Archive for the ‘movies’ Tag
We watched a shitload of movies, a couple of baseball games (Go Cubs Go), an episode of Black Jesus over the Easter holidays largely because Jackie was especially ill most of the weekend. The highlight of the film fest for me had to be A Dove Sat on a Branch Reflecting on Existence [En Duva Satt på en Gren och Funderade på Tillvaron (2014)]. This was transformative for me the way Eraserhead (1977) and The Discrete Charm of the Bourgeoisie (1972) were in their times. Breathtaking. Or, while I’m quoting the movie (as in the title of this post), “of course.”
I also cooked a batch of banana muffins from an old recipe that uses sesame seeds to form an edible muffin cup (I have a similar one for carrot cake muffins that uses poppy seeds the same way). I forgot the sugar whilst mixing everything up and, since they were muffins and shouldn’t get mixed to completely, I just stuffed a measure of dark sugar into the tops of the dough. Not too bad.
1 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp grated orange peel
1/8 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp nutmeg
50 grams softened butter
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/8 tsp almond extract
1 squished banana
1/4 cup strong coffee
Additionally, get out a bag of dark brown muscavado sugar from which you intend to extract a half cup, firmly packed. Mix the the wet stuff, then dry stuff, then dry with wet till it holds together…just. Lump this stuff into muffin pans that have been wiped with butter and dusted with sesame seeds. Remember, then that you forgot the dark brown sugar and sprinkle about a tablespoon on top of each muffin, pushing a little down into the dough with your finger. Gloat that this will actually work despite being a little less than 1/2 the sugar prescribed in the original recipe. Bake at 170 C for as long as it takes.
I sat down, inexplicably, next to four Americans in the Black Prince. Three of them were trying to explain who Elian Gonzalez is to the fourth one and eventually one of them did the whole, ‘poor kid, he was probably scarred for life by what happened.”
“I wish I could get scarred that way. He’s minted.”
They turned to face me so I continued.
“He’s a fucking tourist attraction, now. Probably runs his own hotel. Fer fuck sake, I wish I made out as well for every time someone stuck a gun in MY face as he probably has.”
A fight did not occur and, in fact, the older guy (I’m reckoning 10 or more years younger than me) and I wound up having a conversation of sorts. Turns out his daughter and her partner have taken a few months to do the Grand Tour and somehow Lambeth was on the itinerary (or maybe these guys were just here because the Air BNB was up the street). They were also in town for an American football match, so my first instincts — that they are undesirables — may well have been right.
When they left, the rest of the bar filled in their spaces and the convo went back to Labour’s recent travails and the 3rd runway at Heathrow. All was right with the world, once more.
The old guy at the corner was giving me the snake eye (or is it the evil eye) as I tried to photograph the Jolly Gardeners (for another view of his perch, there’s currently a good google street view here). As I tried to enter, he fingered me in the chest and jerked his head back at the place.
“This is a listed building!”
“It’s grand, yes,” I answered and tried to continue in. He gave a blank look and shook his head almost imperceptibly.
“It’s spectacular,” I tried again. Nothing.
“Good? Can I say it’s ‘good’?” Still blank. I gave a goofier than normal grin and put both of my thumbs up by my face.
“This is a listed building,” he informed me, but this time he gave me more to work with. “Grade 2, it is. They can’t do nothing to the outside or change its name or nothing.”
I pointed to the Zeitgeist logo in the window.
“They call that ‘the inside.’ And, it’s all German in there.”
“They should list this building. I’ll see you in there.”
He was as good as his word, though. It was all German inside with 20 taps of nothing but German beer (and very good ones at that). Generally, they are £5 per pint but there is a beer of the day each day that is only £4 (I didn’t think I wanted a Franziskaner until I spotted this discount). They even serve German grub: I saw a fantastic mound of sausages on cabbage go to a table near me. Definitely on my short list (and I’m sure I’ll see my buddy there again…he’s been using this pub as his local since the early 60’s when it looked more like this linked photo).
At the bar of the Lamb, I pushed ahead of some suits filled with two indecisive wankers that had just tried to mow me down outside while I was taking a photo of the place. I ordered an ale as they cowered (probably afraid the sweat from my arms was going to ruin the mock vicuña of their jackets). Generally, this seemed less like the sort of place a John Wayne character would get into a fight than the sort where some snarky comment about your BMW being over a year old.
