Skip to main content

Radio 4s Cassandra's Good Food Guide

"Cassandra" (Bill Connor) was a Fleet Street legend during the Daily Mirror's heyday, with his column running non stop, not counting global hostilities, for 35 years until 1967.
He could often be cantankerous and comically opinionated in what was described as his "polished-up barrack room" style of writing. Some of Cassandra's best columns, however, were not about people or institutions he wanted to admonish, but humorous personal tales about eating and drinking.
Here, we are encouraged to come into the garden by dead of night to listen to the rubbery, rustling noise of a vegetable growing in "How I Like My Cabbage." We learn from him the horrors of being brought up on "Miss Cowie's Porridge" ("If ever a word describing a food had the sound of its meaning, it is 'Porridge' - the slup and slur and costive slirrup of the uneatable.") Then there are the "Scrap Cakes" - his brilliant invention of artillery food that married couples can safely throw at each other ("They are convenient in size, fit the hand like a grenade and do not mark the carpet.") In the description of his calming encounter with the admirable Grocer in Harrods, he is on the trail of "Fried Za Zas", while in "The Prose of Sauce" he reveals "I have been a reader of sauce-bottle labels ever since I first got to eye-level with the kitchen table."
It has been said about Cassandra that he was outwardly stubborn and prickly, but inwardly a warm and friendly cove. An argument with him ended, as a rule, with his twinkling eyes peering over the steamed-up spectacles.
That is exactly the side of the man conveyed by this collection of columns.
Read by Roger Lloyd Pack
Producer: Neil Cargill
A Pier Production for BBC Radio


Popular posts from this blog

Drink, smoke, eat: prohibition today

I am producing and chairing this discussion on our changing attitudes towards personal pleasure as part of the Battle of Ideas Festival at the Barbican Centre, London.

Drink, smoke, eat: prohibition today
Sunday 21 October, 5.00pm until 6.15pm, Garden Room Under the Spotlight

Are we entering a new prohibitionist era? Drinking and even smoking are still perfectly legal, but there is a palpable sense that they are less acceptable than they once were. Cigarettes have become far more expensive thanks to punitive taxes, and the authorities would like to do something similar with alcohol. The spread of ‘no drinking’ zones in public places also seems to follow the pattern of smoking bans, which now cover every indoor public space and many outdoor ones too. So are we witnessing prohibition by stealth? Instead of banning certain activities, is the state trying render them socially unacceptable?

Putting smokers beyond the social pale certainly seemed to be health secretary Andrew Lansley’s obje…

Life is a Dream by Birmingham Opera Co.

Two members of Birmingham Salon are taking part in Birmingham Opera Company's next production, the world premiere of Life is a Dream by composer, Jonathan Dove and writer, Alasdair Middleton. They have created a brand new, full length opera and they've used a legendary play by 17th century Spanish Playwright, Calderón. Artistic Director, Graham Vick, designer Samal Blak, and William Lacey from Leipzig Opera are in charge. Singers include British tenor, Paul Nilon as the King, Wendy Dawn Thompson (mezzo), Keel Watson (bass), Donna Bateman (soprano). They'll be joined by American tenor, Joseph Guyton who played Cassio in Othello and is a finalist in Germany's X Factor. Playing the role of Segismund is American baritone, Eric Greene.
One member of the chorus, Niall Crowley, wrote this piece 
for Independent about the production and the company:

Opera for the masses, by the masses?
By Niall Crowley In a disused tin-plate factory in a backstreet of Digbeth in Birmingham, an extra…

I've just found