“Sod the wine, I want to suck on the writing. This man White is an instinctive writer, bloody rare to find one who actually pulls it off, as in still gets a meaning across with concision. Sharp arbitrage of speed and risk, closest thing I can think of to Cicero’s ‘motus continuum animi.’

Probably takes a drink or two to connect like that: he literally paints his senses on the page.”

DBC Pierre (Vernon God Little, Ludmila’s Broken English, Lights Out In Wonderland ... Winner: Booker prize; Whitbread prize; Bollinger Wodehouse Everyman prize; James Joyce Award from the Literary & Historical Society of University College Dublin)





10 December 2012


George Grainger Aldridge as Santa Claus

Happy Birthday Jesus!
2012 Years Old Now
Here We Go Again
by PHILIP WHITE for InDaily

When the stern Mme. Editrix suggests something Christmassy on the occasion of Jesus’s birthday, which happens every year to those of us lucky enough to have a place to write about it, I first choose a typeface.  While I’ve had such an outlet space for only about forty of the sixty times I’ve celebrated this fictional event, I find an essential starting point is my selection of a look to better convene the inspiration which must then follow, God willing.  So pity you can’t read this in Book Antiqua, which is the typeface I’m working in this year. It has a nice King James Bible feel about it.  Just imagine you’re reading this off the finest gilt-edged rice paper in black kid binding, our Lord’s sayings all printed in red.

Just so you don’t confuse them with mine.

Rev Harold Camping loves the feel of the King James


That said, this particular par is devoted to the suggestion that I write pretty much the same thing every Christmas.  

This writing must always be confidently prophetic that Christmas will eventually come around, which can get tricky.  That great soldier for the Lord, the Rev Harold Camping, has been making a regular habit of predicting the date of the Lord's return but seems to have got it wrong every time so far.  These things are very risky. 

In this prophecy division, she who must be obeyed took a double whammy outa me this time, first asking what I’d be eating and drinking at the big lunch, like, separate from this column, with a sneaky sequitur intended to have me show all my cards and reveal any other ideas I might have withheld about something unusual, errant, or, for Chrissake, even new!  That would be published somewhere else in this bonnie journal.  Leaving me wondering what I’d write about on this page, like what would I eat and drink if I actually didn’t do what I'd written there, but had another even more nefarious and secretive agenda with which to wad this Christmas column, in the anticipation that the day will eventually arrive.

Presuming I’ll be alone should it indeed choose to, I would first take a very hot shower whilst drinking a tin of ice-cold Asahi beer with Phil Spector’s Christmas Album on number eleven.  Nothing new in this, I do it every year.  If it’s not a holy day I’ll even settle for a tin of Bud.  If I had a bath the size of the one I enjoyed in the Love Basilica at The Botanic, I’d soak in that steaming hot and have somebody pour freezing Absolut on my head but that would involve the presence of another which is something never to be presumed in these bitter twilight years.

Good eunuchs are so hard come by.


Nope.  No moping.  On this day one should delight in wringing a few more drops of joy from life’s old dish rag, while resisting the temptation to go too far.  At which point the King James scribe would insert a perfect useage of that beautiful word, lest.  This is the message I seem to be getting from government, at least.  It brings to mind a serious warning I once got from my brother Stemmo, who said he was cool smelling Leah’s mess of flaming hair, but once he sniffed the soft freckly bit just below her ear, whooshka!  He’d lose control.

So once the Asahi’s done, wondering again about the movie I want to write about life in Australia sixty years after Japan won the Second World War, I wander from the shower, and don my best suit.  French cuffs, Krug tie, dress shoes.

Author gives good suit : with Michael Hill Smith ca 80
Or maybe my red and black Adidas trackie daks with all the burn holes, a Naked For Satan tee, geohoodie, and my black suede Bata ripple soles with the red laces.  Freebagging.  Dunno yet.

What I would really like after that is a breakfast of kassler pork chops, cold, from Max Noske’s perfect Hahndorf butchery, with lashings of Beerenberg mustard seed and chilli paste and maybe some capers and sliced Spanish onion on toasted sourdough rye rubbed with raw garlic.  During this dainty breakfast – Castagna Sparkling Allegro 2009 fizzing gentle and pinkly on the side - I could contemplate the Jewish aversion to things porcine and molluscular and wonder anew about our Lord and his twelve acolytes and Mary of Magdelene groovin’ at those endless clambakes on the Galilee shore.  How the hell can you have a clambake if you’re not allowed to eat clams?

Why waste all those pigs filling them up with Legion’s demons and making them run off the cliff into the sea?  Somebody shoulda smoked em.

During all this I’ve had Vivaldi’s Glorias billowing out of the stacks.

