27 September 2010

Also sprach Zarathustra

Listening to some funk tonight, the Blaxploitation Vol 1 album in fact. Just love this track, so here's the video. All 9 glorious minutes of it.

26 September 2010

Biking to Leicester

I woke up full of enthusiasm to do something this morning. Since it was overcast and looking like rain, I decided to bike to Leicester, just to find out how long it took.
Yesterday was a gorgeous day,which explains why I went for a bike ride today. Idiot. Anyway, it takes an hour from my house to the centre of Leicester. Co-incidentally the same amount of time as the bus from my place to Leicester. Yes go figure that one. The route is pretty similar, the bus takes a couple of detours to other small villages, but largely it's the same - and they run along the A6 for a bit.
It's not a very picturesque ride, the two highlights being Quorn and Montsorrel, both quite pretty villages. Quorn in particular - and it's got some nice pubs/restaurants. I like Quorn, we stayed there when I first came over, it did set the bar high which everywhere else around here has failed to live up to. Wankers.

I was quite organised this time too, even had a jacket with me. Which came in useful on the ride back when it started raining, and with a headwind that popped out of no-where. Damn you Aeolus. Temperature was chilly, and my tootsies were frozen by the time I got to Leicester (no matter how bad Phoenix is, it's still better than Leicester...). Poor tootsies.
Around Montsorrel on the way home, my knee decided to suffer some form of blowout. This made peddling a little tricky. But I made it back, and am now consoling myself with cake (see yesterdays recipe), coffee (Havana - thanks Adders), Ella Fitzgerald singing Cole Porter, and copious amounts of deep heat. But not on a broomhandle.

Couldn't find a video for the ones I wanted, or rather couldn't find a video that wasn't totally naff, so have this one instead.

25 September 2010

Cooking with Bruce: Rendang and whisky cake

I just about followed two recipes today!! I've had some whisky tasters lying around which I'd had about half of the 50ml, and couldn't face more. So had vague ideas of using them for cooking. And voila, a ginger and whisky cake recipe turned up in the Guardian today. And very tasty it is too.

Here's a picture before a knife (and me) attacked it.

And for dinner I've made a seafood rendang (the recipe was originally for chicken, so I've included it as is). From Delicious and Atul Kochhar.

Chicken Rendang

3 lemongrass stalks, 5-6 shallots chopped, 3 garlic cloves,chopped, 1t tumeric powder, 1T chopped galangal, 3 dried red chillies. Blend all in processor or mortar and pestle with a bit of water to make a paste.

Heat 3T peanut oil over a high heat, and saute 5cm cinnamon stick, 3 star anise, 6 green cardomon pods (bruised) for two minutes. Stir in the paste and cook until the oil separates from the paste.
Add 600ml coconut milk, 1 piece asam gelugor (or 1-2t tamarind paste), 1t palm sugar, 4 kaffir lime leaves. Simmer until liquid reduced by half, then add 500ml chicken chopped into 1cm squares, simmer for 30 minutes until well cooked.
Remove whole spices, asam gelugor and lime leaves and serve on rice.

Currently being eaten, and being washed down by Marston Pedigree. Mainly as it's the first beer I grabbed, yes I have more of them in the fridge! Thanks to a nice man called Craig who delivered my groceries. Thanks Craig!

23 September 2010

Random giggage

My upcoming gig, Justin Townes Earle, has been cancelled. Justin is son of Steve Earle, and like a chip off the old block has some addiction issues to deal with. He was a little drunk the other week at a gig in Indianapolis, and has cancelled the rest of his tour (including theUK dates) to head to rehab. Always good for the artist CV. 
It's a shame as his most recent album is a bit good, and I was looking forward to dragging S up to see him.
I guess when the gig refund comes through, I can buy the vinyl instead. Mmmm vinyl.

