A Bit Spesh

Sometimes, in that far-off, magical fantasyland we call Hollywood, two films about pretty much the same thing come out at pretty much the same thing. Remember summer 1998? When Michael Bay's flag-wavin', world-savin' rockbuster Armageddon beat seven bells out of Deep Impact at the box office?

There are, literally, almost a dozen examples of such synchronicity: A Bug's Life and Antz; Paul Blart: Mall Cop and Observe And Report; Tombstone and Wyatt Earp ...

I could go on.

Mission To Mars and Red Planet; The Illusionist and The Prestige; Dante's Peak and Volcano. Um, did I say Antz already? Hmmm. So why does it happen? Cynics will tell you that scripts get passed around Hollywood all the time, so loads of opportunistic executives are ready to greenlight copycat projects if they think they might turn a buck. But crazy dreamers will tell you that certain stories – powerful, primeval expressions of the eternal lifeforce – are just floating round the ether, waiting to be given form. I think we can all appreciate the relevance of that right now.

When TATTGOC founder member Slumdog Millionaire's Shortbread moved to London earlier this year, one of the first things he did was scope out a nearby curryhouse: the Forest Tandoori, formerly the Anika Tandoori. And since oor ain SMS is nothing if not thorough, he checked the web for reviews to see if this place was up to much. And that's when he discovered Shrub And The Spesh's World Tour Of London ...

It's an awesome curry blog, housed on Blogger, about two nicknamed fellows embarking on an epic quest to ... well, actually, they explain it much better in their blog description:

"We are touring London's curry houses borough by borough. Why don't you join us? (Figuratively that is, not literally: you are not welcome to actually come along)"

As you may have noticed, there are more than a few similarities between TATTGOC and SATSWTOL: Spesh and The Shrub have vowed to tour curry houses within a specific geographical area, they're using Blogger as their delivery platform, they've got cool but opaque nicknames and they're certainly not afraid of being a bit passive-aggressive. (They also seem to have a similarly bickering relationship based on a deep heterosexual love – the entry where Shrub realises The Spesh has managed to miss out Hillingdon on their supposedly alphabetical list of boroughs is particularly entertaining.)

As it turns out, Shrub and The Spesh began their Dickensian odyssey way back in April 2006, so TATTGOC is sort of the Johnny-come-lately to this paratha party but, hand on heart, the Tramps were unaware of the sporadic majesty of SATSWTOL when they painfully birthed their own spicy effort. So I guess we're coming down on the powerful, primeval expression of the eternal lifeforce side of the synchronicity argument.

Since being introduced to the rat-a-tat, no-nonsense reviewing style of SATSWTOL, the Tramps have kept a close eye on the site's curry comings-and-goings (even commenting, on occasion). And since Spesh and The Shrub are poised to finally complete their stated mission after countless months of effort, the Tramps thought it was high time to salute their endeavours. So here are five favourite SATSWTOL posts, and why we liked 'em, in chronological order:

Croydon, Nov 2006 – An instructive tale of the dangers of upselling, and a dodgy metal pub after. Sounds sorta familiar ...

Enfield, Jan 2007 – Ha ha! Cockfosters! Cockfosters ...

Kensington & Chelsea, May 2008 – The Spesh comes dressed as a gentleman farmer in anticipation of their poshest curry house yet.

Richmond-upon-Thames, Apr 2009 – The story of a prick-driven Porsche parked on a river slipway bears retelling ...

Waltham Forest, Sept 2009 – Includes a review of sci-fi shish Planet Popadum, which sounds like the best curryhouse in the history of space and time.

Here's hoping that the borough of Westminster – their last scheduled visit – throws up something suitably epic to conclude their awesome tour of the Currywealth. But would it kill them to take some kind of picture? It would be nice to see these curry heroes in feedia res ...

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