Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Tapas in Sydney

Overpriced and crap.

Is there a Tapas place that actually embodies the spirit of what tapas actually is ie cheap finger food while you drink and chat?
I don't think so. For some reason everyone thinks tapas should be overpriced and an all hoitytoity playground for self-conciously dressed people to dick swing.

Last night I went to Subsolo at 161 King St, Sydney.
$30 each got four people:
A beef skewer with 5bits. Not top grade beef. Some marinade.
A chicken skewer of 6 bits. This was quite nice.
Two very small slices of french stick.
A small bowl of salad leaves presumably so we could put meat bits on-a-bed-of salad. Also included was one half artichoke and ONE green olive.
Good sized platter of indifferent paela including 4mussels and about six prawns.
Bowl of green beans with onion.
Bowl of potatas bravas (chopped baked potato with a chili tomato sauce).

What a bunch of cheap-skates. The cheapest vegetables in the world, and not even lots of them (to paraphrase a Woody Allen joke).

As bowls were being cleared we started asking if the main was coming.
No, that was not the entree. It was the whole meal.

What sort of a tapas place does not have:
a) bowls of a variety of olives
b) bread and oil to dip it in
c) chorizo
d) mushrooms for anybody but particularly when we requested vego options.
d) something fancy that makes you go "ooh! Haven't had that before"?

I'll tell you what sort of place: a shit one.

Don't go.

Hopefully the new winebar licenses will see real tapas come to Sydney instead of this overpriced crap. It's meant to be seasonal peasant/fisherman's food you bunch of pretentious dickheads!
if you don't have salt and pepper whitebait (the fish is $6 a kilo) when it's in season then you deserve to be firebombed.

Unimpressed, Marrackville.

Monday, June 23, 2008

An Instant Adventure!!

I am going to a restaurant called 'Subsolo' on King St in the city.
They have a 'find us' function where you type in your address and they give you directions.
I typed in 'central station' and got this

Which takes me from a town in West Virginia, USA to the restaurant in Sydney, Australia.

The best bit? Direction 25. "Kayak across the Pacific Ocean. Entering Australia (New South Wales). 7906mi."

What an excellent adventure to be had!

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Canadia Pictorial the Last

Quebec City

The old town of Quebec City is simply beautiful.

Unfortunately there is no high fiving on the funicular.

No high fives left.

But there is a place to be yourself.

...and to be yourself by yourself.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

A model for 50% of us

I am a scrotum model.
Yes, the job does exist but not many people do it. Only a handful, really.

Actually for a couple of months last year I was a cook, barman, driver and scrotum model - which is a lot of balls to keep in the air - but, I just want to tell you about the last position that I held.

ASMI (Australian School of Medical Imaging) is a school for training sonographers ie ultrasound technicians.
Some people can't put a price on dignity, but I reckon $40 an hour covers it, so I decided to put my balls on the line for the good of humanity.
And it's not every day that someone offers you a way to do good by getting your happy sack depicted chiaroscurally.

In a Gilbert and Sullivan way I am the hairy model of some modern major genitals.

They like me because I have an interesting scrotum. I would hate to have a boring scrotum: it would make conversation difficult, particularly at the myriad award ceremonies I attend.

A: So, what's your scrotum like?
H: Um, normal?
A: Oh. Mine's very interesting.
H: Show off!

I have a scrotal pearl and varicose veins. The varicose veins are a congenital condition. A condition of which I am inordinately proud because of the pun.
A scrotal pearl is a calcium deposit that usually arises from contact sports, and appears as a bright white object on the screen hence the name.

This is now my fourth tour so I know how it works and I read a book, vague out or snooze.
The first time I showed up the guy explained that I would be in a cubicle with one demonstrator and one student, but first he wanted to use me in a demo for THE ENTIRE CLASS. I must have turned white because he hastily assured me that there would be a screen.

It didn't take me long to get used to it. I feel asleep on the table on the second day. If they are good students you really can't feel anything but the contentment of contributing to a job well done. The only trouble with falling asleep is coming to with a start which alarms the students. "I'm very sorry, Mr Harry!' is the usual response.

And, yes, I was worried about inappropriate movment but I found the whole experience completely asexual. So non-sexual that I even started testing my control. I ran some surefire scenarios in my head and didn't get even a twitch.

Last week the attractive female student with the particularly nice hair commented that I had brought a book.
I explained that I read Jane Austin in June and Dostoevsky in January, and that modelling was more appropriate for Dostoevsky because, though there are many balls in Austen's books, none of them are slimy*. And it had occured to me that since I was reading the classics there was an obvious author to read: Balzac!

I suggested if people didn't get my literary references then it was a case of me casting scrotal pearls before swine.

I was just flirting. I was hardly in a great position to ask her out - not that I was trying - but how (ahem) ballsy would it be to try it on?!

Harry: Nice hair.
Student: Nice balls. Let's make love for hours.

But if you really want to see balls then check out Stephen Colbert at the 2006 White House Press Club Dinner. Sir, me and mine salute your great big brass ones!

*Also: There is no postscript scene where Darcy's shag-slick balls are cooling in the breeze while Elizabeth gasps "I thought your fortune was your only thing that was the third largest in England!!"

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A model for us all

I picked up 'The Mammoth book of Wild Journeys' which is a collection of travel writing excerpts from the early 20th century to the present.
Each of the 40 writers has a mini bio at the start.
The best bio is this one:

"Lieutenant-Colonel Percy Fawcett DSO was born in England in 1867 and led several expeditions to the Amazon and Mato Grosso. In 1925 he disappeared without trace in the Brazilian jungle whilst searching for a lost city. With Fawcett perished his son Jack, and their friend raleigh Rimmell."

AWESOME!!! And, need I say it, Whizzo!

The worst writer I found was this guy:

"The travel writer Shiva Naipaul died in 1985, aged forty. His books include 'Fireflies', 'the Chip-chip Gatherers' and 'Beyond the Dragon's Mouth'. An annual prize in his memory is awarded by the 'Spectator'."

Yeah, well I'm thinking this prize is awarded to the most ignorant and stupid travel writer of the year.
This guy (who is a proffessional free-lance travel writer) was sent to write about Morroco.
He writes "Nor, perhaps, would I have gone if I had known it was the holy month of Ramadan and been forewarned of the privations and dangers to which I would be exposed to..."

Well, with that level of research perhaps the Shiva Naipaul Memorial Award is for the travel writer most like Matthew Reilly!