Saturday, 31 January 2009

Grangemouth inferno #4

Grangemouth inferno 4
Originally uploaded by tychofarrar

Good things for Friday/Early saturday:

The impossible beauty of Penelope Cruz.

The impossible beauty of Grangemouth oil refinery!

Someone giving me a polo (mint) (thought I’d add the mint bit in case you thought it was code for something beastly like wanton touching after lights out or some other form of moist activity.

The clothes stall on Leather Lane market that has really good taste in music: last three days were The Faces, Blue Monday and just now Hey Jude, I almost bought a shiny gold top for going “on the raz” in!

The phrase “goin’ on the raz”!
Oh and Royal Navy sailors with “in the midnight a garden” duvet covers.

Thursday, 29 January 2009

" I really love your dumplings"

"Money where my mouth is time. "
He’s my masterchef tea:

Saffron Chicken broth with Butternut squash dumplings.

This is sort of rough chicken soup made golden with saffron. The dumplings where just a last minute idea of a way to use up a bit of roast dinner they are very light and well who doesn’t like dumplings!
Here’s the ingredients:
The measurements are rough because well it’s not that sort of soup.
1 and half litres of stock (from the roast chicken)
A carrot, a parsnip, a small fennel bulb, 3-4 sticks celery diced small.
A quarter of a cabbage (shredded)
The remains of a roast cooked chicken.
Half a roasted mashed butternut squash (left over from the roast dinner)
2-3 dessert spoons on flour
Pinch of saffron.
Splash of olive oil

Here’s what to do:
Serves 3-4.
Preparation: about the length of Masterchef double edition!

1. Sautee the diced veg except the cabbage and the tops of the celery.
2. When the veg has softened add the stock and saffron and simmer for 10 minutes with the lid on.
3. While the soups cooking make the dumplings stir the flour into the squash to make a firmer paste you can season it a little as well. And roll into 2 cm balls (they swell a bit). Leave aside for later.
4. Next shred the cooked chicken and add to the soup and cook for a further 10 minutes with the lid on.
5. Stir in the shredded cabbage and celery tops into the soup
6. And then gently added the dumplings (make sure there’s some free liquid for them to float in so add extra stock or water if needs be)
7. Cover with lid and cook until the dumplings are cooked this depends on the size etc but is about 5-10 mins (I often slice one open to check they are done)
8. Check the seasoning and serve.

The dumplings would obviously go very well with a veggie soup perfectly

Masterchef the battle continues

It’s those men again tonight’s MC.

The class war continues on the latest heat we ended up the poshos against the honest salt of the earth scouser. To mind wine merchant Max disqualified himself from the off as he already had a job in the “food industry“ being a wine merchant and although his cooking looked good a sideways carreer move isn’t dramatic enough really. Next up was Sophie Winner of the spurious job title of the day “Business Analyst”.

Now I’m sure businesses need analysing but can you really, no really analyse someone else’s business when you only 22? Youth is glorious thing but you know certain things take time like good whiskey and Blue Nile Lps! Oh I don’t know maybe it’s a good thing she wants to be cook.
Next up was lovely cheeky scouser (sorry slipped into a stereotype again) David who wanted to run a deli (selling hard to find meat) and bistro (presumably doing the same).

Thankfully natural justice was done a David won through, although will class bias strike again soon?
Next up was the quarter finals and the rather cruel taste and ambition test (which should be after the cooking) sadly for David and possibly his deli counter his knowledge of food was poor so out he went without picking up a spoon.

So to the cook off: Julian with his grey floppy hair and James May shirt was over doing it again, also he seems to rather proud of having a French wife. He’s mentioned her about 10 times so far. I think the implications is that this means he’s absorbed gallic flair with food, seeing as the worst meal I’ve ever had in restaurant was in France I’m not entirely sure about this are all Japanese sushi chefs?. Anyway he showed off and cocked up. Same went for Marilyn(?) who really was only happy making cakes so on the rails came the attractive (I see pattern a merging) Temp Angela with her safe but complete menu so deservedly she won.

Seasoned opinion makers

It's Thursday it must be time for a Masterchef Update:
Further to "S" comments see last post:
Can I coin a new rule of thumb/life namely:

BLTP's Sodium Chloride Gambit of TV cookery:
When asked their opinion of any dish (savoury or sweet!) a professional chef will always say "needs more salt".This is code for it's totally perfectly but I'm dammed if I'm going to admit it. I didn't peel spuds for 3 years whilst being berated by drunk french man so some "Advertising Consultant" from Reading can do better than me in half an hour in some shed in Twickenam I've got 2 Michelin stars and Blonde wife.....

Wednesday, 28 January 2009

Did he say "boudaful"

My hourly Masterchef update!
I know there is nothing more exciting than Masterchef but how about spicing up your nightly viewing with a Masterchef drinking games!

