• [Terrible Taste and Britain's Best]

    S&M Files, Episode 4: December 6, 1999
    Food and Being English

    Indian Pizza. Not surprisingly, and more to my delight than
    Michelle’s, Indian cuisine is prevalent here. The local Safeway
    has a complete Indian dinner for two next to the frozen pizzas.
    I’m curious to discover what lies in the “ethnic” foods

    Fish and Chips. Still waiting for decent fish and chips. The
    local shop downstairs seems to believe in a long soak in grease
    followed by a gentle warming.

    Beefy Drink. “Relax and enjoy a comforting Beefy Drink. Just
    mix one tablespoon with a cup of water”. Say no more!

    Given our new budget I’ve adopted a new diet. I call it
    “Anything on Sale.” We’ve had prime cuts of Happy Cow (formerly
    Mad Cow) discounted beef.

    We’ve been making a study of the locals; well mostly Simon
    here at the flat though most people call him Psi. (It’s like
    living in a Dr. Who episode.) The preferred diet seems to consist
    of grease. Fish and grease. Burgers and grease. Grease and
    grease. Every evening we ask Psi what he’s going to have. “Oh, ”
    he says getting his coat on, “I think I’ll go out and get me some
    grease.” This morning I noted a change in feeding behaviour as
    Specimen A dashed out the door with breakfast in hand: Mars bar
    and Coke.

    Real Estate

    I’ve given up explaining what we paid in rent in Canada. It’s
    the equivalent to a Canadian being told that we come from a land
    where we lived in full sized house with jacuzzi and sauna on a
    few acres of green for $200 / month. Be thankful oh you young

    Michelle just informed me that we are paying $50 / day in rent
    + utilities on top of that. About the same as a hotel in

    Commercial real estate on the other hand does not seem too far
    overpriced. It appears Class B space can be had for £6 / sq
    ft or less making it cheaper than our Class A Edmonton office;
    well cheaper if we were paying rates than normal mortals pay.

    Pssst, Used Railway Tunnel, Sir? For rent. Prime SouthEastern
    abandoned railway tunnel. Great for storage, shooting ranges,
    bondage and specialty service establishments, clubs. Requires
    some cleaning.

    Shops and a Jolly Gay Neighborhood

    It’s really like living in a giant Old Strathcona. The shops
    are just crammed in. Across the street I can see a drugstore,
    clothing store, Radio and TV shop, convenience store, bar,
    picture shop, knickknack shop and a hardware and ironmonger. The
    last one sounds like a crime.

    “What are you in for?”

    “Ay, mate, they got me for a bit of Hardware and

    The pattern repeats on every street across the city.

    “Butcher, baker, chemist. Grocer, convenience, pub.”

    *Sing it!*

    “Butcher, baker, chemist. Grocer, convenience, pub.”

    Oh! “Butcher, baker, chemist. Grocer, convenience, pub.”

    Yeah! “Butcher, baker, chemist. Grocer, convenience, pub.”

    Kindy catchy!

    Just down the street is apparently Brighton’s only gay bar and
    coffee house. We’re living in gay central which is good because
    apparently it adds character and creativity to the neighborhood
    and makes us Uber designers.

    Everything is within walking distance. A local Jeweler
    advertises “Last Jeweler for 25 yards!”.


    Had some variety today. Big storm clouds instead of grey. I’ve
    yet to see a soul wearing sunglasses. Bright sun does not seem to
    be a predominant concern. Brighton <> Brightsun.

    News Flash: Bright sun for several hours. Sat on the roof
    above the fish and chips shop watching the sea and reading the
    Inland Revenue guide to taxation. Was inspected carefully by
    neighborhood patrol seagull who made his opinion known in a brief
    and effective ceremony involving a small rooftop deposit. He
    didn’t approve of my sunglasses.

    Fall. It’s like perpetual early autumn here. All the leaves
    are caught in terrible indecision over the trendy colour du jour.
    Some, fearing heavy snow, have given it up for the Ally McBeal
    twig look. Most sport fashionable green, yellow and auburn.
    Weather remains mild with only occasional call for mittens and
    flying umbrellas.


    Have been spending our days researching mobiles. This
    apparently is a full time occupation that only anal-retentive
    North American’s undertake. The local Carphone Warehouse seems
    appalled every time we show up with some obscure question. The
    manager’s eyes recede and go all beady . Most people apparently
    just sign up to Whatever and when quizzed don’t even know what
    network they are on. The Warehouse’s first recommendation to us
    would have more than doubled our costs.

    When people first recommended the Carphone Warehouse, I
    pictured in my mind a smaller Futureshop kinda store. Actually
    it’s about the size of a decent bathroom with just enough room to
    wind up before you sprint for the door. We’ll likely be back
    because they are apparently the best in town. A competing store
    would take our tough questions, smile and then quickly phone the
    Carphone warehouse and thus still end up with the wrong

    Would you believe there’s no way to plug your Mac laptop into
    a mobile. The best solution involves having a modem in your
    laptop, one in your mobile phone and another (expensive) one on a
    card in your laptop. I have a potential solution that involves
    four different connected cables and gender changers and will of
    God. Maybe.

    We’re now experts on the subject having stumped even the 1-800
    specialists and will be opening our own shop next week.

    High Speed Internet

    Whenever we ask for this, we get names of Internet Cafes which
    are in abundance here. Nobody quite understands this concept of
    fast access from home.

    Apparently BT’s (UK’s AT&T) ADSL trials were poor because
    their routers/hubs couldn’t handle the load. It’s also going to
    be expensive. The cable company is coming out with cable modems
    but won’t admit to it. Rumour is around March or April. Unlimited
    high speed access if you sign a 1 year plan. Limited access for

    Actually the cable company offers all kinds of phone packages
    that blow the lid of phone company. If they can expand their
    coverage, BT literally will not be able to compete. It is a
    crying shame that the Mews won’t be supported until around

    Interestingly the Cable company won’t install ISDN in December
    because it’s just too laid back a month for the British and they
    don’t want to work their technicians too hard.

    Currently, it costs about $30,000 / year to get high speed, 24
    hour Internet access. (It costs the office under $3000 for speeds
    that are better than double.)

    BT is going to be selling ADSL to resellers for $120 / month

    Stay Tuned

    More funky adventures from the S&M channel coming live to
    you from across the ocean. Next weeks episode: How to live in a
    converted stable and not freeze to death; a story of hope,
    romance and heat.


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