Thursday, December 10, 2009

Baywatch and stadium bands 29/06/09

Last night I was annoyed to discover mio marito had asked the aiuto cuoco to make the chocolate mousse with a huge carton of ready made mixture ‘specially prepared for restaurants’, he pointed out. It tasted completely artificial. The fact that we make our own desserts is important to me. Most restaurants in Sicily get supplies from their preferred pasticceria, as the quality is good, but you only get the standard classic desserts such as tiramisu, panacotta and cassata, and they are usually very sugary. I went to check the rooms to find the waiters hadn’t cleaned the tables and chairs properly and the floor filthy … and the band tuning up at a massive volume. They played the week before at a surreal volume and had only pretended to turn the volume down when I asked them to (because the waiters couldn’t hear the orders and I couldn’t hear what people were saying to me at the till). Unfortunately mio marito asked them back because they brought a good crowd. I asked them to go easy. But it depends on what the crowd want, said the bass player who seems a nice guy. I pointed out that the crowd will dance if the music is good, it doesn’t have to be stadium volume. I turned to see il barman, discreet as always, fixing glasses, but I could tell from the stiffness in his back and the way he making himself busy that he was listening carefully.

However, the band played really loud anyway. The singer is in love with her own voice; she was hollering into the microphone - the whole building was reverberating, including my head. Heideehiedeeheideehoooo etc., like a karaoke. Depressing to have this tack in our place. Mio marito delighted because it makes us money. He got affronted last week when I raised my eyebrows in horror at the thought of them coming back this week.

Later he asked il cameriere how things were going and he said badly and muttered something about me not having set places for a table whose orders I had taken. So he arrived with the food and the place was not set. Oops, I must remember to do that. But I thought it pathetic that he moaned to mio marito rather than say it to me directly. Mio marito thinks he was too afraid. Sure - the feisty foreigner, the bad tempered wife … who knows what they say …

The bar next door to us has a regular posse they call upon to make it look like their bar is busy. They literally send text messages down to their regulars to invite them up when business is slow. The locals probably love the personal touch. One of these fixtures is a DJ, and transvestite, a fan of crimson lipstick and turquoise suits for the summer. S/he came to dine on our first night and didn’t enjoy the fish couscous and, we suspect, has been badmouthing us since, judging from the disdainful looks thrown in our direction most nights. S/he sits like queen bee on the terrace outside the bar next door mouthing evil gossip in lipsticked words. Our dj has cancelled tomorrow night because it is the drag queen’s dj night, and he is afraid of upsetting him/her!
I am quite happy though, as I don’t like the crowd the dj brings here. We need to get the balance right; I want people to come for the quality of the food and the good music.

Today we went to the beach. It is so much hassle having to put on the cream and get all hot, especially if you go near the old tuna factory where it is a fashion parade. We just don’t conceive of the beach in that way, while here it is like going to a club. All the bronzed men (sunbed preparation) and waxed chests with hairy legs .. the tight bright technicoloured speedos and chains and beads, the supercool expensive glasses and designer beachwear. It is all so laughable but I have no one to laugh with. At the beach bar the poolguard cruised slowly past me, sliding his flipflops nonchalantly, giving a little twist to his taut cheeks. The music was pumping house from the massive speakers (house is considered the most progressive, advanced kind of music that has reached this town) and the posers were all lined up on their beach loungers surveying the scene. The manager from the bar next to us was there with his posse, of course. Girls in oversized hats (which they mustn’t use much judging by how brown their faces were) and skimpy bikinis displaying the toned bodies they worked hard all winter for. Some redhead who made it her business from her sly smiles to make it known that she was an ex. Trying to recapture that complicity, from 20 years ago. She had a boring husband on his mobile phone, of course. It had the feel of a teenage disco, but the average age was late 30s. But there they were, like caricatures out of some cartoon, preening and pruning and parading themselves at the beach market. Worse than Baywatch. But so annoying to have to see the same people who were at the locale the night before with the music pumping, again first thing when you leave your house the next day. Too much.

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