I took my glass upstairs where it was largely abandoned. Above the din, I could hear the soundtrack: really good mix of old R&B…Sam Cooke, Wilson Pickett, Marvin Gaye, etc.). It’s a Fullers, so probably not a bad spot for lunch (just don’t come in during the after work rush).
I went to the Covent Garden because the Nell of Drury Lane was closed and the CG also fit the theme of the day’s run (and, in fact, was another setting in the same film). I had also bypassed it in the first place because of the name change from “the Globe” but I’m glad I was forced to double back. This despite the £5 price tag on a pint (but, at least there were several real ales to choose from and the one I settled on was perfect). It’s just what the cost of the neighbourhood dictates.
It is a grand old house with a great smoking porch upstairs, netted in to protect from pigeons or gulls. I’d love to go further upstairs and have a poke around (this is the midst of the theatre district, too, so any windows would be worth parking in for an evening’s viewing of foot traffic below, as well).
F is for Film! And, as I was remiss in mentioning the studios two weeks ago on the E for Ealing run, this crawl is meant to set things right.
Things started in Covent Garden with a trip to Nell of Old Drury which features in the Hitchcock film Frenzy (1972).
Nell of Old Drury a few days before Halloween 2016
Unfortunately, I pulled up during hours the house is closed and had to go around the corner to The Covent Garden which was until recently the Globe where Richard Blaney, the protagonist, tended bar before getting accused of being a “Neck Tie” sex killer.
Nell of Old Drury in Frenzy
With too much foot traffic on the main pavements, I headed to the wider paths of Embankment and spotted a sign for some Roman Baths hidden somewhere down those steps (something to keep in mind for the R run a few months from now):
The next stop was the Lamb just inside the Leadenhall Market in the City of London. This was the setting for the obligatory bar punch up when an American character is in England, this time in the John Wayne flick, Brannigan (1975).
It’s hard to think of John Wayne without thinking of John Wayne was a Nazi by Millions of Dead Cops. But, over the course of my brief pint there, I also associated him with The Ballad of the Green Berets and with John Wayne Gacy (perfect for the Halloween weekend).
The run segment took me across London Bridge, through Borough, and out to Lambeth (one of my favourite central London neighbourhoods).
A few hundred feet past the former Pelham Mission Hall, above, I found the Jolly Gardeners which was portrayed as The Drowning Trout, Vinnie Jones’ character’s local in Snatch (2000).
The final stop was at the far end of the street, The Black Prince, which featured in another comic bookish movie called Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015). The house is quite genteel compared to its portrayal in the picture.
Not sure what to do for G, but for those of you keeping score that will be the next one of these London A to Z runs. Suggestions are welcome.
“You don’t look Welsh.” “My mother’s Italian…”
–lines from the road trip to Chicago in Inside Llewyn Davis
We continued the Winter Movie Weekend Film Fest with 2014’s Inside Llewyn Davis which had a lot in common with the Coen Brothers’ earlier Barton Fink (not least of which was John Goodman all but taunting the lead character with “I’ll show you a life of the mind!” just not in so many words).
It’s nice when time gets away from you like that and, when we came up for air during the end credits, we both realised we were starving and disinterested in going out for groceries. I scanned the larder and came up with these ingredients (mostly Welsh beneath but on the surface Italian):
1/2 pound of potatoes
a bulb of garlic
some dark, mature stem spinach
a block each of brie and feta
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
I had a recipe in mind from ages ago and started by slicing the onion thin and putting it in a bowl to steep under boiling water while I used a cheese slicer to cut the potatoes wafer thin. To these, I added 4 minced cloves of garlic, a handful of chopped olives, a glug of olive oil, some salt and black pepper, and mixed it all together before stirring in the drained, softened onions at the end. This mix was divided into two piles and baked at 220° C for twenty minutes while the rest was prepped.
The spinach was chopped then barely wilted and squeezed to remove the bitter juices (mature spinach has all the mineral content of the soil from which it is raised and can be less than subtle). This was mixed with a sprinkling of nutmeg and an ounce, each, of gooey, pungent brie and metallic, brittle feta. Split to cover the two chicken breasts, the creation was placed atop the just-starting-to-brown potato mix, topped with some cherry tomatoes, and returned to bake another 25 minutes at 200° C.
It’s surprisingly good and leaves you wishing you had more.