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whining & dining by michael whiner | contact:

The Real Zorba

Since Captain Corelli's Mandolin was released I haven't had the stomach for Greek food - especially as the wretched production practically ruined my get-away trip to Cephallonia last summer. Anyway, I'd been hankering after some decent Greek tucker for lunch when Michael turns up at my door, In Person, Wednesday noon. As (his bad) luck would have it - something to do with "fuc*ing public transport…" - he was demanding a mountain of meatballs, pitta and tzatsiki. The kitchen cupboards being bare since the resignation of my promiscuous Vietnamese maid Delilah, we hailed a taxicab to drive us to The Real Zorba in Hoxton Square. Revolting Retsina was always going to flow freely and as usual Michael is already in full flow…

"What a bugger of a week I’ve had. My chauffeur has been ill and so I’ve had to resort to public transport in order to get around. My first experience of the underground tubular railway will, I’m afraid, also be my last. How on earth do they expect so many people to cram into those tiny little carriages? And why has nobody who uses the system ever heard of deodorant? Mind you it’s so hot down there that even the strongest anti-perspirant would struggle to keep up. After that I tried to catch a bus but the driver refused to give me change for a 50 note. Plebeian. I was forced to travel by taxi but the drivers kept trying to engage me in conversation. Why on earth would I want to converse with somebody in their income bracket? In the end I dragged my chauffeur’s arse out of bed and made him get back behind the wheel again. He’s only got a touch of glandular fever for goodness sake. The fresh air will do him good.

Is the Halloumi made with goat’s milk? Then I’m not touching it. Dirty creatures. I’ll have the meze for six instead. With a couple of kleftiko to follow provided of course that the meat actually falls from the bone as the plate hits the table. Did I tell you about the time I was making in Tibet and was forced to drink Yak’s milk? It’s pink and looks rather like very runny pink custard. Couldn’t tell you what it tasted like though. I was smoking 70 woodbines a day at high altitude and consequentially my taste buds had gone into a coma in a desperate attempt to cling on to life.

Talking of desperate attempts, The British Board of Film Classification are holding a series of roadshows where they ask teenagers their opinions on the portrayal of sex and violence in films. Now of course if you ask me there’s just not enough of it around and frankly I’d have expected your average hormone-fuelled teenager to say much the same thing. So imagine my surprise when I discovered that their responses included, "There should be more censorship. I don’t think we should see so much sex in films" and "We have to progress and see things at the right age. It should come at a steady level." What kind of teenagers are they asking?! They certainly don’t resemble any teenager I’ve ever come across. It’s like something out of ‘The Stepford Wives’. If they want to find some real teenage children I suggest they hold the roadshows outside an off-license next time. That’s where the little buggers all seem to congregate these days.

Is there no end to the stupidity of the American television networks? They’re currently in the middle of a bidding war for the television rights to the ‘Harry Potter’ film. They studios are asking them to fork out $70 million for the broadcast rights but they aren’t letting them see the finished film first. Instead they let them see a fifteen-minute extended trailer. Now obviously I’m just a cynical old bastard but don’t they realise how easy it is to make any old piece of shit look good in a trailer? The ‘Pearl Harbour’ trailer makes it look like a masterpiece of cinema rather then the soggy, overlong, jingoistic piece of over-expensive claptrap that it is. Somebody ought to beat them soundly around the head with their own chequebook. It’s clearly big enough to make an impact - even through their thick skulls.

Do you use the internet much? I don’t own a computer myself. I’ve seen ‘Demon Seed’ and there’s no way I’m letting one of those in my house. The reason I mention it is that I was told that Guy Ritchie’s film ‘Snatch’ was the most pirated film on the internet in June. Quite why is another matter entirely. I thought it was a quite dreadful film. Basically it was ‘Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels’ with double the budget and triple the cast. And it had Mike Read in it. I rest my case. Apparently for some it can take as much as ten hours to download a film off the internet. Which is ironic because after watching ‘Snatch’ it felt like I’d been stuck in that cinema for at least that long.

Have you heard that Michael Jackson is to get an award to mark his thirty years in show business? It’s going to be presented to him by Marlon Brando as they’ve been friends for over twenty years. I wasn’t aware of that. What next? Are we going to be told that Jane Asher and Goldie Hawn have been secretly swapping cake recipes for the last fifteen years?

Talking of which — Waiter! Where’s that desert menu?"

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

archive >>>

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