Speaking of which, I am liking the resurgence of vinyl, Grinderman, The Weakerthans, Pineapple Thief, Porcupine Tree, Oceansize - all new releases on vinyl. But what is really good, is inclusion of:
- download code for a high quality mp3s (Pineapple Thief)
- inclusion of a CD version with the vinyl (Oceansize, Grinderman)
- DVD of the vinyl live gig, and mp3 download (The Weakerthans)


Half the A-team and I wandered to Dimmu Borgir on Tuesday night. Support was by Sahg, a Norwegian metal group - nothing stunning, with the singer sounding like Ozzy (when Ozzy could sing). We caught half their set, and that was enough.
Enslaved were the main support, another Norwegian black/extreme/progressive metal band, making this a Norwegian metal triptych. I like them, but have only heard Vertebrae, with their breakout 'single' Clouds on it. They played a good selection of their albums, and it was good. I can see myself buying more. Sound was good, nicely balanced, although I think we both would have preferred more of the clean vocals. The cookie monster stuff did detract a little from some, frankly, superb musicianship.

I've mentioned Dimmu Borgir before, many times. I like my metal, and I really like symphonic black metal. It is one of the only genres where truly progressive music can be heard. Some metalheads don't like it, finding it too slow. Which is kind of the point. And DB are the top of the genre, which showed during the gig. Superb musicianship, brutal, atmospheric, great stage presence.  Sound was excellent, not too loud, brilliantly balanced, no distortion, so no loud ringing noises the next day. Crowd was totally up for it, and something about metal crowds, no-one is there to be seen. It's all about the music - a bit rare for London audiences. Their keyboardist needs special mention, he's a monster and there was some stunning stuff coming from him - a newbie as the band replaced two members last year. There's a strong element of pisstaking by the band, stage design and song delivery is very over the top, operatic even. And the band appear to playing to that. 
Definitely recommend catching them live if you like metal. It was an excellent gig.

Currently spinning Bob Dylan, heh variety eh.


19 September 2010

Cooking with Bruce: Prawn, fettucine, roast peppers

This time I haven't changed a thing, and so it's a simple link to a Cuisine recipe. It epitomises everything that's good about Italian cooking; simplicity, speed, and clean tastes. The simple cream based recipe works well with anything, seafood, chicken, vegetables - and I've found lowfat cream (well yeah ok it's UHT) works fine too. That was an accidental find, I'd grabbed the wrong one. But it all tasted the same.

I'm washing it down with a Melton Red from the local Belvoir brewery. It's not too bad, quite bitter in aftertaste, hints of citrus on the palate and nose, finish is very dry so suspect the hops rating is reasonably high. I found it at the local Tesco's, which saved me biking out there - something I had been considering. Good enough that I'll try others from the brewery, but not this one. 2.5/5.


What I've learnt this week

That, indirectly, the Nazi's are to blame for everything. EggsBene has been over in the UK laying out phat beats from the popemobile888. Actually trying to find a full copy of what he said has proven difficult, and I don't care, but in essence denial of a fictional figure, a delusion, is the cause of the worlds ills. BasicBene wants us all to have some form of faith, and from that the other delusion, a decent society, will emerge. It seems to me, his decent society and the Tories could be quite similar, white, middle-class, in other words the usual.
Somehow the Royal Mail misplaced my invite for an audience with the pope.

Yes OK, I just wanted to put that link in.

Todays Observer had a few interesting articles in it. Usual overtly leftie handwringing, which is why I generally skip it, but it was the food issue (as long as you avoid the ethical sourcing tirade, it's ok), so picked it up.
An article describing the changing approach to children's TV caught my eye. Apparently by 6yo, children have watched a year of TV. Depressing. I've taken to switching it off more and more. As my lastFM daily numbers will attest. Apparently there was far more thought into PlaySchool than you'd imagine, and that the crew had bets on which window they'd zoom through. Awesome (actually that bit would tie in with EggsBene, betting and rugby, two Catholic staples). Admittedly I know very little about children, even less about entertaining them (waddya mean Jodorwsky isn't 'appropriate'), but what I do recognise is that that article reflects findings in apes. Both in behaviour and actions, human juvenile behaviour and stimulation is very similar to apes. As you'd expect.
What surprised me is that this stuff is trotted out all the time in ape literature, but apparently is new and revolutionary in humans. Typical.

