Saturday, 28 April 2007

Friday Lucky Bag vol 7

Film of the week
Do yourself a big favour and go and see Sunshine. We went in the week and it is great and frankly you need to see it on big screen to get the full effect it will look crap on your TV.
It was one of the best times I’ve had in the cinema in long while.
It does have a thriller/horror element but visually it is not too graphic. Danny Boyle does that good thing of blurring the horror (so most of it’s in your mind) and therefore making it scarier. It was so involving I almost hid behind me shirt at one point.
It’s got great visuals (in a 2001 style but pacier), good acting, spooky sound, overall a great film and a really great cinema experience.
Me and P left the cinema buzzing and had to have a few “settlers” to calm down.
Ps. I had omen about this film having seen (I think) Cillian Murphy out shopping the other day, oh those cheek bones.
In tribute to Sunshine go here for sun facts
Or here for sundials

Single of the week

I wrote in a previous blog (At great length) about Los Marshalls a Spanish pop band for 1960’s and their cracking single “Flamenco”. Well with my new file hosting site I can let you have a listen. It’s unlikely, but if anyone associated with the band wants me to take the file down I will, it was put up as a celebration. I would normally send you to site to buy the record but as I tunes doesn’t have an obscure vinyl section yet I can’t! Oh and it’s a bit crackly.

Oh so that's what she does of the week
A foot note at the bottom of the BBC coverage of Hugh Grant throwing his sarnie box at a pap explains all about his ex
“He (grant) recently split from Unicef ambassador Jemima Khan" which looks better on your CV than hangs around with rich blokes and gets in and out of cars.

Seeds of success.

I planted my window sill garden this week. Hopefully I should have some tomatoes, basil, radishes and various cress and sprouting seed things soon.
When I say soon the radish came up in about 27 hours hurrah! Am attempting to have one meal I've grown myself.
One little aside aren't seed packets fantastically designed things totally evocative and essentially cheery. Like hardware shops they seemed filled with potential and positive attitude. A big display of them seems to all whisper "grow me..."

Solipsism of the week
The god of fire (I’d like to think it’s Vulcan but it’s more likely to be Roy Wood) has being trailing me this week. First there was a big fire near to my flat in Deptford/Newcross and then I woke and had 3 secs of bliss when it sounded like my office had burnt down. Un/fortunately it was a few doors down. Clearly the two aren’t related, however much I might like the idea that some bearded deity is throwing thunderbolts at me (even if he’s doing it with a brummie accent) it sadly just chance…

Major life events of the week
I finally started to manage someone old enough to be my daughter. Not in a knocked someone up when I was 16 way but in the got married in my middle twenties had kids in an unhurried sort of way.
Another thing that happened this week was I started to fancy the (potential) French president!

Any Dream will do
Lastly it is only a matter of time until my blog mentioned a dream I've had; all blogs seem to in the end!
I woke from a dream that involved a pub with a carvery (fat bloke dreams what can you do) with a question playing on my mind,
If human flesh tastes like pork what's the crackling like?

Sweet of week
The good old lion Bar yes I know it's by Nestle (always said to rhyme with wrestles) but they are deliciously chewy and to mind always taste of French service stations.

Cliché of the week
Spotted in the IT section of my new office, signs of old skool geekery: on two separate desks copies of Terry Pratchett novels plus large pictures of Buffy and Xena.

Tuesday, 24 April 2007

left at the lights

Here's something my Bro A sent me it's rather jolly, try it out.
Take 60 seconds to do this.
1. go to
2. click on "maps," above the search bar...
3. click on "get directions"
4. Click edit and type "New York" in the first box (the "from" box)
5. Click edit and type "Paris" in the second box (the "to" box)
6. click on "get directions"
7. scroll down to step #24
8. !?????

Sunday, 22 April 2007

technology don't ya just love it...

Got me a online file shaing site (divshare) so I can post big files. Go here to see a nice picture of my good friend E, done in negative on my phone it's quite dramatic.

Saturday, 21 April 2007

Great British menu

Jeremy V Nick
Just a few things this week's Scottish section has been fun. I like it when the chefs get on, the pretend rivalry schtick is a bit trite really.
Jenny bond grates a bit too, she seems a bit disengaged and wanders on to the set trying to wind the two sides up as if poked on by the producers. You know "Go on Jenni let's have some tension". I do think (as I said before)the series is flawed with all the whole coals to Newcastle bit of trying to impress the French, as most good UK chefs don't cook in that rarefied way. Why not leave the French to it.

"Jacket or boiled potatoes"
Another cookery related problem is the whole jacket and t shirt thing . Popular with James Martin and John Torrode it just looks wrong. What's wrong with a shirt, they look uncomfortable and strangely formal. They look like as if any minute we are going to get a inch of cuff dangled in creme brulee.

