This month, Trampy and the Tramp's Glasgow of Curry celebrates five years of continuous spicy operation, incorporating almost 50 legendary outings and countless weekly updates. A lot has happened since that first fateful visit to the Indian Orchard in Partick, and we're now halfway through our series of typically self-congratulatory posts during November. Last week, some of our regular Curry Clubbers explained what TATTGOC meant to them ... and that was just part one! Here are more dispatches from our brave currynauts ...
We'll be back next Thursday with the last instalment of our TATTGOC 2008-2013 celebration.
Rogan Josh Homme
I look around me, and I see a lot of men ...
It’s November 2008 and I’m perched between the Tramp and Trampy at the inaugural meeting of Curry Club – or what was then referred to (in redacted communiques of the time) as "Chris' Curry Club".
The venue is the Indian Orchard in Partick, a near empty establishment serving up ectoplasm-like mango chutney and curry as cheap as the chips the Orchard's only other patrons have ordered from the "European" section of the menu. Given that I remember that detail, I'm disappointed that I don't actually recall what I had at this nascent gathering (never mind whether it was any good or not). But I do remember a general feeling that something momentous was happening: a meeting of men, of minds and of stomachs hungry to try, if not always new things, at least familiar things in unfamiliar environs.
Looking back at this slightly skewed panorama shot – snapped on a primitive camera phone towards of the end of the night in the midst of the swiftly abandoned ritual known as the post-curry brandy – I'm surprised by how much of Curry Club was and wasn't in place on that first night. Copious lager consumption was very much in evidence, as were photographic skills that would make at least one member of Curry Club look as if they'd just watched the killer videotape from The Ring (sorry Trampy!). There was also plenty of passionate, contemplative, often pop-culture-tinged discourse (The Wire and the general crapness of Quantum of Solace were both rigorously debated with The Duke).
Beards, however, weren't quite as prominent as they'd later become. And nor were the curry-punning pseudonyms that would eventually set each of us free from the grind of our day-to-existence (at my next outing, I plumped for Rogan Josh Homme; Queens of the Stone Age being my favourite band at the time). Nevertheless, by the end of that first night, the tentative bonds that Trampy and the Tramp's grand experiment had been set up to forge felt like they were forming the basis of what might become a lasting brotherhood.
And so it proved. The strangely ghost-like image of Jalfrezi in the above shot may have anticipated the way in which some members would eventually fade from view – but definitely not from memory – as they moved on with their lives and careers, but what we've all come to affectionately know as TATTGOC (a love of acronyms is second only to a love of puns in Curry Club) has remained a constant: a constant source of great curry, great conversation and (*wait, I've got something in both my eyes*) great friendships.
But as we celebrate the fifth anniversary of TATTGOC (which, in a neat piece of synchronicity, has coincided with my own Curry Club namesake, Josh Homme, descending upon Glasgow to play The Hydro with Queens of the Stone Age), what will the future hold?
Who knows? Although, maybe, just maybe, a few of us Curry Clubbers attending the Cafe Noor outing earlier this year have already had an accidental, 12 Monkeys-style glimpse of our fates ...
If this is the future, I for one, am ready to embrace it.
First outing: Spice Garden, Dec 2008
Six years ago I betrayed gorgeous Glasvegas by moving to austere Auld Reekie. I wasn't sure if she had forgiven me when I returned for my first Curry Club outing to the Spice Garden in 2008. I needn't have fashed, Glasgow, as always, welcomed me with open arms on what has become a bi-annual visit to TATTGOC.
While I have particularly enjoyed the end of year TATTGOC meet-ups I have to be biased and say my favourite outing was at the Caledonian Brewery in Edinburgh. A well-kept secret right up until the big reveal the evening not only took in a tour of the brewery, some dandy baseball cap-style hardhats and a massive spread from the nearby Verandah restaurant, but also a mini lock-in at the tasting pub. Ravi and Rabbie particularly proved their worth as barkeeps.
A special mention also has to go to the coverage of the humongous spread by Bombay Blue at my nuptials. Their sneaking of whole green chilis into the side salads providing many eye-watering moments.
Good food, good pals and unbelievably good puns. TATTGOC has grown in numbers and reputation over the years. Awards, articles, podcasts, where will it end? Probably in the pub afterhand ...
Sir Spicy Lover
First outing: Mr India's Balti And Dosa House, March 2009
Thursday nights were getting a bit desperate. The Rotary Club, The Roundtable and The Masons had already knocked me back. Then I got the call. Like a spiced-up prequel to the Bourne movies I had to undergo a rigorous selection boot camp; pledging allegiance to the TATTGOC curry code and adopting a new name and identity. I was promised curry camaraderie, to imbibe the finest lagers in humanity and to be taught the secret behind the infamous "levitating duvet" trick, handed down by generations of Tramps. (Performed incorrectly, it has been the ruination of many a relationship.)
