Posts from June 2005

30
Jun 05

Gin & Grass II

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 375 views

For those of you eagerly anticipating the results of the gin in the asparagus soup experiment, the results are mixed. Well, okay, the results were pretty unpleasant. That said I do think it was the cream that caused the problem, rather than the actual gin asparagus combo that worked so well the day before. But my knee jerk reaction to add cream to asparagus soup was unfortunate.

So I cheered myself up with aubergine & pesto, and you can’t go wrong with that.

29
Jun 05

Interrupting your regular broadcast…

Do You SeePost a comment • 309 views

Erm… at the risk of appearing like a shameless self-publicist, me and my mate Carl are reviewing horror movies over here, and we’re looking for recommendations of stuff we might like (or find interesting). It’s not a very focussed endeavour, as my attempts to take in Creature from the Haunted Sea AND The Wicker Man on the same day will testify. If you have any bright ideas, please put them in the appropriate comment boxes.

Plug over. Sorry.

Efforts to build “a star on Earth” have been technically very challenging

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So France gets the nod then to build a huge nuclear fusion reactor. Hmm, that’s a little bit close isn’t it…

Not that the French don’t just love their nuclear power plants, being the largest producer of nuclear power per head of population, and second in total nuclear power produced to the US. 77% of French power is nuclear, which may well stand them in good stead in the next fifty years. Or alternatively may mean they all sprout extri-eyes and glow in the dark*. Nuclear power is after all an environmentally controversial subject. One the one hand it is a very clean energy, it produces much less waste than fossil fuel methods. The only problem is that waste has been traditionally very nasty.

Fusion then is the way forward. And has been so for the last fifty years, and so far no-one has really got a hang of how to do it. As the title says (from the how it works box on the BBC article) the building of mini-suns on Earth has traditionally been seen as
a) difficult
b) potentially dangerous.
Now I’m not saying that just because something is not dangerous that we should not give it a go. I’m not saying that the potential for BLOWING UP THE ENTIRE EARTH is no reason to give it a spin. Its just that part of me wishes Japan had got there first. In the end though fusion experiments are worthwhile because the alternative is covering Antartica with solar cells and equipping North Wales with enough propellers to make it resemble the Spruce Goose. That said, fusion has always been a couple of decades away, and I don’t see that changing soon.

*Hurrah for traditional nuclear power prejudice. One wonders exactly what The Simpsons has done for the image of nuclear power in the US?

Copyright C

Do You SeePost a comment • 211 views

There is something fantastically seventies about title sequences that have copyright notices in them. A lot of low budget indies, just about the time when non-studio films started to happen, had copyright notices on them (Sweet Sweetback being a good example, as is Texas Chainsaw Massacre). These days it is rarely seen, the copyright is a given, and anyway our credits are full of the fifteen different company and producer names who brought us the film. Which is why David Gordon Green’s copyright notice on the title page of Undertow is there purely as a hint to those sort of seventies films. Unsurprising as the entire film seems stuck together from homages of other films. Plenty of people have notice the Night Of The Hunter as a influence, but the film feels almost Cormanesque, or at least its early scenes have the energy of something knocked out quickly (the backwater feel of Boxcar Bertha springs to mind).

Whilst I enjoyed Undertow it seemed a slightly retrograde step for Green, whose previous films (All The Pretty Girls and George Washington) coasted along on a tremendously firm style. Yet Undertow has a much stronger narrative, and until the last twenty minutes, manages to suck you in whilst still playing to Gordon’s strengths as a director (playing on the edge of reality). Perhaps it is a case of too much too soon, the Terrance Malick production may have given us the Badlands feel, and the Phillip Glass score possible overshadows the work Green is doing himself. Or perhaps he just needs to make a Swamp Thing movie. That’s what the hip young directors are doing these days after all, and Green’s affiliation of backwaters and wastelands would fit that nicely.

In the end perhaps the failing of Undertow is that its a film which is impossible to talk about without refering to other films. What price copyright then?

Any Drink Will Do

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 273 views

There is one week in the year, one solitary week, when I buy asparagus. Usually. And it is this week my friends, when the glut arrives and the supermarkets (yes yes , I know, organic box blah blah) start a price war. They also start discounting ridiculously which left me with a nice bundle last night for twenty pee. On the turn possibly so it was straight to the stove. After considering a gratin and then discounting in because I still cannot get with the idea that cheese on toast is a proper dinner no matter how posh, I went for the old tried and tested risotto. This was almost scuppered when after frying the onion and bit o’bacon I realised I had no risotto rice. But that’s what flatmates cupboards are for. In the meantime the ‘grass was slowly going all dente, and I reserved the wood for a soup and started spooning in the stock.

I have made the error before of making a risotto with pretty much ONLY wine, and that was not very nice. However a risotto without any wine seems flat. But our flat had no wine. Not even in flatmates cupboard. Which is when I got creative. And got out the gin.

A shot seemed about right, burn off the alcohol but leave an interestingly juniper tang. And it worked a treat. Once the tips were dumped in and a generous slaver of butter added, the gin really added an aromatic tang to the risotto. What’s more it seemed to compliment the wee-altering taste of the asparagus. So much so that I also dumped a shot in the soup. On first tasting, the soup seems very nice, though tonight I need to add some cream and essential spices (SALT). But cooking with gin is here to stay round my house.

