This blog has been quiet for a while, because I launched myself into work on Issue 5 of Eat Me magazine.
I took on Food and Culture editorship at the end of January, was deliciously deluged with tasks and the fruits of my labour will be on the shelves later this Spring. Until I actually see the magazine and have it in my hands, I don't think I will fully believe it, so am nervous about giving an exact date.
Incidentally, the new website mentioned on that link is in development currently. I am writing and commissioning articles and recipes for it! And it will launch again very soon.
Have I mentioned before that I love food? Before moving on with this blog post I should perhaps share tips, some gained on the magazine, others prior to it:
A mouthful of advice…
Avocados. Just, eat them, mash them up, use them as an ingredient; they're great.
Coconut milk is wasted uncooked but an excellent base for boiling pretty much anything.
An electronic spice-grinder can also be used for nuts, and this is good for devising gluten-free, milk-free, egg-free fruitcakes. I discovered this when I had a housemate allergic to wheat, milk and eggs…
Passion fruit with sugar is a good quick dip for drop scones.
The Apple Charlotte recipe in this book is even better if you add raspberries.
This dessert wine is delicious.
Foodie aside satisfactory? Good. On to the next thing!
I have some music to recommend…
Mid-February, I wrote but didn't publish a music review I wanted to submit to a wonderful blog called For Folk's Sake. My attempt at a deadline failed largely because I worked on it in a pub close to the venue. As I scrutinised which picture I should attach, a Man-U game started, a crowd of red-and-white-clad fans dislodged me from my seat and my article fell by the wayside. I will use artistic license and blame football hooliganism.
I hope you enjoy it though.
This is the Kit + Michael Wookey @ Union Chapel 12.02.2011
Union Chapel is my favourite folk venue. They sell delicious quiche and homemade brownies (on this particular day, the seller seems to make his mind up how much they cost on the spot), and they host some really interesting artists as part of the Arctic Circle gig events called ‘Daylight Music’.
Folk gigs can be tedious. I don’t have a lot of time for soppy, safe artists lacking a sense of humour or a willingness to subvert ye olde tradition.
I do however have time for Michael Wookey,whose banjo has a sticker on it politely stating ‘Yes, I am Mormon.
“Hello,” he says, shyly. “My name’s Michael…” The pews nod and smile back at him. His microphone emits a sudden BANG! And he jumps.
“Fu- I meaaaaan… Sh-ooooot… Sorry God… Sorry…” he whispers. “I feel really bad now.”
Michael’s first song alienates me slightly with its David Grayish aspect – how many boys these days can rattle out the same old romantic sentiments, grimacing slightly, with their eyes closed?
But I’m won over by his creative instrumentation and his slightly playful boyish demeanour (he has a rainbow pin badge and a military-style red jacket like you’d find in an antique fancy dress box). His charm is clearly amplified by a large collection of toys: A table harp, a calculator synthesiser, a toy piano that chimes to the touch, a large metal music box, which he’s made himself:
Most fascinating, however, is an antique Salvation Army pump organ that folds, delightfully, into an old battered suitcase:
The organ's woodwork creaks with genuine age, having been inherited from his grandfather when Michael was 15. It has a history in the fields of war.
Overall, though his set ranges freely across historic inventions and could be described as VINTAGE-FUSION. Cameos of aged toys are interspersed with synthesiser sonatas. He's even bodged together one of these synthesisers himself and a mess of wires extend from one end. What a polymath.
His unique blend of angst and wonderment is a hard act to follow for a comparatively kook-less band called The 99 Call. They are very nice, but I don't feel an urge to shout about them. Given that this is my blog, I won’t, but listen to them, by all means.
For me, the real treat of a set comes from This Is The Kit.
“This song is called waterproof,” Kate Stables says “and we will dedicate it to the roof.” Her gaze wanders between the stained glass windows as she sings in bell-like tones, at home in surroundings that yawn with numinous light.
These folk songs, with pared down melodies and a slightly Celtish aspect to the vocals, really fly in the reverent air of the chapel. They remind me, too, of solitary walks, the sound of the wind on a hillside, and the fact that the stones of this building were extracted from the Earth.
I don’t think you'll want me to blather on further about the poetry of the performance. This is the Kit are ethereally charming. Again, a clip of this performance is YouTubed, much as my camera doesn't do it justice… But if that doesn't satisfy your curiosity, this is their MySpace.