A CAT DINNER IN EDINBURGH ?
A CAT DINNER IN EDINBURGH ?
In my foolish and hopeful youth I had great dreams and aspirations to be something like I am today.
To get as far down that road though, there would have to be many stops and starts at life’s weary watering holes amongst the brigands and thieves of our life’s fire and spirit.
I never knew anything about Reptilian subculture in those days though.
Certainly on my journey amongst so many detractors and saboteurs I have often found myself in sharp contrast to life’s many winners.
Before I could become a winner myself, I had to discover the secret of self-respect and recognise my own Christian journey.
My own ambitions were in the cultural vein having played Scottish fiddle in fiddle orchestras, ceilidh bands and international folk venues and had even written a few poems and theatre shows at the time.
It was an ambition of mine to flourish in Edinburgh.
Edinburgh, the Athens of the North, is graced as an academic and cultural city and with its famous and many arts festivals was a veritable melting pot and cauldron of many strange literary creatures who had travelled from afar to partake of its vibrant brew.
Even the Brahan Seer made a 17th Century prophesy; 'as Rome was, London is and Edinburgh shall be !!', so it seemed that this city had all the ingredients for a career in the Arts and Theatre.
Amongst the many great icons of the folk culture scene in Edinburgh was the late and great Hamish Henderson [1919-2002] who was a; poet, songwriter, socialist, humanist, soldier and intellectual – and responsible for many great works of art and poetry e.g, the song ‘Freedom Come all ye’ and who lived his words as seen in his many acts of heroism for Jewish families in Nazi Germany in world war 2.
I had never moved in those rather exclusive social circles and was somewhat of a social non starter in my early days.
It would have been impossible for me to get the kind of invites to the sort of parties staged by illuminated Edinburgh literati where I could have caught a glimpse of such a cultural icon, let alone have lunch somewhere near him.
He was a resident lecturer at the School of Scottish Studies attached to Edinburgh University until 1987 and a regular and towering sight in his tweed ensemble strolling amongst the trees of George Square and the older stone buildings of Marchmont and the south side of Edinburgh.
The meadows park in Edinburgh is a large sprawling recreational space, wooded, with many pathways and walkways and with a great whalebone set as an arch to usher the citizens of one of Edinburgh’s finer districts up the yellow brick road to the hallowed towers and palaces of Edinburgh University.
[On rare occasions a whale may be washed up dead on the beaches of the Forth Estuary.]
The meadows parkland is always replete with all sorts of designer yuppies with all the latest miniature technologies and designer clothes – truly a garden of paradise in which all parts of the Marchmont condos are free to wander, sport and play, enjoying the world of ‘everything’.
I would often head through the south side on my way to music shops where I could be regaled by technical stories and analyses from past masters and professors of rock and roll – comparing tech spec of the latest effects pedals and musical kit.
Often, I must admit to being in those shops in the forlorn hope that someday I might be able to afford it all once my alleged career took off !! I could only dream of the uses to which it could all be put at that time.
So it was that I was again in that old and quaint district of town adjacent to the University and had a few extra pounds in my pocket with which I had intended to buy some smaller and cheaper guitar effects unit.
It was never the less a shiny and new one albeit not as fully functional as it could have been if I had put out another forty percent on the money.
Content with my saving and replete with the authenticity of a real shiny new shoppers carrier bag and generally feeling good enough to feel part of that great press of Scotland and mankind that any creative artist should at one point in their life, I decided that I was going to further consummate my credibility by having lunch in one of the many Asian restaurants that are enticingly sprinkled around the University. I cannot remember the nationality of those premises, though sufficient to say that it was east of Kirkcaldy.
There in these tastefully lit and atmospheric and exotic emporiums all manner of culinary splendours are served up to; aspiring students, intellectual juggernauts and the upwardly mobile Marchmont population.
OK, my bad, but at least I had enough money at that point to find out what I could be missing …
Amongst the stoneworked buildings and autumn trees the speckled sun lit upon restaurant Jaba and there, I thought would be a good place to continue on my Eastern culinary research so that I could get a good feel for what the people of that country were eating in the event that I might one day have sufficient funds, options and facilities to go there.
It was late late lunch and the small but exclusive restaurant was gently lit and all but one of their small round and intimate tables were empty.
Pristine white tablecloths and atmospheric candles and slightly exotic décor and arts leaflets gave the venue the air of regular patronage.
At one of the small tables in the corner sat an older man who I recognised as Hamish Henderson, the famous and distinguished folk scholar in his tweeds and he was sitting with what might have been one of his post graduate students, a cultured looking lady in her mid to late twenties.
There was no food as yet on their table and they were engaged in attracting the attention of the waitress and about to order.
Firstly though, the well proportioned eastern lady ushered me to a seat directly adjacent to their table – which I thought a bit embarrassing and unusual. Being younger I did not want to appear awkward and socially unable so I consented and seated myself so as not to face their direction, but never the less was privy to small parts of their gentile conversation which I cannot now remember.
They ordered their food and the big lady took notes then the big lady came to take my order which was for a basic middle of the road eastern but typically Scottish lamb request.
Trying to keep my mind off the subtle afternoon exchange between a great man and cultural genius and his lady companion and researcher I put my ears on the low volume background music, and wondered how much I would have to invest to get the studio arrangements possible for its production.
One day my Solan Theatre Company was going to do the Fringe Festival and I was going to assemble a wonderful group of performers for my original material.
