Last week, I tore the proverbial hoop out of it. It began on Sunday in Cork, where the good folk from IDL brought me and about another 250 service industry misfits from all round the world, to the Midelton Distillery. It was part of a special treat for each of us whose Jameson inspired cocktails made the last selection for a global contest. My entry was called The Irish Mocha Martini, it did not make it to the final on Tuesday – which is just as well really, coz by then I was totally bet. After numerous late club sessions, boozy meals and hotel lock ins, I had consumed my own body weight in drink within 72 hours.
It was a few days before I could even think about alcohol again and that was Saturday @ Body & Soul.
I was down to stage my first Booking The Cooks event, a Karaoke Cook Off between Jarlath Regan vs Paddy Cullivan, each of whom had to make their ultimate hangover breakfast in front of a live audience. But let’s not spoof ourselves here, I was also there to act the complete maggot. So I loaded up The Transit Van of Love with some spiffing outfits, an ice filled cooler and plenty of whiskey, ginger syrup, elderflower cordial (a wicked gift made for me by Ed Hick – many thanks fella!), creme de cassis, lemon, apple and orange juices and a fuck load of berocca + solpadeine. In other words, everything you need to make some wicked cocktails and to survive for a few days.
Don’t let the suave polyester jacket fool you. The binliner on the window gives it away, cable tied to the dashboard were two altar boys and a severely malnourished Alsatian. It really does look like the van of a serial killer.
Throughout various stages of the weekend, I could be seen lashing out the Jameson Ninjas and Elderflower Whiskies (50 ml of Jameson, 25 ml of Elderflower cordial, a squirt of lemon juice – shaken with ice and topped up with a little soda water). If anyone came over to complain about the noise, I’d just hand them a cocktail. Perfect festival diplomacy – every time.
Ed Hick’s home made Elderflower cordial – fucking beautiful, especially with some daycent whiskey.
Bar the occasional Havana Club + coke, that was pretty much all that I drank for the weekend. My eating on the other hand, was a lot more varied. That was mainly down to my delightfully mad pals over in Queens of Neon. They worked with Wildside Catering to create one of the best experiences I’ve ever had at a festival – a five course banquet in the forest served by the biggest bunch of beautiful freaks since Bosco visualized his last wet dream. This is what was on the menu:
A forbidden amuse bouche
Chilled almond & wild garlic soup
Mossfield pumpkin and pine nut ravioli with sage butter
Watercress salad w/ sweet marjoram, beetroot, goats cheese & smoked haddock
Wood fired Venison served with rosti, carrot puree & lingonberries
& Yogurt & cardamom cream w/ drunken strawberries…
Not too shabby eh? We’ve come a long way since botulism in a burger at Féile. For me the two big stars of the meal were the venison and the chilled wild garlic and almond soup. Headchef Ted Berner has very kindly shared the recipe for the soup with me. It was a bit of a marmite buzz around the table with it, either loved or loathed. I ended up eating about three portions. If you fancy giving it a lash, here it is:
TED BERNER’S CHILLED WILD GARLIC AND ALMOND SOUP
- 225 g of whole blanched almonds
- 750l of water
- 75 g of stale white bread, soaked in water
- 2 homegrown garlic cloves, crushed
- 3 tablespoons of oilve oil
- 3 tablespoons of sherry vinegar
- 50 g of sultanas, soaked in sweet sherrry
- Grind almonds in a food processor til smooth
- Add splash of water and keep going it forms a smooth paste, it can take a while!
- Add bread, crushed garlic, olive oil and the rest of the water.
- Pulse gently.
- Season with salt, pepper and the sherry. Then let it chill.
- In a martini glass, add soup, 5 soaked sultanas and drizzle a little olive oil on top.
Here are a collection of the types of nutbags who served us:
This is Christopher – you can just about see the “Amuse Bouche” written in marker on his belly. A good friend of mine licked it off on Sunday night to get a glass of white wine.
The guy dressed all in black with the raven feathers was the M’aitre D. I have no idea who he is but he kept on grabbing my balls and asking me for drugs. One of us mentioned the topic of rape quite a lot, but to be fair, I can’t remember who.
As you can see the Raven theme was a design motif inside the tent for the 50 odd diners to take in. The lady in the pig mask is Amo, to think she used to be the editor of Ireland’s Own.
This was the view that we all had from the tent. Beautiful surroundings wasted on the likes of these lads:
As you can see, many of the punters were as deranged as the staff.
And just when I thought it couldn’t get any stranger, along came my Booking The Cooks gig the next day. I walked into Casa Habana at 10.30 am on the Sunday to set up and the tent had about 50 odd madoutofits in it, still running amok from the night before. After setting up the cooking station on the stage and dressing the two comedians as chefs, I had to grab the mic and wind down the DJ. The looks on the faces of the ravers was priceless as I shouted out,
“Ok let’s hear it for the DJ!……….Now who’s ready to have a cook off???????………..”
Here’s Paddy and Jarlath right before we got started and while the ravers still thought they were in a dance tent.
Here they are again in today’s issue of The Ticket where the event was made gig of the week!
It was testimony to the good humour of the chemically altered festival goers that they all stayed and even brought their mates in from sunbathing outside – the weather while we were on was unfortunately glorious, tough competition. After force feeding sleep depraved ravers and having the complete craic with them, I set about going apeshit for the rest of the day – enjoying the likes of Fat Freddy’s Drop, Lee Scratch Perry and the DJ’s from the Happy Pear foodstand – who were fucking deadly.
Myself and Paddy with the winner of the blind taste test – the absolute legend that is Rachel Ardagh. Please take note of her pussy hand puppet.
As a truly well seasoned urban degenerate, I have become a fussy fuck when it comes to getting the hell outta town to attend a festival. It’s only when I perambulated the auld proddy pile of Ballinlough Castle and met so many other like minded people, that I realized I’m not alone in my opinions on these gatherings – there are thousands of grumpy, moany fucks like me who are sick of shite weekenders with skobie magnet line ups and chip vans. And each of us, the thousands of seasoned reprobates – all loved Body & Soul. It will be exceptionally difficult for any other summer festival to top it this year. Much respect to everyone who had a hand in putting it together.