Mr Creosote rides again

For foodies, a quick run-down of eateries so far…

Crown Candy Kitchen is a candy store cum soda fountain cum diner which opened in 1913 and which hasn’t changed dramatically since. There are only a few booths, more like tiny wooden cubicles, and if there are more than four of you, you might as well head elsewhere. Likewise if you don’t like queuing for a table you might as well head elsewhere. The extraordinary thing about this is that Crown Candy is in a pretty desolate corner of town, north of Downtown. Millions of dollars have just been spent by the city in at attempt to rejuvenate the area and nearby there are lots of old stores that have been spiffily renovated but which currently stand empty, waiting to be occupied by boutiques and art galleries. Personally I wish they were becoming shops that actually serve the immediate neighbourhood, like bakeries and butchers, but that doesn’t seem likely.

Le Flaneur Genevois

I have been in Geneva a week now and I think I have the measure of the place. Let’s skip quickly over the excruciating prices and the rash of impossibly chic designer shops that make me want to raise the barricades and start a revolution. Oh, I’m not that radical but the vile smugness of them drives me mad. And where do their employees get off on looking so snooty and disdainful? Don’t you dare try and sneer at me! You work in a bloody shop for God’s sake!

Last suppers

I’m into my last performances Billy Budd now which also means I’m on the Last Week Diet. This is not some special nutritional programme structured around a regimen of vitamins and protein with the aim of building up strength to get over the final hurdle. Psssh. Are you kidding? No, the Last Week Diet is one designed solely around the aim of finishing up all the bits and bobs of food that you’ve stocked up over the last two months so that you don’t leave a stack of uneaten stuff that is either going to be thrown away, or more likely, squirrelled away by your landlord who, to be frank, has already taken what feels like more than his fair share of your hard-earned lucre.

From one cheese nation to another

Between my last two performances of Billy Budd I made a flying visit to Geneva to spend a couple of days with my wife Lucy. She’s rehearsing “Punch and Judy” at the opera, a show which opens at the start of April. It had been three weeks since our last rendezvous and it will be another two before I return there for a week or so when the Britten is done here in Amsterdam. Sorry if you’ve heard all that before but if nothing it serves to remind everyone of the strange way in which opera singers (especially those married to other opera singers) have to conduct their marriages. Our rule of thumb is never to spend more than five weeks apart, even if it’s only a two day catch-up between two chunks of five weeks. I don’t know what we’d do without video calling.