My own little theatre shows needed the bigger recording studios to get the production standards to the level that any distribution industry and merchant might accept.
Such were the hopes and aspirations of any cultural wannabe – a veritable mental hubbub of insufficiency and lack of social facility, patronage and capital.
On the other hand – only a yard away, so near yet so far was cloud 9 – total social and cultural success – a totally different league.
After a few minutes the doors to the kitchen opened and a small caravan of staff appeared with steaming platters of beautiful looking exotically flavoured meats and vegetables and the national breads and rices, bustling around the table of Hamish Henderson and laying out a magnificent display.
It was a feast of splendour fit for a cultural King.
The array of dishes, their colour and aroma, their meticulous excellence and bouquet of flavours that I had not the education or life experience to comprehend were unimaginably superb, but my own dish was yet to arrive.
The big lady finally arrived with an unexpectedly big beige bowl and in it amongst the weak looking gravy was the carcass of a small animal.
I could see the small collar bone and small, distinct, complete ribs coming from a small spinal column, and having done laboratory biology at college knew that I wasn’t looking at enough cartilage for it to be a bird. The bones and ribcage of a bird tend to be lighter and more fused with cartilage – a bird ribcage also tends to indicate by tapering, a smaller spherical structure.
It was not the carcass of a bird but the alternative explanation was totally unbelievable.
At the very least, in contrast to the table next, I was eating out of a dogs bowl what looked like a dogs dinner.
A peculiar curry and slim off-the-bone pickings was in many respects outstanding for its watery third world gravy and sparse helpings of rice.
Given I had not ordered chicken and these were small thin complete bones from a small spine with meat on them, I had as yet not accepted my situation.
The situation was beyond my ability to comprehend or accept at that time.
It was somewhat on reflection after the fact, like being as if a dog next to the high table of his alleged master.
I was somehow participating in a cameo of the human pageant replete with the caricature of the Cultural Overlord and the caricature of the Human who in the dark ages would have been labelled ‘below the salt’.
In the same restaurant one of the great acknowledged cultural giants and social winners was eating the most lavishly prepared banquet on flat white dinner plates whilst I was sloshing my way round a small carcass with strings of strange pork-like but exquisitely curried meat clinging to it in a broad beige coloured bowl.
It was impossible for my young mind to recognise and take in what was going down there.
The stark contrast of the social winners and social losers intensely obvious and unavoidable, [albeit after the fact] I did what I was born to do – to take my gift of reality like a man and gladly ate my third world fayre.
That was clearly a beast they had had on the menu regularly but perhaps less obviously once the meat has been separated from the bones and marinated in those aromatic spices.
The cats and kittens of Marchmont are some of the healthiest and well fed free range livestock on the planet and are fed on diets of highly nutritious catfood beyond the kind of budget and medicare that an average family would spend on its children.
Free range healthy cats with shiny coats and little bells still go missing from loving households in Marchmont thirty years after this fact though my gourmet restaurant has now stopped trading. The increased efficiency of Edinburgh's Cat and Dog Home ensures their safety and well being these days.
Scotland is composed of many ingredients, a veritable cultural cauldron, which can be seen in the depictions of the Reptilian ELder race created in art by 19th Century Scottish Colourist painter John Duncan from Dundee and especially in his famous ‘Riders of the Sidhe’ painting with its shining illuminated Reptilians (Illuminati) of the Aryan Celt. The presence of several Reptilian races throughout those eastern climates is strongly indicated in folklore and culture and artefacts. Many of them assert godlike powers and ambitions and traditionally non-human agendas. Scottish and global culture is also replete with obvious Reptilian and somewhat Draconian paraphernalia. Perhaps the alien derision of probably Reptilian issues with humanity can know no bounds. Perhaps I as a mere monkey human who wanted to walk like his masters, talk like his masters and who was then looking for the secret fire of spiritual and creative inspiration and aspiration was really in my own version of the Jungle Book – being made to eat the bare necessities by some dark Reptilian trick ?
For me there are some obvious things that come to mind at this point.
The whole event looks totally constructed, the timing, the seating, the theatre, the plates, the presentations …
But was it constructed BEFORE or AFTER I entered the restaurant ?
If before - was there some evil chess player out to get me ? what powers at work - what evil design and intelligence could engineer such a dark and punishing synchronicity and would try to annul my artistic pretensions and so diminish my social spirit and life ?
If after - what a creatively dark and insulting sketch to serve up. It was not racist as any tabula rasa human would initially understand it but it highlighted a contrast between two types of people with outwardly similar race and artistic ballpark but different social class and caste. Was this a comment on the Scottish class system ?
What is life on Earth really - for human beings ? Is it the pan-historic Reptilian and Grey engineering of despair and outrage and the subsequent bleeding of our essence in our moments of self-vindication ?
Who knows ?
I was in good company though.
Many of the families and concentration camp survivors that Hamish Henderson heroically helped in the times of Nazi Germany would have been glad of such a dish, and in truth, the sordid reality of planet Earth minus its yuppie trimmings is that in the 21st Century over two thirds of its 6 Billion population would be prepared to do anything for such a meal as I was served.
In truth though, although life can be sh*t, it’s my right to refuse to eat it and I have only myself to blame for not recognising yet again toxic psychotic losers at work and play.
It was about 3 decades later that I finally realised the grand demonic masterplan that was conspiring to make me feel annuled and disconnected ...
Harvesting the Disconnected http://www.andrewhennessey.co.uk/harvestingv6.pdf