This Is England

Forgive me. I seem to be addicted to concrete. And LEDs. In the past year, my bookshelves have been swelled by works on architecture, radical typographical manifestos, the mystery of the Factory Records numbering system, and computer processing. It’s got to lead somewhere.

Saint Etienne at the Queen Elizabeth Hall in September for a start, I guess.

"Did you know you can rent a generator for $52 and set up and play ANYWHERE until the cops come?"

I was in the Prague Centre for Contemporary Arts and trapped on certain floors due to a bizarre ticketing method. I found myself confronted on all sides by beautiful brutalist models of Soviet architecture from the 1960s and was reminded, of all things, of the start of The Likely Lads; the old pub being demolished to make way for high-rise flats. The urbanism of the 1960s failed in this country, but why? Failure of upkeep? Building the high-rises while neglecting the other parts of Le Corbusier's vision which made Unité d'Habitation a success where others failed? Or are we just bad at doing things?

"I looked the man in the eye. I was able to get a sense of his soul"

Or perhaps he just saw Georgia burning. An awkward moment in Beijing today, I imagine.

"Turn on the real drums"

Online dating sites are just odd. Though my faith in the country is heartened by people that are even more left-wing than I am. Watts Breakaway on iTunes, which is probably a sign that I should stop typing and return to Nixonland.

We all knew there was something about John Edwards, didn't we?

Edwards had told Kerry he was going to share a story with him that he'd never told anyone else—that after his son Wade had been killed, he climbed onto the slab at the funeral home, laid there and hugged his body, and promised that he'd do all he could to make life better for people, to live up to Wade's ideals of service. Kerry was stunned, not moved, because, as he told me later, Edwards had recounted the same exact story to him, almost in the exact same words, a year or two before—and with the same preface, that he'd never shared the memory with anyone else. Kerry said he found it chilling, and he decided he couldn't pick Edwards unless he met with him again.

Those Halcyon Days

See You At The Debates, Bitches

I guess it’s now safe to admit that I have a bit of a soft spot for Paris Hilton (note, I’ve never actually seen any of her TV shows, so this comes entirely from news reports and entertainment items). She’s always struck me as curiously being both more naïve than she appears to be and yet more clever than she lets on. So, after the racially-slightly-dubious McCain ad from last week, this is a wonderful response:

(while I don’t think that the juxtaposition of Britney and Paris with Obama was chosen deliberately for the racial overtones, it is odd how the GOP picked them, instead of, say, famous-and-completely-crazy Tom Cruise. Unless they’re afraid of Xenu. He does have a fleet of DC-8s that can fly in space, you know)

Blackcurrant Vodka and 40 Second Cakes!

I’m easing back into the food experiments after a month or so off. First up, blackcurrant vodka, part of a continuing series where I stick things in vodka and hope for the best. However, I’ve tried this one before, and it doesn’t work too badly. Get some blackcurrants, wash and de-stem them, and put them in an empty bottle (I used half of a box from Tesco). Fill the bottle up with vodka and shake it about a bit. Store in a cupboard for at least a week (but a month will probably be better), then mix with Sprite/7up for a refreshing summer drink. You’ll probably want to strain out the blackcurrants first, mind you.

Blackcurrants and vodka

Mmm, just sit back and wait!

Blackurrant Vodka

The 40 second cake comes from playing with fire via el Bulli. It’s yet another use for the iSi whipper, which is beginning to be known as the “aero machine” in our house. At first, I attempted to make a chocolate ginger cake, but after I’d got the bars of Green & Blacks ginger chocolate home, I discovered that the ginger was actually part of the bars rather than just a flavouring. The whipper is apparently sensitive to things that aren’t liquid, so I changed my mind and melted down a chocolate orange bar I had instead. After mixing, it was all poured into the whipper and given a shot of nitrous oxide (it should have been two shots, but I halved the recipe linked and mistakenly halved the canister count). Then, the magic began! Straight in the microwave at full power!

Mixing The Batter

Makes One Cake!

Chocolate Orange Cake in 40 Seconds!

The result was not as spongy as other efforts I’ve seen around on the Internet, but I imagine not using enough canisters is the reason for that little disappointment. But it tasted surprisingly good; you could definitely taste the chocolate orange. Definitely something I’ll be playing with again (and perfect for children’s parties, I’d imagine!). Perhaps a little savoury next time - chipotle cake, anybody? No? Wasabi?

This Is Year Zero

Well, it wasn’t supposed to be, but I forgot that my MovableType settings are to show only the last (x) days, so as I haven’t been posting for the post month, it looks a bit like a clean slate. Never fear, the previous six years of blathering are still around. They’re just a little harder to get to right now.

The new design is a mixture of inspiration from Subtraction, Jan Tschichold’s The New Typography (yes, that was me reading it on the bus this week, 27A Stagecoach fans!) and Kenickie’s Get In album. I was thinking about having a jQuery-powered accordion menu on the right-hand-side of the page, but after playing about with a widget for about five minutes, I decided just to have the flickr and dopplr boxes for the moment. That may change in the future.

It’s still a work in progress, and it’s still not entirely finished, but I think it’s at the point where it can be used while I go back and fill in the missing bits (archives, comment response pages, etc) later. That’s the plan, anyhow. I may get distracted by shiny things in the meantime.

Comments, complaints, and anything else appreciated!

Hold Me.

We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed:

01 Ways to Make It Through the Wall 02 Miserabilia 03 We Are Beautiful, We Are Doomed 04 Between an Erupting Earth and an Exploding Sky 05 You’ll Need Those Fingers for Crossing 06 It’s Never That Easy Though, Is It? (Song for the Other Kurt) 07 The End of the Asterisk 08 Documented Minor Emotional Breakdown #1 09 Heart Swells/Pacific Daylight Time 10 All Your Kayfabe Friends

Also, who do I have to kill to get them to come to Oxford?




currently playing: ABC – When Smokey Sings

Noel Gallagher: Old Man On Your Street

I mean, really? Violent videogames and skunk? Why not coke and a copy of Don’t Believe The Truth

Things are probably going to remain quiet for a bit. I’m off to Europe next week for a fortnight, but don’t know how much I’ll be able to update, but we’ll see. I have at long last settled on a site redesign, mind you, so you might see that in August. No promises, though.

currently playing: Feist – Intuition

Change We Could Bloody Well Believe In


currently playing: The Indelicates – The Sequel to Peter Pan and Wendy

What Say You Come Back In July?

Going to be another of those weeks, I think…