I had Sunday lunch with Sirdan yesterday and am now the proud owner of two Buckingham Palace tea towels. Lunch was meant to be at Chinese Whisper, but that was closed. Instead we went to Maya Masala and Sweets Indian Restaurant 468-472 Cleveland Street, Surry Hills, Sydney; I had been there once before with The Rabbit who knows more about this food than I do.
We had chaat, not knowing really what it was, and sweets to follow. We plan to return.
In case you read this, Sirdan, here is the menu.
Chaat (Hindi: चाट, Urdu: چاٹ) is a word used across India, Pakistan and the rest of South Asia to refer to small plates of savory snacks, typically served at the side of the road from stalls or carts. Most chaat originated in North India and Gujarat, but they are now eaten across the country. Some are results of cultural syncretism – for instance, pav bhaji reflects a Portuguese influence, in the form of a bun, and bhel puri was created by a Gujarati migrant to Mumbai, whose descendants still run Vithal Bhelwala, near Victoria Terminus railway station.
In each major Indian city, there are popular chaathouses or dhabas, such as Mumbai’s Chowpatty Beach and Bangalore’s Hot Chips, and Gangotree. The chaat specialties also vary from city to city… — Wikipedia.
One thing that was the talk of London when Sirdan was there, but I had missed, was the attempted suicide of Jeff Stewart, better known as Reg Hollis from The Bill. Apparently he was being written out of the series, but according to this report he also had big online gambling debts.
Jeff is the longest-serving actor on The Bill and the highest-paid on almost $400,000 a year – but pals say it does not cover his debts. A Bill insider said his salary was one reason for his sacking. They added: “There are big cuts on the show, but Jeff thought his talents were worth more than just money.”
That had all passed me by.
Sirdan was also struck by the omnipresence of CCTV in London, which is apparently now one of the most surveilled places on earth.
…Video surveillance is widely accepted in Britain, viewed as a fact of life rather than an Orwellian intrusion. There are an estimated 4.2 million closed-circuit TV cameras here. In London, a person can be caught on tape hundreds of times a day.
In a reminder of its crime-solving value, CCTV video figured in the recent trial of six men accused of plotting to bomb the London subway in July 2005. The court was shown images of a suspect boarding a train, turning his back to a mother and child and trying to detonate a bomb…
The authorities have recently begun equipping some cameras with loudspeakers, which allow human monitors to admonish people caught littering or brawling in the street. The theory is that “shouting cameras” are harder to ignore. But critics say they cross the line from crime prevention into public bullying.
There are also questions about who is doing the monitoring — a problem both of skills and manpower, given the reams of videotape that the police must review in the aftermath of crimes.
Still, in the perennial tug of war between security and privacy, security appears to be winning. The next wave in CCTV, experts say, is to marry traditional surveillance with computer software to make cameras better at detecting suspicious behavior that can be the precursor to a crime…
Is that good or scary? What do you think?