Posts from 1st September 2005

Sep 05

Day 45: Hawaii:

I Hate Music2 comments • 444 views

One the bright side, I did not get any flour in my hair. On the down side, I got thoroughly vansick and the bumping up and down was redolent of sitting inside one of Ringo Starr’s drums, it had absolutely no rhythm at all. Luckily I could vomit safely over Crispian.

San Francisco itself was a dump. Happy smiling people walking up and down hills, and not a s single huge sheet of glass to crash through in sight. Luckily the flights Crispian had booked were for first thing in the morning, so a quick kip and wash get me ready to finally leave the USA. That is until I saw the tickets.

“Crispian, what is this.”
“Its a plane ticket.”
“I asked for a ticket to somewhere outside the US.”
“And Hawaii is part of the US.”
“It has hula girls though”.
“Well after yesterday I’m a Hurler Girl,” I said. Crispian did not understand, he thought I meant the vomit. Instead I hurled him into a passing baggage buggy, which meant he remained in considerable pain for the rest of our flight to Hawaii.


“Oh ho, Tanya, that’s not a tune. Its a whole album.”
To which I respond,
“Have you been paying attention there isn’t exactly a tune to half of these things, and anyway Sean O’Hagan was keen or repeating musical motifs on his albums so in many ways this interminable drag of an album is one, long tune, and quite possible the tune playing in the personal hell of many people.”

Like I have to justify myself.

Oh he’s an insufferable bore that Mr Sean O’Hagan. Because he was so rubbish as a pop star he is now a journalist. He is a rubbish one (ov course) and what’s more he has the face of an Anti-Pope from the sixteenth century. If he isn’t whinging about the state of modern pop music, he’s whinging about 4×4’s and – well you get the drift. Perhaps Mr O’Hagan has felt hard done by.

Certainly as a pop star (hah!) Sean was always moaning that people compared his sound to Brian Wilson. WELL STOP MAKING RECORDS THAT SOUND LIKE BRIAN WILSON THEN. Surely you learned your lesson when people kept comparing you to Steely Dan. All you had to do was STOP MAKING RECORDS THAT SOUNDED LIKE STEELY DAN.

Happily though, he has just STOPPED MAKING RECORDS.

“Two small teats”

Blog 7Post a comment • 667 views

Mysterious goat defies so-called gender. Note the forthright advice from a vet.

THE FT TOP 100 SONGS OF ALL TIME No.81: The JAMMS – It’s Grim Up North

FT + New York London Paris Munich/5 comments • 2,407 views

The JAMMS – It’s Grim Up North (Part 1)

N. says

This record is ten minutes long (exactly). On it, Bill Drummond reads out the names of (approximately) 70 towns in Northern England over a beserk techno backing, containing bursts of train sounds and robotic squeaks. He explains that they are all in the North. For the final three minutes, this competes with a synthetic orchestra playing ‘Jerusalem’, and the track finishes with the cries of some crows.

It’s not a fucking joke. It’s the best British single of the 1990s. In my head I have a 26-year-old American man scoffing at this assessment. This man annoys me more than you can imagine.

FOOD SCIENCE DAY 6: Whipping Marmite Til It Goes White

Pumpkin Publog1 comment • 5,922 views

AIM: To confirm that Marmite, when whipped, goes white: as claimed by me for so long that I cannot remember if I made it up or not.

APPARATUS: Small (but surprisingly expensive) jar of Marmite. A bowl. A fork. Lots of men with strong wrists.

METHOD: The Marmite was scooped into a bowl with a fork, and then energetically whipped by yours truly for about five minutes. Having got meringue wrist at this point, the bowl was passed to other gentlemen to show their whipping prowess.

RESULTS: After a few minutes the mixture was getting noticeably lighter. Though slow, by the time the fourth man had his way with the bowl, it was clearly changing colour. It was also taking on an even more glossy sheen and increasing a touch in volume. This point was reached after 15 minutes (note the difference in colour of the marmite on the fork to that in the bowl)

After continued whipping the mixture continued to lighten. After about 30 minutes it reached the colour of butterscotch angel delight (or just butterscotch). Further whipping however increased the glossy sheen but it looked unlikely that we would improve on barley white and get to a pure white.

A second experiment to see if the taste as well as colour was attempted. Whilst many people in a open test claimed that the light Marmite (or Marmite Grand Cru as it had become dubbed) was less bitter, in a blind taste test no-one could tell the difference.

CONCLUSION: With the equipment (and wrists) at hand we did not manage to make the Marmite go white. Nevertheless reaching a state of gloss Barley White Dulux was enough to convince people that the story was, like most of my stories, not a complete fabrication. Furthermore that Marmite Grand Cru takes up more space than Marmite, we suggest the Marmite company take it on as a secondary special edition which they could make even more of a killing on.

FOOD SCIENCE DAY 5: Feast of Flying Fruit

Proven By Science1 comment • 2,408 views

Image340Aim:To determine the most aerodynamic fruit by means of distance travelled when hurled through the air.

Apparatus: Park. Measuring Device (Interweb journalist Tom E.). Throwing Device (Interweb hardman Mark C.). The following varieties of fruit: apple, apricot, avocado, banana, grape, grapefruit, kiwi, lemon, lime, melon, orange, pear, pineapple, plum, watermelon

Method: Each fruit is pitched as hard as possible by the Throwing Device. After each throw, the Measuring Device is employed to pace the distance from the throw-line to the point of impact and the result recorded accordingly. FT officials ensure consistent throwing and accurate pinpointing of landing sites. Hurling techniques are down to the thrower but largely determined by the shape of the fruit: a simple overarm in most cases but pineapples, being Nature’s hand-grenades, require a more sophisticated swing for maximum distance.


