"Inspired by the book Egg, Bacon, Chips and Beans Urbis (www.urbis.org.uk) will be running a small exhibition about Manchester Greasy Spoons - if you have any comments about your favourite (or worst!) Manchester Greasy Spoons, get in touch with us - firstname.lastname@example.org"
Brilliant stuff. I've not done that many places in Manchester, not really had chance, so I'm looking forward to what they unearth. Remember, email them, don't comment here.
Mr Tim Wells emailed me yesterday to let me know that the book featured in his poem Number 2 Breakfast; all about Rossi's and regular customers Gilbert and George. He said it was OK to cut and paste the poem so here it is. I think it's fantastic, it makes me rather proud. And the YouTube clip above features him reading it, and other things.
Number 2 Breakfast
Gilbert and George are those loveable tosspots Who’ve made art of skinheads, shit, spunk and Put their bare bottoms onto stained glass, Oft times they dine in the same caff as me. I love a good caff. The whole history of our country is there; The Dark Ages of black pudding, Jam and toast’s Tudor robustness, The imperial glory of the fried egg, Industrial baked beans’ revolution, Tolpuddle Martyrs mushrooms, The humble banger … ‘this was their finest hour’, And the insipid gentrification of the vegetarian option. There’s an honesty to their platters. Even if the clock is slow – it’s telling the right time. This particular palace, Rossi’s Is featured on p112 of Russell M. Davies’ book Egg Bacon Chips & Beans The entry notes ‘the biggest sauce bottles you have ever seen’. Indeed it is a fine establishment. Wood, metal topped tables, cheeky waitresses All the necessaries. A decent breakfast serves not only body, But nourishes soul and feeds one’s character. On this particular day the cook had noted Posters papered opposite for the chap’s latest show ‘Was Jasus a Homosexualist?’ Not one to be outdone he prepares And personally serves two Steaming plates of the full Monty. Regular punters looked on astonished At this hand delivered special … The fried eggs arrayed as eyes, the beans as hair Black pudding nose and the sausages a beaming grin. With the plates laid in front of them The chaps look down, as deadpan as frying pan, And exchange plates. When George asks Gilbert to pass the brown sauce A hush falls.
I've met a bunch of journalists on doing the publicity rounds for the book and the blooker prize. But no-one who seemed to get things like Chris Vallance of BBC 5 Live. His obvious enthusiasm and smarts also got me looking at his podcast Pocket Planet Radio, which is well worth checking out.
He actually seemed to understand the idea that there's not some natural progression from blog to book, that one is not naturally of a higher order than the other. And that the two can feed off and reinforce each other. Obviously it's nice to have done a book, but if I'd had to choose, I think I'd choose blog over book.
Anyway, for the record, here's the interview he did with me for Pods and Blogs on 5 Live - lulublooker.mp3 4.6MB
There was a nice article about this and the book in today's Metro. So, as there might be some new visitors I thought I should point out that - if you want - you can listen to me read you the more interesting bits of the book. Rather ineptly and monotonously but hey, Julian Barnes won't do this for you. Go here to find the audio stuff.
Since the tshirts are sold out I thought we'd try some badges for Christmas. These are sweet little things, only sold as a full set, £3 for all four, anywhere in the world. (Please note that the actual badges are a little darker than this artwork makes them look, but they're lovely.)
I have a tendency to start things and not follow through. A good example is an idea I floated here - the Classic Cafe Preservation Society. A few good people joined in - notably Patrick Turland (not Turnbull as I called him in the book, how embarassing, what a fool I am), but I've been especially slack about it.
The idea that evolved from that was The London Cafe Society - a small group (who all lived in London, pretty much) who intended to publicise and support great cafes, initially with a little leaflet that we'd distribute in relevant places celebrating our choice of the Top Ten London Cafes. Copy was written, photos were taken but we never really managed to follow through on the thing. Mostly because I was full of big talk and then didn't make it happen.
Anyway, the current plan (at least from me and Patrick) is to transform that leaflet idea into a website, at least initially - and since the only way I know how to do that is a blog, it'll probably be a blog. And while I can probably set that up, I simply don't have the time to maintain it and develop it.
So this is partly by way of asking if anyone would like to help with that. Anyone? We'd start with the material we've already gathered and then move on from there.
I guess this is mostly a request for help and for ideas and discussion below.
Sorry to keep banging on about the book. More cafe entries will arrive shortly. But I just had to share my excitement about seeing actual copies of the actual book in an actual bookshop. Specifically Border's on the Charing Cross Road. And they're piled up with all the Christmas rubbish in a way that suggests it might actually sell. I hope so.
Anyway, I promise, that's the last book talk. (But don't forget there are still some t-shirts available.)
I tried to persuade the book publishers to let me release the whole book on here as a Creative Commons download. I've not convinced them yet. Though maybe I will soon. Meanwhile, since I can't do that, I've decided to take a leaf from Cory Doctorow's book and read it out for you. Well, not all the cafe entries, they'd be pretty meaningless without the pictures, but all the little essays in between.
You should be warned, I'm no Martin Jarvis, listening back I can't believe how flat I sound, and how much stumbling I did. And I was appalled by how many typos I found when reading it out. But I can't face reading it through again, so here it is. Part One, below is accompanied by the sounds of the Marketplace cafe.
Anne tells me I'm not making enough of the fact that the book's actually been published. So here's a picture of Pete Ashton reading it - and here's his review. He seems to like it. You can get it at Amazon - here. But ignore the blurb; because it's out of date. And I'm not the same Russell Davies who wrote all those other books.
But we've seen evidence of its existance in bookshops. And that's very exciting.
And here's a lovely review from the The Times. Very kind of them. With a bonus recipe for beans on toast.