Hate thay Neighbour

Or why are so called "good" people so horrid?

My friend L pointed this out to me David Attenborough gets hate male from creationists. As usual these evangelical types want to give God all the kudos for the good stuff and the devil or Charles Darwin etc gets the damnation for any all the bad stuff. It's a cake an eat it thing really letting them off the hook for all the grim acts religion has inspired through time.

It never ceases to amaze me how horrible some religious people can be. The stridency of the belief they have, must be reassuring. The sad thing is though I bet they still um and ah about what they are going to have for their tea. It's strange when they have such icy certainty about what other people should or shouldn’t do in bed or how the world began but the tricky decision of "frozen peas or mixed frozen veg with that chop" will have them dithering in cold harsh light of the fridge freezer.
Judge not lest ye be judged thyself now who said that......

Tuesday, 27 January 2009

Tuesday stuff

Turning Rebellion into money pt29: Rock and Brown wholemeal roll.

I’ve fairly indifferent to Lilly Allen’s music and I’m slightly less enamoured of her constantly clogging up the press falling out of pubs and snogging random famous blokes but it’s not the end of the world.
But well wasn’t pop meant to be a bit more exciting than Tescos. Even buying singles from brown house coated middle aged ladies in Smiths was a bit more exciting than buying cd’s from Tescos. The other ads on this e-mail were for brown baps and half fat mature cheddar did Stuart Leslie Goddard change his name, mug a pirate for pop to become a loss leader for indifferent cheese butties and car insurance.

Masterchef quote of the day

Greg “the Honey Monster” Wallace (you have to end the sentence on a low growl )

“Lamb out ......Cheeeese cake in!”

Greenshoots of recovery ?

Seeds of Spring.
Sadly not the pound or footsy but I did see some guys from the train this morning down in the park next to Tower bridge carefully laying out rows of bedding plants which must at least show that spring is on it’s way.

And just now I had a good sarnie (mexican tuna filling fans!) sat in the warm sun in Exmouth Market. I get mocked at work by those with thinner blood for this winter sun bathing but I'm sure 20 minutes in the sharp winter sunlight does you more good than a month of detox or mango smoothies.

Oh and Exmouth market has a coffee shop that sells records score!

Down (the) market

What we learnt from last nights Telly:The True Cost of Cheap Food

"Pies damned pies and statistics!
I finally caught up with my celebratory stalker's
programme on cheap food (thanks to every one for the Deptford tip off). It was all good stuff straightforward if strangely old school journalism i.e. Jay Rayner went out and found out stuff and then told us about it. Basically cheaper food could be a bit better nutritionally for very little extra cost, this cost the supermarkets could swallow in their huge profits. It was good for a food programme not to be too preachy about the necessity of many people to shop cheaply which often means shopping at supermarkets.
For ease of access presumably he filmed down Deptford market (after all he does only live in Brixton!) he did avoid quoting TS Elliot which was a shame.

"This is a Local shop"

In some respects Deptford is slightly anomalous place to test the programmes theories because it has a really good and relatively thriving market. The market is run at least 3 days a week and also has wealth of small independent food shops (which makes it sound poncy but they're just grocers, butchers, fish mongers etc.) You can get good meat, a range of veg from far and near most of what you'd want apart from in my case cheese and perhaps beer. The only chain supermarket is Iceland and the nearest big supermarket is a bus ride away in New Cross.

Another irony is that down the bottom of the high street there are 2 pie and mash shops (Jay was handing out pies for people to taste and compare) ideally placed at one time to feed the workers from the now closed docks and the power station but a bit out of the way for the main market. Also almost opposite where Jay set up his pretend pie stall was the former shop of south London favourite Kennedy's sausages which sold locally made pies up until last year.

I think I'm lucky to live near such a good market and get a large proportion of my food (and Vinyl)! from there, only going to chain supermarkets if I must. Obviously someone shopping for3 or 4 people will have lots to carry but the people who shop in Deptford probably don't have cars anyway so unless they get a taxi with the added cost or struggle onto a bus the local supermarkets aren't much help. Also there are plenty of people in London with small or no families who still drive 1-2 miles to shop at supermarkets rather than walk to the shops.

Obviously in many places people don't have the choice of a market like we do but when I visit supermarkets I'm not totally convinced of their virtues, I'm always amazed at how long it takes to pay for the food, they aren't that cheap plus they encourage you to overspend with their mulitbuy deals etc.

People complain about Tescos (and the woman on Hugh complicated names programme this evening was a particular poor example of your corporate type the way she blustered and evaded was shameful) et al but well if you have a local choice why not use it and perhaps try to find someone that sells pies with more than 10% meat in 'em.