I dunno what I’ll do next.  I’ll be blowing about .05 by then, contemplating the hangover Jesus and the lads had got themselves at the clambake – too much Damascus rosé – before they carried that ache up the dusty mountain track to the Qana wedding in the hot morning sun, where they went straight back to work building their next one.  As the little gang learned on their way up the hill, you can catch a hangover even if you don’t drive, and that pink kosher plonk might rarely get you to where you want to go, but it'll get you there quicker than just about anything else.

If I find that Christmas card I posted to myself with the fifty in it, I’ll be itching for a smoke, but the shop’s too far to walk and they’ll be shut anyway on account of Jesus’s birthday so there’s no point looking.

Government will be pleased about that.

At this point I will go back to my first plan, which is the one with the smoked redfin and the tequila-stuffed pineapple, by which noontime said Mme. Boss Editrix promises to be here if she weren’t so far off in New Zealand, throwing her flesh to the harrowing acid of Marlborough Savvy-B, silly girl.

So I shall proceed solo, following the Vivaldi up with some Morricone spaghetti western soundtrack while I pull on my poncho, but that’ll make me yearn for a cheroot, which government would not like, and anyway, if you’ve got proper tasting glasses a poncho’s no good because it knocks them over when you gesticulate.  

As the pineapple thing soon becomes obviously more of a drink than a dessert, I’ll be yearning for something a little more substantial along the line of restorative solids, which if planned correctly, could well come in the form of a pad of panforte, which rhymes with vintage port, which I happen to have over there on the bench in the form of too much 94 Fonseca for one bloke to manage after such a heavenly brunch.

Government will be pleased to see that my fish smoker aside – I’ll smoke anything - this has so far been a fairly low-carbon affair, in which case they might overlook me having a quick B&H if I can find that packet with the photograph of somebody rotting in the tea cupboard and manage to juggle the fags into my silver cigarette case without looking at that image and reaching for a handful of anti-wobble thiamin before setting fire to everything.

If I had a television I’d use it to spill strong spirits and fall asleep at this point, but I don’t, so I’ll struggle on into dinner after some brisk aerobic exercise grinding the coffee.  A shot of Shazza’s special grappa will sort all that out.

Who put this damn spaghetti western stuff on the player?  Time for that mass the infant Schubert wrote for his soprano sweetheart. I like the high bits.

A salad of rocket, kos, whitlof, Yarra Persian Feta and violet flowers with a runny goose egg, pickled artichoke hearts and some croutons would be good to have here, but that’s out of the question.  The artichoke tannins would upset the palate. 


Instead I should revert to the rabbit kittens I smoked with Trinidad Scorpion and Bhut Jolokia chillies yesterday, if I remembered.  I stuffed them with fresh tarragon and great big chunks of ginger and garlic and smoked them on their backs in a bath of olive oil. Like breakfast or revenge or whatever that was I had at the beginning, they’re best served cold.  This will require a modest Burgundy, like, say, Claude Rousseau’s Gevrey-Chambertin, but no cutlery.  By this time, the government will send me a suicide by police if their mozzie drones spot me holding anything sharp. 

Which brings us to the cheese.  It’s a godsend having Alison Paxton’s Kangarilla Creamery within laughing distance of this cosy hut, so I will have wobbled, should I remember, over to her place and purchased a blob of Holy Goat, which may or may not by then be called Billygoat Milk on account of its boisterous ammonia reading.  Which will simply rock with my little bottle of Castagna Aqua Santa sweet Viognier.  This is 100 g/l sugar, and very acid wine, with an encouraging alcohol of fifteen per cent. And it’s pink, I think, like that starter wine away back at brekky.  Colourblindness is sooo crippling.

This is where our Lord returns with a parable unspoken, but bleeding obvious. If those lads had returned to the hair of the pink Damascus dog at the wedding, they’d be on the way to hellfire eternal before the garter hit the virgins, so the world’s most famous winemaker, well, after Maynard James Keenan, the world’s most famous winemaker made a good solid red that even the emcee recognised blind.

The lesson being that one must always take to bed a flavour and colour well removed from the one which began the day, which is why we have drinks like The Bailie Nicol Jarvie Blend Of Very Old Reserve Scotch Whisky.  And cigarettes. 

And now, as the flames lick the curtains, and I lunge to grab the fire extinguisher I keep in my bed, I notice somebody’s laid out my grey suit.  That must be for Shadow-boxing Day.

Praise the Lord!


Anonymous said...

Non-observant, secular, cultural-jewboy here, re the porcine.

Just ordered three porchettas from Barossa Fine Food at the central market - pork loin, fennel, fennel seeds, black pepper seeds, rolled, roasted and cold, etc - extremely delish, one for near inner city 5069, one for Bondi Beach and one for south Gippsland.

Don't diss us pork-lusters.

I R Blockedstein said...

Yo stone crazy Whiteman

Philip White said...

Hey Anonobs Seccul-jewboy there, why do you dudes presume so much guilt? I've not dissed you. I've encouraged you to cease wasting pigs, no?