Posts from 12th July 2004

Jul 04

A Brief Fumetti Fantasy Based On Today’s In-Store Listening

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 442 views

A Brief Fumetti Fantasy Based On Today’s In-Store Listening

Kingsmill Bread Is Rubbish

Pumpkin Publog33 comments • 6,168 views

Kingsmill Bread Is Rubbish

The world of the premium white sliced loaf is an odd one.

On the one hand we have Hovis. It’s sold as being bread. Not posh bread, just bread. Which is it all it is, really. A bit more expensive, but at heart it’s white sliced, only more so. Nice and moist, fine texture, tastes a bit more bready than Tesco Value, makes a good bacon butty. These are all obviously good things, and it’s what I end up buying more often than not.

And then we have Kingsmill. Launched into the world by the faintly ridiculous ‘Bread and Butler’ advertising campaign, the Kingsmill brand has always had a specifically posh aura about it. This is embodied in the bread itself. Rather than adopt the Hovis white-sliced-only-better approach, it aspires to the condition of your actual traditional square tin loaf ie Proper Posh Bread. It does this by having a drier, coarser texture and, as Dave B points out below, smelling of fish.

Now, the latter is obviously a serious misstep unless you happen to be making fish finger sarnies, but it’s the former that really gets to me. Yes, Proper Posh Bread is a bit drier than sliced white, but it’s also more elastic. This means it can cope with a serious bit of buttering. Kingsmill can’t. Unless your butter is on the point of melting its weirdly textured slices tear as soon as they makes contact with your knife. It’s a sandwich bread that you can’t actually make sandwiches with. Marvellous.

In conclusion: Kingsmill = rub. So why is it that whenever I am forced to do a bit of emergency bread shopping it’s so much easier to find than Hovis? Do we live in a nation of snobs who like their sandwiches torn and smelling of fish? Or is there some sinister cartel forcing corner shops and Paddington Sainsburys to stock nothing but Kingsmill?

FT Top 100 Films 65: THREE MEN AND A BABY

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FT Top 100 Films

Okay. I fail to see exactly what is so funny about the set-up. They are men. They have to look after a baby. Maybe the humour is devised from their differing fathering styles. One is over-protective, the other more free spirited and the third is vegan. Oh, I see it is none of these. It is actually just that men + baby = hilarity.

Society: get a grip.

Perhaps though the idea of Ted Danson + Steve Guttenberg + Tom Selleck + Baby = guffaws galore. There are a couple of gifted comic actors in that mix, and with a sure fire comic director even the lamest of sexist premises might come off. Enter Leonard Nimoy, a man whose acting relied on eyebrows even more than Roger Moore. Beyond the obvious gags about shitty nappies, where did they think they were going with this. Where they went was Three Men And A Little Lady, the less said about which the better. Instead we have a purile film where the paternity of a child is used as some form of punishment for promiscuity. How does that get into a Disney film?

Oh and don’t even start me on the fact that the film is based on a French classic: Trois hommes et un couffin. Hmm, like French society isn’t even more sexist. The film is only watchable for yet another grandstanding turn from Steve Guttenberg, sadly not realising that his career was about to go tits up and that Zeus And Roxanne was a mere ten years away. At least his character seems to understand that he is stuck in some sort of 1940’s reactionary throwback, and that looking after kids is not the worst thing that could happen. The film is only interesting if it is read as an AIDS drama with the baby as the virus.

A look at Fahrenheit 9/11 which I decided to post on the Wedge

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A look at Fahrenheit 9/11 which I decided to post on the Wedge because it turned out I was talking more about Fahrenheit 451 than Michael Moore’s emotive, entertaining but ephemeral docu.

Michael Moore did not ask Ray Bradbury if he could use Fahrenheit 451

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 286 views

Michael Moore did not ask Ray Bradbury if he could use Fahrenheit 451 as the basis for punning title of his anti-Bush film. Quite possibly if Bradbury were to take him to court it would come in as extra publicity for notoriously shy Mike. Nevertheless if you consider the pun, and its source material, it really is rather week.

The original subtitle of Fahrenheit 9/11 was ‘the temperature at which the truth burns’. Plain nonsense, if we consider 9/11 as proper fraction then this temperature is around about -14 degrees Celsius. Now stuff will burn at that temperature, but if the truth were to spontaneously combust as such a low temperature the only place were any truth would exist for long periods time would be well within the Polar Circles.

Let us assume that he is not being literal therefore. Rather that the 9/11 is supposed to invoke the 451 of the original novel. Moore has done the oldest trick in the poor pun constructing book and just made a substitution because something sounds a bit alike (and 9/11 sounds very little like 451). Bradbury’s book is about censorship and freedom of speech. So perhaps there is an analogue between the idea of freedom of speech and Michael Moore’s own freedom of speech. Look, there’s Mike peaking naughtily over a document marked confidential. Except there is very little new in Fahrenheit 9/11 that was not in the public arena (admittedly this is from a Londoncentric news following perspective). Moore is presenting old news n an emotive fashion to an audience he believes is not aware of this information.

