Friday, April 29, 2005
That Mandrillus Sphinx bloke tells the truth, the woman with the multiple piercings from Thursday's picture really is called Elaine Davidson. She is in the Guinness Book of Records as the most pierced person in the world (including 500 in her genetalia), here she is alongside Stephen Taylor who is really popular with young ladies for the same reason Gene Simmons was.
She also says she is afraid to return home to Brazil in case she is mugged for her piercings.
Hot from the press, or from the Cd burner as things go these days, a demo EP by new local band Lesser Known Breed, Guy Hammon-Clark on drums, Ollie Lewis on bass and Jonny Briggs on guitar and lead vocals.
Opening track Feelings Like These kicks off in pleasantly perky punky style, this is probably the lads first proper recording so a little bit of advice, get your recording bloke to turn the vocals up in the mix a little, JB's voice is a rather distant sound in the background in some parts.
Too Bad We're Different switches between a jangling Kings Of Leon style riff and a more direct rock chorus, good song. 1984 opens with a chugging metal riff before turning into the lads more usual light punk style.
Fourth track Thinking Of Nothing is both the high and low point of the EP. It's a good track, well constructed, blazing along with blast of Blink 182 like zippiness, but, the backing vocals are quite excruciatingly bad.
Finishing the EP is the track Useless Parody, JB sounds just like Bloodhound Gang's Jimmy Pop on this one. This is bound to be a crowd pleaser in a live set, a few beers and the chance to shout 'Fuck You Bitch' in public, it's a sure fire winner.
All in all, not a bad effort in a rock punk vein, there are hints of Blink 182, Bloodhound Gang, InMe and others in there, for the old fart readers, I don't think this is a million miles away from a demo called Gasoline & Suicide by a band called Spoilt Bratz who went on to become Terrorvision. I enjoyed it, Chefette was rather regretting brining it to work as I played it half a dozen times in a row yesterday.
The acid test always has to be, does this make you want to bother with the band again, and the answer here is yes, I'd like to see them live. Lesser Known Breed, not the finished article, but worth looking out for.
Yesterday a huge parcel arrived for the youngster who has managed a hat trick of crashes in the past few months. I sidled over as he unwrapped the four packages within, new alloy wheels with thin tyres.
Not having learned any lessons at all from his previous experiences with walls and rocks, young berk has spent £1,000 , yes a thousand quid!, on four new wheels. Half an hour later the insurance company phoned to say that the damage to his car from the most recent accident was in excess of the value of the car itself and his pride and joy was a write off.
How deliciously ironic.
Thursday, April 28, 2005
I have just moved a case of this from my long storage shelves to my ready to drink shelves (Big Red Boys take note) to make room for heaps of Rioja. This is the 2000 release of Laithwaites own Super Tuscan blend.
The wine is dark, really dark, so purple that it is almost black. The nose is big and rich, fruity and spicy. Edi2ione has mellowed a little in the years it has spent in my cellar, the tannins have softened and the wine has intergrated to become a super smooth, flavour packed beast of a
It brims with ripe fruit flavours, plum and sweet dark prunes, the flavour is mouth filling and well balanced and has a long and intense finish.
This cost me a mere £7.75 a bottle from Laithwaites, when compared to other super Tuscans, Barolo etc. this really is a bargain price for such a fantastic wine.
Wednesday, April 27, 2005
This was highly upsetting for her.
She hid the magazine until his father got home and showed it to him.
He looked at it and handed it back to her with out a word.
She finally asked him, “Well what should we do about this?”
Dad looked at her and said, “Well, I don’t think you should spank him."
(Thanks to DaTaste)
I have an acquaintance, of a legal age to drive an automobile, but in my opinion not sufficiently mature to be allowed behind the wheel of a car capable of speeds of 100 mph+ and therefore potentially lethal to himself and other persons on the road. Or in his case, persons passing by on the pavement, or in really unlucky cases, persons having a quick pee behind the wall that he has just demolished.
