Translation: “Good morning, everyone. I’m Rasher, the porcine companion of that young shaver Dennis, and I’m delighted to introduce the 2015 Freaky Trigger Comics Poll. In a year when pigs have had rather a rough ride in the news, it’s wonderful to be able to show that we are cultured animals with a deep appreciation of the ‘Ninth Art’. Some of the comics here may not meet my high aesthetic standards, but I think you’ll agree that the diversity of the list is a credit to its voters and our shared hobby. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have an appointment with some week-old cabbage.”
Thanks Rasher! We had more voters, and more nominated comics, than last year, with the happy result that I’ve actually had to leave off some titles to produce this Top 50. I’m still greedy enough to go up to 50, mind you. The Comics poll is unique in that the same titles can, in theory, win it again and again if they’re being published year on year. So it’s worth reminding you all that last year Image Comics’ The Wicked And The Divine pipped Marvel’s Ms Marvel to first place by one solitary point, with Loki: Agent Of Asgard in third. Will any or all of those show up this year? Wait and see!
“Hi there kids, I’m an anthropomorphised visualisation of the online streaming service Tidal. This year has been a veritable whirlpool of activity for me, trying to remind people that I exist and keeping all my celebrity investors afloat. It’s not all been smooth sailing: I had to separate Usher and Jack White earlier this morning after a game of rock-paper-scissors got out of hand. But I’ve got just enough spare time to wave in this year’s Freaky Trigger Readers’ Poll! Enjoy streaming the deluge of tracks below on my slightly-more-expensive-than-Spotify app!”
Cheers Tidal. In a hark back to 2012, we actually have 41 tracks in our Top 40. Here at FT you get 2.5% more bang for yr buck!
Some years ago I decided to apply the theory that putting brandy-inclusive dairy products into a bacon sandwich would definitely not make things any worse. This year I have taken the research a significant step further and will now be applying the theory to all recipes because this cauliflower cheese was so disgustingly delicious that people who only had a bit cold asked me for the recipe. So I’ve written it up to give the public what they want.
I don’t have a photo of it because we ate it all but just imagine something very, very majestic and golden. It has a vegetable in so you can pretend it is part of your new year regime and also brandy cream is on yellow stickers everywhere so it’s v frugal etc.
80g butter (roughly a third of a normal size pat)
5 heaped tablespoons flour
Pot of brandy cream (about 300ml)
At least a pint of milk but to be honest you’ll have to judge it as you do it
Salt and pepper
300g Red Leicester cheese
1x sharp knife
1x BIG SAUCEPAN
1x medium pyrex or similar for going in the oven
I must glumly report that my relationship with contemporary music seems to be broken. Not because I dislike it. The distillate of year-end lists I’ve been playing this week is full of wonders. But the part of me that knew where and how to find those things for myself has vanished. My desire to gatekeep went years before. And often once I do find new music, it’s like parts of a jigsaw where I’ve lost the box and half the pieces. What consequences this will ultimately have for Popular are uncertain. Still, the hits keep coming and they don’t stop coming, and some of them are better than others. Here are the records that reached Number 1 in the second half of 2015, arranged in order, from best to worst.
Some 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.
The 16th Annual Freaky Trigger Between Christmas and New Year Pub Crawl: The Kennington Catapult Arm
Pub crawl time once more and it is about time we went South (or actually East) of the river, and to celebrate the Crawl being able to join the army we are heading to Kennington for a gentle wander from the river to Kennington Station. As ever its on the 29th December, and starts at 3pm (er – apologies for forgetting this key info, but its always on the 29th apart from when it wasn’t).
So your route for the day is as follows:
Which country makes the best cheddar? This question has plagued us for millennia (possibly). But no longer, thanks to the brave and fearless scientists who gathered on a rainy afternoon to undertake some difficult and dedicated Cheese Science.
- the West Country with Montgomery’s cheddar
- Wales with Hafod
- Scotland with Isle of Mull cheddar
- Ireland with Hegarty’s cheddar
- France with Cantal
- England with Lincolnshire Poacher
(For the purposes of this competition, we’re granting independence to the West Country) (I know there are other countries beyond this little patch but I couldn’t think of one that make a decent cheddar-ish cheese that I could get my paws on at all easily SORRY THE WORLD!)
The Testing Panel
Humans: Jenn, Kat, Katie, Mark, Pete #1, Pete #2, Tim
Felines: Roswell, Atari Teenage Kitten. Feline cheese tasters don’t get a vote.
Our spam filter is being weird — it is basically holding EVERYTHING “pending moderation” (which I think means we have to go through it manually). I’ve just gone back over this evening and rescued everything I spotted (that’s about an hour’s work), but I’m afraid it’s easy to miss stuff in the torrent of weird garbage (tellytubbies p0rn, bots that ask you to write their essays from them, golfing spam and so on) so apologies if I missed yours.
Plus it only seems to holding the last 7,000 attempted comments, which (to give you an idea) only takes us back to 27 November, i.e. five days ago. So I imagine anything posted before then that didn’t display is lost forever (or anyway needs to be reposted).
Normal service will be resumed when we work out why the spam filter is misbehaving.
TAYLOR: What a year it’s been.
KANYE: I know, I totally won an award and you didn’t! There is a complete Blank Space in your trophy cabinet.
TAYLOR: Shhh, we’re meant to be bezzie mates now. And I totally won loads of awards. I just can’t remember what they were now.
KANYE: Sure Britney, and I’m the President of the United States. Why don’t you tell the good folks why we’re here?
TAYLOR: I could well take you in a fight, you know. Anyway, we’re delighted to announce that submissions for the Freaky Trigger Readers’ Poll 2015 are now open!
KANYE: I am also showing more boob than you are.
TAYLOR: Feminism has truly triumphed.
Thanks TayTay and KanYay – the voting for this year’s FT Poll is indeed open, assuming I can remember the login for the account. All you need to do is email email@example.com with your top 20 songs of the year.
- The closing date is 11.59pm GMT on 31st December 2015.
- The order of your top 20 is important! Your #1 will be allocated more points than #20.
- If you can’t think of 20 songs then 10 or 14 or 1 is just fine.
I’m not going to be strict on release dates because Literally Who Knows These Days, but if a song appeared in last year’s poll I’ll let you know and you can choose something else. I forgot to do even this most basic of checks last year, so if you are intent on sabotage then feel free to take advantage of my laziness.
Judging by previous years, everyone’s #1 choice is likely to get a mention even if no-one else votes for it, so this is also the chance for you to plug your obscure fave. Minimal techno, trombone skronk, Guatemalan ragga all welcome.
P.S. We are being deluged with comment spam at the moment, please have patience while we pick our way through the moderation queue!
A READER REPORT on Diamonds Are Forever:
(this rereading follows up on this post)
1: Sentence on sentence DaF is indeed well written, though weirdly paced. In fact, there’s no significant action — violent or indeed sexy — until you’re a lot more than halfway in, and it’s almost over by the time it arrives. The lair-destruction is concentrated into just three consecutive chapters (though there’s a certain of aftermath threat — plus a tidy-up coda after the aftermath). Intriguing that the name Spectre turns up so soon (Spectreville is the name of Seraffimo Spang’s pasteboard Old West hobby-set).
2: anyway the strange pacing is because primarily VERY LARGE CHUNKS of the book are given over to description and/or exposition (= felix leiter’s primary role): mini-studies of the diamond trade, of how US horse races are fixed, of how casinos are fixed, of the history of gangsterism in the US. A somewhat deracinated history, to be sure — Bond arrives in the US with a dismissive contempt for US gangster, who are just (in his opinion) “greaseball” hoodlums.