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whining & dining by michael whiner | contact:

£15/head at Mazzo

Michael was booked to share a house with, and I quote, "a pair of ugly of commoners" for a newspaper series but he'd forgotten about the needless renovations to his mansion. Of course, I got lumbered with the Jones', a couple I prayed weren't as vulgar as he'd described after the photo shoot, and which were actually a delightful, friendly couple still desperately in love after 16 years engaged.
Feeling, and I gag, guilt (or perhaps jealousy after hearing of Janet's incredible duck en croute) Michael invited us to Mazzo for a budget 15/head lunch. The parsimonious bastard wouldn't even offer to buy the wine.
Still, we'd snuck off to Chez Robert the night before, leaving Michael in a frightening and ultimately expensive altercation with the manager of Madam Jo Jo's. As usual he is already in full flow…

I spent part of the week in a residing in a hotel while the builders where giving Chez Whiner a once over. Nothing fancy, I just fancied another downstairs toilet. After all the one I’ve currently got is almost fifty feet from the living room and quite frankly who can be arsed to trek that far with a full bladder? Anyway I checked into a most excellent little country retreat and signed in under my usual nom de plume, "Mr C Morris". Imagine my surprise therefore when less then twenty-four hours later the place was burned to the ground by a group of protestors calling themselves the "Real NSPCC". Most odd behaviour. I blame the country air. It does strange things to the mind. Anyway enough talk. Is the New Zealand lamb half decent? I’ll have that then. Oh and half a bottle of Petrus '92. Toodle pip. Idle hands and all that.

As I cleaned the last traces of soot from my nostrils this morning I was struck by the notion that there are things in life that one just doesn’t expect to happen. I, for example, never expected to be lifted from the fifth storey window of a four star hotel by a couple of burly firemen while the Towering Inferno blazed around my ears. Neither did I ever expect that Sean Connery would ever consider appearing in an advert for Skoda cars. But considering it he most assuredly is. It seems that they want him to wander around the Scottish countryside in a kilt while extolling the virtues of the Skoda Oktavia. Unfortunately we’re never likely to clap eyes on it because it’s being made for the Spanish market. What next? Tom Cruise waxing lyrical about Nescafe’s "smoother, richer blend"? In my day film stars acted like film stars and didn’t tarnish their image with this sort of nonsense. You never saw the likes of Richard Burton praising the full, round flavour of whisky — and believe me he was enough of an expert in the stuff.

I know that I regularly bend your ear about Australia. It’s just that everybody seems to go on about how great a country it is. All the time. Of course most of those people haven’t ever actually visited the God-forsaken hellhole that is the Australasian continent. The food is awful. The beer is worse. Most of the women look like men and most of the men look like Piltdown Man. As you can imagine I’ve not been best pleased about the constant stream of big budget films straining at the leash to film there. That’s mostly been due to the government handing out large tax breaks to people investing in films shot in the Land of Oz. Well this week the investors in ‘Moulin Rouge’ got a nasty fright when the Australian Tax Office refused their application for tax relief. Serves the buggers right. Mind you I can talk, my former stockbroker was forever investing in the wrong things at the wrong time. I mean who invests in a sheep dip manufacturer when the things are being slaughtered by the truckload? I should have known I was in for trouble when he sold my Interflora shares just before the death of Princess Diana.

Oh at last! What did you have to do? Fly the woolly bugger in? You don’t have a brother who works for the fire service do you? They took bloody ages to pluck me from that burning hotel too.

As you know my good chap, adverts annoy me intensely. It seems that you can’t walk down the street these day without being bombarded with people trying to sell you things. But what really annoys me is when films quite blatantly have adverts sneaked into them by advertisers who think that we wouldn’t notice. For example, ‘Castaway’ which was basically a two-hour advert for Fed-Ex. I wonder if Tom Hanks has the same agent as Sean Connery? Anyway this ‘subliminal’ form of advertising is known as product placement in the trade and it is big business in America. Well now we are going to have it inflicted on us as well. A company which specialises in product placement is setting up shop in London. God helps us. Do we have to do everything that America does? Anyway if you go to see ‘Bridget Jones 2’ and wonder if the scene with Hugh Grant tucking into a Big Mac and Fries was entirely essential to the plot at least you know why it’s there.

Mind you at least McDonalds are quick. Yes, garcon your ears bloody well should be burning!"

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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