Lockdown Diaries – Day 64

Let’s talk about aspiration.

Talk about how what inspires you or what you aspire to be, is likely to have changed over the course of lockdown. May now have changed for months (or years?) to come.

I mean, how does aspiration work when we are being asked to self-isolate? Where a great number of things are now further out of reach. Even for dreamers?

This diary post was triggered by reading the latest issue of Noble Rot magazine.


I have been reading Noble Rot since issue one. A downloadable PDF, some five years ago.

Whilst I am a regular reader, I am not a genuine Noble Rotter. Most of the features, articles and stories are always likely to be something that only ever play out in words. Not actions.

Having two lunches and two dinners on the same day in an Italian city, only really happens when one of our kids decide they no longer want to eat in the restaurant, we first sit down in.

I buy the quarterly magazine for the writing. It’s always about the writing. The lead features from the magazine owners. The restaurant reviews from the Queen of the Cutting Word, Marina O’Loughlin. To learn how to make the very best Slip sole, served in the wine bar of the same name (same team).

Yet aspiration is always there. I buy the magazine to aspire. Not to one day become someone I’m not, but to have a fleeting moment where I find a better wine in my glass. Sat at a table in a restaurant I doubt I will ever be able to go back to.

Admittedly I am more Hart Bageri or B├Žst than Noma, with regards to Stephen Harris’s latest piece in the current issue. But if The Sportsman in Kent now feels further away than ever before, for someone living in Leeds. When will the prospect of visiting Copenhagen become something we can dream of again?


It will be interesting to see how the current restrictions change my experience of reading a magazine, that exists in another world.

Will there be scope for the brilliant features on distant vineyards or boozy lunch gatherings? Or will Dan Keeling be limited to recounting the bottles sunk in his kitchen since March. Can a George Reynolds breakdown of where to eat in London, come without a series of asterisks. Ranking how likely it is for those restaurants to make it out of lockdown. All of it is now surely, subject to change.

I read Noble Rot because I want to do more than just drink the Frank Cornelissen I have in my “wine rack”. I want to read about how he fits in to the environment, the landscape and the scene around him. To lean over to A. and say…

“Do you fancy a trip to Sicily. To drink wine and eat in fantastic restaurants. Just the two of us?”

And then we stop laughing.

For that feels like a different time now. A couple of issues ago. And not just in a magazine sense.

Chris Written by:

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