Thursday, 19 April 2007

Friday Lucky bag vol 6?

It Keeps me off the Streets pt1
How fast is Trans Europe Express by Kraftwerk?
I was on the tube listening to my mp3 phone and Trans Europe Express came on.
The throb of the song magically blended with the rattle of the train. I was struck by the fact that the Northern line was going at a similar speed as TEE.

I’ll explain the “duddle le durr” noise trains used to make (and the tube still does) was the noise of the wheels going over the gaps at the end of each rail (the fishplates). Modern trains don’t make the noise because they are wielded in one long track.

Anyway, anyway here’s the maths bit!
In the song there are approx 2 “duddle le durrs” per second
Rail tracks are on average 12m long
So the TEE is doing 24 m per seconds
Or 1440m a minute or 86400m per hour
Or 84 km/per hour which is about 53.4 miles per hour
Which is pretty slow. To get from Stuttgart (kraftwerks home city) to Paris would take 5hour 20 mins!
Anyway like I say it keeps me off the streets!

Do you want to know more about the real Trans Europ Express (sans e)
Want to know more about Kraftwerk well avoid their stylish but gnomic website and go here.
Want to download TEE (live)

Rubbish spa treatment of the week
from a guide to Bavaria that was in the paper this morning.

Street sign semiotic pt 15
There are some painfully trendy shops around where I work, one caught my eye because in trying to be cool it’s gone through the other side into sad. It’s A style whose humorous logo I wont sully my site with it.

This sort of logo is worn by pub bores and sad 17 years olds, you know the ones. Famous Army Stores used to have racks of them saying “Additov” “not a beer belly it’s a power station for a sex machine” that sort of thing.

I Saw a particularly sad one on tube the other day “FBI (in little letters underneath) Fit Body Inspector”. Is there a women alive ……
Also A style is the sort shop you can’t work out what they sell from the window, my guess was manga action figures and star wars space helmets but it turns out it’s t-shirts.

funny t shirt blog?!

Proper Charlie!
Saw Charlie Brooker walking down Carnaby st this week.
Avoided doing the obvious ie telling him the ending to “life on Mars”. That being said he was asking for it, he was wearing big aviator mirrored sunglasses (so that he doesn’t get mobbed by fans presumably!) and one of those sub Hi-Fi topman faux army jackets.

So, yes he looked like a proper Nathan Barley, Tw*t! I wonder how many people run up to him and shout obscenities in tribute to his own rhetorical style! Anyway I like him even better knowing he used to write for oink magazine!

Eloy nassif: subject: Now, Gandalf, you said that you had counsel to give, if I would hear it.

Street sign semiotics part 12!
The self delusion corporate restaurant is as we know legion. But Garfunkle’s strapline "legendary & loved" is the most deluded yet.

I suppose “how do they stay open & depressingly bleak” isn’t quite as snappy. Hope you like the Martin Parresque trapped diner staring out, it was pure chance I promise.

Book of the week
Another birthday pressie (Ta R and E)
Great British Comics by Paul Gravett & Peter Stanbury is excellent, it sounds spoddy (can you see a pattern appearing) but it is a fantastic illustrated book with every comic ever drawn in Britain.

From Dennis the Menace to Dan Dare to Judge Dredd to obscure stuff like “wired world” that only sad gits like me know. It’s not just boy’s stuff there are brilliant girl’s strips too. A must for anyone interested in British popular culture
Go to Paul Gravett excellent comic site.

Sweet meat of the week
Leon’s chocolate brownie
Sorry if this is a bit London centric but have added a link to recipe so you can make you own. But these are delish the other foods nice, The restaurant is all a bit deliberately styled for my liking, well I hope they were going for the slightly chaotic health food café because that’s what it’s like. The brownies are delish they taste like chocolately fruit cake mixture. As for the restaurant it’s very nice, probably still go to Gaby’s !

Tuesday, 17 April 2007

Do the right thing

I try to keep this on the light side but the real world does intrude please follow the link on the left to find out more about Alan Johnston appeal

Monday, 16 April 2007

the Vinyl solution

Vinyl better than cd. guardian leader.
yes because it's cheap, sounds nice, looks nice, doesn't have copyright control software, has big picture look at and not fiddly booklet.
no because it's heavy takes up space, is difficult to copy and share doesn't play on my phone. I think the whole pc vs apple thing is taking over it's pencils and pens, horses for courses.

