I’ve been a bad blogger.
I haven’t actually been in a restaurant for three+ weeks now, which is a probably a first for me and the missus. We recently moved house and subsequently, the entertainments dollar is a bit tighter than before. It does mean though, that I’ve been cooking a lot more, which is great because a) it saves loads of money, and b) I get to be a better cook. But it means no blog posts. Sorry. There are a few places we’ve been meaning to visit, (doesn’t The bridge Tavern look canny?) and will do, you just might not hear about it.
It’s a bit of disillusion all round really. Maybe it’s working in digital marketing and using it every day, but I’ve grown tired of Twitter, and lost the inspiration to do much blogging recently. Twitter has lost it’s charm for me, with, oh so much arse-kissing, @reply-please-RTing and general marketing spiel, though yes, this is governed by the people you follow. And see recent posts/rants
here (removed) and here, that summarise my feelings on recent local blogging pretty well. ”Please invite me to your press launch so I can get some free bait”…”I need 7 more followers to hit 1200!”…”My blog had 42 hits today”…
Above: Do. Not. Care.
It is the age of the armchair journalist (self-included), but it’s a bit disheartening seeing time after time journos with no passion for food doing food reviews (and getting paid for it), millionaire wankers eating out on The Journal’s expense account every week, and generally a new Newcastle blog/eatery popping up every week spouting OH HEY I WENT TO THE PUB AND IT WAS GREAT YAH. Feeling inspirationally a bit thin on the ground.
I think It took a recent trip to Edinburgh, and one of the best meals ever at The Kitchin to reinforce just how limited the Newcastle food scene is, really. Yeah, EDI is a major capital city, and I love Newcastle and will never leave damnit, but being a small city and being effectively “run” by a handful of people/companies doesn’t make for an interesting dynamic. If we weren’t for stalwarts Laybourne and Kennedy, it would look very much like bar owners branching out into shitty bandwagon restaurants, and posh boys opening places with daddy’s money. But more on that at a later date.
At the other end of the scale, I’ll also come to the (partial) defense of chain restaurant later on, but the overall clamour at the recent opening of Carluccios, and his mate Jamie’s Italian pastafactory are a bit perplexing. All the while decent independents disappear, and Tripadvisor has a laugh on all our behalfs.
Not a month goes by that a NCL tourist doesn’t email me “re: recommendations”, and my reply always falls back on The Broad Chare, with it’s too expnsive burger (just been to Byron), or Jesmond Dene House, with it’s “let’s rip off l’enclume” mentality. Planning for a trip to Manchester last week led to a massive list of places to try, a mix of shiny new ones and old classics. It’s a bit annoying/disheartening that they can attract the Michelin attention – see Simon Rogan’s investment to get the gist of the differences.
There are gems, of course, excellent new feeds which are doing well, like Cal’s Own, Nudo SB, and of course everyone and his cat has high hopes for Kenny Atkinson’s new Quayside restaurant. Who wouldn’t look forward to trying the regions only M* at The Raby Hunt ASAP. Online, there are stars on Twitter – @electriceast and @cakepoppins are always comedy gold, @sandiebeach and @laurenprince always have something interesting to say, among others, I’ve bigged up Polly before and Lee offers a canny take on scran in general, so it’s not all doom & gloom.
We were nominated and came runner-up in the Blog North Award, which was great news, and totally unexpected. The support we had in the voting stage left us feeling all fuzzy, you guys. And I think I can speak for everyone at the event in saying that watching winner in the personal category “Wife After Death” at the event put a lot of things into perspective.
So, in future, expect to see less of the shite, and approaching the big 3-0, maybe even a more holsitic view on blogging overall. This has turned out to be perhaps a pointless rant, but in short, an evolution for the blog: less fluffy PR paid-for restaurant reviews (and the following grief about posting for them), less trying to be a know it all/public service for Newcastle and a bit more general food craic and personality. And maybe the writing will get better at some point. If you have any suggestions – comment below? all this cooking may lead to some recipe posts, but please, pull me up if it’s the generic “there’s a million recipes out there for this passion fruit cupcake” blog post. Crikey.