Man Love

So there I was, stark bollock naked, on a pier, punching my best friend in the face.


It’s tempting to stop writing now and just leave that hanging. I wonder what kind of comments I would get. You don’t need the details, we were students. There were some japes and hi-jinks and we punched each other in the face, quite hard. With no clothes on. On a pier. In the middle of the night. That is all.

And we were reminiscing about this last night so I thought that I would share.

And this morning he asked me to be Godfather to his son. And I nearly burst with happiness.

So, Benny boy, I love you man and Tom and Dave and Joe and Nick and Nick and Pete and the other men in my life. I love you guys. And some of them are going to find that really uncomfortable. Which pleases me.

Last night Dave and I went to The Dukes Head, on the river, in Putney to wait for Ben who was photographing a wedding next door. Take a minute now to go and have a look at his website- it’s my only link- on the right. Do come back though. Dum di dum. Done? Its good isn’t it. Although he’s not thirty, like it says in the profile, he is thirty four. And the years have not been kind. But he is a brilliant photographer and communicator – get him for your wedding. Or event, or whatever.

Anyway he turned up at ten with eight thousand pounds worth of camera equipment and went straight to the bar. And then spent ten minutes be-moaning London beer prices and plastic pint glasses. And then, presumably in protest, drank six of them very quickly and made me order for him and pay for, a large meat feast pizza which he ate in my living room whilst telling me a stupid story about growing a chilli plant in his green house that turned out to be a sycamore tree.

Or some such nonsense. And that three hour period, with Dave and Ben was the most fun I have had for months. Just sitting outside a pub, mocking the young-uns and their fancy clothes, moaning about flat beer and the price of a pint and fitting like a pair of comfy old trainers. That you once punched in the face. Naked.

Dave was present at the naked pier fight, but he was running away from a bloke who was not only wearing clothes, but also a swastika tattoo on his neck. It was that kind of night. How we laughed.

And here are some food facts about my friends. For of course, this is a food blog.

The three of us, and Tom once built a fire on the banks of a loch in Scotland. We cast our flies in the balmy evening sun, drinking beers and talking about girls. And we pulled out brown trout, flapping and glistening in the dying rays. I gutted and scaled them and stuffed them with handfuls of wild garlic leaves and chives that were growing nearby. And you can keep your El Bulli, your French Laundry or your Fat Duck because that trout, stiff with rigor mortis and cooked on our fire was the best thing I have ever eaten.

I was once cooking some chilli in our Earls Court ‘batchelor pad’ and Joe came and asked for a taste. I had anticipated this and had secretly loaded up a spoon with neat ‘insanity sauce’. Joe head-butted the wall and I think that I actually nearly killed him.

Nicks favourite food is cabbage and bisto. He once said that eating was boring and if he could take a pill in the morning instead of eating, he would. Stupid Greek.

Dave and I have done two ten bird roasts together. Fnaar fnaar. He is also my sous chef of choice. Sorry Tom.

The other Nick ate some pea and ham soup that I had made and projectile vomited immediately. I have never lived it down.

Tom actually enjoys a ‘Harvester’ And also lied about the providence of a spag bol, brought from home when we were at Uni. He said that he had cooked it. Ben noticed the hexagonal-cut carrots and smelt a rat. Thanks Jane.

And we’ve all been through a lot over the years. At least two of us have very nearly died, we have had family traumas, friends who died far too young and funerals. We have dealt with pain, depression and hurt. But my life is immeasurably richer, inherently more colourful, fun and absurd because of my man friends. And there is nothing that I wouldn’t do for them or indeed now, for my two bloody brilliant Godsons.

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