I read a piece by Anthony Bourdain in the Observer this weekend where he mentioned his view that in countries which are known for their cooking they built up the skill through neccesity… no, that isn’t right. Oh, I dunno, it was something like that. But it got me thinking – perhaps we should go back to getting a vegetable box delivered. I found that one of the most fun things, culinary-wise. Every week, a random selection of seasonal fruit and veg. It’s how I discovered beetroot (wonderful stuff), and somehow any dishes (almost) that includes necessity among its ingredients has a certain flavour you don’t get when you have too much of everything. Mind you, it does make some of the more exotic recipes (or pretty much anything in the Millenium Cookbook) impossible.
Monthly Archive for November, 2001
We finally got to see Amélíe! And yes, it is as good as everyone says it is. If not better.
Forgot to mention what I did Saturday morning, after the Cardiacs gig. Had to dash back up to Sheffield to babysit. Somehow got to St Pancras just as the barriers had shut and the train was beginning to pull out. So I had an hour to wait for the next one.
I stuck my bass guitar in the left luggage (at £4 for the hour, a complete rip-off, but then my back muscles had already torn themselves to shreds, and as I still had to carry around my courier-bag complete with laptop, clothing, 2 hefty books and about a dozen assorted cables, I felt justified. Then I headed off in the direction of Russell Square to find myself a second breakfast.
On the way I passed the language bookshop, and staring at me from the window was a kids book of Japanese. Brainwave time. Mark had been asking me to stick some Japanese text into the designs I’m doing, but I wasn’t too happy about doing it at random without knowing what I was writing. So I headed into the shop to look for a book.
Of course, it wasn’t as easy as all that – I suddenly felt like I wanted to actually learn Japanese, and then I realised that I had not only the sounds to learn, also a script (or 3). Ah well, as I’m in it for the design, I thought I’d do the unusual thing and start with the written language and then maybe branch out into the spoken. I almost bought Basic Japanese through Comics but in the end settled for
Beginner’s Japanese Script.
I strode out of the bookshop feeling purposeful, and made it a little further along the road to a small French café who make some of the best pastries in the world. Had some kind of spinach and cheese feuillete, which was served with a really simple accompaniment of lettuce and cucumber but… so fresh! I dunno, maybe I was just in one of those mindsets where anything could be amazing (bit hung-over from the night before as well), but it tasted better than anything I could imagine. Especially the lettuce! Had an almond croissant with my pot of tea, and sat there working my way through Japanese exercises.
The book is great. I didn’t seriously imagine myself sticking with it, but the first few exercises were so simple, relating scrappy pictograms through their development into Kanji symbols, like… hmmm, hold on, how do I encode some Kanji into this HTML… nah, sod it, 1 impossible thing before breakfast is quite enough. Anyway, I stuck with the book, kept on going for half of my train journey (the other half I was bashing away on the laptop, doing Hillman Curtis Flash tutorials in a very restricted space). Now I’m busy looking up local Japanese teachers. And, wouldn’t you know it, the University of Sheffield has one of the biggest East Asian studies departments in Europe!
I also had some fun looking through Japanese titles on Amazon – stuff like this. Mind you, looking back I think perhaps I should just have bunged some random Kanji symbols into my designs – after all, if the Japanese can throw together Anglo-sounding band names like “Rancid Japan” and “The Michelle Gun Elephant” then the least I can do is return the favour.
bllddrum-bump, bllddram-bump, bllddrim-bump….. diddleumpum… bllddrum-bump, bllddram-bump, bllddrim-bump….. diddleumpum..
(this time it’s Shuck it Up by Medeski, Martin & Wood)
Listening to Litany by Alan Ridout from the CD 20th Century Sacred Music. Glorious, especially in our church-hall-like living room. A large choir singing “DEAR LORD, DE-EEE-E-EEE-LIVER US” in a demonic-type diminished key (or something like that).
Haha. (from www.mccargow.com)
I have in my possession an animal belonging to the family Canidae, and it appears that he does not possess any extra-facial olfactory organs.
Could you therefore impart to me, such knowledge as may be necessary, to describe how that animal circumvents the problem of satisfying his olfactory senses?
Unfortunately, the non-ambiguity of your enquiry does not easily permit me to provide a clever answer, but I am in fact thinking of referring the animal to an olfactologist. However, the animal does have a fairly unpleasant body odour, should you be interested.
Been thinking more and more of getting some new speakers – my Wharfedale Dentons are about as old as me, and not the best in the world, certainly since I blew the tweeters and replaced them with cheapo Maplin ones.