Monday, 26 January 2009

DEC Gaza Appeal

If you've not seen this here's the DEC Gaza appeal.
My charity of choice is Oxfam but many others are available. This piece the other day really moved me and further pointed out the complexity of the situation, of which I offer no solution, I only know killing more people of whatever stripe isn't the answer.

Friday, 23 January 2009

Help I'm drowning in irony

the Wags dogging the tail or summat

Ever since those canny French invented Post-moderity, life has become a daily grind of second guessing the media. I have finally reached the end I no longer know what is real and what is made up, can anyone help does this person exist or is it a spoof ? Do grown ups really have a haribo and crisps draw? Can't you get "metallic bikinis" closer to home in Esher? Also these metallic bikinis don't they attract barnacles when you are swimming in the sea like the bottom of oil tankers and are they painted with special anti fouling paint? and Is the thing about iguana table a brilliant self mocking joke on footballer's girlfriends help please!!!!

MY Shopping life from today's g2
Abigail Clancy Model (model of what)and tv presenter (...and here's a tv..)

What's your earliest shopping memory?
Being dragged round Great Homer Street market in Liverpool with my little brother.
What do you like to shop for?
I have just bought a house and every time I go out, I come back with a lamp - even though I don't have any tables to put them on.
Who is your ideal shopping companion?
My mum. I always shop with her and I can't think of anyone better. She's amazing at putting outfits together.
What's in your shopping basket?
When I'm cooking for my boyfriend, Pete (footballer Peter Crouch), I have to be healthy so I'll buy meat and veg. But we have a sweet drawer at home where I keep the Haribos and crisps.
Where's your favourite shopping destination?
I just came back from South Africa and there was an amazing boutique in Cape Town, called Carnival. They had stuff like matt metallic bikinis. But I also love shopping in Paris, London and Liverpool.
What are your shopping habits?
I buy on impulse. If I'm shopping for clothes I'll come back with nothing to wear but shoes. My favourite shop is a beautiful boutique called Club in Esher high street in Surrey.
How often do you go shopping?
I haven't been clothes shopping for a while but I just bought a Fendi table for the house. It's mock iguana.
• Abigail Clancy is launching a text price comparison service:

Thursday, 22 January 2009

Blonde Ambition

What we learnt for last night telly: Master Chef

We all know Masterchef is genius but tonight's show did make me wonder just a tad. It started with the dread words ".....a keen experimental cook". Why do they bother these kitchen Marie Curies with their "crazy I just throw things in pan and see what happens" experiments. You just know that at the end of the clip there's going to be a charred plate of former food usually semi raw rice, singed chicken with some random fruit on the top. In tonight's programme there was a liquidised plate of risotto made by one giggling short lived hapless experimentalist.
Next up there's the usual parade of people trying to get into the "food industry", well I don't know about other places but walk down most streets in London and you can get a job in the "food industry" except if you are a financial adviser who wants to run their own deli in Cobham you might not really want to do it the standard way and so take the easy option of a couple of weeks on Masterchef and bobs ya uncle the keys to humus and sunblushed tomato counter are yours, possibly.

Anyway tonight's show did have some good cooks on but it also had Belinda an Aussie (27) (Masterchef like the Daily Mail are very keen on how old people are) financial adviser, who seemed to have only eaten food made from recipes in magazines found at the gym. You know the stuff a random assortment of "superfoods", weird grains and chicken with no skin on. Her food was very new world with her own twist in that everything came with fruit compote.

Belinda also had another killer ingredient she was 6 ft tall blonde and good looking. Greg Wallace and John Torrode almost exploded with cartoonish lust when she walked in.
Belinda also had ambition not some foodie " I've always dreamed of my own little cafe" obsession just general good old fashion ambition. I felt sorry for the other cooks particularly when she came into the interview section in hot pants! Much like Greg and John I can't remember what see said something about wanting to work in food or something.

Before we get back to the final cook off does anyone know why we need these toe curling interview bits. When I was a kid and watched "Superstars" I didn't care why James Hunt or Brian Jacks wanted to win, they just did. Same went for the "Generation Game" or "Mastermind" nowadays contestants have to "have a journey", have to "really want it", to "change their life". So we have to cringe while Anna, (a teacher) gave up her sister's wedding to appear on the show and Matt a burly biker told of his dream of a little place by the sea with the kids. But anyway we got through to the final round having heard everyone's heartbreaking thwarted food business dreams and had another good look at Belinda's pins. The final was a close affair with Matt and Anne making cracking dishes (yay for Anna's rhubarb bread and butter pudding and Matt's smoked scallops) but it also did throw up.

