Sunday, November 12, 2006

Stoppard update!

A few days ago I had one of my regular pub meetings with the by turns urbane and debauched university lecturer, translator and poet Matthew Sweney originally of Waterville ME, now long-term fellow ex-pat in Olomouc CZ. Mr Sweney had just returned from London, where he’d been to see the Tom Stoppard play Rock n Roll, which was apparently thoroughly enjoyable but potentially rather bewildering to those unfamiliar with the context and with the Plastic People of the Universe and their manager Ivan “Magor” Jirous. So if anyone reading this is considering going to see it I strongly recommend that you check out the highly informative article about the Plastics I mentioned a couple of weeks back – in fact I’ll put it on the links bar.

Mr Sweney also proved what a thoroughly fine gentleman he is by bringing me a chunk of Mature Stilton, which made my week. Stilton is difficult if not impossible to get in this country, I’ve known it to pop up sporadically in the central Prague branch of Tesco, but I haven’t seen it there for a good while now. In Olomouc the prospect of finding it is laughable. I’m not sure why this is. The Czechs aren’t big cheese gourmets, there are a few local varieties, and in fact Olomouc is famous for its awesomely pungent smelling curd cheese – an acquired taste perhaps – but here there is nothing like the diversity of other European nations. They do however compensate and import a number of foreign cheeses, though some of these are outlandishly expensive. Nevertheless, French, Danish, German, Swiss, Dutch and Italian cheeses are available in the supermarkets. British cheeses? Most Czechs aren’t even aware they exist, and upon any mention of them look at you as if you’d suggested British wines. Whereas cheese is one of the things that brings out the sentimental patriot in me. I genuinely believe Britain boasts some of the best cheeses in the world, with the Holy Grail of them all the aforementioned Mature Stilton. You can keep your Camembert and your Gorgonzola. It’s been a calorific week out here. Not long till the next pig out at Christmas either… but what after that? A barren period of what could be half a year or more. If you live in Moravia, it ain’t easy being cheesy.


Blogger carl said...

"central Prague branch of Tesco"

why does this depress me?

In the UK at christmas this year, when are you over?

6:41 PM  
Blogger ASHDAV said...

All part of the love-hate relationship with Prague and globalisation generally. Over the course of 11 years my life out here has been made incomparably easier by the global internet and cheap airlines. I've also seen this place become a lot more soulless as part of the same process, probably subject matter for a further post. I feel like a whore walking into Tesco, but when it comes to Stilton, and after a drought of several months, I can be bought quite easily. Check your mail and see you at Christmas.

11:09 AM  

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