Chinese Restaurant menu items that sound like titles of Cocteau Twins Songs




Crackling Prawns In Orange Flavor
Mermaid’s Tresses
Pistachio Honey and Aspic
Manila Clams On Broccoli Bed
Ginger Angelica
Sugar Vinegar Hairtail
The Palace Quick-Fries a Bean Curd
Bitter Gourd Grasping
Sour Sour Pinecone Fish
Strange Flavor Curd Thread
Abalone Legend
Slip Away the Chicken Slice
Side of Pickled Lantern Chillies
Taihu Ozymandias
The Three Freshnesses of Earth
Firecracker Cod In Soy-Sherry Sauce
Our Aromatic Lychee Sorbet
God With Vanilla

Positive spin time.


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This morning I felt the need to put into words the confusion I felt post-referendum.


I would have preferred to stay in the EU but we are where we are so I am going to suck it up and get on board. But here is my view of the state of play.


Cameron – called this referendum to suit his domestic interests, to secure his position of power. He lost and it was always going to be the case that he would walk if that happened. But now we have a PM on gardening leave who would rather leave the aftermath to his successor.


Boris – I don’t think he really wanted to leave but he took a contrary position as a bid for the top job. I don’t think he ever thought he would win and now is very quiet on the subject, as he doesn’t really want the job of picking up the pieces.


Corbyn – as one of the few lefties in the party his traditional view would be Leave but he played the Remain card reluctantly and for very different reasons to Cameron. He now faces a coup for the same lack of faith from his cabinet.


Osbourne – on his way out because of his association with Cameron but even with the markets in a temporary flux (as is always the case with uncertainty) he has gone into hiding instead of being a chancellor. Still at least some of his city friends made billions selling shares high and buying them back cheap after the slump.


No one at the top seems that keen to trigger article 20, even Carswell is saying take it slowly! Scotland are looking for ways back into the EU and if they find a way, Northern Ireland will follow, maybe even leading to reunification. Many EU heads want us out as soon as possible to prevent destabilisation, this is not the time for politicians to sit on their hands and do nothing.


I think the vote was driven by a climate of fear that has been created by these same politicians over recent years, instead of politics offering reassurances and solutions it has been reduced to negativity and curtain twitching fear. They have offered merely reasons not to vote for the opposition rather than reasons to vote for themselves.


Now we need our leaders more than ever, the people who have put in place the mechanism to allow this to happen now need to do the job they are paid for, to guide, govern and start the process of building this new economy. Now is not the time to play their petty games of political posturing, they need to lead us. This temporary vacuum is a dangerous time; a vile streak of nationalism seems to be on the rise and more than at any time they need to be seen to be running the country.


If the politicians can show me that they care more about this country than their own careers, that this wasn’t just political point scoring, they can heal the rift in the country that is palpable in the air. I never though we need Independence from anything, I didn’t need my country back, it has always been here but now we have a chance to re-shape it, make some changes, embrace opportunities. Lets make sure that they are the right ones.


Politicians, do your job.

Tomorrow Never Comes – Edge of Tomorrow film review


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Edge of Tomorrow (2014)On paper Edge of Tomorrow ticks a lot of boxes with current film fashion, not least the choice of leads. Emily Blunt’s star is certainly in ascend these days from the cool and bitchy office rival to Anne Hathaway in The Devil Wears Prada and more recently with other well receives science fiction movies such as The Adjustment Bureau and Looper. Her opposite number Tom Cruise has never gone out of fashion since he won the hearts of women everywhere as he boogied around the house in Risky Business. Add to that Doug Liman, the man who brought us The Bourne films as director and a big Hollywood budget and already the film has a lot of selling points.


And although Science Fiction seems to be back in vogue (Interstellar, The Martian, Ex Machina, Jupiter Ascending) it is still a genre that often gets bogged down in cliché or lacks a certain internal logic. Even the most alien of settings and fantastic scenarios have to have some sort of reasoning as to why they are the way they are. Without throwing too many spoilers out there (although the tag line of Live, Die, Repeat is going to give you a sense of what is going to happen) the basic premise is this.