Sunday, 15 April 2007

Friday 13th Lucky Bag (well sunday)

Clocking Off!
My new work doesn’t do flexitime, not for us lowly types anyway. It’s strange like working in a factory. I think it’s a good idea; you do your hours and go home. It avoids over work, maybe they should have a hooter like the radiator factory behind my Grandparent’s house. It would wake us each sunny holiday morning. I’ll stop now before I drift into reverie about my Nana’s cheese on toast….

Not one for animal lovers! Super squirrel!

Joy Division trainers anyone?
How about a belt to go with them?
Great minds agree here's a Guardian article on the same thing published after me (updated mon lunch)!

Books of the week.
Like a teenager with the new JK Rowling I devoured these two similar books this week. They are part of that whole genre of journalistic comic memoirs/ travel books. The first “Achtung Schweinhund !”is by Harry Pearson and is about the love that dare not speak its name, not homosexuality or even bestiality but model war gaming.
In the media to admit that you don’t care less “big brother” but do care about the colour of the lining of Prussian troops at the battle Salamanca is tantamount to being a kiddie fiddler. But Pearson who has turned a childhood hobbies into a livelyhood he’s a football writer for the Guardian and “when Saturday comes”. The book is enjoyable particular if you have ever slaved over an airfix Spitfire or cursed as you messed up the finish on your imperial Guard’s busby. An excellent book.

The other book is of wider appeal as it covers Britain from Nottingham upwards. “Pies and prejudice” is a good read even though it’s written by a manc (well scouser it turns out) Stuart Maconie. It’s a hymn of praise about the North similar to the Bill Bryson’s books. It’s funny and informative. My only caveat being he slags off London to big up the North why can’t everywhere be nice? Also he missed out Kes from his list of great northern films. He also highlights the delights of Greggs.

Indie “schmindie” record of the week
“The kids at the club” from “How does it feel to be loved?” (HDIFTBL) a club I’ve been to a few times, it’s that rare mix c86 indie and 60’s Motown etc. The kids at the club is a“new” compilation they’ve put out. It very indie but if you like a jangle you’ll enjoy this.
Sadly I’m not in any of the pictures in the booklet quite rightly they went for the Belle Sebastian high cheek bone cute indie kids (of either sex), the larger pie eating Cud end of indie is still in the shade.

Sweet meat of the week
Microwave Black Treacle flapjack
I know this may sound wrong but stick with me, it makes lovely sticky flap jack and the black treacle makes it taste of bonfire night hurrah! I reckon you can have fresh oaty treats on the table in 20-30 mins double hurrah!

4 oz butter
3 oz demera sugar
2 level tablespoons (60ml) black treacle
8 oz rolled oats, I used the end of a bag of muesli and topped up with oats*.
You could chuck in some dried fruit to taste.

Put the butter and sugar into a bowl and heat on full power for 1 minute, or until the butter has melted.
Stir in the treacle, then work in the rolled oats until completely mixed.
Press mixture into a greased shallow dish.
Cook on full power for 5 minutes.
Do keep and eye on it.
Leave to cool slightly in the dish, and cut into pieces
When cold enough to eat! cut into pieces store in box as usual.
* oats have to be the ones with the musclebound Scotsman on the front!

Sunday, 8 April 2007

Easter Sunday update

"with a licorice spume...."

Just a quick up date on Great British Menu, sadly I fear this series is going to disappear into culinary-del-sac. Because the whole thing is hung on a reception at the British Embassy in Paris We are going to get lots of knock off molecular cooking winning, in a vain (in both senses of the word) attempt to meet French haute cuisine standards. Sat Bains won (on Friday) even though he made "the most disgusting pudding I have ever tasted".

Puddings being something we actually do better than most other countries, for British chef to mess this up should have automatically disqualified him.

It seems that straightforward tasty and interesting dishes will passed over for pyrotechnics. shame really.

Also regardless of all the Foreign Offices attempts the French will never give the word of praise for any other countries food, that's point. The day they did they would probably stop being French and we wouldn't like them so much.

Lyric of the weekend

(so far, apologies if it's not original.)

from a Ray Montaigne song.
"I man needs something he can hang onto , like a nine pound hammer and a women like you..."

Cheese of the Weekend.
I lovely slab of something blue from Nottinghanshire from Neals yard, sadly the one down side to NY not shrink wrapping their cheese is always forget what I've bought.

