Thursday, February 11, 2010

Accounting for taste

While I believe it's healthy not to live in a pigeonhole, I also acknowledge that rhyme and reason do not appear to figure in some of my lifestyle choices.
On one hand, I wouldn't dream of buying salad dressing in a bottle, and have four kinds of oil (three olive, one walnut), five kinds of vinegar, three kinds of mustard and two kinds of sugar to hand when I want to make some. On another, I will happily eat white bread sandwiches filled with iceberg lettuce, pickled beetroot, crisps and salad cream. On a third hand, I just bought myself a silk tunic dress in the Toast sale. On a fourth, I wear a dress about four times a year. There's a fifth hand, where I want to live naked by a Finnish lake and smoke my own fish*, and a sixth where I want to put on a lot of black eyeliner, drink a lot of Cinzano and smoke a lot of cocktail Sobranies to a backdrop of arty black and white photos and minimalist electropop.
I read serious novels, and fat books of social history and feminist politics, but then I read borderline-dodgy crime fiction, collections of comic strips, and books about growing vegetables. Top of my most-listened-to artists list are Ani DiFranco, Nick Cave, Billy Bragg and PJ Harvey, but scroll down a little and you'll find Duran Duran... scroll down a little further and you'll find Meat Loaf**.
This all confuses me sometimes. I like to think - especially at my advanced age - that I choose what to consume for a range of reasons, most of them sensible - what do I like, what can I afford, what is good for me, what is made well, what am I politically comfortable with. I got taught how to think about stuff, and I do. But then there's also what you grew up with, what you seek out in times of trouble, what you retreat to when you want comfort, and what's as much about pleasurable vice as about sensible virtue. Basically, I think it's about living with the sum of your parts.
Which is why, last night, I found myself, for the first time since the early 1980s, in a Badedas bath. It's not all Neal's Yard, this life. And amen to that.

*As one of my favourite recent Twitter tags put it, #notaeuphemism
**Most of the Meat Loaf plays, I suspect***, are me standing on a chair late at night singing Modern Girl into a hairbrush or playing air guitar to Bat Out of Hell, but still.
*** I typed that, then thought, hang on, this is the internet. I don't need to suspect, it knows. And I was right.



Anonymous jonathan said...

That post deserves a much more thoughtful comment than I seem to be able to muster right now. So I will just say that beetroot lettuce and crisp sandwiches on white bread sound to me like pure sandwich heaven, and I would be off to rustle up a plate of them right now, if only I could lay hand on any of the ingredients other than white bread.

11:53 pm  

Post a Comment

<< Home