This young lad, since passing his test, has written off two cars in self inflicted accidents. On both occasions he freely admits that he was messing about with his cd player when the car left the road and tore down a large section of dry stone wall, or left the road and ripped the wheels off on some poor soul's ornamental boulders.
He is obviously an idiot. He drives much as any teenage lad does, accelerating like he's on the start line at Le Mans even if he's only popping out for a pint of milk.
Yesterday he had his third serious accident since passing his test, and incidentally, won me a fiver. I'm now so convinced that he's going to run his car off the road that I have instituted a 'crash pool' in the kitchen. I had opted for 'Within the first month', my star driver did even better than that, he went for his third vehicle write off within a week of getting his new car.
Sometimes the female waiting staff wonder why I'm not all that keen on letting the male waiting staff drive them home. Well, it's because on the whole they drive like utter tossers. I on the other hand, and most of my friends will attest to this, drive like an old fart, slower, but far more safely.
Idiot #1, who has had the three serious accidents, is now joined by idiot #2 who claims he wasn't going all that fast when his car left the road and demolished a farmer's sheep pen, it was icy he said. In that case, I said, you were going too fast for the conditions, you are still speeding even when you are under the speed limit.
These two berks though are joined by the common thread of stupidity, upon buying their rather small motors, they have proceeded to add extra lights, drop sides, darkened windows, under lighting, footwell lighting (I'm not making this up you know, he showed me, blue lights to illuminate your trainers!), spoilers (like they could ever go fast enough to need that) and moron exhausts that sound like the car is 5,000 miles past its last service.
Not surprisingly, when the wrecked car is presented for repair, the insurer turns to them and says, "I'm sorry laddy, but this isn't the same car that you insured with us." Car therefore wrecked, young lad has to be bailed out by daddy.
I'm working slowly to a serious point, and that is, come the glorious revolution and the Yorkshire Soul Party seize power, we will put forward a new law which will remove the driving licenses of young drivers who appear to be a liability and danger to themselves and others. People who drive off the road because they are changing their gansta rap cd's don't deserve to be allowed to drive. Let's remove these fools from the roads, force them to retake their tests and to attend a further course of road safety and driving lessons.
On the other hand, if they turn up for they their driving test wearing a Reebok tracksuit, kappa hat, G-Unit trainers and two heavy duty gold chains, just fail them automatically.
It's rare indeed that I would agree with anything spoken by that manc muppet, but let's face it, there are worse things than ill educated brats and long term unemployment, and the prospect of Phil Collins as a near neighbour (again, it feels like we've just got rid of the bugger, apparently he used to live just along the road from Wossername!) is almost reason enough to vote Labour.
Speaking of Labour, have Anne Cryer's office bothered answering any e-mails yet ? No.
I have sent this letter to them today, do you think I'll get a reply before the election ?
Before I decide which way to cast my vote at the election, I would like to know your position on nuclear power.
Would you support the building of more nuclear plants to offset the looming energy crisis ? There has been much talk in the papers saying that Tony Blair will push forward a policy of advocating nuclear power if he wins the election, would you support him in this ?
In your recent letter to me, I could find no mention at all of yourstance, and your party's stance on green issues, energy policy, recycling, transport policy etc. Could you briefly outline your thoughts on these issues for me ?
Let's just get this strait, I have sent this letter to the address provided on the Keighley Labour Party website, I have also written to Anne at the two addresses given on her own homepage. The letter I have just sent has been bounced back with the following message, (the other two e-mails have vanished into the ether it seems) ....
"Please note that your e-mail has not been delivered because the mail box of the recipient is closed for Dissolution"
They don't appear to be very organised over at Keighley Labour, it almost seems as if they don't want to talk to their constituents.
