Friday, May 25, 2007

Naples, here we come!

Katie and I are off to Napoli tomorrow morning for a ten day break in the land of sun, volcanoes and pizza. Hopefully I'll be able to post some pix while on the road...we'll see.

They're trying their best to dissuade us from our visit though:
  • There's been no garbage collection for the last ten days or so, as all the local landfills are either full or controlled by the mafia. Locals have taken to setting the alleged ten foot tall mountains of waste alight.
  • Air Traffic Controllers in Italy staged a 24 hour walkout yesterday. Apparently they're back on the job
  • I just read on the 'net that Naples Airport would be closed for three days from the third of June. We fly back on the fourth. I called Lufthansa to confirm. I was put on hold for five minutes. They then confirmed this was true (I think I was the first to let them know this was happening). when I asked them what the solution would be, they replied "we don't know, please contact the airline's desk at Naples Airport"....
Luckily, we've already bought some travel insurance. Sounds like it could be a wise investment for once...

Anyway, I'm sure once we get there, all will be peachy pie.

Friday, May 04, 2007

Asparagus season!

Last week, bunches of Spanish Asparagus were about three quid a pound. Yesterday, wandering through Berwick Street market, the first of the English spears have appeared for a pound a pound. the English aspaaragus season is only about a month long, usually through mid may to mid June. this year, owing to the new warmer clime that the UK seems to be basking in, they're a couple of weeks early. Anyhow, I love 'em, all joking about stinky secretions aside. Bought two pounds of the buggers last night. I was going to do a standard steam-butter-parmesan kind of thing, but when I got home I realised there was a couple of litres of scrumpy going begging from last weekend. Put the words "cider" and "asparagus" into Google, and what came up was "Asparagus in cider sauce". While I do wholly endorse the basics when cooking the green, I was quite happy that I could incorporate Burrow Hill's finest into my cooking somehow. Still, that's my novelty asparagus dish outta the way for 2007. Although, risotto......

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

All Tomorrow's Parties

Katie, Andrew, Hanesy and myself tripped off to Butlin's Minehead, Somerset last weekend for the All Tomorrow's Parties Festival, programmed by Oz band, The Dirty Three. It was quite a small and intimate few days, with only 6000 punters. On the way down, we stopped in at the Burrow Hill Cider Farm (home of the beloved Cider Bus...alas it was in the workshop at the time) for a bargain twenty five litres of finest scrumpy for twenty quid. After that, it was off to a Farm Shop just outside West Quantoxhead(tiny village, excellent name) for other supplies (assorted pork product), and then to the resplendent glory of Butlin's, complete with three water slides, a Burger King and Pizza Slut.

The acts kicked off late Friday afternoon with The Only Ones, punk rock reunionists from the seventies. They ripped through most of their catalogue before closing with their hit "Another Girl, Another Planet". Age (and hard drugs) have obviously wearied the lead singer, but his voice is most defo still there.

And from then on, the cavalcade of Rock n Roll continued unabated. Owing to the Curators being who they were, the lineup was mainly populated by their mates, eg Nick Cave, members of The Bad Seeds and just about anybopdy else associated with them. There's a full line up here. Highlights for me were Nick Cave's request show, Ed Kuepper, The Drones, and of course The Dirty Three. The Scientists were pretty good, but not a patch on the gig I saw at The Spitz a few months back. Another nice aspect of the festival was the way the talent was just wandering around taking in the gigs. It was on a few occasions we found ourselves standing next to the Cave guy at the back of the venue. Aviators in the dark is a look only Nick can get away with!

Lowlight would have to be Blixa Bargeld's
Einsturzende Neubauten, who, while they had moments of absolute brilliance were reasonably pretentious (Blixa seemed to be having strops at the crew throughout the gig). Blixa's wife, who I understand is also their webmistress decided that we were being too noisy (we were seated directly behind the sound desk), and asked us to quieten down, as "we're recording the concert". Cue response "well, we've paid lotsa money to see this gig, so put up with it darling" kind of responses. Also reasonably ridiculous, as you would thin that a live recording would be done via a cable out of the sound board, and noise would be a non-issue. Anyway, we have since spoken to other people who know said musician's life partner, and opinion is reasonably solid that she is like this all the time.

The drinks were reasonably expensive and ordinary (Tetley's creamflow or Carlsberg), so luckily we had uncle scrumpy to hand. Managed to sneak in quite a few litres of the stuff, thus having some quality alcohol, and paying about 25p a pint, about £2.75 less than the bars were asking. All in all, a fantastic festival. ATP and The Dirty Three are to be congratulated for the net result. There's some reviews here and here, and the inevitable photo album here.