Posts from November 2009

19
Nov 09

The Pop World Cup 2010: Call For Players

FT/53 comments • 1,919 views

sad swedish fans
Pop giant Sweden failed to make the final 32.

We’re looking for people who want to manage a team in next year’s Pop World Cup.

If you don’t know the concept of the Pop World Cup, it’s simple. Tracks from participating countries go head to head in a tournament to decide which country is the champion of pop. As a manager, your job is to select tracks – between 3 and 7, depending how far your team gets – for the country you manage.

The game will start towards the end of January 2010, and you’ll know who you’re managing on December 5th, so you’ll have plenty of time to find songs. That really is all you need to know!

If you want to take part, leave your name (and some kind of contact – Twitter name, email, whatever) in the comments box. This time we’re going to give you some degree of choice as to which team you get. So please either put the word RANDOM next to your name, indicating that you’ll take whatever country you’re given, or pick FOUR countries you wouldn’t mind managing. (Country selection after the cut)

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18
Nov 09

Robotic Midsomers Murders

Do You See + FT6 comments • 234 views

“Surrogates is not that far off the mark…”

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZ2ndpZOOzs

Here is a teaser which tries to convince us that the robot puppet movie Surrogates is in anyway the near future of humanity. The idea that in just ten years nearly the entirety of the North American population will be agoraphobic housebound ninnies strapped into chairs controlling a robot version of them seems to fail the basic rule of science fiction. Namely how did we get there? Well according to the film

Step 1: James Cromwell invents the stem chair which can wirelessly and remotely control and feedback data to a user of a remote robot. It is invented for disabled people.

Step 2: Rich people start getting lifelike surrogates of themselves for a laugh.

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Hackney Empire’s New Act of the Year – Audition #4

Do You See + FT + The Brown WedgePost a comment • 404 views

QueenSpeech2 One oddity about this year’s hopefuls* is that not one has done political material. What are the chances? This is a fairly catholic smattering of forty or so comedians from all over the UK (though mainly London) and after a few nights of hearing yet again from the person on stage that he is “quite tall, people always notice that” or indeed “why is my beard ginger”, as was asked last night via the medium of song by a man seated behind a synthesizer (remember, I go to these things so you don’t have to), the total avoidance of such a rich seam of ridiculousness as national politics seems downright bizarre.

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THE FT TOP 25 PUBS OF THE 00s No 24: The John Snow, Soho

FT + Proven By Science + Pumpkin Publog18 comments • 1,074 views

I will say not one bad word about Sam Smith’s in this review. Someone else wants to talk around that issue, but safe to say that as someone with a large social group of varying incomes, Sam Smith’s pubs being cheap has always been a factor. The John Snow in Soho is one of those pubs we rarely go to these days (in the area the Shaston Arms or Star And Garter get more visits) but hasn’t really changed, and holds a firm and fond place in our memories. I probably pop in there a couple of times a year and have whiled away a fair few hours with a pint of Hefeweisse reading about the good Dr Snow upstairs.

So things to note. The John Snow is named after John Snow the health campaigner, not the newsreader, which is amusing in itself as John Snow was a confirmed teetotaller*. The pub is near the pump that Snow brought fresh water into Soho thus sorting out the cholera epidemic. This marks it out in Soho already, for an area with a pretty full history an awful lot of the pubs are highly anonymous.

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17
Nov 09

Hackney Empire’s New Act of the Year – Audition #3

Do You See + FT + The Brown WedgePost a comment • 537 views

punch2 Stand-up comedy, like all art forms, has a few hardy perennials. In the plastic arts you’ve got landscapes painted with oils, for example. In standup you’ve got jokes at the expense of disabled people. In theatre, say, you’ve got big brassy musicals. In standup there’s a widely shared pride in how dangerous/boring one’s home town is.

If you see enough standup you’ll become a connoisseur of the quotidian observation. Where the casual observer might see a hopped-up loudmouth in an ill-fitting suit, you can distinguish the fine gradations of it all and appreciate the tangy bouquet of self-loathing overlaid on a peaty observation about Oyster Cards. This is not a good thing.

