Friday, August 12, 2016

First things first. It's been a bit of a disappointing start to the season for Blues, however, we haven't conceded. We haven't scored, but we haven't conceded. When I say we haven't conceded, I mean in 90 minutes. We did concede in the 120th minute to Oxford, but that doesn't really count, coz we hadn't warmed up yet. We hadn't had time to find the real ball. We've now signed Greg Stewart, from Dundee, and Che Adams, from Sheffield Utd, both for peanuts,and we have high hopes for both. Which is a bit fucking ludicrous really, but hey, it's only rock'n'roll, and I like it, like it, yes I do.

It could be worse, we could support the Villa. 2 games, 2 defeats one to 4th division Luton. As a wise man more or less said, only the other week.....they aren't as clever as they think they are.

Talking of clever cunts, the Parliamentary Labour Party continues to make the politburo look like Quakers.

They are celebrating a win in court today, a win which has denied 130,000 new members a vote in the leadership election. I can't get too exercised about it, having accepted it when the NEC made the decision, not that I had any choice other than to accept it. The main thing was that despite the best efforts of the right of the party, Corbyn is on the ballot. That's victory enough.  he may have been denied 13000 votes but he didn't need them the first time and he doesn't need them now. He'll piss it. Comrade.

As old Bob said in a song, "You Don't Need A Weatherman To See Which Way The Wind Blows" but young Owen and the dopes who have set him up wouldn't see which way the wind is blowing if they found themselves toe to toe with a hurricane.  The anti elite movement doesn't only consist of disgruntled Labour lefties, it consists of millions, all across the world.

Here, in the UK, we have had the rise, (insignificant but a rise) of UKIP whose rhetoric is anti establishment, anti elite . We have had brexit, which was a rather large rejection of Our Masters Voice. We have had the complete destruction of the traditional elite parties in Scotland. And in all cases Big Media has mocked and ridiculed the eventual victors. They didn't realise then,  and they refuse to accept now, that people are thirsty for change, any change. They are sick of the elite. Sick of apologists for the 1%. Sick of charlatans. Sick of chancers. Sick of liars.

And we, in Britain are mere followers. There was Venezuela, and Brazil, and Bolivia, then there was Greece and Spain. There is a movement, a huge, popular movement, all across the world, where ordinary folk are saying NO FUCKING MORE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

Corbyn and Momentum manifest that worldwide desire for change. It's unstoppable, and the more the petit bourgeoisie try to stop it, the less likely they are to succeed, as any cunt who has read any history will tell you. So the labour apparatchiks can go to the capitalist court and beg the lords and the  ladies to save 'em, but, when all is said, and all is done, they are all Marie Antoinette now.

And they better fucking hope that the rest of us aren't Robespierre.

Tuesday, August 02, 2016

Ain't that the truth, Ruth



When I was a lad, a very long time ago, I read about and subsequently admired The Ranters.....a 17th century sect much given to drunkenness, casual sex and pamphleteering. It was something to do with the invention of the printing press making it easier to share ideas, even dangerous ideas, and the power of the written word being taken away from the church. Summat like that, anyway. I had hoped that the internet would bring in a new era of citizen journalists and ranters but soon realised that the internet was invented for the dissemination of cat pictures.

Jeremy Corbyn may have changed all that. Big media has been so transparent in trying to sabotage his leadership that everyone has seen through it. It has become very obvious that big media is not interested in reporting the news, never mind the truth. Whether owned by Murdoch or some other billionaire or a board of trustees, the 4th estate cannot be trusted. It used to be that only media studies types and conspiracy theorists knew that, but now everyone knows it, and keyboards up and down the land are being worn out by furious fingers.

The big beasts of the commentariat are incandescent with rage that the great unwashed public are ignoring their words, are checking facts and tweeting and facebooking and blogging about what they see with their own eyes and hear with their own ears. The tweeters of the world are gleefully pointing out logical inconsistencies and contradictions by the elite.

The football season starts at the weekend and it looks like it could be a cracking season, with loads of imponderables to ponder, nevertheless. Blues will finish 10th again, we may flirt provocatively with the play offs, but we don't have enough quality to maintain a sustained challenge and looking at the players we are being linked with, they are just more of the same. It's a bit boring, not good enough to go up, probably bad enough to go down, but we have a manager who knows how to organise 'em well enough to keep picking up points.

