Gerry Read’s 8 Head Guide To Easter
Since the eggs went on parade shortly after boxing day the anticipation for Easter has been gently throbbing. As we near the official start of “British Summer Time” Easter begins its ascent towards climax, it’s been slowly edging since late December and that chocolate explosion finale is inevitable.
It was decided by Jesus and the seven chocolate bunnies that Easter would fall on a different date each year. This would encourage heightened small talk creating catchphrases such as ‘when is it again?’, ‘fuck it’s Easter this weekend’ and ‘who’s doing a hunt?’. Easter has actually turned out to be quite a successful holiday and is enjoyed by many devout chocolate bunny worshippers every year. It was voted second most popular holiday among under 30s for a third year running by the readers of Beat Traders Journal. Few people can be surprised at the continuing success of Easter, a staple feature in calendars for nearly 2021 years.
With the Good Friday session alone ticking the box for alcoholism, Sunday lunch carrying the flag for gluttony and a mythical creature encouraging childhood obesity, Easter was always destined to be one of the greats.
Last Easter Sunday you spent locked down, completely alone. Once you stopped sobbing on Tinder and started sequencing the TB-303, you were reminded of the pre pandemic Easter the previous year. The days where you could squish between two people at the bar, sneeze in public without getting daggers and when NFT stood for ‘Nasty Fun Times’. Easter ’19 was spent in a Premier Inn not far off the M1, somewhere between Kegworth and Trowel. A much-needed rest day from gigging with your most recent alt-indie outfit ‘The Zeitgeist Lights’. Most people are completely ignorant as to how exhausting playing synth can be, but not us. The tour was quietly acknowledged as a failure before it even began, more comparable to Only Fools and Horses ‘The Jolly Boys Outing’ than Homer’s Odyssey.
On the drive to the hotel the mood of the bus was sombre. “Why am I doing this?” You kept asking yourself. You should be spending Easter weekend in the home counties, eating Mummy’s hot cross buns, scoffing mini eggs and cracking wise on your Instagram stories. Not looking over at the M1 motorway wondering if your Korg Minilogue survived Stefan’s erratic braking. Pulling into the car park, the purple cladded building was a welcome haven from the tribulations of touring. In front of the hotel a coach was parked draped in flags bearing the red cross of St. George. You could hear familiar chanting but couldn’t put your finger on it. Is it ‘Rule Britannia’? Is it ‘We’re having a laugh’? Or maybe it’s ‘Come on England’? No, the melody sounded too complex to be one of National Football Standards. As you and vocalist Stefan veer closer towards the coach, Stefan mused “Wow, sharing the hotel with a coach load of football casuals, the perfect end to this already unbearable evening”. As you both scan the flags hanging in the window trying to work out which small village is missing their aspiring casuals, the chant resonates all too familiarly. You clock the letter A…X, they had ‘Xtal’ & ‘Alberto Balsalm’ flags with ‘Come On You Slags!’ across the red cross.
“Pulsewidth!” you shouted aloud, as you and Stefan timidly made your way through the men, “They’re chanting Pulsewidth!” you exclaimed again, this time overheard by one of the men. “Go on, say that again” a shirtless man said as he blocked you and Stefan from passing. As your knees started to tremble and Stefan looked like he was about to urinate, the shirtless man continued “Come on lads, let’s do it from the top for them”. The man rallied the firm and instigated a full chanting rendition of Pulsewidth. The men called themselves the A.N.B.C (Aphex Naughty Boy Crew) and met every Easter weekend for their annual pub crawl finishing with nightcaps at ‘The Lenny Henry Bar and Grill’ aka The Premier Inn, joined by their respective families on Sunday for a Easter carvery.
As the instigator gently brought the rendition to a close, you and Stefan felt a little bewildered at what had just transpired, even a little intimidated by the firm’s rendition of an aphex classic. As their top boy wished you a pleasant evening you passed the automatic doors into reception, leaving the man beckoning the firm to circle round for one last number “Windowlicker boys, in 1..,2..,1,2,3,4”. You couldn’t wait for this fucking tour to be over, at this point all you wanted to do was to steam into a growler full of Marshmallow and Pineapple IPA and pass out on the purple chaise longue.
This Easter you’re still locked down but not on your own, you were part of the mass migration from Tufnell Park back to the home counties this lockdown. You left Islington behind and are back at Mummy and Daddies, in the bedroom you slept in as a teenager. After last Easter spent alone and the previous spent staring at the M1, you were looking forward to Easter back in Suffolk, locked down with your parents. But guess what? Your parents don’t want you staying at their house anymore. You moving back in is a regression from a life without dependents they have become accustomed to enjoy. After a heated exchange with Daddy on a Sunday afternoon over the most efficient way of washing up roasting tins, the discussion ended with him storming upstairs “Once this lockdown is over, we’re selling this place and buying that Villa in Alicante, you and your fucking keyboards are out on your own son. I can’t be locked down you again, you’re a fucking waste of space”
The cracks were beginning to show, it has been a long lockdown for us all and maybe using Daddy’s train set as the base for your extensive collection of analogue equipment was a little selfish in hindsight. You reach out to 8 Head (as you’ve done in the past) for a guide to Easter. You ask 8 Head to conjure a recipe capable of earning Daddy’s love and affection. We are in unanimous agreement that you are an extremely unlikeable person and find your complete lack of responsibility and reliance on your parents utterly pathetic. We hope when we make it out of this lockdown you can see yourself from the perspective of patheticness that we all do and re-evaluate a few things. All that being said we are nothing if not philanthropic at 8 Head and we begrudgingly extend to you our warmth and generosity through our Easter recipe. The 8 head Easter Kebab & playlist, enjoy yourself.
8 Head Easter Kebab Ingredients
1 x 2.2kg shoulder of lamb Marinade
6 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp cumin
1 1/2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp ground coriander
2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground turmeric
1 1/2 tsp coarse black pepper
1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp chilli powder
4 cloves of garlic diced
Place the lamb fat side facing up in a roasting tin and using a sharp knife finely score the shoulder. Mix all the ingredients in a bowl until well combined and apply marinade to the lamb, making sure the whole shoulder is covered, ideally marinade overnight. Double wrap the roasting tin tightly in foil and cook at 130°C for 8 hours. For the last 30 minutes remove foil from the roasting tin and turn the temperature up to 180°C. If using a probe pull the lamb off when it reads 100°C, rest for 15 minutes and pull the shoulder apart, serve on pitta with salad and natural yogurt.
Words: Gerry Read & JG
illustrations by Kristofferson San Pablo