I read an article recently in the Economist stating that the good people of Luxembourg glug more than 15.5 litres of alcohol per person in a year, more than any other country on earth. Quite an astonishing fact given the enormous popularity of binge-drinking in this country, indeed the current Mrs. G and I often wander down to our local town centre of a Saturday evening to indulge in a little of it ourselves. Mrs. G and I find the antics of the gangs of short-skirted, white stiletto wearing trollops particularly amusing. A little hesitant at first we were soon ‘necking back’ the sweet sherry like there was no tomorrow. Indeed the hangover Mrs. G and I experienced the following morning as we awoke in the next door neighbours hedge plastered in our own vomit made us wish that there had been no tomorrow. Mrs. G looked a frightful mess, her hair and make-up reminiscent of Robert Smith (lead singer of post-punk band The Cure), mind you I was hardly in any position to point the finger as I myself had managed to quite literally have been dragged backwards through several hedges and had lost one shoe and both socks at some point during the evenings revelry.

But I digress, back to our wayward European chums the Luxembourgers. Not even a real country Mrs. G has just informed me but a Grand Duchy. “The worlds only sovereign Grand Duchy it has the highest GDP (Gross Domestic Product) per capita on earth” she said looking sternly over the top rim of her spectacles. So who came second in the poll of the inebriated; Ireland of course, but that was only to be expected. Britain, we managed a measly 10th and the United States with all her industrial and economic might could only manage a pathetic 40th place. Mrs. G and I will at least be able to take some comfort from the fact that if the ‘Armageddon Button’ is ever pressed it will be pressed by a sober idiot rather than a drunken one. Didn’t Luxembourg declare war on America once and actually win? I can just imagine the entire population of Luxembourg staggering home after yet another drunken night out and invading France to buy up all the kebabs.

Luxembourg’s motto is “Mir wëlle bleiwe wat mir sinn” which translates as “We wish to remain what we are” (pissed I assume).


I was talking with a friend the other day about cockney rhyming slang and that got me to thinking about Mockneys (a portmanteau of mock and cockney) and the fact that Cockney terms and phrases have over the last few years gained a new lease of life or at least “hipness” following the release of a number of Brit flicks, such as Filthy Beast, Lock Stock & 2 Smoking Barrels, etc. The director of the latter, Mr. Guy Madonna, is probably one of the most famous mockneys of them all. One of the others is of course Nigel Kennedy. Someone who on the face of it had a fairly privileged upbringing in Brighton and studied at the Yehudi Menuhin School, under Yehudi Menuhin himself no less. He at least has had the decency to relocate himself to obscurity in Poland; a county, so backward that it has yet to invent money. Nigel, it should be noted, did for a while prefer to be addressed simply as Kennedy. That for me puts him in the same group of self obsessed pretentious celebs as Cher and the artist formally known as Prince; an individual so devoid of talent that I would only pay him a visit if he held a free concert next door in order to ask him to keep the noise down.

Never one to miss the opportunity to pour vitriol on the Oliver boy I was going to add him to my list of Mockneys. But Jamie Oliver, whose dumbed-down mockneyed accent clashes violently with the cut-glass Home Counties diction of both his parents, is in fact something even worse. He is not even a mockney but a Faux Essex-Boy. He might be a real diamond geezer to some but to me he will always be a right Ravi (as in Ravi Shanka)

In the words of Mr Kennedy, sorry Kennedy, “Monster!”

I read a line in an article by Tom Parker Bowles today that had me sitting with my head held in my hands in sheer disbelief.  Tom said, and I quote

Posh restaurants match each course of your meal to a glass of wine.  Why should your barbecue be any different? 

Well Tom let me explain. For a start, the last time I was at the ‘Ivy’ I don’t remember the sommelier saying

May I recommend the pint of larger with the wild Scottish halibut poached with hollandaise?

There is a reason for that. It’s simple really, a barbecue, why people insist on writing BBQ I’ll never know, is not and has never been about fine dining. A barbecue is about standing around an open fire eating meat and drinking beer. (Glass of white wine or fruit based cocktail for the ladies, beer for the men). It’s not about delicately flavoured appetizers and courses. I’m not saying that it’s about food which is at the same time burnt and raw, something that only a man could actually achieve and worse still be amazingly proud of. It’s about meat; burgers, ribs, sausages, steak. Only Australians are stupid enough to put fish, or worse still, shellfish on barbecues. People from Mediterranean countries also tend to try to cook non-meat things on barbecues but they don’t really know any better and so can be forgiven for that. Please don’t make the barbecue into an outdoor dinner party.

I once went to a barbecue where the food was cooked in an old Silver Cross Pram (a pram is a baby carriage for any North Americans out there) and the salad dished up in a plastic washing up bowl. Strangely enough I wasn’t offered a choice of wine with my meal. Actually I wasn’t even offered a knife and fork. Perfect!