You’ll never guess what I’ve been up to this morning. I’ve only gone and started applying for more restaurant reviewing positions. Yes, as my breakdown-inducing deadline for this current batch (130) lurches ever closer (Sunday) and with time at a premium, I decided this morning to take a few hours off (I can’t afford to take minutes off at the moment, let alone hours) and tout myself around as an up-and-coming critic. I should be fucking locked up.
I put my loopy behaviour down to the absence of my wife, who has flown off to Hong Kong. I tend to go a bit tonto when she’s away. Yesterday I went into a Turkish barbers and theatrically instructed them to shave off all my hair. No longer do I look like an ageing Italian footballer. No, now with my skinhead I look like an egg, and not a particularly good egg. But the oddball behaviour doesn’t end with getting misjudged haircuts, applying for jobs that give me breakdowns or living solely off pate on toast and hot Ribena. Whilst reviewing a restaurant earlier today in Canonbury, the chef suggested I come in for a meal with my ‘lovely lady’. “I’d love to,” I told him “but she’s away at the moment” – and then, inexplicably, I winked at him. I don’t really know why I did this. I think somewhere in my junk shop of a mind I was trying to convey that my wife was in prison. Again, I don’t really know why. But I don’t think he got it – I don’t blame him – I think he just thought I was on some kind of spurious gay cruise.
And so it goes on. This afternoon will see me trudging the mean streets of Crouch End – to mop up the few places I haven’t reviewed. I’ve been to Crouch End several times over the last few weeks, know which restaurants I need to visit and yet I always seem to go back there. I’ll always leave a few, reasoning that I’ll do them ‘some other time’. But why? Why not just do them while I’m there – when I’m there and can actually see them – rather than thinking ‘it’s okay, I can come back’? I live a couple of miles away from Crouch End and never (apart from reviewing) have a reason to go there, yet my notebook is full of stuff like: ‘Afternoon – Crouch End?’ Or “Crouch End again toady?’ I know that I’ll go there this afternoon and leave at least one restaurant to do in my fast running out time. It’s ridiculous. And, perhaps, fitting. In fact, ‘Crouch End Again?’ could well be my epitaph.