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6
Dec 17

THE FREAKY TRIGGER ADVENT CALENDAR OF XMAS SANDWICHES – December 6: the CO-OP and the Strange Problem of the Pigs and their Blankets (Relative Location of)

WOBS SANGER ADVENT CALENDAR6 comments • 124 views

co op pigs under blanketsI like the co op. I like the idea of the Co-operative movement, I like how much better as a bank the Co-op has been than my previous high street experience, I like how when everything went pear-shaped for it financially it was caused by a vicar with crisps on his nips aka the Crystal Methodist snorting ket & coke off of a hooker’s arse (subs/lawyers please check). Actually this last thing was probably bad and also very extremely unrelated. But I do like the co-op-that-is-a-chainstore’s xmas fare.

4
Dec 17

THE FREAKY TRIGGER ADVENT CALENDAR OF XMAS SANDWICHES – December 3: The Cranberry Question

FT + WOBS SANGER ADVENT CALENDAR8 comments • 106 views

Over in an unsatisfactory place, my esteemed FT colleague The Barnet Ape — who claims he does not eat xmas sandwiches and has therefore declined to contribute to this calendar — opines as follows:

cranberry-sauceAdvent Calendar Of Christmas Horror Day 3: Cranberry Sauce

“This might just be me, but I don’t need jam on my dinner. Yes, turkey is a dry meat, and yes sometimes a bit of sweetness can perk up a dish, but there isn’t any call for it with Turkey. Nothing is enhanced by this overwhelming sweetness. And that’s fine, this has never been a huge issue in the past because it is a sauce, it is not compulsory and so the Ocean Spray can stay away.

“Except it isn’t optional in “Festive Foods”. A Christmas Sandwich is basically Christmas dinner between bread, and the cranberry sauce is seen to be obligatory. Is there a turkey based Xmas sandwich that doesn’t have a smear (thick, cheap layer) of the red terror? Can I have a Christmas sandwich with gravy instead? And by the way, aren’t cranberries supposed to be a bit tart? This is basically diabetes in red clothes.”

signed yr pal Peter Baran

In the comments to this very wrong stance, various cranks, crackpots and cackling menks er other fine people offer support and agreement: arguing for example that breadsauce is the only acceptable turkey-moisturiser, that the admixture of sweet and savoury must always be policed, that mint sauce on lamb is also bad ect ect. It is pointed out that chutney is a counter-example to the main underlying thesis — a hostility to jam on your dinner — but then the wrong conclusion is once again drawn. If anything the problem with most current xmas sandwiches is BACON: there is often too much and it makes the whole affair nastily salty. (I’m looking at you M&S — tho I am not yet blogging you.)

“Is there a turkey based Xmas sandwich that doesn’t have a smear (thick, cheap layer) of the red terror? Can I have a Christmas sandwich with gravy instead?”

obviously this^^^ is a question worth asking — we shd pursue it in the upcoming days! Do any festive sangers have gravy? But cranberry is good not bad. it is not really a moisteriser and it is by no means new (it was probably inherited from the days when a fancy xmas was goosed-based — you need something nicely tart and acidic to cut through the goosefat). also sweet and savoury on the same plate is classic pre-modern pagan cuisine (and the wobs sanger is nothing if not a pagan strand of our cultural life). if we’re going to insist on unwonted xmas-feast changes, end Fanny Cradock’s satanic reign and bring back goose!! GOOSE!!

.

1
Dec 17

THE FREAKY TRIGGER ADVENT CALENDAR OF XMAS* SANDWICHES — 1 Dec: the Pret Classic

FT + WOBS SANGER ADVENT CALENDARPost a comment • 55 views

pretxmas
We dispatched our lunch-facing elves far and wide across the face of the wrapped-food (with coffee) sector, to report who does what best on an opening-a-new-little-door-every-day basis. And by the finest of all invented traditions, the xmas season begins with the first sighting (and eating) of the FESTIVE PRET SANGER aka the CHRISTMAS LUNCH, truly the anchor of the form.