My Masterchef quote of the day:

Greg Wallace to the hotpant wearing eyelash batting coconut pudding baking raspberry stuffing Belinda (27)

"Belinda... I really do love your cakes"

In the distance the kitchen's smoke alarms we bleeping as the smoke and steam rose from Gregg's shiny greengrocer's dome.
Sadly for Belinda her post modern gym food brunch menu didn't win out nor did sadly Anna's refined Northern English fare (a slightly underdone duck breast let her down) no it was Matt who got to ride off into the semi final. Anna will probably sign up for a chefs course or jack in science teaching and become a commis chef in some restaurant in Provence, good luck to her I'm sure she'll do well.
Belinda meanwhile clumped off into a golden sunset, she'll do alright people will "love her cakes" were ever she goes and it will be sunny brunches all over the globe, be it Sydney harbour, Canary wharf or who knows where. Ambition (and hot pants) like that are seldom thwarted.

Wednesday, 21 January 2009

Heston Services Second helpings

Battle of Big Chef Little Chef:
Saw the final show of the Heston b show on channel 4. Couple of things firstly could’ve easily been one show. He seems to have turned little chef into a gastro pub, still not sure if it will work on a grand scale most gastro pubs have a job producing consistent good food in one smallish pub, let alone by some harassed 19 year olds at 7 o’clock on gloomy February Tuesday morning by the side of some A road.

It won’t be helped by the fact the British public don’t like simple food done well they like simple food messed about with and spoilt. You can never get steak frite you’ve got have steak and chips with some grim blue cheese sauce on it and garlic bread, you never get fish pie it has to have pineapple on it why because people think that sort of thing is special and fancy it’s why they won’t stop stuffing cheese with random fruit or having chorizo on pizza. Oh and it has to come in a skip size quantity regardless of the quality.

So if Heston knocks up a decent sausage and mash half the population will think it would much better with a cheese single on the top and side or of nachos.Oh and I much prefer it when Heston just cooks, it’s what I want from a cooking show cooking

Tuesday, 20 January 2009

Big ears strikes again

Over heard today:
Young middle class twenty something woman to similar friend:

“Well, I said to him for me the adventure is over, well in Ealing at

This one will run and run:
Overheard didn’t see the blokes:

“S’right d’ya know what’s a wrap?”
“What d’ya mean a wrap?”
“Ya know a
wrap in the caff winda”
“Oh a WRAP, it’s a sarnie in it.”
“Sarnie what
d’ya mean ?”
“A sarnie like a kebab in one o’ dem pittas”
“So why’s it
called a wrap?”
“dun kno suppose you wrap it up in a pitta”
“Oh I see so
what’s a falafel.........”

This one is thanks to R.
Two trendy types on the northern line discussing the closing of M&S food in Balham (with no apparent irony)

“What will we do Greggs is hardly the same!”

Monday, 19 January 2009

Monday Monday

Monday stuff and nonsense

Photo of the week:
Thanks to S for spotting this it’s by Luke Stephenson.

Definition of optimism:
a guy running up to the carriage with 2 huge suitcases on wheels this morning, this is a carriage with people pressed like leaves of filo in a baklava and here he was trying to introduce two baby elephants to the party, smiling weakly didn’t help a great deal mate nor did trying to nudge into the carriage I’m afraid he’s probably still there..

The Ladies Bus Book club:
Not sure why British people like biographies so much but on the bus this morning women’s stories were on the ascendency: on the back seat a slightly prim man in half moon glasses was reading a “lavishly” illustrated life of Queen Victoria , in front of him a cute youngish woman in a cute knitted red beret (pillar box not sadly raspberry) and a cute black with white polka dots dress (did I say she was cute) was engrossed in a book about Dusty( how can someone have so much good taste without exploding?).
In front of her with some inevitability was a Jade goody fan catching up with well I’m not what in Jade’s book lot’s of!!!!! I expect, that and torrid tales of a hard childhood in Rotherhithe. Lastly I noticed that as I got off the woman in front of “jade” had that one about Georgina Duchess of Dorset. I not sure this proves anything other that people like to read about other people rather than made up things oh and that more people should wear cute polka dots dresses and listen to Dusty....

Master chef quote of the day:

“I’m from slough so I’m going to be competitive”

More food TV: Big Chef meets Little Chef.
Watched Heston Blumenthal trying to improve Little Chef . I think he should have checked out Katherine Tate first to undertand his clientele a bit better. Not sure I've ever been to one we were either a packed lunch in the service station car park family or in time we went in side for their greasy over priced slop, I think Litttle Chef were a bit B road and we lived life* in the fast lane!!

* or Leicester Forest East

Sunday, 18 January 2009

Shortcut to a fungal infection?

That bit behind Virgin

Reading Jay Rayner's restaurant review just now I saw the bit below. Now I think Jay lives in one of the leafy streets near Clapham common* so may be doesn't get out to rougher bits of town but I think he may need to take more water with his sake as his description of Hanway st makes it sound like "last exit to Brooklyn" rather than a slightly down at heel short cut with a wonderful "tapas" bar and an excellent record shop (JB's) anyway here's his description of that bit behind virgin!