In the not too distant future the world is at war. An alien race has over run Europe and again the coast of France are the front line for a showdown between what remains of the globes armies and the invaders. Bill Cage finds himself out of his depth in the midst of this final reckoning, but a turn of events means that he finds himself able involuntarily reset time. Each death in battle brings him back to the mustering point before his final wave went in and puts him into a Bill Murray style Groundhog Day repeat pattern where he is aware of what lies in store for him. Over time he uses each life to predict and avoid the dangers and so become more successful and survive long.


But he is not alone, one person becomes aware of what is happening to him, Emily Blunt’s hard as nails war hero, and becomes his ally and together they must find a way to strike the invader at their most vulnerable point.


One of the clever points of the film is that we experience the events unfolding at the same time as Cage does, but like him we learn what is going on through a series of failed attempts to stay alive and the inevitable time-loop reset. If you stop and ponder on the whys and wherefores of why this is happening, the credibility gets a bit shaky, but essentially the film is a great action film, with good pace and a spiralling hook that keeps you engaged.


The two leads bring what is needed to the role, cruise the usual affability and charm and blunt a steely beauty as a doe eyed killing machine. Don’t look for depth, the internal logic doesn’t stand up under the microscope for too long and it doesn’t raise any big questions in the way that films such as Blade Runner or Interstellar did. But as a slick, exciting, explosive film with great battle scenes and enough of a story to carry you beyond the action it works. You may not watch it more than once, but it is certainly worth a spin.

Thought For The Day: I – Earth History


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smiling-planet-earth-cartoon-2-thumI was just reading that Sylvia Allen, Tea Party stalwart and all round oddball who first became a state senator in Arizona (and a national embarrassment) in 2008, has been made chairwoman of the Senate committee handling education legislation. The Phoenix New Times calls her a “professional fruitcake.”

Allen is known for a string of bizarre and racist remarks as well as an attachment to conspiracy theories. For example, she believes the Earth is just 6,000 years old, a view held by some fundamentalist Christians but rejected by scientists and many Bible scholars. It also means that she is now in charge of disseminating such beliefs through the Arizona State education system. A bit of a worry.

It also reminded me of an observation made by those eminent wordsmiths and arch story tellers Mssrs. Pratchet and Gaimen. If as Allen believes the earth was created on October 22, 4004 BC (using Julian calendar) a theory first put forward by Bishop Usher, then the earth is indeed a Libra. Maybe next year we get it a cake.

Writes and Wrongs: – I. Ravings and Writhing Desks


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tumblr_lw5jveIt5d1qzv4mho1_500“Have you guessed the riddle yet?” the Hatter said, turning to Alice again.

“No, I give it up,” Alice replied. “What’s the answer?”

“I haven’t the slightest idea,” said the Hatt


Thirty-odd years after he composed his two Alice books, Lewis Carroll was prompted by the public’s curiosity to offer a solution to the Mad Hatter’s riddle, “Why is a raven like a writing-desk ?”

In his Preface to the 1896 Edition of Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, the revered author (who in his other life was a noted logician) wrote :

Enquiries have been so often addressed to me, as to whether any answer to the Hatter’s Riddle can be imagined, that I may as well put on record here what seems to me to be a fairly appropriate answer, viz. :  `Because it can produce a few notes, tho they are very flat ;  and it is nevar put with the wrong end in front !`  This, however, is merely an afterthought. The Riddle, as originally invented, had no answer at all.

Over the years, in many a homely parlour and scholarly symposium, other answers have been given, and solutions devised. Here is a handful of them, including an ingenious “scientific” explanation wherein one Fernando Soto, a member of the Lewis Carroll Society of North America, has gaily hung some yellow bunting over the proceedings. But to commence, consider two Q responses to the Mad Hatter :

Because with some skill it will emerge from the wood.

Because it supported that noble effort, To Kill A Mockingbird.


Because Poe wrote on both.

.   – Sam Loyd, Cyclopedia of Puzzles (1914)

Because there is a b in both, and because there is an n in neither.