Like tucking into a leftover Peshwari naan for breakfast, the reality was much sweeter. Walking into my first Curry Club outing I was immediately welcomed by the hearty guffaws of jocular male laughter and comforted by the seemingly ubiquitous TATTGOC dress code of beard, spectacles and (slight) beer belly. In the company of men closely resembling a mash up between 1970s OU lecturers and the cast of Withnail and I, I felt at home. Under the steadfast leadership of the Tramps, Thursday nights were now a welcome escape from the safe comfort zone of the West End. No curryhouse or pub has so far been left unturned in the Tramps’ quest for curry perfection. Usually we have had most of the gaffs to ourselves, except when the intrepid currynauts gatecrashed the odd random Thursday night birthday celebration or quiet romantic liaison.
I recall fondly the cocktail sophistication of the Agra (Sex in Mumbai anyone?), the besuited Christmas pop quiz at the Killermont Polo Club (where I won a Chuckle Brothers DVD as part of the Tramps’ famous Stu-Pot style Christmas giveaway), and the takeaway combo madness of King Dosa (from Banana Leaf) and magic darts at Bulldosa’s.
My personal favourite is still that gem of the Southside, the Anarkali. I can’t even remember now what I ordered but, damn, it tasted good. I really need to go back there sometime.
I am also very proud of introducing the first curry cub to the world. The dinosaur obsessed "Pterotarkadhal" has never shied away from the Way of the Spice and happily devours lashings of homemade rice and dhal or chilli prawns. Since then, the ranks of curry cubs have swollen beyond belief. My second curry protégé, "Samosalyn" is also a dhal obsessive. Surely, it can’t be long till The Tramps organise a Curry Cub Camp ...
But for now, Tramps, I raise a glass of mango lassi in your general direction and thank you for your dedication to the cause, your hospitality and your ability to divvy out the bill at the end of an evening. To quote a greater curry sage than I:
“Curry on, curry on, as if nothing really Madras ...”
Bawsaag/Aloo Aloo/The Bulldosa
Back in 2008, when The Tramps were dishing out nicknames to the Curry Club brethren, for some reason I got the short end of the straw – Bawsaag was the first of my several monikers, Aloo Aloo was another. Apparently the latter was a reference to a sitcom with a similar sounding name and had something to do with the common misconception that I was always moaning (nothing could be further from the truth). It was a while before they actually let me have my current, less derogatory title, but it didn’t stop them from regularly attempting to bar me from official Club activities.
|The Bullnosa: during that fateful visit to Madras Palace|
But those days of pseudo-playground bullying are in the past, mostly because I now don’t reside in Glasgow, having fled to London to escape the "banter". As they say though, sticks'n'stones and all that, so quite frankly I don’t care what you call me these days – as long I can call you Betty, and Betty when you call me, you can call me Daal.
And so what was my favourite Curry Club memory? There are too many to list here, but most of them involved, Jalfezi and/or Rabbie Shankar and a few pints of Tennents. However, there was one Halloween that the Tramps allowed me to organise the Club’s monthly meeting – I decided to try to bend the rulebook a little and opted for a Friday night outing. The thinking behind this was that it might allow a greater number of members to attend, as they’d have the whole of Saturday to nurse any hangovers.
The concept was a massive failure however – Curry Clubbers stayed away in their droves. Apparently some people don’t like change. That said, the few who did manage to make it along to the Madras Palace that night, experienced what can only be described as the most well-organised Curry Club meeting ever.
I soon however, relinquished my control of the club back to the Tramps. I guess with them in charge it retains a certain shambolic charm, which I couldn’t replicate if I tried. Furthermore, there would be no one with the authority to attempt to bar me, and without that, it just wouldn’t be the same.
Walking into the fake Shish to find the Bulldosa – or was he still the Bawsaag back then? – proudly perched at the TATTGOC table dreaming of brandy substitutes.
But most importantly it was the Clubbers and for that, Trampy and the Tramp, we salute you ...
This month, Trampy and the Tramp's Glasgow of Curry celebrates five years of continuous spicy operation, incorporating almost 50 legendary outings and countless weekly updates. A lot has happened since that first fateful visit to the Indian Orchard in Partick, and we've got a series of typically self-congratulatory posts lined up for November before a very special Curry Club outing to mark the occasion. After our incredible curryspondents sent telegrams of goodwill last week, now its the turn of some of the regular Curry Clubbers to explain what TATTGOC means to them ... a rare opportunity, since it's usually the Tramps doing the reporting, the very definition of unreliable narrators.
Enjoy these frontline reminiscences, and we'll be back next Thursday with even more celebrations ... including a cameo from TATTGOC's own pantomime villain, The Bulldosa.
First outing: Indian Orchard, Nov 2008
Green grow the rashes , O;
Green grow the rashes , O;
The sweetest hours that e'er I spend,
Are spent amang the lassis, O.
