Friday, 28 December 2007

TV Review: Doctor Who - Voyage of the Damned, Christmas Special

It was once said that everybody is doing a brand new dance now, and that we should perform said dance, known as the locomotion. It was Kylie Minogue who made that statement, and it just so happens that she also starred in this year’s epic Doctor Who special as a delightfully downtrodden waitress.

The fact that ‘downtrodden’ almost rhymes with ‘wooden’ isn’t just a coincidence; Kylie’s performance was lacking in parts, but fortunately that didn’t detract from the overall enjoyment. The special was set on board the spaceship Titanic and, you guessed it, something went wrong. Keep reading.

Wednesday, 19 December 2007

TV Review: Spooks s6 Ep10

Last night saw the finale of the ever-fantastical BBC spy series, Spooks. If you’ve never seen it before, it is about a group of egotistical clerical officers who take themselves far too seriously, and snoop on baddies from largely non-Christian countries.

In this week’s episode the Israelis airstrike a school located on the Gaza Strip, and while it isn’t really clear why that happened or why it involves the British, it just does. Events do seem to be created on the hoof in this episodic window on the fictional offices of MI5. For instance, the Venezuelans of all people randomly sent a coded message to our boys via the medium of Beethoven’s 7th. Keep reading.

Wednesday, 8 August 2007

I say potato, you say?

You have successfully arrived at the second vegetable review. This one charts the experience of eating a jacket potato.

If you gaze to the right of your internet visualiser you'll see the potato starts off as a sort of mutant, the inners trying to escape by means of those ugly yellow tentacles. Before it crawled off I was able to pin it down and remove the tentacle/leg appendages it had spawned. Be warned! This should only be carried out if you have the correct protective apparatus. I did, so I was alright.

Not many things scare me in this world, but standing proudly among Iggy Pop's chest, Lorne Spicer, and Watford Gap services is the part grown potato.

Potatoes are often famed for their healing properties, they can heal an Island of it's inhabitants simply by not growing. The black potato which is indigenous to Chester-le-Street has been known to cure Monkhouse's disease, and can also cure breathing if taken in the correct dose.

It is exactly 5041 days since the final festival of the potato, or Potatoalia, to use the correct Gaelic name. Yorkshire was lucky enough to be the last host of this popular event where many of our northern cousins would go to worship mestre da batata, which roughly translates as the 'Potato Master'.

Many of you will also remember Danny of popular rock/punk ensemble "Heard'Sayers" was in fact a King Edward potato. Producers recently said that a vegetable band member was cutting edge at the time, but now everyone does it. They went on to explain that a potato was chosen merely because it can hold a falsetto better than broccoli, "it just does."

Nine minutes and a lot of reminiscing later, my big potato was cooked. There was some disagreement while in the microwave as to whether it should remain still, or rock from side to side. It decided on the latter much to my alarm. Again, on the right of your glass peering square is the finished product. The smell was literally half as good as it looks.

The potato you see in the picture is untainted, but it is possible to add toppings, such is the infinitely versatile nature of the ever talented potato. These vary from cheese and baked beans to the more familiar chocolate sauce and vodka dressing those who reside in parts of Essex enjoy.

So behold the humble potato, a vegetable with more wit than a similarly dressed foul-mouthed TV chef yet full of humility and wisdom.

Sunday, 24 June 2007

7 Carrot Gold

This is the beginning of a new selection of reviews based upon the range of vegetables available to me in my kitchen.

Today is the humble Morrisons frozen baby carrot. That is it there, before cooking. The green bit is added goodness I imagine.

After two minutes of boiling in pasta water, and a further couple of minutes simmering in chopped tomato juice I guessed they were ready to eat.

Everyone knows that carrots are the vegetable of the adventurous, the baby variety even more so. Twenty times more powerful than a green bean, they are renowned as the vegetable of Dr. Indiana Jones himself.

Perhaps less well known is the fact that carrots are only second to chinchillas in anti-taste. Anti-taste of course being the phenomenon of removing whatever flavour present in your mouth for the next 11 hours.

The carrots experienced for the purpose of this review were not crispy, but crunchy. Crispiness is easily defined as biting into a leaf of iceberg lettuce, or the first break in a stick of fresh celery. That's fine; but what about crunchiness? A biscuit is crunchy, as are Kellogg's Crunchy Nut Corn Flakes, but there is the subtle crunch you find in tough but brittle foods, such as plates, and the raw carrot stick.
The baby carrots were actually neither of these, forget what was said earlier.
The familiar molecular structure of carrot
Tooth passage was not altogether easy, resistance was in its plural form and sometimes hard going. Even swapping to the sharpest teeth in the fleet did not fully eradicate the problem.
With the battle behind, the carrot can languish on the tongue. A slightly watery taste presented itself, which might suggest a lack of proper draining after cooking.
However, fault on the part of the chef is impossible.

Swallowing was effortless after sufficient chewing, which was about a 4.8 on the scale. That said, they were quite chewy, around a 6.

In defence of the sods, they were faultlessly orange and provided excellent dinnertime repartee.
More suitable as guests than food, Morrison's Carrots are a constant disappointment and are about as satisfying as windchimes.

Sunday, 10 June 2007

Well-come back music

In an effort to update this more often I've decided to share with you, the caring public, the strange songs I've had in my head today. Often my head will just be populated with the one song which will be in there all day over and over, such as Barbie Girl by Aqua, or something of similar artistic merit. Yet today there has been a plethora, yes, as many as that.

This morning I was unsurprised to have Billy Joel's Uptown Girl in my head, it wouldn't be the first time. It also wouldn't be the first time I've sung the only words I am familiar with repeatedly. Those being: "uptown girl, we've been living in an uptown world". It suddenly occurs to me that they probably aren't the correct lyrics.

Next up was Diana Ross with Chain Reaction, a song fiendishly difficult to find on the internet it seems. Wikipedia seems to insist it has something to do with neutron-fission. My recollection of "we're in the middle of a chain reaction" wasn't that far off either! (Actually it might have been quite easy to find)

After watching the Kate Bush medley Alan Partridge performed on my housemate Tom's Steve Coogan DVD last night, Running Up That Hill appeared. After a quick bit of internetting I have confirmed it was from a children's TV show I vaguely remember called Running Scared.

For some reason while trying to recall Chain Reaction, Sledgehammer by Peter Gabriel replaced it. The only disjointed lyrics for this in my memory are "you could make a big difference......i wanna be, *bam* sledgehammer *bam bam bammmm* sledgehammer." All wrong of course (he doesn't actually say 'bam', it's some sort of synth hit)

Finally Tears in My Eyes - Ultravox.
This would make a strange sort of mixtape, probably one to give if you want someone to break up with you.... or to convince them you are gay once and for all.

I want to hear some more medleys.