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Sober Life
by Sinclair Newton



Sober Life
No, I didn't have even the one on my birthday. I went with my Mum to this little Greek taverna and I was a bit unsure about the food, never mind the drink.

There was what was described as a Greek salad, which turned out to be a scrap or two of lettuce, some well-hidden tomato and a few rings of onion, topped with half a slice of fried-until-it's-rubbery halloumi cheese. I think that's what it was, because it could have been a portion from one of Gandhi's flip-flops.

Then I had some kleftiko, which is leg of lamb that's been stewed for a long time. It would have been fine, but for the Oxo gravy poured over some meat that I imagine had been kleftikoed a few days before and was then simply microwaved.

My Mum had an orange juice whilst I chain-drank coffee. She had some hummus, which sounds better than it was a dip made with pulses and tahini paste, which is extracted from sesame seeds and flavoured with garlic and lemon. It came with passable unleavened bread.

She also had a steak that was not very exciting with pallid chips. I wish we had been dining out in Ibiza where I have no doubt at all that a giant paella would have been more appropriate for a birthday of such sobriety. It could have had big chunks of rabbit in it, as well as great fish.

Later I went for another meal, this time with some friends who guzzled a bottle of Spanish sherry whilst I had two mugs of tea. One birthday to come no doubt I will not even think about the drink I didn't have.

Talking of portions and birthdays, I suppose I'm now into the third third of my life. What a long time that seems left to go. It's twenty years in a couple of weeks' time since I went with Gary, our Webmaster, to see Van Morrison at the Dominion Theatre in London and I'm going to see him again (Van Morrison) tomorrow night. Gary says he went to all the trouble of going to Majorca a couple of years ago and it wasn't worth the effort. He says he would rather listen to his timeless recordings.

I'm still excited though, what with Van the man and then Bob Dylan touring as well this year and he's past 60. I'm looking forward to both concerts immensely, even if their voices are not the same as they used to be. Neither is my drinking.

You'd forgive them if they wanted to slope off and retire quietly somewhere, but I guess the performing buzz never leaves you.

Sinclair Newton