Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Dark Night of the Soul #2: My Birthday

I just had a birthday. Some people want a bike for their birthday, others a party dress or a My Little Pony. But my one wish, pure and simple, was to get through one day without being engaged in conversation about Romanian food. More a mission, really. And if you think this should be easy then you’ve never lived where I live. These are the diversionary tactics I tried:

(1) Talking about everybody’s 2nd favourite topic of conversation: members of their family.

(2) Wearing my full highland dress: a kind of “shock and awe” tactic.

(3) Pretending I was French, so I'd be expected to neither understand nor care - or, alternatively, so they’d talk about another nation’s cuisine... or food in general... or food as a metaphor for something else... anything, really.

(4) Getting drunk. (This, as usual, happened later after everybody else had left).

We'd invited many people to our house, good people, honest people, people I care about. But despite this I knew from the moment I woke up that I would fail. But this put no halter on my blind ambition, and I hereby bask in the glory of Heroic British Failuredom:

(1) “Hands off cocks on socks we’re charging the Russian guns! Yes, lovely boy, it’s called “The Valley Of Death”, you want me to draw you a map does you? Oh, I see you is crying: is it because I am standing on your hair?!” (etc)

(2) “Hey you, Oatsie Boy, pop outside there’s a good chap I think one of the sledge-marmosets has run orf. Don’t bother looking for your boots, I ate them last night with a rather nice Chianti that I bought with me.”

(3) “I, George Mallory, am going up Everest, but I'm not taking any oxygen with me ‘cos that’s for poofs, innit. Oh, and if see me fall over come up and turn me round so it looks like was coming down.”

(4) Across the Andes by Frog.

Heck, I was so bomb-happy at the end of the day that I took everybody out for dinner at a Romanian restaurant.


scarlet-blue said...


Did you get socks then?

Gorilla Bananas said...

Do you know why you talk about Romanian food? Because it is there. Do you have any unusual goat dishes?

Andy H said...

Happy birthday. I don't know why you don't want to talk about Romanian food. It's clearly the best in the world, and people who like spices of any description need to be looked at with great disapproval.

I once dared to suggest on my blog that it wasn't actually much to write home about, though a perfectly reasonable homely "cuisine", and got more comments than I ever had before or since.

No Good Boyo said...

La mulţi ani!

This fellow H, who I hope is related to H Out Of Steps, is right. I love Romanian food and want to talk about it endlessly.

Now that Wizzair flies direct to Cluj, you can expect the House of Boyo to trundle up sometime agog to gorge on papanaşi, mămăliga and afinată. So tough.

Your Oates joke reminds me of my long-lost favourite cartoon. There's a celebrated painting of Oates wandering out into the winderness alone - see copy here:


The cartoon shows the same, except Oates has a fiver in his hand. From the tent comes a speech bubble: "Oates said he heard an ice-cream van. I didn't hear anything."

Daphne Wayne-Bough said...

Happy birthday Gadj, and sorry about the footie result yesterday. I know support Cluj whenever I see them playing. Unless they're away to Charlton, obviously.

Pearl said...

1. Happy Birthday!
2. I don't think I've ever discussed, with anyone, Romanian food.
3. That may explain the constant void I feel...
4. Happy Birthday!

The Dotterel said...

Yeah, what Pearl said! Plus!

Kevin Musgrove said...

Happy thingy! I cope really, really badly with birthdays and envy anyone with a useful game plan like yourn.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Thanks everybody for your birthday wishes!

I did, Scarlet, and they've got the gurning face of Windsor Davies embroidered on them.

A very apposite comment, Bananaman, and just the kind of pig-headed non-logic that appeals to peasants and extreme-sports enthusiasts alike. Surprisingly few goats are used here, except in some morbid rituals.

Hurray, Andy, I feel like welcoming you as I would Moş Crăciun / Mikulás (a.k.a. "Santa")! Yes, you found out the hard way that people here are more interested in what's going on in the kitchen than in Darfur etc.

Mulţumesc, Boyo. Andy is "H" Out Of Steps, but makes a bit of money on the side as an English Education Enforcer. He's also A Published Author, so, respect. You guys are welcome to come to Cluj; now we've renovated this house you could probably stay in our basement for free if you time your visit well. When I got to the Scott of the Arse Antics (oh, no, that was Norman Scott) bit I realised that there are almost an infinity of Captain Oates jokes that can be made, and I'm still not sure I chose the best one.

Daph, CFR Cluj's daredevil dynamos of dialectical determinism may have lost but at least they stuck a goal past those coiffured capitalistic running-dog Chelsea scumbags. And we'll be back.

Thanks, Pearly. Don't you have Romanians in Minneapolis?? If you did you probably wouldn't notice though, as they be sticking together discussing endlessly how much better the salami tasted when Ceauşescu was in charge.

Thanks Dot!!

Kev, in your profession though you might at least be given an interesting book at your birthday party, which you could then procede to read thus shutting out the rest of the celebebrations.

Gyppo Byard said...

Happy Birthday and kushti bak, Gadjo bor.

It's not just Romania. Anywhere outside the Anglo-Saxon world food is a favourite topic of conversation. It says much about British and US cuisine that we don't talk about it. I'm much more comfortable discussing Asian food, because I work and socialise with so many Asians, and to them that's What You Talk About.

Mrs Pouncer said...

Happy birthday, darling Gadj. You'll never be as old as me, but then you'll never be as wise, as sophisticated, or pissed. I am fearsome busy at the moment, which is why I am less prolific than usual, but you are in the forefront of my thoughts. Well, almost. Battling for second place. Vodka and monoamine oxidase inhibitors win, as usual.

scarlet-blue said...

Keep off the cheese Mrs P.

M C Ward said...

I've just had a birthday too - 9th Decemeber.

Gadjo Dilo said...

Thanks Gyppo. I was fearing that this might be true, that all other normal peoples of the world discuss their grub constantly and so I am the odd one out. I've been giving Mrs Dilo a headache by stomping around shouting "why don't you people talk about something else"; I'll have to apolgise to her now.

Mrs Pouncer, dearest heart, I have missed you savagely! I am flattered to be so much in your mind, especialy as Vodka is such a worthy adversary. But you are "busy" - what are you doing, pet?

Cheese may be better than what she usually gets up to though, Scarley.

Hurray, MC, I hope that you celebrated it with a huge fejoada (can't be arsed to look up the spelling) and a blog entry where we can read all about it!

scarlet-blue said...

Google reader is telling me that there is a new Jukebox 4 here, from Russia... but it has mysteriously disappeared....

Gadjo Dilo said...

It's back up now, Scarley, complete with added parental guidence warning!