Monday, September 08, 2008

Food & poetry

It seems I am not the only one on the planet with these twinned obsessions. On Friday I went to Farringdon Road and found my way up the near vertical stairs of the Betsey Trotwood, which by its position I'd guess is frequented by Guardian writers and which boasts music and poetry nights, and locally-sourced foods (though I think not including the tiny bag of crisps I purchased from them at some considerable expense: when did they go up to 80p I wonder?). Friday night's reading theme got its title, as the lucky winner of the bottle of Italian brandy was able to identify, from The Naked Lunch: Unspeakably Toothsome - an evening of food poems. Co-hosts Annie Freud and Roddy Lumsden read and invited a number of other poets to read also, from their own work as well as favourite food related poems by other poets. Each poet participating was rewarded with a food and drink goodies parcel rather than a fee.

Readers included: John Stammers (reading John Berryman, Frank O'Hara's "For Grace after a party"), Simon Barraclough (reading from Titus Andronicus, and Anonymous); ex-chef Angela Kirby (Peter Phillips - "I want to be buried in a restaurant" and Anne Stewart "To a melon"); Isobel Dixon (Les Murray - "In a time of cuisine" and Jonathan Swift "Green Leeks"); Mark Waldron (Russell Edson "Mouse" and Mattea Harvey "Setting the table"); Roddy Lumsden (Paul Muldoon "Holy Thursday", Neil Rollinson "Scampi" - and a memorable poem of his own about the horrors of eating stroganoff in Shannon Airport); Annie Freud (Wendy Cope "The uncertainty of the poet", DH Lawrence "Figs" and Bertolt Brecht "Buying oranges"); Cath Drake (Michael Ondaatje "Rat jelly", Jacques Prevert "Breakfast"); Heather Philipson (Wallace Stevens "Floral decorations for bananas", Frank O'Hara "Animals"); Susan Grindley (Lewis Carroll "Walrus and the carpenter") and Tim Wells (Rodney Jones "First coca-cola" and Luke Warmwater "Hungry for pizza").

One afternoon I caught up on some Radio 4 listening and heard a recent Food Programme about anchovies, which told a by-now familiar tale of looming extinction: the best varieties of anchovy are being harvested for volume rather than sustainability, and so we are likely to lose them altogether before too long.

Brunch yesterday was a delightful piece of french toast

at Sam's...

I now embark on a week without (gasp) internet access. See ya later!


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