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' Christmas wouldn't be the same without roast dinner would it? Stuart Dredge considers the family meal and checks out what Norwich has to offer amilies are fu nny things, aren't they? Rarely a week goes by without at least one crusty pompous know-it-all coming on television to tell you abou! family values in an attempt to persuade you not to take drugs/have sex/listen to Oas1s In the hands of these people , the family is an institution, which exists solely to repress 1ts younger members. Families are bad. But then again, when you're unhappy, and need support, understanding, or maybe just a hug, it's your family you turn to. You know the old saying, 'Blood is thicker than water'? Well it's often true. Families are good So what has all this got to do with Christmas dinners? Well, this schizophrenic nature of the family unit is always most evident over the Yuletide season, and particularly at the t1mes when you all sit down to a good ol'-fashioned turkey meal. The good s1de? Communal Christmas cheer, mutual closeness. happy conversation and companionable drunkenness. The bad side? Nagging, arguments, threats of physical violence, and aggressive drunkenness. You just ca n't win! In theory, it's easy. Invite the in-laws rou nd, pop a turkey in the oven, stu ff yourselves sill y when it's done, and then spend the rest of the day playing with your presents (if you're a child) or falling asleep in front of the TV (adults). Nothi ng cou ld go wro ng .. could it? Well. it always does. For a start, there's the trad1tion of cooking turkey. Not only do you have to go out and buy one several weeks in advance so as to beat the rush. but then you have to defrost it for about a week before Christmas Day. What's more, why has history seen fit to lumber us with a Xmas bird wh1ch needs your hand up 1ts
TOP FIVE LOCAL XMAS PUB DINNERS
' ' Lennon's Cold Turke'F's nothing t o ' ' do with drugs • he just got fed up of post-Christmas sandwiches!
posterior before it can be eaten?! While we're on the subject of turkey. who'd be a vegetanan at Chnstmas? Even the most accepting of family members finds it hard to understand why vegg1es don't join in the poultry-eating. "But it's Christmas!" they cry, and may even try the old "Can't you JUSt have a little bit of turkey?" routine. Even worse, any family Christmas meal is always marred by the obligation to 'join in'. Joining in, of course, means laughing at even the weakest cracker joke, eating sprouts. and wearing paper hats. Of course, there's a lot to be said for Christmas dinners. If you play your cards right , you could have loads of them with various willing family members. Also , for the gluttons among us, Christmas Dinner is an opportunity to eat as much as we like, and then some. it's traditional to make about three times too much food , JUSt to make sure you don't have to cook for the next week. Not that that's always a good th1ng of course. Just consider John Lennon's Cold Turkey it's got nowt to do with drugs - he was just fed up of eating turkey sandwiches in the post-Christmas period! But, after all, even though we don't really enjoy them, we love them all the same! Christmas Dinner is one tradition that's lasted and lasted. and looks like doing so for a long t1me yet, despite the trouble. So what's my adv1ce? Well, for a start, avoid cooking Christmas Dinner yourself, which cuts out most of the hassle (although, admittedly. some of the enjoyment too). Blag an invitation to someone's house, or better still , go to a pub, where you won't have to worry about leftover turkey! To help you do this, we've compiled a handy gu1de to five Norwich pubs' meals EnJoyl ""11111
And when can I go?
What main meals are there?
What about Veggies?
Can I have dessert?
Any Free Booze?
8th - 23rd Dec.
Provencale Nut Wellington
Xmas Pudding, mince pies
No, but coffee.
Xmas Pudding. exotic fresh fruit
No, but coffee
£1 2.50 I £14
Xmas Pudding, other sweets
No, but coffee
£1 2. 99
Gimme their number!
St. Philips Rd.
1st - 23rd Dec.