Tuesday, April 26, 2005
Monday, April 25, 2005
"I am far too serious a writer to have my novels considered as mere science fiction" . As far as I am aware, Ballard didn't actually say this, but Hello America is a strait post-apocalypse style sci-fi novel trying hard to be something else.
A steam/wind/coal powered expedition arrives in New York a century after the last fleeing emigrants completed the North American diaspora. After the damming of the Bering Strait climate change has wreaked havoc across the USA, a vast swathe of desert fills the country.
Into this desert our protagonists head, the verging on insane Captain Steiner, Wayne the stowaway and Orlowski both with dreams of becoming President, plus a pair of scientists charged with discovering the truth about nuclear emissions being tracked from Europe.
As the expedition head for Washington and then Cross country to Vegas, Ballard shows that when it comes to writing sci-fi, you should always pay some attention to the sci part, and he hasn't. He spends pages telling us of the scarcity of water in this new desert, the constant search for water becomes almost all consuming for the expedition. There are fights over who controls the vital water distilling equipment and a man is killed.
Then....someone turns up in three steam powered cars "twin plumes of steam venting across the highway like furious moustachios", hang on, twin plumes of steam, that's a lot of water you're wasting, and in the preceding chapter even the camels were dying of thirst. And food, what about food ?
Eventually they reach Las Vegas, which now sits in the middle of a tropical rainforest, and now I've got another problem with the book. This rain forest has been growing freely for a hundred years or more, and yet all the roads are still intact, they have no problems driving anywhere across America in fact, they must have built those roads well.
In Vegas they find a tin pot dictator calling himself President who has surrounded himself with with guards, robotic helicopters and a nuclear arsenal. More sci blunders, about 200 inhabitants we are told, all of these appear to be guards or military technicians, nobody grows food, nobody seems to do anything connected with running a successful settlement apart from building more weapons.
The book now changes pace and descends into sci-fi farce as the mad dictator plays ICBM roulette and an equally mad scientist unleashes an army of animatronic past presidents to try and stop him.
There have been a number of post-apocalypse novels written before, if this is a sub genre that interests you then try John Christopher - The World In Winter / Wrinkle In The Skin / The Death Of Grass, David Brin - The Postman (but forget the awful film), The Stand - Stephen King, Swan Song - Robert R McCammon, but maybe you should give Ballard a miss.
I have only read one other Baker novel, The Fermata, a great idea fairly well done. Vox though, well it sounds as if it should be good, two lonely and randy people get talking on a phone chat room and then transfer their ever more intertwined erotic wordplay to a one on one conversation.
The thing is though, I'd like written erotica to actually arouse me, Nicholson managed this just fine in The Fermata, but his overly wordy characters in Vox just failed to get me going. I suppose everyone has certain triggers that get them going, I've never really liked phones, I can go for months without using my mobile and so the idea of an extended phone sex call doesn't do much for me.
Baker's characters are educated, intellectual and loquacious, and for me it's here that the book falls a little short of its promise. You understand from the off that the novel will build to a literal climax so it's just a question of whether all the bits along the way do it for you as well. The situations that the man and woman build through their oral interplay are well constructed and superbly described, over described even, but they just don't do a lot for me.
Vox is a good idea, and at 160 pages of large fonts and generous line spacing won't take up much of your precious time whether it stimulates you or leaves you unmoved.
A thought about one of Baker's other works, The Fermata, given that you had the power of The Fermata (the ability to freeze time at your whim), what would you do with it ? My own little Bakeresque scenario has the following headline.....
"Authorities baffled as entire Catholic girls 6th form college become pregnant"
We're also not going to win anything or even make the playoffs.
Mighty Yorkshire on the other hand, the cricket boys demolished Zumerzet in two and a half days, including a welcome contribution from Kruis who received a slagging on this very blog only last week, I'll gladly eat my words if he performs like that every week. Wood and Harvey (209 n.o.!) are both looking good with the bat, Bresnan, Kruis and Harvey are picking up wickets.
