Posts from 9th August 2005

Aug 05

Summer shutdown

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 460 views

La Porchetta is shut. This has caused a massive upset to a FT writer, so much so that he almost lost his job over it (okay, it is more complex than that, but off the point.) The point is, why are they shut? A similar crisis occurred last year when keen pizza munchers set out to their favourite BIG PIZZA emporia to find a note that they were shut for holidays.

Nowhere shuts for holidays these days.

In some ways as a good Union man I approve. But part of me disapproves that they have to take their holiday at the same time. But part of me approves that they don’t get in temp staff and compromise the quality. But part of me disapproves (and unfortunately this is the biggest part) WHEN I AM STANDING OUTSIDE DESPERATE FOR A NUMMY PIZZA.


Pumpkin Publog1 comment • 679 views

At last we bring you Slim Pret. Its huge, but slim. All weve done is make a little box to suit a freshly made Pret sarnie. Enjoy one with a soup or a salad, or just on its own

I know some people might say things like – why mess with a classic format? There’s two main sandwich formats which exist for happy lunchers – the two triangles of sandwich OR if you’re feeling a bit adventurous, the BLOOMER sandwich. My favourite bloomers, BTW, haha I said bloomers, are from Greggs the Bakers – ham or cheese salad flavours. Pret does ham & eggs, but it doesn’t feel particularly superior to Greggses, despite the er, egg-spences.

But I’m straying off the topic, a raven cries NEVER MORE, NEVER MORE! The new Pret Slim, referring to the sandwich itself, rather than any supposed slimming properties inherent within the Widge – opens up exciting new lunchtime possibilities! Note they suggest you enjoy it with a soup or a salad. Well hey, like, woah dudes! Previously if we get a soup, that’s it! If we get a salad, that’s it as well! We might feel that we deserve an extra treat for being good and get a drink of fizzy pop as well (my favourite is the Grape & Elderflower cos I am a ponce). But woah – you might want to have a small sandwich with it as well?

Well, it’s a good point! And it’s not as if it’s a full sandwich, is it! Which means it’s ideal for breakfast! Not having breakfast myself at home, it often occurs to me to grab something very quickly from the next door shop (ie a PRET), but their breakfast baguettes seem too much and so does a sandwich and bvgger me if I’m having a a fruit salad first thing in the morning. No, perhaps it will be a PRET SLIM!

The only bugbear I guess I have then, is with the naming. What with iPod Minis, why not just jump onto the back of their cool, sassy yet inexpensive cut-down option branding and call them Pret Mini? But hey, I guess I’m not in advertising and I won’t get it… unless Pret Mini is already earmarked for a new car or something. W00!

Garrincha – Biography by Ruy Castro

TMFDPost a comment • 765 views

Garrincha – Biography by Ruy Castro

Alex Bellos’ book on Brazilian football (Futebol) contains a chapter on Garrincha (The Angel with Bent Legs). The source of the chapter lies in Ruy Castro’s biography, just issued in paperback and translated by Bellos himself.

Garrincha is no Pele. Where the latter had a business manager, a product endorsement programme and understanding of financial management, Garrincha stuffed the money he earned in his fruitbowl. When Pele and Garrincha played in the same Brazil team, they were never beaten. In Sweden 1958, on their way to world cup success, Garrincha also found the time to leave a little piece of himself in a local lady. Just one of an endless stream of illegitimate kids. He was married three times, put it about like a horny teenager and eventually drank himself to a shadow and died in poverty.

It’s frustrating to read about a South American footballer who played 40-50 years ago because the footage isn’t easy to dig out. I found a Brazil Legends DVD which contains some wonderful action of the man at the World Cup in Chile, four years later. He teases the defender, disguising the ball then sprinting down the wing without it. The defender gamely follows him, oblivious to the deception. Unsurprisingly Garrincha’s legs were well bruised. It must be tormenting for a defender, playing against a footballer who just loved beating him. Black and white showboating. Fortunately with first Pele and Vava, then Amarildo knocking the goals in, he could get away with it.

The amazing thing is this; he had one leg six centimetres shorter than the other and his legs were bent in an unnatural stance. He looks like he should topple over in the wind, but somehow he used it to his advantage and his balance and acceleration were everything that made him. It’s a brilliant 100 mph story and just when you think he’s kicked the booze and depression and is ready to get himself fit one last time, he kills his mother-in-law while drunk behind the wheel of his car.