Trampy And The Tramp's Glasgow Of Curry? I've always thought that was a bit of a mouthful. But maybe that's the point, because it certainly has been a mouthful – and a spicy one at that. I've never eaten so much curry in my life.
Trampy and The Tramp have shown me that curry is something worth celebrating. It seems to be the ultimate ubiquitous dish these days. I even heard a reference to Chicken Tikka Masala on The Archers the other day. But the Scottish curry really has matured over the years. We've come a long way from the foil container full of ghee, with a base of chicken and gravy, that I used to eat in my hometown of Coatbridge in the early 1980s.
One of the the most memorable monthly outings for me, was the big love-in at the Kama Sutra on Valentine's Night 2012. This was the day that the Tramps set out to dispel the myth that TATTGOC was some sort of misogynistic cult, with an open invitation to any female partners. It was a fine evening, as the blog entry for that outing testifies, with appearances from Mumbai Me A Pony, Naanbread Mouskouri, Tina Turmeric, Chaka Naan, Birhiani and my very own beautiful assistant, Vag Mahal. The female company was a welcome spicy addition to our manly curry club. But another couple of appearances made the evening a special one. First there was the presence of the self-confessed ghost of TATTGOC, Mahkni Knife, plus a delightful debut from curry cub Baby Bhuna. Now, having ticked all these boxes would have been enough to mark this as a legendary evening in TATTGOC history but those pesky tramps, being the masters of detail had one final trick up their sleeve – an eleventh hour arrival of the scottish pandas Tian Tian and Yang Guang. A fine evening indeed.
Thank you Trampy and The Tramp. It has been an honour to be part of your mighty celebration of curry for the past five years.
First outing: The Khyber, June 2011
When I think of Curry Club, the first thing that pops into my head isn't the spectacular array of establishments that have been visited, nor the Biblical quantities of spicy grub that have been consumed ...
It's the vibe, that buzz of excitement and anticipation, cultivated by the Tramps and emitted by each Curry Clubber as they join up of with the squad. Each of them thinking that tonight's going to be a good night. Oh yes, and the glance from Trampy to the Tramp and back again as they wrangle the naan/rice equation from the ether ... like Aristotle squaring up to Archimedes on the sands of Millport.
First outing: Indian Orchard, Nov 2008
First outing: Indian Orchard, Nov 2008
For it is a brotherhood. A shady network of mainly bearded men, meaty tendrils extending across the globe. Once, as we headed to the Neelim in Scotstoun, a bemused bam was heard to ask “Are youse all brothers, aye?” Trampy stepped up to the open goal. “Yes. Yes we are.”
Admittedly, the entry criteria are strict and mysterious. Rumours abound that beardedness, short-sightedness and a certain thickness of middle are required. These are nonsense; though admittedly it would be hard to construct an entertaining Who’s Who board out of the members. But with TATTGOC, once you’re in, you’re in.
The geniality of the group means we’re extended a welcome even in the less immediately friendly corners of the city. A pre-curry visit to a pub in Tradeston filled with mad uncles playing fuming games of dominoes might have felt like a wrong turn without the aura of harmless cheeriness we projected. Instead, a few eyebrows were raised at our ambient hairiness and we were granted safe passage.
And as the popularity and ken of TATTGOC has grown, so the reception of restauranteurs has shifted from bemusement to – in some cases – near adulation. Trampy and the Tramp have deservedly established themselves as minor celebs in the admittedly niche world of curry. More importantly than that, they’ve created a brother-(and, sometimes, sister-)hood of which I’m proud to be a part, and memories that keep me eagerly awaiting my next trip back to the home of curry.
First outing: Punjabi, May 2011
As far back as I can remember I always wanted to eat curry.
I’d long heard of the famous "Curry Club", thanks to friends The Bulldosa and The Gheezer’s tales of spicy lamb chops and egg pakora, and one day hoped for an invite to sample one of these affairs for myself.
After a late night visit to watch Tron: Legacy in 3D at the IMAX, and running into Trampy, I was, not long after, invited to come along. My first ever TATTGOC outing was to the Punjabi on Paisley Road West. This was less than three weeks before my lovely assistant Debbie McGhee gave birth to our first curry cub. A period that meant I wasn’t back on duty for nearly six months.
Since then though, I’ve had a dozen outings to some of the strangest and greatest curryhouses in Glasgow. All of which have been an absolute pleasure. I even got to attend this year’s Scottish Curry Awards. A fantastic event, where before we even sat down, we had been given an eye test and gifted a device to check the tread on our car tyres.
There are so many aspects of Curry Club I could talk about – the ritual of selecting your nickname, The Tramps’ Christmas party gifts, the rice/naan equation are just a few. Anyway, one final thing to say is that food is, of course, a big part of the Curry Club, but the company at the table is far bigger. As always, I can’t wait for the next one. Here’s to the next five years ...