An Essex Mezzanine Library celebration lunch

Where there are photos, apparently there are also videos?

Well, thank God that this is just another miss demeanor.

As It would seem that there is now a global ‘obsession’ with taking photographs, albeit on a telephone (how screwed up is that?)  of everything you are about to eat, have eaten, about to drink, fuck, about watch, even body parts? (both dead and alive) and a lot, a lot of wine labels including the hand holding then said bottle.

It may, of course, have something to do with the total breakdown of our social fabric and the current global virus of feeling totally isolated and feeling almost invisible. Who really knows what? When I asked a learned friend the other day at a dinner, by the way he likes to take photos of food and wine, as did our neighbor on the restaurant table behind him, and many others present. I asked, “why do people do this?“ His reply was, “there are a million different reasons”. So I asked him to give me two of his. Needles to say, the evening ended without one. ummm?

However, I did spend last Sunday lunch, and my goodness it was a good one (Roast Beef, and mine was Roasted Pork belly with apple sauce) washed down with 2014 Ch.Villa Bel-Air, Graves Rouge… and not once did the dear fellow, my youngest son St.John, produce his telephone/camera, neither did his girlfriend Emma. Both were born 1998 and 1995 respectively, and if they were Argentine or Chinese, the dam thing would have been on the table and switched on (as if you can actually switch these things off anyway) for the whole lunch time. Clickerdy clickerdy click click click. Maybe the phones were put away as he knew I would rather talk to them both and discover what is going in their lives, phone free.

When I got home that night, by chance i read that there was a wee fiasco over the famous restauranter brothers, Roux, of La Gavroche fame y 4 Saisons near Oxford. That weekend they had put a small (polite) sign up on the door, saying ‘no photos please’, in both of their restaurants. I love it. I wholeheartedly applaud them for this. Well done and well done again. There was a rapid response from the culinary world, both in the press and on Twitter (whatever that is) the following day to the effect that the Roux freres seemed to have forgotten that they were in the entertainment business, and were out of ‘tofu-touch’ with their clientele, who sometimes have to pay a small fortune to eat in one of their fine establishments.

The loudest voice came form a chef entertainer Gordon ‘what ever his name is’, you know the Scottish footballer with more Michelin stars to his name than one can see on a clear night if one bothers to look up anymore at the cosmos. He is the one that likes to use expletives in the kitchen and on the Telly (not the first one either, remember the Pierre Marco-Blanc? Maybe an even worst case as he used to flick cigarette ash into your Boeuf Snogenuff back in the day, and they even gave him a Michelin Star or two). Anyway Gordon of Gordonsville can go burn in hell for whatever current mission he is on to self promote. But the need to defend and even promote photography in restaurants around the world, well why don`t we just bring back smoking as well, and then I will shut up. The cellphone became the new smoking. Once upon a time an ashtray and a packet of cigarettes would be on the dinner table, now it’s just a cellphone or two, and very little table conversation. What’s the point?

Then, as if by chance, the following, following day I shared a birthday lunch with a great wine friend and friends from Essex. We met up in our wonderful 69 P-M wine club & eatery, and drank some amazing wines. Not once, thank god, do i remember a dam telephone or camera coming out to photograph our food or the wines that we were about to drink. Ch.Lafite-Rothshcild 1985 and Ch.Lafite-Rothschild 1988, were enjoyed. And for that matter our Ch.Haut-Brion 1983 and our Ch.Mouton-Rothshchild 1998, all went down like a dream, I can remember them all, photo-free.

And not to forget the kick off wines of, “Le Montrachet“ 1988 from Gagnard and a delicious bottle of 2004 Batard-Montrachet from Domaine Louis Latour, intermingled with Birthday champagne (poured from magnums of course) Angel NV, Angel NV ROSE and Angel 2004 vintage (Blanc de Blancs). All totally memorable and with no need to fill up memory space on our telephone-cameras.

We all know what the big stuff looks like, don’t we? So why do we need to take a photograph of the bottles? again again and again. Has everyone lost their memory?

My dear old Mother, who passed away a while back now, hated having her photograph taken. She used to say ‘it’ s the evil eye” stoppit… I always thought she meant, and maybe correctly that taking a photograph actually robbed that moment. I got that one. However, what i later learned is that what she actually meant was that the camera (probably a transportable brownie box) and the taking of a photograph actually robbed you of, or simply stole your soul. These days I am really not so sure she was wrong at all, bless her dear heart.

Let me finish please with what we all ate at lunch, and a small joke. Lots of Oysters, from County Clare, some rare Porterhouse steak and two cheeseboards, one Celtic and one Frenchified (all unpasteurized, naturally!)

How do you get four Essex boyz into a St.James’s Wine Library?
Well, two in the ‘lending room; and two in the ‘periodicals’.

Haha … wrong!!

The real answer is book a table at 67 Pall Mall, if you are lucky enough to be a member that is, and invite them all to lunch.

Sorry, I cannot resist this one, we now need a proper, proper joke. Let’s call it ‘Sinking Animals’.

A donkey and a chicken are playing in a meadow. The donkey falls into a mud hole and is sinking. He calls to the chicken to go and get the farmer to help pull him out to safety. The chicken runs to the farm but the farmer can’t be found. So he drives the farmer’s Mercedes back to the mud hole and ties some rope around the  bumper. He then throws the other end of the rope to his friend, the donkey, and drives the car forward saving him from sinking!

A few days later, the chicken and donkey were playing in the meadow again and this time the chicken fell into the mud hole. The chicken yelled to the donkey to go and get some help from the farmer. The donkey said, “I think I can stand over the hole!” So he stretched over the width of the hole and said, “Grab for my ‘thingy’ and pull yourself up.” And the chicken did and pulled himself to safety.

The moral of the story is: If you are hung like a donkey, you don’t need a Mercedes to pick up chicks.