17 September 2010

the world is back to right

There's been no wacko jacko controversy for a few months. Thankfully this popped up on my news feed this morning:

Michael Jackson Mother Sues AEG For Sons Death
Kathleen Jackson, the mother of Michael Jackson, is suing touring company AEG for the “wrongful death” of her son

Huzzah!!! No more apocalypse!!!

AEG, they make ovens don't they? no. will not go there.


14 September 2010

Cooking with Bruce: Risotto Cake

Been awhile since we had a cooking with Bruce episode, so here's what I made last week.

The original recipe can be found here: Saffron risotto cake with grilled vege

My feeling was the herbs and spices used would overpower the saffron, aside from colouring, I couldn't see it achieving much. So my version, which tasted bloody marvellous, is as follows:

1 onion, finely chopped
olive oil
4 cloves garlic, chopped
chilli flakes
tin of chopped tomatoes
300gm risotto rice
salt and pepper
1/2c white wine
1L stock (see notes)
fresh basil
1 aubergine, thinly sliced
2 courgettes, thinly sliced
125g mozzarella, sliced
1 red pepper roasted and skin removed

Cook onion in oil on a low heat until soft, add dill, chives, coriander, chilli, garlic, cook gently. Add tomatoes and rice for five minutes - slightly hotter. Season and add wine (I'm presuming you're drinking already).
Stock: I used the rest of the tin of tomatoes,then topped things up to around 1L with vege stock.
Add stock slowly and let it get absorbed before adding more. When things are ready, rice should be pretty soft, but not collapsing. Add the basil and leave to cool.
Drizzle olive oil over the veges and grill them, should have streaks of blackness, and still be soft. Magic!
Grease baking tin, add 1/3 of the rice, top with courgettes, half the aubergine, mozzarella and peppers, sprinkle with parmesan. Add another 1/3 of rice, remaining vege, cheese, then top with remaining rice.

Bake in a medium oven for 30 minutes, until kinda golden around the top. Not too much tho as the rice will viciously attack your gums as you chew. It's a nasty wee bugger like that.
Nice hot and cold.

Love, B

9 September 2010

I am destined for sainthood

Which, as titles go, may rate as most unlikely to see, concerning me. 

However, I have proof. Convincing proof. Not only did I manage to get a new version of MSN Messenger onto the parentals computer (thanks R) using the cached MSI files that MS don't tell you are stored locally. But I then proceeded to fix their email using remote assistance via MSN. 
Nothing too exciting there, until I mention they refuse to join the 21 C., and connect using a 56k modem. Yes modem. Here is a picture of a 'modem', they connect using an old fashioned communication device termed a 'telephone'. Here is a picture of a telephone.

It took just under an hour, most of which was waiting for screen refreshes, but we got there. 

So, although I'm incredibly busy at the moment, it is lunchtime so I'm investigating how to become a saint. Or as we in the biz term it, canonization.
Am keen to avoid the initial criteria of martyrdom, I have too much to offer the world to depart this mortal coil.
Thankfully Pope JP2 (the return of JP, we're still waiting for JP3 when JP loses to Rowan Williams and lands the rematch of the century) codified things a bit in the early 80s. Catholicism doesn't count spandex, lycra, or keytars as essential requirements, but capes, capes are an essential part of religiousness, proving god is a Prog fan boy.

Servant of God. Sadly I have to be dead for this, but no harm in preparing the paperwork early. There are initial technical issues to get over (whose god, what service, etc etc).  I'll give Pope EggBene a heads-up, see if he can skip the 'must be dead' bit. Apparently someone needs to be my postulator. Which sounds rather like an outbreak of the black plague, but never mind.

