Stop The World, I Want To Get On…

Blogs are a bit like buses; there’s an indeterminate time between them so you’re left waiting an age for one to come along and then KAPOW! another follows right behind it. This is the one behind and as there’s no competition in this one it’s more KA than POW!

I hadn’t actually planned being home to blog tonight, for a week or so I’d been counting down to tonight as Peter Doggett was giving a talk at Foyles about his new book on David Bowie during the 70’s.

I guess because I was born in the 70’s the music of the time subliminally ingrained itself in me. It wasn’t too unpleasant a situation although it wasn’t until I was in my late teens before I could listen to certain Bob Dylan tracks as I’d grown up listening to a family member strangle each note to death when he was learning to play guitar.

However, I tip my hat to him because he persevered. Playing by ear he’d listen to each track he wanted to play and then repeat it over and over until he’d perfected it. I, as you can imagine, would have given up long before then, much like I do when I tell myself I’ll learn a language. Result? More teach yourself books than Waterstones and an ability to count to ten and perhaps say hello and goodbye in 6 or 7 languages.

I would say the same is true of the saxophone however that’s heavily influenced by the fact it’s a noisy fucker and as I can hear the people upstairs chop vegetables you can imagine what the sounds of someone crucifying Oh when the Saints go marching in sounds like. Yes, it’s true I did spend £240 importing a mute case from France but by the time I get home from work and eat I’ve no desire to spend 15 minutes just getting the thing ready. Anyway, I digress…

As I was saying, I was supposed to go to the talk clutching my copy of the book to get it signed. Yeah I know, what a sell out autograph hunter I’ve become. However poor time management screwed things up. I was supposed to meet Natasha prior to the talk but she had some deadline shift for a manuscript so couldn’t make it. So I figured I’d just stay a little longer at work until it was time to head out. Then rather than doing a 15 min job I started something more involved and before I knew it I’d left it too late to get to Foyles, if I was lucky I’d have arrived in time for the round of applause.

However, a signed book I may not have returned home with, but it did allow me the time to waffle on here for a bit and I haven’t even mentioned the thing that I planned on blogging about!

Even with the knowledge that the internet affords us, very often I have a thought, one of those regular, “I wonder what/why?” kind of questions.

An example is always when I’m buying lettuce, I very often ask myself, “I wonder why it’s called iceberg lettuce? Why iceberg?” but even with the power of a smartphone linked to the internet in my pocket, I’ve never been that interested to actually look it up. Sure I think about it; I just lose the thought in the jumble that exist in my head.

Yesterday I was browsing through a recipe book to see if I could get some inspiration for something new when I came across a ‘food fact’ which explained that the popular name iceberg lettuce was born in the 30’s when  a Californian by the name of Bruce Church started packing and shipping fresh heads of lettuce across America in ice-packed rail cars. As the trains trundled along people would say, “The icebergs are coming, the icebergs are coming!”

As I finished the last paragraph I had a sudden thought that the recipe book might have been horseshit so I quickly Googled it and lo and behold it’s all true. What is now called Iceberg lettuce was known as Crisphead lettuce until Bruce’s trains pulled out of Salinas in California where he grew his lettuces and pulled into cities as far East as Maine all year round.

Well, that’s one question answered after many years of idleness. If knowing who Bruce Church was ever wins you a game of Trivial Pursuit, let me know =)

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