Food + Stuff

On Twitter the other day, a colleague mentioned he was “Too embarrassed to eat alone in a pub at 4.30pm (I’m hungry and it feels late!), so I’ve just ordered a steak with mushroom sauce to be delivered.” He works shift-hours, so having dinner at 4.30pm is not unusual.

I replied “Since WFH, I’ve been going to my local pub for lunch on Thursdays. I’ve made my way through the menu a few times, and have the occasional “sneaky”. I’m totally on speaking terms with the staff, and no one looks sideways. As Cher one said, “Sooner or later, we all eat/sleep alone…”

Hopefully it gave him some comfort that it’s okay to eat alone. I do it all the time, and though it also worried me in the past, I no longer have those feelings of insecurity.

“The other night”, I told him “there were half a dozen people sitting in my local take-away waiting for our meals. We were all middle-aged (to slightly older) gay men, bald and wearing glasses, staring at our phones. That was the only time I’ve felt slightly sad about being single, and slightly sad about eating alone.

Noodle Star on Crown Street, Surry Hills

The other food-related thing I forgot to mention in my last blog post was that, having seen the play “Stop Girl” , a friend and I called in to our local pub for their Sunday Roast special. In NSW right now, we have a state government-sponsored voucher system to encourage people to eat out again, and to attend cultural events. As each of us had 2 x $25 vouchers, we decided to use them for our meals. We were pleased to discover the pub was matching them, so in effect, we also received a two-for-one-offer!

The only other time I ate out this week was a mid-afternoon craving for cake and coffee. Though I usually only have one coffee each day, I decided to enjoy a mid-afternoon break at nearby Kürtősh.

Aside from those brief moments, it’s been a fairly regular kind of week for me. Early morning starts, working from home (except for Wednesdays), and nights at home listening to music, watching television, and reading.

The most interesting thing I watched during the week was a Swedish film called, “Ted”. I saw it at the cinema a few years ago, and was pleased to see it pop up on the streaming service, Binge. The film is loosely based on the life of pop singer, Ted Gärdestad. His life story was very much associated with ABBA and the film features actors playing Stig (their managers), as well as Bjorn, Benny, Agnetha and Frida, as B&B produced his early songs, A&F sang on backing vocals, and Stig signed him, and directed his career. It’s a remarkable story, and great to see Stig featured so prominently as his manager, and of course, to have B&B produce his albums, and A&F sing backgrond vocals. And there’s a big plotline twist when he was due to accompany ABBA on the 1977 tour of Australia. It starts off as a fairly conventional bio-pic, but then goes into some deeper territory, as does Ted’s life.

The only other bit of excitement in my life this week came on Friday night. Just as I was preparing to head to Bears Night at Kinsela’s I got a phone call from a colleague who works in the ABC’s News department. “We understand Prince Philip has died, and they’re likely to announce it in the next half an hour”, she told me. A few seconds later, I received a text message from another colleague saying as much. Suddenly, I was back into “work mode”.

One of my roles at work is to co-ordinate and direct “breaking news” coverage for the local ABC Radio network (not TV). Not so much the day to day stuff anymore, but “big events” like Prime Ministerial changes, deaths of world leaders etc.

Of course we’ve been preparing for the death of Prince Philip for a number of years, with biographies and archival material ready, as well as a group of expert commentators on standby. (All media organisations probably/should have one for the Queen also!!) It was reasonably easy to enact the plan via emails, text messages, phones calls and a couple of meetings. The only thing that needed a slight readjustment was for the timing of the announcement (daylight saving changes), and the fact it was a Friday night!! Friday night!!! Bummer.

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