"A simple wish list, then, which narrowed it down a bit, particularly in London. The restaurant I wanted, I was told by knowledgeable friends, was Kikuchi in Hanway Street just off Tottenham Court Road - the sort of dank, hidden alley that TS Eliot might have been thinking of when he wrote in The Love Song of J Alfred Prufrock of "certain half-deserted streets, The muttering retreats of restless nights..." Hanway Street is the kind of place you go for a quiet nervous breakdown, to contract a notifiable disease or, as it turns out, for very good sushi."

Here's a bit of history of the place including a bit about the first man in london to use an umbrella!

* Update: see comments for JR postcode clarification!

My new favourite new band

Thieves like them.....

I’m not sure how I heard about them, they are young person’s band and seeing as I don’t listen to young person’s radio anymore I can’t have heard them there, anyway like the computer I’m writing this on and rain and communism they are from that there Manchester.

Once you hear them you won’t be surprised as they are New Order! Not actually but well have a listen.

Sounding like NO is no crime in my book as when asked the question “would you like tohear a new New Order record?” I have always said “yes” ever since ohh I don’t know 1983.

I am past caring if anyone else likes them (other than BLBW) nor do I see myself changing anyday soon. Maybe being a cold war child I’m used to them and us and forming opinions and sticking to them. I can’t be doing with people changing sides like floating voters, you’re a mod or a rocker, a Durannie or a spandie and Easty or a Take Thaty, copper or miner, so I chose New Order early and won’t change. I’ll put up with Barney’s double chin, Hooky’s tantrums, the odd single with Billy Corkhill from smashing cocking pumpkins, I’m won’t be changing any time soon..

So when cherubs like Delphic wander up with their bass and drums and that, fine! I liked faux New Order records when the Beloved made them, or Paris Angels, or Pet shop boys or Interpol, so more please.

For the record Delphic are more 1990 New Order with the Stephen and Gillian style “other two” synths and some top Hooky bass on “submission”. The do remind me of the “Paris Angels”. They have a great mix of old and new synth sounds, sounding modern oh I don't know, I've listened to them 20 times already and they are just wonderful. They have that thing to make you feel good you know energy, drama .

Delphic have a suitably oblique factoryesque website that tells you the thick end of shag all but you can get 3 songs from there which are great. If you like New Order have a listen if not, well so be it let’s not fall out unless you are a Leeds fans that is.

Saturday, 17 January 2009

Location Location Location

Class war and other flavours:

Saw these today, is it just me or does "Croxton Manor" sound less like an aspirational foodie organic heaven and more like your towns dodgy sink estate("what d'ya expect she's from Croxton manor") or the local hard school that everyone's a bit scared of .

I bet bus driver refuse to drive past these crisps and estate agents try to say "well they are not really croxton manor cheddar more maldon sea salt and aged Siena balsamic fringes crisps...."

Every sane person knows crisps only come from one place .....Bradford

Wednesday, 14 January 2009

It’s a small world

Model Citizens:

Here's my latest craze tilt-shift photographs mainly because my flickr and real friend C pointed me in the direction of the website that quickly does them for you. Don't worry about the theory just enjoy thes of pictures of real life made to look like a model village. I hope you like my train set pic. Here's a proper example

Like most people of I always liked miniature worlds, I had rail layout as kid and part of the joy of it was the tiny people and getting down and looking at the trains from close up. Most people have imagined walking round a dolls house or driving a toy matchbox car. One of my favourite daydreams as a kid was imaging climbing up a pile of sand or broken concrete wall but at the scale of tiny airfix toy solider (1.72 kit fans).

It's also the fascination of what we always called snowstorms but seem to be now called snowglobes. Here's my film of my Anthony Gormley's snowstorm that someone on youtube wanted to buy the cheeky bugger.

Which leads to BLBW getting me this excellent book "Little People in the City: The Street Art of Slinkachu" for Christmas (I got him a space rocket and big war comic book) which is full funny and touching little scenes made with I suspect of model railway characters in tiny scenes on London streets, have a look at his site for the more. The book has a foreword by Will Self which is his usual windy arse.

Sunday, 11 January 2009

The future is now part: 999

Robotson Crusoe: "I just popping down the Crater do you need anything.."
Sorry to bang on about the future already being here and that but here it is again on a Micro and Macro level.

Micro Machines: On the home front I got a little usb plug in freeview card for my lap top meaning 25 years after having to plug the computer into the TV I can now plug a TV into the computer and record TV etc and it worked out the box and is just sort of normal and yet incredible at the same time.

