Posts from 12th December 2005

Dec 05

Fifth Dimension Found

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 372 views

I’ve been trying to help a friend find the name for using a placeholder subject in a sentence. “It’s three o clock”, “There’s food on the table” etc. OED not an astonishing amount of use, but does classify the first one: ‘it’ can be used in the normal subject position when referring to time, distance or weather!

Orange and Morcillo Risotto

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 687 views

Minor food experiment. One of my favourite risottos is mainly flavoured by lemon. Lemon, watercress and the usual handfuls of onion, garlic and parmesan. Also about a month ago I had a really nice black pudding with an orange sauce (it might have been an orange jus – but that just makes me thing of Edwyn Collins and does not seem right). Anyway, Saturday night food collision: I had some really nice morcillo, and some oranges – would an orange and morcillo risotto work?

It was interesting, though it did not quite work. Admittedly I was making it quite late, and my handfuls were a bit inconsistent – and perhaps I was a bit over zesty in producing my zest. Whatever, the final result was passable, interesting but a bit sweet for a main meal. There weren’t a lot of vegetables, so there was little to counter the sweetness of the very juicy orange used. Perhaps I squeezed too much juice, and also it occurred to me that the morcillo was not as strong flavoured as the British black pudding used by Savoir Faire. Nevertheless the morcillo mouthfuls were really nice, so I don’t think the experiment was in vain. And indeed replacing the morcillo and parmesan with a bit of cream and sugar, it would be a wonderful rice pudding.

So what went wrong? The lemon risotto works because of the sharpness of the lemon. Orange just is not that sharp. The black pudding/orange combo works as a starter as it is sweet and meaty. But the rice – being creamy – does not work all that well with sweetness. Well, not as a main course. But the progress of food science cannot always be non-stop success.

Flightplan is silly.

Do You SeePost a comment • 302 views

It does not matter how large I write
, it will not make it any more true. Unfortunately the fact that Red-Eye three months ago had a stab at a similar plot and succeeded with more aplomb and without resorting to a plot that bears absolutely no scrutiny at all. In Red-Eye the victim was picked because she had access to a room which could be used for an assassination. In Flightplan she is picked to be a victim because:
a) she has a dead husband
b) she has a very quiet child
d) she is played by Jodie Foster, so will piss a lot of people quite quickly
It turns out that a) was not even a coincidence. So instead the film has to work out when it switches track (as it clearly will) from psychological to action. Unfortunately the more it prepares for the action the less convincing the psychological bit is. And it isn’t. There is only one possible bad guy in the film, so its barely a revelation when he turns bad. The fact that his plan is SO RUBBISH just makes it worse.

Flightplan is about the fifteenth film to try to do Die Hard On A Plane, apparently the Holy Grail of the Die Hard genre. So Passenger 57, Air Force One, Turbulence, Executive Decision, Red-Eye et al* suffer from planes being too claustrophobic. The genre thrives on enclosed spaces but planes are too enclosed, not to mention the fact that its tricky to sneak gins on or use them. Flightplan cheats a bit by making this the biggest passenger plane ever, and then seemingly squanders its acres of extra space (and Cray supercomputer). Moratorium on Die Hard On A Plane please.

Also moratorium on the “Is He Isn’t He An Arab Terrorist”. This character is no so much a cliché that he is impossible to write. He can be both the nicest guy in the world and a terrorist in the same film: thus removing any aspect of suspense the character might bring to the film. Instead they just bring you out of the film, illustrating the writers lack of moxie.

Oh, and isn’t Erika Christensen the poor man’s Julia Stiles?

*Not to be confused with El Al.

Boiling your last sausage

Blog 7Post a comment • 441 views

It was in the appropriately theatrical Harlequin the other night that our attention was drawn to the marvellously luvvie valedictory address given by Joseph Grimaldi the clown on the occasion of his retirement.

Here it is (copied from A History of Pantomime, by R. J. Broadbent)

“Ladies and Gentlemen:–In putting off the Clown’s garment, allow me to drop also the Clown’s taciturnity, and address you in a few parting sentences. I entered early on this course of life, and leave it prematurely. Eight-and-forty years only have passed over my head–but I am going as fast down the hill of life as that older Joe–John Anderson. Like vaulting ambition, I have overleaped myself, and pay the penalty in an advanced old age. If I have now any aptitude for tumbling it is through bodily infirmity, for I am worse on my feet than I used to be on my head. It is four years since I jumped my last jump–filched my last oyster–boiled my last sausage–and set in for retirement. Not quite so well provided for, I must acknowledge, as in the days of my Clownship, for then, I dare say, some of you remember, I used to have a fowl in one pocket and sauce for it in the other.

“To-night has seen me assume the motley for a short time–it clung to my skin as I took it off, and the old cap and bells rang mournfully as I quitted them for ever.

“With the same respectful feelings as ever do I find myself in your presence–in the presence of my last audience–this kindly assemblage so happily contradicting the adage that a favourite has no friends. For the benvolence that brought you hither–accept, ladies and gentlemen, my warmest and most grateful thanks, and believe, that of one and all, Joseph Grimaldi takes a double leave, with a farewell on his lips, and a tear in his eyes.

“Farewell! That you and yours may ever enjoy that greatest earthly good–health, is the sincere wish of your faithful and obliged servant. God bless you all!”

He lived for 14 more years, and according to this site “his last years were spent beside the fireplace of ‘The Marquis of Cornwallis’ tavern, in Pentonville, where each night he would be carried home on the back of the landlord, George Cook.” Another ending, then. No-one gets carried home on the landlord’s back in uncaring, binge-drink Britain. For shame.

buried endings #175b

Blog 7Post a comment • 392 views

p13, casino royale (1953)

“… Bond undressed and took a cold shower. Then he lit his 70th cigarette of the day… ”

IF died in 1965 — guess what of :( :(

Indie Chicken Watchdog

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 1,067 views

A dinner-free trip to the pub, last week, inevitably led to a trip to the nearest tasty poultry shop. Feeling boozy and ravenous, Marianna and I ordered the value meal of chixor, spicy wings, chips and drink. While fryers fried and boxes were stacked, we made the mistake of chatting and, crucially, NOT PAYING ATTENTION to the action behind the counter. Before we knew it, the bags of filth were handed over and we merrily bimbled home. Once collapsed on the couch I opened the box and a thought suddenly occurred to me:


A text from Miss M. contained the same tale of woe and absent carbs. Moral: always check your purchase, especially during the busy holiday season. I’ll consider this a one-off oversight for now, Archway Perfect Chicken, but you have been WARNED.