A couple of nights ago, I had dinner with the saintly Noel Sharkbloke at a newish restaurant that makes much of its adherence to feng shui principles. This would appear to necessitate water features, fake torches, lights so dim the waiters wouldn't be able to see you if you set off a distress flare, very low seating, slightly-too-loud sub-Cafe-del-Mar-type music and several video screens. But the food was nice, and Noel is always amusing company, on account of his being Canadian, and looking a bit like James Joyce and all that. And we weren't paying, which is even better.
At one point, I noticed that one of the screens was showing some sort of documentary about a restaurant kitchen, a jolly coincidence that I pointed out to Noel. I was also very impressed by the quality of the picture coming from the flat screen.
You can see where this is going, can't you?
When one of the cooks in the documentary handed a plate out through the screen, and I realised it was in fact a serving hatch, I wondered what dear old Baudrillard would have made of my instinctive preference for the image over the real. And I guessed that Baudrillard would probably have done what Noel did, which was to sigh gently, and suggest we order dessert.