Bradbury?s novel was about censorship, but a censorship which stemmed from envy and feeble-mindedness. It was a deliberately elitist argument, that with the proliferation of television and a fast paced society people would lack the concentration to read. Couple with this people not liking to feel less educated next to the well read, and the seeds of Bradbury’s totalitarian society is born (it is not altogether consistent). Nevertheless it is fiction which holds the strongest place in Bradbury’s world, rather than the truth which Moore is supposedly trying to uncover. Moore’s bite-sized, argument free, scattershot news presentation seems ideally suited for Bradbury’s future.

The sad thing is that most people in the cinema with me did not even get the reference. Bradbury’s book (and Truffaut’s even more bonkers film version) is a rollicking story, whilst Moore’s patchwork piece is only aimed at an audience that, without all this associated publicity, he may not have hit. Luckily though Frank Darabont is scheduled to make a new version, something which, considering the plot of Fahrenheit 451, seems remarkably ironic.

This week’s tale of abject incompetence by the UGC Shaftesbury Avenue

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This week’s tale of abject incompetence by the UGC Shaftesbury Avenue comes courtesy of their 2:15 showing of Tupac: Resurrection on Saturday the 8th July. They got three of the reels in the wrong order. No-one else in the cinema seemed to notice. They probably thought it was part of that new fangled non-chronological storytelling made popular by that nice Mr Tarantino. It did seem odd to jump from Tupac’s starring role in Poetic Justice to him goes to jail, then getting out of jail and releasing Thug Life. It got all the more confusing when you remember that two years before his death he had already been shot. Luckily this version got the two shootings in the right order, though it was not initially clear since voice-over about the first non-fatal shooting is also used over the second.

It is an interesting portrait that has been produced. Using solely interviews from his life, Tupac narrates his own story from beyond the grave. This probably means very judicious editing, requiring an authorial voice that is never fore-grounded. This is Tupac’s story, we are told, though he had no say in how his words were used. If Tupac were alive, would he have included Wuthering Heights and Vincent on the soundtrack? But if he were alive, this film would not exist. A strangely duplicitous film which is madly watchable when the film-makers are not showing footage of little fluffy clouds to suggest that Shakur is on of God’s little angels now. Would have been better in the right order though.

Inspired by Sarah’s tale of woe last week, in writing rather than in deed.

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 282 views

Inspired by Sarah’s tale of woe last week, in writing rather than in deed.

I don?t suppose I have ever really considered the merits of the fast food packaged drink before. You know, the waxed paper cups, with their lids to aid rigidity and prevent spillage. But paper really is not a very strong material, when it is all that is standing between your leg and a pint of Pepsi. Yes, I had an accident in KFC at the weekend.

After drifting out of the cinema I had twenty minutes to kill and a slight hankering for fried chicken. I get this very, very rarely – its been well over four months since the Colonel has made any money out of me. But money he made, as I got myself a medium two piece meal: that is two pieces of chicken, a medium fires and a Pepsi. Feeling ever so slightly soiled and dirty (as I always do in fast food restaurants, its an esteem thing) I set off to get a straw and some salt. These are KFC chips after all. They need salt.

The final leg of my journey was where disaster set in. A girl who looked about nineteen (and therefore had to be actually fourteen) misjudged her personal space when she stood up, grazing my tray. This set the Pepsi into a precarious rocking motion which was probably not helped by me grasping it firmly as it started to fall off my tray. If allowed to fall naturally it would have plummeted to the ground and exploded on the floor causing me little splashback. So they are designed. Unfortunately my spider-sense style catch left me holding a pint of Pepsi over my right leg, and the key point is the Pepsi was upside down. The plastic spill shield could not cope, and combined with my probably more meaty than necessary grasp, the contents deluged down my leg.

?Fuck,? I said, holding the cup for longer than strictly necessary I fear for natural comic effect. I had slightly splashed a Chinese diner, though the snotty ten year old who had caused the upset got away scot free. And my leg dripped with Pepsi. I was really thirsty too.

Luckily napkins are always on ready supply in mucky ole KFC so I went some way towards emergency leg drying, though it was a bit sticky later. But being centre of attention in a fast food restaurant is no fun. You can take your Supersize Me’s, and your Fast Food Nations – they may convince you to stay away from the chains. For me it is much more simple. Those cups are dangerous.


Do You SeePost a comment • 237 views


The Story Of The Weeping Camel

U: Contains A Scene Of An Animal Being Born

The Clerkenwell Literary Festival

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 417 views

The Clerkenwell Literary Festival is under way, full programme here.
Some of the evening shows start too early, (unless you happen to work in Clerkenwell of course).

I guess the most popular event (judging by ticket price if nothing else) will be Iain Sinclair and Will Self in conversation.


Proven By SciencePost a comment • 482 views


The much derided British national drugs site is actually pretty good. There are a couple of “uncool” howlers on the front page (the Going Down section perhaps) but it does manage to convince you of its message that it is just interested in providing information. I am writing a drugs handbook for students at the moment, and the balance between DON’T DO IT, ITS ILLEGAL (and I will go to prison) and HEY FANCY A BLUNT is nigh on impossible to judge. Cribbing off of Frank has made my life a lot easier.

The best bit is the A-Z of drugs which happily lists every single slang word for a particular drug they can think of. This being drugs slang of course it is absolutely impossible to be comprehensive. So this is your challenge Proven By Science:

The only letter the Frank Site cannot think of a drug begining with is U. Can you think of one?