Peroni’s Il Porco, Saatchi Gallery, Christmas Blues and the art of the first message

5 Dec


EAT: I went to Bunga Bunga this week for Peroni’s Il Porco event. Yes, Il Porco. As in a helluva lot of meat.

Peroni have a private room upstairs in Bunga Bunga and they decked it out (above) and invited people along to try some infusions (cocktails with Peroni in) and delicious food. It really was delish.


First up, the cocktails. This one was a Limoncello Peroni and it was gorgeous. I usually stick to cider, but the sweet and bitter lemon just worked really well together. Plus, like all of the cocktails served up (there was also one which tasted kind of like a herby sausage [in a nice way]) and a strawberry liquor one).

So, food. To start we had Peroni, obvs, and olives, rosemary and caramalised focaccia and salami. As Peroni is an Italian beer it’s all Italian themed – the food and infusions are all inspired by Italian life and cooking. They were all yummy. But then came the pork.

Sticky ribs, pulled pork, pork and apple sausages wrapped in pancetta, pig fat roasted potato, garlic and rosemary pork medallions and pig cheek arancini (yes, this sounds gross but they were actually my favourite thing)! They came with spiced ketchup, apple cider sauce, BBQ sauce and it all, honestly, tasted incredible. It’s a LOT of meat but I properly went to town. Well cooked, perfectly paired with Peroni and the Italian approach to the meat ensured it was a little different than you’d usually get. It’s especially impressive as Bunga Bunga are well known for their pizzas and they totally knocked it out of the park with this!

To finish: bacon brownies with maple ice cream. THE BROWNIES WERE AMAZING. Chewy and moist and lovely and slightly salty, didn’t taste of bacon, didn’t matter because they were so good.

#TheHouseofPeroni nailed it. Yum times a plenty. And Peroni are thinking of making these kinds of events open to the public in 2016, so keep your eyes on the Peroni UK website for more info.

SEE: I live about 15 minutes from the Saatchi Gallery so I don’t know why I don’t go there way more often. I went last week (so the exhibitions below are all still running) and it’s totally free. So you have no excuse not to go as the exhibitions are all really good.

This blog post will get REALLY long if I go into too much detail as I have about a million photos I want to share. So, I’m going to do a couple of lines about the different exhibitions and let the images speak for themselves.


UK/RAINE: UK/raine is the first ever open competition for all emerging artists from the UK and Ukraine who are between the ages of 18-35. Artists entered their work via the Saatchi Gallery’s website into one of five categories: installation, new media (including video and photography), painting, sculpture and street art. My favourite pieces were the video installation (of people’s bodies projected onto clothing), the hand-cut MDF painting and the super cool lit-up installation.

CHAMPAGNE LIFE: To mark the Saatchi Gallery’s thirtieth birthday, it will present its first exhibition of all-female artists, but without making a feminist point. My fave piece was the lion man by Stephanie Quayle (take a wild guess why) – it’s really striking when you see it. And IT’S A LION MAN. A MAN. WITH A LION’S HEAD. It’s basically my (non-bestial, promise) dream.

There’s also an amazing photography exhibition. “For the first time, the work of all six laureates of the Carmignac photojournalism Award will be presented in a retrospective exhibition. This exhibition will show a selection of 40 photographs from the reports of Newsha Tavakolian (Iran), Davide Monteleone (Chechnya), Robin Hammond (Zimbabwe), Massimo Berruti (Pashtunistan), Kai Wiedenhöfer (Gaza) and Christophe Gin (Lawless zones in France – Guiana). ”

I learned a hell of a lot from this exhibition – each photoset is hung alongside the inspiration for the piece, the political history and the current state of the area. Go, it’s well worthwhile. Go see ALL of the exhibitions, honestly, you could spend hours and hours in there… as I actually did.

Finally, Jamie Hewlett’s The Suggestionists (above and below). There are three rooms and my favourite was the tarot card artwork. It’s most like his previous work and each card is paired with a description. Incredible graphics – I urge the Saatchi gallery to sell these as actual tarot cards!

LISTEN: Up until Christmas I’ll be posting my favourite Christmas songs. I love the blue-sy, soulful likes of Dean Martin and Frank Sinatra, but they take Christmas to a whole other level.

So, excuse the depressing title, but here’s The Christmas Blues.

LOVE:  Most of the messages sent on dating websites these days are along the lines of “Hi”, or “Wanna fuck?” I genuinely think the internet is the downfall of relationships and human interaction. However, from time to time, I get an amazing message from a guy. The message below is essentially a short story – well written, creative and completely personalised to me. He read my profile, picked up on the main things I like people to pick up on about me (colourful clothes, love of lions, taste in music etc).

Unfortunately after chatting with him for a few days it turned out he was quiiite closed minded (he asked me directly about my thoughts on kids, I said I didn’t want any and then he said: “So what are you gonna do with your whole life?” As if the concept of having a positive, fulfilled, interesting life can’t exist without kids, jeez).

Anyway. We never went on a date but the following message got my attention. He’s a good storyteller, so he’ll at least be able to share that with his precious kids when he’s older 😉

Once upon a time there was a princess who had a colourful wardrobe. Its fame had spread far and wide, across the widest seas and the driest deserts. Princes and noblemen travelled from distant lands to gaze upon its wondrous, riotous cacophony of dyes and inks …. and to see for themselves if the girl who owned it truly was as awesome as the stories of the wandering bards had foretold.