Macro Machines: On a larger grander level I was just reading about the Nasa Mars Landers that have been slowly and doggedly exploring mars remotely all those miles away. They have been doing it for 20 times longer than expected and have further deepened out knowledge and helped confirm the theory that water once flowed on mars. This is incredible that someone could build a machine that works so far from our reach to quote Douglas Adams if you think it's a long way to the shops well Mars is...
Further proof that sometimes we need to go and find out first hand is offered by the fact that one of the reasons the robots have lasted so long is that their solar cells have not got covered in dust because the winds on mars are stronger than expected and blow the dirt away. We probably wouldn't know this without going there. It's not a mars shattering fact but few pieces of information are it's when they are all put to that interesting things are revealed.
Of course there are other ways of getting to Mars. Over to you Francis Albert

Live version of Fly me to the moon By Frank Sinatra

The Global Village pt 1212: "The virtual school gate"

It seems that every female columnist this week has had something to say about the French government minster who gave birth and then went back to work the next day.

Sadly you can't not write a piece and then tell people I'm not writing a column about this because it's none of our business which would be my prefered point of view. Also her main crime it would seem is looking "hot" and skinny.

And of course blokes gossip and slag off in much same way we just like to pretend we don't.

Tonight’s Lottery Ticket

Film Review: Saturday night at the Movies

To London's busy London to celebrate with E&R&R&S..... Happy birthday E

We went to the Curzon and had a marvellous time seeing the excellent "Slumdog millionaire".

I've always liked Danny Boyle's work but I think this is his most complete cohesive film for ages. It's a modern thrilling fable set in Indian charting the childhood of 3 slum kids and is set around a miraculous gameshow appearance by the main character. I won't do the plot here as you'll have heard about it elsewhere. Just give some thoughts.

Firstly Ignore all the "feel good film of year nonsense", that is if you are expecting "My best friend's wedding" or "calendar girls" it's feel good only in the way that really good art makes you feel more alive excites you, entertains and engages. It's not feel good in the general meaning i.e. rolling skating with Dalmatians tampon ad "feel good" patronising nonsense let's kick ABBA to death way.
What to say:

  • Slumdog looks great with excellent Kinetic camera work.
  • It sounds good particular the scene on the train where they start playing the M.I.A track see below (if it seems a little 2007 I think they had problems releasing the film which is madness because it so good).
  • The kids' acting especially the little kids is really good.
  • Boyle credits poor people with a rich life which although hard isn't dull or meaningless but without being tedious, worthy and wholemeal about it, it's not a lecture on extreme poverty but doesn't trivialise hardship either. One thing to mention is that it does have violence in it from the start, nothing extreme but you don't get through life in ghetto without the odd black eye, bust lip or being turned over by the cops.
  • My only complaint was that the Curzon's aircon was faulty, there must have dust or something blowing out because I got something in my eye towards eye just for a moment not for long what with my steely manly eyes mind you....

  • So in short Slumdog Millionaire is definitely worth a trip to flicks, (it won't look as good on the small screen, India is after all a big country.)

Here's Danny Boyle playing doing magic with light!!

Here's the Clash sorry MIA paper planes

Friday, 9 January 2009

Friday, Friday.

Friday stuff not connected but just not disconnected probably

Overheard on the bus:
Posh trendy bloke probably called Josh to his mate and of course the rest of us.“Yeah, F*ck man Christmas was hellish, we went to Holly’s sisters in Paris and then back Suffolk. It was sooo mad I’m thinking of going to Thailand for 5 weeks at the end of month to get my mind sorted”Which amongst many other questions raises the idea of where do the Thais go to get their mind sorted or are their Christmas’ not as hellish?

War what it is good for...
In the paper they are bemoaning about the massive decline in UK manufacturing but a few pages later, in the international section they are up arms about a midland’s firm making engines for Israeli spy planes.

The Shoreditch burnt cream appreciation massive
In the Mediterranean café down leather lane theirs a bunch of Josh’s (probably) work mates, you know spiky hair, big coats, skinny stripy scarves (one of them keeps his trilby on while he’s eating) and one of them (thankfully bareheaded) is flicking through the pictures on his Iphone and they are not lairy shots of “a massive Nu year” but a second by second record of the making of some crème brulees. The desserts are discussed in the sort of spoddy detail only blokes can truly manage in ....“So you use a gas gun to caramelise the tops I just stick the grill full on....

Do tea tasters take coffee breaks?

Thursday, 8 January 2009

Paging Picasso Opel kadett paging Picasso

The Name Game.
In a fit of madness the rail company gave me a seat this morning and on it was a free sheet which unusually I started reading and read a story about Kylie having a new bloke (good for her) and sharing a dog called Sheba with her ex.

The best bit however was that her Ex is now dating a Spanish actress (as you do, the same thing happen to me just as Raquel Cassidy trips out the door (we promised to stay friends) who should I meet down the market but Penelope Cruz and one thing leads to another and soon we are sharing morning espressos and next month we are going to adopt a pair Peruvian of twins) .....