Results: An awful lot of broken fruit. Parts still edible by humans were assembled by SGS into a tasty fruit salad while the remainder was left to Peckham’s wildlife.


Fruit 1st Throw Tie Break
1 Apricot 48 Paces
2 Lemon 47.5
3 Kiwi 43.5 22
4 Lime 43.5 21
5 Avocado 43
6 Pear 39
7 Plum 36
8 Grape, Red, Single 30.5
9 Banana 30
10 Orange 30
11 Grape, Green, Single 29.5
12 Grapefruit 29
13 Melon 23
14 Apple 23
15 Grape, Green, Bunch 17.5
16 Pineapple 17
17 Grape, Red, Bunch 16
18 Watermelon 9.25

And, because this is SCIENCE, the same information in an EXCITING GRAPHICAL format:

Image352* The apricot was the clear winner on the day. This may be down to vast quantities of kinetic energy within the stone or its shape facilitating the flow of air across the surface. Unfortunately no other bum-like fruits were available at the time to perform further tests. Further experiments are required to explore the potential of nectarines as sub-orbital vehicles.

* With much of the expectation being on high-density fruits, the performance of the apple was disappointing. However, the dimpled fruits peformed well enough to justify the ‘golf-ball’ hypothesis I’d made up in the pub earlier.

* Lemons and limes are not only the sharpest but also the hardest fruits, being the only ones to survive the experiment completely undamaged.Image351

* Bananas do not return to the thrower.

* Red grapes can be thrown further than green grapes individually but not in bunches. This may be an early indication of quantum behaviour in the smallest fruits.

* There are few sights more immediately satisfying than the splattering of a watermelon.

* This experiment provided no opportunities to point out that Tim did not have any salt.


Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 402 views

I need say no more.

Your humble correspondent must point out that she merely photographed this Beast in Finsbury Park Tesco, has not and does not intend to consume said ‘beverage’, and is convinced even more so that things are very different in North London.


I never met Michael Sheard (1940-2005)

Do You SeePost a comment • 413 views

In 1997 I went up to Edinburgh to sample the Fringe. It was the year that the League of Gentlemen won the Perrier, and I saw their show. Matt Lucas was in the audience laughing his arse off, but i didn’t get much of a kick out of it. Mark Gatiss did his “cave guide” routine. He mentions Cybermen.

We later saw Gatiss again as the guest on Lee & Herring’s TMWRNJ where he feigned to forget the names of the Dr Who books he had written. Now at the time I was living in a shared house with another Who writer who had been commissioned along with Gatiss to write some gay porn – a natural progression for a company publishing Who novels. Anyway, the point being that I was in the embassing position of being able to supply a remarkably informative heckle at this point in the TMWRNJ show.

This appears to have very little to do with Michael Sheard, but it does demonstrate how Dr Who distorted my cultural space-time like a black hole, sucking every context into its own design.

I was staying in Edinburgh with the main reviewer of Who novels for DW Magazine. of course. As he drove us from the station to his a-walk-from-the-Pleasance flat he pointed out some people pushing a Dalek up-hill, and said “I’m meeting up with them later on. We’re hosting a signing of Michael Sheard’s biography!”

He knew my weakness. Mr Sheard has appeared in some great Dr Who moments (The Ark, Mind of Evil, Pyramids of Mars, Invisible Enemy, Castrovalva, Remembrance of the Daleks) and cult tv generally (Space 1999, Blakes 7, The Tomorrow People, Raiders films, a Star Wars film). However going up to someone, especially a someone of this cast of niche interest, and asking for a signed copy of their biography was crossing a line that i somehow imagined i hadn’t crossed by knowing all that i knew about him anyway. I asked our host to get me a copy as we had a booked show to go to. Or some excuse. “Ask him to sign it with something from the Tomorrow People” i added. I am a really hopeless case.

So a sad (yes in all senses) missed opportunity to meet him. Everyone has always said what a thoroughly splendid chap he was. It would have been great to have him back on Nu-Who now that the likes of Gatiss et al have managed to bring it back.

“Nicholas Lyndhurst ha ha ha ha ha – Michael Sheard” is how he signed it.

Mmm, Salty 2

Do You SeePost a comment • 168 views

Look at all the Sea Minerals!!!!
And no dandruff either!

mysterious disappearances

Blog 7Post a comment • 423 views

i have an excellent coffee-table paperback from the late 70s called STRANGE PHENOMENA which has a cover decorated with falling fishes and tells many excellent tales eg of the French coalminers who dug a strange leathery bird out of a seam of living rock deep underground: the bird stumbled a few paces, gave a single horrible croak, fell over and died…

i would recount more stories but just when i need it — i wanted to show dr vick the story of the “DUCK TREE”* – the BOOK HAS VANISHED!!

Mmm, Salty

Do You SeePost a comment • 259 views

There is a slight problem with the new Head & Shoulders advert. Their latest wheeze is Ocean Spa flavour smell fragrance (is that right?) “inspired by the sea” it says here, which features the now standard dandruff-free beautiful couple cavorting on a beach, ocean splashing and sploshing around them as they have the time of their lives. All pretty normal until the voice-over which had meg and I in hysterics about ten seconds after we first heard it (it takes a while to sink in on first hearing). It’s the way the v-o artist places the stress in the syllables in “sea minerals” (of which the shampoo contains many) you see, so that the first two appear to be one word…