Wednesday, July 25, 2007

colourless food

I recently bought some ice pops at ASDA, two boxes of twenty for £2. In the UK, an ice pop is a tube of flavoured ice sealed into a plastic (originally waxed paper) tube. It is not a Popsicle, we call them ice lollies if it has a stick. (My favourite childhood one was the Jubbly, now available again).

The odd thing about these ice pops (or freeze pops, as some makers call them) was that they were not only sugar free, they were totally colour free as well. They tasted normal (they certainly were not flavour free) but they took a bit of getting used to.

This took me back to when I was about Fifteen and took part in the Newcastle University Theatre Young People's Festival. I was on a 10 day sabbattical from school to attend the theatre as part of the technical team. Every morning there was a show called "Betty in Bodgerland" which featured a large pedestrian operated milk float as the Bodgermobile. (Bodgerland was a pun on the then Artistic Director, Michael Bogdanov (who courts controversy on occasions). During the run, I got to operate the lighting desk for most of the shows, a Strand Electric Three Preset SP80 similar to this one. Whilst it was a manually operated desk, the cues had been created in such a way that it could be done using the six master faders in combination without needing to reset any individual faders.

What has all this got to do with colourless ice pops, I hear you ask? Well, before every Betty show, a performance artist blew up a number of interestingly shaped inflatables on the nearby lawn for the kids to have fun with. (Having fun extended to the little horrors trying to push one over railings onto a crowd of other children at a lower level, it took all of us to pull it back from the brink). This performance artist was also interested in doing unusual Banquets as art installations. Using food colourings, he would dye the eggs purple, the mash green, the bread orange and the chicken blue. He'd then let the Public loose who would tentatively nibble then eventually eat with gusto once they overcame the strangeness. I never saw one but read about it.

Strange, the odd things that float around in the recesses of the mind waiting to be unearthed.

One other thing I recall about the Theatre Festival- there was this huge green soft toy snake that must have been 20' long and 15" diameter. It kept appearing in unusual places- in the Auditorium Bar behind the counter, inside the Director's Office, hanging outside the Theatre suspended from the roof. The guilty party consisted of Laurence Southon (Technical Manager, who had all the keys)... and everyone else!

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