Sorry where was I, oh yes Kylie ex’s new paramour is called Goya Toledo” hurrah!
What a simply excellent name!

Let’s see if it passes the Mark Radcliffe playing out test.
(Scene: a small back to back terraced house in Malaga)

Knock, Knock.
"Hello, Tracey love ."
"Hello Mrs Toledo is your Goya playing out?"
Hmmmmm I’m not sure.

Top Goya Toledo fact:

She was in 5 epsisodes of a comedy called “Hermanos de Leche” which translates (roughly) as The Milk Brothers!

Tuesday, 6 January 2009

Pavement Art : Gallery of lost and found # 10

10 of spades
Originally uploaded by bltphoto

Oh happy day!
It may cold, everybody may be skint, the sun barely gets above the horizon but any day when you find a playing card in the street on the way to work can’t be all bad. This one had the added tension that it was face down so I had the drama of the reveal.

Was it one I had already? Was it the rules to bridge?

A quick scrabble and Ta dah! The 10 of spades!

Of course I had to wait to check my flickr page to confirm I didn’t have it already I think there is a 1 in 5 ish chance at the moment (including jokers) that I won’t get a double. Sadly I Lucked out and I have a 10 spades already, oh well it is a game chance!

Post 700: It's parky out (of the country)

Tha’s a reet spinner thee aka Not just lies these are M&S lies....

Listening to the radio this morning, at the half hour up popped the sports news and the discussion turned to the English crickets team’s tour of Oz and look who popped up to comment on our travails, Sir Michael Parkinson.

No big surprise there Parky’s been using the same 5 anecdotes to talk about sport for most of his career. But here’s the thing t’old MP is sunning himself down under and yet and yet before Christmas he was on the TV all the time telling us about the hilarious argument he and their lass were having about what would be on’t t’table chez Parky come Dec 25th. And yet he wasn’t as He and Mary would like us to believe sat in some prefab pensioners bungalow in Stairfoot or Wombwell blanket on their knees sharing a M&S turkey crown dinner for 2 and some mince pies with some squirty cream on top on a tray in front of the popping gas fire watching the horrors unfold on ‘stenders. Nor was He even sat next to the inglenook in his top end gastro pub in Berkshire waiting for the petit fours to come around. No Mr “we were having a reet to do about the smoke salmon starters in Mark’s wet fish section t’other day” Parkinson was sunning himself in Ramsay St. grazing on Barramundi and prawns!

If we can’t trust adverts what can we trust, you’ll be telling me next that Andi Macdowell doesn’t use 10 quid bottles of hair dye next.

Monday, 5 January 2009

You don't know me at all....

In the name of all that's holy NO!!!

I've just received an e-mail from the BBC tickets telling me about their up coming attractions. I only signed up to get "free" Elbow tickets and like some Victorian melodrama I'm paying for my crime of avarice. As today they sent me a flier for the upcoming series of " two pints of cocking lager and packet of crisps tw*tting please".
Well regular readers know I Love the BBC but TPLAPCP is such an abomination it almost makes me want to join the Daily Mail readers in burning down Broadcasting House I'd rather crawl to Wembley on broken glass sit on a spike and watch a supergrpoup formed by Coldplay keane and Maria Carey than watch the title sequence let alone the main body of this totally worthless pointless humourless lowest of low look I've sneezed on some A4 will this do asa script never laughed once belittles the people it seeks to portray the wrtiter must have pictures of Alan Yentob and goat coz they got a sequel made god it's rubbish did I say it's not funny but not not funny like last of Summer wine is not funny or My family is not funny but not funny as in watching a family pet hit repeatedly by a cricket bat on Christmas day and then dragged by behind a dustcart unfunny.

So I won't be sending in application even though I see there's a recording on my birthday score!

Badges we don't need no stinking badges # 1

Pottering out:
Saw the news about Wedgewood being on the skids. My Dad’s peripatetic job means that I’m part clay head having lived in Tunstall until I was six or so. I don’t always check the bottom plates to see where they come from but I do take an occassional interest in matters ceramic and so it is sad if a way forward can’t be found for UK production of Wedgewood et al.

Sadly I think the problem may be that the UK market has disappeared for these things in that I don’t think anyone of my friends of my age would think of having a china dinner service. Our homes may be filled with tat but it tends to be post ironic plastic Japanese robots and snow storms rather than Jasper ware vases or Royal Dalton flower sellers. My plates tend to be simple white ones from the market rather than “wintergarden” blue and white like my mums, and yes a trifle does look better in the special crystal Waterford bowl but well trifles don’t last that long in our house so my large Pyrex bowl serves just as well. It’s possible that Wedgwood has suffered the same fate as dark brown wooden furniture; we’ve all gone blond and modern.

