Daft link time. Amazon sell, amongst their usual wares, bottles of Barrettine Methylated Spirits. There are some rather wonderful reviews up:
From the moment you remove the cap you realise you’re in for a treat. Fresh, bright, smoky, with a mineral edge and rounded, fruity nose. Midweight and bold, possessing some edge and no little bite, yet remaining smooth, balanced and satisfying. This is a drink to enjoy with friends in a park. Highly recommended.
Ever since the HSE removed B&Q essentials paint thinners from the market, there’s been something missing in the world of the al fresco drinker – now Barretine have answered our prayers. The nose is similar to a fine Algerian vodka; on the palette fragrant hydrocarbon appear first, followed by a searing alcoholic kick; the finish is brief and flammable. Half way through the first bottle, I was merrily releving my salad days on the road, by the end of the third I was screaming incoherently at the traffic in a soiled tracksuit. Top stuff.
A silly post, but it’s a rare week that the Observer’s Said and Done column doesn’t throw up a marvellous nugget from the world of professional football. Weekly proof, if proof were needed, that it’s not just British sport which is fatally polluted by a plague of morons. Here’s Gigi Becali – for some reason I find this quote somewhat charming; I don’t know why I do.
Went for a drink with Dave on Saturday, ostensibly to borrow his bass guitar but mainly just to catch up. We met in the Farm Tavern, which was empty when I arrived at about half past three and only one Jonathan fuller than empty when Dave arrived ten minutes later. In that pre-Dave period I grabbed a pint of St Edmunds ale and went to peruse the pub’s books, discovering to my astonishment that novels by Kingsley Amis made up about 40% of the admittedly rather limited stock. For reasons still not entirely clear to me I picked up a collection of old Independent newspaper articles instead, and found the following treat.
Here’s Krishnan Guru-Murthy signing off last night’s Channel 4 news, just in case you missed it. Anyone with an irrational fear of sock puppets, look away now. You may or may not be surprised to know that Krishnan used to work for Newsround.
A surprise expansion of the teams playing in the English Premiership has meant that this week’s football scores contain something interesting, for once – or at least, that’s what it looks like from today’s Guardian website.
Posted 30 Sep 2011 — by Jonathan Category Daft, General
This is really quite amazing; no matter how long I look at this picture, I find it hard to come to terms with the fact that what I am looking at is one cat, not two. There’s one brain. One personality. Two working eyes, one working mouth (although two working noses). But this glorious, strange, janus-cat is still alive at 12, spectacularly defying his life expectancy.
Diprosopus (Greek διπρόσωπος, “two-faced”, from δι-, di-, “two” and πρόσωπον, prósopon [neuter], “face”, “person”; with Latin ending), also known as craniofacial duplication (cranio- from Greek κρανίον, “skull”, the other parts Latin), is an extremely rare congenital disorder whereby part or all of the face is duplicated on the head.
This is rather lovely. Over on Quora someone asked, ‘What’s it like to have your film flop at the box office?’. Sean Hood, the professional screenwriter who wrote the last iteration of the Conan The Barbarian franchise, is well placed to answer. So he does.
In the days before the release, you get all sorts of enthusiastic congratulations from friends and family. Everyone seems to believe it will go well, and everyone has something positive to say, so you allow yourself to get swept up in it.
You tell yourself to just enjoy the process. That whether you succeed or fail, win or lose, it will be fine. You pretend to be Zen. You adopt detachment, and ironic humor, while secretly praying for a miracle.
The Friday night of the release is like the Tuesday night of an election. “Exit polls”are taken of people leaving the theater, and estimated box office numbers start leaking out in the afternoon, like early ballot returns. You are glued to your computer, clicking wildly over websites, chatting nonstop with peers, and calling anyone and everyone to find out what they’ve heard. Have any numbers come back yet? That’s when your stomach starts to drop.
It’s a great read – click here to access the whole thing.
Meanwhile – that’s not the only difficult question the internet can answer.
This is just fantastic – a two-and-half-year-old male chimpanzee at Thailand’s Samut Prakarn crocodile farm and zoo, 25 miles south east of Bangkok, has been trained to feed tiger cubs out of a bottle.
The chimp, named Dodo, has been feeding the cubs, aged between three weeks to five months, every day for more than a year.
I like his little denim shorts, although someone should point out that the current look is to have the pockets poking out beneath the hemline, not a nappy poking out of the back. That aside, he’s bang on trend.
Posted 22 Jul 2011 — by Jonathan Category Daft, Music
If you’re anything like me, you’ve spent the lions share of the week obsessing over #hackgate and reading endless articles about it in the press. And if so, you were probably as surprised as I was to discover that The News Of The World – far from being a detestable, lowest-common-demoninator rag – was a Great newspaper whose proud history will be remembered longer than the ignominy of its final passing. Interesting to learn.
Who knows, then, perhaps one day we’ll be witnessing the death of the Daily Express and saying the same thing. Pretty sure that no-one however, no matter how misguided, will mourn its culture section.
