Sunday, 28 March 2010

Foods of the High Wall #2 The Donkey's Welt Tube

Not technically a "food" this one, mair o' an unwanted by-product. These things were forever turnin' up on yer plate back in the 70's.

Nowadays meat is quite sterile and quality control by the faceless supermarkets has meant that every bit o' meat ye buy fae them is roughly the same size, shape and weight. Folk are ower squeamish these days. Foot and mouth outbreaks, mad coo disease and the media frenzy that feeds off them have meant that if someone finds anything on their plate that is different, then they are right roond tae the supermarket kickin up a right stink.

Back in the day you used tae find aortas, bits o ventricle, ligaments, grizzle, string and awthing in yer dinner. "Just eat it" was the instructions from oor parents, "It'll no do ye any harm" or "it's just part o' the meat".

At school the auld dinner hall joke was that the big tube in yer stew was a urethra of equine origin, or a "donkeys welt tube" as we called it. If you bit into the donkeys welt tube and spat it oot you got the pish ripped oot o' you all day by yer mates. It was one of those daft slaggings like the haircut slagging but ye just had to take it. You knew that someone else would get one later in the week and you would be off the hook and would be right in there wi' aw the guid one liners.

Arkos was telling me the other day that he can trace the origins of his vegetarianism back to findin' a beauty o' a welt tube in a Frey Bentos pie. Big Jessie that he is, if ye ask me.

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Dunsapie Loch

The Trout season started this week and I'm definately going to try to get oot on the river more this year.

Cannae beat a wee bit o' fly fishing for the wild broon troot of an evening. Wading up tae yer baws in the Tay, takin' in aw the sights and sounds. The Wildlife disnae expect you to be their in the middle o' the river, so ye get a right good deek at kingfishers, otters, deer, herons, dippers ect to name a few. You often get low flyin' ducks headin' straight fur ye, zoomin' aboot 3 foot above the water at heid level. It's the look on their faces when they clock ye at the last second and bank hard tae avoid ye.

In the summer you get the Daubenton's Bats at dusk, flying aroond yer heid efter the insects, sometimes they will go efter yer fly, so you hae to be careful and look oot for the wee dudes.

Anyway back tae the High Wall. I mind one summer we aw got the fishin' bug and spent the entire holidays up at Dunsapie Loch fishing for perch. We used tae dig up worms fae the back green and head up first light wi oor wee spinnin' rods. I mind it was a cracker o' a summer tae and we would sit aboot watchin oor bubble floats and shootin' the breeze wi one another. Sharin' cheese & pickle pieces, crisps and bottles o' dilutin' juice. Fond, fond memories o' good friendships, and a time when we were laddies who didnae hae a care in the world.

Occassionally we would catch a fish, maistly wee yins. They all went back except for one time when Arkos and I caught a couple o' perch aboot the 1lb mark. We decided that we would eat them so we gave them a few dull yins to the heid and trotted aff hame wi oor prize.

My Maw cooked one o' them for us and I have tae say fair play tae her, she got us tae gut it and fillet it efter a fashion. She then showed us how tae fry it in butter wi a bit flour. We ate it and it wisnae that guid, stillwater fish like perch are earthy and fu o wee bones. Mind you we were so proud o' oor new hunter, gatherer status that we didnae complain. We did however elect to gie the other perch tae a neighbours cat.

When I go fishin' now I often let ma mind drift and I remember guid times and happy places. The Dunsapie summer will always be one of them.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Foods of the High Wall #1 Heinz Kidney Soup

My Maw was for ever feedin' us this pish. I had in fact blotted it out from my subconscious until a recent conversation wi thon bugger Arkos brought it aw back.

I then got to thinking that maybe it didnae exist after all. A mythical thing "like Unicorns or Eskimos" as Homer would say.

In fact it was hard to find any reference to the stuff even when ye Googled it. So I concluded that either A) it didnae exist, or B) an entire generation had chosen to wipe it from the collective psyche en masse. Bad food denial on a global scale.

But then I found this, proof indeed. Lurking just under the Heinz beans & baconburgers and there it is. Heinz Kidney Soup. This was on Flickr and was taken at a place called the Museum of Brands in Notting Hill. Good to see an auld tin o' West End Grill in there too.

Now what I recall aboot Kidney soup was that it was gritty in texture and tasted shite. Not only that ye but were never allowed tae leave the table until ye finished it, no matter how much ye gret.

This is the reason we care not to remember it in the same way that we might wax fondly aboot Bazooka Joes, Lucky tatties and Quiz bars.

This process is called "dissociative amnesia" and is commonly seen in trauma survivors. It is basically memory distortion to do with repetitive traumatic experiences. It is why major "one-off "traumatic events like a sair accident can often be recalled easily, whereas painful repetative experiences like sittin' at the tea table forcin' than pish doon as it went cauld, cannae. Yer dissociative defenses kick in big time and you blot it oot yer mind.

And that my friends is the psychology behind why we still fuckin' hate the very thought of Heinz Kidney Soup.

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Non Stop Erotic Cabaret

Havin' just been doon tae the auld toon for Jim's funeral thought I might do this piece.

Arkos and I got the train doon fae the relative tranquility of Highland Perthshire to the stomping grounds of our wild years.

After hookin' up wi Davy and sayin oor farewells tae the Fitsch we thought it only fitting that we head up to a few of the auld haunts.

Aw the pubs where Jim, Davy Arkos, Bobrob and masel used tae have some right laughs are aw changed. The Burke used to be guid place for a few pints and live music. We nivir got tired o' watchin thon lad Billy Jones beltin oot John Prine and Townes Van Zant numbers of a night.

The Garrick was another shop we frequented wi the guid pinball table and a Frogger machine.

Now baith these pubs also had lunchtime Go-Go dancers, but as laddies growing up aroond aboot that area, it wis nivir aw that big a deal tae us. Some auld growler girating tae a few tunes was just a laugh. Some of the bars had a wee stage, some just horsed a bit o' plywood over the pool table. Maist opted for the UV lights which covered a multitude o' sins. The same trick is still used in the lavvies at Perth Sheriff Court so as the heroin users cannae find a vein. Obviously works well wi the varicose kind too.

Tony's Cellar Bar at Bristo Square was the best venue for the UV seediness and also because one o the dancers had a snake. Now she wis nae Salma Hayek, but it was like an underage pint, a bit laugh and a trip tae the zoo aw rolled intae one. Not only that you had auld Tony on the microphone badgering ye tae buy mair drink in his droll Maltese accent. Barry times.

The Pubic Triangle is now a full-on, dedicated, stag party "Lap dancing" area, aw blacked oot windaes and no welcoming looking at all. Clearly no trying tae cater for workies having a pie & a pint on their lunch break or daft layaboot laddies just oot for a bit laugh o' an afternoon.

The Garrick and Jess's Bar are aw changed too. Baith souless places wi aboot 20 big tellys aw showing Bundesliga fitba, which no-one in the place even seemed to be bothered their erse lookin' up at.

Makes a man feel auld and mair than a bit sad.

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Jim Fisher R.I.P

Sad news indeed...

School mate, Yarrow camper, gig ligger, drinking buddy and urban adventurer extrordinaire..

Many crazy crazy nights and too many shared laughs to mention.

Rest in Peace the Fitsch, from the boys of the High Wall.