Posts from 30th June 2004

Jun 04

Where does the cheese go?

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 494 views

Where does the cheese go? I made myself some leek and cheese sauce for pasta last night and forgot rule one of making anything from scratch. TASTE IT YOU FOOL. The leeks were nicely sweated in the butter whilst I grated away at some nice strong cheddar to make the sauce out of. I used the finest grating for ease of melting but forgot that of course this would also increase the amount of air. So after a bit of effort I had a big pile of cheese on my plate, to go with the knob of butter, flour and a touch of mustard powder (for kick). Slop the milk in, and slowly simmeringly stir my piles in.

RESULT: No lumps and nicely thickened. I was very pleased with this, so much so that I did not taste it.

RESULT: A milky, leeky sauce.

Of course this was remedies by grating more cheese on top, but nevertheless there is a lesson to be learned here and no mistake.


Do You SeePost a comment • 923 views

FT Top 100 Films

The worst How To… guide ever. It should rather be called “How To Marry For Love Whilst Actually Professing That All You Really Want Is Money”. Monroe, Bacall and Betty Grable are the stars lined up to save the movie industry – whilst supposedly gold digging. They were gold digging, but for box office. The film invents a the chick flick, making a bid for Hollywood’s most loyal audience to come back from the goggle box. So you get three lovely ladies in a light as fluff screwball comedy in CinemaScope.

Cinemascope was a gamble. It was bloody expensicve to install and worked on the premise that what the big screen had going for it was its bigness. Problem with Cinemascope is that you can only look one place at once. Sure you get surround visuals, sure you are “in the picture” but the action still takes place slap bang in front of you. It is next to impossible to view HTMAM on TV because of this, it being the first CinemaScope film made it spends a lot of time shifting the action around on its huge canvas. TV pans and scans it to death, background trailing like a poorly animated cartoon. But it is best understood as the key armament in films new war with television. Cinema had the STARS, the SPACE and the SENSE OF OCCASION*.

So it is strange that the film is now best understood in terms of television. This is the New York tale of three man and money hungry gold diggers with names out of a Marx Brothers movie: (Loco Dempsey, Pola Debevoise and Schatze Page). Add one more and you have Sex In The City. Especially if you line up Betty Grable, a good ten years older than her co-stars, as Samantha. And it has much the same conclusions as Sex In the City too. So was it any surprise when cinemas enemy television decided to make a TV version of How To Marry A Millionaire as a sitcom five years later starring Barbara Eden. CinemaScope is not around anymore, television is, and the Sex In The City happens generally on the box.

*Sense of occasion in this case meant a five minute orchestral introduction which is universally reviled.

Bits of business

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 384 views

Bits of business: HELLO AGAIN I am back from Glastonbury. Who was best? Basement Jaxx were best, them and Daara J from Senegal.

The track currently on Radio 1 (Kasabian?) is baggy! I have heard this mob described as “Kraftwerk meets Oasis”, actually they are Campag Velocet meets The Soup Dragons – indie dance is so coming back. I’m rather enjoying this, oh dear.

Streets album at #1 again thanks to “Dry Your Eyes” thanks to the football, my Cassandra-like marketing skillZoR proved sadly right, XfM (damn them) were playing some of the commentary “highlights” mixed in apparently…

I am DJing tonight at the Chapel Bar in Islington for the Freaky Trigger Glastonbury Reunion night, a great evening will be had by those brave few who turn up, particularly if they were at the festival and know all the tracks I’m going to be playing anyway.

Speaking of which I’m finally getting into this 2004 singles thing, the office is loving “Some Girls” and I take back my catty comments re. the verses (except maybe “My baby drives a car – HEY!” which is the moment when the Dorothy of yr mind suddenly notices the shabby bearded man behind the shimmering pop curtain).

If you asked to be in the Freaky Trigger Pop Panel (and I’m still not more inspired as to a name) then you should have received an email from me. Shout at me if you haven’t.

I saw a juggler at Glastonbury.

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 425 views

I saw a juggler at Glastonbury. He was standing on a bicycle on a big pole, maybe 10 metres up, juggling a flaming torch and a club and I think a toffee apple. He looked like an ordinary sort of fellow, he said he’d been doing this since he was 12 but he didn’t look like a man whose main occupation was juggling. There was no mystique to the performance; his patter a mix of well-practised (but still perhaps not entirely faked) nerves, chit-chat and oiling up to the crowd. The actual juggling was as brief as the danger required, a quick burst of skill and then he climed down, profusely thankful. It was impressive, likeable, but the lack of pretension also showed up the lack of point – why do people do it?

It’s that basic bafflement that I’m sure lies behind the shorthand disdain for juggling and other feats of circus skill you find in rants like k-punk‘s. Juggling is one of those things which nobody will really contest if you take the piss out of – like pan pipes in music (which I also find quite pleasant). Why the blanket disdain? There’s the very rational urbanite’s distaste for street performers blocking off great chunks of road as they draw the gawpers. (But that makes no sense in a festival context). However juggling, fire-eating and suchlike are difficult to do and can be spectacular: they are also physical technologies that involve a re-imagining of one’s body and a grafting onto it of extensions – weren’t jugglers medeival posthumans, ur-cyborgs whose reflexes aspire to machine regularity?

Ahem. Anyway what I liked about seeing the one at Glastonbury was how quickly it happened – I saw a crowd, wandered over, heard enough to establish the parameters of the feat, saw it happen, wandered off to something else. The special flavour of Glastonbury comes from the combination of hippie languor (perry, ale, fields, sunshine, mild arcadian drugs) and an ultra-modern concentration of stimulus (so many people, so many things happening, so many freaks, something new every 2 minutes).* Very little indeed of that combination comes over in the music played on the big stages, which is why – sorry K-Punk – you really do have to actually go.

*(In the last issue of WORD there was an article on the festivals of the 70s which made the point that the key component of going to one was how little you actually did – waiting, waiting, waiting in front of a stage getting stoned or hammered with very little else going on. This seems hugely far away from the instant-city vibe of modern Glastonbury, and not in a good way.)