AUSTERITY CAFE RECIPES: Brexit – A Breakfast Cereal for Hard Core Isolationists

Recipe of the Day with Yannis, the owner of Austerity Café

Yannis takes five minutes out of his kitchen to give us his views on the ingredients needed for a prosperous and flourishing life:

‘Good morning! What a beautiful day. The sun is shining and the cappuccino’s frothing up good. On a morning like this a healthy breakfast is needed, and if the UK is about to leave Europe, then we need to create something special to mark the occasion:

So here it is: Brexit! A fruity cereal for the hard-core isolationists amongst us. It’s a breakfast bowl without ANY European ingredients, but does contain delicacies from far flung exotic places. It will make your taste buds bounce!

First off all, take a few generous handfuls of Brazil nuts and dried African pineapple and throw them into a bowl. Then chuck in some oats from the USA, and at this point say a small prayer and hope they’re not genetically modified, like their politicians.
Then let a few Turkish hazelnuts tumble over the border of the bowl, but not too many! We need to avoid excessive bitterness at all times. To sweeten things up, we then add some sugar from Zimbabwe. Crops grown under a dictatorship are always well behaved. And, if we want to make a really revolutionary, balanced, non-European meal, we go to Cuba, for some beautiful mango, grown in communist fields. Finally, chop up some juicy figs from Saudi Arabia and drop them in, boom!

And there it is, Brexit, ready in a jiffy and a real delight, and I say that without prejudice.’

‘Austerity Cafe – A Rhyme Opera’ is  a production written and performed by Andy Szpuk, an experimental fusion of verse, politics, satire and music, with Paul Quadros on guitar. Look out for forthcoming shows.

STOP PRESS- The next show is at Nottingham Contemporary on 21st May, at 8:30, on a bill with music acts, don’t miss


Droplets of Verse: ‘Southwell Or Suthall’

Visitors can get into a bit of a muddle
Whether to call a place Southwell or Suthall
It’s about as clear as a dirty, rainy day puddle
There’s no firm conclusion, overall
Opinions are mixed, it’s a right old pickle
Neighbours fall out frequently, over a thing so critical
No one wants to be thought of as feeble or fickle
Pub regulars find themselves getting quizzical

The dilemma remains with us daily, Southwell or Suthall
Of course on paper, Southwell is correct
But in spoken English, it’s never so simple
It’s all about understanding the local dialect
For years it’s been on the whole population’s lips
Town planners and historians are baffled
The police investigated, but the evidence got ripped up
Maybe the secret got accidentally raffled

Southwell or Suthall, now there’s a question
The local baker knows we need an answer
The piano teacher offers an elegant suggestion
It tumbles from her lips like a ballet dancer
‘Oh indeed,’ she says, ‘as if there could be any doubt
Of course the correct pronunciation is Southwell’
But the fishmonger says, ‘she’s a silly old trout’
Around his way they’ve always called it Suthall

On a nearby building site, men fill skips with rubble
Dig trenches, lay bricks, climb up scaffolding
It seems concrete to them, to call the place Suthall
But this foundation they’ve built will soon be crumbling
The architect arrives to give them their instructions
He says, ‘Listen lads, this place is called Southwell,
Not Suthall, we don’t want to cause any ructions’
They look at him blankly, marvelling at his hairy nostrils

To call it Southwell seems to make complete sense
And calling it Suthall causes offence in some quarters
But guess what Sherlock? There’s no hard evidence
And there are advantages, Suthall is snappier and shorter
But it’s informal and perhaps lacks the required gravitas
Whereas Southwell sounds much more stately and dignified
It’s a debate that will run forever, never run out of gas
Each side says their version is bona fide, but neither will ever be satisfied

Droplets of Verse: ‘The Cook, The Blacksmith and The Apple Crumble’

The cook was about to do battle
With a large bucketful of Bramley apples
It was an awful lot to tackle
The situation was terrible
Because every knife she had was blunt
A thorough search boiled down to a fruitless hunt
The sharpening stone was absent
Apple crumble would be missed at lunch

