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15 March 2007

Porn To Be Wild?

Is it just me (probably), or has anyone else noticed the glaring similarities between Khalid Sheikh Mohammed - the alleged 9/11 mastermind who's been tucked away in Cuba these last six years - and infamous porno terrorist Ron Jeremy? See for yourselves:

Porn Star


I think we should be told the truth. Is this another example of the religious right in America pulling the wool over our eyes in order to protect our sensitive human natures?

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04 March 2007

Tempus Fugit

Several nudges in the belly these last days have reminded me that it's been well over a fortnight since the world benefited from having a pariah to hold up in shame, and so here I am.

I did take the good lady out for a fine Valentine's meal at Simpson's in Edgbaston - one of two Michelin eateries in the city and outstanding it was, too. So outstanding, I'm going to be extremely indulgent and reveal the menu in order:

Veloute of parsley root (not an option - we both had this)
Torte of Salcombe crab, Loch Fyne smoked salmon, avocado guacamole, crab mayonnaise and red pepper jelly (the missus)
Ravioli of duck fois gras, port and truffle sauce (me)
Seared scallops, lentils du puys, citrus-braised endive, lemon confit and sauce epice (both)
Slow-roast loin of lamb, aubergine and onion caviar, apricots, baby artichokes, goats cheese ravioli and cumin jus (both)
Sea bass, potato crust, mangetout, baby spinach with Avruga caviar cream (neither)
Delice of Valrhona Manjari chocolate, mango cream and coconut sorbet (both)
Rhum Baba, exotic fruit and creme chantilly (neither)

Of course, we'd taken our glass of Bollinger on entry, and during the course of the meal quaffed a very fine 2001 Vosne-Romanee from Daniel Rion, a gorgeous Old Vine burgundy that, frankly, couldn't have complimented the meal better if you'd tried.

There was the small matter of my 33rd birthday a few days later, an evening which began as a farce and ended up a comedy. I'd asked those attending to come to Bash Bar on New Street in Birmingham for 8pm onwards. You can imagine my alarm when we arrived a bit late, to find the doors to the place resolutely padlocked. The good lady and I strolled up to The Pallasades, where we bumped into her cousin and my good friend, both of whom know each other from Manchester.

We headed into - please don't laugh, especially given all the Simpson's hoohah above - The Newt. As in "pissed as" a newt - one of the least-salubrious city centre pubs that Birmingham can disgorge from its delightful palette. As chance would have it, a mate's band was playing there that night, so we all sat down and re-plotted a course for the later evening. Thankfully, by the time I did a final wander-past of Bash Bar come nine o'clock, the punctual bartender had arrived and opened the doors. Clear for takeoff.

And that's pretty much what happened. Bob and Jacko talked tech in the corner; Phil engaged with any and all "newcomers", jumping in with the BBC crew who'd bowled down en masse from Dan's flat in the Jewellery Quarter. Chrissy and Jane arrived from Leeds, though not before one of our co-aquaintances had to leave. Beers were drunk, and I think I had about ten double JD and Cokes...I think. Towards the end of the evening, four large Sikh dudes bowled up, clearly on their way elsewhere - as all were in a party mood. Or was that just me? Regardless, and sporting the suede utility belt I'd just got from Dan stuffed with fags and bottles, I danced with one of their number in a very, very drunken Punjabi fashion. It was ace.

We left, and headed back to my soon-to-be-rented-out city centre pad. I just got on the ones and twos, and I think I must have played for hours. When I came away from them I was exhausted, and passed out on the sofa. Chris and Jane were staying, so we let them be and all headed off to our actual homes. Apparently, Tommy spent two hours talking about Islam with a 24-year-old taxi driver. Fiendish booze.

The next day, despite the machinations of the night previous, was to be spent with Mum over at hers in Henley in Arden. The Bluebell pub - now more of a gastro joint - was where we had a lovely lunch, notably one of the finest sirloin steaks this side of Birmingham.

Other than this fun, I've been nose to the grindstone on Mum's new digital shop. Having sourced, purchased and installed an EPOS system (not me myself, you understand, I'm just in charge of the IT Projects) - we are finally putting stock on the system. This is a slow process, but we get faster everytime we do it, and I guess that's it with computers, isn't it? Just keep doing it. You'll get better. Applies to lots of things, that. Anyway, we're approaching the time when the shop stops using paper, pencil, tablet and chisel - and does it all via a computer. Beyond that, the same EPOS database will drive the online proposition, generating the site from the information in the shop. All very exciting, but all quite laborious. I start again tomorrow morning.

Which rather means I should go to bed.