Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Hell is a place called Power Point

OK, rewind. It is a Friday and I am stuck at my desk and because I have decided last minute to take a week off, I have to tie things up. You know brief colleagues, clear email, tidy my pen holder, that kind of thing. It shouldn't have been any bother at all really. As I've mentioned before you could dress a chimp up in a shirt and tie and sit him at my desk. He'd do just fine in my absence. But there was also the small matter of sorting out a request from a client. Something that I had been putting off for days which was the task of touching up a power point presentation. Throughout the week, I would open the file and audibly groan whilst flicking through the slides, mainly because I had no remit and therefore no idea what to do with it. Mr T had simply plonked it on my lap and said "See what ye cun do w'this, wants tartin' up". So midday, I finally call the client to try and get some input and get told that because of branding that I can't change the format too much, the colours, the font, the images. Oh and the graphs should really be left alone. So feeling frustrated and just a tad impetuous, I ask "what exactly do you want us to do with it?"

"Well we thought you could jazz it up a little".

"Aha, yes of course jazz it up a little, why didn't you say! Well, what if I were to take a picture of my hairy bollocks, animate them and have them dance across the bottom of the screen at regular intervals? That would certainly liven up your AGM next week wouldn't it!"

I didn't say that of course but it would have been fun to hear their response. No I simply sighed and said that I would see what I could do and then naturally buried it in the vain hope that it would be picked up by someone else in the office whilst I was away. It was a Friday for gawds sake, I was about to go on holiday, I was finishing early for a change and I had to meet Euwen of A Rather Unusual Chinaman for WMPC.

This was going to be an interesting meet for the plain reason that Euwen (who will readily admit this) rarely cooks. If you have a look at his blog, it's obvious that he is a gourmand and eats out a fair bit, prompting some serious restaurant envy so I was quite pleased that I press ganged him into this little project and got him behind the stove for a change. I had originally planned another jaunt down Whitecross Street Market for lunch but the power point debacle held me back so it was decided that Euwen and I would meet at Moorgate when I finished at 2:30 and I would grab him a bottle of something for his efforts. As I walked down to meet him, I could feel an aching for a sunshine drink so I was mightily pleased that he had time to join me for a pint of the black stuff in The Globe. Which of course turned into two and could have carried on into three or four, had Mrs Food Urchin not rang and told me to get my drunken bum back home as my parents had popped by to visit. A shame really as we had a great chat that afternoon, shooting the breeze, talking mainly about food and our personal histories, I could have quite happily carried on. And I have to say that I am starting to find the social aspect of WMPC just as gratifying as scoffing the grub I receive. I found an interesting quote the other day by James Beard and I have to admit that knowing nothing else about him but still he said that "food is our common ground, a universal experience". If I wanted to form a base for the idea behind this project, it would be just that. Bring a meal to the table and conversation will follow, and then friendship, marriage, kids, who knows! (Don't worry Euwen this is not a proposal, I am just trying to make a comment on the unifying nature of food, albeit in a very cack-handed manner).

So what did Euwen sweat and slave over and what was the verdict? And further more, will he ever get his sister to clean the kitchen? As I understand it, after some panic and deliberation, Euwen went for recreating his mum's Chicken Rice recipe which can be found here. He also threw in a spring roll for good measure and some sweeties purchased on a recent trip to the States. Euwen need not have worried as the rice was very good indeed, full of meaty, savoury goodness. I feel tempted to use the buzzword 'umami' here when describing the flavours but can only hear in my head, Vic Reeves' rendition of 'uvavu' bounce about so I won't. But still the rice was lovely and tender and extremely moreish. Euwen, your mother would be proud. The chicken drumstick did suffer slightly from a nuking in the microwave, still the spring roll though was pretty good, although I am unsure whether he made this or not. And then we come to the Yankee Doodle Dandy confection which consisted of Twizzlers, Jolly Rogers and Hershey Chocolate. I have to say that I am not used to American sweets but jesus, they were sweet! In fact, they were all a bit too much to be honest, I felt like I had to go to the bathroom after each one to scrub the coating from my teeth. And not to mention the fact that they sent me hyper, buzzing with the artificial flavours and sugar load. Seriously, you could go raving on these sweets. Euwen, does your mother know you eat this crap?

For this swap, I grabbed a bottle of Rioja from Marks and Sparks when we left the pub. Thank you Mr Teh, top stuff.

Mum's Chicken Rice

Hallucinogens disguised as sweeties

Going back to Romford shouting "Lager Lager Lager"


  1. :)

    I didn't technically make the spring roll, merely helped the old man.

    And my sister has cleaned the kitchen! Hence me actually cooking tonight....

  2. I knew you'd get the umami/uvavu comment in sometime - I now expect to see it slotted cunningly into all your posts.

  3. That last photo made me laugh out loud...

  4. Where can I buy tickets to that AGM? I'll even bring pop-corn to share with everyone else.