Thursday, 5 April 2007

Good friday lucky Bag

Happy Easter.
Easter is a festival of breaking fast and of feasting. The BBC recognized this by last night showing 2 hours of cookery programmes on BBC2.
The first up at 6.30 is “Great British menu”, a further series of competitive cooking. I must say the week long, a course a day format has more to do with filling air time than good TV. The whole week could be a good hour programme from start to finish.
This week it’s Galton Blackstone vs Sat Bains. Sat is one of the new breed of sub Heston Blumenthal molecular cooks. I must admit to being put off this style of cooking. It all seems so antiseptic and lacking passion, I also get the feeling that the younger chefs, who take it up, don’t have enough experience of the traditional dishes they are putting a new twist to, to understand the basis and flavour of the dishes. It just seems to be playing with your food. Also some of it smacks of innovation for it’s own sake, last night Sat was using a free standing induction hob to brown some beef when a pan on a stove would have done. On the whole I want Galston to win mainly because the other chefs pick on him and when it come to using local produces he’s been doing it for years, where some of the others seem to be doing it just for the TV.

Next up is Ricky Stein. You have to feel for the other cooks on tonight because after the mighty Floyd, Ricky is the king of food TV. His level of intelligence, knowledge and passion puts the others to shame, he’s not a glib bully like Gordon Ramsay, He’s not drowning in kitsch like Nigella, and he have doesn’t wozzers hollow eyes. His slightly gauche enthusiasm is infectious, the food looks good too.

After St Rick was Neneh & Andi cook which was surprisingly good. Neneh Cherry and Andi Oliver have been friends since they where Rip Rap Panic (if memory serves) together. I can remember when Andi was the less yummymummyesque Andrea! The show is a sub Jamie pretend “real” life scenario where N & A pretend to cook a meal for some glamorous girlfriends in a borrowed house. It was full of pretend bits, for instance they stopped in the middle of preparing a meal for 10 to go and buy gifts of designer knickers! There was also some clunky introduction of ingredients. Neneh Cherry had album called “raw like sushi” so why did she introduce washbi like it was the first time she’d come across it. Having said this the food was good, of all the programmes it had the most off the shelf recipes and was fun and engaging, Just next time can we just loose the naked chef pretend real life nonsense and just buy and cook food.

Lastly up came James Martin with the terrible titled “sweet baby James”. A title so rotten it almost made me turn off, what’s wrong with “sweet stuff” or “off his sweet trolley”. This was the most conventional of the programs, similar to Gary Rhodes shows i.e. well off chef tours country in needlessly expensive flash car cooking regional dishes. The hook for the series being that martin is revisiting his inspiration. Again not a bad programme at heart with a range of tasty stuff on offer. A couple of things did spring to mind, they have put Martin in kitchen with a young chef, who was dressed like Danny Dyer in “football factory” all chunky jewellery and Pringle
Sweaters, the whole thing had homoerotic air at odds with James Martins ladies man twinkly eyed shtick.

The other thing is James seems to think old fashion puddings are on the wane, this may be the case in chain restaurants but most gastro pubs etc are awash with spotted dick and sticky toffee puddings.

Street Sign semiology
Saw these arty mosaics in Soho the other day, I like the mystery element I haven’t looked them up as I quite like not knowing the who, what, why.

Days of Glory.
Went to see excellent newish French war film Days of Glory (Indigènes) that tells the story of troops from France’s North African colonies in WWII. Apart from the racial aspect it would be a normal war film similar to “Big Red One” or “Saving Private Ryan”. We follow a small group of men through training to first contact to a final battle, will they all survive, what will they learn on the way etc .

Added to the impressive battle sequences especially the finale, the film addresses the brave role that these colonial troops played in freeing a country that had previously enslaved them and to which they had never before set foot in. We see many scenes of inequality and racism from French commanders as well as internal conflict between Moroccan and Algerians etc. The film touches on deeply felt issues such as interracial relationships, when an Algerian soldier falls for a white French woman. The film apparently changed French government policy by getting back pension paid to the Indigènes veterans. Something that we still need to do for Ghurkha vets.

The only strange part in the film is Jamel debbouze who I first saw working in the green grocers in Amelie. A good actor (a comedian at other times) but he only has one arm, lost to a train 1990! The film just side steps all this, getting round the whole holding rifle bit by having him use a pistol! It does raise the idea of putting aside film’s obsession with realism and having a war movie where the actors are all wheel chair bound but act as if they are not.
Days of glory is a good war film that tells an important story well, it’s not too gory at only 12A.

Sweet of the week.

Cadbury’s mini eggs.
Being an old git I Last had a crème egg in 1975 my first and last. I was so disgusted by the horrid fondant that I have not been back since. Cadbury’s mini eggs (first made in 1967) on the other hand are delish. Firstly they are pretty with a real egg speckled look. The candy shell is pleasingly crunchy and the Cadbury in middle delish.

Honourable mention to kinder surprise.
Nasty but lovely white chocolate, a toy and the yellow yolk pod which you can squeeze and fire at your brother.