Posts from 13th April 2006

Apr 06

Easter Food Science

Pumpkin Publog1 comment • 1,530 views

Are Creme Eggs a man-made substitute for Nature’s eggs? Evidently not but I’m impressed that the dude’s commitment to using chocolate eggses as real eggses extends as far as throwing away the shells.

The 90s Revival

TMFDPost a comment • 260 views

I just got a belated birthday present from my kindly colleagues – a copy of Trivial Pursuit: THE 90s, in lurid shiny green box. “The decade of your life…” it says – a truly depressing thought, as a lot of the 90s were personally and impersonally pretty dire. “Remember when it was all about Generation X and the end of the century?” Good work Mr Copywriter.

But that’s not what you want to know: you want to know what kind of fannydangle the makers of TP have come up with to jazz up their game. Trivial Pursuit is successful because it is elegant and simple: these might as well be swear words when you’re trying to shift new bits of kit.

The Trivial Pursuit 90s edition is very heavy, this is partly because its pieces are now made out of shiny metal, though the actual widgets are still garish plastic. The two fit together queasily, which you could also say about the board art, a horrible mix of bad ’90s’ images (omg a sneaker) and trad TP cherubim. The categories are: Global Village, The A List, Breaking News, Retail Therapy, Sound And Vision and Winners & Losers.

Now for the dangle – there is also another layer of complexity added in whereby cards are colour-coded for early, mid and late 90s. Quite how this works I don’t know but to bulk things out more the three decks of cards get their own plastic carry-cases, in the shape of giant grey wedges. The whole thing is enormously ugly, a real triumph of eye-popping garishness over the boring old restraint of the Genus edition.

Oh, and the board has cheapo gold embossing.

Despite this I am of course very eager to play it. Fancy a game?

Where Is Princess Di Memorial?

Proven By SciencePost a comment • 390 views

So the shortlist for the Aventis Prize in accessible science books has been announced. And it seems to be in with a chance there has to be a dash in the book title (ie: Flippancy – How Making The Odd Joke And Being Inaccurate Allows People To Be More Accessible To Science). And the books split nicely into science histories (hey, scientists are even pettier than the average Joe) and more DNA, genome, how your body works stuff. I might even try and read some of them.

But what is this. Vivienne Parry? A woman whose main scientific credentials I believe was presenting Tomorrows World for a couple of weeks. At least Phillipa Forrester has a degree in ecology. Particularly notable for her weekly vaguely sciency column in The News Of The World. However for some reason she also devoted a section every week in her column to an oval picture of Princess Di – saying that until a proper memorial had been built to the People’s Princess the oval would keep running. Unfortunately Parry’s stock at the News Of The World plummetted until she had the ignominity of having to share a page with Captain Cash – the NOTW’s fake begging bowl superhero. Said page was called (DYS) Cash & Parry. SO one wonders how good said book is, especially when I remember her politics. Perhaps it should have been called: The Truth About Hormones – What’s Going on when We’re Tetchy, Spotty, Fearful, Tearful or Just Plain Awful and or being Tory All The Time

Murder (not) Shitty

Do You SeePost a comment • 417 views

Last night’s Murder City cheated. A vicious rapist, who had got off on a technicality, is found shot – tied to a tree. Around him is found five blanks and one bullet that killed him. Who could have done it? The usual suspects are recycled through, as the number of bullets, and the number of suspects go up. Until we find out that there were twelve shooters. And then, with nary a chance for the viewer to make the Dub Dob Dee leap of faith, a fourteen year old kid suggests Twelve Angry Men. Not exactly a subtle treatise on revenge then, but it is always nice to see TV programmes not saying the obvious – no-one said “Do you think you are Judge Jury And Executioner?”

Still not sure if I like DS Stone having The Sweeney as his ring-tone though. All that said though, I still think for lack of obvious gimmicks and just solid production values, Murder City is by far the best crime drama ITV has done in ten years.

Caining It: Part 3

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 668 views

So to Cains Lager then. Voted by GQ the second best thing in the world. Not that I would ever trust GQ to be my beer bible. Despite us not being bale to order their stuff, the nice men at Cains delivered a pallet or so of the Cain Lager bottles. The scrum for them would have been heartening for the brewery if it wasn’t a bunch of students in a room full of free beer. The next ten minutes resembled the apes in 2001 pre-obelisk: scratching their heads and battering the bottles trying to get them open. I never travel without a bottle opener.

So is it the second coming of lagers? Well, its not a bad lager. Brewed under the German Purity laws it has plenty of flavour – along the lines of Pilsner Urquil. Refreshing, medium bodied but with a slightly metallic aftertaste, which soon vanishes – it is a nice brew. But is it good enough to take on the big boys. Well, it is nicer than plenty of bottled lager. But a lack of UK lager history may scupper it. It will need serious marketing money to work, and I am not sure that is there. Of UK lagers by the way, I think Young’s Pilsner and Sam Smith’s Pure Brewed are nicer. But these are tied to their pubs, so if Mitchell & Butler are rolling Cains Lager out to 100 pubs in London, it will be worth watching.

Scary Sheep

Do You SeePost a comment • 304 views

The Dark is based on a book called Sheep. Well it is a supernatural thriller set in Wales. Clearly the film-makers did not think that the promise of a film where the ultimate evil are represented by our woolly friends would get bums on seats. I am not sure if such a generic title works though either. There is a current spate of horror spooksters which all seem to revolve around parents relationships to their children. Throwing ghosts and the beyond into the mix are supposed to represent some sort of ultimate evil. They seem to be a response to the J-Horror trend, the Japanese films which spotted that spooky kids were really spooky.

However the Dark makes a couple of errors. Spooky in children seems to reside around eight year old boys and girls. Teenagers are not spooky. Whilst the film does have a good and well thought out first hour (even to the extent of making sheep scary) it somewhat over-eggs the pudding in the last third, giving us twist after revelation. A Don’t Look Now where the kids can be brought back from the dead, and an idea of a “one in, one out” policy on death are genuinely good ideas – and Maria Bello plays the distraught Mum with the requisite amount of spunk (spiralling into madness a touch too soon maybe). But when the last five minutes contain three separate twists, you stop caring. And Sheep aren’t that scary…