Bensoir! It's me, Benjamin. I like to eat and drink. And cook. And write.

You may have read stuff I've written elsewhere, but here on my own blog as Ben Viveur I'm liberated from the editorial shackles of others, so pretty much anything goes.

BV is about enjoying real food and drink in the real world. I showcase recipes that taste awesome, but which can be created by mere mortals without the need for tons of specialist equipment and a doctorate in food science. And as a critic I tend to review relaxed establishments that you might visit on a whim without having to sell your first-born, rather than hugely expensive restaurants and style bars in the middle of nowhere with a velvet rope barrier, a stringent dress code and a six-month waiting list!

There's plenty of robust opinion, commentary on the world of food and drink, and lots of swearing, so look away now if you're easily offended. Otherwise, tuck your bib in, fill your glass and turbo-charge your tastebuds. We're going for a ride... Ben Appetit!

Friday, April 29, 2016

The Tragedy about a Daylight Robbery

Earlier this year, we saw The Play That Goes Wrong at the Duchess Theatre. All things considered, it's a pretty good production, subverting as it does a wide range of theatrical tropes to comedic effect. I laughed quite a bit. All good so far.

Then, a few weeks later we went to see the spin-off, Peter Pan Goes Wrong, which was less fun - perhaps unsurprisingly, given that the supply of ideas for stuff that can go wrong was probably thin on the ground following the sheer number of things that, rightly, went wrong in The Play That Goes Wrong.

Nonetheless, it was still just about worth watching, in a sort of pantomimey, passing-the-timey sort of way.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Are we feeling revitalised yet?

So, last week I was able to attend one of CAMRA's consultation meetings as part of their Revitalisation programme.

Admittedly, one of the reasons I wanted to do this particular session was that it was being hosted by the Southwark brewery, and as such, was another small step towards doing every brewery in London this year. But I also have views, some of which aren't always entirely in line with established CAMRA dogma, and this was an opportunity to make them heard. Possibly.

For a start, I didn't agree with the negative and provocative language they used in bringing this exercise to the attention of the mainstream media, though I have to admit, it certainly got their attention, if possibly not for the best of reasons...

So, how did it all go? And what can you expect when the Revitez crew to rock up in your manor going all craft on you?

Monday, April 4, 2016

CAMRA's suicide note

I don't pay a whole lot of attention to CAMRA politics - I'm a member, but I'm not that kind of member - but over the last few days things have really gone a bit weird.

Some recent headlines made for interesting reading:

'Thanks to the hipsters, has the Campaign for Real Ale pulled its last pint?' asks the Telegraph, while the Indie wonders if the organisation is about to change its name and perhaps its entire remit. The BBC went with 'Should there be a crusade to save British pubs?', which, of course, is already heartland campaign territory, but there is a strong implication that this should become CAMRA's sole focus rather than worrying about all that 'real ale' nonsense.

So, it's pretty clear that a press release was widely circulated ahead of the AGM / Members Weekend in Liverpool, and whatever was in it has caused news outlets to jump to all kinds of fucked-up conclusions, right?

Or possibly the cart really was leading the horse on this occasion. Given that the title of the press release in question was: Is this the end of the Campaign for Real Ale?.

Yes, that's the actual title of a Campaign for Real Ale press release. Provocative? Confusing? Stupid?

Suicidal? Quite possibly.

Not so much the gentle winds of change, but somebody somewhere really pushing an angle that either CAMRA is in crisis (almost certainly not true in any sense; membership figures are at record levels) or that the organisation is about to make drastic policy changes.