We are top of the one day league and second in the 2nd Division, so far so good.
The large quantities of limestone dust carried down by the stream has created a bed of soft limestone sediment giving the stream a very odd look.
The last photo shows the clear lime water from the stream emptying out into the peat laden Ribble.
Saturday, April 23, 2005
I have noticed a fairly horrible dining phenomenon that like many things begins in America and ends up over here.
Lazy eating, attempting to get through an entire meal by only using your fork. My parents taught me good table manners, which item of cutlery to use for which dish, not to lick my knife, not to chew with my mouth open.
Last year, when we were dining in a restaurant called Osteria Stella I noticed that many New Yorkers were trying to eat their entire meals using only their forks. As I used my knife in the correct manner to cut and slice my way through my lambs liver I watched in baffled amusement as the locals attempted to wrestle their way through a roasted chicken using only that cutlery which had prongs. One bloke even resorted to pulling his dinner apart with his fingers rather than resorting to using his knife.
What is this all about ? Does nobody in America understand what those bladed implements are for ? They make eating your dinner much easier you know. I had to be restrained from offering advice to one diner who had begun to saw through his poultry using the side of his fork.
Now if you're having a dish like, risotto for example, then eating with fork only is no problem. It allows you to hold wine glass or gesture wildly as you tell a particularly amusing tale involving your younger self, several pints of lager, a two gallon bucket of golden syrup and next door's Highland Terrier. But please folks, if your dinner requires cutting, then cut it with a knife.
I wonder what happens in New York steak houses, do people just stab their slab of grilled beef and start gnawing chunks off it ? When the cheeseboard arrives will people forego the offer of a knife and instead try to slice a mature manchengo with a crumbly water biscuit ?
And what happens to me, the humble carvery chef ?
"Just two thin slices of the beef please chef."
"Sorry sir, we've gone American, tonight I shall be serving this rib of beef by ripping it asunder with a brace of pitchforks and then you have to eat it with both hands strapped behind your back and a grapefruit spoon sellotaped to your forehead."
Thursday, April 21, 2005
At home (Ilkley) the rain is falling steadily and I'm having a hard time persuading myself to go walking. Eventually I get my gear together and drive up to Horton-In-Ribblesdale where the weather is completely different, it's blowing a gale.
There is sunshine though. This is the Horton Queen's Golden Jubilee Garden, with Horton limestone quarry in the background. This is also the last bit of time I'll spend in the sun all day.
Sheep, well I couldn't spend a day walking without taking photo's of sheep. Mrs. YS has already looked through the pictures, shaking her head in despair.
There it is, Pennyghent seen from the Pennine Way just out of Horton. It looks like summer but I'm wearing a coat, wooly hat and gloves. You see that white bit on the left of the summit, there's still snow up there.
Tarn Bar, a stream appears from out of the ground, falls down a small waterfall and promptly vanishes underground again to reappear lower down the slope at Horton Scar.
Looking at Pennyghent across the moor, the wind is now fresh, the climb is fairly steady, things could be worse.
Oh dear, this isn't looking good. As I puff and pant my way up the steep path leading to the summit the wind picks up, it's now strong enough to buffet me, and I'm a fairly sturdy chap.
On the summit of Pennyghent looking across to Fountains Fell.
A nice new seating and shelter area has been built at the summit, in a curving S shape so that whichever direction the howling gale is blowing from you can keep out of it on one side at least. These mock fossils have been placed in the dry stone wall, and very pretty they are too. There are also lots of little carvings, bees and honey and other creatures.
I was planning on walking along the top to Plover Hill and coming back via Foxup, but I have no wish to spend the next two hours walking into that wind so I turn south instead and come down the horrible steep southern face of Pennyghent.
I have never liked this part of the hill. Despite the path and steps it comes too close to climbing for my liking, and today the wind is making it a misery. My eyes are streaming in the wind, I can't seem to clear them as I carefully pick my way down the path lik a giant spider crab with two hiking poles reaching out for grips in front and below me.