For visiting the wardrobe was for many merely an excuse, as the girl was not only rumoured to be beautiful and fun but also had many exotic and interesting hobbies … like quoting Mark Twain, a pastime that she frequently indulged in even when the listener was too gauche to appreciate it. Even those who just thought she was talking rubbish at them were flattered, as it was widely known that to be talked rubbish at by the princess was a profound compliment, not given lightly to just anyone who turned up.

The greatest and rarest honour of all was to be invited into the princess’s Colour Palace, and all who visited her were desperately curious to see inside. For it was impossible to hear the stories of her wardrobe, her eating, her debating, her adventuring and not least her melodious singing without also hearing about the peculiar and deeply mysterious painting hanging in her private chambers. Little was known of it, beyond the fact that to gaze upon it inflamed the thirst for understanding in even the most artistically incurious of men.

Sneaking away to see it was a difficult task for even the bravest visitor to the palace, as her chamber was guarded by a great lion which she had tamed and named Kanye, apparently named that to make the lion seem more scary. This, too, was considered deeply mysterious. And if that were not enough, some said that the lion had been given magical powers by a terrifying witch.

One day, a stable boy was listening to a bard recount tales of the pretty green-eyed, flame-haired adventurer princess who lived in the far away land of Lon’Don. The boy had finished his work for the day and was bone tired, but even so, he was held rapt by the yarning of the bard.

What could the painting be of, the boy wondered? He felt a rising tide of curiosity engulf him. And not only, he admitted privately to himself, curiosity about the lion the witch and the wardrobe. He was also curious to see if the princess was still single, and if she was of marriageable age and sentiment.  So that night after the lights had gone out he packed a sandwich in a small bag, tied it to the end of a stick, and went into the forest. There he jumped on the back of a wild bear and rode it to Lon’Don, because the boy was extremely manly and riding bears was a totally normal thing for him to do.

On arriving at the gates of the palace he tolled the giant doorbell that hung above the entrance. “Whaaaa?”, cried the princess. “It’s 11:30am on a Saturday, you woke me up!! I’m naked!” The boy immediately felt flush with shame. He opened his mouth to speak, and then remembered the words of a wise man: “It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt.”. But then he remembered another saying from the same wise man, “Always do right. This will gratify some people and astonish the rest.” …. and he felt his courage return.

He recalled a third quote from the wise man (was he called Train? Twain? He couldn’t remember), gathered his breath and shouted back, “Clothes make the man! Naked people have little or no influence on society!” The princess recognised the quote immediately and despite her left-leaning tendencies, decided to ignore the fact that she was just referred to as a man. After all, a fellow quoter of Twain was surely worth a few minutes of her time. The gates of the palace swung open, colourfully.

“My lady”, the boy said, blushing furiously as the princess’s enormous green eyes cast a spell on him …. “m m m my lady, I have heard the stories of your amazing and deeply mysterious painting. Pray tell, what must I do for you, in order to learn its secrets?”

“Ah,” said the princess with a knowing smile, “to gaze upon my painting you must complete a Mind Bending Challenge™. You must best me in a game of Scrabble!” Although naught but a simple stable boy he agreed immediately, as he had learned many rare and exotic words in the many evenings he had spent listening to the bard back home. They sat down at the board together. The princess played “dog”. This, the boy realised, would not be quite as hard as he had expected. The boy pondered his letters. They danced before his eyes, like in that movie about the schizophrenic mathematician.

He saw his chance: “schaDenfreude”

The princess gasped. “Quoth, I do believe that word is Germanic in origin!”. “Yes,” said the boy, “I have spent many years living in a remote land where the natives speak something that vaguely resembles German”. “What does it mean?”, asked the princess. “Well … it sort of means the act of taking pleasure from the misfortune of others, but that’s a very rough approximation. You have to be a German to really get it. It’s untranslatable really.” Her eyes lit up and became even bigger than before, something the boy had thought impossible. “An untranslatable word!!!” she exclaimed, her joy radiating across the room. “That’s amazing! I love untranslatable words!”.

Suddenly a flicker of hope entered the boys heart …. would the princess seriously consider him as her husband? A humble stable hand who didn’t even live in the great city? (yet) “Come quickly. You have bested me in the best way possible, so now I will show you the painting”. He followed her up the winding and dusty steps, to the highest tower in the palace. The lion growled loudly. But the Princess knew the right words to make the lion quiet down. In her flute-like voice she said “Yo, imma let you finish but Beyonce had one of the best videos of all time!”.

At the sound of her voice the lion mewed and settled back down on the stone. At last, the boy stood in front of the painting. He slowly raised his eyes from the floor and took in the image, from bottom to top. The painting was of a well dressed man with slicked back hair, smiling enigmatically, holding out both hands. In the background there was a door labelled “Number 10”. In his left hand there was a lemon. In his right, a grater. And on the lapel of his suit, a Conservative Party logo. The princess sighed. “It shouldn’t have worked, David and I”, she said wistfully …. “but it did.” The boy turned to her slowly and said, “That’s ridiculous. Forget the stupid painting and forget stupid Cameron. I’m way better than him, so let’s jump in the sack!” And they all lived happily ever after!


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