Friday, March 31, 2006
Thursday, March 30, 2006
We have been to Ha! Ha! a few times and have nearly always enjoyed it, we get a comfy seat tucked in a corner, the staff are usually nice and polite,the food freshly cooked and pretty good considering that this a chain restaurant.
We chose our usual table, ordered a pint of Red Stripe and a lemonade, ordered our starters. The food is freshly prepared so I don't mind the wait. When the starters arrived I thought they looked a little small, my thai fishcakes were nice, they would have been nicer though if chef hadn't left them in the saute pan so long and burnt the bottom of all three small cakes. Mrs YS opted for crispy shredded duck, it wasn't crispy, it was served with a surfiet of pancakes for so small a portion of meat, it was a tiny portion for the exhorbitant £6.70 cost.
I had chosen lamb leg steak flavoured with sea salt, lemon zest, rosemary and garlic, served with bean and chorizo cassoulet (£11.50 and veg/salad will cost you extra), the waiter asked how I would like it cooked, I responded pink and it duly arrived pink, but, get your grill or fry pan really hot, then when you put your steak in it will colour on the outside, impart flavour and still remain nice and pink on the inside, mine was cooked under a cool grill and looked boiled.
I couldn't detect any garlic or rosemary, or sea salt or lemon, what I could detect though was that the lamb wasn't fresh, again. Last time I came I had lamb, it was off and I sent it back, the waiter disagreed but did change the meal. The cassoulet was nice enough but tasted more of heinz baked beans than chorizo.
Mrs YS went for corn fed chicken breast stufed with tallegio cheese, on a bed of creamy pesto, salsa and spinach pasta (£7.50). The chicken was nice, the pasta was nicely cooked - not overboiled, but creamy ? No, there was hardly a hit of sauce, the odd fleck of tomato and shred of spinach, but nothing that would qualify the dish as creamy.
The bill for lunch with one beer, one glass of wine, two lemonades, two starters and mains was £38.80, we decided not to bother wit Ha! Ha!s desserts and went for some chocolate at Betty's instead.
Ha! Ha! York obviously has problems in the kitchen, we were not madly happy last time we came but decided to visit again yesterday as we have had some nice meals there over the past 2-3 years. On our next visit to the capitol though I think we'll give Ha! Ha! a miss, it's not as if York is short of decent places to eat.
How's that then ? The great god of the guitar, note to all rock/metal guitarists - before you even think of boring us all senseless during gigs with your flashy fretwank, just listen to Brighton Rock live and then think really hard on whether you are still good enough to solo.
Oh, and Eleanor, Brian sends you this....
Alright, so you probably need more than a passing interest in the best sport in the world to wade through this almanac of the quirks and idiosyncrasies of the game, cricket geeks though will love it.
CSM contains about 120 accounts of games that were played by strange teams, played under unusual conditons, where things went wrong, went brilliantly right, or just turned out plain strange.
There are some of the obvious big events, Brian Lara's mighty test innings against England, and his phenomenal '94 season playing in England, the turnaround at Headingley that put England on course to win the Ashes, Greg Chappel's cowardly decision to order underarm bowling to prevent New Zealand from winning a World Series game, lovers of the game will remember all of these.
Did you though know about the match played on the deck of a cruise ship at sea, the game played on a sand bank uncovered only at low tide twice a year, the game between the one legged and one armed ex-soldiers,the games interrupted by flying ants, leather jackets, snow, birds or monkeys ? Games played into the dusk, under lamplight, one man playing fifty ?
My favourite from the book is this, DIK (Dera Ismail Khan) in the Pakistan league are promoted to first class status, their first match is against PWR (Pakistan Western Railways). PWR bat first and over the course of two days rattle up 910 - 6 declared. On the third morning DIK go in to bat, an hour later they are all out for 32, PWR enforce the follow on and another hour later DIK are all out again for 27.
Scyld Berry, writing in the Observer after the first DIK innings, said with tongue firmly in cheek..."PWR then gambled on a lead of 878 and enforced the follow-on."
It's almost black, a real teeth, tongue and lip stainer. There is a very direct/forward rush of ripe fruit moving on to notes of spice and pepper, licorish, smoke and vanilla. The wine is exceptionally well balanced with a long and satisfying finish.
I had it with steak and pepper sauce which matched up very well, it would go well with stronger flavoured meats, game, venison, pigeon, well flavoured stews (mutton, goat) etc.
For those who follow Parker, he gave it 90 points and recommended drinking up before 2010. I bought a few bottles from the bin end sale at Hotwines , it is still available from other suppliers at around Â£10.50 per bottle.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
If you think that beacuse the golf course is flooded I have nothing better to do than to spend all day trawling the internet for pictures of metal babes, then you'd be right.
If you don't know young Angela, she's the leather lunged vocalist (I won't use the term singer) for metal outfit Arch Enemy.
Tuesday, March 28, 2006
Just in case you ever complained about paying your licence fee.
£126.50 a year, if you think it's expensive then just look at the rubbish that Sky One puts out during Planet Earth, Newsnight, Question Time, Band Of Brothers, Horizon, Panorama, Crime Watch.........
...then there's all the sports and news on R5, all the things I thought I would never be interested in but R4 still make manage to make compelling listening, good music on R2 + R3, and there's Radio 1, well, at least it still has the Rock Show.
I think it is reasonable to say that I was entranced and awestruck by this week's Planet Earth : Caves, for my overseas readers, I hope that your local channels buy this stunninglybeautifull BBC production.
David Attenborough has the best voice for natural history programmes, his mellifluous tones have become synonymous to me with the beauty of nature.
When I was growing up there wasn't much music in our house, Dad has never been much of a music fan, Mum had a collection of records but hardly ever played them. I heard music in the pub (my parents were tenants at a pub), on the tv and on my first radio/cassette player.