Earlier this year, the paper saw fit to dedicating a bit of space to a review of PJ Harvey’s latest LP, ‘Let England Shake’. Here’s the review in its entirety:
YOU might not be able to pick her out of a police line-up but there’s no lack of respect for English singer-songwriter PJ Harvey.
This album moves away from her usual sound but let’s just say it’s not our bag.
Hmm. Incidentally – Polly Harvey is in the running, but my pick for the Mercury Prize this year is the wonderful Ghostpoet, whose Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam is one of my favourite LPs of the year so far. Really hope he wins it.
Posted 08 Jul 2011 — by Jonathan Category Daft, General
In a deal illustrative of Liverpool’s slightly confusing transfer policy (which seems to be to overpay for players with Premiership experience, even if they’re as yet unproven at higher levels), they have just signed Blackpool’s impressive (but not world-beating) central midfielder Charlie Adam, for about £7.5m. Charlie Adam is a pretty decent player, in the box-to-box midfielder style, and is surely the latest in a long line of okayish players who get overhyped and overpaid because they make people nostalgic for a certain type of British player we see less and less of (cf. Lee Bowyer, Danny Murphy, Kevin Nolan, Scott Parker). Anyway, like I said, I don’t know much about him, so it’s possible I’m underrating him. But at least Liverpool have placed some handy facts about him on their website, for those of us trying to keep up. This is my favourite by some distance:
3. Adam then returned to Ibrox in the summer of 2006 and was handed his opportunity to shine by gaffer Paul Le Guen. He admits to changing his diet on the advice of the Frenchman. “I’d never really thought of eating salads before,” he said during an interview in 2010.
There’s a nice, light-hearted little article on the Guardian site today which might as well be subtitled ‘some people can’t take a joke’. It seems that Cédric Enjolras, the president of FC Borne, a second division team in the Haute-Loire league in France, made a silly offer for the services of Lionel Messi, who plys his trade in Spain for FC Barcelona, and is currently the world’s best player. Submitted in jest, he could hardly have guessed that the offer would be intercepted by the French Football Federation, who not only declined to pass the offer on to Barca, they decided to suspend Enjolras for six-months, noting humourlessly that “One cannot accept such behaviour. It is perhaps a joke but we are here to judge the facts”. Arseholes.
The Guardian article ends on a nice note – the last line is a peach:
Enjolras, bemused by the FFF’s lack of proportion, explained what had happened: “To submit bids among small clubs, you need to fill out forms on the internet. I decided to register a bid so I typed the name Lionel Messi, his date of birth and his parent club into the system. Then the league transmitted the request to the federation. They were shocked by it and refused to send it to their Spanish counterparts. I have been suspended for six months, of which three are suspended. It was just a joke, to amuse friends.
“I’m going to have spend three months in the bar.”
Every cloud has a silver lining.
On other French matters, my friend Anne-So – who knows a great deal about spending excessive amounts of time in bars – is celebrating her birthday today in distant Alsace. Happy birthday Anne-So! Here you are submitting to your English side…
Posted 07 Feb 2011 — by Jonathan Category Daft, Music
I’ve never really been a big fan of Gruff Rhys or his psychedelic pop with the Super Furry Animals, but I suspect that I’m missing out. For some reason I just can’t really get with bands who are influenced by The Beach Boys, but all the evidence points to the fact that Rhys has been one of the most creative and unconventional British songwriters of the last couple of decades.
Never mind that though – he really interests me because he’s one of those pop stars capable of coming out with marvellous quotes like this, from yesterday’s Observer:
“I had a batch of songs that were quite reflective, picking up on different bits of my life over the last 15 to 20 years,” he says. “By a complete coincidence, I’ve been trying to build a hotel out of shampoo bottles.”
2.08pm: Ed Miliband’s election as Labour leader has been making the headlines around the world. My colleague Luke Harding has sent me this from Russia.
There were more congratulations for Ed Miliband this morning from far-away Moscow. During his first trip to Russia last October Ed discovered that he had a long-lost relative – 87-year-old Sofia Miliband. Today Sofia, Ed’s second cousin twice removed, said she had followed Labour’s leadership election closely and was ‘thrilled’ by Ed’s narrow victory.
‘I’m delighted for Ed. He’s very good, active, and – I have to say – a rather homely person. His brother David is a bit more formal, a diplomat. I like both of them very much,’ Sofia said.
Sofia recalled how Ed dropped round to her Moscow flat after she called into a Moscow radio show and told him: ‘I am your long lost relative.’ (Sophia’s grandfather was the brother of Ed and Dave’s Polish-born grandfather Samuel.) ‘Ed treated us very well. He even cut up the melon.’
Sofia’s comments appeared in this morning’s Moskovsky Komsomelets newspaper along with the somewhat underwhelming headline: ‘New Labour leader knows how to chop melon.’
"Me, I want to bloody kick this moronic bloody world in the bloody teeth over and over till it bloody understands that not hurting people is ten bloody thousand times more bloody important than being right."
David Mitchell, Black Swan Green