.

Lower: Graffiti in the gents’ of a Norfolk pub. I innocently wrote ‘West Ham/East London’, unaware of the storm I would unleash. By the time I took this picture an hour later, there had been contributions from Arsenal, Tottenham, Norwich City and Ipswich Town fans. In the pub itself, all was calm and agreeable, even when an old bloke had a heart attack outside and was attended to by ambulance staff in the dining area.

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