Sunday, April 22, 2012
Beauty & Union Jacks
Yesterday Dave and I went to see "Beauty" ("Skoonheid"), a South African film I just happened to read about in the Evening Standard. It's about a middle-aged, married Afrikaaner who grows infatuated with a young man, the son of his old army buddy -- and of course it's really about the tyranny of the closet. The main character leads a painful, repressed life of illicit sexual liaisons, and when he predictably soothes the pain with alcohol he grows violent. In the movie's saddest scene, he silently watches two young, comfortably gay men kiss in a restaurant, and you know he's meditating on his own life of missed opportunity. It's a good movie, despite its dark themes and somewhat ambiguous resolution.
Then we happened to stroll past Jamie Oliver's restaurant Union Jacks, which he opened with chef Chris Bianco. It's in the bottom of Central St. Giles, architect Renzo Piano's colorful complex of buildings off Charing Cross Road (I took the photo above in January, which is why the tree is so bare). We popped in and got a table, and had some excellent wood-fired pizzas (mine: the "red ox," with oxtail, red leicester cheese, watercress and shaved horseradish) and a couple of pints. I liked the motto printed on the coasters: "God Hates Flags."
Today my Peace Corps friend Pam arrives to stay for a few nights on her way back from Spain to the United States. So we'll be seeing the sights, I'm sure! Dave's planning to cook up a risotto for her tonight -- he's hoping he'll be able to find ramps, which we learned are known as "wild garlic" in England.