Friday, September 01, 2006

Out for a Duck

The local shop keeper Mr Shah has been trying to get me to go to this bar with a heavy indian theme to it. Now for the people who know me I am reasonably far removed from indian culture and society with the irony that I am from indian origin. I have had comments such from foolish people saying "you're more white than asian". Bloody idiot. But then again this particular individual was a bit little mutton dressed up as lamb. I.e. a racist bigot who thought as long as he had an asian friend, he could say that he wasn't racist. How stupid is that. He'd say that he doesn't hate indians, just all other races. Idiot.

Anyway, back to the point of this article. So yesterday afternoon I went down to my local paper shop to buy a bus pass for the day to get a super duper filter for my tropical fish tank (it really is super duper!) and Mr Shah mentioned my missus, who unfortunately is now ex-missus (missus can also be a term for long term partner, not necessarily married for those who don't know the term), to which I replied that we were no longer an item. Seeing that I was in need of cheering up (which I wasn't actually, I was in a hurry to get the super duper filter) he mentioned this bar again. Now this bar is a four minute walk away from my house. A real local pub/bar. But as I mentioned before, I tend to shy away from indian cultural events if I can help it. However I'm always the optimist and will always give things another go, and I must admit I was feeling rather sorry for myself. So I agreed to meet him and his mates at an agreed time. I installed the filter and watched it filt with much glee. Certainly the Piranha were much happier. Time ticked away until the 8.15pm time we agreed arrived. So with leadened legs (I felt quite reluctant to go) and a choice between staying at home miserable and enjoying some unfamiliar company, I went. Nothing really suprised me to be honest. It was what I expected. Sitting with a bunch of people that I didn't know, and I'm the sort of person that can mingle quite easily, who I couldn't really converse with. It didn't help that they were all playing an indian version of trumps. So I glugged on my pint, made some small talk, listened to the live band. As I sat there in relative isolation I began to realise something about me. For example about fishkeeping. Piranha, especially Red Bellied Piranha are one of a few species that need to be kept in shoals for safety in numbers but also because it is there natural instinct to do so. In the same way that I too prefer the company of others rather than prolonged periods of solitude. Perhaps that'll change over time.

Later during the night as the possibility of conversation was getting more and more less likely I managed to end up having a game of pool with another strange group of people. Strange not in the weird sense but strangers. I'd consider myself a averagely good player and fancied my chances to whip ass. But how wrong I was. 3-0 down and two pints up, I got into my rythmn and came back to 3-3. He decided to call it a night. So I sat back down and pretty much well did nothing but drink. By this time I was starting to feel a little woosy. So to finish me off I took a vodkka and tonic before waving everyone fairwell and suggesting that I would turn up the following night. They probably shuddered at the thought as I exited the door. I walked home in my version of a straight line and rather than stop off for an unhealthy kebab, I thought I'd eat something at home.

Clearly having to much of the hooch damaged my sense of rational thinking as there was one food item that I was bannned from ever cooking. Not eating but cooking while my dear ex-beloved was with me. A certain indian delicacy by the name of Bombay Duck. Not a duck but a fish, living off the west coast of india usually along shipping lanes and docks feeding off all the crap put into the sea, rather like prawns. These are dried and cured in the hot baking heat of the indian sun and packed off to Blighty. Here until recently it was banned for apparently health reasons. No the actual truth behind it was of the side effects of frying/grilling it. The smell. What a smell!! It was all the rage in 70's Britain. Most Indian restaurants would do it much to the dismay of local residents. Don't get me wrong, it is an aquired taste and just like marmite, you either love it or hate it. I happen to love it. They sell Bombay Duck in limited quantities in this country again to the ban being lifted. I think a politician had something to do with. He'll get my vote next time (what even if he is a member of the BNP I hear you cry? Not likely eh!). I got my supply from Southampton about three years ago. My god you gasp, how on earth could it possibly be edible you might ask? Especially when you consider that it has remained this way for that long in but only a plastic bag. So with 2Dart's boozy wisdom, I put it under the grill, staggered to the toilet, made a mumbling call to the ex and then munched down the bombay duck.

Think of a moderately bad hangover and add the most pungent smell you can think of (if you have never smelt Bombay Duck being cooked) and you are in exactly the same position as I was this morning. To top it off, I seem to remember crunching away at it while wandering around in the bedroom! Whoah! The stench was unbelievable. So earlier this morning it was extreme incense burning with my favorite smell, Opium. Don't worry its not the real deal, its a bit like beef flavoured crisps, there's not really any beef in them.

Don't attempt to cook Bombay Duck when drunk, or at anytime, ever at home.

p.s. further research concludes that it was indeed a business man and not an MP who had the EU ban lifted on the import of the fish in question. Mr David Delany, I thank you.

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