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whining & dining by michael whiner | contact:

The Ritz Fry-Up

I've never refused an offer for breakfast, but when Michael is paying I believe even Cyril Smith would fast the night before. He was in a typically jolly mood - Monday is Justerini and Brooks delivery day chez Whiner - but thanks to an appalling post theatre service at the Ritz the night before, I was concerned about the imminent display of uncouth and, dare I say, Burgundian behaviour from my rosy cheeked host. As usual he is already in full flow…

"You do realise that it’s illegal to serve irradiated food products in this country don’t you? I ask only because my escargots seem to be glowing somewhat. There are many things one expects from a dish of fine quality pond life - dribbling avarice on the part of the diner, polished surgical eating utensils and astonishing halitosis, to name a few. Being able to use it as a nightlight simply isn’t one of them. Take it away and bring me something that doesn’t have a half-life of ten thousand years, please.

I’m afraid I’m already in a mood about the latest piece of blockbuster nonsense, ‘Pearl Harbour’. Disney threw everything but the kitchen sink at the premiere in a desperate attempt to head off the bad reviews that are closing in on the film like a squadron of kamikaze fighters. Reportedly they spent five million dollars on the event which saw an aircraft carrier in Honolulu transformed into a cinema for the night. The film has been described as "three hours of tedium with ten minutes of excitement at the end" which coincidentally is also an accurate review of my wedding night.

Basically the problem is that the film suffers from the usual faults that plague big budget blockbusters. The characterisation and plot is simplistic at best, the script shallow and the dialogue trite and cliché ridden. It’s the filmic equivalent of those telephone directory-thick novels they sell in airport bookshops that people normally read as a kind of mental anaesthetic on long-distance flights, just enough to stop thinking about how uncomfortable the seats are. Oddly, bad films have exactly the opposite effect and you spend the entire evening thinking about nothing else except how uncomfortable the seats are.

I’ve also heard that the film is going to be shown in an edited form in Germany and Japan, "to avoid causing offence". Offence to whom I’m not quite sure but presumably their version will omit the bombing and all references to it or something. The bloody thing’s only going to be about five minutes long!

It would make a pleasant change not to have to wait five minutes to have my water glass refilled! Where is that spotty little queen? ! And another bottle of the Margaux and make it snappy!

The Cannes Film Festival limped to a close over the weekend. What a washout it was too. The Palm d’Or was won by ‘La Stanza del Figlio’ — an Italian drama about a psychoanalyst whose son dies in a scuba-diving accident. As you might expect it’s not exactly a laugh-a-minute. In fact laughs were thin on the ground this year. Instead we were treated to a steady stream of deaths, child murderers and sado-masochism. Why the long face, Europe? We’ve got plenty to celebrate for goodness sake! The fact that we aren’t American is a source of constant pleasure for me, for example! It comes to something when the most fun to be found at a festival is provided by a vomit-green computer generated ogre. I’m talking about ‘Shrek’ which features the vocal talents of Mike Myers and Eddie Murphy. Although in the case of Mr Myers, I use the term "vocal talent" advisedly because he seems to have taken it upon himself to re-use the utterly dreadful "Scottish" accent that he previously inflicted on an unsuspecting public in ‘Austin Powers 2’ and ‘So I Married an Axe Murderer’. It’s been said that he has spent a great deal of time in Scotland and in fact his father was a Scot. Which makes it all the more unfortunate that he seems to think that everybody who lives north of Berwick Upon Tweed sounds like Scrooge McDuck. Can’t somebody have a quiet word with him?

I’m going to be having a quiet word with the manager if I don’t get some service around here very shortly, garcon!"

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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