Saturday, March 01, 2008
Doesn't it just prove how wonderful the English language is that the word 'bollocks' can be made to mean the exact opposite by the insertion of the definite article before it?
Five things that are, indeed, THE bollocks:
1. This film, Primer. It's retro-looking, achingly indie, and utterly incomprehensible if you try to watch it pissed, which I assume is how most of you watch films. (It's what I do.) Sober, it's still incomprehensible, but a little more frightening. I gather it starts making sense after three viewings, if you've an IQ above 157. Nevertheregardless, it's a supremely original piece of filmmaking and, in its own clever way, enthralling.
2. We Need To Talk About Kevin. This book won some prize or other, and although most award-winning novels tend to be awesomely self-congratulatory and profoundly unreadable in equal measure, the equivalent of copying out Paradise Lost in your own semen while orbiting Saturn, this one is a masterpiece. Gripping, awe-inspiring from start to finish, with a final twist that leaves you reeling about the room with eyes and mouth agape at the author's chutzpah, this is easily the finest example of populist highbrow literature since Dickens. Read it, and thank God that Lionel Shriver doesn't have any children in your neighbourhood.
3. Marriage. Call me a sentimental arse, but some of the rough edges have definitely been knocked off my personality since I tied the knot at a relatively late age a year and a half ago. I always thought freedom was incompatible with being hitched to another person. Now I understand that 'hitched' is what you mean it to mean.
4. A scrambled egg and bacon sandwich. You have to make this with three eggs, two rashers of bacon and one ounce of butter (not margarine, not lard or anything else) per person. Fire up a shallow saucepan on a low heat and put in the butter (French, unsalted). Once it's coated the pan, add the eggs, lightly beaten beforehand, and stir them continuously with a wooden spoon or, if you must, a spatula. Meanwhile, grill the bacon rashers, preferably in a George Foreman machine because bacon really does taste better once you've siphoned away the fat. I do like Danish bacon, but British is fine too. Don't try any other countries' offerings. While you're stirring the eggs in the pan (don't stop!), remove two slices of bread per person from the packet to let them breathe. I tend to choose wholemeal bread, but this is really a matter of taste. On no account toast the bread before serving - if you want toast you need to follow another recipe. Back to the eggs: it usually takes around five minutes to scramble three to six eggs properly. The sly trick is to add a small twist of butter to the mix about thirty seconds before taking the whole thing off the hob. Then serve it all up, adding ground pepper to taste (I advise it) and HP Sauce - note that it must be HP, not Daddies or any such pretender to the brown sauce throne; and please, for the love of God, avoid the use of tomato ketchup which in this dish is an abomination akin to the daubing of pig's blood on the walls of a mosque or a synagogue. Apply the upper layer of bread, cut diagonally and eat. Then die, because you'll never experience such ecstasy again.
5. The Waterboys. I met Mike Scott once and he's an incredibly nice guy, self-effacing and kindly. Their music is joyous, melodic and sublime, yet has a far harder edge than you'd expect, especially when you hear them live. Listen to And A Bang On The Ear and try to resist playing air-violin.