Declaration 'Non Cultus' Someone has to dig up my body. And play with my relics. Those of you wanting a trial period, give me a yell now, play with my pre-relics!

"Venerable/Heroic in Virtue" I think may have to skip the heroic in virtue section, and focus more on venerable as I have to be realistic and focus my, admittedly prodigious, talents. It is at this stage I get to have prayer cards printed concerning me. Again, it seems churlish to wait until I'm dead, I think we should all make a start on this right now. For a start, since I'm not going for the virtue side, we can flog off signed copies on ebay. Help pay for the whole shennanigans. Go Team B !!!

"Blessed" as I'm not going for martyr, I have to be a confessor. This means a documented miracle is required. See earlier section. This usually involves a a miraculous cure, that doctors cannot explain, of some sick loser. I feel it's time for the church to move with the times, embrace technology, and sanctify (your love) me for my techno skillz. See, I'm even down wiv da kidz.

"Saint" booyar. Miracle achieved, I've already got beautific vision, so yet again, another box ticked. I say start building some damn parishes in my honour. Hell, let me open them, it'd be a nice touch (possibly avoid using the word 'hell' too much in the opening speeches...). At this point the faithful may freely and without restriction (mmm badly phrased) honour the Saint. I'm keen if we focus my faithful on hot scantily clad babes. Coffin dodgers pawing at my pre-relics doesn't appeal. At all.


Love, St. B.

6 September 2010


Stolen link from the Anti labels blog. Everything is better with tacos, including music covers.

There's four pages of taco-ness there.

5 September 2010


Having decided I wasn't moving much on Saturday evening, I lined up a few movies. Here's some brief reviews...

If... McDowell plays a schoolboy (Mick Travis) at a public (ie private for the rest of us) school, he and his mates don't fit in. Initally focussing on school traditions and power structure, the movie emphasises how the radicalism of Mick will create conflict with the 'Whips'. There's a number of reviews out there emphasising the surrealism of the movie, possible for it's time yes, and certainly later in the film, yes. But the first half, things seemed reasonably linear. Mick's activities seemed designed to torment tradition and establishment, setting the movie nicely as 'anti-establishment'. The choice of school was a good move too. The surrealism and general schoolboy anti-establishment fantasy kicks in during the second half when an arms cache is found. I enjoyed this, apparently it had an X rating when first released, showing how far we've come (what would they have made of Elephant?, similar in subject...) for ratings. Not hugely thought provoking, but excellent story, acting etc and worth watching. I do think McDowell was typecast after this tho'....

The Human Centipede I guess it comes as no surprise that I watched this. Mad german scientist, initially joining three dogs together, decided to move onto people. Annoying American chicks get kidnapped, along with an asian truck driver. Madness ensues. The movie has created a lot of comment in the press recently, for its apparent gross-out factor. Meh. It's a bgrade, dialogue isn't too bad, scripting and pacing is reasonably good, there's plot holes aplenty - but for all that the movie does try to be original. Which, in general, I think it achieves. It's not very disturbing (yeah that maybe me...), and when the evil doctor is crippled by the 'pede so begins one of the slowest chase scenes I've seen. Great stuff. I found it all quite funny. Your mileage may vary.

Anvil: The Story of Anvil Decided to rewatch this. It's such a sweet doco, you can't help but feel for Lips and Anvil. So trusting, and still trying to live the dream. They do make Spinal Tap seem irrelevant, and possibly too subdued. If you haven't seen it, and want an incredibly engaging story of two school mates taking on the world, and largely, failing - but with each other, go watch this.

