Posts from June 2010
Dear internet. I am not being judgemental. But please explain this to me.
The Lord John Russell is a blue pub. It is the only blue pub I know. Blue on the outside certainly, plenty of pubs do that. But very few continue this motif indoors. But then this is part of the joy of the LJR. It is so clearly a proper pub, with its Pukka pies, and its reliably stinky toilets. The actual bar is a wonderful piece of bar woodwork, whenever I dream of a basic pub bar, slightly scuffed but impeccably stocked, I think of the LJR. And yet around the battered tables, the half used tables and this impressively stolid bar is sky blue, with some navy picking it out. I don’t know why the blueness of this pub impresses me, but it does.
The other unusual aspect of the LJR is its massive windows. It is a wonderfully light and airy pub, something I probably wouldn’t otherwise recommend in pubs, but then the LJR seems to do everything a bit backwards. I would normally be thoroughly irritated by a pub that insists on playing commercial radio in the background, but the LJR gets away with it. Yes it is quite near my work, and yes I go there a lot, but I think anyone can get seduced by its charms.
Another summer hearthrob, another forgettable puddle of ice-cream and tears. Harmless Hawaiian himbo Glenn was promoted here as a kind of male Tiffany – same corn-fed origins and good-luck story. Like her, he’s not an especially good singer: unlike her, his plod through a devotional checklist doesn’t have the enthusiasm or lift to make it likeable. Maybe the arrangement can help? Nope: it’s a disaster – a key change that would shame Eurovision, greasy sax, and a session guitarist doing his freewheelin’ best to upstage Medeiros completely. A thoroughly grim experience.
A washed rind cheese from Gloucestershire, bought from Neal’s Yard Dairy.
Very exciting! An FT cheese exclusive! I can’t find a mention of this sheep’s cheese anywhere on the internet. It’s a new cheese by the people who create Stinking Bishop. A variation on their infamous washed rind cheese, it’s made of sheep’s milk and it has a wonderfully surreal name. Apparently, once upon a time, the nuns of Caen had a bit of a yen for Double Gloucester, and it was shipped over to them regularly. This cheese is from Gloucestershire. It’s a spurious connection, but the name makes me grin.
Covered with a soft, damp orange rind, this cheese is pale – almost white – inside, and dotted with little holes. I don’t have to get my nose too near the cheese to get a snoutful of its aroma. It’s got a pungent, foot-ish whomph, cut with a boozy, alcoholic note that gets up my nose when I inhale too deeply. When I eat some, it’s soft and smooth in the centre, coating my mouth but not clinging too long. The rind’s crumbly. It tastes wonderful – the extra richness of the sheep’s milk means that it’s wonderfully creamy and luscious and sweet. It tastes of salted cream fudge, and butter, and apples and pears (I bet it’s washed in the same perry as its ecclesiastical sibling.). There’s a very mellow, soothing woodiness around the edges. Its smell (and it’s not the whiffiest of cheeses, I promise) is very much worse than its taste, stench-wise. This cheese is smooth and sweet and mellow, and incredibly more-ish.
There’s a performance-based definition of one-hit wonders, but there should be an aesthetic definition too. There are poor groups who make one important single, who against all expectations Get It Right on a particular occasion and leave the studio with something worthwhile – a record that owns its moment even, that you could put in a time capsule and 100 years from now would tell people something about what it meant to be young and alive in (say) 1988. The fascinatingly horrible Bros are, I would argue, one of those groups. Unfortunately “I Owe You Nothing” isn’t their one great record.
Non-alcoholic drinks aren’t always a concern of Publog but there are perfectly good arguments for sitting in a pub and drinking them, not least because dammit some of them, namely the noble Slime, are pretty great.
