Monthly Archives: March 2012

Wednesday’s Got Issues: Politicians act like, well, politicians

Warm, meaty, expensive goodness

Today the main topic of conversation seems to be Cornish pasties and petrol, as the government announced plans to increase VAT on hot convenience food, and told everyone to panic buy petrol in case of a strike. Not only are Cameron’s cronies insisting that the already struggling working class must pay for their comfort food, but we must also keep containers filled with flammable liquid at hand at all times. As usual it seems that a government does not have the best interests of the populace at heart.

Watching 10 O’Clock Live this evening, the pasty tax seemed to be characterised as an attempt to curb people’s waistlines and ease the pressure on the (now fucked) NHS. But making people pay an extra 20p for a Gregg’s pie doesn’t seem to be the most effective way to encourage people to lose weight. I would suggest more community exercise programmes, better diet education in schools, or make healthy food cheaper – the amount of times as a student that I chose 8p Tesco Value noodles over a ยฃ2 salad is really quite embarrassing.

Meanwhile, Cabinet Minister Francis Maude is facing criticism over his advice to keep a jerry can (a large container with a capacity of 20l) full of petrol in our garages, to prepare for an upcoming strike, though the date has yet to be decided. This led to huge queues outside most petrol garages today, as people took the government’s advice and started to panic. This created chaos among the petrol suppliers, who struggled to keep up with demand, and may face further issues in the future.

Basically, it seems to boil down to politicians acting before thinking. Which should hardly come as a surprise to us, seeing as we are currently being ruled by an unequal coalition government full of such conflicting ideals that, in the only laws that they have managed to pass, they are the only ones in the country who support it. I give you the astronomic hike in tuition fees as an example of both how little thought there is for younger generations, or indeed pre-election promises, within 10 Downing Street.

I would quite like it if they could do something that the majority of people actually agreed with for once. I won’t hold my breath.

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Travellin’ Tuesdays: Don’t go west, go English

Being of the unemployed persuasion, my recent desire to go travelling again cannot really amount to much, unless I take the advice of the Enjoy England campaign and explore my own fine country for a while. Like a lot of travellers, I was struck by the continued aversion to domestic travelling by everyone not a tourist. In NZ, undoubtedly the most beautiful place I’ve ever been, I met people who didn’t even seem to see the point in travelling between the country’s North and South Islands. Back then I was astounded by what I saw as a complete lack of curiosity, but then I returned to Blighty and set about thinking of ways to leave it again. If we are familiar with a place, or associate certain things with particular regions (incest in Norfolk, anyone?), then we are less inclined to explore with an open mind. But in the last few years I have visited more of the British Isles then ever before, and there have been very places to which I would be reluctant to return. But that’s travelling, you’re not going to like every single place, but it’s worth your time to give it a chance, just in case it turns out to be the most amazing experience of your life.

So go England. Go Wales. Go Scotland. Go Ireland. Go to every corner of our country, and see if it doesn’t give you a better understanding of what it is to be British. Whether it’s a hike around the Giant’s Causeway, a rugby match at Cardiff’s Millenium Stadium, a wild night out in Glasgow or a surfing lesson in Cornwall, do it.

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Monday Pick Me Up: Jimmy Fallon wiggle wiggles with Bruce Springsteen

In a reprisal of their memorable Whip My Hair performance, Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Fallon teamed up once again on the latter’s late night talk show to perform their rendition of LMFAO’s Sexy And I Know It. There really are no words to describe the wiggle wiggle-ing that takes place, you’ll just have to watch it for yourself.

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Sunday Cook Off: Spiced Apple Cake

Spiced perfection

My friend has recently gotten engaged and is busy planning her wedding, centred around the theme of apples and buttons. As a rather excited bridesmaid, I’ve been trying to think of a good cake to make for her (I’m a bit of feeder, cake is what I do), and decided on an apple one. As it was my first time making it, I followed the recipe pretty closely, if I was to make it again I would probably leave the cake in the over for a little longer, as I’m not a fan of squidgy centres. Other than that, delish.

125g butter

225g dark muscovado sugar

2eggs, lightly beaten

225g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder

2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg

1 tsp ground cinnamon

300g cooking apples , peeled, cored and diced

2 tbsp clear honey

2 tbsp unrefined demerara sugar

 

1. Heat the oven to 160C/fan 140C/gas 3.

2. Cream the butter and muscovado sugar in a food processor for a couple of minutes, then mix in the egg.

3. Sift over the flour, baking powder and spices. Fold together, then stir in the apple.

4. Pour into a buttered, base-lined 20cm springform cake tin and bake for 1 hour, or until risen and browned.

5. Combine the honey and demerara and spread over the cake while still warm.

6. Remove the cake from the tin and serve with cream or ice cream. Keeps for 3-4 days wrapped in foil.

To view the original recipe, and a lot of other tasty conteders visit: http://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/9925/squidgy-spiced-apple-cake

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Saturday Pot Luck: Anti-Twilight hilarity of the week

I am a rather avid user of StumbleUpon, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that a lengthy stumbling session will result in some form of webpage that mercilessly lampoons the polarising mound ofย  dung that is Twilight. This time it was an article on http://www.io9.com which posed the question: what would the Twilight stories have been like under the pen of another writer, rather than that of the godawful waste of ink that is Stephanie Meyer. Can you tell that I’m not her biggest fan? Call me crazy, but wrapping up Mormon beliefs into every teen girl’s fantasy and then throwing in a demon baby and lots of blood isn’t exactly what I would call literature. And I am completely lost for words on the merit of a teenage boy falling in love with a newborn as a romantic plot device.

