This, right now, feels like something of a stand-off. The blogging equivalent of an awkward silence. Things being what they are I’ve had little to contribute of late and viewing figures reveal tellingly and quite understandably that the world has gradually ceased to give a monkey’s. I get the message. The notion of me sat, smugly laughing at my own jokes is only likely to keep anyone interested for a time. The thing is, I’m not quite ready to turn this in yet – not least because I’ve the square-root of fuck-all else to do – and so, not having two halfpennies to rub together for a trip to the pub, I’m going to talk to you about a review I read in The Daily Telegraph recently that’s been haunting my dreams ever since.
This article is rose-tinted bollocks, composed very deliberately to echo the style adopted by food writers looking to evoke the sounds and smells of the kitchen by using words like ‘unctuous’ and ‘fleshy’, and going wildly off-piste around the idea of a blackberry crumble. Whilst it’ll no doubt blow the socks off of the sort of people who revel in getting all wrapped up in hats and gloves for bonfire night, regardless of whether or not it’s cold enough to warrant it, this sort of shit is becoming so cliché it actually makes me more inclined to sick-up whatever it is they’re throwing together, rather than to ‘gulp it down with a dollop of creamy Cornish vanilla’.
Let’s pick it apart. “This solid country inn”, the author says, ” is still a place where locals gather at the bar for an ale…and put the world to right”‘. Oh, how very f*cking twee. A stronghold of unbreakable community spirit to which know-alls of all shapes and sizes flock to get pissed and air unfounded opinions made up very largely of political pork scratchings and loudly bigoted bullcrap. To laugh at their own jokes and talk spitefully about “someone or other in nearby Kington”. ”There’s no piped music – hallelujah”, our expert observes, “just the hum of conversation and the odd “ooh” and “aah” as people get stuck into their lunch”. Oh, leave it out, you complete and utter Wendy.
“Hobsons Best Bitter” he enthuses, ” comes from neighbouring Shropshire and for my money is exemplary, its crisp, biscuity malt character balanced by citrus notes, and a dry and bittersweet finish”. I’m sorry, Adrian, in the cakey midst of all the over-egged, patronage pudding there you’ve lost me. Just so you know, though, ”for my money” anyone who embellishes a beer’s characteristics to that degree without a hint of irony is a sitting duck for some biting ridicule and, at worst, a very rough shoeing. For Christ’s sake just tell us what it is, what kind of condition it’s in and then sit down and drink it. Don’t, whatever you do, let anyone hear you talk like that in less gentile surroundings than these. And if the best you can gauge in relation to a local cider is that it’s “powerful stuff”, you want to apply yourself seriously to developing your own invective.
The appraisal of the food is equally fudgy. After an “agonising” toss-up between Pigeon and Seabass he testifies, having opted for fish, to being “rewarded (no less) with juicy goujons that go a dream with the chunky, tangy tartare sauce”, and how his boy is “awestruck” by what he had. Take him out more, I say; the lad clearly needs his horizons broadening if he’s still banging on about rare beef sandwich “a few weeks later”. That said, if it means going to dinner with you I’d worry that his freedom to grow as a consumer might be hampered by you stroking your own thigh and muttering under your breath with every ingested morsel.
All of which means, I’m sure you’ve gathered, that given this piece is geared toward endorsing The Stagg‘s impressive credentials, I’d nonetheless need an angle from someone other than this nonce before taking the time to pay it a visit. Well, if it wasn’t for the fact that it’s in Titley I would (hee-hee). His is insipid and unoriginal reporting, man, and it bothers me immensely that just because he has two surnames he gets paid by a broadsheet to dine out handsomely and then feed back derivative cobblers.