Month: October 2011

The feast and the entertainment

I’m not a massive fan of the dinner show concept. Where, halfway through your feast, you’re left wondering if it’s impolite to continue eating while someone shimmies their hips around your table or hammers away at an out of tune piano.

Aside from a few very select forms of mid-meal amusement – such as the wedding speech, which is a delightful banquet ritual that should never be touched, except by a few preparatory visits to Toastmasters occasionally – I just don’t see the value in it. It doesn’t make the food taste better, or the wine sweeter. The only thing it does succeed in doing is putting the kibosh on the long-overdue catch-up you’d planned with your mates.

Last night I discovered another form of entertainment to add to my small list of acceptable dining amusements – the intriguing dinner host.

It was at an amazing Persian restaurant I went to with a group of girlfriends. It’s a modest nook of Persian delicacies with a small rug pinned on one wall, an ornate gilded mirror on the other and what looks like a Tourism Persia campaign playing on a loop on the TV in the corner.

Sitting casually at a table beneath the TV as we walked in was a lady who instantly stood out. Actually, it was her ensemble that stood out the most – a beige leopard-print fedora, wispy blue leopard print dress, studded beige leather jacket and towering high heels. Very few people in the world could make it work, but somehow she did.

As we entered, she turned around, blessed us all with a beautiful smile and encouragingly invited us to enter with her eyes before turning back to her dinner companion.

A little odd, I thought, that a fellow dinner guest would make such an effort, but, hey, when in Persia…

Thankfully, it wasn’t long before she revealed her true identity as the matriarch of the feast. While an older man, who looked to be her husband, worked away at the grill and a younger man tended politely to customers, she slowly made her way around each table, offering complimentary Persian Delight and pausing to chat as long as her customers would allow it.

There was no need to hurriedly drop your cutlery for a mid-performance applause, or become unexpectedly intrigued by the type of rice the chef used in a bid to avoid eye-contact with a comedian looking for their next victim of humiliation.

The most taxing part of this showdine was offering a well-deserved compliment to a most gracious host.

The wanderer in rush hour

In the city yesterday, buried amongst the freshly ironed shirts and hastily combed damp hairdo’s rushing to work, stood a man.

He couldn’t have been more obvious if he was riding through the CBD on a horse whilst dressed in a chicken suit. He moved at a glacial pace compared to the crowd around him, who was bouncing in every direction like pinballs.  In fact, when he reached the edge of the curb his dawdle became a standstill and his expression suggested he’d just realised the buses everyone was casually dodging could quite easily squash him. So he stopped and tried to suppress his confusion by taking in his surroundings.

I don’t think it took him long to spot what was out of the ordinary; his dishevelled hair, his rumpled shirt, his denim jeans – on a Thursday. He was in the city, on a weekday, with a hangover.

Worse still, all available escape routes were blocked by the determined march of people charging through town like ants to a picnic. They weren’t about to give way to him and they certainly weren’t going tolerate the time penalties he was incurring by his aimless wandering.

As I sat on the bus watching the man’s confusion intensify across the street, I couldn’t help but smile. The guy looked like he’d picked time to be on his team. It might’ve been because any sudden movements caused a bell to toll loudly in his head, but who cares what your motivation is if it makes you slow down and take in your surroundings. He wasn’t rushing anywhere and nothing and no one could make him go any faster.

I lost him in the crowd the second I got off the bus; the second I joined the pinballs bouncing around in a rush to get somewhere.