The interest lies elsewhere. Villa, obviously are of interest and I expect them to be mediocre. They will have problems with ego and by the time they realise that they aren't as good as they think they are all the spirit will be gone. Let's face it, there's not a lot of spirit there to start with. Newcastle could be similar, despite the experts assuring us all that they will piss it. They have made lots of signings, there seems to be a feel good factor there, and so long as things are going well, they have the support to drive them on. If they get a good start they could be unstoppable, a bad run though and it could all go tits up quite quickly.

The interest, for me, isn't so much about how well teams will do: apart from Blues I don't care how well any team does, but there are some personalities worth keeping an eye on, and an ear out for.

I have no idea how good a manager Alan Stubbs will be at Rotherham, but he's a top class wind up merchant, and the same goes for Nigel Pearson at Derby. Gary Monk was being hyped as a bright young thing before it all went tits up at Swansea, and seeing how long he lasts at Leeds will be fun.

Hasselbaink is in his first full season at QPR and could surprise us all......his Burton team played with vim and verve. Jap Staam is in at Reading and we'll see how much he has learned from the big beasts he has played under.

Wolves have become a basket case, and it will be fun watching their inflated hopes and dreams fizzle and die. The biggest basket case of the lot is Cardiff, and we have them first. I confidently predict that we shall Moida Da Bums.

A very good article on big meeja.

More on BBC bias

Friday, July 22, 2016

There was enough said at our Edie's wedding



I just about recall the first referendum on what was then known as the common market. I was still at school, aged about 13 or 14 I think, and considered myself to be a man of the left, and as the left was opposed to it, so was I. In the most recent one, the other week, the left, or what is called the left, were in the remain camp. So was I, but not with any conviction.. Look at the leaders of the outers, Farage, Johnson, IDS, Gove: charlatans, buffoons, racists. You wouldn't want to be in any gang that had that sorry looking bunch as leaders, would you? Not that you could be, because, having won, they all shit themselves, said a big boy did it, and ran away.

I wasn't all that exercised prior to the vote. I still consider the EU to be a capitalist brotherhood, but 30 years of neo liberalism had taught me to be thankful for it, as it acted as a brake on the worst excesses of the the Thatcherites and then the Austerity Psychopaths. While I voted to remain, to come out was/is fine by me. In the end it doesn't really matter, the same as it doesn't really matter if we have a Labour, Tory or coalition government. We will still be ruled by and on behalf of the 1%.

What does matter is that now that we don't, or at some distant point won't, have the EU to protect us,  we have a government that tries to protect us, which means that the Labour Party has to protect us.

Fat chance. Hilary Benn? Owen Smith? Stephen Kinnock? Smug yam yam Tom Winker Watson? Do me a fucking favour. Careerists every single one of them. Their ideology is to be in power, whatever it takes. They have no principles. They are part of the elite, with the same sense of entitlement as the Bullingdon boys.

Even so, the plotters and connivers have taken me by surprise. They really hate Corbyn with a passion and they will do anything to get rid of him. They aren't even pretending to be nice, and are waging a very dirty war. They hate democracy too, not that I'm a great fan of it. They didn't like Corbyn winning the leadership contest and have, from day one, set about undermining him, but it hasn't worked. They have manipulated the rules, they have excluded people, they have suspended party democracy, and still they can't win. And still they cannot accept that they are wrong, that there has been a shift, that the tide is turning, that there has been a groundswell of popular support for Corbyn.

The people responsible for losing 2 elections against a despised bunch of privileged oafs, think they are qualified to give advice on winning elections; telling us that a man who just keeps winning and who has been responsible for a mass mobilisation into the party, rather than the mass exodus the Benn's of this world caused, is a liability. They lie, they make stuff up, and a compliant big media runs their stories, their lies, their made up shit, every hour of every day.

We don't have our big European brother to protect us anymore. The new Tory leader is just as big a bastard as the previous one. What is left of workers rights will go down the shitter, human rights will go down the shitter. Life for the those at the bottom will get a lot worse. All the little things that improve our quality of life, cycle paths, woodland walks, parkland, will fall into disrepair and decay. This is why, on the left, we cannot let the right win, and I don't mean the motherfucking Tories, I mean the placemen, the bureaucrats, the PR merchants, the apparatchiks and the nepotists that make up the current PLP.