You see all those rocks down at the bottom ? Well they obviously fell off the top, something else to keep in mind while you are picking your way down Pennyghent. My back is playing up, I've neglected to bring any painkillers, the wind is trying to prise me from the edge, I can't bloody well see and small drops of icy rain are striking me with enough force to leave welts.
I can't help but think, why didn't I go to the cinema today ? Or out for lunch ? I could be sat in a nice warm restaurant with a glass of red wine. This is not the most fun day's walking I've had in a while.
I injured my back four years ago in a fall while coming down from Simon's Seat, I slipped, my legs flew up in front of me and I came down with my lower back striking a rock. At the time I didn't think much of it, I brushed myself down and carried on, later in the day though I couldn't stand up strait, I could hardly get in and our of my car and months and years later it has left me with a recurring back problem. I get bouts of pain and stiffness (and yes Candice, I am doing my exercises) lasting from a few days to a few weeks. Today I am in the middle of one of those bouts.
The fall has also left me a little paranoid about falling again, it seems to take me forever to carefully pick my way down the south of the hill. But eventually I get down, greeting a few fellow crazy people who are on the way up.
Pennyghent as seen from Churn Mill. The white stuff you can see here isn't snow, it is a line of giant builder's bags holding large lumps of rock that are going to be used to repair the Pennine Way over Pennyghent. There are signs everywhere asking walkers not to cause further damage to the fragile moorland and to keep to the path, but it is obvious that many just don't care about the damage they cause.
I wonder how they get those bags of rocks all the way up here, there are dozens of them on the other side just below the summit, they must be a hell of a weight.
Pennyghent seen from Dale Head. I walked down Silverdale Road, then along Moor Head Lane to Helwith Bridge (where the pub advertising itself to be open all day was of course closed) and then along the Ribble Way back to Horton.
The walk was about 10 1/2 miles, and despite all the moaning it was better than being stuck in front of the telly. That's two of the three peaks done, Whernside next then, and then all three in one day in August hopefully, anyone fancy joining me ?
Wednesday, April 20, 2005
Dworkin fervently believed that pornography was a precursor to rape, oh dear, much as a love of heavy metal leads to devil worship and shooting up your school then ?
Anyway, I didn't know much about her, and now she's dead.
Tuesday, April 19, 2005
Bugger, I chose this for our book of the month for the Leeds Bookcrossers, and now I won't be able to go to the May meeting, still, I've read the book and it is wonderful.
Precious Ramotswe is a bright girl, well educated but headstrong as teenagers will be, proud of her fledgling Botswana and determined to make something of herself. She agrees to a marriage which her doting father warns her against, and which is obviously doomed from the outset.
After her almost inevitable abandonment, and the subsequent tragically early death of her child and then the death of her cattle hoarding father, she sets herself up as Botswana's only female private detective.
She learns some of her trade from books, but relies on her intuition and common sense for much more. Precious tracks down missing husbands and missing dogs and sets out on the trail of a kidnapped child.
Precious Ramotswe is a marvelous creation, warm and caring, intelligent and canny, fiercely independent now that her no good husband has departed.
She borrows a dog and shotgun to solve the mystery of a missing born again Christian in brave and gory style. She tells lies if the lies are a lesser crime than the one she is trying to uncover and she drives her little white van, serviced by her admirer Mr J L B Matekoni (and not her only admirer), all over Botswana and even over the countries' land locked borders in search of justice.
Precious believes in justice before law, she recognises the good that may be done by shaming a man into repenting rather than just having him arrested, and 'persuading' people to put things to rights rather than involving the police and courts at every turn.
The story thread of the kidnapped boy, which runs throughout the novel, is handled well and in a real life fashion. Precious does not spend every working minute searching for the boy and every resting minute fretting over him as if she were a protagonist in an American crime novel. Instead she does what she can, when she can, and the book is much more interesting for it.
