Posts from 17th December 2009

Dec 09

FT Advent Calendar Of Free Online Games: 17th December

FTPost a comment • 300 views

Sorry for delay. Free wine. Can’t think of a game to put up. There is only one solution. Google “MONKEY HIT GAME!” I was very drunk…

Hurrah there is a response.

Hello little fella.


Finn (cheesy lover #58)

FT + Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 240 views

Christmas cheese next week! Stilton’s the canonical choice, I believe, but what are your Christmas cheesy traditions?


Soft raw-milk cow’s cheese, made in Herefordshire and bought from Neals Yard Dairy

This is a squat little barrel of cheese, and I have half of one for my lunch. It’s got a white bloomy rind, and a pretty soft pale yellow paste; darker towards the edges. Towards the middle there’s a slightly chalky, crumbly texture.

The rind’s bitter, tasting of nettles; dark green and undergrowthy. Inside, it tastes sour and tart and salty, very creamy and with a smidge of rancid butter, There’s a green floral aftertaste – this might be the influence of the nettley rind – and just the merest hint of truffley mushroom. This cheese is delicious now, and I reckon it would be rather differently delicious in a week or two; softer and even creamier, with those hints of mushroom coming to the foreground, and a mellower caramel taste. This little cheese doesn’t get the chance to become a melting puddle of mushroom, though; it gets gobbled up in one go!

On Chart Battles And Christmas

FT43 comments • 1,544 views

One of the many arguments offered as to why The X-Factor is a Bad Thing for pop is that Simon Cowell has taken the fun out of the race for Xmas No.1. It strikes me that this is a little rose-tinted – was anybody really that enthused with said “race” in the pre-Cowell days? Of course the Christmas market has been very important to the record industry, because so many units shift then. And in that context the idea of “the christmas no.1” was a good bit of marketing – sell a few more records by alerting people to the fact these singles was in the shops with a bit of press coverage and a 3-minute slot on Newsround. Did people enjoy this stuff? Absolutely! Did they care? That I’m less sure of. So maybe people are just sad that a bit of marketing razzle-dazzle they enjoyed has been swapped for a bit of marketing razzle-dazzle other people enjoyed. Nothing wrong with that, if so – the roots of any ‘tradition’ are likely to involve a bit of opportunism on somebody’s part.


an beginner’s guide to london pubbes

Pumpkin Publog/6 comments • 406 views

Foreword: I wrote this over several weeks, forgot what I was doing with it, created a mysterious section (later removed, subsequently regretted) about armchairs and have entirely lost the plot of what it’s meant to be about. Also I am ill. Enjoy!

Not for beginners, you understand, by one for lo, I am a new bug. I don’t remember the smoking ban coming in (here, at least; it was quite an event where I was at the time, in Mid Wales) and Samuel Smiths are still a little entertaining to me in their sheer oddity; people say ‘Clerkenwell’ to me and I go ‘cor is that a real place? I really liked the Real Tuesday Weld album of the same name!’ and I have, on two separate occasions, spent ten miserable, sodden minutes standing in a doorway outside Euston Square station, peering at Google Maps and wondering what the hell happened to the road that I’m sure I went down the last time I came out of one of the doors here; I think everywhere east of Westminster is bat country, still find Oyster cards a bit esoteric and don’t understand the Blue Posts acronym system; occasionally I still give bartenders scandalised looks when they tell me how much a pint of Kronenbourg and a Winter Warmer is going to be and despite the best attempts of my educators, I’m not actually sure I understand what an estate pub is* and six months ago I knew a lot less.

Here is what I have learnt.


Suga Shikao – ICA

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Suga Shikao, looking fiiiiiiiiiine in a red top and waistcoat, reads slowly from the pages of the day’s Metro – Japanese… Jpop… Superstar!! – and everyone at the ICA cheers. I say everyone. It is possible that I squealed at a pitch audible only to small dogs. Small Japanese dogs, at that. Suga Shikao is big business in Japan, and tonight he’s at the Institute of Contemporary Arts in London. I know two things about him before the show at the ICA: 19sai (19yrs old) (the theme tune from an anime xxxHOLic, though is that relevant? I have never seen it, considering most anime to be king of suck), and, er, his co-authorship of crunchy mega-boyband KAT-TUN’s best seller ‘Real Face’. WHAT OF IT.

suga shikao

suga shikao, making jam, yesterday

Overheard some comments that ‘Japanese fans have a lot riding on Suga Shikao’ … ‘ambassador of Jpop’… never mind, ‘broke all the rules of pop’. What, precisely, would Japanese fans have riding on Suga Shikao? A domestic artist conquering abroad, being showered in laurels and then a victorious Moomin Saver flight back to Narita having glorified Jpop and saved the industry? First of all – this was a gig, this wasn’t representation and record releasing for the UK Christmas No1, and wasn’t a track hastily recorded in English to please a prolific songwriter (thank goodness)! A serious market break… doesn’t sound like it?