Wednesday, 4 February 2015

FEATURE: 10 Things Not To Do With Your Loved One This Valentine's

When was the last time your life was like a Nicholas Sparks novel? With Valentine’s Day approaching, you’ll no doubt be working out which of the nearest garage forecourts are selling the cheapest bunch of almost-dead roses, browsing the over-priced cards in your local shop because you couldn’t be arsed to do something slightly more creative, or planning your two-dine-for-whatever-pounds in your local supermarket before realising you left it too late and you’ve got lasagne with roast potatoes and spotted dick for pudding. Even if you decide to splash the cash you both end up with indigestion because another couple want your table. Either that or your loved one is defecating when Interflora arrives.

That’s romance for you. Still, it could be worse. You could be doing these instead…
Eating Out: Mai’s Noodle Stall, Meat Grinder (2009)
Revenge is often a dish best eaten cold. A young man, searching for his fiancé in 1970s Thailand, confronts her employee Buss, a troubled woman haunted by memories of a horrific upbringing. Pushing Buss too far, he is brutally dealt with, tacked to a wooden floor by his fingernails, left to marinade for the foreseeable future. As he tries to escape, a riot on the streets outside her home offers Buss a unique business opportunity – the lifeless body of a man dumped in her noodle-cart. He’s the missing ingredient to her new business venture - her very own noodle shop, just like the one her mother once owned. Nom nom…

A Few Drinks: Local Bar, The Ordeal (2004)
Many couples like to recreate their first date. To me, that doesn’t sound very exciting, probably because most of mine involve going to the pub and conversing until I drink too much, take over the tète-à-tète and sound like a tit. It’s a shame I didn’t take any date to the swampy Hautes Fagnes region of Liège. Girls like dancing. And here, in this quaint little bar hidden away in a remote village, the punters love to dance. Sadly, they aren’t so fond of women, but if the date’s going badly, that may not be such a bad thing. Just make sure you know where the door is, and don’t eat the meat.
Staying In: Aunt Mai’s Rejuvenation Dumplings, Dumplings (2004)

 If a woman wants to rejuvenate, she’ll get the best results by starting on the inside. Only Aunt Mai’s secret formula can do this. Sounds like the perfect present, right? Nice food and your dearly beloved gets to stay young and pretty. Trouble is you’ll definitely taste the difference with this dish, seeing as the chef once aborted over ten foetuses a day; 3000 a year - 30,000 in ten years. Her own best advertisement, she may be, and yes, it seems to work wonders, but will your valentine be able to swallow such a unique selling point, let alone the dish? It’s not like you could try another flavour, seeing as “boys don’t get aborted in China.”
Short Break: New Orleans Hotel, The Beyond (1981)

How about spending Valentine’s in a picturesque hotel in one of the world's most fascinating cities? Steeped in a history of influences from Europe, the Caribbean, Africa and beyond, New Orleans is a brilliant mosaic of culture, food and music. Your hotel, situated amidst the sea of darkness, is just as memorable. It is, after all, one of the seven gateways to Hell, so don’t forget your camera. You’ll never want to leave, which is just as well, because here you’ll be trapped for eternity. Zombies, tarantulas and a pet Alsatian add to the hotel’s unique charm, and seeing as you’ll never be able to leave you won’t have to worry about the mini-bar bill either. Result.
Night Out: Parma Opera House, Opera (1987)
Why not do something a little bit different? Going to the theatre is all well and good, but Chicago is full of scantily clad women, The Lion King is about a bunch of men wearing animal masks, and Dirty Dancing isn’t on anymore. How about going to the opera? You still have many of the elements of spoken theatre, such as acting, scenery, and costumes. The performance is accompanied by an orchestra or smaller musical ensemble, and there are real ravens, flying about all over the gaff and a set of lights that drop from the auditorium, crushing many who paid for the cheap seats; metal even heavier than the soundtrack. The Phantom of the Opera has nothing on Dario Argento.
A Few Drinks: Dragon Inn, Dragon Inn (1992)
How about finishing a pleasant evening out with your spouse with a quick drink at the Dragon Inn? Sounds nice, doesn’t it? Why not go during the Ming Dynasty, just as Tsao Sui Yan, a power-hungry leader of East Chamber, intends on destroying the rebelling clans by using a traitorous woman’s children as bait? It sure beats talking. Besides, you probably won’t be able to hear yourself speak because tonight it’s busy. The two warring factions have turned up, there’s a storm brewing outside, and the proprietor hopes to cash in. She probably didn’t plan on a barbeque though.
Eating Out: Local Bar/Restaurant, Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon (2000)
It’s quite busy tonight. Lots of blokes. Probably best if we sit upstairs away from the rabble. Look, there’s a table next to that lady dining alone. The steamed cod and meatballs look quite nice. And she’s got some of that shark fin soup David was banging on about. Not sure about the warm wine but I reckon she’s on to a winner. Shame she’s dining alone on Valentine’s. I hope she wasn’t stood up. Oh, great, who are this lot? We’ve just sat down. I’m not moving. He calls himself Iron Arm. That’s what happens when you’re single for so long. Leave the poor girl alone. She’s clearly not interested. The girlfriend doesn’t look happy. I might have to man up and step in…
Short Break: Sailing Trip, Knife in the Water (1962)

Why didn’t you write me? Remember that beautiful scene from The Notebook, after Noah, a poor and passionate young man, has fallen in love with Allie, a wealthy young woman, and takes her onto the lake, surrounded by swans? Remember the moment afterwards, in the pouring rain, when he reveals he wrote to her every day for a year? He didn’t care that his love-rival was a real man. That’s romance. Well, so is this little sailing trip. Sort of. Probably best not to invite along an emphatic young hitchhiker out of sheer patronization though. Maybe bring your ugly best friend instead. You see, you didn’t write any letters. You couldn’t be arsed. He probably would. Could get messy if you doubt yourself.

Eating In: Pan’s Pad, Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)
Your partner has served up a meal to end all meals. Every dish you could dream of sits right before you. Trouble is, so too does the pale man, a hideous monster with no eyes catching his beauty sleep. Then you steal a scallop and all hell breaks loose. The creature jerks into life, reaching for his eyes (you’ve nicked one, who knew?) before inserting them into the palms of his hands. What follows is a nerve-shredding chase through the corridors. Luckily, he’s been blinded by a delicious shellfish, so you’ll probably manage to escape, even if your sanctuary is the harsh realities of the Civil War.
Eating Out: Local Restaurant, The Protector (2005)
If you really want to eat scorpions and other tasty morsels then it’s probably wise to book your table early. Late-comers will arrive to find the entire building destroyed by just one man. Tony Jaa. Never will you poke fun at a man wearing a scarf again, and if you have his elephants, you may as well skip straight to the crème brulee. But if you hate the food - don’t worry - even the chef gets it. You see, sometimes, eight minutes of pleasure is more than enough. Scratch that, I clearly meant most times. It’s all in the wrists. I meant fists.

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