Yesterday, sitting in the Laughing Halibut for my lunch, I picked up an abandoned magazine left by a previous diner. As a result, I now have a new enemy. And his name is Mark Bolland. The crummy 'hack' that phones in his Restaurant Spy piece to that pillar of journalism - ES Magazine - on a weekly basis. Aside from the fact that the article barely mentions the 'restaurant' he is supposed to be reviewing, the whole air of smug middle-class snobbery it exudes is, quite frankly, repugnant. Here are some snippets:
"...(my T5 story sees Guy and I boarding the plane on time, only to wait for 70 minutes while they find a tug to reverse the plane, causing us to miss the rehearsal of our friends’ wedding – how hopeless is that?). And then there was Ken, who didn’t exactly help much, or make one proud of what should be London’s civic face to the world."
"...I have often thought how wonderful it would be if we could engage the vibrancy, the innovation, the business expertise and the sheer hard work that makes so many of our finest eating places the very best in the world, and unleash it on the elements in our capital that are failing."
"Maybe our liberation from Ken’s tired, monochrome regime will be the spur to do just that. Rather like the owner of a new restaurant, Boris is filled with passion and determination to succeed. Failure is not an option. He wants to make it happen, draw a crowd and, I predict, be very smart at tweaking what he’s offering his customers. There will be none of the silly ‘we’re listening now’ mantra that has spewed from the government these last few weeks, but a ruthless intuition about what people need. And so far, he’s assembling around him a gang who are not part of some giant client state, dependent on handouts and patronage, but actually personify the best of London. And, like a good local restaurant, his entire family seem to be joining in, too."
"...Byron is the sort of place where new Londoners – Boris’s Londoners – will go. And if this restaurant is anything like the enterprise at City Hall, we can start feeling sunny about London again. Look out for a Byron opening in a neighbourhood near you."
I won't urge you to read the rest of the article, which somehow manages to be worse than the one at the beginning by George Osborne's wife. I have added some bold font to emphasise the most irritating parts of this inane drivel, which is a laughable continuation of the Standard's sadly successful campaign to install that blond buffoon as the Mayor of London. It reminds me of the occasional pieces which Private Eye used to run about the Murdoch puffs in The Times or The Sun promoting Sky TV, before the shameless ruling that the BBC was doing the same thing by promoting the Radio Times in its TV broadcasts. As a matter of record, though perhaps slightly off-topic, I'm with Stephen Fry on the BBC, and believe that, for all its faults (and they are many) we should guard it fiercely purely because of what it is and what it stands for.
I make a point of never buying the shitty Standard, or indeed any of its sister papers, and I won't even take one of the free rags they shove down your throat on the way to and from work every day. I would like to instigate a campaign to... I don't know... do something about a twat like Mark Bolland being allowed to write pieces of shit like this on a regular basis. The fact that he was Prince Charles's deputy private secretary probably goes a long way in explaining things. I wonder if Charlie ever slipped him a length in the pantry?