Sat. May 28th, 2022


In fact, any dinner these days is a fantasy for me. I was pretty unhappy about the polite pissing competition that the average middle-class munch festival forms long before the pandemic, but over the past few years, the psychic equivalent of sticky tape with “POLICE CRIME SCENE” has stretched across this particular zone. of sociality. So it is with great pleasure that I retire into a purely fantastic one.

I chose to moan and grin at my guests in the Circular Hall at Lambeth Town Hall. Why? Because it’s local to me – I’ve lived in this area of ​​London for a quarter of a century this year – and its Edwardian elegance contrasts with the busy central Brixton street scene that can be seen from its eye windows. The Reliance Arcade and the entrance to Electric Avenue (more on that later) are both in sight while the Academy Music Room, where I saw one of my guests, Martina Topley-Bird, giving an extraordinary performance with Tricky in the late 1990s, is just a journey and a hup away.

Topley-Bird’s ethereal voice was the slumber that hovered over the rocky soundscape of the late ’90s, which was about the last time I really felt the pulse of the spirit of the times. It will be a pleasure to dine with this remarkable artist, who has had an equally brilliant solo career. I also invited Eddy Grant not only was he a groundbreaking black artist in 1960s Britain, but he also overthrew the tiny “Baby Come Back” (his first big hit) by that paean after all that anarchism – and the Brixton riots of 1981. in particular – “(We’re going down rock to) Electric Avenue”.

Of course, I’m interested to see how Margaret Thatcher, who I raised to be my sommelier for the evening, will react to Grant’s presence. But we will not find out much, because as my paid employee, I instructed her not to say anything to my guests except polite requests about what they would like to drink and tasting notes on the drinks.

Speaking of which, I’m not a big alcohol drinker myself, and have not been drinking socially for decades. However, I decided to make an exception for this party, as long as the alcohol was generously soaked in tetrahydrocannabinol, the psychoactive element in marijuana. A good way to pull it in is to get a bottle of over-the-top Jamaican rum and put in a handful of high-quality sinsemilla and then put it in the freezer for a month or so.

Thatcher can serve me and my guests with this, and also with other drinks favored by the African-Caribbean community within which I live, such as Dragon Stout and the extra strong Guinness brewed in Nigeria. But, sensitive to those who do not want to feast, I will also provide good quality ginger beer and Perrier (the only widely sold mineral water that is naturally carbonated and of course a great symbol of the excess of the Thatcher-bent 1980s).

Raising the dead is always problematic, but I have an idea the Scottish Enlightenment philosopher David Hume will handle the experience well, while his principled and strict skepticism (and legendary good humor) will make him a good foil for that termagant Times columnist and all-round moralizing busy man, Melanie Phillips. I once almost caused Phillips to burn himself when he was on Question time I suggested to her that since she believes that British Muslims should take an oath of loyalty to the British state, perhaps Jewish Britons should do the same.

Phillips is a great believer in an ethic rooted in tradition. Hume, that tradition is both personified and transcended; If they lock up antlers in the Circular Hall, they will have half-Jews (me) and other diverse companions to encourage them as they prepare the world. My chef, the late Keith Floyd, will no doubt join as well. I’m a recent convert to his cooking shows, having only watched them for the past year or so, but I like the way he breaks the fourth and glassy wall of the screen, engaging the people in all the remote places he visit in his cooking and above all cooks with a kind of intoxicated army demine that implicitly mocks the preciousness with which foodies approach their sacred nosh.

I’m not a big eater myself and, honestly, I find the whole-body fat packs disgusting in which most of my fellow middle-aged Brits drive themselves. So, I would ask Keith to provide my guests with a range of simple, low-calorie vegetarian dishes (I have not eaten meat for three years now), such as West Indian callaloo, vegetarian patties, rice and peas, and hard kos; along with South Asian staple foods like tarka daal and chana masala. As a nod to my own Ashkenazi legacy, I would also ask him to whip up some potato slats like mom always did. I think I will present one to Melanie in a patronizing way.

Finally, my fifth guest is that most enigmatic of fictional characters, the big cookie of (half-Jewish) Leopold Bloom in Joyce’s Ulysses, Molly Bloom. This year marks the 100th anniversary of his bursts on the western cultural expanse like some new star.

In the novel, we actually learn just about anything about her second-hand, as her complacent husband stays away from their home in Dublin so she can have a connection with that perfumed lothario Blazes Boylan. But at the very end of the novel, we are treated to her dormant soliloquy – a vast and exuberant wave of memory that engulfs her current imbroglios before we go back in time to her girlhood in Gibraltar, before settling down fantastically on Bray Head. Dublin Bay, where she praises the rhythms of her first orgasm with a series of triumphant affirmations. What better way to say, “Yes, yes, yes!” until 2022 than to house this remarkable woman?

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