Turkey, Beef, Salmon or Game casserole
December (earlier if needed
Choice of four, one of which is turkey
Choice of three
Xmas Pudding, apple pie, choc delight
No, but coffee
Turkey, Beef, Salmon steak. Game pie
Xmas Pudding, Trifle, mince pies
No, but coffee
£11 .95 I £12.95
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CONCRETE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1997
Home-made veg. lasagne or Nut'n'Herb roast "Pasta, green beans, sweetcorn and mushrooms"
he creme de la creme of music has rarely accompanied the turkey to the Christmas table. In fact, the very prospect of Santa showing his bearded chops anywhere outside of Lapland appears to drive all credible artists to lie tow and leave the charts tree for all those acts that should, were there any justice in the world, have been struck off Nick Clause's list tong ago. 'Novelty' records have, in recent years, come to the fore , with Mr Blobby recently taking the coveted top spot. In this context 'novelty' may be taken to mean 'droolingly bad' or just plain 'rubbish'. Then there are those who take the earnest, sentimental approach. These pitiable old goats, whipped into a frenzy by the prospect of another chance to secure their old age pension with that one classic Christmas tune, will sink to previously undreamed depths. Take, for example, Cliff Richards' Mistletoe and Wine, In which the hapless fool serenades us with the quaint little image of 'children singing Christian rhymes'. Still, the old classics are always the best. At least that's what my gran says every year as she inflicts Bing Crosby's White Christmas on the family - at top volume so Uncle Tom can hear it. And every year I hope that, being a reeaonable woman, she
might recognise it for the candied schmuck that it . really is. No Christmas music guide would be complete without a look at all the songs forever preserved in folk memory just to be dragged out at Christmas time. Jingle Bells. Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer. These are dangerous songs. Nonnal, healthy adults should have little interest in what Santa gets up to with his reindeer of an evening. Ifs time someone stood up and told the world that the story of Rudolph and his strangely glowing nose is a result of Rudy's penchant for whiskey and not much else as he drags around all those roottops. Finally we come to Let the Bells Ring Out for Christmas by Wizzard, a song which is · particularly worthy of a good slapping, primarily because it is blatantly untrue. Nobody wishes it could be Christmas every day; we would all weigh several tons, there would be
Jones and the Temple of Doom for the hundredth time. So as the insidious Christmas spirit comes creeping back again, try not to gel too carried away.
hat said, people are already getting excited about the annual race to the Christmas top spot. The bookies' favourites are the Spice Girls. The Girls are releasing Too Much as a follow up to Spice Up Your Life. They can also look • forward to the release of their star-studded film Spice World which is released upon the general public on Boxtng day. W1th the film featuring everyone who's British and famous (apart from Frank Bruno, who infamously walked off the set after the girls .\ • • •
. .. .
.. , , •
refused to meet his children) Girl Power will be everywhere this Christmas and at odds of 6-4 the betting public believe the charts will be no exception. Oasis have also been given favourable odds of 5-1 to snatch Christmas gloty, but according to their record company they aren't actually releasing a single before December 25, so this may prejudice their chances. The main challenge to Spice domination this Yuletide comes from the BBC. Firstly there is Lou Reed's Perfect Day featuring a galaxy of stars from Bono, to the pineapple-adorned Heather from M-People, for this year's Children in Need (you may have seen the shameless advertising in between BBC programmes). Perfect Day remains the dark outsider at 10-1 . The BBC's real heavyweight contender comes from their 'youth' output: The Teletubbies Say Eh-Oh escapes from Teletubby land on December 1 and promises to be a record that will haunt parties for ever more. Eh-Oh is apparently great to sing along to, perfect for a quick dance, and can pick up TV on its stomach (well perhaps not), and what with their TV show treating us to a glimpse of their rock n' roll lifestyle it seems only natural for the Teletubbies to become pop stars, but do they have what !t takes to beat the Spice Girls? So it 's a classic battle of the bands for this year's Christmas number one: Girt Power versus Tubby 'tustard. Whose side are you on?!l Than again, there's always Elton John... •t , ,
·, '\ ..