4 September 2010

Stuff of the moment

Is this the best music interview of the year? Nick Cave is usually good for a quote, but this one is better than most. "There was a miscommunication with the costume department," nods Cave, a little ruefully. "And we ended up looking like gay Roman footsoldiers." He brightens a bit. "Still, we've got the legs for it."
Here's the video they were talking about. I really like it, refreshingly different, good combo of pretty much every major religion and their partypieces, old religions (river Styx), b-grade movies (anyone else feel it's a cool rip of Jason and the Argonauts?) - wonderful stuff. I just keep watching it, it's so good.

Grinderman 'Heathen Child' from Trim Editing on Vimeo.

More on the music front. Radiohead were so impressed with a fan made video (50 camera shoot) of their Prague concert, they gave them the audio masters. The fans have turned it into a variety of formats, AVI, MKV, DVD even blu-ray coming soon. Go forth and download, legally! I can't comment on it as I'm still downloading, but eh, it's Radiohead, that's enough for me.

Here's the trailer:

Oh hell, I'm on a music roll, why stop. I was pissing around online the other day and came across the new Brian Wilson, doing versions of Gershwin. In theory, good plan. Let's face it, the catchiness of the Beach Boys output owes a lot to Broadway. Personally, I'll take the BB over Broadway, but the influence is still there. I'd argue the BB took the campness out, leaving a purer melody,which possibly explains why their music is more recognisable than a lot of Broadway classics. So yes, you'd imagine this could work if Wilson was tidying things up. In no way does this work. I'd rather listen to elevator music, although I can see this album turning up in elevators, at which point I'd be keying my own wrists.

I don't want to inflict the video for you, but there's one soulless dead track here. I see yesterdays music review said much the same, "But, goodness, what a horrible album this is."

It was so horrible I went and overdosed on some Immortal to get rid of the ick. Here's some Blizzard Beasts for you.

Might meander off for a haircut. See, radicalism is alive and well in Shepshed.


2 September 2010

Metal !!!

Taking a break from the jazz, country and classic rock for some metal \m/

The first band takes their name from a pesticide, made more (in)famous as the poison d'jour for the concentration camps. Hey don't judge them, thalidomide was such a raging success...

And now for some Unleashed

I'm quite looking forward to the gig later this month with Dimmu Borgir, supported by Enslaved - who I also like. I've posted Enslaved tracks before (I think), probably from their Vertebrae album, but here's something earlier:

Cider tasting

I've just realised it's a year to the day since I started at Lboro. I should really comment on that soon - probably need to consider who reads the blog, or maybe not. Hmmm. Ponder.

Anyway, here's a couple of cider reviews. Both were picked up from Sainsbury's - I think.

Longueville Cider made from Gros CEillet apples.
Fresh, French, dry, very appley and fizzy. This was divine. It really did taste like fresh apples in a bottle, and went down very very easily. Reminded me of the Fresh-Up Crisp Apple flavour, but with the added bonus of 4.5% alcohol.
I could drink this for hours, unlike many ciders I didn't find that weird musty flavour, nor was it too sweet.

Sheppy's Vintage Reserve
I like the Sheppy's ciders I've had. This one is 'oak matured' and weighs in at 7.4% alcohol. Crisp flavour, but has that weird mustiness to it, typical (or so I've found) of English ciders. It's sweeter than the Longueville, but still very drinkable. I wouldn't call it a session cider (ignoring the 7.4%) as I find it a little sweet for more than a glass, but very drinkable. There's no age statement on the bottle, so dunno what 'vintage reserve' actually means.

I'd recommend the Longueville, in fact I may go and get more of it. That could be dangerous, especially if I pick up the Crabbies Ginger Beer 4 packs which are on special - both of those are very very drinkable.

It's music night, so far:
Branford Marsalis : Requiem
VA : Countryman

Decided I couldn't be bothered cooking dinner tonight, so toast, avocado, basil leaves, tomato and a flick of olive oil or balsamic vinegar will do me. Followed by melon. Mmmm.
I did bake some friands, custard and rhubarb flavour. Looking forward to trying them later.

Love, me.