So I think the Bauhaus did for Wedgewood just as much as the credit crunch the irony being that the original Bauhaus goods with their hand crafted pretence at mass production weren’t really a triumph of the factory system unlike the delicate and pretty designs made by craftsmen and women of the five towns.

Will this celebrity hell never stop?

Now a message from our sponsors
Ex Etonian poshboy former PR for family fortunes David Cameron was on the Today programme this morning spouting his usual nonsense. One throw away saloon bar Middle England pleasing dog whistle statement he made at the end with respect to governments supposed spendthrift ways “we are now even paying celebrities to appear in government adverts”

Now I’m all for the powers that be spending my money wisely but it’s hardly news that celebs get a shilling to front government propaganda.
Would you have denied Alvin his thruppence for this?

Or Sir Jim his cool few thou for this

or this

And of course I’m sure no one would begrudge old WH his fee for this or maybe David Cameron as his tiny private income elite would.

Sunday, 4 January 2009

When pathetic sharks attack ....

What we learned from this weekend TV:

Telly programmes do go on a bit

Who will be the next Dr Who? BBC1 Sat 3rd 5.35 Great White Shark - A Living Legend BBC2 Fri 2nd & The Lost Pyramid channel 4 sat 7.25.

While I wait for my freeview adapter to turn up I've been watching the 5 terrestrial channels and watching stuff I may have skipped past normally.

Last night bbc2 added to the global shark documentary ocean with another film about the great white shark. I had a quick look and there seems to over 700 species of shark in the world so why does only one ever get shown on TV? Well I know about Jaws but let's be honest the effect of wildlife documentaries telling us great whites aren't voracious killers while showing them chomping seal cubs is greater these days than Spielberg's overhyped b movie. This is especially the case when loads of people watching these shark attack programmes have never seen Jaws.

This documentary was typical of the form in that it took ages to tell us very little; the films main selling point was that the shark expert swam with the sharks in open water which was less dramatic than it could have been as his camera man was also swimming along with him. In fact the whole show was based around five seconds of film showing a great white attacking a seal shot from below the water. Which would have been even better if it wasn't a plastic seal being pulled a boat being eaten! So interesting bit of film 2 -3 mins total length of film 1 hour.

The pyramid film was worse, all channel 4 docs are too long, I dread to think how long they must be in America with their advert rate they must last 3 hours easily. This film was about the remains of a pyramid on a hill near Giza, the whole story could have been told in half an hour tops. But they took an hour and half thus rendering an interesting story tedious. Basically the reason the pyramid disappeared was that everyone from the Romans onwards have been nicking the stone. That being said after taking so long to tell us this they didn't explain why the same fate hasn't befallen the other pyramids to the same extent, oh damn they'll need another decade to tell us that.

As for the new Dr Who, we got another half an hour of the series' worst crime "the making of documentary", nothing to do with new Doctor is worth a damn until Russell T Davis has spent 10 mins in his charming and cheeky way telling us about William Troughton genius, is there really anyone alive who doesn't know the sequence of old doctors? Is it fair to keep having to skip over the crap 80's ones? I don't care how it was made? I don't care which bit of Cardiff the chippy Celts who make the programme tried to palm off as Camden? I just want to watch the programme. May be like the others here the producers should be honest and say look we have to sell this to America so it has to be 45 mins long so they can fill the rest of the hour with pop tart commercials, why don't you go and make some tea and toast for a bit and we'll be back with that dancing programme on the hour.

As for the new Doctor well he's clearly been brought in so they can have more pouty snogging in the rain scenes which are the most over used plot devices since the series was relaunched that and because you can't have old people on the TV anymore.

sunday night update:

The Real Italian Job: James Martin's Mille Miglia: Cheeky yorkshire TV chef tries to take part in a road race in Italy he spends 800k on an old car and then it breaks down on the first day of the 3-4 day race (20 mins in) but of course the the programme ground on for the full hour hurrah!

Saturday, 3 January 2009

Another case of history repeating.....

What goes around....

Here's a couple of Giles Cartoons from my 1958 annual.
They both refer to an American operation in Beirut (Lebanon) in July 1958* ostensibly to support the pro-western Government hence the GI's playing cards with "locals".
The Tommies are on their way to Jordon as we prepare to support the government there with the chaos of neighbouring Iraq; the trouble that lead to Baath party taking power in later years which meant Saddam Hussain coming to power, you will stop me when this all starts to sound familiar....
* yes it was a new one on me we just can't stop stirring stuff up

Next an excellent cartoon that could be drawn today except perhaps the posh types would be stood round a patio heater and would be spouting this classic conspiracy theory themselves.
Can I just add a quote which could have been coined for Anglo/American foreign policy.

All human evil comes from a single cause, man's inability to sit still in a room.

by Blaise Pascal

Picture credit Giles Cartoons 18th & 20th July 1958
ps. If you click on the pictures they should enlarge so you can have a proper deco.