Just another Saturday

Saturday this weekend saw us through another one of Guido’s themed Spanish nights at The Spanish Onion café.  You should have come round to join us.  There was quite a crowd, but Guido would have still squeezed you in. 

This week Guido’s advertising agency (i.e. me) promoted it as an evening of – Squid and Siestas.  Guido sends his thanks to a sometime visitor and reader of mine who earlier this month posted a comment with the suggested title.  You know who you are – Willym.  Unfortunately that meant I had to draw on all of my artistic skills and produce a poster to publicise it.  That involved a big picture of a smiling octopus wearing a little sombrero.  Just the sort of thing you see every day walking around in places like the Costa Del Sol.  As the name suggests, you had to love squid.  Salt and Pepper deep fried calamari with a lemon mayo dip for starters.  Squid with spicy spaghetti for main, followed by individual pina colada ice cream cornets for dessert.  The musical trio, Los Chicos, made a welcome return visit and didn’t disappoint by playing Spanish guitar music loudly and banging heels with much frenzied enthusiasm.  If you closed your eyes and sipped some Rioja you could easily have believed you were holed up in some dim bodega in Benalmadena.  

Everything was going swimmingly until a couple of our regular customers, Mona with the Big Heart and Simon with the Long Face, decided to attempt their very own interpretation of a flamenco dance.  Mona doesn’t actually have an oversized heart but Simon really does have a long face. They are a match made in heaven I’d say. The whole café cheered them on avidly.  Everyone was clapping.  The only problem was, they decided to do their dance on top of one of the dining booth tables and after a bottle of wine, let’s just say their co-ordination wasn’t what it should be.  They made that scene from Dirty Dancing look positively frigid.  At one point I didn’t know where to look.  There also isn’t that much headroom above the tables in the booths so as they did a wild fandango the pair of them got well tangled up in the overhead lighting cables. Sparks truly flew.  It took an out of hours electrician about twenty minutes to unravel them and make the place safe. Everyone cheered again!

“Seriously, it’s moments like that I thank God Giles Coren has never bothered to visit to us to write a food review,” I said to Guido later in bed.  I was staring at our, still as of yet, unpainted bedroom ceiling. “Who knows what his pen would inflict.”

“Really?” Guido said, “Right now I can’t think of anyone else doing anything  quite like what we are doing in South London.  In fact I’m considering dumping Los Chicos and booking Mona and Simon next month instead.  I reckon they would be less than half the price but double the entertainment value.” 

Guido had a point.  As he keeps telling me, in the catering business you have to stay well ahead of the curve.      

Advertisements

The postman never rings twice

I have to tell you my life is full of wonderful surprises these days.  I never know when one might be around the corner, ready to pop up and catch me off guard just when I am least expecting it.  Take Mark, for example.  Mark popped up when I was least expecting him to and as surprises go he is pretty wonderful – to look at.  You see it turns out, Mark, that’s our new postman, is HOT.  Please note the capitalisation.  

“Why didn’t you tell me our postman was so HOT?” I said to Guido.  What was wrong with him?  Didn’t he know this was the most interesting thing to happen in our street since Ethel next door and her problem with the exploding hooch?  Had he just gone blind or something? He was certainly shaping up to be a big improvement on our last postman who had a worrying likeness to Hellboy.  “Let’s face it, with that body, why, we’re talking South London action city UK here.”

“He must be new I think.  I hadn’t really noticed him,” said Guido scrambling some eggs.  “But then, I suppose he isn’t really my type.”  He stopped stirring for a moment.  “As you know I am only attracted to men who are bitter and twisted.” 

“And he is so very FIT,” I said.  I was fanning my face with the envelope Mark had just personally handed me.  As you can tell he is utterly professional.  “I think it must be that heavy post bag with all of those letters in it.  I can imagine how that must make him very HOT and sweaty, what with that tight fitting uniform he wears.”     

“Yeah, you already said,” said Guido still scrambling and still stirring, “HOT, and FIT.” 

Well since that first encounter Mark and I have really it off.  Just to be friendly, when he was delivering the mail the next day,  I asked him what his name was and he said Mark.  “Oh, Mark?”  I said, ” Just like a Post Mark!  How very ironic – HA! HA! HA!”  Then I did that charming thing I do where I throw back my hands and laugh at the same time.  Mark laughed too but if I am completely honest it felt more like he was laughing at me rather than with me.  I’m also not sure he knows what irony is so it may have been lost on him.  I made a mental note to make our early morning brief encounters more fun in the future.  

