Shell shock: How to be more intimate with your dinner



Woody Allen once said: "Life doesn't imitate art, it imitates bad television." Well, sometimes life can imitate good television as well. The US comedy sketch show Portlandia may have had only a limited Netflix release in the UK, but one of its jokes has proved rather prescient.

The sketch in question features a couple sitting down at a restaurant and deciding to order chicken. But before they do so, they have a handful of questions for their waitress: "What kind of breed is the chicken, where was it raised, was it allowed to roam free, what was its name [Colin]" and so on and so forth, before they decide to visit the farm to check Colin's provenance for themselves.

The reason I'm telling you this is that a pop-up collaboration between Krug champagne and hot new restaurant Beast (on London's South Bank from 3 to 7 September) features QR codes on the Norwegian king crabs that reveal details of where the crab was caught, when and the name of the fisherman and his boat. Other eateries also exploring the potential of this technology include The Ginger Pig, which provides "minute by minute detail" of its beef's slaughter.

Possibly best to not try that in McDonald's any time soon.

The mighty Quinn

Here's a story to make anyone over the age of 20 feel old. It involves a scandal in the videogame world and it speaks volumes about the dominance of men in that particular industry.

Zoe Quinn is a games developer who decided last week, in the wake of Robin Williams's suicide, to release her "interactive novel and educational aid" Depression Quest. Simultaneously, an ex-boyfriend of Quinn's, one Eron Gjoni, decided to accuse her of cheating on him, with graphic details and "evidence", on his blog. None of which would matter except that Gjoni said Quinn cheated on him with, among others, a man who reviews videogames for an influential gamers' guide called Kotaku. Cue accusations of "corruption" and a social-media hate campaign, in spite of the fact that no review of Depression Quest has ever appeared in Kotaku.

Quinn's response? A blog entry that, though it claims, "I'm not going to talk about it – it is not your goddamned business", adds that, "harassment, sending my home address around... memes about me being a whore, slurs of every variety [and these are the least of it]... all of these things are inexcusable and will continue to happen to women until this culture changes. I'm certainly not the first. I wish I could be the last." The final word on the subject? Methinks not.

Grand slam

Talking of true words spoken in jest (see "Shell shock"), anyone who has seen the film Zoolander will probably remember the "Derelicte" clothing range described as "a fashion, a way of life inspired by the homeless, the vagrants and the crack whores who make this city so unique".

Guess what? The venerable American shoe and boot company Frye has, among other items in its latest collection, a footwear item called Prison Boot in handsome "distressed, waxed suede". Frye's creative director Michael Petry told the industry website Garmental that the Prison Boot was just about his favourite item in the company's Anniversary Collection: "[It] is based on the Arkansas prison boots that are issued to the prisoners, [but] we remade it and made it a little more comfortable."

And all that comfort and style for $358 (about £215). Insert your own daylight robbery gag here.

Toilet humour

While Greggs was getting plaudits for its command of social media, one Scarborough ice-cream parlour was quietly commanding respect on Twitter for its response to a bad review on Trip Advisor.

"The toilet when I took my little grandson was filthy and had obviously not been checked for a while," wrote one Laurin M on the site last year. In response, Julian Alonzi, the owner of Harbour Bar, has now put up a sign in said toilet that reads: "This toilet is dedicated to Laurin M (Trip Advisor review 2013)".

"It's a shame that people feel they have to do that," says Alonzi. "It's like they're throwing bricks from the other side of a wall. If they would only come and speak to us, we would do everything we could to put things right. We are a family business, and while I know we could just not read reviews or take them on the chin, we take negative comments personally."

So you decided to dedicate your toilet in response? "Yes. It was my private little joke and it gives me a little comfort."

No rhyme or reason

Another in a regular series of limericks based on recent events:

Before you throw ice on your head

Just because some celebrity said

Ask yourself if it's funny

When you could just give money

And not be so easily led.

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