The descriptive passages when she has tea with friends, or tends her garden, or shops for blouses to fit her ample bosom are a pleasure and add a completeness to the character of Precious Ramotswe. She is a real person beyond her chosen profession, indeed, as you have read much of Precious' early life, her career seems almost secondary to the detailing of her persona.
Precious Ramotswe is a rich and rewarding character, her forward looking and pragmatic views on life make this a most pleasing read. It would have been all too easy to make this a book about a 'charming black woman' with people admiring her for being fat and black and quirky and funny, but Precious has emotions and thoughts beyond the ones that merely amuse us, her language may be slightly simplistic but she certainly is not.
How wonderful is this ? It smells like warm honey and spices and the flavour! It's incredible, almost like drinking the juice from a tin of lychee's infused with very ripe melon. It is rich, massively full flavoured and tastes sweet without actually being sweet, all the flavour coming from suprebly ripe fruit rather than sugar.
It would match up well with foie gras, milder thai dishes and blue cheese, I had it with a stir fry with just a hint of chilli and it made a good partner.
You would be lucky to find any of the excellent 2001 vintage still for sale but Laithwaites have the 2003 for about £9.75 a bottle.
My personal preference in white wines is for richer flavoured, off dry or German sweeter styles so this dry as a bone French Semillon didn't go down too well with me.
Very little nose, starkly dry on the palette gives a hint of citrus flavour but not much, austere and minerally.
I had the wine with a parmesan, roast chicken and petis pois risotto and it seemed to fight against the creaminess of the dish. If you enjoy really dry, slatey wines then this might be for you, it came as part of Laithwaites Premier Club and was therefore a freebie, I shan't be buying any more of it.
Available from Laithwaites for about £5.85 a bottle.
Here is a wine that UK drinkers have probably never heard of before, Laithwaites have found and secured a small parcel of Lancellotta, a rare grape most commonly used to blend with other wines in Italy. The British tasters though were convinced it could stand out as a good wine on it's wine and talked the winemakers at Cantine Riunite into bottling some.
The result is a rich, dark wine, perfumed with dark morello cherries on the nose, on the tongue you get soft dark fruit, well integrated oak, hints of spice and vanilla and a big, chocolatey finish.
I served it with boiled ham, buttered cabbage and stilton sauce which it went quite well with, hoever a matching of Lancellotta and venison, grouse or steak would be even better.
Available from Laithwaites for about £6.29 a bottle.
Monday, April 18, 2005
Blimey, they could be brothers, Phil and JJ the birthday boy whetting their whistles.
New mum Michelle and v. cute baby Harry.
6pm, Margaret and grandad Tommy J - "I'm only staying 10 minutes mind, I'm 93 you know"
Um, little sis has matching shoes and bag, she's very proud of them, it's a girl thing.
Recipe for fun, take small child and get her to blow out candles, which then relight of their own accord, trust me, after a few beers this is hilarious.
Helping Grandad cut the cake, Jo and Ellie 'assisting'.
Joan and Graeme looking to have downed some of the party spirit.
Brother in law mk.1 Kevin.
The Babes. Holly, Sue, Margaret, our Holly is wearing her underclothing over her outerclothing (hoorah!), our Sue got barred from a pub last week (they're a rough lot the Guiseley cousins are) and our Margaret won't even let a heart attack get in the way of a good party.
8.30pm Yorkshire Soul, Tommy ("I'm only staying 10 minutes mind. Another pint ? Oh go on then") and Chris.
JJ, 65 going on 6.
Kevin, Squirt ( little sister Liz), Y Soul a look, it's 11pm, who is that ?
11pm, TJ, "I'm only staying ten minutes mind." Somebody take him home, we've all got to work in the morning. It was like this at my wedding, Grandad wandering around going "I'm 84 and I've had fifteen pints."
Well done Dad on reaching 65, it was a good party.