Tuesday, July 19, 2016

I Can't Keep It In




There was a time, many years ago, that I started writing a blog. It wasn't about anything, it was mostly random links of stuff I'd come across on the internet; first chapters of books, articles reinforcing my world view, music, assorted quirky shit. The internet was young then, even if I wasn't, and I had an urge to share all this stuff. Then it started to get a bit more personal, which was a huge mistake, and I left Blogger for Typepad and it became quite popular. Then I went back to Blogger and everything I had done on Typepad disappeared, as did most of my readers.


The world didn't then and certainly doesn't now need me or anyway one else to point it in the direction of cool shit. You don't have to look for it, it's there, for anyone to see. The world didn't then and certainly doesn't now need to read my complaints about my job. Which doesn't leave much to blog about, so it sort of died. Every now and then I'd make a lame attempt at a resurrection, but the truth is, if I'm not having  a rant, I cant think of a single thing to say.


So, here we are again, trying to be nice. Looking at the positive. letting the world be what it wants to be without interference or rancour from me.


But. Come on. Fuck me. Have you seen what's going on? How can a man keep it all in? A man can't keep it in, so I'm going to let it out.


I'm going to have my say on Leicester City, on Iceland, on Gary Rowett. I'm going to have my say on Brexit, on Cameron, on Osborne, on May, on IDS et al. I'm going to have my say on Mcdonnell, on Corbyn, on Benn, on Eagle, on Watson et al. I'm going to have my say on the BBC, and the Guardian.


I'm going to listen to music and read books and watch telly and listen to the radio and I'm going to champion the good stuff.


I don't now if it will be any good, I don't know if it will be worth reading, but I'm going to have a bit of fun writing it and I hope it will be a bit of fun for anyone who happens along to read it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Macaroni never again cheese



I have purchased some bright, shiny new vegan cookbooks. I wouldn't recommend them. One of them, written by a doctor, has a  very good first section, explaining why avoiding stuff that comes from animals benefits you and the planet, but the recipes are a bit uninspiring. The other, written by some Irish celebrity is bloody awful. Her writing style is bright and breezy and the pictures are nice, so you are tempted to try her stuff, but everything I've done so far has been a disaster. I made something called a macaroni no cheese, which incorporates a roast butternut blended with coconut milk, mustard and something else. It was fucking vile.
I won't name the writers, they are clearly energised by what  do and mean nothing but good, Problem is they seem to want to convince us that what they are eating isn't vegan, as a lot of vegan authors do. I can only think that the butternut concoction exists because it looks a bit like a cheese sauce, as it is a gaudy bright yellow, like a Dairy Lee  slice. And about as appetising.
The many and varied blogs do better at providing recipes, or ideas for recipes, but you don't really need to be trawling vegan websites or the bookshops for inspiration, you can always just cook what you've always cooked, but omit the bits that once belonged to a mom or a dad or a cute furry baby. Mushrooms, aubergines, and tofu, yes, tofu, can be great friends  if you really must pretend there is something akin to meat on your plate.
As the young un's grew up, with a great aversion to anything resembling a vegetable, I'd sneak the buggers into their meals, a bolognese sauce being the classic. I'd only use a small packet of mince and stretch it out by chopping up onions, mushrooms, carrots and celery really small. Somehow, they'd manage to pick their way around all the veg, and there they would remain, forlorn and defeated on the plate, as the nippers left the table.
The solution was simple, I'd just whizz all the veg up in a processor. You can make mushrooms look like mince in about 3 seconds flat and there is no way they can be picked around, same with carrots, or courgette, or aubergine; they don't look like mince but they become impossible to avoid. All you do then is cook it up as you would any other bolognese or chilli, or moussaka, or cottage pie. This even won plaudits several times from the daughters ex boyfriend, who claimed to be allergic to 'shrooms. Well, it gets simpler, just omit the meat all together, increase the quantity of veg, and you have a vegan dinner.
Let's face it, you don't really have meat for the flavour, not even bacon, the flavour of which comes from the curing process. You stud your leg of lamb with garlic, rosemary and anchovies, you do an apple sauce and a sage and onion stuffing to make pork taste nice, you smother yer chicken in butter and oregano before sticking a lemon up its arse, and you fancy up yer beef with with mustard and horseradish, not to mention the gravy. Oh, man. The gravy. Then there are all the curries and chillies and oyster sauces and what not. Getting flavour into vegetables is no harder, and is probably easier.
There's a million things you can do with aubergines to add some meaty variety to yer plate, the simplest of which is to slice 'em lengthwise to look like thick steaks, marinade 'em in something nice, like harrisa, or a chilli bean sauce, or some Italian or Frenchified thing, and bake for 20 minutes. Same with tofu, take it out of the packet, put it on plate, put another plate on top and some tins of beans to force out excess water, then slice, marinade, preferably in something spicy and bake. Coat the buggers in polenta, if you want, for a crispy finish . It's all a piece of piss, really.
One of my daughters favourite meals, which I would cook even before she went vegetarian is simple, quick, cheap and delicious and I had never considered it to be vegetarian  or vegan, it was just a nice meal. Here it is
Pasta with Broccoli and Tomato
A load of wholemeal pasta, any kind you like
A packet of purple sprouting or other broccoli with a long stem,
A packet of nice tomatoes, not shit tomatoes
2 cloves garlic
1 red chilli or a big sprinkle of chilli flakes
Nutritional yeast flakes