.   – Aldous Huxley, “Ravens and Writing Desks”, Vanity Fair, September 1928

Because it bodes ill for owed bills.

.   – Francis Huxley, The Raven and the Writing Desk (1976)

Because without them both Brave New World could not have been written.

.   – Roy Davenport

Because one has flapping fits and the other has fitting flaps.

.   – Peter Veale

Because they both have a flap in oak.

.   – J. Tebbutt

Because one is good for writing books and the other better for biting rooks.

.   – George Simmers

Because a writing desk is a rest for pens and a raven is a pest for wrens.

.   – Tony Weston

Because they are both used to carri – on de – composition.

.   – Noel Petty

Because they both stand on their legs, conceal their steels (steals), and ought to be made to shut up.

.   – Sam Loyd, op. cit.

It can be found in a class with a Writing Master.

.   – Fernando J. Soto


nevar is “raven” spelled backwards ; but as Dennis Crutch of Jabberwockyjournal has pointed out, the editors made a supposed correction to the author’s original statement and wrongly altered the word to “never”

As reported in The Annotated Alice (Martin Gardner, ed.), the solutions offered by Messrs. Davenport, Veale, Simmers, Weston and Petty were entries submitted in a competition held by The Spectator magazine in the Summer of 1991

Brave New World : […rave N…]

flapping fits : Doubtless there were eight of them and they were agonising

Because they both stand &c... : This answer shows a high-handed and aggressive persistence worthy of the Duchess herself

steels : steels are the pair of metal supports that prop up the flap of the desk when required

Writing Master : i. e. the Yellowhammer or Yellow Bunting (Emberiza citrinella), also known as the Master Scribbler or Scribbling Lark. The Webster’s Dictionary of 1913 has this entry : “Writing lark (Zoöl.), the European yellow-hammer ; — so called from the curious irregular lines on its eggs. [Prov. Eng.]”

The Raven and Writing Master are both in the biological class of Aves ; and a writing-desk may be said to furnish a class of “Aves” (Latin, “Hellos”) in the greetings of the letters composed on it.

These are “Lessons In Interface Consistency and Analogical Reasoning From Two Cognitive Architectures”, as someone once said (and it wasn’t the Gryphon nor the Mock Turtle).

Gig XIII – A Busmans Holiday? Anton Barbeau und The Corner Laughers @ The Beehive, Swindon, 13th November ’15


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12249966_10153073299221574_4057443580067097536_nSo a rare night off, Ed is covering our punk-pop show at The Locomotive) and what do I chose to do? That’s right….go to a gig. It is nice to just go to a gig as a punter for a change though rather than be the one worrying about sound checks and stage times, having to fend off the usual “how long is our set,” “was I supposed to bring drum breakables,” ” am I facing the right way,” etc.

Anton has played Swindon many times, normally at The Beehive, although I did once manage to book him and his then band Three Minute Tease (featuring ex-Soft Boys Morris Windsor and Andy Metcalfe) at The Victoria when the local support band 8 Minutes Later did the usual after gig trick of leave the room taking the bulk of the audience with them and only reappear at the end of the night when the money was being handed out. The last time I saw Anton was in Berlin. I was visiting my friend Rich who after a day in Templehof park had taken their over tired son Bob home leaving myself, travel companion Paj and the lovely Gabi to go for a wander and a beer. On walking through a flea market I saw a dishevelled guy in a Canadian maple leaf hat looking at his phone and it could be no-one else. Random encounters rule, but Berlin is like that.

This time he had fellow Californians, The Corner Laughers joining him on stage as their own tour coincided with his and Swindon seemed the place for a bit of a knees up. I’d spoken to lead singer/uke player Karla a few times after she sent be their brilliant sun kissed, soulful, folk-pop future classic The Matilda Effect, so it was great to finally meet them in person.

So a fantastic night of uke-pop and acid laced underground vibes was had by all. The world does seem a small place when you look at the networks we build up and follow. Sacramento -Berlin -Swindon…who’dathoughtit?