Thursday, 4 August 2011


#30 Monty Python’s Flying Circus: Spam
The excitement of the Pythons’ playing around with form as well as content is perhaps lost on us forty years on but not the memory of my Granny’s spam fritters, chips and beans. Wonderful. None of your vegetable oil in her chip pan either. It took a good ten minutes to melt down and boil up the dripping then chips, eggs, all sorts would go in. She did die fairly young after several strokes and heart attacks though :(

#29 Carpenters: Jambalaya
The Cajun version of paella! I tried it when I was in the States and it was OK but, like paella, it made me long for a biryani or a good kedgeree instead. We went to our favourite restaurant, The Wolseley, for breakfast on our anniversary last year and I had an excellent kedgeree.

#28 Arlo Guthrie: Alice's Restaurant and
Part 2
The song’s narrative's well captured in Andrew Colunga’s cartoons.

#27 Food Glorious Food! from Lionel Bart’s ‘Oliver’
This is a depressing film that ruined a Boxing Day for me once, when dragged to the cinema to see it as a child. But there are more than a few fine tunes in it and this is a good one. Didn’t Mark Lester grow up to be an occupational therapist or the like, and also one of Michael Jackson’s best pals?

#26 Squeeze: Pulling Mussels from a Shell
I didn’t really eat any seafood until long after I’d grown up and left home. As I’ve grown older, I’ve grown to like it a lot. I think my late mother avoided it because we lived so far inland that we were lucky to get fish for tea every Wednesday off the travelling fish van. Also because, as we discovered to her chagrin on one visit to the theatre in Soho, my mum was allergic to some kinds of seafood. She certainly had a violent emetic reaction to scallops! Not me. I love them. Love squid and have had great octopus, even carpaccio of same, in various foreign parts. Prawns, razor clams, abalone, so many Frutti di Mare to try! Mussels I like, but only served as Moules Marinière or the like. Never yet tried a sea urchin though.

#25 Spike Jones: Yes, We Have No Bananas
Sheer, exhilarating, nonsensical anarchy. Loved lots of Jones’ stuff when I was a kid. I do like bananas though. Perhaps explains all the banana-themed tunes on this list.
One thing we saw while wandering around Iceland recently was the banana cultivation in glasshouses, heated geothermally. Iceland is a net exporter of bananas, one of the biggest, apparently.

#24 Dusty Springfield: Breakfast In Bed
Lorna Bennett later had a hit in the UK with her reggae version of this but this is the incomparable Dusty! One of the Greatest Albums of All Time too. Have never been a big fan of breakfasts in bed. Too much Crumb Danger. I would like to try it, like Barbara Cartland, with the finest crockery and silver on a big wooden breakfast tray with feet, and an ironed copy of The Times from 1930something. Full English, side dish of kedgeree, toast with marmalade, gallons of Choice Mysore coffee in a Bialletti stovetop pot with hot, frothy milk in a little white jug.

#23 Harry Belafonte: Banana Boat Song
I went on holiday to Greece with my sister and her family many years ago and woke everybody up in the middle of the night by singing this song loudly in my sleep. I had only recently seen the fun Tim Burton had with the song in Beetlejuice. My dad played us lots of Belafonte’s songs when we were kids and, as well as having a fine voice and a very pretty face, Belafonte fought hard for civil rights over his long career and was particularly critical of the last Bush.

#22 Toto Coelo: I Eat Cannibals
Silly 80s-tastic girl group that included Bob Holness’ daughter, Ros. For my thoughts on cannibalism, I refer you to my comments on #38 (aforementioned).

#21 Blondie: Eat To The Beat
One of the best live gigs I was ever at was watching Blondie support the Scissor Sisters (who were pretty bloody good themselves) at a Hogmanay gig below the castle in Edinburgh years ago. This one’s off the eponymous album, which also offered up Union City Blue, Dreaming and Atomic. Phew! Hard to beat. Haven’t tried to eat to a beat, ever. Maybe some classical Spanish guitar or some Portishead would be good for the digestion.

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