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Two extracts from "The Beiderbecke Tapes"

by Alan Plater, 1986


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Jill had not lived with anybody since gently but firmly hurling her ex-husband from her life. Trevor had not lived with anybody since leaving his home in downtown Sunderland to go to training college. Habits and affections, endearing on an overnight assignation, scratched more deeply on a daily basis.

Trevor liked to make faces with his food. Given a salad, he would transform a tomato into a nose, cucumber into a mouth, radishes into eyes, with lettuce as hair and chutney as a jaunty moustache. Red and green peppers, which had rarely touched upon his takeaway bachelor existence, added new dimensions to his creativity, until Jill stopped him.

"Must you make faces with your food?"
"My mother used to do it when I was little, when I wouldn't eat. Just got into the habit. It's fun, isn't it?"
"The first time, yes. The twenty-ninth time, less so."
"I do amazing things with chicken vindaloo."
"Not here, you don't."


It was Trevor's turn to prepare dinner and they were having cheese-on-toast, as they always did when it was his turn to prepare dinner. Since moving in on a permanent basis he no longer used white sliced bread and pre-sliced cheese, but the essential strategy was unaltered.

"Goody-goody, cheese-on-toast," said Jill.
"I've had to learn a lot of new things since I became your cohab. I've had to learn new names for every meal. You can't expect me to learn new cooking as well."


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