Popped into Richer Sounds with Lolly. Looks like I’m choosing between this, this and this. Tempted to go with the Mordaunt Shorts. Not that I have the money. But I can dream, and maybe in the new year…
Had a great few days. Called round on Jan Thursday night – chatted for hours. I remember very little about what it was about – music, Flash programming, films, red wine, that kinda stuff. Ended up stealing his bed and relegating Jan to the sofa when I crashed at 2am, up early the next morning but then… a very chilled day.
We got up fairly early (ouch!) and headed to a local café. After the waitress had chased an itinerant pigeon around the place several times and out of the door, I ordered the most amazing brie and roasted vegetable sandwich, with crunchy lettuce, on a huge brown bap sprinkled with sunflower seeds. Yum. Washed down with some lovely hot splosh (tea). All done very slowly, while reading the papers and enjoying life. Back to Jan’s for some CD burning, a little Freehand tutorial, and some more chat. Jan introduced me to Hillman Curtis’s site, and told me I should buy his Flash book – I did so on my way home (coincidentally, Jan’s friend who had borrowed his copy ages ago rang the same evening to apologise for not being in touch and offer to drop the book around the next day). I’m currently learning lots from the book – my opinion on it, now the property of Amazon.co.uk, is as follows:
Some excellent design tips, let down by sloppy presentation
This book is an unusual offering, and that’s what makes it valuable. It does not claim to teach you Flash, and requires at least a little grounding in the software, but it does teach you a design approach for Flash, as well as explaining how to produce some fairly advanced effects.
As a programmer coming to Flash with an appreciation of, but not much skill in, design, I have found this book invaluable. However, it is severely let down by numerous very basic errors – text which explains very poorly or fails to explain how to carry out vital steps in the procedure, many many screen shots which don’t match the text they’re supposed to illuminate, and an overall design which just tries far too hard. I get the impression that Mr. Curtis may have written a great Flash 4 book and then got a little sloppy in the remix.
Not a book for the beginner – you need your wits about you to translate between Curtis-speak and genuine Flash commands from time-to-time, but if you’re willing to persevere then you are certain to learn from the exercises in here.
Had lunch with Jan – organic stir-fried vegetables with short-grain brown rice and cashew nuts, gloriously gingery and perfect comfort food, accompanied by a smoothie of apple, carrot, kiwi fruit and parsley, from Goose in Shoredich. Then I set off West for Teddington.
After a freshen-up at my Mum and Dad’s, I went East again up to town, to see the magnificent Cardiacs at the Astoria. Sat in the pub for 40 minutes reading What Hi-Fi (need some new speakers) before meeting up again with Jan, followed shortly by Arthur, Jorge, Simon and Dave. The gig was wonderful (they always are), but I had a bit of a different time from other Cardiacs gigs – the Astoria is huge, and after being split up from the others, Jan and I grabbed a table up at the back of the balcony, near the bar, and watched from a great distance as various Cardiacs past and present strode and pogoed around below us to the rhythm of a bouncing audience. They were looking well and truly… older than before, but having lots of fun. And, joy of joys, numerous ex-members guesting… Bic Hayes on guitar for a couple of numbers, Tim Quy (didn’t he die?) on percussion for one or two, and best of all Dominic Luckman took over on drums towards the end and suddenly it all came flooding back – those fucking long arms flailing chaotically but so powerfully around the drums, complete magic. And then, the icing on the world, they played The Whole World Window (sniff) at the end, and did the old bit with the whole rigmarole and stuff and wot, and they did come on, a man and a lady, and the man and the lady they were all dressed in the posh things, and they did have the flowers, and with the flowers they did give them to the people what did make the music, and thank you and thank them and everyone was very thanking before throwing flowers at the audience, and bows and tears and fondful gestures of love, and the confetti it was bombing, and raining everywhere, and it was a joyous occasion of love and peace and fellowship and hello and goodwill to all you men. (and the ladys, but they are included). Ahhh. Mmmm. (sigh). Haven’t seen them do that in 15 years.
I remember the first time I saw them and they did that big ending thingy, It was in the Marquee (the old marquee, the old OLD marquee) with all their school uniforms and dirty faces and flourescent nurseries for troubled children, and my head was a bit different, and my body was half-naked, and I’d spent the whole night slam-dancing with very friendly energetic people, and the man and the lady did come on with the flowers and the confetti it did went “BOOM” and I got it stuck all on my perspirating skins, and all the half-naked people with the funny jumping dances came together and hugged and kissed and said “hello, who are you?” and it was one of the loveliest things that ever did occur in the history of this species.
Hmmm. Hope I don’t have to wait so long until the next gig.