.. , ..., •
CONCRETE CHRISTMAS SPEC tAL, WEDNESDAY; NOVEMBER 26, 1997
outed as the world's largest New Year
party, Hogmanay takes place from
The old town ~f Edinburgh has a ghostly medieval
December 28 to January 2. The peak of
or the party of the year Amsterdam on
a tree-lined canal. Ifs excellent value for money
December 31 is the place to be. You'll be
and good for baokpackers.
guaranteed a fantastic time while the whole
Sight Seeing/ ~
feel, containing the famous tourist sites, little
the festival is on December 31 when thousands of
cafes and upmarket Scottish and French
city goes crazy with parties on every street with a
people party in the streets. A mixture of
restaurants. Numerous student put;s can be found
deafening firework display that wraps the city in
international entertainers, Scottish food fairs,
around the Grassmarket area - a g·eat place to
smoke. The typical Dutch celebrate the evening
concerts and carnivals last all night long and the
find little antique and craft shops.
with coffee, spirits and oliebollen (similar to
occasional cold climate makes a hip flask of
Edinburgh is famous for its dynamic gay culture
doughnuts and deep fried). Note that many bars
whiskey an absolute life saver!
centred around the area of Carton Hill where
won't open until midnight when the family
many gay bars such as the Blue M:xm Cafe draw
festivities are finally over.
The two cheapest ways to get to Edinburgh
a mixed crowd. This cosmopolitan city is bustling
without a car are by National Express coach from
with live music pubs, dance clubs end great jazi
London for £42.25 or by train for £54 (with a
clubs. Once you get there get a copy of the
railcard). The disadvantage of the coach option is
fortnightly Ust to find out what's on If you've got
plus £18.50 tax with an ISIC card. Overnight train
that it will take you a day to recover. Less
some spare time between pubs check out the
journeys will cost you £45.80, about the same
gruelling is the train which takes just four and a
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art. lt
price as the coach but the train/ferry option will
features works by Jacob Epstein, 1-enry Moore
take you only six hours.
and many French painters such as Matisse.
If you can't stay with friends then book your
Classical music fans should pay
A ticket from Stansted to Amsterdam costs £83
avisit to Usher
accommodation as soon as possible as cheap
Hall whioti has got excellent concerts around New
Hotel standards are usually high compared to
places get fully booked quickly.
Year but you may prefer to watch a film in the
cities like Paris.
There are a large number of B & B's for under
Cameo Cinema which has got quite possibly the
A g~od place is tile International Budget Hotel
£20 as well as youth hostels.
most comfortable seats in the world. Eating well
which is very central with a great view overlooking
at any price isn't a problem in Edinburgh.
Entertabunent Take a stroll along the illuminated canal bridges at night and you might discover some secret gardens. Don't leave Amsterdam without paying a visit to the Van Gogh museum. 1t contains about 200 paintings, 500 drawings and 700 letters by the one-eared wonder. Amsterdam can also be proud of their rather eclectic selection of museums such as the Tattoo Museum, Torture Museur;n, Sex Museum and Marijuana Museum. The cafes and bars are diverse and excitingly different. Brown bars with their nicotine-stained walls are known for serving strong beer with names like 'mort subite' (sudden death). There is a cafe for every mood: literary cafes; sex cafes (G-force); grande cafes and theatre cafes (Cafe Cox). But don't forget the coffee shops if you want to get stoned which Is why most people go there anyway. Try the Homegrown Fantasy Store with the City's largest selection of weed. The Dausenbij Jansen is a great club playing all kinds of music with no dress code and is a great place to meet your
hile most tourist crowds pile up in the
here are now some amazing package
that cannot be missed in Kenya. One of the best
deals available and scheduled fligh1s are
National Parks is the Amboseli, which offers the
not exorbitant. At this time of year
awesome sight of black rhino and elephants
Kenya's temperature hovers around thirty degrees
grazing on the plains of Mount Kilimanjaro,
and with some beautiful idyllic beaches close to
looming ominously across the border in Tanzania.