Here is my report in full: “Travelled all the way to Angel to attempt this (and for another reason) but they had run out so I had a Jambon Beurre instead.” For all its virtues, Hackney has no Pret and that’s where I’m working from at the moment so I don’t pass one every day the way I did in previous years. No Free-Range Turkey Crumbly Pork Stuffing Crispy Onions Spinach Port & Orange Cranberry Sauce Mayo Seasoning for me (yet): no “thick slices of norfolk free-range turkey breast on malted bread with a dollop of slightly tart port & orange cranberry sauce […] served with pret’s herby stuffing — made with beautifully seasoned minced pork, streaky bacon and apricots[,] topped with crispy onions and fresh baby spinach…

My elf-disgrace is your opportunity: FT readers now have 23 days to jump into comments. Should fresh baby spinach even have become a trimming? Does the current C.Lunch deviate in quality from those of earlier years (such as that pictured, from 2016). Who will comfort Herbie Stuffing?

(sukrat’s correct opinion, theoretical mode: the spinach is good not bad, in a structural as well as a gustatory sense, it holds everything together, like the cellophane in an old-school shirt collar)

*for xmas read wobs throughout obv

UPDATE FROM SOMEONE WHO ACTUALLY HAS TASTED THIS THING (courtesy magnus): “Crunchy stuffing and cranberry go hella together, but they only come up in combination during sporadic bites, and otherwise the overall impression was eating a standard, decent but not especially festive turkey sandwich. In fact the main outcome was yearning for the brie and plum pickle Wobs sandwich of 2006, complete with a mild crunch of pine nuts. How I miss that sandwich…”

5
Nov 17

gerald’s game, or fewer things in heaven and earth

FT3 comments • 155 views

(Warning: SPOILERS.)

First: I shd note immediately that I’ve read no Stephen King and only fully watched a few of the films (Carrie of course and lol The Shining; several more half-watched at best). My perhaps ill-informed nugget of knowledge is that he returns, over and over, to the notion that some cartoon monsters are also extremely real and here’s how. In that sense, Gerald’s Game is a very King project, exploring a potentially interesting extra twist. Except sadly the book it’s based on is one most King fans dislike and many never finished.

GeraldsGameartFirst things first: While the initial set-up was nicely fashioned — a sense of place and context, a sense of unease — the main characters we immediately meet, the primary couple, Jessie (Carla Gugino) and Gerald (Bruce Greenwood), weren’t really people I took much pleasure in spending time with. They are spending a weekend in the woods to rekindle their failing marriage, via the questionable medium Gerald’s BDSM games — which Jessie immediately reacts against and wants out of.

27
Aug 17

free-form thoughts on john coltrane and how NOT to remember or talk about him next time, maybe

FT14 comments • 400 views

so a friend and i went to see the john scheinfeld coltrane doc at the the ica a couple of weeks back: that’s one JC-stan and one JC-sceptic…

… and we both agreed it’s bad and here’s why

Chasing-Traneit does the usual documentary thing, of hunting out a bunch of talking heads — family, professional, the commentatative pundit — and then merely stitching them together with stills and live footage into the same version of the story we always already know… anything odd or interesting that pops out of someone’s mouth is not returned to or dwelt on or even apparently noticed

3
Jun 17

“the note that she hoped would say more”: sergeant pepper five decades on

FT4 comments • 492 views

Sergeant Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band was released the week of my seventh birthday — to date my favourite (an affective fact unlikely to be challenged this year). Seven is the best number.

But it didn’t come into our family lives until a month later, my mum’s 32nd birthday, 4 July 1967. We were on holiday in mid-Wales, on a hillside farm owned by family friends (my godfather) a little up from Aberdyfi. Dad hadn’t joined us immediately — in those years he often had to travel to London from Shrewsbury for days on end, to attend work-related meetings. So he drove up a few days later — we were a two-mini family, very Italian Job in that one way at least — laden with presents for everyone, especially mum.

