I was passing through the kitchen on Sunday evening, while Mrs Tin was watching RTE’s travel programme “No Frontiers”, and I heard its main presenter Kathryn Thomas (and sure let’s have a picture of her, she’s gorgeous) say this:
“Tune in after the break when I’ll be investigating the shopping in Chicago, while Síle Seoige seeks out the sophisticated side of Newcastle.”
Clearly there is a pecking order among the presenters, and equally clearly Síle is not at the top of it. The words “shitty” and “end of the stick” come to mind.
The news that Newcastle has a sophisticated side will come as a surprise, not least to the Geordies themselves. It is true that Newcastle has been described as Paris-upon-Tyne. It is equally true, however, that it has been described thus only once, and that was by me in that last sentence.
Indeed, Geordies might be offended by suggestions that they are sophisticated. They see themselves as tough folk, eking out a tough bleak life in a tough bleak part of the world. They regard Yorkshiremen as softies with an over-optimistic view of life. It’s no co-incidence that their football team plays in black-and-white.
Their love affair with Newcastle United is the only show of emotion that they allow themselves (how they marry and have children is a mystery) and has reduced Newcastle’s fashion industry to just one item, the Newcastle team shirt. It is worn by everybody, every day, whether there is a match on or not. The only ones who don’t are those who wear no shirts at all, the group of bald, boobed, beer-bellied bruisers who stand bare-chested at each game in St James’ Park, defying the howling, banshee-breathed gale that sweeps in from the North Sea, and a temperature which rarely rises above two degrees. Even they, though, are loyal to the team colours. They may not be a wearing a shirt, but the shirt that they’re not wearing is a Newcastle shirt.
Newcastle’s fashion world, though, is a sea of choice compared to their drinks industry. You have two options in any pub – you can drink Newcastle Brown Ale, or you can fook off. I spent a week once there in a hotel which literally sold no other beer. And sure why would they, since once your taste-buds have tasted their first Nukey Brown they lose the will to live, and indeed the ability.
Essentially, Newcastle Brown Ale is brewed by taking a bottle of standard beer and leaving it open somewhere warm, till all the head has evaporated. It is then strained through one of Alan Shearer’s old football socks. Then they decant it into a NBA bottle, the sock is stuffed in for good measure, and the bottle is rolled downhill through coaldust. The resultant beer tastes like vole-spit, and does alarming things to the colour of your pee after a couple of days.
Anyway, I never got to see the end of the program, so I’ve no idea whether Síle found what she was looking for or not. My guess is that if she found a pub where they gave you a glass with your bottle of NBA she was doing well.