EDitorial ± 10-May-2004

Hands That Do Dishes

In the flat, when not listening to vinyl recordings by The Housemartins or competing on two-player Columns on the Game Gear or watching Vic Reeves' Big Night Out, there was sometimes an atmosphere; an odour of brinkmanship; a Sergio Leone-esque stand-off. For the inhabitants, me and GLW2B (good lady wife-to-be), were shackled in a game of crockery chicken — who'd crack and do the washing-up?

See, I'd most likely done the cooking: chop onion, lightly fry, add meat, push around pan a bit, chuck in veg and can of toms, and simmer for half an hour. And apart from the washing, ironing and cleaning, what had she done? Exactly, as that small boy on the Accrington milk ad said.

It's just that there was I
Pretending I was tied to the kitchen sink
— Frazier Chorus, Dream Kitchen (1988)
— or anything by The Big Dish (1989)

Years pass. Long shot of an Edwardian terraced house. Medium shot takes us into a laminate floored kitchen, coming to rest on an anonymous cupboard door. Swishing sounds are heard within.

As a reward for a decade of marriage — surely no coincidence — a dishwasher magically arrived from Planet Visa: bish Bosch! Having poked at it like a caveman faced with a burning branch, I overcame my Fear Of Change and did what any self-respecting male must do: I took over.

Is it wrong to want order in this world? On the odd occasion when GLW has "placed" some items in the machine, seemingly with little or no thought, picture me tutting to myself and wryly shaking my head before removing some/all of these, then putting everything in as it should be; you know, properly. Big plates here, smaller ones there, minimal gaps between, and cutlery grouped by utensil, per-lease! Just call me the Finish fascist.

If You Take Away With You Nothing Else

Unfill, refill:

  1. some are born to pre-rinse,
  2. some achieve the finding of space for the big pans,
  3. and some will always leave things until the morning

Be seeing you!


EDitorial ± 5-May-2004

Go West, Not So Young Man

Of the 36 hours starting from 12:25 on Saturday 1st May I spent approximately 13 of them, or 36.1% recurring, on various forms of public transport, including trains, the tube, more trains, a coach, and still more trains. And apologies to its residents, but where on earth is Castle Cary and why do we stop there?

First loco trip to Exeter was in 1984 to visit the university's CompSci dept; so much more relaxed than Imperial, and a tad greener too. Subsequent journeys were mostly by National Express – "when your life's in a mess" – being substantially cheaper. Twenty years later, a good friend of mine, who we'll call Richard Mason and who never really left the campus, kindly invited me to his wedding do there at the weekend — cue nostalgiaville.

Being shown to my modest hotel room, I couldn't help but feel like a hitman coming to town: what he's got in that overnight bag?

Plenty of loud lads and resigned locals in the city centre as I made my way up Sidwell Street that evening, pausing for a quick KFC and to buy a bag of dolly mixtures — chap's gotta eat, you know. Very much like the cathedral and Kirk the electrical shop where I bought some AAA rechargeables as a student, the venerable Odeon remains:

  • two decades ago, Crocodile Dundee, Platoon and The Fourth Protocol
  • tonight, Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind

Kate Winslet sure has come a long way since her 1986 appearance in Casualty.

Sun on my back Sunday morning down by the riverside, sipping a cuppa coffee from Bar Venezia on the Piazza Terracina, then up to the refectory in Devonshire House:

  • May 2004, a jolly time at Richard and Julie's reception
  • May 1986, same room for a gig by Half Man Half Biscuit on my 20th birthday

Had to make my excuses just as things were getting lively to go catch another train. Grounds of the campus looked fantastic in the late afternoon sunlight. Lovely place.

Be seeing you!