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Me, too

As the Weinstein affair and all it's ramifications have played out, I've been thinking a lot about my own conduct and behaviour down the years. It's human nature to think of oneself as the good guy, we all mythologise our own lives with our selves in a sympathetic light. But I'm sure, thinking back, that my actions and attitudes haven't always been the best. I am a chef, I work in a kitchen, places that run on banter, some of it sexual, some of it aggressive. Whilst I know I've never assaulted anyone, or pushed unwelcome advances, I've certainly been present when senior colleagues have said things which have made female members of staff uncomfortable (and done nothing beyond giving them grief about it), and I've certainly worked in one particular restaurant where a serial sexual predator worked.

Many years ago I had a waitress at the restaurant I worked at turn up on my doorstep in tears in the middle of the night. One of the floor managers had tried it…
Recent posts


Fancy that. Age, eh? It's almost as if it happens. I note that down the years I've only posted once or twice about birthdays. Truth to tell I've never been one to pay them much mind. So it seemed entirely fitting that I spent my fortieth birthday grafting away in my kitchen. Some vague apprehension that this one os supposed to be in some way marked led me over here to write this, but I feel faintly ludicrous doing sso. It did, however, lead to me looking up one of said few occasions when I posted about a birthday on here, my 29th, where I note about being proud of my students work that day. not sure what that proves, if anything. G'night.

New Conservatives

As the unedifying spectacle of the Conservative party conference grinds on, with the main halls half empty and the fringes full of the manic cheerfulness of the Weimar Republic, it's instructive to take a look at how the party is positioning itself in the face of the challenge from a resurgent Labour.

It isn't.

Rarely can a conference have offered up such a paucity of ideas. In the aftermath of Boris going wildly off piste before insisting that nothing of the sort occurred, and David Davis cheerfully denying that he's cheerfully admitted that he'll be long gone before the Brexit negotiations are concluded (leaving them all to the emperor of tact, Johnson himself) the message seems to have been shut up, hold tight and hopefully this will all blow over. It is Mayism in its rawest form, insist that everything is fine. Do nothing. It is this torpor which allows those who make the most noise, the Johnsons, the Rees-Moggs, to cast themselves as major players, the curious ine…

Brexit, football, myth and legend

Much gentle amusement was to be derived today from the more Brexity arms of our illustrious press, as they reacted with horror to Michel Barnier suggesting that it's a chance to explain the benefits of the single market. Who does he think he is? thundered the Mail, the Sun and the Telegraph were equally unhappy, much chuntering along the lines how this PROVES leaving the EU is the right thing to do etc. I expect the Express was upset too but seriously, who reads the Express?

Naturally, because it never does to let actual quotes get in the way of a good bit of xenophobia, they chose to interpret his remarks as "Teaching the UK a lesson". Which is, of course, an outrage, because what could we possibly learn from foreigners? As any fule kno, Blighty is the pre-eminent global power, and lesser nations should be grateful that we deign to let them speak our mother tongue and sample our innovative jams. The very idea that we might actually learn someting by listening to people …

Curious diversions

So I'm in a pub.

Not, admittedly, much of a shock. I've spent an unseemly proportion of my life since the age of fifteen in pubs. Mostly as a drinker but on various occasions as KP, chef, barman, manager, even a bouncer once or twice. I am well acquainted with pubs.

If, however, you had said to me at the start of the year that by this point of it I'd be cheffing in one, I'd have smiled politely and changed the subject (the days of bawling people out for imbecility are behind me as much as I thought cooking in pubs was). I had no intention of cooking professionally again once Source was done with. Let alone in a pub. A gastropub? No, a pub pub.

Now, before you go thinking that I've entirely lost my mind, I should explain that it is quite a nice pub, and, whilst not precisely pushing the boundaries of what's possible with gastronomy, it has a noble ambition. That of being a decent pub. Which is an ambition which I can fully get behind.

It's occurred to em a l…

Sister Act II: Back in the habit


It may have escaped your notice that this particular vent for my various effusions has grown a touch quieter of late. Of course, seasoned long-term Coastalblog watchers, all one of you, will know that these sorts of longeurs are par for the course and eventually I trip back like a penitent drunk; replete with promises to do better and piteous apologies for letting you down yet again. In my defence, this time I've had a fairly good reason.

To a heady mix of regret and relief, your correspondent has wound up his long-time ball and chain/broken dream/drain of time/reasonably successful business/creator of marital discord (delete as applicable) and re-entered the world of working for other people. Which I don't propose to discuss here, because that would be crashingly dull. But the whole psychodrama of unravelling ten years hard yakka and sauntering off in a manner casual enough to convince the unseasoned observer has somewhat preoccupied me.

On a happier note, this sudden …

This is not campaigning

A few days ago, I was speaking to a local Labour Party worker. He was shrugging at the Tory effort around our neck of the woods, wasn't too worried about retaining the seat at the election; the theory being that they weren't trying hard, because nobody major had turned up.

Then two days ago the Prime Minister turned up.

My first thoughts, when I found out, were of that functionary, his confidence in retaining the seat must have taken a dent from the news that the biggest gun of them all had come calling. The funny thing was, though, nobody knew. I found out on the Today programme the next morning.

The constituency in which I live, West Lancashire, is a place of contrasts. I live in Ormskirk, a reasonably (though increasingly less) prosperous mix of market and student town. We're surrounded by blandly pretty countryside, some reasonably picturesque agricultural land and some chocolate box villages. Down the road, however, is Skelmersdale, the main reason that West Lancash…