Anyway, enough Twiglit bashing, back to the article. My personal favourite is that of Haruki Murakami (devised by a commenter called Benk):

Bella has sex with Edward, who is half a ghost. Jacob is a talking cat. Most of the prose is given over to descriptions of Bella making pasta.

Enjoy.

http://io9.com/5872490/if-famous-writers-had-written-twilight

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Fame On A Friday: Olivia Colman and Gary Oldman are officially recognised as amazing

The best of British

Sunday night’s Jameson Empire Awards brought a lot of satisfaction, for myself and many others, as exceptional work was finally recognised by the people who matter most to filmmakers (I hope) – the viewers. Having previously been ignored by pretty much every major awards body, people such as Olivia Colman and Gary Oldman were celebrated as heroes of their craft. I am still at a loss to understand why Oldman has never one an Oscar, and was only nominated for the first time this year. I mean, the man’s an acting genius! He is a veritable chameleon of the silver screen, and most definitely a national treasure.

I was utterly captivated by Colman’s performance in Tyrannosaur, it is without doubt the greatest film I’ve ever seen that I never want to see again. I’m so glad that she has finally been given the recognition that she deserves and I cannot wait to see her future dramatic performances. She has made me shriek with laughter in Green Wing and Peep Show, and left me weeping in despair as she tearfully asks to be held in Tyrannosaur. Is there nothing that this woman can’t achieve?

If you want to watch her acceptance speech, or that of any of the other winners, click on this link: http://www.empireonline.com/awards2012/winners/actress.asp

[Image via thisislondon.co.uk]

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Thursday Me Time: With special guest, Feist

Lovely music. Lovely style. Just, lovely

Not much to report this week, so I thought I’d share my rediscovery of Feist, I’ve been listening to her for years but recently she has been sidelined by the likes of Rosi Golan and Lissie. Anyway, here’s one of her classics, it always makes me smile and bob along…

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Wednesday’s Got Issues: Charity swim/run/head shave/I think I’ll just text in a donation

Surprised by a razor, perhaps?

Disclaimer: I’m about to look like a bad person, I promise you that I am not, and will make up for this lack of moral character tenfold in the future.

This week I am reminded of how much more I could do to help people by Sport Relief, and the myriad of shows leading up to tomorrow night that have detailed the grueling tasks performed by celebrities in the name of charity. David Walliams swam the Thames, John Bishop cycled/rowed/ran from Paris to London, and Helen Skelton CYCLED to the SOUTH. POLE. I mean, blimey, it really puts my ยฃ5 text donation into perspective.

And just this week, Jessie J announced that she will shave her head to raise money for teenage cancer charities in April. I still haven’t got over having my long tresses cut into a bob 18 months ago (it’s still too short), it really does put me to shame.

So what am I going to do about it? Well…for the moment, not much. Other than dreaming about volunteering in Africa, I’m ill-equipped to do anything that stretches my already exhausted bank account. And, while I wouldn’t mind doing something for charity, the idea of fundraising fills me with dread – what if no one sponsored me? So tomorrow night I will send in my (already budgeted) donation to help vulnerable people both here in the UK and all over the world.

If you would like to do the same, or find out more about Sport Relief and the brilliant work that it does, click on this link:

https://www.sportrelief.com/donate/2

Here’s hoping that next year, I’ll have both the means and courage to raise enough money to cure world hunger. You never know. It could happen. Watch this space.

 

[Image via lastfm.com]

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Travellin’ Tuesdays: Top 5 songs for survival while travelling

This week I’m going to count down the five best songs to listen to while travelling. Whether you’re dealing with a sudden setback, feeling homesick or, most likely, having the time of your life, there’s a song for every situation…no. 5 in particular helped me through a tearful moment when I had to leave my beloved New Zealand

1.

Leaving on a jetplane, a classic to start off your trip

2.

Basking in paradise and chilling out to Rosi Golan

3.

For the low points, from a falling out with your travelling mates to running out of money at exactly the wrong time. The Ting Tings will Hang It Up and pick you up

2.

For when you’re in awe of life and mother nature, only Lissie will do

1.

Going home, both happy that you get to see friends and family again, and sad that the adventure is over. Mr Buble is all that you need to reconcile yourself with the fact that it’s over, but don’t worry there will plenty more

 

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Monday Pick Me Up: Two pints of heavy for the Scotsmen in Rome

I’ve been a bit nostalgic, comedy-wise, on YouTube recently, and have been looking up all of the sketches that I haven’t heard for a while. From Monty Python to George Carlin, I’ve been chuckling away to all of my comedy heroes. It doesn’t get much better than an irate John Cleese, but it is one sketch that had forgotten existed, from the marvelous Billy Connolly, that I just had to share. The two Scotsmen in Rome has been etched in my mind for years, I couldn’t remember every detail but I knew that I howled with laughter whenever I listen to it. I also happened upon the Jobbie Weecha, two words: comic. gold.

[youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oKMQKgSnGy8%5D [youtube:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kmpRQLaxF60%5D
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