In Food and Drink, Radio
June 12, 2007

People keep saying to me (well, a couple of people): you should blog more often. And I say: about what? And they say: well, anything. And I say: isn’t that likely to come out sounding rather trivial? And they roll their eyes and try to explain the point of blogs. I don’t quite understand, but I’m trying. So, in that spirit:

Is it me or have things changed at Yo Sushi? I know it was never the height of food sophistication or the most authentic experience in town. Still, I seem to remember that when I first went (circa 2000) they did have people actually making sushi in the chefs area. Perhaps I’ve just overlaid my memory with other, better, sushi I’ve had since, but in my memory my first time at Yo included the flashing knives, the slabs of fish sliced thinly before my eyes, the swift and expert formation of rolls.

At the Yo I went to for lunch today, most of the staff seemed to be engaged in comparatively skill-free activities: taking pre-sliced sashimi from boxes and portioning it onto dishes, slicing cling-film wrapped pre-rolled futomaki into discs, counting out pre-made maki onto plates. Only one woman was actually making sushi, and she had to consult a copy of the menu to see what she was supposed to be making. Yo is increasingly seeming like the McDonalds of sushi.

Am I imagining it? Was it always like this, or has Yo’s aggressive expansion created room for these economies of scale, depriving diners of the theatre of sushi-making? I always liked the conveyor belt, but I can’t say I’m fond of this production line.

However, a thing that entirely exceeded my expectations for drama and theatre lately was the BBC’s latest Classic Serial – No Name by Wilkie Collins. You can find it here for the next few days: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio4/arts/classic_serial.shtml. It’s just brilliant: funny and racey and exciting with one of those wonderful empowered Victorian heroines everyone loves since Tipping the Velvet. I predict that BBC TV execs will have been listening to it too, and No Name will be a BBC1 Christmas drama in two or three years time. 

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