I am from South Oxfordshire, which is something I generally manage to disguise by being militant about which bit of London it is best to live in. However, every now and then something will flag up my yokel origins, the most striking being the seemingly inexplicable tendency of barpeople to, when I ask for a soda and lime, hand me a mysterious pint of Strongbow which some fool has placed lime cordial into. In some situations, this is …well, not per se acceptable but something deeply British in me assumes it must be my fault somehow and drinks the pint before trying ‘diet coke’ as a phrase next time. There are, however, some situations where this is not a viable option, for instance when on prescription druqks that do not mix with lovely (or borderline-undrinkable) bouze or when handling heavy machinery, etc. which leads to me being in a permanent state of fear regarding what on earth the barperson is going to come up with.
Well you all know what happened. Now Roger Bozack and Peter Baran set up camp in the eerily empty Media Center in Johannesburg, abandoned coffee cups littering the floor, and try to make some sense of it all. Ultimately that means playing a bunch of songs from Nigeria, including bonus tracks from Matt DC’s championship squad – “Pon Pon Pon” by Dagrin and “This Kind Party” by Egnyte. A big thanks to our listeners – you know who you are, all two of you. We’ve had a lot of fun doing the show.
Produced by Elisha Sessions
Finally, the moment of ABSOLUTE POP TRUTH is upon us! And my goodness, what a nail-biter of a contest this has been. Halfway through the voting, two decades broke decisively ahead of the pack, establishing a lead that proved impossible to catch up with. Although one of them looked to have the edge, its rival chased it hard, making up crucial lost ground in the closing stages and ensuring a RIVETING PHOTO-FINISH. Oh yes.
Meanwhile, the bottom four decades enjoyed a right old ding-dong, jostling each other furiously and never bowing out of the fight. The gap between the lower four was every bit as close as the gap between the upper two, making this year’s “Which Decade” our CLOSEST! CONTEST! EVER!
Shall we proceed? Yes, perhaps we should. Lord knows, you’ve waited long enough.
NOTE: For extra at-a-glance clarity, I have designated the 20 top scoring records as HITS, the middle 20 as MAYBES, and the 20 lowest as MISSES.
Sixth place: The Seventies.
Cumulative average score: 32.31 points.
Share of the vote: 15.39%
Norman Greenbaum – Spirit In The Sky. 4.84 points, first place.
Christie – Yellow River. 4.12 points, 2nd place.
Creedence Clearwater Revival – Travellin’ Band. 3.68 points, 3rd place.
The Moody Blues – Question. 3.41 points, joint 3rd place.
Dana – All Kinds Of Everything. 2.92 points, joint last place.
The Hollies – I Can’t Tell The Bottom From The Top. 2.90 points, 4th place.
Frijid Pink – House Of The Rising Sun. 2.80 points, 4th place.
The Move – Brontosaurus. 2.73 points, 5th place.
Tom Jones – Daughter Of Darkness. 2.70 points, last place.
England World Cup Squad – Back Home. 2.21 points, last place.
The Manual – the book Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty wrote after this record went to #1 – is an essential read. It tells you a lot about the music business in the late 80s, a bit about the country in the late 80s, and it has many sharp things to say about Number Ones and their qualities. Plenty of glib things too, but entertainingly glib. You can get a PDF of it here and anyone with an interest in this site who hasn’t read it should prepare themselves for an enjoyable and sometimes infuriating hour or so.
About the only thing it won’t tell you much about is this actual record.
A raw-milk hard cow’s cheese made in Wisconsin, and bought from Neal’s Yard Dairy.
Inside this wedge of cheese the paste’s a bright yellow, scattered with the white dots that promise lactic acid crunch, and with cracks running the length. The rind’s crusty and brown, covered with a white residue in patches.
The texture, when I break a piece off, is somewhere between crumbly and elastic. As I chew, I can feel and hear the cheerful cracks and crunches of all the little crystals under my teeth. Taste-wise, it’s like a gouda, or possibly the creamier end of Comte. There’s a rich heartiness – plummy and slightly meaty – and smooth caramel sweetness, which develops into a slightly sharp tropical fruityness; pineapples, passionfruits and mango. There’s a hint of a green grassy flavour towards the end, and a smidge of olive.