Then the next day, as if things couldn’t get any more exciting in the Royal Mail stakes, it turned out that someone had sent Guido a leg of lamb by Recorded Delivery.  This meant somebody would have to sign for it.  Imagine my luck.  Guido was in the café kitchen wrestling with pancake batter so obviously I was happy to step in.  All I had to do was scribble my name, right?   Well it turns out Mark can be highly fastidious.  It ended up like a re-enactment of signing the Magna Carta.  He had one of those machines where you write your name but no matter how hard you try it still looks like a five year old has just used an etch-a-sketch.  He looked at my signature,  “Thanks a lot, Mr, er,” he squinted, “Mr Jalopy Pizza.”  

I do like to make a good impression.

Sex on a white sofa

When Guido and I were dating we’d take turns having sleepovers at each other’s homes.  I have to tell you, there wasn’t much sleeping going on. When I stayed at Guido’s he’d cook amazing Spanish meals to impress me and straight afterwards we’d get on his sofa and have the kind of sex which now gives me indigestion just thinking about it.   Unfortunately there was one tiny problem with reciprocal visiting arrangements.  It wasn’t the cooking.  I’d always get Chinese takeaway.  It wasn’t the sex.  I could have done it blindfolded, and on one occasion I’m pretty certain I did. No, the big elephant in the room was my sofa.  

I had a two-seat cotton covered white sofa. And when I say white, I mean pure white. It was perfect. It was pristine. If there was a speck of fluff on it I’d have to have oxygen just to recover from the trauma. It might as well have been in a museum with one of those electronic alarms around it where if you got too close to it with sticky fingers or black dye jeans it set a siren off and metal shutters collapsed from the ceiling to form a ring of steel. I even sat on a wool blanket to help protect it.  On occasion I was even known to stroke it.  When I finally moved in with Guido there was only enough room to bring two suitcases and a juicer with me so I gave my sofa to a friend with a brilliant white apartment in Islington.  Suddenly my life felt so empty.

Meanwhile back at the loft, Guido had a beaten-up torn leather three-seat chesterfield.  For years it has sat slap bang in the middle of the room like a sore thumb. It’s never needed any obvious protection.  Guido has always done this weird thing when he sits on it.  He positions his bottom between two cushions so it’s right on the crack. The result is that the edges of the cushions have slowly narrowed over the years to a shape not dissimilar to a wedge of cheese.  So if you sit down on it, it’s like sitting on an adverse camber. You sort of tilt. Which means if the two of us sit next to each other we have to try really hard to avoid banging our heads together.  Of course, back in the day we didn’t worry about that sort of thing because we didn’t sit on it that often.  We’d be laying down on it, either that or I was in some weird position on top of it and would have a blindfold on. 

Anyway to kick start our on-going loft revamp I suggested to Guido we ditch the chesterfield and invest in a three-seat white sofa.  I knew a guy who knew another guy who knew a contact at Furniture Village who was willing to do a nudge nudge wink wink zero percentage finance deal. 

“Could you live with that?” I said to Guido thinking about plastic protection covers and Scotch Guard. 

“But how will we have sex on it,” he said in all seriousness. 

“There’s only one thing for it,” I said, “you’ll have to learn to levitate above it.”

It does seem a very small price to pay. 

Another big debate

I hope your hearts don’t start sinking again when you read the line below.  It’s been a while since I last typed that particular sentence in a post so hopefully you’ll forgive me.  

Guido and I were in bed last night. 

I was staring intently at the bedroom ceiling.  Every so often I’d blink.  You will probably be relieved to hear that Guido was also staring at the bedroom ceiling.  On the hanky panky scale I’d say the dial was thankfully failing to register any flicker of activity whatsoever.  Phew.  This was good because we were supposed to be having a very serious debate about potential paint colours and I wanted nothing to get in the way or interfere.  For those of you who regularly read this blog and are familiar with an earlier debate Guido and I had in bed some time ago about pink suits, you may be thinking this was going to be a complete pushover.  Let’s just say I have been to Rome and seen the ceiling in the Sistine Chapel.

“I think I may have narrowed it down to five possible colour options,” I said.  Nothing gets me more invigorated than discussing paint.  Well, other than possibly Bear Grylls topless in a chilly Alaska.   

“Hit me with them,” said Guido propping up his pillow.  Let’s just say I was not sensing the love. 

