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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!!

.

3
Dec 17

Canoe: Dig It?

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 94 views

La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust, #1)La Belle Sauvage by Philip Pullman

Philip Pullman has an enviable knack of getting critics to dwell on the high-flown literary allusions in his books – Paradise Lost in the His Dark Materials trilogy; The Faerie Queene here. But he’s also very self-consciously in dialogue with the rich history of children’s literature, most obviously CS Lewis, of whom Pullman’s vociferous critique is matched only by his wholesale borrowings. Pullman’s anxiety-of-influence tango with Lewis helps give his books their imaginative charge as well as their moral and aesthetic mission.

The Freaky Trigger Readers’ Poll 2017

FT11 comments • 212 views

barryscottHi, I’m Barry Scott! Despite my reappearance in the nation’s ad breaks this year, the amount of grime in general circulation has actually *increased* somehow! I blame the millennials and their over-reliance on antibiotics made from avocados. Anyway, I’m here to announce that voting for the 2017 Readers’ Poll is now open!

Thanks Barry. Rules are (almost) the same as last year:

– Choose up to 20 of your favourite tracks of 2017. I am extremely unlikely to check release dates, but if one of your choices appeared in last year’s poll, I’ll get in touch and ask you to choose another track.
– If you don’t have 20 tracks then 10 or 3 or even 1 is fine.
– If you like, put them in order (#1 will get more points than #20), otherwise I’ll assign them a random order (via the Mersenne Twister algorithm, none of yer linear congruential shite here).
– Email them to poptimistspoll2010@gmail.com by 23.59pm GMT on 31st December.

This year there is also optional new bonus orgafun: tell us ONE (1) 2017 album you enjoyed. These won’t be ranked, I’ll just post the list of everyone’s choices at the end.

That’s it. Pull on your marigolds and get scrubbing voting!

(Feel free to influence the voting by sharing your 2017 playlists/recommendations in the comments – as ever, this poll is about finding new stuff as much as determining which of it is best in a highly subjective fashion.)

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Dec 17

THE FREAKY TRIGGER ADVENT CALENDAR OF XMAS SANDWICHES – December 2: The Greggs

FT + WOBS SANGER ADVENT CALENDARPost a comment • 66 views

greggswobs At £3.10 this is the most expensive single food item in Greggs. Unless the Christmas Toastie beats it, but certainly none of the secular options break the three pound barrier. What do you get? Turkey, bacon, cranberry, stuffing, and SPINACH, a concession to any wandering Pret regulars (like me). Obviously Greggs’ sandwich is available far and wide. I got mine from the Pease Pottage Service Station.

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Dec 17

Manage A Team In The Pop World Cup 2018!

FT/33 comments • 453 views

zabivaka Bozhe moi! IT’S BACK! The draw for the Football World Cup was made today, and so, for the fourth time, we’re delighted to host the POP WORLD CUP.

The point of this post is very simple. If you want to be a manager in the Pop World Cup, put your name in the comments and pick a specific team (first come first served) or ask us to choose a random one.

More clarification? But of course!

What is the Pop World Cup? It’s a music competition involving the 32 countries in the “real” World Cup vying to see who is the best at pop music. It will take place starting in February next year, before the football World Cup starts.

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…”

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Nov 17

My Pop Year: KELLY CLARKSON – “Love So Soft”

New York London Paris Munich1 comment • 48 views

Writing about Will Young it was hard not to be reminded of Kelly Clarkson, who likewise showed that the first blush of reality TV idols were the best – in terms, at least, of producing stars you can feel vague but huge affection for. I always want Clarkson to do well, and hope her material’s good, despite honestly not knowing a great deal about her. Fortunately the material on her 2017 LP, Meaning Of Life, IS good, almost uniformly strong – this is the track that jumped out for me on first play, and it was the single, but half the record could have been here. Strong in more ways than one, too – Clarkson projects confidence, toughness and wisdom, relishing the role of a soul-pop trouper who’s seen a few things. What comes across in “Love So Soft”‘s chants, squeaks and swagger is a hard-earned, no-nonsense joy in life: a pop music that’s happy in its own skin. Which might not ordinarily impress, but in the year the world’s had, it’s a balm.

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Nov 17

My Pop Year: SYD – “Know”

New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 44 views

On first listen I liked Syd’s Fin mainly for its Spartan vibe: low-key, late-night R&B synths. Moody and pleasant. My second listen was like my eyes were adjusting to a dark room – songs emerged as ultraviolet blooms. The one that jumped out most was “Know”. How could a track this full of tension and subtle incident have seemed just part of a whole?

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Nov 17

My Pop Year: MARA BALLS – “Elävä kivi”

New York London Paris Munich1 comment • 126 views

Not the last Finnophone musician I’ll be writing about, Mara Balls is the rock-name of musician and artist Maria Mattila, who’s done stints in a few Finnish hard rock bands and also ran the Yellow House, an underground venue and cultural space in Tampere. As Mara Balls, she makes what I guess would be stoner and desert rock, except I don’t really listen to stoner and desert rock, so I have to find my own reference points: the psychedelic paganism of Julian Cope, maybe. Or more accurately, something Julian Cope would get very excited about.

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Nov 17

My Pop Year: IBIBIO SOUND MACHINE – “The Chant (Iquo Isang)”

New York London Paris Munich4 comments • 148 views

There seems to be a lot of music around at the moment involving a fusion of more acoustic – I don’t want to say ‘traditional’ – African musics, or African vocal pop traditions, and electronic production. Of course a hell of a lot of contemporary African pop already is hip-deep in ‘electronic production’, if by that you mean hip-hop, EDM, autotune, etc. But that’s not the stuff I’m talking about, which tends to look a few decades back on both sides of the equation, sounding a bit like a collision between a Rough Guide CD and a Warp Records compilation.