I think these pictures speak for themselves. (On the left is Captain Smarm, who I'm pretty sure has a substance abuse problem. On the right is Spot, the elusive dinosaur.)
Marty Allen makes the sock puppets and takes their portraits. That is how he spends his time and makes a living. Which makes me think most of us have probably gotten this job/career thing wrong. Why work for an evil corporation when you could spend your days with friendly sock puppets. Or, if you must pay the mortgage, put a sock puppet portrait in your cubicle and confuse your coworkers about what your boyfriend/girlfriend/family look like. Find Marty, and the 27 puppets, at the Union Square Market. They are also all available online:
My friend, Shampa, told me to put this on the blog, so here it is. It is a cuddly lion story and the world needs more cuddly lion stories. As Shampa said, it is a little "Siegfried and Roy", if only in the styling and the fact that there are lions present. Unlike Siegfried and Roy, these two men, John and Ace, were actually fashionably dressed for their time, and I dare say, the hippest people on the African savanna that day. And, what they were wearing aside, it takes some courage and faith to just stand there while an adult lion, who has been living in the wild, runs up to you, regardless of whether you raised him from cub. The most amazing part of the story, at least to me, was that you used to be able to purchase baby lions at Harrods, even if you lived in a flat.
It's not so much that I miss Australian meat pies. I miss the idea of Australian meat pies. I live in New York City, which has everything, so there are actually a few places here where I can go and eat an Australian meat pie, but I still miss meat pies.
You see, when I lived in Australia, meat pies were not the kind of thing you went to a restaurant or bar to eat. They weren't the kind of thing you ate off a plate. True, gourmet meat pies are on the bar and pub menus in Australia now, but I was abroad for the great meat pie renaissance down under that put them there. So, to my mind, meat pies are to be eaten at the football (not that you would ever catch me at the football), or grabbed from the 7-11 when you're feeling a bit peckish (not that you'd catch me eating a 7-11 meat pie), or scarfed down late at night after a nightclub session (not that you would catch me at a nightclub, not these days).
I guess that what I've really missed is the ready availability of meat pies. Meat pies that don't require a commitment to a venue, to a plate, to a knife and fork, but are just there when you want them. Meat pies that taste as they did in my childhood, or rather, that taste as they did in my childhood, filtered by my spoilt tastebuds and a romanticized sense of nostalgia, which, of course means they have to taste a hell of lot better than they ever did to taste the "same".
Now, at last, I have found what I've been missing. At a proper Aussie pie shop, Dub Pies, in Brooklyn. And I am happy. Okay, that's kind of a lie. I am happy but I'd already found a proper Aussie pie shop, Tuck Shop, in the East Village. But I like the traditional, basic, meat pie at the Brooklyn joint better. Of course, meat pies cost a lot more now than I remember ($4.75 for a steak mince pie, $3 for a sausage roll), but that's cheaper than most New York sandwiches.
Both these pie shops are capable of making a flat white, which is something Starbucks will never be able to do.
DUB Pies NYC (Down Under Bakery) 198 Columbia Street (Btw Sackett and Degraw) Brooklyn, NY 11231 Phone: 646.202.9412
NB They also serve lamingtons, an Aussie jam-filled sponge coated in chocolate and coconut--another thing that I ate as a child in Australia and didn't much like but now has nostalgic value. Oh and they serve a spirulina smoothie--for some reason I could never understand spirulina is big in New Zealand--and it's gross.
TUCK SHOP 250 W 49th Street (btw Broadway & 8th Ave)
New York, NY 10019
NB Both these places serve a pie floater. If you don't know what that is you will have to find out for yourself. The Tuck Shop has pie specials and more special pies than DUB pies. You can also get lamingtons and vanilla slices at the Tuck Shop, and a vegemite sandwich, if you really must.
I wasn't going to post this as just about everyone I know has already seen it, but the more I see it the more I like it and I hate to think that anyone will miss out. So without further ado, here is the latest Bulgarian singing sensation, Valentina Hasan, with "Ken Lee".