Saturday, November 22, 2008

Is it Raining Comets and Threads… Again?

A scientific theory says the oceans were created by millions of comets and asteroids colliding with the Earth many millions of years ago…

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


I remember having, as a young child, a red t-shirt with the Coca-cola logo emblazoned upon it in Arabic. I don’t know where I got this t-shirt; maybe an equally small visiting friend left it at our house and I “inherited” it, as there’s no way my Dad would have sanctioned its purchase, unless he really didn’t clock what it was. At any rate it feels like his very lack of realisation was part of the shirt’s attraction to me, making it somehow more mine than all the other oh-so-explicable stuff surrounding us. I loved it, anyway. It’s quite an early memory: I remember wearing it on a warm day in the main hall at my infants’ school, and we moved our house (and hence my school) in December 1978, so at the latest it would have been towards the end of the summer in that year, making me six years old. Thirty years ago. It feels like it could have been earlier, but of course recollections of childhood can be deceptive. I reckon it must be close to every time I’ve seen a tin of Coke with its writing in a language other than English since then that I’ve thought of that t-shirt, or at least my memories associated with it. It's a well-worn mental path for me now, meaning sights like this can evoke easily the excited sensations provoked in an inquisitive child by the possibility of some arcane knowledge to which he and he alone might be privy.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Human Bacon

Human Bacon
I knew less of Bacon before visiting the current exhibition of his work at Tate Britain than I did about Rothko, and while I can't say it had as powerful an effect on me, it's an impressive array of work, and a well-constructed exhibition.

Bacon's forthright use of structure, background and the “space-frames” featuring for example in various of his Studies after Velázquez’s "Pope Pius X” highlight the contrast of his protagonists’ emotional and physical urges with the constraints of their emotional and physical environments, both enabling and heightening his visceral evocations of how transitory are rage and angst against the carcass-likeness of our corporeal forms, and how transitory in turn are those forms, electrified briefly by some primal spark, simultaneously supremely vulnerable and supremely powerful in their ability to exploit that vulnerability, whether in themselves or in others of their kind, collapsing ultimately either through such exploitation or the passage of time into dilapidation and decay.

As the exhibition guide relates, “Explaining the explicit violence of his third triptych in 1965, [Bacon] simply stated, ‘Well, of course, we are meat. We are potential carcasses.’” You got it right there, Francis.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Return of the Pig

Return of the Pig
One of my leaving presents from POKE was a huge bag of extremely good steak. Fillet, ribeye, T-bone, sirloin, and one of the biggest rump steaks I've seen, matured for 45 days. Not content with that, amongst other things (including a monster Friday night out) they also very generously indulged me with the gift of a day's beef butchery course at the Ginger Pig in Victoria Park. To say I'm eagerly awaiting it doesn't really begin to encapsulate my feelings about it - mild trepidation mixed with delight and excitement would go some of the way. In the meantime, I'm going to enjoy these pre-cut steaks enormously. Thanks, Pokers!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Quick question

I’d already got about halfway home this evening when I decided that enough was enough, and it was now raining hard enough to merit hailing a taxi to get the rest of the way. A couple of them just didn’t see me; a third slowed down and then, for some inexplicable reason, sped off apparently on seeing me. The fourth saw me, pulled over, and let me get in without even asking where I was headed. A good Samaritan, I thought.

We passed the 7 or 8 minutes’ ride in pleasant enough conversation - what did I do, had I been doing it long, what were the people like - until it came to the point about 500 yards from the drop-off opposite my home when he decided to drop the biggy.

“Quick question?”
“Do you believe in God?”
“… No.”
“Did you see my sign?”
[ A quick look reveals a sign on the front side of the glass barrier saying “JESUS IS LORD. HE DIED FOR US.” ]
“Ah. No, I didn’t see that.”
“Well, do you know about Jesus?”
“I know a bit about him. Sharp guy.”
“Sharp guy, huh. Well, I think he was God, and he died for us and rose from the dead.”
“Do you.”
“Yes. I just thought I’d let you know that.”
“OK. So, £5.60? Here’s £7. Keep the change.”
“Thanks. I just thought I’d share that with you before you got out.”
“OK. Well, have a good night.”

So. Um. Hello? Is there anybody in there? If you’re going to proselytise, oughtn’t you to start a bit sooner? I mean, you left it a bit late there dude, all I had to was just get out of the cab; you didn’t even give yourself time to corner me into a circular theological dispute I can never win even if I choose to engage in it because evidence denies faith and yeah yeah yeah. I don’t think Jesus would have been too impressed. Although thinking about it, he probably would have forgiven you. Sigh. JESUS WIN

Meat Club goes to Maze Grill

Meat Club goes to Maze Grill
Tonight, not only did we grind our gnashers' way through 5 different cuts of impressively varied beef steak - from carpaccio of Aberdeen Angus fillet, through sirloin of grass-fed Hereford and rib-eye of grain-fed Casterbridge beef, to New York strip steak cut from 35-day Creekstone corn-fed U.S.D.A. prime - but: we ate 9th-grade Wagyu beef rump (top right) at the Maze Grill.

The Wagyu producers in Japan only export up to 5th-grade product, keeping the higher grades back for inland consumption by the local connoisseurs, and so the rump we had was Australian, its origin and California being apparently the two only other sources of such high grades.

I grant you, I've not yet been to Japan, nor tried even low-grade Japanese Wagyu beef outside it, but frankly, if the Australian stuff is as good as this, served as deliciously broiled as this in one of the top meat restaurants in London, and I get to have a taste, then my nose is staying fairly resolutely in joint.

This was remarkable food. It's quite an endorsement of the meal as a whole if all 11 attending Meat Club members (out of a planned 12 - you know who you are, vegetarian) gladly cherish every drop even of the pudding. Jason Atherton, you and your excellent staff deserve every one of your plaudits. Thank you for treating us to this feast.
See, I look at it a bit more like this

See, I look at it a bit more like this
"What, more like this?"
"Yeah, I turn my head on the side"

Keeping latecomers out of the xmas-light glory, Oxford Street, London
Sorry, you can't come in here

Sorry, you can't come in here
"Sorry sir, you're too late to enjoy the festival of Mammon"
"Oh, shit, that's annoying - I really wanted to abase myself before the gaudy decorations on a flamboyant temple of greed ... Can I do it later?"
"Sorry sir, you'll have to wait till next year ... or, er, tomorrow"

Oxford Street, London
Crowd control

Crowd control
Keeping latecomers out of the xmas-light glory

Oxford Street, London

Monday, November 10, 2008


Added to my Flickr favourites at 22:51.