Friday, October 21, 2005

The Budding Restauranteur (originally published on Mondo Irlando, 3rd September 2005)

“Table for five!” is announced with boisterous, unrepentant demand to the girl at the desk. Or so I assume, for I am stuck behind a horde of American tourists and other stragglers, mounds of bodies all clambering in effort to reach that illustrious gateway that will hopefully lead to food and salvation.

Suddenly we are past the cast iron gates of dementia and through to paradise, or the Ramore Wine Bar in Portrush to be more precise. Turns out there is a free table, despite fleeting glances bringing back nothing but total and complete occupation on all sides and corners.

Ushered into a booth-type arrangement, we sit happily on comfy red cushioned seats. From vantage points present, plus a pleasingly strategically placed mirror setup right to my very front, I notice a number of attractive ladies, some even wearing cowboy hats and flat caps, the style only worn by men of at least eighty. What is the world of fashion throwing up these days, what trends are being resurrected and twisted into mutant forms of hyperbolic coolness?

Who the fuck knows, I’m here for food not a rundown of the latest news straight from the Milan/Paris hotline.

So food. Biological necessity. Nutritional consumption. What a dynamic and inventive species we are that we can transform even the most mundane existing requirements into something else. Protein intake – social occasion. Living prerequisite – family outing. Yes I see now. But hey, why not? If it needs to be done, we might as well build up a social construct to encase it.

Is that Donald Sutherland!?! No, it’s not. Just an admirable bearded fellow.

Anyway, centuries of etiquette, and the walls are now high and comprehensively reinforced, with eating and socialising sitting atop having a good chinwag over a game of dominos.

But enough of that, food is being forced upon the table at an alarming rate. Some foreign lady is jabbering out syllables I don’t, or cannot, recognise. Garlic fries ya say? Over there somewhere, far over there, north of salt and pepper hill please.

Ever notice when you’re minding your own business, eating away contently, you look up at a table compatriot and they are staring right at you, and of course on noticing your acknowledgement of this fact they subtly look away? How long have they been looking? What are they thinking? This guy would be better off in a trough of some sort? Ketchup on the forehead? Looking for tips, maybe they never mastered forks 101?

Speaker systems rumbling out numbers read by what I assume to be the ringmaster of this circus. Following from said messages people formerly stood at the bar disappear into the wilderness. I can only assume these to be coded messages of cultish propaganda that utilise the latest mind control technology to target specific individuals. Chances are these people will later be found working in an underground cave assembling a giant whisk.

And these toilets! Since when were toilets built like miniature nightclubs? The dark blue lighting in here is intense, I feel my t-shirt disintegrating as I use the facilities. Must leave here quickly whilst I still have skin. Some guy comes in through the door just as I’m leaving. What did he say as we passed? A murmur or gurgle was emitted, I think. Sounded like, “phenomenological ontology is overrated.” Either that or “Alright, boss?”

Over near the front desk people are still bounding over long since dead cadavers only to glimpse at the fortunes to come. Men with machetes arrive topside from deep trenches and stand guard either side of the ringmaster. They are informed of a table whose residents, a wholesome-looking family, have overstayed their welcome, and with scornful hatred in their eyes they make their move. Some tables are toppled, and girls with blonde highlighted hair are shunted into nearby desert and condiment displays.

The father, on seeing the approaching onslaught, raises and attempts to morph into an anime-esque robotic overlord. But before he has completed the ritualistic chant the men are there and the father and subsequent family are relegated to tattered limbs and fleshy lumps of crimson. God, it’s a shame I’m halfway out the door by this time, those guys looked as if they were just warming up and my misanthropic sensibilities have been on the rise of late.

So that’s the Ramore Wine Bar. Organisation of power and domination, cult of epic fashion juggernauts, propagators of neo-utensilisation, and rampaging zeitgeist of modern thought. Oh, and the chilli chicken is recommended.


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