“I want you to keep a totally open mind,” I said.  “Close your eyes.  I want you to think very carefully about the name of each paint colour as I say it.  I want you first to try to visualise what the colour might be like and let it wash over you and then tell me which you feel you identify with most.”  I cleared my throat.  Here goes nothing I thought.  “Likeable Sand, Frozen in Time, Grandma’s Sweater, Dream I Can Fly – and my own personal favourite, but I am not in any way attempting to influence you – Mermaid’s Nest.”  There was a moment of stunned silence. 

“Okay dokey,” said Guido.  He still had his eyes tightly closed, “they have washed over me and if I am being brutally frank I couldn’t visualise any of them. That is, with the exception the one called Grandma’s Sweater.” He opened his eyes and squinted at me.   “I saw a very old bow legged Spanish woman from Malaga wearing a mothball smelling black cardigan.  I don’t think either of us would like it on our bedroom ceiling though. Just saying.”  This was disappointing.  Brutal indeed. 

Right,” I said, visualisation was obviously not Guido’s thing.  This was tricky but not a major problem.  I had charts.  Remember, I am, after all, a professional.  I handed him the first chart randomly which had lots of little matt squares on it. Guido looked at them, then looked at the ceiling, then looked at the chart again. 

“Well I quite like Bagel.  Dinner Mint would do. Nacho is a possible, but if I were going to have to narrow it down to a final choice,”  he looked back at the ceiling, “I would say it would probably have to be – Mayonnaise.”

I suppose I should just be thankful there wasn’t one named Salami Slice.  

Hustle

Our old friends Gary and Ted came round again tonight.  It was their monthly pilgrimage to The Spanish Onion café to play poker with us.  As usual Gary and Ted ate our mixed nuts and drank our wine and then completely emptied our wallets of all of our cash.  It’s the sort of humiliating financial ritual we have come to expect and love them for.  They call it fun. We call it twilight robbery.  Guido and I are crap at playing cards.  I told him to wake up and smell his single origin coffee in the cold light of day.  Perhaps Gary and Ted weren’t the two closest and dearest friends we thought they were.  They could be a couple of despicable hustlers and we would be idiots not to try to set a trap to catch them in the act. 

“I do hate passengers who try to join the mile high club in the washroom during a flight on a turbo-prop,” said Gary shifting his cards around.  I had no idea if Gary had ever had sex himself in an aircraft toilet, but as he is a professional flight attendant who routinely lands in Manchester, let’s just say if anyone should know then he would. 

“Ah,” I said winking at Guido and tapping my cards, “the old distracting sex in the aircraft toilet ploy.” I sensed a hustle going down.  Ted took a card and threw one. 

“Oh please, let’s keep things simple,” said Ted, “my secretary at the bank once had hot sex in the cupboard in our office.  I’m pretty sure it must have been the size of an aircraft toilet in there.  The only problem was it had a window, so people could see into it from the building next door and she got filmed copulating with her legs in the air.  She made out with this big hairy Hispanic guy and it ended up going viral on XTube.” He squashed a stuffed pepper, “personally I’d have promoted her.”

“Okay,” I said smiling a rye smile, “Let’s just say I am recognising a theme here.”  I looked at the cards in my hand.  They were shit.  “You are using torrid sex as a subtle distraction to divert our attention and win the game.  XTube?  Really?” 

I sucked a salty olive.  I looked at Guido.  His eyes were glazed over in a crazy way.  I think he was already mentally taking part in an Xtube download.  Either that or he was thinking about us having sex on a turbo-prop or doing it in a cupboard.  As we were unlikely to have access to a turbo-prop aircraft any time soon I was guessing we were probably in his fantasy larder.  This would mean we’d be naked and be surrounded by tins of tomatoes, dried pasta and a couple of Iberian hams.  Suddenly losing the game didn’t seen that important any more.  In fact, the quicker we lost the better.  

“And there you go,” I said flipping my losing cards on the table and showing Guido’s too, “you win again, you guys.”  

We couldn’t get Gary and Ted out of the door quick enough. 

Cold feet

Guido has cold feet. No seriously, as they press up against me right now, I have to tell you he really does have cold feet.  They are like two blocks of ice which have just cracked spontaneously off one of the polar ice caps.  I realise there is probably an analogy you could read into this which has something to do with gay weddings and a guy suddenly getting cold feet.  I’m pretty sure they are not cold feet of a marital kind, simply because I remember they have always been stone cold ever since I’ve known him. Well let’s hope so, though you’ll have realised by now we still haven’t finalised a date otherwise I’d have blogged it.  I’m making a mental note as I type this. Here it is, and it’s desperate.  Get married as soon as possible and to hell with the rainbow coloured macaroon controversy.

