Friday, November 08, 2002

I don't know if it's to my credit or my shame that I can still get excited by some new music I hear, but I do anyway, not very often though. I have a new name to add to my recent rantings on the Likes of Manu Chao, Mariza, Ozomatli and the Pernice Brothers: Brendan Benson. I knew he was good from his Cardiff performance, but good gigs, especially by whippersnappers do not necessarily translate into good albums. His does. At one point it excited me as much as the Pernice Brothers did last year, but it's not as good as that, in truth. It is very, very good though, and is my constant companion in the car. He is touring the UK in small venues and is worth searching out, you will be able to say you were there when he was good in years to come, when he is a dinosaur.

A bipartisan anti war blog. While I have to applaud it really, I can't get on with it. Left and right should not be natural bedfellows, it is like agreeing with a Villa fan: unnatural and not to be encouraged. Worth a look though.

Not content with posing alternative Friday imponderables, Bluetitch is trying to get us all in the kitchen, I post her recipe as it came to me, looks like it's worth a try:
1 Packet of frozen summer fruits defrosted.
1 Large tub of greek unsweetened natural yoghurt
1 Small tub of double cream
Lots of soft brown sugar.
Empty defrosted summer fruits into a dish.
Mix yoghurt and cream together.
Pile on top of summer fruits but do not mix them together.
Sprinkle the sugar generously over the yoghurt and cream topping.
Leave to chill in fridge overnight.
The sugar should have "melted".
It doesn't look wonderfully attractive but tastes wonderful!!!!!

Unsurprisingly, I can't leave it at that. It has reminded me of a recipe so simple I forgot all about it, but someone who I rarely see asks for it every time I see her.
Loads of frozen raspberries
Couple of tubs mascarpone
Caster sugar
Tip raspberries into gratin dish
Give mascarpone a little whizz to soften then tip over berries
Top with sugar
Stick under very hot grill for a couple of minutes.
The cheese should be nice and warm and a bit runny, but berries still very cold. It's beautiful man.
You could macerate berries in Kirsch or some such, but it doesn't really need it.

The Friday Five.
I can see why there would be some excitement in the US about elections, but this weeks 5 doesn't inspire me.
1. Did you vote in your last elections?
Of course, although in the past I have deliberately spoilt a paper, you must vote, even if it's only to protest.
2. Do you know who your elected representatives are?
I know my MP, my Euro MP, my AM and my local councillor. Solid citizens every one of them. It is an honour and a privilege to have them represent me.
3. Have you ever contacted an elected representative? If so, what was it about?
No, but plenty of the hypocritical, self serving, spineless bastards contact me, frequently. This includes the current Secretary of State for Northern Ireland.
4. Have you ever participated in a demonstration?
Yep. of course. When I was a lad I was full of righteous anger and would spend my Saturday morning floggin left wing rags at Ladywood shopping centre, or, rather, being spat at and abused by skinheads while failing to sell any left wing rags. I would attend any demo going. Some of em were brilliant to tell the truth, just for the football style violence. I remember very well a fascist march that got stopped in Digbeth, or it could have been a pro I.R.A march that got stopped by fascists, it all becomes a blur. It was Digbeth anyway and very violent. As a matter of course I would go on anti Fascist demos at the rememberance day parade in London. These were well policed so quite safe. It could get a bit hairy on the way home stopping for a piddle though. There were many others.
There was one in Handsworth where all sorts of lefties had turned out to protest the presence of some Pakistani general. It was noticeable that it was all white, bearded well spoken folk taking over Handsworth with their megaphones and leaflets. Most Asians I tried to hand a leaflet to looked at me with contempt, and the truth is I had no idea why I was there that day.
The last march I went on was to protest at Clause 28, and that finished it for me. I was in Cardiff at the time, which is a small town rather than a city, so, unlike in Birmingham, everyone was recognisable. Recognisable from the anti vivisection league, the various Cuba, Nicaragua and El Salvador campaigns; any poxy little campaign that was happening in the cloistered world of the university. That day I thought fuck it, it's just a right of passage for the middle classes, who, like me in Handsworth, know nothing of the finer details. My marching days were over. I still had football though, until the middle classes took that over too. Viva a Revolution!
5. Have you ever volunteered in an election? What was the result?
When I was a young Militant, an entryist, I wandered around Edgbaston one night to encourage people to vote Labour. The few that answered the door did so only to tell me to fuck off. Told to fuck off for encouraging folk to vote for someone I did not believe in myself. Welcome to the land of Alice.

The Bluetitch Five. As imponderable as ever, but at least there are only 5.
1/ If you could go back in time to any period and place BEFORE you were born, where/when would it be?
See what I mean about imponderable, this is bloody impossible to answer, the old dear does like us to get our thinking caps on.
Time for a shameful admission. Back in the day, before punk, before anything really, when I was staill at school, aged about 13 I suppose, I really dug David Essex. Not Bowie or Eno or Ferry or the New York Dolls. David Essex. It was the gypsy look and ear ring I think. Maybe there was some latent homo eroticism there, he wasn't a puffy looking dude like Ferry or Bowie, but was pretty in his way, with his curls, but definitely a guy.. I got me ear pierced in 75, way before the mainstream, and the added shame is that Essex was my inspiration. The point being, at the time I loved the film, soundtrack and book of That'll Be The Day.. Even now, I want to be a greaser in a 1950's fairground.
Alternatively, there are the gangs in Coppolas 70's teen flicks, Rumblefish and the Outsiders also set in the 50's .
Looks like I want to have been a teenager in the fifties. Those dudes had it very lucky economically actually, but that's another story.
Shit. American Graffitti too. Bring back the fifties.

2/ You can be a 'fly on the wall' anywhere now. Where are you?
Another imponderable, invite yourself to be a fly on the wall for any moment in history. Still it's a piece of piss for those of who really know our history and our Calderwoods. I would be privy to the converstion between Freddie Goodwin and Willie Bell which resulted in the dropping of Steve Bryant and Jimmy Calderwood for the Fulham semi final replay in 75. Resulting in the defeat which led me to be involved in football violence in an a nakedly aggressive way for the only time.

3/ You have the chance to change one thing you have done in your life. What is it
Can't answer that, too hard.
4/ You have the chance to change one thing someone else has done in the past. What is it?
At the risk of sounding trite, I wouldn't have ordered British Forces to sink the Belgrano, killing several hundred young Argentine boys even though it was sailing away from trouble. Sorry, out of all of history, that is what first sprang to mind. Quite unnecesary slaughter. I don't pray but if I did it would be for their mothers.

5/ You have one last chance. The world ends in an hour from now. What would you do?
Finish my bottle.
Gather the family around in a big cuddle.
Weep copiously.
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