Any recommendations for DVD footage or related articles most welcome.

Sean William Scott has longest life expectancy in the world

Proven By Science1 comment • 596 views

Except for the woman who made it to 122, but is dead now. Even the Dutch supercentenarian who is the current world’s oldest person is five years off Sean William Scott’s life expectancy of around 120? Why do I make this claim about the actor better known for smirking and making jokes about ladies anatomy’s?

Well look here. He is about to play a role where his character has a quarter-life crisis. At age 30. You do the math.

Admittedly people in their forties do not like to claim middle age, whilst all data suggests they are. The UK life expectancy for men is current rising slowly from 76 at birth (though if you make it to 65, this can go up to 81). Either way, my midlife crisis can’t be less than ten years away…


Do You SeePost a comment • 367 views

Continuing today’s Johnny Depp festival, I watched The Ninth Gate the other day. Considered at its time as the fading of a once impressive director, Polanski then went on and won an Oscar with his next film. Which may give us pause to re-evaluate this hokey-hunt the devil potboiler.

Actually what does give you even more pause to re-evaluate it is the success of The Da Vinci Code. The Ninth Gate (book collector hires Depp to investigate a book WRITTEN BY THE DEVIL) has the same kind of structure where a shady academic tramps round Europe with a mysterious girl looking for clues but finding only DEATH. It gives a hint what the film version of the Da Vinci Code with Hanks will be like. There is even an albino in it. The film is too long, with too many fake endings and a real lack of conviction about what it is actually about: the film does not even commit to the truth of its central artifact. Can you conjure the Devil up with this book? Or is it just an expensive way of getting a few rich people to kill each other constantly? Devilish I guess.

But one cannot help but compare The Ninth Gate with Rosemary’s Baby, which does do a Devil reveal – twice. A much better psychological picture, the first rubber suited devil would still be consistent with Rosemary’s delusional state later in the film (the final reveal is a bit disappointing therefore). What lets down The Ninth Gate (lack of conclusion on Devil) is the opposite of what lets down Rosemary’s Baby. The reason for this is simple: you care about Rosemary, you don’t care about Depp’s Corso. His first scene is fleecing a family of a mint copy of Don Quixote, he is not a very nice man. For all the twinkle Depp brings to the role, Polanski is happy to follow the bland euro-thriller formula. And Polanski’s direction itself is dull, stilted and feels very similar to seventies films with a similar theme. Choirs = evil.

The film did make me wonder though, about revealing the devil and the devils place in theology. So I started this slow burning thread on ILE about people who have played the devil. The question raised in films with the Devil in is about the role of God in all this. This kind of pro-active devil seems to operate with the okay of God, running rampant around the world causing mischief. But the mischief is usually so convoluted and mild that there is no surprise that his counterpart tolerates it. Making the devil flesh neuters him. Except of course in Rosemary’s Baby where he is clearly very fertile.

Ed Ruscha ‘s Swimming Pools

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 940 views

In 1978, Ed Ruscha moved from single words or images to phrases. There has been much written about the koan clairty of the phrases, how much of America and Hollywood they compile in a few cryptic words. (I would recommend this elegant examanation by Elaine Equi:

There is one though that has haunted me for days. It has a wide aqua field with undalting white patches. It looks better then Hockney, for example, because there was something unreal/surreal/subreal about his swimming pools, with this field it looks as if its august and you are pushing yr body thru the water.

This is even more important–the phrase that rides on top the wave:


The shape of the words is rectangular, like a little raft. The lack of puncation means that we do not know if this is a commandment or an interogative or something else. The words are white, like they are painted on the deep end at the same time as floating above–stable and unstable, in stasis.

Then that sentence, think of it as a Robert Townes update on Amazing Grace. I once was blind/but now can see. But it’s an impossible task isn’t it, seeing a clear object in 1000 cubic feet of water ? Anyways, do contact lenses float or sink? So it is more like I once was blind/now I see/then I was blind/now can I see? This is the whole of Ruscha–giving us basic and banal questions, and telling us no answers.

I assume that the narrative behind this is of loss, a meloncholia mourning and a sort of blind panic. I lost my contact less at the bottom of the pool, and I can’t fucking see–help me, HELP ME. But maybe thats becasue i’m blind, and i panic. There are ways of reading this, of burma shave bemused, of resigned laconic, of something else entirely.

All we know is the contact lens and the swimming pool.