Last week, on Wednesday 11th, I did the first performance of a show based on Vindaloo Stories. It was lots of fun to put on with a large audience turning out.
Promoting an event in January was hard work, but it was fun. I was interviewed by Melita at Radio Reverb the night before, and Wednesday started early so that I could appear on Radio Sussex’s breakfast show.
This was the first time I’ve done a show or event by myself, so I was delighted that it came out so well. Lots of people helped with it – Emily taught me about press releases; David Bramwell, Rosy Carrick and Rachel Blackman gave great feedback; Kaylee did a great job on the tech; and Robin was there on the night for reassurance. Ema at the Marlborough was also a great help throughout.
There should be recordings coming from the radio interviews. In the meantime there was a review posted by the Latest magazine. I also did an interview with Viva Brighton for this show and an upcoming talk on folklore at the Wellesbourne Society. Now to start looking at future venues for the show.
I’ve been working on a spoken-word version of Vindaloo Stories, which will be performed for the first time at Brighton’s Marlborough Theatre on January 11th. Tickets are now for sale online and cost £7 + fees.
This is an expanded version of my Wilderness Festival Talk. I’m referring to it as a spoken-word history as I want to include more personal stories than I could in the earlier version.
The event will look at the history of the vindaloo, why curry houses have similar menus, tourism in India, spicy foods, my own travel misadventures and more. There are also local connections between Brighton and curry’s history, since Sake Dean Mahomed, inventor of the Indian Restaurant, is buried in St. Nicholas’s Church.
I’m now home, recovering from a weekend at Wilderness Festival, where I performed as part of the Odditorium tent. We put on a great range of talks, including the eating habits of politicians, body-builders in bondage, Kraftwerk, BDSM relationships with the Archers and Bob Flanagan.
I gave two talks, one on Allen Ginsberg’s poem Howl, and the other on the history of the Vindaloo, an extended version of one I gave at the Catalyst Club earlier this year.
The best part about speaking in front of an audience is the Q&A afterwards. I had some good recommendations for a curry-house in Twickenham, as well as two in Nottingham, Adnan’s and 4550 Miles from Delhi. I’ll check those out soon. I forgot the name of the Eating out in Delhi blog. Someone asked about the rise of competitive chilli and curry eating. I reckon there is an interesting line of research here – how chilli competitions relate to the traditional eating contests.
A good thing about giving talks is practising gives you chance to reflect upon the material. I realised this weekend how much of the British Curry’s development is down to people trying to eat familiar food when travelling. Something to think about further.
Other than the talks, it was a weekend of good weather, relaxing and cocktails. Thanks to David, Andrew, Ernest Magazine and the team for inviting me to speak and looking after everyone. Last year I walked away with the clicker but this year I behaved myself.
Some material from the talk has been published in an article in the new issue of Ernest magazine, which I will talk about as soon as I get a copy. Meantime, a recording of my talk at Wilderness last year is in episode 31 of the Odditorium Podcast: The Internet Will Destroy Us.
At the end of last year, I booked a holiday in Goa. I was looking forward to sun, good food and swimming. Just before I left, Ernest magazine asked if I wanted to write something for their upcoming issue. I’d just read Lizzie Collingham‘s book Curry: A Tale of Cooks and Conquerers and thought it would be interesting to write about the Goa, curry houses and the history of the vindaloo.
The article was finished when I returned (and will be published soon). But I kept on researching. In April I spoke about vindaloo at Brighton’s Catalyst Club, and will be speaking in August at the Wilderness Festival. But I’m still finding out interesting things so thought I should start a blog.
Vindaloo stories will be about the vindaloo. About curry in the news. About my (mis)adventures in India. I’ll talk about how the British curry house came to be as it was, and reveal the secrets of delivery drivers.
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