24
Oct 16

HAUNTOGRAPHY: Casting the Runes

FT4 comments • 459 views

Exhumed again, the ‘hauntography’ series, exploring the stories of M.R.James one by one! Read the original story, or read more about the series.

black_easter“All magic — I repeat, ALL magic, with no exceptions whatsoever — depends on the control of demons. By demons, I mean specifically fallen angels. No lesser class can do a thing for you. Now, I know one such whose earthly form includes a long tongue. You may find the notion comic.”
“Not exactly.”
“Let that pass for now. In any event, this is also a great Prince and President, whose apparition would cost me three days of work and two weeks of subsequent exhaustion. Shall I call him to lick stamps for me?”
— James Blish, Black Easter or Faust Aleph-Null (pub.Faber & Faber 1968, p.25-26 Penguin Edn, 1972)

A man discovers that recent deeds have created for him a fierce and a bitter enemy. Sinister events unfold and it becomes clear a fatal spell has been cast. If it is not lifted, the man will die, rather horribly. In the event, friends are able to help, forestalling the danger and defeating the terrible foe. Victory is theirs — but at cost of their best opinions of themselves. No longer can they quite self-describe as decent, rational, civilised, ‘modern’. They have become what they fought.

More Ghost Stories, the collection containing M.R.James’s ‘Casting the Runes’ was published in 1911; Life’s Handicap, the collection containing Rudyard Kipling’s ‘The Mark of the Beast’, was published in 1891. The short summary in the paragraph above accurately describes both stories.

27
Jul 16

BACK MARK SINKER’S BOOK!!

FT2 comments • 156 views

UPDATE: the book is funded, so thanks everyone that helped. It is due for delivery in a little over a year. I will keep people up to speed on developments via the kickstarter page, which has a blog.

EXACTLY two hours left as I post, and it suddenly seems extremely doable so nothing cryptic for once :)

Gorgeous cover and illustrations by SAVAGE PENCIL, discussions and essays by Val Wilmer, Richard Williams, Mark Williams, David Toop, Tony Stewart, Bob Stanley, Charles Shaar Murray, Jon Savage, Cynthia Rose, Edwin Pouncey, Penny Reel, Liz Naylor, Mark Pringle, Tony Palmer, Paul Morley, John (aka Jonh) Ingham, Barney Hoskyns, Jonathon Green, Beverly Glick (aka Betty Page), Simon Frith and Nigel Fountain, and others (including me!!)

coverDL

30
Jun 16

ROCKWRITE UK UPDATE: the kickstarter for the book of the conference IS NOW LIVE

FTPost a comment • 139 views

So last May, as some FT readers will recall, I ran a conference at Birkbeck about the politics of UK music-writing from the mid-60s to the mid-80s, its roots and discontents, its early evolution and its latent potential, as I put it here back then. The plan all along was to gather extracts of the (extremely interesting) panels into a book, add in some essays from participants (and others) and publish it.

To that end, I present the kickstarter for A HIDDEN LANDSCAPE ONCE A WEEK: how UK music-writing became a space for unruly curiosity, in the words of those who made it happen, an anthology companion to the conference featuring conversations and essays that unearth the many surprising worlds explored by the UK music-press from the 1960s-80s. Click through for further details, little explanatory films and so on.

coverDL

Contributors (panelists and essayists) will include:
Val Wilmer, Richard Williams, Mark Williams, David Toop, Tony Stewart, Bob Stanley, Charles Shaar Murray, Jon Savage, Cynthia Rose, Edwin Pouncey, Penny Reel, Liz Naylor, Mark Pringle, Tony Palmer, Paul Morley, John (aka Jonh) Ingham, Barney Hoskyns, Jonathon Green, Beverly Glick (aka Betty Page), Simon Frith and Nigel Fountain. The illustrations will be by the legendary SAVAGE PENCIL (see left for cover mock-up).

I think this is a strong and interesting project, giving voice to people in this history who’ve been lost from view as well as better-known names, exploring ideals and describing day-to-day practicalities — so click through, read, pledge if you like what you see, and (above all) pass it on to friends who you think will be interested.

30
Dec 15

hullo clouds hullo sky — but answer came there none

FT3 comments • 368 views

lyndon1Some time during my father’s last summer, I sat with him in his garden. It was late afternoon: the sun, bright and warm but no longer overhead, was hitting the tree-tops at an angle which etched every leaf sharply against its own shadow. You felt if you gazed clear-mindedly you could see and even remember every one of the thousands of leaves visible. I asked him how old the trees were — the copper beech, the oak across the road, the tall fir near my sister’s old bedroom which we always feared would topple in the wrong big wind and smash into the house.