Archive for June, 2007

advertising vs protesting


Originally uploaded by Luis Rubim.

Oh dear, a good idea in the brainstorming session… a very bad idea to do it next to soliders mothers who are holding large images of their dead sons.

Mind you there were all sorts of protesters there. I saw one guy protesting on his own about Freemasons.

Gordon Brown about to visit the Queen

Tony Blair – Gordon Brown handover – 14

Originally uploaded by

He looked very happy, there was some polite clapping, in contrast to round the corner on Whitehall where every car that went in or out of Downing Street was boooed.

More here

Let there be light…The end of an era.

Lambeth council finally finished installing new street lights along the length of Gipsy Hill this week. A job they started in November 2006! Well done Lambeth, only took you eight months! I wonder what will happen to the old 60s concrete ones? The replacements are design to look Victorian as Gipsy Hill is a conservation area.

There’s a lot in the news at the moment looking at Britain’s recent architectural past and what should be saved or flattened. The 60s and 70s now seem a very long way away, coupled with the change in Prime Minister maybe we’re mentally and physically spring cleaning our society ready for – shudder – a new era? Look at the Millennium Dome, at last seeming to find a true purpose as proper music venue. Mr Brown constantly sells the image of Modern Britain, not a city of Europe but of the World, it’s what won us the Olympics.

A few months ago I read a guide to the South Bank when it was first opened as the Festival of Britain in a second hand bookshop. It described what was coming as ‘A New Elizabethan Age’, as the current Queen had recently come to the throne, strange how that term didn’t really catch on. We don’t seem to measure ‘ages’ in Royal reigns anymore but in other things…. like lampposts.

An Italian approach to food, it’s in the details…

So if you’ve seen my Flickr you’ll know I recently came back from La Marche. Now you don’t need telling that the produce over there was fantastic, that’s a given, so I won’t bang on about that. But I’d like to share this little story that sort of sums up the difference in attitude.

So I’m in Ancona airport post security check in one of the two duty free shops, which are more like booths really as the airport is so tiny. I’m looking around for something to spend my last 20 euro’s on. There’s a classically slim, mid 40s, lots-of-make-up Italian lady who’s running the smaller shop, I ask

“Have you got any Truffle oil?” Thinking that’d be a nice little present to myself.

“No, I don’t sell truffle oil, when a they make the truffle oil, they use a extract – a chemical – because truffles don’t last, I recommend this…” She guides me to a small jar of small truffle pieces, carpaccio bianchetto – made by T&C just up the road.

“When you want truffle oil for pasta, take a few pieces out and soak in Extra Virgin olive oil for four days before you need it” She pinched her fingers and thumb together in the foodie way, and finished with the killer line…

“Truffles don’t want to be in oil, they just want to be.”  Brilliant! Sold, I was totally sold on that line, on the story, on the way she saw them as a thing, as something alive, something that just wants to be. What a poetic way to describe a fungus.

And it’s true, back in CP Sainsbury’s tiny end of isle ‘posh food’ stand, I see a small bottle, costing twice as much as I paid for the truffle shards. Ingredients: Olive oil, truffle extract.

From must-be-true!opediaTruffle Oil – It is an important distinction that truffle oil, with the exception of a few very small producers, does not contain any truffles. Most truffle oil is olive oil with chemical compounds added. For the purposes of flavoring some things, the oil, which is, relatively speaking, very inexpensive, is a decent substitute.’

More on La Marche truffles here and truffles in food here. On the plane back I tried to imagine a UK equivalent.. or someone at Gatwick Duty Free trying to explain the differences between loose leaf tea and tea bags or something. But wait, Truffles are native to the UK too! So much so that there’s Truffle UK, a company that specialise in dealing ‘truffle infected’ trees. They also sell truffle products, there’s lots on the press cutting page, including a box out from Country Life on how to train your hound to be a truffle hunter.

Anyway, to the kitchen. So I took her advice, and made a few dishes with my holiday spoils. Here’s the ingredients. Tasted fantastic, tasted of the earth.

Message to Wayne Hemingway…

.. it’s just pronouced ‘flicker’ not ‘Flickcaaaaaaaaarh‘ as you said on BBC Breakfast this morning!

ITV – Tough Gig – Episode 2 – Dara OBriain

ITV – Tough Gig – Episode 2 – Dara OBriainReally enjoyed the other night, great to see something original, interesting and watchable on ITV… they returned to form with Cops with Camera’s after the news mind. Larping, even people who play Warhammer and D&D think larping’s weird. Most blokes have been paint balling on stagnights, but who goes larping? D12 hitpoints with +1 agression modifier – attack!!

Email from a Friend at the BBC

Oh yeah, and you;ll never guess who I saw in the canteen… Alan Johnston. He’s making it all up just for the attention. THE BIG FIBBER. He forgot to put the “Out of Office” on his outlook too. Honestly.


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These are my personal views and not those of Channel 4 or the BBC
June 2007