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whining & dining by michael whiner | contact:

St John - Clerkenwell

Well rested from nine heavenly days on the north coast of Brittany (log fires, no telly…you understand) I felt sick to the core on arriving for my first meal of 2002 with Michael. He'd chosen 'The St John' in Clerkenwell for its offally fare and Burgundy heavy wine list. I'd heard a lot about the place but could never find a companion with the stomach for it - how could I forget the fat man?
The food was splendid, the service was even better and the only thing to mar an exceptional lunch was the table of pig-eyed, spunked up, overpaid, beRolex'ed fat mouths stuffing their glass jaws with shoulder of venison to my right. This is their kingdom after all, but a drinking contest with a magnum of Battailly certainly betrayed their mortal fear of poverty. I bellowed half gagged hysteria when Michael 'accidentally' tipped his plate of razor clams down the back of a Thomas Pink shirt for 'mistreating a 96 Pommerol'. Justice!
As usual he is already in full flow…

"…But as I pointed out to him, it’s one thing doing that to a roast turkey but I think your wife would probably raise some objections. Ah, my boy you’ve arrived! Felicitations of the season to you! I trust you’ve had a pleasant start to the New Year? I haven’t. Some arse has started making nuisance phone calls to my house. They don’t speak they just leave long silences on my answering machine. I’m convinced it’s Jeremy Irons. I can sense his ego emanating from the tape. He’s not a great fan of mine after I got a bit pissed one night and reminded him that he may fancy himself as a Hollywood big shot now but that he owes his whole career to Brian Cant and ‘Playaway’. He wasn’t pleased.

Talking of things being well past their sell by date have you tried the Pigeon Pie? I’m uncertain but the last time I tried something that tasted this well preserved, I was taking part in a bet at the Royal Teaching Hospital in Edinburgh. The details are unimportant now — suffice it to say that all charges of cannibalism were subsequently dropped due to lack of evidence. Mind you, I’ve never been able to look at chicken in quite the same way ever again.

It’s been a fairly exciting week for the staff of Virgin Megastore in Beirut after security forces stormed the shop and confiscated around 600 films which it said, "slandered religion and public decency and contravened the ban against Israel".

Which is fine until you discover that among the films seized are ‘The Nutty Professor’, ‘The Great Escape’, ‘Superman’, and all Stanley Kubrick's films. So which category do you reckon ‘Superman’ fell under? Slandering religion or supporting Israel? Three music CDs which remain unidentified were also confiscated because they "encouraged young people to commit suicide." On those grounds more then half of the current Top 40 should also be seized as prolonged exposure makes me contemplate topping myself.

A sure sign of getting old is when you start to attend more funerals then you used to. I recently waved a final farewell to an old pal, Julia Phillips. Good old Julia was much like me in many ways in as much as she wasn’t afraid to speak her mind. As a producer she was pretty successful too — ‘The Sting’, ‘Taxi Driver’ and ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ were among her best work. Unfortunately she turned to drugs and by 1991 had alienated herself by writing her autobiography, ‘You'll Never Eat Lunch in this Town Again’. In it she called Paul Newman, "seriously weird", claimed Goldie Hawn had a lack of personal hygiene and said that Warren Beatty once asked for a threesome with her and her 12 year old daughter. She also called ex-window dresser turned director, Joel Schumacher, "a better window dresser than film director". He in return said of her, "well that’s ironic because she turned out to be a better cunt than a film producer". In the words of Darius from ‘Popstars’ —"how much love is there in this room?"

I’d like to propose a toast — to Hollywood. Home of more bitches then Battersea Dogs Home!"

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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