Mombasa the country Is Ideal for those who want
Closer to Mombasa, the T savo National Park is
a relaxing holiday. Although undoubtedly
relatively untouristy and easily accessible for those
enjoyable, staying close to the beaches would be
prepared to sacrifice a day or two from their
~omeltting of a waste in Kenya since the country
package holiday on the coast.
has an amazing variety of attractions. The
All the game ~rks cater for a wide range of
foremost is undoubtedly its wildlife. Few places in
budgets and tours can be tailor-made to
Africa can rival the volume and variety of the
specification. For those anxious to be even more
wildlife in Kenya and safaris can be organised for
adventurous, Mount Kenya, the second highest
a fraction of the cost normally quoted in a travel
mountain in Africa, offers a feast of trekking
opportunities, even for those who would not
consider themselves committed climbers. The
Now that charter flights are up and running to
mountain's third highest peak can be reached in
Mombasa, the old capital, week-long deals which
three days of walking and at an altitude of 4995
include accommodation and breakfast are
metres offers truly spectacular views ..Although the
availatle for under four hundred pounds. These
package holiday hotels have some beautiful
are available from many of the high street travel
beaches on their doorsteps they do not have a
agents Alternatively, scheduled flights (where you
monopoly on the exquisite coastlines of Kenya.
choosE when to leave) fly to Nairobi and
Lamu is an island two hundred miles from
Summer months, Christmas is
New Year's Eve is known as St Sylveste~s Day
Mombasa and leave Heathrow every day. These
Mombasa and is a quite incredible place. One
quieter, so now is the time to discover
and streets are absolutely packed with locals and
are ava,ilabte at around £350.
visitor spoke of it as a place of fantasy and other-
the virtues of this ancient city. Over the centuries
tourists and most of the party is centred on Wenceslas Square. Though it isn't 1he hippest
Si ght Seeing/ Entertailune nt
worldliness wrapped in a cloak of medieval
Prague has maintained its medieval character and remarkably for a major European city it has
party metropolis in the universe, Pr:tgue's bustling
never been bombed. However, since the break up
corner pubs, bohemian style cafes and discos
of Communism, it has been transformed into a
won't make it difficult to splash you· cash. A
hip tourist metropolis in the heart of Eastern
famous nightspot is the Bunk!, a steel bunker
f you want to escap'e the annual Christmas boredom or need a change from these great
Europe. If you are up for an Eastern European
which may bring back memories of the LCR and
Christmas in a modern capital with small town
the UEA campus. lt is known for its raving techno
remember, then why don't you take off to Paris?
charm then this is the place for you.
parties and its 24 hour cafe.
Prague's art scene is lively and inmvative with
At any time there are flights from Stansted for
New Year's Eve parties which you can never
The one star category can offer quite pleasal)t accommodation, most of them located in the Marais
the greatest art collection in the world, bearing cultural icons like the Mona Lisa. Opera lovers
the Travel Shop, the Time Out Paris Guide or the
shouldn't miss the Opera de Paris-Bastille.
Lovesick or not, a trip to Paris is one of the most
Special cut-price tickets can be grabbed an hour
lots of galleries attracting exhibitions from the
convenient and cheapest on offer. Eurolines
before the beginning of each performance. Cinema
£125 plus £22.50 tax which is a pretty good deal.
likes of Andy Warhol. Great musical venues of the
coaches take everyone under 26 for £45 from
Paris' metro is the best way of getting around the
addicts are spoilt with a number of quaint art
A journey by train is probably the best to see a bit
Czech rock scene are rather rare a1d not really
London to Paris.
city. Metro tickets can also be used for buses which
cinemas as well as stylish multiplex cinemas. For a big clubbing night you migh1 like to try
more of the country but a ticket will cost you
that exciting. The situation is different for lovers of
The eight hour journey can be made overnight (not
comes in handy as the metro stops at 12.45am and
£160. If you've got the time to spare you might
classical music who will appreciate orchestras
highly .recommended - you'll be exhausted when you
taxis are expensive.
Shehetazade, an Arabic Night style club whose
decide to take the coach for £89. Train and coach
such as the Czech Philharmonic which justify
get there) and the price is valid from December 12
interior design of red and gold columns makes it
fares are only valid if you are under 26.
Prague's reputation as one of Euro:>e's musical
until January 11. lt's more comfortable and even
Banks readily accept travellers cheques but may be
already worth a visit.
capitals. Don't forget to check out the tab
cheaper if you choose to go by train. The under 26
reluctant to a~ept personal cheques. The state
If you get sick of the tourist crowds and fancy a
Once you're there, getting around is easy. The
Christmas markets - you'll be sure :o find some
train fare of £39 is a real bargain and valid any time.