28
Jun 05

Where dfun/dt=0

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Fun minimum
I, like many fools (oh you poor fools), believed in Uncle Richard Angwin when he said serious rain gear would be OTT. In the event my sturdy hiking boots started to let in some water. Magnus had the right idea and got us both to queue up for boots in the light rain not long after 10am. By about 11 we were near the front of the queue (which had doubled in size during that time), ankle deep in water, and growing more and more horrified as the shouts of “no more size 7s” “only 4s 6s and 8s” increased in frequency. Shuffling forward squelch by squelch, the cold, the shivering, the hangover (see later) and the feeling that “this misery will not end, ever” felt much like coming down from unimpressive but expensive drugs. Despite being a size 10, i persisted and we were fortunate to get to the front when a box or two of size 8s was pretty much all they had left. They fitted me perfectly. Thank you to the god of the confusing shoe size scale for making me this way! Though curse you if you were also the god responsible for the rain in the first place you massive arse of a deity you.

Somehow we managed to walk away with three pairs after paying for two. Sorry to the Joe Bananas massive. You can take the difference off the bastard who stole my folding stool last year.

Of course with dry feet, no actual rain any more now, and the freedom to splosh through the rising mud as the rain washed down the slopes, the misery drained away and perspective was regained. Those poor bastards with tents at the foot of the hill! shit.

Fun maximum
Only one trough of fun, but many many little peaks of fun. New Order got my dancing started – though they were a bit meh in all honesty, that’s actually better than average of all the times I have seen em. I had a lot of fun by myself this year for the first time in ages. On a mission to dance all night (post NOrder) I tried the Lock Tavern, but it was miserable – uninspired music, tiny venue. A tiny breast-cancer-charity tent just down the track did a much better job – and amazingly Magnus spotted me in there and we danced til it was time to head off for the traditional sunrise with the hippies.

Other solo feats of fun included the very entertaining Bravery (i like poseur singers and cod rock’n’roll antics once in a while), and 2manydjs (surely cut off short at the end – PJ Harvey not really providing a great end-of-set moment for many DJ acts).

I am reliably informed that i had a great deal of fun on the thursday night, but I do not enjoy or revel in the fact that I can get roaring drunk and forget everything I do as a result. This is the wrong sort of fun. It makes me realise that if I met myself I’d hate me. I behave abominably. Perry is a bad bad drug, kids.

Glastonbury 2005: Moments (Thursday-Friday)

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1. Wandering over to a book stall on Thursday evening and buying Impossible Possibilities, a book on “the miracles of the future” written by two Germans in 1968. Strolled away when the aged proprietor called me back. “Did you hear,” he said, “Of the boy who could turn a tennis ball inside out with his mind?”. “No” I said, truthfully. “They studied him – and then he couldn’t do it any more.“. Ahhh.

2. Crossing the flooded site for the first time on Friday morning to get provisions. Wild-eyed man in front of me in the queue: “ten mars bars” Provisions man: “ten??” Wild-eyed man: “make it fifteen”.

3. Returning with provisions my way is blocked by a bus grinding slowly through the rivers of muddy water. At the front are four baby-faced musician types in notably dry-weather gear: they look apalled and sickened. “It’s the Thrills” cries somebody. Somebody else cries “Fuck off!”

4. The fabulous moment when I realised that my camping chair wouldn’t sink.

5. Reading a text on Friday night saying “Kinga and Orlaith must go” and realising that the weight of water had actually shifted the whole of Glastonbury into some ridiculous counter-earth populated by bad fantasy characters.

I Thought Uncles Were Relatives

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Did you ever have a friend of your parents who was called an Uncle? (Don’t worry, I am not going down that particular paedophile route here.) A mate of your Dad’s who, when you later found out the true definition of Uncle made you feel as though the grown-ups were making this stuff up on the spot.

BBC South West Weather Forecaster Uncle Richard is a bit like that. Richard Angwin is the voice of South West Weather and a much loved old sage to the locals. But then a lot of the locals don’t like the people going to the Glastonbury Festival. You see last week Uncle Richard told us, as late as Wednesday, that we would be over-reacting if we took wellies. Odd the BBC have decided to take this page down to be replaced by the following one as on Friday his tune had changed considerably. Yes, you read that right, on Friday AFTER it had actually rained four inches in three hours.

Weather forecasters are another way of kids realising that not all adults tell the truth or are indeed omnipotent. Weather forecasters possibly need to be avuncular just so we can forgive them when they get it wrong. Well, Richard Angwin, you are no uncle of mine.

My Glastonbury Highlight

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There will be much, much more on this front but from a pure visceral piece of musical fun there was really only one place to be in Glastonbury. That was the Roots stage in the Dance Village which unfortuantely also seemed to only ever have about thirty punters in it. Nae matter. The festival finished with Seeed: and their Glastonbury Dancehall Dancing competition which was tremendous fun (and Seeed’s German dancehall was pretty top too). They also get bonus points for asking “Glastonbury: Are You (Still) Alive!”

However same stage, two nights before, while 808 State were playing their own records at themselves I stumbled across Swami. who used to be DJ Swami but is now a six piece bhangra rock rap act who for sheer energy wiped the floor with anything on the John Peel Stage (and could probably teach the Go! Team a little bit about being a live act). More information on Swami here. Don’t mind the moody photo, they were lovely boys on stage.

paging mr TOM E. for his COLA slash POULTRY pleasure

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 158 views

coke-butt chicken (courtesy aldo cowpat)