Monday, 27 June 2016

On Glastonbury and Brexit

Some thoughts on Glastonbury and Brexit

- Don't care about the 11 hour journey or the terrible backpack induced shoulder pain or the mud. It's as great as everyone makes out

- Feel sad that the country I've loved and lived in for 21 years is becoming increasingly unwelcoming to foreigners 

- Feel sad that the core values I associate with Britishness as a first gen immigrant - acceptance, (comparative) liberalism and freedom - have been proved overly optimistic

- Feel sad that so many people feel disaffected enough to understandably, if in my opinion mistakenly, to think so differently from me on this

- Feel elitist that it's very easy for me to think and behave the way I do because I really have no understanding of true hardship

- Feel ungrateful that I don't appreciate how lucky I am

- Feel euphoric having a perfect moment at Ezra Furman playing Haunted Head - 'I was born this way I'll die the way' - enough to make me want to be alive now and for every year just to have more moments like this 

- Feel incredibly lucky to have such great friends and so many of them

- Feel selfish that I have been and can be so depressed to not even care that they care

- Feel at the same time both incredibly pleased with self and incredibly 16 year old embarrassed for slipping over so much in the mud that I waded through barefoot and alone from SE corner to the Park (ouch) 

- Feel guilty for being such hard work

- Feel churlish for having been unable to appreciate 3.5 years of unmitigated kindness and pleased I made a friend

- Feel clean and really great to being naked in company. Hooray for communal showers 

- Feel really, really bleak at the thought that this wonderful respite is soon to be over 

- Feel like I want to be over, and how incredibly painful it is to simultaneously not want to be here but feel that it would be such a shame to go

- Really, really just want my thoughts to stop. Exhausted 

- Feel better. Sigh 

- Feel the same thrill as at a high quality Netflix series as I do re: post Brexit developments 

- Feel nervous when remember that it is real life

- Feel like should avoid thinking about real life while I can - the unforgiving nature of the electorate doesn't need to be another thing to feel more detached about 

- Feel like I would be PJ Harvey if I was a musician 

- Consider how I will pack and party differently next year 

- Consider whether thinking so far into the future is a sign it's getting better or is me playing pretend like I'll have a normal and existent life in a year

- Feel like a princess not knowing how to take a tent down

- Feel sleepy 
What Ari ate this week
4 cereal bars
6 clementines
Delicious curry goat
A warning and restorative cup of 'can't believe I waded through mud chai'
Trippy pie and mash 
A few bites of a 'I'm very grateful for all you do and want to reaffirm that I don't expect it' lobster roll 
A really gritty but delicious pork roll

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Recipe - Smoked Mackerel Pate

So when I was all 'each time it gets easier' re career fails and break ups and al that jazz - I stand by that, it does. But I rather over egged how chipper and optimistic I sounded about it. It's true that I wasn't feeling particularly miserable about either of those things but, less promisingly, the reason for that is all my energy was going into kick starting my will to live gene. Really hard to care about corporeal sadnesses when you're contending with the dull ache of the 'I just can't' feeling. The two are linked, but more in that when you feel like you just can't, a weird self preservation kicks in where you're aware that the risk imposed by regular sadness is too great so you make much better long term decisions. It's hard to stomach both not wanting to wake up and not wanting to go to work in the morning so it's easier to quit. But then, as the fog starts to lift, the regular sadnesses hit you in a very boring way because you were maybe hoping that had got swept away rather than just delayed. SO BORING. But, with feeling regular person sad, you also remember a capacity for feeling regular person happy too: I quit my job hooray // I'm going to Glastonbury // these new boots are perfect for outrageous flirting w Crate staff all summer. I even managed to cook fish pate twice this week (better than the photograph below looks) which now I think about it is really just like savoury fishy yoghurt.
Smoked mackerel pate (barely a recipe)
200g smoked mackerel, skin and bones removed
120ml creme fraiche
50g Philadelphia
1 tsp creamed horseradish
Handful of dill, finely chopped
Juice of half a lemon
Black pepper

Pulse everything to the dill together until an almost smooth consistency (or however coarse you like it). Add the lemon, pepper and dill. 

