Thursday, 14 May 2009

Never boil the bollocks...

The author as a young woman.

I was a punk. Christmas 1976. So not the very first wave but right at the beginning. The rock world was ruled by giants; super groups who turned their backs to the audience, both symbolically and figuratively. Stars like Rod Stewart, escaping his North London roots for Hollywood and Britt Ekland. Mick Jagger from bad boy group The Rolling Stones partaying with Princess Margaret on the island of Mustique, detailed weekly in the Nigel Dempster column. Bowie, so electrical when he first appeared on Top of the Pops with an orange spiky cut, platform boots, alien heterochromia and a wobbly Bromley voice, had gone a bit distant and starry too.
This was pop music? 
No. They were big guns, out of touch to your average street kid. No wonder the Sex Pistols, The Damned and The Clash were a breath of fresh air.
"No Elvis, Beatles or The Rolling Stones! 1977!" roared Joe Strummer.
The same thing has happened in cooking. The culinary world is ruled by people like Gordon Ramsay: rarely behind a stove; Heston Blumenthal: a mere 400 quid  to eat at his place; Ferran Adria: the waiting list for El Bulli is, well, book me in for the year 2020; Jamie Oliver: the tory Essex boy with populist roots done good,  settled down in domestic bliss. 
The underground restaurant movement is the punk reaction to all this. People want to eat at places where they can meet the chef, even have a drink with them afterwards, where they can mingle socially, where they can momentarily dispense with the hierarchy and isolation of a traditional restaurant. They want it local and they want to continue to pay their mortgage afterwards, not take out a mortgage to eat there. Like punk, underground cuisine may have fewer notes, be a little rough and ready, but it has energy and grassroots inspiration.  

6 comments:

  1. Haha, you should use this as your advertising copy when you get appropriated by the mainstream ;-)

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  2. Fabulous analogy. So over the super-chef now.

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  3. Great post - I love the punk/chef thing. I can see Heston now, in cape, stack heels and crazy specs, playing two keyboards simultaneously; Gordon and Ferran back to back wringing ear-piercing solos out of their Fender strats. And Jamie banging on a giant gong at the back of his drum kit.

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  4. As we used to say 99% is shit.

    I'll salute the new wave and hope no one escapes !

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  5. Thanks for the shout out on your blog, Mark, and the twitter. I'm laughing thinking about Heston as Wakeman!

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  6. Loving your 70s picture... so cute.

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