Posts from 27th January 2005

Jan 05


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I Hate Music2 comments • 523 views

Day 13: New England

I woke to a stunning sunrise after quite possibly 24 hours of sleep. Destroying out of control record obsessed newsreaders takes it out of the girl and I was looking forward to exploring my new surroundings. I did not have much chance as there were twenty or so local folk standing with pitchforks and flaming brands.

“Burn the witch,” one of them said – something that had not been said to me since I was surrounded by a local branch of the Camden Musicians Union.
“Her type is not wanted around here.”
“Good morning townsfolk,” I said in my cheeriest, non-sing-song manner.
“Burn her.”
“Now, now. Unless you are all members of The Killers, what have I ever done to you?”
“We saw you coming in on your flying bed, witch.”
“Any minute now you’ll be pottering around town, as innocent townsfolk get murdered and fingering the police-chief,” another said.

I must admit I was at a loss. I almost asked for someone to please explain the reason for this strange behaviour, but then realised that my puzzlement should never push me to quoting Duran Duran songs. It was only when another mumbled something about a broomstick that it dawned on me.

“Oh, I see. Flying bed, pottering about solving murders. You must think that I am Angela Lansbury. So would I be right in deducing that you are all Americans and your brains have been addled so much by watching too television and hence you cannot tell the difference between real life and fiction. You also seem to be blurring Lansbury’s role as a dotty witch in Bedknobs and Broomsticks with her admittedly implausible role as Jessica Fletcher in mid-Sunday snoreathon Murder She Wrote. Admittedly preferable top Chaka Demas & Pliers song of the same name, but not much.”

“Indeed we are in America, New England to be precise, and you are under arrest.”
“Arrest? What for?”
“Flying an unauthorised bed in US Airspace. And I am sure there is something suspicious about a haughty British woman who is covered in blood.”

He had a point. Lawley had spilled a fair bit of claret on me. I let them take me away to their prison. At least I would get some food.


Five things about the first line of A New England:
I was twenty one years when I wrote this song, now I’m twenty two now and I won’t be for long
a) Kirsty Macoll did not write that song
b) Billy Bragg wrote the song, but he did not write that line which was nicked off of Simon and Garfunkel
c) Who themselves nicked more than the idea from Rogers & Hammerstein’s “Sixteen going on Seventeen” from the Sound Of Music
d) When you think about it, the line – wherever it comes from – is logically impossible. Because if you accept the fact that the lyrics are a integral part of the song, he cannot of written it at twenty one, if he is twenty two now
e) It’s a load of useless toss isn’t it?

Specifically the Macoll version, which is no worse than the Bragg original but got in the charts and cleverly changed the sex of the protagonist because Macoll was obviously some kind of homphobialist. “I don’t want to change the world”: always a rather selfish standpoint which maybe she regretted when the world had its revenge on her and smashed her upside the head with a motorboat.

Oh and is Billy Bragg really not looking for a New England? Could have fooled me with his constant rants about reforms in the House Of Lords. I’ll give him reforms in the house, I’d kick him out and into the streets. See where your estuary vowels and rudimentary knowledge of two chords will get you.

the upside of scientific january dieting

Blog 7Post a comment • 930 views

the upside of scientific january dieting

diet a success: dieter scarily skeletal etc

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 550 views

diet a success: dieter scarily skeletal etc:

possibly the best aftermath-offshoot of the south beach diet is that i am allowed ALL THE SHELLFISH and FISH i can eat!! (well, it doesn’t quite put it like that, but i am supposed to eat allowed stuff till i am satisfied PLUS no marine life is off limits so what am i sposed to conclude eh?)

ANYWAY: the good bit is that i can finally get my head round fish recipes, which i have hitherto found daunting. this is bcz i teach myself from books, of course, and specialist “fish and shellfish” recipe books tend to assume
i. that all fish ever are easily available (when actually fishmongers are almost all local-shop-for-local-tastes), and (contrariwise)
ii. local-type “ethnic” recipes are what we are after (which of course means hunting down very specific ingredients you will only ever use once) (or at best once in a very long while)

this is the main one i have: basically it is over-ambitious and fiddly for a relative beginner, in that it includes a complete ethnobiology of EVERY FISH EVER (organised as per marine and freshwater science), plus nicely pictured and yummy-lookin recipes which mostly fall at fence two AFTER you have have set yr heart on them!! :'(

what i actually need is more like “digested world rules-o-thumb for say mackerel and mackerel-type fishes” – in this case, the rule being HOW TO DEAL W.the oil of the OILIEST FISH ALIVE – “given what you have in yr kitchen” (and what you shd stock up on, viz LEMMINGS, DILL, blah blah): my approach at the moment is to go into a fish shop (my local is turkish and eschews signage), say i want [x] of those plz, then ask after what they are called, then look em up when i get home and improvise

anyway swiftly onto stuff i can now more or less do by heart which is good:

A: skate wings in a black butter sauce:
i. poach skate wings in water for 10-12 mins (plus pinchosalt and dash of red wine vinegar); set aside keepin warm (w.capers and fresh parsley)
ii. melt chunk of butter until it foams and turns brown – pour over waiting skate
iii. reduce three dashes more red wine vinegar in butter pan to two-thirds of self, drizzle over skate etc
iv. this goes nice w.spinach (and yes black butter sauce is way off in the not-really-allowed part of my diet) (ps skate bones can’t be removed, they form a dense fan, but the flesh just falls off em so easy to take out by hand and v.hard to swallow)

B: seabass baked in a salt crust
i. clean but don’t descale a big seabass (u needn’t dehead it either, though my dish wz too small so i did)
ii. flavour seabass tummy dill and parsley, then totally bury in rocksalt
iii. sprinkle dashowater over lump in salt and bake for 30-odd mins
iv. break crust: the salt has turned the fishskin to dry paper, which peeels open nicely – the fishflesh = lovely eatable moist consistency, perfect to consume while watchin an overlong doc abt krakatoa
WARNING: this is likely expensive (seabass prices seem to vary wildly) and a bit wasteful of rocksalt, since it is full of skinbits so you can only really reuse it in fishy dishes thereafter

C: i think i hate sardines