After her special casserole, children at the school
Would be given yesterday’s gooseberry fool
And somehow she thought that cruel
And anyway, it would break her own rule
To serve the same pudding as the previous day
Would be a crime against fine gastronomy
She cursed her badly sliced complacency
And fried herself in a dish of stale dismay

She didn’t want to be a bad example
Desperate she was, to peel those apples
Everybody knew of her remarkable crumble
Served on a Thursday, her portions always ample
She put on a coat and grabbed all her knives
Ran down the road, past muttering housewives
To the blacksmith’s shop, her hopes still alive
She didn’t stop to knock, just burst inside

The blacksmith stood strong, beating hot metal
She flew over to him, a fluttering petal
He raised his black eyebrows, and then they settled
The lady was flustered, but he noted her fine freckles
She explained her dilemma, her voice like a nightingale
The blacksmith was a man with a heart for sale
He sharpened her knives, faster than the flick of a horse’s tail
But made her promise to meet him later for a flagon of ale

She would have promised anything, and so she agreed
But still had a hundred hungry schoolchildren to feed
So she rushed back to the kitchen, the apples got peeled
Maybe later the blacksmith’s intentions would be revealed
She combined the ingredients, slammed the oven door shut
In the right amount of time, the crumble would be cooked
She sat and drank a glass of sherry, alone with her thoughts
The blacksmith’s words had her stomach in knots

He was a fine fellow, and his furnace burned hot
Absentmindedly, she nibbled on a stray apricot
He might be her knight in shining armour, her Lancelot
She trembled to think he wanted her in his melting pot
Maybe fortune had smiled and their meeting was fated
He could be the man for whom she had waited
Her daydreams developed, her hopes were elevated
Then, a smoking oven woke her. The crumble was incinerated


Droplets of Verse: ‘The Bearded Hipster and the Busty Blonde’

He classified himself as an eco warrior
But the bearded hipster had expensive tastes
Daily, he applied the finest moisturiser
To the exposed parts of his face
He liked to visit European cities
Paris, Brussels, Barcelona
An ipod in his pocket for company
And a smart Samsonite suitcase, he was a loner

One day, at the airport, he met a Barnsley blonde
They drank cocktails in an executive suite
Discussed the relative merits of various celebrities
Ended up on the same plane, in neighbouring seats
Just after take off, her lipstick smudged his wispy beard
He ordered a dry martini, she swigged a tin of lager
Her kisses were salty, that could have been the crisps
They exchanged knowing looks, deciding to take it further

They shuffled down the aisle, a duet of drunken giggles
To the vacant on board toilet
Bearded hipster flies undone, like legendary Biggles
His fingers ran through her hair, tangled lusty highlights
He flew face first into large pillows of cloud
Their passions alive, becoming more intimate
Passengers in the cabins heard him scream out loud
Her stiletto heel pierced his soft, suede covered foot

On The #RiteTrax

It was last year when fellow poet Richard C Bower invited me to take part in an event in Sheffield, the launch of a new multimedia project to showcase local underground acoustic and electronic music, poetry, art, beatboxing and anything else that might be a bit out of left field. So, I got myself up to Yellow Arches in Sheffield for that first event and it was a storming night of colourful creative endeavour, it rocked into the early hours!

#RiteTrax have since developed and grown, into a fully fleshed out project and have put on further gigs. I was able to take part in the most recent to date, at Golden Harvest Coffee Shop in Sheffield:

Droplets Of Verse: ‘The Kingdom of the Fat Cats’

Welcome to
The Kingdom of the Fat Cats
A place you once knew
The Kingdom of the Fat Cats
Welcome to
The Kingdom of the Fat Cats
It all turns blue
In the Kingdom of the Fat Cats

Scratching at the windows
Stealing the bricks
Nine lives for sale
Licking their lips
Marking territory
Burying their lies
The only thing green
Are their cold cats’ eyes

Welcome to
The Kingdom of the Fat Cats
A place you once knew
The Kingdom of the Fat Cats
Welcome to
The Kingdom of the Fat Cats
It all turns blue
In the Kingdom of the Fat Cats

Swishing their tails
Preening their fur
Tongues in the cream
Satisfied purrs
They sit on the hill
Sharpen their claws
Make a quick kill
Snapped tight in their jaws

