Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Fromage Sabotage

It was not my intention when knowing I would be spending four days in the South of France to make it part of my trip that I attempt to eat all of the food, but it appears things have gone that way. Lunch in a fish restaurant with Glenn, Carol and Noel, meant that while they hunkered down on small sea based lifeforms, me as the single, oft frowned upon by the Gaelic, vegetarian had the option of spaghetti with vegetables or.....no wait, that was it. So with such a range of choice I went for the pasta dish, not realising it would be presented to me in the pan it was made in, a pan so large I could have worn it as body armour, and filled to the brim with grub. They do not skimp on the serving sizes here and Noel's pot of mussels reminded us all of the children's story about the bowl of porridge that always refills itself. We had fears Noel would still be there in years to come tucking away at the same dish being forced to stay by our waiter until he was done. We sat outside in the Old Town square as if to pretend the tiny amount of sunshine that's around today is in anyway warming, and we were regularly serenaded by the sounds of a pneumatic drill nearby, a large truck, several motorbikes and a man with a hose who kept waving the jet stream of cold water dangerously close to us. With the serene surroundings I managed to make it through two thirds of my grub and now, consequently, am already reconsidering my earlier plans of heading to Antibes early by train, and instead just getting back into bed and letting things digest.

Its the second time I've made such a mistake in two days. Yesterday I ordered a baked camembert and was handed what was nothing less than an entire wheel of cheese. Its the sort of meal that anywhere else in the world would be considered gluttonous. If I, upon my return to the UK, melt a whole cheddar cheese and eat it with a spoon, there would be several looks of dismay as I shoveled lactose based fat into my gob. Not that I'd be stupid enough to eat it in a public place of course, but that's not the point. All I'm saying is that in France they can stick several cloves of garlic in it and some rosemary and suddenly its a culinary delight. Don't get me wrong, I very much enjoyed it but its after effect on my mental and physical state was devastating. I'm not sure how much cheese one man should consume in one day but I'm fairly sure I was close to reaching levels where someone at the pentagon would have to raise Defcon 5 for. There was much discussion between Glenn and Carol as to how dangerous any burps I may expel would be, as well as what colours and whether or not it would have all the Beatles singing 'Yellow Submarine' in it as it left me. I harbored fears that I would be handing the microphone over to Noel or Glenn during the show and they would be instantly poisoned by my breathy residue and I'd be responsible for their deaths on the Med.

I wandered around Nice post meal in a heady over cheesed state feeling drunk on fromage and took pictures of nothing of any tourist value but instead purely odd things. I present to you the weird things too much cheese made me find funny:

ItS A MaN WiTh A BiRd On HiS HeAd Up A pOlE!

BeWaRe ThE oPeRA pLAgE! OPERa Is SpREAdinG EvEryWhEre!



Just because they are gassy doesn't mean they should be named and shamed.

Then before the gig in Cannes we were fed pizza, which had, yes, more cheese on it. I was starting to worry that I'd begin pissing cheese strings. That in the middle of my gig my arteries would just wave a small white flag and I'd ruin the night by actually dying on stage. I shouldn't have worried because that probably would have got a better response than anything I had done in front of the biggest crowd of stuck up arseholes I've ever performed to. The basic description of a Cannes resident is someone who absorbs all of the Daily Mail through their veins, complaining about immigrants while they themselves sit on their yachts on the shores of a country they are invading with their wealthy money grabbing paws. With a few exceptions they were a judgmental and overly tough crowd that we fought our way through, myself and Noel just putting our heads down, and getting off stage as quickly as possible. Glenn however had a heckler and in the most legendary way, took this ignorant heckle from an upper class American girl who called him ignorant, to spew forth his awesome material on the evil bankers and how rich fucks have ruined the world. They hated it. But we all sat in our 'backstage area' (it was right by the main stage, only with a thin curtain over it) and applauded. I was envious of his ability to just tell them how it is. When he finally left the stage we all hid until every last one of them had gone and we escaped in the car all the way back to Nice. If it wasn't for the giant muriel of Gary Coleman, drawn as a mistake when someone asked for a painting of Gary Oldman, then Cannes would have nothing to ever make me want to return. The Coleman pic is amazing though and fueled many discussions about the possibilities of Gary Oldman playing Gary Coleman in a biopic of his life. Think about it. Go on.

Tonight should be different. Apparently the gig in Antibes is meant to be great and I really am going to aim to get there early. I haven't been to Antibes since 2001 when I travelled there with my friends Luke and Paul when we backpacked around Europe. We were booted out of our youth hostel almost instantly on arrival as someone had been accused of stealing and so all we made to leave for lack of finding a culprit. With no other hostel nearby and no planned train journeys till the next day, we sat in a cafe and grumbled about possibly having to sleep on the beach. Hopefully they'll remember me. Now all I need is for this pasta to just die down a bit, and then we'll get moving. Maybe I'll lie down to help it. In bed. Just for a while......zzzzzzz

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