Sunday, 12 June 2016

What I ate the week following my birthday

Project managing is a skill in every context, including when applied to your life. It's all about timing things to mitigate damage. As an adult, it's quite tricky to find a few weeks to be incapacitated even if the long term gain of a mental reboot is well worth it. But it's all about calculating the right time: if you're stable enough to quit your job, you've got the mental wherewithal to avoid falling off a precipice (both literally and figuratively). Still, there are some functions you've got to keep going, so here's a guide to keeping it together when you are too old to let things fall apart:

1. Don't bother trying to put game face on. No point

2. Wear dresses. Fewest arm movements required to put on. Also, no need for bra

3. Make plans (it is easier to move if you have a reason to move)
(Be upfront with your pals that you will probably cancel your plans)

4. Use pockets of energy to respond to texts because it is not nice to worry your friends 

5. Track when in the day you have energy and pounce at those times to do things like wash and drink water. Take some pleasure in the fact that things which usually come so naturally (good housekeeping, seeming like you're competent) can go to hell so that in a few weeks when your capacity is back you won't stress about them 

6. Keep your friends close, keep the freelancers closer

7. Buy yoghurt so that when chewing seems unsustainable you get calories from somewhere 

8. Avoid the tube. Jesus

9. Work remotely and cultivate an excellent telephone voice so no one can see the Miss Havisham look you're rocking most days

10. Go dancing, but don't get fucked up. Don't need to if the music is nice enough and it's a mode of socialising where you can legitimately be silent and kind of on your own

What I ate this week
Yoghurt and jam x5 - like an incredibly delicious Muller corner
Birthday cake - egg free and fuckin' delicious
Leftover birthday potatoes with a fennel, crumb and olive topping - really not my best work
Tuna pasta - surprisingly, probably the best I've managed to make ever
Half of a Wetherspoons chilli dog meal shared with your daytime carer - a highlight
A breakfast that you organised but then all your friends bought the things for and cooked - delicious, with a special shout out to the slow scrambled eggs, and also thank you for bringing so much yoghurt
Jerk chicken by White Men Can't Jerk - good, but not great
A birthday meal cooked by your soulmate, even though all week you've behaved like an ungrateful churl - haven't even eaten it yet but can already promise it's the best ever

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Review - Wuli Wuli

25 lessons I have learnt in my 25 years, in the order that I learnt them

1. Talking the same as people (to the point of putting on a Geordie accent on your first day in a new school) makes you more likeable 

2. Being good at maths and foreign do not make you popular at school, but one day you will learn that they are clear advantages

3. If you can read, you will never be lonely 

4. Children are very shallow, and it's a shame glasses got cool 15 years after you wore them 

5. Learning to use the Internet is an invaluable skill, but later in life it will seem like the biggest waste of time 

6. Fringes are great 

7. 18 is really late to have to learn to try at things

8. Don't only talk to the person you are having sex with about personal things. Really not a sustainable model, neither good for sex or for talking 

9. University is definitely not all fun and games 

10. Everyone's parents fucks them up in a small but significant way - no point dwelling or bitching; they could have done much worse 

11. You will realise how important and privileged an education is only when it is too late 

12. No one cares about body hair and it certainly won't have the same effect as a chastity belt 

13. Your metabolism will one day slow down, it's good to have acquired a taste for moving before that happens 

14. Financial independence is empowering

15. Sometimes you just need somewhere to go to work every day, even if it's not in a place that fills you with wonder  

16. Always eat, especially before drinking 

17. Cocaine is bad for everyone and isn't even fun. Try to avoid 

18. People who make you feel less yourself can be a good distraction at a time of need, but it is not a long term strategy

19. London rents are not a reason to move in with a partner 

20. Meditation and mooncups are both as great as everyone who evangelises about them make out

21. Better to deal with mind numbing depression as early as possible in life, but your twenties isn't too late 

22. Fulfilment > money

23. Those who are most risk averse (me) are often best placed to take risks

24. There is no point trying to keep things from those close to you, and you're too old for this shit

25. Birthday parties are a wonderful distraction

(I didn't take a picture of the food at my birthday party, and nor did I cook it, so we'll go with a review of Wuli Wuli, where I ate the night before.)
Actually, ate this both the night before and the day after when I finally thought I might be able to contain food. The beef brisket in the noodles was the best bit, though the noodles themselves were a little too thick and heavy. The cumin lamb tasted similar but a bit more Sichuan peppercorn metallic, though the texture wasn't as good as the beef. I wasn't the biggest fan of the kung po chicken - both flavour and texture reminded me of generic MSG fuelled Sutton Coldfield Chinese. The aubergine has a great texture but again that too heavy aroma. And all a little too expensive - £40 total including beers - for food less good than Silk Road.