Welcome to
The Kingdom of the Fat Cats
A place you once knew
The Kingdom of the Fat Cats
Welcome to
The Kingdom of the Fat Cats
It all turns blue
In the Kingdom of the Fat Cats

Droplets of Verse: ‘We’re All In It Together’

We’re all in it together
We don’t know what’s coming next
We’re all in it together
And I’ll let you look at my Rolex
We’re all in it together
Selling off the nation’s furniture
We’re all in it together
Sharing memories of old infrastructure

The equity rises much too slow
In my property portfolio
I like the highs, but not the lows
Collecting rent for cashflow

We’re all in it together
Managing the nation’s wealth
We’re all in it together
Taking care of the National Health
We’re all in it together
And that’s why I need your vote
We’re all in it together
On the same journey, in the same boat

You know I’ve got the expertise
I play the markets, climb the trees
You lot might be on your knees
But I’m all right, I hold the keys

We’re all in it together
The future is a rocky road
We’re all in it together
And you can all carry the load
We’re all in it together
I’ll bring you a bunch of flowers
We’re all in it together
Your money is safe in my trousers

Droplets of Verse: ‘The Revolution is About to be Privatised’

Dissent is subject to corporate control
Profit margins are placed on parole
The ghetto is tinted shades of gold
Top dollar is paid for a clean bullet hole
Marketing men pour petrol on flames
Selling an orchestrated terror campaign

A population is effectively paralysed
The revolution is about to be privatised

Detonated dogma decimates districts
Fuses are lit, delivering the deadliest
Blitzed minds are barely alive, zombified
Opiates ossify oratories, brains are fried
A volume of violence makes voices vacant
The roaring rhetoric seems ever more eloquent

The price of all this is cunningly disguised
The revolution is about to be privatised

The payload has a kick, like Bruce Lee
Lunch is a boot in the balls, and it ain’t free
It’s camouflaged, you’ll see it too late
The blast of it tears you apart, that’s your fate
You’re helpless to stop it, it’s a machine
It’s expensive, it’ll take everything clean

It’s too late to stop it, the deal has been signed
The revolution is about to be privatised

Droplets of Verse: ‘Middle Aged Men in Lycra’

Their bicycles are lightweight racers made of aluminium
Lycra leggings riding up high, into the crack of the bum
Grey haired fellas in dayglo yellow, cruising through rush hour go slow
A bike barmy, latex army pedals through city contraflow
Perspiration pours off them in a smoggy city panorama
Then they ride through the countryside spreading their aroma
The smell of nylon and burning rubber, mingling with sweat
Desperately they pray they won’t need to visit the toilet

Heads down over handlebars, legs like sticks of dynamite
Body pumping, working overtime, muscle definition, skin tight
Nothing left to imagination, pedestrians look away blushing
Bulging buttocks bounce along, and these lycra louts are always cussing
Motorists who misbehave are monstered with verbal abuse
Curse words are cut loose, in between mouthfuls of energy juice
The brake cables on their behaviour have been completely severed
But it’s absolutely clear that they’re really not too bothered

They keep their machines well lubricated, always in good condition
But their attitude really stinks, maybe they should take up fishing
They don’t ask for permission, just ride roughshod everywhere
They swarm through country lanes, motorists should beware
They’re insanely competitive, they dream of Olympic gold
Forgetting completely that they’re far too creaky and old
They stick two fingers up at boy racers, curse at Nissan Micras
They end up stuck in the wrong gear, middle aged men in lycra

Droplets of Verse: ‘Full English Brexit’

The sausages should be burnt black by now
But they’re still very raw
Someone’s sucking cold black coffee
Through a second hand straw
A breakfast of significant proportions
Shakedown takes place over platefuls
There’s somewhere on the table for everything
Under the grill, the bacon sizzles

The business of breakfast can be serious
A fried egg is flipped over
Sauce bottles are poised, always ready
A slice of bread is put into the toaster
Continental breakfast is no match
For a slaughterhouse rhapsody
Hash browns are the American influence
Full English Brexit is highly unlikely