Salt and Pepper
Put the pasta on and while that's doing slice garlic, really thin, warm it up in a good glug of olive oil, then add the tomatoes, leave 'em to to collapse a bit. Chop all the broccoli up and throw that in too. As pasta is done throw a big spoon of cooking water in, drain the pasta and throw that in too. That's it, done, serve with a big handful or three of nutritional yeast flakes chucked on top, maybe some garlic bread and a few leaves. 


Monday, November 23, 2015

The Pie Without a Shepherd

I've mentioned that a baked spud can be alright without oil or butter if you you use hummus and some other nice flavours instead, but there's probably oil in the hummus. I've used the chickpea cooking water rather than oil to make hummus, and it's OK, but you don't get that lovely smooth texture, and, day by day it seems to become grainier. Still, it's clear that you can significantly reduce yer oil consumption without too much hardship.
If I use a spread at all, it's a thing called Pure. It's not nice, it's not horrible, it just is, and does the job for my current snack of choice, an onion bagel topped with that stuff and Marmite.
When it comes to sweating or frying veg, Esselstyn, and others, recommend steam frying. This, frankly, is a pain in the arse, and requires the same attention you'd give a risotto. Essentially, you put yer onions and whatnot in the pan and add tiny amounts of water to stop it all sticking and burning, then keep adding as it evaporates. I do it on the weekend, but in the week? Fuck that.
A couple of potato topped pies have turned alright. No meat, dairy or oil, was involved. I can't quite remember exactly what I did to the spuds but there was definitely no milk, butter or cheese. As far as I can remember it was a mix of potato, sweet potato and parsnip, all I used to mash 'em with was a bit of almond milk. I then added in a load of kale and spinach that I had steam fried down and a load of nutritional yeast flakes before topping the lentil/veg mix and finishing in the oven. It sounds like a faff,  and it is a faff, but a faff you don't mind, coz it winds up lovely. Even the bloody cat likes it. The little ginger bastard.
Shepherdless Pie
An onion, diced
A stick of celery, diced
2 carrots, diced
4 cloves garlic, chopped fine,
A handful of shitakes, chopped really fucking small,
A tin of lentis
A tin of flageolets
A big squirt of tomato puree
A load of frozen peas
A decent sized spoon of herbs de provence
A shake of soy sauce
A couple of veg stock cubes
Enough water to cover that lot
Summat like that, anyway
The topping
4-5 spuds
A big sweet spud
A parsnip
An onion
A couple of big handfuls of kale or spinach or cabbage or all 3.
About 3 big handfuls of nutritional yeast flakes
Put yer onion celery garlic and carrot and a big frying pan and steam fry till all getting a bit soft, chuck in the puree and cook that down for a bit, then just chuck the rest of it in and cook down until it looks the right consistency to make a spud topped pie, probably 30-40 minutes, then stick it all in a big baking dish
For the topping, if yer using an onion, steam fry or fry it, on a low heat, for about an hour, about 45 mins in, chuck the greens in, turn the heat up a bit, let it all get a bit crispy. Boil the roots up for about 20 minutes, then mash with some non dairy milk, the onion and greens and the nutritional yeast flakes, dollop all that onto the lentil and bean mixture, chuck it into a hot oven about 200c for 20 minutes or so and yer dinner is done. 
Jamie Oliver is to blame for all the sweet potato use. I can't actually stand the bloody things, but Jamie insists that they are some kind of a miracle food, and only a fool would ignore Jamie. Problem is, they  are crap and their texture is nasty, hence, although I'm using  them a  lot, they are always combined with something else.






