Wednesday, June 24, 2009
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
I spent last week keeping close to the edge of frugality. After nabbing so many bargains in LA I headed home certain I had obeyed the rules of recession holidaying as well as doing my bit for the world economy by shopping.
Sixteen hours later however, I was furious at having to pay €150 for excess baggage.
So i spent the week doing 'free things' such as washing, squeezing my new clothes into my boyfriend's wardrobe and walking a lot to limit the extent of calorie creepage after a week of margaritas and guacemole.
By Saturday I was ready for my 'non recession' treat, a belated birthday present from my boyfriend who has finally recovered from a virus.
A meal in Town Bar and Grill. Far were we from affording Town Bar and Grill right now but I enjoyed my night of spoiling. The place was heaving and I wondered if perhaps the other diners were also the recpients of birthday treats or once-off special meals.
There was no evidence to show that this is the latest haunt to come to the media's attention as being in trouble.
It's sad, but not surprising, to hear that such a good restaurant, with fantastic food and a favourite among many, is now experiencing recessionary difficulties.
It's not surprising to me as my own family's restaurant, ironically a year closed on the very night I ate in Town, was never short of covers at the weekend and its closure was merely an indicator of financial pressure rather than a lack of popularity.
That's the thing about recession, it sometimes claims the busier restaurants as its victims, with high rents and unsympathetic banks playing a role. A full house doesn't always make the books add up. Unfortunately.
Many quieter restaurants will survive the recession, while busier ones may continue to close - it's just financial logistics you see.
Indeed so sudden was our own closure in the end that I only found out on the day, Friday 13th last year. After working there five, sometimes six days a week, for nearly six years, I know all too well the effect a closed business can have on those involved.
I pass many empty restaurants in Dublin at the moment and always get a twinge when I see bored staff furiously polishing the cutlery, desperate to keep themselves busy and hold onto their shifts.
I hope Town Bar and Grill's, 'private investor' will put an end to their troubles and see it thrive in the future.
Each dish was perfect, worth every penny and calorie, even if I will be walking more this week!
Tuesday, June 16, 2009
As the recession originated in the US with Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, my trip to LA had me curious about the economic impact at a local level. Being a total news junkie, I managed to sneak in a few news reports on the various channels, in between lounging in my uncle's sun-drenched backyard and hunting for recession-busting bargains at the mall.
I was interested to see if the current climate was portrayed in the 'doom and gloom' manner favoured by some of our own media.
In contrast, fluorescent-orange news anchors broadcast regular updates on the plummeting property prices across the valley, seemingly dosed up on happy pills and wittering with each other in over-the-top, nauseating tones.
Stories of crime and highway accidents are reported in such a cheesy, almost bizarre, manner that I often wondered if I was hearing the news correctly. Perhaps the Botox-pumped presenters are just immune to the tragic tales that are all too frequent in a city of 12 million.
The most ostentatious report I witnessed was following a freak outbreak of rain one morning which made for Big News: it didn't dampen my holiday spirits but did make me smile!
Ads for herpes, haemorrhoids and debt help lines are all delivered in equal measures of syrupy sweetness.
Interesting too was how a lot of stories eclipsed our own news of late: the take over of Jay Leno’s Tonight Show reminded me of Pat's departure, while news of retail hell and students being rejected from their fee-paying schools were all too familiar.
I'm not sure why I am surprised as I knew America was in a worsening financial crisis but somehow I hadn't expected so much of a similarity but it seems the US is really just as bad as here.
Apart from the unbelievable sales, I was lucky to be holidaying far from any recession reality at my uncle’s, although California is clearly a state with many struggles ahead.
It seems however that the trend in broadcast media is for the anchors to maintain their blinding, bleached smiles and saccharine style, in an effort to preserve the ‘happiness’ all Americans seem to adopt in public.
Whether it’s reporters, struggling waiters in half-empty bars or pouncing sales assistants who greet me ecstatically in every shop, no one could ever be accused of being gloomy, no matter what their troubles.
It's just the Californian way, service with a smile and tangerine-tinged television.
Although I could never adjust to such an overload of enthusiasm, it's good to see people trying to lift their own spirits, and each others. Have a nice day now!
Sunday, June 14, 2009
Tuesday, June 9, 2009
But I am going to make the absolute most of this week, relaxing and forgetting the hectic year behind me, and of course I will be dabbling in some recession savvy shopping. With the amazing value of the dollar, it would be foolish of a recessionista not to…
Tuesday, June 2, 2009
So the telly is that one thing that offers escapism from the boredom of ‘cutting back’ and of course it’s not all bad when ‘sitting in’ means cosying up your new house mate - that is live-in boyfriend of six months, cohabiting happily together. Delighted with our hi def flat screen, we agreed we didn't need a second set and left my TV at my parents’. Also, because the bedroom didn’t exactly have enough space for any more of 'my stuff'’.
The first few weeks were spent kindly offering each other the remote while the other sat, quietly in domestic bliss. We had always known we wouldn't see eye-to-eye on our programme choices but in the early days we were hopeful that a compromise would work out. Things came to a head recently over two words - Champions League. Every single night it seems! Thursday onwards doesn't count. Apart from the odd date with Pat Kenny I don't switch on the box much at weekends anyway so he can enjoy football frenzy without any objection. It’s mid-week that I need it! The recession has of course made it worse - with not as much money to visit the pub he watches more games from the comfort of our home.
Where was the guy who used to miss the football to endure endless chick-flicks just to spend time with me?
I don't mind sharing our telly time, honestly, fair is fair, it's just that football takes up the whole night, THREE hours of it, rudely interrupting the soaps! “Well relax, it's all over now for the summer,’’ he pointed out the other night while throwing the remote at me. Yes he agrees that soaps are only 30 minutes long, but argues that Coronation St. has never once taken a break in more than 30 years ! I suppose he has a point.