So Tim does what he used to do back in 1983 when I moved to Seattle for a year, he saves stuff he knows I like. Whereas in the past he'd post it all to me so that I'd get the football results ten days later – I kid you not kids – now every time I see him he hands me a brown envelope full of joy. This envelope contains all of Giles Coren's restaurant reviews since I last saw him.
Tim that is, not Giles, whom I've never met and feel sure I'd actually twat in the face after a couple of Bloody Marys ahead of professing deep love over the slow arse-fisted char siu pork and crispy ostrich nipple, once the second bottle of Chilean Pinot Noir had been dispatched, before he left me with the bill whilst he went off to the toilets to snort coke off the tits of a passing Hungarian waitress before turning the day into a hilarious three thousand word take down of some scrotum-shrivelling suburban place in Penge into which neither of us have ever set foot. (Yes that was my attempt at a bit of Giles - not easy is it.)
Anyway, this year Giles has made a new year's resolution not to do a review of a restaurant in London. Which is like asking Broadway Danny Rose to move to the countryside. Danny is strictly pavement, Giles is the poster boy for London food snobbery. Even when he's dissing it, he's ligging the next big thing. And the next big thing doesn't happen in Coventry, which as it turns out we both think should surely be north of Birmingham, even if he's only had that thought on the one train he's ever caught out of London, whilst I think it about once a week.
His new provincialism has led to an internet backlash from everyone, in Giles's mind anyway. Which, probably by accident, leads to him putting his finger on something that summarises the worst of social media in one sad-assed, self-pitying for comic effect, sound-bite.
'By trying to review further afield this year, I have been responding to the people who call me a “metropolitan c**t who thinks he's too good to leave North London”. But suppose they are outnumbered by the people who think I am a “metropolitan c**t who thinks he can come up here and tell us what to eat”? Which of these equally furious lobbies should I be trying to please?'
This is so close to the tension in my Shropshire book, I'm pretty much in love...