Neal Cassady and Jack Kerouac
|Ginsberg, Kerouac and Corso|
I wish I was like those folk who are proficient in blowing their own trumpet. Many seem to have the art of blowing their own trumpet down pat; proving it often. Some do so too often!
It’d be a starting point if I had a trumpet to blow, I suppose.
From the get-go I’m on the back foot because I don’t own a trumpet; not even a borrowed one; let alone a stolen clarion. If I had a horn to blow, no matter from where it originated or to whom it belonged, I’d have to learn how to blow it first, before I blew it.
I wish I had something about which to blow my own trumpet - if I had a trumpet (borrowed or stolen), that is!
My neighbours are probably glad I don’t have a trumpet to blow; and that I have no idea how to blow one. Anyway, I don’t have anything to crow about. The crows perched in the trees have a lot to crow about, it seems. Because they’re crows, I suppose they’re allowed to get away with crowing. That’s their excuse, anyway; and they sure do flaunt it!
I could pretend by making up a few fictional achievements; spin a yarn or four or more; invent some fantasies about which I could blow my sham trumpet. At first blast any would-be listeners would take flight!
Talking about spinning yarns - before I continue I freely admit most of my knitting efforts, of which there were few, were hopeless. I was no pearl in the art of knitting. The first jumper/sweater I knitted was a moss-green coloured V-neck. The V in the neck reached my navel. When the instructions told me to “Cross two, purl left”; I purled left and crossed four. When instructed to “Cross two and purl right” – I probably crossed them all off and did a diamond! Various stitches magically appeared throughout the jumper. I discovered I could do moss stitch and didn’t have a clue how or where I learned to do it! One sleeve was longer than the other, which meant the fingers on my right hand were kept warm, while I had to wear a woollen glove on my left hand to keep it warm otherwise if felt ignored. The extra long V-neck matched the length of my finished product; the jumper ended up about one inch from the top of my knees. I created the mini before minis were created!
Fortunately, the “Beat Generation” was still swinging in the early1960s. After having seen the movie, “The Subterraneans” based on the novella written by famed Beat Generation author Jack Kerouac, and having fallen in love with the handsome, roguish Kerouac, the film and his writings, the romanticised beatnik stereotype captured an inquisitive young teenager’s fantasies. My moss green, over-sized, completely out of whack jumper kind of suited the beatnik dress code; especially when worn with black tights while listening to Bob Dylan, Joan Baez, Pete Seeger, The Springfields, Peter, Paul & Mary, Sonny (Terry) & Brownie (McGhee), Carmen McCrae, Odetta, Nina Simone and so many, many more…as my friends and I spent many hours discussing and questioning the poetry of Allen Ginsberg and the philosophies of Kafka, Nietzsche, Joyce et al. The music suited our in depth conversations.
Once again…I’ve digressed…I wandered off on the road with Kerouac….
When it came to crocheting I gave up crocheting after my second attempt. To see me making a botch of a swatch wasn’t pretty to watch. The bane of my existence was trying to progress to a chain. By hook or by crook I couldn’t even feign I had control of the skein. I slipped up; everything became knotted. In stitches, I was out of the loop so I gave up without a fight.
Nothing is as simple as it might appear. I can’t blow a party favour properly! You know the ones I mean. They’ve been around since I was a kid. We had them at our birthday and Christmas parties.
Here’s proof of how inept I am at blowing a trumpet of any description - whenever I try to blow one of those multi-coloured party favours I either hit someone in the eye or nose accompanied by a weak squeak - from the party favours, not the person whose eye or nose I’ve hit. A loud roar, louder than a crow’s craw erupts from my hapless victim as he/she moves as far away from me as possible.
I’m not sure what got me started on this vein. Maybe an ill wind blew making me feel a mite defeated, useless and out of sorts because I’ve nothing worth boasting about. I didn’t even invent the wheel. How difficult could that have been? If I had I’d still be going around spruiking my moment of brilliant creativity. I’d spin it for all its worth!
Unlike a celebrity, I’m not famous enough to be the subject of a roast, but I could be given a roasting for being ineffectual; for not having done anything worthwhile to inspire some trumpet blowing.
I’m sure I’ve made a few ripples over the years, but none worth shouting about from rooftops. At times I’ve probably blown a fair bit of hot air.
However, even if I had achieved anything newsworthy I wouldn’t go around blowing my own trumpet, if I had one; nor would I blow a trumpet belonging to someone else - from rooftops or from ground level. In my opinion, it’d be uncouth to do so. Feeling duly reproached I’d accept my deserved roasting.
It’s obvious I’m no threat to Louie Armstrong, Miles Davis, Dizzy Gillespie or Wynton Marsalis, all of whom were expert trumpet blowers.
Blow it! I will boast by pronouncing I am able to cook a mighty mean roast. By that I mean a generously fine roast; and I can make golden toast!
Pot Roast: Heat oven, 180C. Combine 1tsp chopped fresh thyme, 2tsp sweet paprika, 2tsp flaky sea salt, 2tsp freshly ground pepper, 1tsp dry English mustard and 1tsp brown sugar. Rub into 2kg piece of brisket/chuck/round. Warm 2tbs oil in casserole; cook until crisp 200g bacon, cut into 1cm cubes; remove bacon; drain. Leave 3tbs fat in pot; add beef; brown; remove beef to plate. Add 500ml dry red wine or dark beer to pot; bring to boil; reduce to about 150ml; add 200ml beef stock and a splash of Worcestershire; add bacon; place 2 large onions, thinly sliced, 10 peeled garlic cloves and 3 bay leaves around beef. Cover; roast 1hr; turn beef; cook further hour; add water if it begins to look dry; transfer meat to plate. To pot add 4 large carrots, 4 medium parsnips and 1 small celeriac, cut into 3cm pieces; add 4-5 whole small turnips; stir to coat; put beef on top. Cover; roast 45-50mins; spoon fat from surface; season.
Glazed Pork Roast: Preheat oven 175C. Rub salt and ground ginger into 2.5kg pork loin centre rib roast on bone. Place pork, fat side up in pan. Roast 2 to 2-1/2 hours. Combine ½ orange marmalade, 1/2c dried chopped cranberries, 1tbs Dijon mustard and 2-1/2tsp Tabasco; brush pork with mix after 1 hour; and thereafter every 15mins. Remove roast to platter; cover loosely. Skim fat off pan juices; serve roast with pan juices.
Roast Lamb Shoulder: Preheat oven, 180C. Put 300g cubed Swede turnip, 2 garlic cloves, 4 chopped celery stalks, 2 red onions, cut into wedges, 300g sliced carrots, 300g pumpkin, chopped and 300g potatoes, halved into roast pan; nestle lamb shoulder in centre; add 200ml red wine, 1tbs water, 3tbs tomato purée and coriander; season; cover; cook 1hr; remove cover; cook uncovered 45-50mins.