Banque de France usually offers good exchange
more unusual experience then watch out for the
Metro, tram and buses combined get you
bargains for next year. Note that bllfing or selling
Quick and easy but more pricey is the Eurostar. With
rates, or try La Poste (post office!).
weekly fleamarkets advertised in the papers.
anywhere. Even though there are no guards or
drugs Is illegal, even though Czech law states
an ISIC card it costs you £49 (midweek fare).
Do's aad Don'ts Do take a evening walk through the city's net of cosy
gates don't forget to buy a ticket as plain clothes
that, "self destructive behaviour isn~ a crime."
Jetsetters have to shell out £115 for a flight from
Paris offers a wide range of entertainment, cultural
inspectors occasionally prey on tourists.
events and visual pleasures. Countless galleries,
side streets and flamboyant boulevards.
Finding acceptable accommodatior is no longer a
theatres, museums, cinemas and clubs manage to
Do try and speak a little French, even if you end up
headache, though affordable, centrally located
Hundreds of hotels range from ultra-;luxury palaces
suit everyone's tastes.
speaking English. lt will open doors.
CONCRETE.CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1997
The owortunity to see herds of elephants,
passing of time. There are in fact few more
gazelles, antelope and wildebeest is something
relaxing places in the world than the island of
former residence of many French monarchs carries
or the Latin Quarter. For specific information search
romance. The oldest town in Kenya is on this island and it has been little changed by the
CONCRETE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1997
THE BEJLJLE VUE PUB
46 ST PHILIPS ROAD, NORWICH. TEL 621784
Christmas should be all about holiday spirit, laced with wine and cans of lager on the side. Jlmy Pierce gives you a few tips and excuses designed to ensure a very merry Christmas ro.. aot baylag pnseats o we all hate buying presents - you get pushed, yelled at and occasionally involved in physical brawls over the latest designer toys. Most of all, the whole thing just becomes ludicrously expensive, and it's hard to find a good excuse to to hide the fact that you're a penny-pinching, bad tempered old scrooge. Going for the sympathy angle is great if you can pull it off - there are the medical reasons for your indolence such as, "I suddenly developed acute agoraphobia and couldn't leave the house." However this requires extra work in explaining just why you were suddenly fine in time for all the Christmas parties. Alternatively say, "I was too ill to go anywhere." Though the same problem applies here. Being British you can blame the weather: " I didn't get you anything because my house door froze shut and I've been trapped inside for the last three weeks," but we aren't in Antarctica so it isn't particularly believable. Instead blame someone else: "I did post your present Auntie Marge, the Post Office must have lost it" or, "I couldn't get round to deliver it Grandad as all the roads have been closed for repair."
eck the halls with boughs of holly, Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la-la-la. Tis the season to be jolly" etc. In"theory, the colourful decorations, the beckoning holidays, the yummy food and sense of peace and goodwill should leave you in a state of euphoria. In reality, the decorations are tacky, Christmas has been shoved down your throat since August and you have to spend several days being polite to loathsome relatives. Here then are some tips to preparing for the holidays. (1)Get stuff done beforehand and give yourself a chance to relax. Or, so as not to get bored by it all, (2) Ignore Christmas for as long as possible. Don't plan excessively or decorate too early. Allow Christmas to creep up on you rather than letting it overwhelm you. Also, the less hype, the more you'll appreciate everything so, (3) Limit your celebrations to special events, rather than complete overkill. Another good tip is (4) Don't think about Christmas In terms of how much Its going to
cost you. Think of that all-embracing Christmas spirit, and if it doesn't make you feel too sick, (5) Resolve to do lots of nice things like donating to charity and being kind to animals - ahhh! Ultimately holidays mean drink:and there's more than one way to let alcohol assist you in staying sane. Top tip, (6) Get drunk and stay drunk for the ent1re holiday thereby avoiding any kind of serious discussion. Also you can (7) Get your relatives drunk and then make fun of them for the next two weeks - it'll make a nice change from being the topic of conversation yourself. As a final resort (8) Get everyone really drunk and ignore Christmas altogether in favour of memory loss and falling down repeatedly. Ultimately Christmas comes down to a choice. Either (9) Accept everything with good humour and be calm, relaxed and happy, hoping then not to waste the opportunity of having a lovely family experience. Or (10) Leave the country, and your family behind in favour of relaxing on a tropical beach. All I want to know is - when does the next flight leave?
