I went to Matlock. Home of waterfalls, the beautiful remains of disused mills and a comedy night with military netting on the ceiling. Lots of comedy clubs are held in rooms that transform into a nightclub after the gig but what was going to happen there? Maybe paintballing?
Funny Matlock. I loved it. It’s the opposite of London. All strangers want a chat. It’s the opposite of Facebook too: everyone is keen to paint the bleakest possible picture of their life. One woman in a swimming pool told me, “The baby’s Dad ran away and I regret having him now.” Luckily the baby just laughed.
“But it’s OK”, she added, “I’ve got a new man now who does look a bit like the baby.” What? Bald? I’d watched the urchin roar with laughter, splashing around for the last half an hour and so I offered a meek, “Well, he loves his first swim.” “He hates it,” she corrected me. Oh, right.
It’s also the opposite of the Americanised style of service in southern cities. There’s no pissing about with smarmy pleasantries. That, I assume, would be considered ‘nonsense’, to which Matlock says “no.”
I’d driven six hours to get there and hadn’t had time between checking into my hotel and the gig to hoof any dinner. My usual hunger rage was waylaid by a bit of performance adrenalin but I can smell an impending post-gig crash when there’s one cooking. So I didn’t muck about and put in a pre-order at the takeaway right underneath the comedy club.
Pizza Point. I can’t quite say why but I love that name. As if it’s for people so ravenous or shit-faced (or both) that they can merely gesture towards what they want to eat. As if food has become far too complicated and we should remember we are animals and it is fuel.
Like a petrol station, but for tummies.
It was actually really nice. There were an incredible six people cooking away in a tiny open plan kitchen; phone orders flying in like seagulls to a crisp. Either the food was famous or it was the only takeaway open beyond 6pm in a ten mile radius and no one had a choice. You can guess which way I was leaning.
All those people working like crazy in a sort of dance, like bees, was a thing to behold. As soon as the phone went down a friendly chap broke away from the swarm to take my order. He was lovely and bubbly: potentially the jauntiest person I met in Derbyshire.
I ordered a small seven inch pizza and a side of ‘breaded garlic mushroom.’ I’d worked it out as being a tenner but he said: “Let’s make it £8.” A week after paying the deposit for my new car and my tax bill I could have kissed him. But it wasn’t called Peck Point so I walked away.
Fresh out of the lovely gig, there it was, ready. I took it back to my hotel room and yes I’m fully aware how filthy that sounds. I got my jim jams on, stuck my Breaking Bad DVD in the player, got comfy and got to work.
I know how to live.
The pizza looked like it was for a child: my giant eyes regretted not getting a bigger one and pretending it wasn’t just for me. I started with the mushrooms because they’d be rank cold. I needn’t have worried: they were hotter than the quark gluon plasma. One had even burned its way through the bottom of the box.
I gave them a while so as not to burn a hole in my throat. They were blooming lush. They were crunchy crusted and the juicy mushrooms inside weren’t too sodden with lava water like supermarket ones can be. They could have been loads more garlicky though; a bit wussy on that front. Also one turned out to be hollow. It felt like looking at my bank balance.
My pizza was called ‘Hot Vegetarian’. A small bit of me hoped to open the box and find Brad Pitt. But no. It was a pizza topped with jalapenos, peppers, onions, sweetcorn and mushrooms. I would have loved some spinach or artichokes but having said that it was surprisingly filling and perfectly yummy.
None of the topping was out of a tin and the onions and chilies were pleasantly potent. The base had that glistening, fulsome, almost chewy quality I’ve come to know and love about a takeaway pizza. And the tomato sauce under the topping was a surprise knock out: it had a gorgeous rich, deep taste.
The perfect dinner to take to bed.
Pizza Point (Takeaway)
Address: Crown Square, Matlock, DE4 3AT
Tel: 01629 593 954
Open: Sun-Thurs 2pm – Midnight
Fri & Sat 1pm – 2am
Accessible: not for wheelchairs – there are two big steps at the front. But free home delivery over £8 within a five-mile radius.