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Selles sur Cher and Kirkham’s Lancashire (cheesy lovers #35 & #36)

FT//6 comments • 514 views

Introducing CHEESY WOOFER! Finlay the dog has very generously agreed to help me review these cheeses.

Selles sur Cher

A French raw goats cheese, bought from Mons

This little flat round cheese has a greeny-grey charcoal rind, speckled with a white bloom. There’s a soft squishy translucent layer directly underneath the rind, and a putty-like dense bright white layer in the center. The clean white paste inside contrasts really prettily with the dark rind.

The rind tastes prickly and peppery and medicinal; hints of TCP. Inside it’s soft and smooth, and melts in my mouth. It’s very creamy, for a goat’s cheese and has small bursts of thyme and rosemary flavours and a gentle sweet nuttiness.

Cheesy Woofer: Finn eats this cheese after some persuasion. He doesn’t recommend it. (However, I do! It’s very tasty.)

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16
Nov 09

GEORGE MICHAEL – “A Different Corner”

FT + Popular137 comments • 13,358 views

#568, 19th April 1986, video

At first brush “A Different Corner” sounds too diffuse and tentative to count for much – the kind of single that gets to #1 when its maker is a big enough star that anything will. But this is misleading – “Corner” is wispy and cloudy because it’s an attempt to capture a particular kind of confusion and despair in a pop song. Listen more closely and its politeness – all those nouvelle cuisine dabs of keyboard and guitar – is revealed as paralysis.

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13
Nov 09

THE FT TOP 25 PUBS OF THE 00s No 25: The Kings Arms, Borough

Pumpkin Publog13 comments • 1,192 views

The Kings Arms, BoroughThere are loads of good pubs in Borough, right? Well, sort of. The Lord Clyde and Royal Oak are both a bit fiddly to find to non-regulars and don’t start me on The George. Would you Trust the National Trust to run a pub? So why The Kings Arms? On a small side street just off of Borough High Street, it is not open weekends or holidays and is pretty poky. And yet in 2008 it felt like I spent half the year in there. And it was a lovely half a year.

Basically The Kings Arms was the nearest decent pub to the Resonance FM studios when we were making the second series of Freaky Trigger and The Lollards Of Pop. So every Tuesday night we would meet for swift pre-show pint, desperately try to plan the show and then reconvene an hour later. Occasionally a few extra members of the team might just wait in the pub for the team to come back. Because The Kings Arms is that classic of a type, a dependable, solid boozer which always had OK ale on, always had pork scratchings and seemed to bring out the best in us.

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CLIFF RICHARD AND THE YOUNG ONES ft HANK MARVIN – “Living Doll”

FT + Popular38 comments • 6,254 views

#567, 29th March 1986, video

I was absolutely forbidden from watching the first series of The Young Ones, in 1982. I relied on awed playground rumour of its violence and uproar. I was a little scared of it. Second time around, in 1984, I could watch it but not in the living room – only upstairs on our small black and white second set, getting up every five minutes to retune. This time I loved it – what eleven-year-old wouldn’t? And then 1986 – a pantomime version of their brutal slapstick, for charity. This time the Young Ones could be on our colour television: the takeover of TV comedy by its “alternative” complete.

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12
Nov 09

Knockalara, Yarg and Crozier Blue (Cheesy Lovers #32, #33, #34)

FT + Pumpkin Publog/Post a comment • 390 views

Lex joined me for this cheesy lunch.

Knockalara

A soft pasturised sheep’s milk cheese, from Ireland, bought from Neal’s Yard Dairy

Knockalara cheeseThis is a wedge of pale yellow rindless cheese, with a buttery rich texture.

I think it’s yoghurty; almost like eating a block of yoghurt, in fact. There’s a hint of raisin sweetness underneath. This would be an excellent cheesecake-cheese, and I have a hankering to make a lemon cheesecake with this in the title role.

Lex reports that it’s tangy, the flavour lingers, and the texture’s interesting; solid yet spreadable.

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