Sigas of a good boUday...
uddenly Christmas has gone, the decorations are down and a sense of loss has entered the house. The spirit of goodwill has been pushed back into the closet for another year, so let"s lick our wounds and count our blessings. Hopefully you' ll have managed to avoid charges for murder/assault. Another good sign is to ensure that there is no loss of blood: failing to maim your relatives improves your chances of getting presents next year. Also helpful are no divorces, runaways, or suicides. If Christmas lunch therefore didn 't resemble a scene from Pulp Fiction, congratulations! See, we can all be civilised when necessary. Though still talking to each other is also a basic requirement: ifs kind of hard to establish who owes money for the gas bill when you 're all acting like members of a silent monastic order. Try and avoid rejecting Christmas presents: Everyone seems to have an aunt who 'll send them a Barbie doll or a Thomas the Tank Engine
Face to face excuses require a little more cunning. Ethical grounds, saying, "I morally disagree with commercialism and refuse to give money to evil multi-national companies" could work, but if your Mum is anything like mine she'll reply, "Well then you won't be wanting any presents either will you?" Grrrrrr. Guilt makes great excuses - look lovingly at your boy/girlfriend and say, "I thought my company was the only present you needed/" Emotional blackmail.. .top idea. As a student you can of course claim extreme poverty. Comments like, "If I had bought everyone presents then I wouldn't have had enough money to take the train home (sniff, sniff)" or, "My relative/friend has been really Ill and I had to buy a special present" are pretty damn effective. The best excuse of course is not to have to make one: stop being tight-fisted and splash out a bit. Gifts need to be thoughtful rather than expensive so if all else fails make them accompanied with spiel like, "The best presents are the ones that come from the heart.â€˘ Isn't that sweet.
colouring book even when they 're 30, so smile indulgently (and get the receipt). A positive thing to take away from Christmas is top presents. Not only did you really want that Verve album but the fact you got it means that your parents do occasionally listen to what you 're saying. Being given loads of money is also great, not the most exciting thing in the world but with a little extra dosh you can buy the things you can 't admit to liking publicly, like porn, strippers. and Disney videos. A humongous hangover is a sort of necessary evil: we'd like to avoid them , but without one the holidays can 't really have been complete. Drunk and disorderly charges are not just tolerated but nay, expected. Holidays that involved pulling, on at least one occasion, signify full usage of the holiday spirit. The ultimate Christmas present, however, is to spend weeks stuffing yourself. drinking . doing no exercise and NOT PUTTING ON WEIGHT! Or Slim-Fast and Jane Fonda videos await.. ...
8 yr old Bells Whisky Davoured with Red Chillies!
We wish everyone a very HAPPY CHRISTMAS and look forward to seeing you in the NEW YEAR!! CONCRETE CHRISTMAS SPECIAL, WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 26, 1997
pressies for unde · Jewelled candlestick £4, silver candles £1 . pair, glitter picture frames £3 each, all from Evolution
Range of sweets I chocolates from 35p to £4 .80, all from Maxwell and Kennedy, Castle Mall
Teletubbies balloons £2.49 each, Langleys Toys
REMEMBER, REMEMBER THE 5TH OF DECEMBER... . ~
THESN~BALL 7pm Friday 5th December, The Assembly Rooms
3 Course Meal plus Wine with meal
Live Cover Band: GIRLS' WASH , CUT
GUYS' WET CUT
O RFORD PLACE
ft 01603 614985 *~
''The Cleaving Heavages'' Disco with Mr Hellesdon Sir Late Licence on the Bar
Tickets on sale at lunchtimes in The Hive for: A Quality Ball in a Traditional Hall