Friday, November 20, 2015

Mercy, Mercy, Me

The 30 day challenges came to a merciful end and then it all became effortless. I thought about eating meat but the notion just wasn't appealing. I thought about having a nice, hot, bubbling slice of cheese on toast, but it didn't float the boat, and, then, I realised that for 10 days or so I had not had any dairy at all, not even in tea.
Before deciding that I just wasn't going to eat it I had thought that cheese would be the thing that would keep me from being dairy free. I love cheese. I'll pay more for a tiny slab of cheese than I will for a bottle of wine or olive oil. but it hasn't been much of an issue.
I think one of the benefits of being meat and dairy free is that you eat nutritious food. Nearly everything I eat is pretty healthy and I don't really get hungry, ever. I do get greedy, but I don't get hungry. It requires a bit of effort, but not that much and I tend to cook a fair bit on the weekend, and there's plenty leftover to take to work through the week.
I have some staples, such as a sweet spud and lentil soup, pea and spinach soup,  black bean soup, leek and spud soup, chestnut and mushroom soup, and pretty much every day I have one of those, or another soup, with a wrap for dinner, having started the day with my world famous porridge.
I make a big pot of humous twice a week, using dried chickpeas, which only cost about 3 quid for a fucking huge bag: 8 oz of dried chickpeas when soaked and cooked, yield plenty, about 3 tins worth, probably, and they are much nicer. I spread a load of it on a wholemeal wrap, add a load of chopped spinach, lettuce and me pickled peppers and carrots, and there you go, dinner, more or less, done. I do vary it a bit, but, essentially, that's it. That, and few bits of fuit, keep me really full all day. I could probably do without tea, but I'm an old fashioned chap and when it's teatime, I have tea, regardless of whether or not I'm hungry.
I am practically existing on pulses. Bizarrely, having given up meat and dairy, I was assailed by bloody gout. I thought it was the pulses causing that, which pissed me off, but, apparently, the purines in beans don't cause gout. I also thought it was slightly odd to be scoffing so many beans and lentils every day, but I rationalised that I had thought nothing of scoffing meat and dairy every single day for fifty six and a half years and that hadn't done me any harm, apart from being a fat bastard with a fucked up heart, needing 5 different tablets every single day.
Tea, quite often, is a baked spud. Until a few weeks ago I would not have dreamed of having a baked spud that wasn't drenched in butter and cheese and topped with bacon and its delicious fat. Not even in my worst nightmares. Those days are over, for now. I get  that big pot of humous and I fill the damn spud up with that, and top it with a load of caramelised onions, sometimes I add a bit of harissa to the humous, just to vary the bastard a bit. Alternativley, I use a bit of oil and top it with onions and wilted spinach and a big handful of nutritional yeast flakes. Often, a tin of beans is involved .
It's all very well as long as things go to plan. 
I just had a disastrous weekend. Everything I coooked turned to shit. I did a bean soup which was like a pebble soup even though I'd soaked the beans for about 12 hours and cooked 'em for 2. I whizzed up the lentil and sweet spud soup with a cinammon stick and star anise still in it, rendering it inedible. I cut the spuds for a moussaka too thick, and, by the time they'd cooked through, the aubergines had as good as melted away. There was too much salt in the goddam polenta.
This is where it's problematic.....when everything you have cooked is inedible, ruined or revolting. In the old days it would be simple; have cheese on toast or a bacon roll, or a ham sarnie, or all 3, with chips, and maybe an egg and, possibly, ham sandwich. All of these are still an option, but I'm choosing not to eat those things, and I have yet to come up with something really quick, really simple, and  really fucking nice to eat that I can knock up in a couple of minutes when I can't be arsed cooking.
The forecasters tell us that winter will be upon us this weekend, so I'll share me sweet spud and lentil recipe, because it's a right cockle warmer. If you are not the forgetful type, and you have the patience to steam fry the onions stick a star anise and cinammon stick in at the beginning, makes it nicer, but it's nice enough without, and I won't be bothering again.
1 big sweet potato
1 big onion
1 stick of celery
4 cloves garlic
Big knob of ginger (not Prince Harry)
6 ounce red lentils
A couple of veg stock cubes or some boullion powder
A shitload of good quality curry powder
A tin of coconut milk
About 2 pints water, depending on how thick you like it
Either soften the onion celery and garlic in oil, or, steam fry 'em until they get soft, then bung everything else in, let it bubble away for 20-30 minutes then whizz up
OR
Omit the first bit, just chuck it all in and let it cook for 20-30 minutes and whizz up. It really doesn't make much difference