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whining & dining by michael whiner | contact:

Week 12 - Trading Braces

While the May Day protests saw London return to a disruption not seen since the Poll tax riots of the 80s, May also saw another eighties throwback with the launch of retro -chic eatery Trading Braces. Brainchild of Mercedes Meridian, heir to the hotel chain and rumoured lipstick lover of socialite Paris Hilton, Trading Braces is a carbuncle of meshed concrete and brushed steel in a disused former Iceland superstore on the edge of Dulwich. With full 80s credentials, Michael was begged to join the opening party, yet declined after learning Gary Kemp was set to host. Returning a week later to sample the haute cuisine delights of chef Mondo Carlo, Michael was shocked to be turned away for lack of appropriately styled dinner jacket. Embarrassed and rejected, yet refusing to miss out on 'the warmest meal in town' according to Nicky Haslam, Michael returned with full double breasted, emperor padded regalia and tasselled tan loafers.

Michael has opted for a starter of peanut butter and poached parsnip soup with truffle oil and mango salsa, followed by a light chocolate and fennel stuffed wholemeal ravioli with smoked avocado and absinthe butter, then medallions of rare ostrich steak wrapped in hickory smoked salmon and a cabbage and coriander jus, and rounded off with the garlic and gooseberry sorbet with beef jerky brandy snaps. As usual he is already in full flow…

"The Cannes Film Festival has only been going for five minutes and I’m sick to the back teeth of it already. Therefore this evening I intend to stage my own one-man protest against the whole affair by boycotting all things French. Unfortunately, that probably means I’m going to have to eat something that’s either German or Italian in origin. Italian, I think. At least they seem to have grasped the concept that a country should offer the world more then just seventeen different kinds of sausage and various things pickled in industrial- strength vinegar.

One thing that I read about the media-whores convention in Cannes was that the awards jury this year are going to be looking for films that "speak to the emotion rather then the intellect". No no no! That’s exactly the sort of guff that the Americans go for! Look where that gets them - hideous syrupy characterisation, nasty insipid sentimentality and crass happy endings. Oh, and a career for Ron Howard. Why don’t they just try looking for the best film at the festival? It’s a system that has worked perfectly well in the past. What next? The Palm D’Or sponsored by McDonalds? The McCannes Film Festival?

I see that the whinging screenwriters in America managed to get most of their demands met. Not that there was any real danger that the studios allow a strike to take place. They couldn’t afford to lose face to a bunch of nerds who sit in front of word processors all day and don’t get enough sun. They were always going to have to get their chequebooks out at some stage. But don’t make the mistake of feeling too sorry for them, they’ll soon recoup the money by increasing ticket prices and adding a quid onto the price of a video or DVD. Capitalist bastards.

Talking of bastards, I finally got around to joining my local video library last week. Can anybody explain to me why I needed twice as much documentation as I did when I opened my bank account? I needed bank statements, two different forms of proof of identity and an example of my signature amongst other things before I was provided with an application form so complex that it looked like a Mensa IQ test. It certainly put the census form to shame. I was half-expecting to have to provide a DNA sample. Are their videos gold-plated or something?

Where the hell is that waiter?!

Did you see Nicole Kidman at the press conference for ‘Moulin Rouge’? The room was packed with slavering journalists waiting to hear lots of juicy gossip about her split from Tom "Cruise by name but not by nature" Cruise. Naturally she disappointed them by refusing to talk about it. When my last marriage broke up the papers were full of stories with lurid headlines like, "Michael in four-in-a-bed sex romp" and "Whiner’s hung like a well-hung horse — says supermodel". It cost me a fortune to bribe the journalists enough to print them.

Mike Leigh is currently preparing to shoot his latest film. He’s abandoned the expensive excess of ‘Topsy Turvy’ and returned to using improvisation to develop the plot of his current project which is known by the snappy title of ‘The New Mike Leigh Project’ — which rather sounds like some sort of Seventies progressive rock group. In fact even his producer admitted that he didn’t know what the film was about but that it was set in the 21st century. For a moment, I had visions of a tale about middle class androids and their empty, meaningless existences — that was until I remembered that we’re now in the 21st century. Incidentally how do you pitch a film like that to the money men? "We don’t know what it’s about or where it’s set but Mike Leigh is doing it." "I see. Here’s 500,000" Is it any wonder that the British Film Industry is in such a mess?

Talking of which what the hell has happened to my bloody plate? If I wanted Picasso I'd have gone to the Tate bloody Modern!"

recent whines...

January 2002 - St John - Clerkenwell EC1

December 7 - Hell

November 30 - Birthday at Brula

November 23 - Picnic on the Heath

November 16 - Les Trois Soeurs

November 9 - Ed's

November 2 - Burger King: Piccadilly

October 26 - Lindsay House

October 19 - Darcy's

October 5 - Spitz of Spittlefields

September 28 - West Street

September 21 - St John's

September 7 - Southeast W9

August 31 - Rogues

August 24 - Royale With Cheese

August 17 - Rules

August 10 - Manana

August 3 - £15/head at Mazzo

July 27 - La Scala

July 20 - La Putain de la Tour

July 13 - The Real Zorba

July 6 - Palefico

June 29 - The Moon and Pigeons

June 22 - Post Theatre

June 15 - Danang Vice

June 7 - La Crebiche

June 1 - B.A.N.G.E.R.S

May 25 - The Ritz

May 18 - The Harpo

May 11 - Trading Braces

May 4 - Hijo De Puta

April 27 - Broadway!

April 20 - Escoffier Steakhouse

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