Posts from 20th February 2006

Feb 06

I Read You Coming

Do You SeePost a comment • 161 views

There are two really interesting things about Pavee Lackeen (The Traveller Girl) and neither of them really have that much to do with the director. Well okay, one does, since he chose the theme and actors. It is merely a thought: to what extent is Winnie actually a traveller girl? The problem is of course with the term, which conflates an identity with an action (similar to say being Jewish which can mixes up racial identity with religion unsatisfactorily). Perhaps in the past she would be called Romany or a Gypsy (no accident it starts with a wizened old palm reader) but it appears that the term preferred is traveller. But in their static caravans by the side of a road for ten years of so, Winnie has never travelled in her life. To what extent are other members of her extended family who live in houses in the suburbs of Dublin still travellers?

Of course the terms traveler has been chosen as descriptive of the key trait of these people. It does not retain any stain of ethnicity AND THEREFORE CAN BE EASILY BE REMOVED BY THE ARGUMENT ESSAYED ABOVE. Want to see how words have power: here is a perfect argument. What is more, the way Pavee Lackeen non-judgementally attempts (and fails) to show worth in this lifestyle must show how much on its last legs it is. The council, the government do their best to make it hard to live like this, but the final nail was in a friendly renaming (to prevent abuse).

The other interesting thing is the subtitles. There are moments when Rosie, Winnie’s Mum, slurs and stumbles her words. But not to the extent that the whole film need be subtitled. Actually it makes more sense to leave it slurred. I expected some slip into some arcane romanyesque language (as Pavee Lackeen the title suggests), but we get less than the average cockney rhyming slang in a similar Eastender. I imagine the subtitling is at the behest of a distributor, but it is the only Irish film I have seen with such titles, and yet again distances the audience from the travellers. It is needless, so I smell a political subtext.

Worst Bar Staff In London Award Nominees

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 460 views

Perhaps it is time for a name and shame award. Those lousy restaurants, ones which always seat you by the door, or most persistently underseason your food. In pubs, the most hotly contest category has to be the “worst staff award”. Previously reported holders of the 2005 award was The Golden Lion in Kings Cross. But now we have some new nominees for the 2006 award: The Albany.

I cannot comment on a fellow traveler who got so irritated that the staff were ignoring her that she started to fiddle with the taps (though an honesty self service tap story will follow). All I can report is my experience. A reasonable wait (five minutes) during which I saw the three staff constantly getting in each others way. Repeated my order twice (two pints of Staropramen, a half a Kriek, a red wine and a V&T). He starts with the star. It is coming out at the rate the Fleet river flowed in the Georgian era – and probably tastes as good as we are clearly at the bottom of the barrel. He twigs when the pint is half full and goes off to change the barrel. He then attempts to top up the half full pint with new, heady, spluttery beer. I correct him on this, and eventually the two pints are delivered.

He needs reminding of the order again, which I do so. The Kriek is served pretty well, with a massive head – though it is supposed to be like that. However they lack suitable glasses for a V&T and use a Hoegarden glass instead. Which would be acceptable if they gave me a bottle of tonic, but instead make the barman judgment on the pre-mix, which since the class is half a pint is considerably more tonic than the usual 100ml.

And finally to the red wine. Nice fancy on bar glass washer, good for Belgian beer, not so good for delicate wine glasses. When the wine comes to me I point out the glass is quite seriously chipped (probably be the glass washer). Barman apologises, and then tips the wine into another glass. As I point out, possibly with the broken glass in it. He huffs and gets me another glass. All the while, the lovely head on my Kriek has diminished to a pathetic blamanche.

Fifteen pound ballpark for the round to be expected, but I sympathise with the anger of the previous friend. Except I wouldn’t have just played with the taps. I would have forced my finger over the spigot to spray them with high pressure Kuipers Kolsch.