Simple Pleasures

In Others
August 13, 2009

Today’s expedition is an example of why I *so sorely needed* this project. I have lived in my current flat for six years now. There is, across the park from me, a cafe. Until today I had *never been to that cafe*. Not to check it out, not to take a look and see what I thought. A cafe five minutes walk from my flat, and I’d never been.

I think I was put off by the sign, to be honest. It’s a bit garish, giving me the idea that the place would be transport-caff-ey.

But instead, it’s vaguely reminiscent of the cafe in Central Park:

And check out the views (cute toddler and Orthodox Jewish couple not permanent fixtures):

Here’s the menu – it’s a kosher place (although I’m not sure if it’s *certified*, but that’s a whole other story) and the staff (and many of the customers) are Israeli. Gave it a nice extra ‘practice my Hebrew’ dimension for me, although I realise that’s not necessarily a draw for everyone.

Why have I never come here before? I think one of the things this project is making me notice is how much inertia I grapple with (perhaps we all grapple with) on an average day. It’s so much easier to do today pretty much the same as I did yesterday. If I’m looking to relax it’s easier to turn on the TV than take a walk across the park to a cafe. If I’m looking to read something new, it’s easier to browse some blogs than seek out great new books (yes, even for me). We all live our days with so many choices that even making a decision to do something is hard – it feels like you’re saying ‘no’ to a million other wonderful possibilities. I’m not sure what the solution is but goddamnit I want to come to this cafe more! When it’s a sunny day, it’s really stupid to sit indoors all day when I could take a book and my notebook through the park and get a cup of tea or a felafel at this place.

In other news, last night I dreamed about Danny Kaye. In fact, I dreamed that I was a 1950s Cleethorpes Council official, tasked with encouraging more tourism to Cleethorpes, and I’d somehow convinced Danny Kaye to give a show. (If this plot turns up in something I write in future I wouldn’t be that surprised.) Anyway, it made me look on youtube for Danny Kaye videos and made the wonderful discovery that some of his movies are (for the moment anyway) up there in their entirety.

Check it out:
Up In Arms

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Merry Andrew

A Song is Born

On the Double

Knock On Wood

Wonder Man  (I watched this so many times when I was a child I still know chunks of it off by heart. I woke up this morning going “Buzzy, Buzzy, Buzzy, Buzzy Bellew!”)
And there are even some more – picture quality does vary.

I had such a crush on Danny Kaye when I was little (in that way that 8 and 9 year olds start to have little crushes) and I’m not ashamed to admit it. Kaye was a Jewish vaudeville performer, who started with stage work and it shows in his range of skills: singing, dancing, comedy, impressions, acting, ventriloquism, acrobatics. And he’s also very good-looking, imho. Wikipedia reminded me that there’s an apparently somewhat well-founded rumour that he and Laurence Olivier had a long-running affair. Which, you know, hot.

Unlike other performers of his vintage, Danny Kaye seems to have fallen out of favour but I think he’ll be rediscovered one day. Jim Carrey is doing his ‘lily-livered guy is forced by circumstances to become ridiculously outgoing and excels, hilariously’ schtick, but without the wit, and certainly without the musical talent. If you’re looking for a simple pleasure, you cannot go wrong with Danny Kaye.

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