Posts from 1st September 2006

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Sep 06

Popular ’68

Popular121 comments • 2,541 views

I AM THE GOD OF POLL-FIRE AND I BRING YOU… tickboxes. 44-year-old tickboxes. Mid-August 68 and the TODALLY bonkers world of Art Brown was here, soon giving way to a string of killer Bs, Beach Boys, Bee Gees and The Beatles Band. The latter clearly warming up their newly-minted Olympic theme song.

So, here’s Tom’s standing orders:

I give a mark out of 10 to every single featured on Popular. This is your chance to indicate which YOU would have given 6 or more to, by whatever standard you wish to impose. And if you have any ‘closing remarks’ on the year to make, the comments box is your place!

Which of the Number Ones of 1968 Would You Have Given 6 Or More To?

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Poll closes: No Expiry

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SCAFFOLD – “Lily The Pink”

FT + Popular51 comments • 7,742 views

#262, 14th December 1968

SCAFFOLD – “Lily The Pink”As a small schoolboy a yearly highlight was “Camp 200” – this was something my school organised whereby 200 boys would go to a campsite in the wilds and woods of deepest Surrey and spend a weekend there. For an 8 or 9 year old it was exciting stuff: it involved a treasure hunt in the woods, a barbeque and an assault course. Scary stories were a big part of the experience: at the edge of the campsite was a ruined house, home of a spectral ‘White Lady’, and of course the woods were crawling with murderous tramps who would stab you through the wall of your tent if your eyes dared close.

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Really spoiling us

FT + Pumpkin Publog5 comments • 536 views

A work meeting today gave me the opportunity to investigate for free the rarefied world of PREMIUM CHOCOLATE. Green and Blacks? Bendicks? Strictly middlebrow. Try Michel Cluizel, whose 1er Premier Crus de Plantations bars go for £3.50 per 100g. Not the kind of thing I’d ever buy but I was curious to taste them.

Naturally as un Anglais sans couth I thought the chocolate would be some kind of rip-off but actually it was really delicious. I sampled the ones from Papua New Guinea and Madagascar. The Madagascar one was initially disappointingly flakey but tasty enough and then had a fantastic aftertaste which moved gradually from mild sweetness to a comforting spicy heat. The PNG bar was sweeter and had a hint of violets but again, terrific aftertaste, this time somewhat cinnamon-y or even, yes, CLOVES-ish. The meeting proved to be a good venue for the chocolate tasting as propriety meant I couldn’t just scoff a load down so I got the chance to savour it.

The consensus was that this stuff won’t catch on in the UK – we like our chocolate milky not bitter, and the premium sector is a bit tiny. But there’s always room for super-premium products for a certain segment of the market, or for valentine’s day gifts, and the Cluizel bars definitely fit the bill. (Of course the question is whether the flavour differences I detected are anything whatsoever to do with the plantations the cocoa beans in each came from.)

(Gaming) Kitchen Confidential: Cooking Mama!

Do You See + FT + Pumpkin Publog4 comments • 1,092 views

cooking mamaJust in time for Food Science Day, I come across a new DS ‘eat-em-up’ entitled Cooking Mama! In this game you can “create 76 different, real world dishes from fried eggs to cabbage meat rolls! The stylus is your master kitchen tool! Use it in more than 200 mini-games to chop, slice, pan fry, knead, grate, mash, tenderize, mix, peel, carve, roll and more. Once your dish is ready, you can even use the stylus to prepare the final layout of your meal”!

The gameplay looks like following Wario-Ware style mini-game formats as you create step by step dishes, sauteeing noodles for exactly the right period of time looks tricky, and frankly it’s hard enough getting the right amount of water into your rice in the REAL kitchen, never mind your cute Japanese lady avatar’s domestic abode. Can you imagine curious tube onlookers as you swear in frustration when you haven’t given your rice enough rinsings? The game also supports wireless connectivity so you can swap virtual recipes with your friends – and seeing as the game is available to UK buyers for £11.99 (movietyme.com), maybe more of your friends will have this game than you’d think!

I certainly like the look of it myself – other food based games I have enjoyed are include the bit in Paper Mario 2: The Thousand Year Door where you give found foodstuffs to a grumpy Mushroom who will inevitably come back to you and say “Here… it’s A Mistake!”, and of course the classic BURGER TIME! Surely there must be more out there… and I want to find them!!

HUGO MONTENEGRO AND HIS ORCHESTRA – “The Good, The Bad And The Ugly”

FT + Popular20 comments • 4,948 views

#261, 16th November 1968

 

Even though I’ve never actually seen TGTBATU I’ve heard the original score often enough, dry empty and ragged where Montenegro’s is polished and full of incident. In the days before film soundtrack releases the shops were full of “…and His Orchestra” cash-ins, usually themes themed along Western, Spy, Love Song lines. Montenegro, with a pedigree in space-age exotica, was probably at the classy end of this spectrum but it would be easy to criticise his version for perceived inauthenticity.

Easy yes, fair no. The purpose of a film score and a pop version of a theme are very different: the former is setting a scene, helping you go in deep to a set experience. With the latter, the scene it’s setting is your own listening space – a living or bedroom in 1968 most likely. Sure you want to be reminded of the film, but maybe you also want to be in the film. So Montenegro’s smoothing out of the tune, his poppification of it, his greater emphasis on the beat and his nonsense vocals are partly tactics to make it easier for you to involve yourself, strike a pose like Clint.

What The Cover Of Kraftwerk’s Autobahn Would Look Like…

FT + I Hate Music7 comments • 4,181 views

If it had actually been left on an Autobahn in 1974.

Autobahn left on an Autobahn

Leaving this god-forsaken piece of vinyl on the Autobahn seems like a terrific idea to me, as was flyering all the record shops in the mid-eighties for the CD re-release with a much more appropriate cover for the album – selected from the road signs of Germany.

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food science (supplementary): the QUATERMASS EGGzPERIMENT

FT + Pumpkin Publog14 comments • 2,385 views

(held over from last year in the name of all that is holy promoting future enquiry)

AIM: To explore the viability of egg polycookery

APPARATUS: Many eggs, hot oil, wooden spoon, boiling saucepan, non-stick frying pan, wok.

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