I remember the first big musical craze that seemed to take hold at middle school was Rockabilly, Matchbox were the in thing, all the boys were wearing drainpipe trousers, dancing in circles taking it in turns to leap into the middle of the ring and swallow dive and leap around in a variety of groin endangering manouvres. I joined in, but back at home I had my treasured bits of vinyl, Hong Kong Garden - Siouxsie And The Banshees, Sgt Peppers Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles, Girl - My Number, Kingdom Of Madness - Magnum, Dirk Wears White Sox - Adam And The Ants and Rat Trap by The Boomtown Rats.
The other big thing around school was Ska, Madness released The Prince and the wonderful cover of Prince Buster's One Step Beyond, there was Jerry Dammer's Two Tone label giving us The Specials, The Selector and The Beat and a host of other bands who both wrote their own songs and covered reggae and ska tracks from the 60's and 70's.
Although I am primarily a metalhead, I love reggae and ska almost as much as rock and metal. I love the big strumming bass lines of Toots and the Maytal's Monkey Man and 54-46 Was My Number, Guns of Navarone by The Skatalites and War In A Babylon by Max Romeo.
Probably everone has heard reggae classics like Israeiltes by Desmond Dekker and No Woman, No Cry by Bob Marley, but if you are looking to get a little deeper into ska and reggae try looking out for tracks like Wisdom by Jah Lion, Althea and Donna's Uptown Top Ranking or Soul Fire by Lee 'Scratch' Perry.
Although reggae is steeped in politics and the history of many of the early artists seems to involve a welter of aggresion and violence, the music itself is often happy and upbeat, and even when the artists are using the music to make political points, as was often the case, the songs are still catchy and infectiously danceable, Ghost Town - The Specials, the aforementioned Toots tracks and Bob Marley's Get Up Stand Up are all great examples of this.
Well, there's my very brief intro into reggae, I'll just mention one more band, because not everyone used ska and reggae for political point scoring, some folk were just having a great time, and the greatest good time drinking song ever just has to be that love song to booze, Specal Brew by Bad Manners.
(This will be re-printed as a hypertext linked article at Yorkshiresoul's Audioscrobbler page .)
"I've seen him playing football before a Test match, and believe me, his second touch was always a throw-in." Looking on from the Sky Sports studios, Alec Stewart rubbishes Shane Warne's footballing skills, after he managed to salvage a slip catch against South Africa with some fancy footwork.
I love long things, I much prefer a thousand page novel to a collection of short stories, I prefer watching the marathon to the 100 meters, and then there's cricket - a game which can last for up to five days.
Musically I can swing either way, from a wandering 15 minute Marillion or Yes epic, or down to the venom and spittle minute long bursts from The Distillers and The Dead Kennedys, whose 'I Love Short Songs' has to be one of the best short songs.
When I'm exercising I prefer endurance work to weight lifting, 15 kilometers on the rowing machine is my idead of a work out, and I love long walks, when my troublesome foot will alllow me to go the distance. I love being able to come home after a really long day's rambling and being able to trace a big circle on the map and say 'I walked that.'
What do you go for then, long or short ?
That's it, the clocks have changed, British Summer Time has officially begun, my social life has officially ended, and it's raining, a lot. I've just been round the clubhouse to open up for the day, I think the course may be closed though, the river has risen 4-5 feet during the night and is very close to coming over the banks.
This is an odd time of the year, it doesn't yet stay light long enough for evening players , 5 o'clockers, to get out on the course, so although we are now open until around 8pm every day you can pretty much guarantee that the last couple of hours will be dead unless we have a daytime visiting party coming back for dinner. Last chance to read a few books before the season really kicks off then.
Monday, March 27, 2006
Ok then, here it is, the final quiz of the series, lots of points on offer (a massive 60!) again in the (hopefully) fiendishly hard music link quiz.
Rules as always, no lists of answers (so if here are 3 answers required for a question, don't send a list of 6 possibles), answers to Yorkshiresoul@gmail.com, Quiz Finale as the header, on/by Monday 3rd April.
No spoilers please.
1) Can you link a 90's British rock band with dope, a god and an organ ? (2)
2) Climb a church tower on a Sunday and link an electrical current, a torture device and a name that might epitomise heavy music ? (link - bands - songs 7 points)
3) Dress rather differently and link an American air base and hospital in Germany, a series of bends, twists or curls and a number of Coleopteras ? (link - bands - songs 7 points)
4) Yorkshire Soul's favourite tipple with going on the dole, a man who drowned in the home of the blues, and the top of the milk ? (link - bands - songs 7 points)
5) The sudden arrival of the law with polar dwelling apes, the deceased members of an American political dynasty and the Eastenders who were not good enough ? (link - bands - songs 7 points)
6) Which young lady links Bob Geldof on the silver screen, somebody eating, and a group with a missing bassist ? (link - bands 4 points)
7) Big Game with the chief wailer, not the old getting ready to pray, and the man who persuaded the best known band of their genre that The Strand was not to be their monicker ? ( link - bands - songs 7 points)
8) Man's best friend with an unflyable airship, a monarch, and a room full of latin speaking women saying 'beyond these things' ? ( link - bands - songs 7 points)
9) A farmer's enemy with a presidents flying machine, a super powered African, and my Aunt's husband ? (link - bands - songs 7 points)
10) The pattern of the year with a man whose music caused a riot, damp weather and fake drugs, a third quarter tome of tabular information by folk with peculiar sexual tastes, and Art and Paul finding it hard to see ? (link - bands - songs 9 points)
In all cases where the question says 'bands' this may be bands, individuals, composers etc.
Have fun !