With the feet thing what I’m talking about is definitely physical rather than metaphorical.  Unfortunately Guido’s are a titanic size twelve so you can’t really miss them when he gets into bed.  First of all you hear him coming. There’s a dull thud as he takes a run up to our mattress through the bedroom door. If you’ve ever seen an Olympic pole vaulter hit the deck after a back flip you’ll know what I am describing.  Then when he’s finally laying flat and both of his feet are sticking up, prone and erect, under the white sheets it’s like a couple of Casper the friendly ghosts making a ghoulish visitation.  You could just about believe two meerkats had hopped in there with him and keep bobbing up and down. Those feet take up so much room I can only imagine that’s what it must be like having a foursome in the sack – only in our case there is still a lot of pushing and shoving but no multiple orgasms.

And talking of feet and orgasms I have to report I’ve discovered that my, myhusband&i, blog now appears on the best gay male blog website and it’s right next to another one called FOOTAHOLIC. Readers, if Guido never makes it big as a chef I reckon he could be huge in porn.

Pool party

To the North London gallery on Monday where Elton’s swimming pool installation was being unveiled.  Boy, what a hoax that turned out to be. 

We arrived unfashionably late because Guido had a last minute crisis with exploding Monterey Jack on his panini grill.  Elton was far from the madding crowd, sensibly sitting outside with a journalist and smoking a cigarette.  There was a big poster above them with Elton’s smiling face on it.  As usual he appeared to be having the last laugh.  He called us both dudes and waved us enthusiastically inside the gallery with the end of his cigarette.  Guido went straight to the bar.  There’s nothing quite like a Monterey Jack crisis to work up a raging thirst.  Disappointingly he came back with two vodka shots and, even more disappointingly as I hadn’t eaten, hors d’oeurves the size of specks of dust.    

“The sundried tomato paste in this crostini makes it taste like chlorine,” he said.   Bearing in mind we were standing next to a swimming pool at the time, cross contamination was a particular worry.  

Just so you know the installation looked just like, well, a swimming pool.  There were two hot young guys in swimming briefs standing next to a diving board.   I wasn’t sure if they were part of the installation or not as they didn’t seem to be doing much other than looking cheesy and holding a beach ball each. They appeared to have just climbed out of an Abercrombie and Fitch commercial so, sorry to sound completely shallow, suddenly I felt the evening perk up a little.   

The guy standing next to me was dictating into his telephone.  I definitely think he was from The Guardian.  In all seriousness, it sounded something like this.

“Essentially I would describe the installation as a damning indictment of the kind of juxtapose we are all forced to face in our social and leisure activities, and how we see money as the ultimate driver to procure our pleasure.”  Let’s just say he didn’t look like he relished small talk.

As usual, Guido got lumbered with Elton’s agent Mikki who made a beeline for him as soon as he saw him.   This is not unusual.  He’s been sexually attracted to Guido for years in a – if only you’d dump Jean-Paul and sleep with me your life would be so much better – sort of a way.  He’s like a big slippery octopus with hands for suckers.  Thankfully getting hold of Guido proves logistically difficult for Mikki as he has an afro which has the circumference of your average fully extended golf umbrella.  This means that when he stands next to you, you have no option but to stay at least four feet away for fear of being consumed by his hair.  I could hear Guido saying what? and pardon? every time he moved ever closer with his tentacles. It was frightening to watch.  The nearer he got the nearer Guido edged to the poolside.  It was as if it was all happening in slow motion but no one could avert the inevitable.  Yes, Guido was going in.  Amazingly there was no terrifying splosh but Mikki’s tentacles had to mercifully recede all the same.

When Guido stepped into what we all thought was the deep end, the water only reached just over the top of his boots.   There was an audible gasp from the crowd.  Guido stood completely still for a moment in disbelief.  Everyone stared.  He appeared to be levitating.  It was a fantastic illusion and I still have no idea how Elton did it. Then, realising he wasn’t going to sink after all, Guido took a few tentative steps across the middle of the pool.  Who would have thought a simple chef from Southwark would turn out to be the next messiah?  I felt like somebody should be speed dialling the Vatican to whip up the bishops. The assembled Press took photographs for posterity.

“What you did tonight? Frankly I think Elton should give you a cut of the proceeds of any future sale,” I said to Guido in the taxi home.  “At the very least he could buy you new boots.”  

Watch this space.