Friday, May 05, 2006

The Price of Fish

Got myself up at the crack of dawn this morning and went to Billingsgate Market. I quickly regretted not having remembered to take my choco-movil along, as there were untold opportunities to snap away at extraordinary things. So, until I return there next week, you'll have to make do with this pic I snatched of Billy Zane at the Chocolate phone launch party on Wednesday night.

The old boys that hearteningly call me "young man" when I buy stuff are still there, but their wares now include exotica such as Croaker , Kingfish and pink Dorade. There were even a few cases of shark. I stopped at a stall run by Sri Lankans to gawp at an enormous Barramundi laid out on its polystyrene cargo box and some very edible looking Emperor fish, which I must investigate further.

I have an old friend coming for dinner tonight who has just completed a week of chef's training with Cornish crone Rick Stein − so I thought I might try something fishy. In the end I came away with my usual box of shrimp and some Barracuda steaks. (I once helped cook Barracuda in Belize, but that was over a wood fire, not something I will attempt to replicate tonight. )

With 16 years on the island I haven't really taken enough advantage of this incredible local resource. It's the getting up at 4am and smelling of fish for the rest of the day that has tended to deter me. This time I put my clothes straight into the washing machine, my shoes out on the balcony to 'air' and doused myself in Polo before setting off to work. Hopefully nobody will be any the wiser!

The rest of the customers at the market this morning were generally Chinese or Africans, many of them lugging black bin bags full of ocean produce around from stall to stall. Just me and the crows in the ASDA car park a bit later on at 5:30am. Now that it has become a 24-hour supermarket, this really is the best time to shop as you get the pick of the day's fruit and vegetables.

We've been supporting LG's launch of the Chocolate phone in the UK this week by setting up a blog (and accompanying blogger-relations programme) and by playing around with these nifty little mobiles ourselves. The launch party was held at Sketch on Wednesday night with a host of decorative types on the guest list and Goldfrapp on stage to perform tracks from their new album (released on Monday).

As well as Billy Dead Calm Zane, Jade Jagger, June Sarpong, Brett Anderson, Sean Pertwee and Colleen McLoughlin all put in an appearance. Speaking of whom, the loos at Sketch looked a bit like the sort of oxygen chamber that the future Mrs Rooney might have left her other half sitting in when she set off alone for our bash that evening. (There was a middle-aged Swedish blonde dressed as a French chambermaid on standby to hold your wine glass while you were sealed inside. )

It was my first time at Sketch. Seems to be a similar set up to Home House, but not quite as nicely fitted out, LG pod-bogs notwithstanding. (Sketch has a heinous website, Home House is expecting.)

As for the phone, I don' t want to be parted from it. (And certainly not forcibly, as happened with that Sony Ericsson I had − albeit briefly − in 2004. ) In the case of the Motorola clamshell I have just disowned, you always knew which pocket it was in, which is not necessarily a good thing.

For many males of my generation, some of the most desirable gadgets are those that remind us of the props from the science fiction shows of our youth, and on this front the Chocolate phone certainly delivers. There's something distinctly r-ET-ro about those glowing red buttons. It also reminds me of two other important technology classics in my life: the 'banana' phone (my last slider, now proudly stashed in a drawer with my Sinclair ZX81) and the very first touch-sensitive TV I got my tiny mits on way back in the 70s before even consumer VCRs had hit the market. (The loss of buttons on TVs and the rise of the remote had consigned this rather enjoyable technology to something of a wilderness exile.)

I think it's going to take me a week or so to re-train my thumb to handle the slightly different user interface.

The weekend beckons. I'm off to see MI:3 with Johnny Surfer, the only person I know that counts Tom Cruise and Matt Damon as his two favourite actors. "What a Philistine this man is.." was his response to Paul Arendt's hilarious review for the Beeb:
"The only real problem is Tom himself, who manifestly fails to convince as
a human being. With his plasticised musculature and ten kilowatt grin, he's less
of an action hero and more of an action figure. It's getting harder with each
film to divorce the movie persona from the sofa-vaulting loon..."

1 comment:

Uncle Momo said...

I miss my banana phone!