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Albert Square

The decorations put up for the recent Chinese New Year juxtapose rather well against the Town Hall in Albert Square.

This was taken after an excellent lunch at the Slug & Lettuce.

Campbell's Soup by Andy Warhol

(The New York Times, 24 January 1962)

Campbell’s Soup is drawing rave reviews from the world’s art critics, who hail the soup maker’s new “Tomato” soup “a brilliant post-modern commentary on the pervasiveness of consumerism in modern life”.

Art dealers from New York to Paris are bidding astronomical sums for the 12-ounce cans, normally priced at 33 cents. This week, a can at a Manhattan grocery store fetched $100,000.

According to New York art collector Bruno Waldstein, who paid $76,000 for a can at Sal’s Corner Grocery in Queens Friday: “This soup savagely lampoons the unwelcome, insidious intrusion of crass commercialism into our lives and modern popular culture. This is Campbell’s greatest work since Cream of Mushroom.”

The art originates from a small collective of artists calling themselves “The Campbell’s Canning Factory” in Gary, Indiana.

Campbell’s Soup CEO Herbert Leonard, 53, said he is mystified by the success of the can. “It’s just fucking soup,” he said.

You can read more of Ohio on the banks of the Scioto River Tess Kincaid’s marvellous poetry on her blog Life at Willow Manor.

When getting my nose in a book
Cured most things short of school,
It was worth ruining my eyes
To know I could still keep cool,
And deal out the old right hook
To dirty dogs twice my size.

Later, with inch-thick specs,
Evil was just my lark:
Me and my coat and fangs
Had ripping times in the dark.
The women I clubbed with sex!
I broke them up like meringues.

Don’t read much now: the dude
Who lets the girl down before
The hero arrives, the chap
Who’s yellow and keeps the store
Seem far too familiar. Get stewed:
Books are a load of crap.

(Philip Larkin, A Study of Reading Habits)

Jean Paul Gaultier launched his brand new masculine fragrance in September 2011. The fragrance is named Kokorico, which is the French onomatopoeia for a rooster’s cry (“Cock-a-doodle-doo” in English).

Kokorico is designed as a powerful and explosive aphrodisiac, emphasizing woody and cocoa notes. Kokorico represents an olfactory cry, the boastful cry of a rooster, the conquering cry of a man-warrior, the cry of a young man filled with pleasure. Whatever …

The top of the composition features refreshing fig leaves, which provide energy, the heart is filled with raw cocoa, which stimulates (not the artificially sweet kind, but a natural extract), whilst woody notes of patchouli and cedar express their masculinity and power.

Black, red and feathers are flamboyant, cocky and dramatic elements of inspiration for the package and the campaign design. The bottle is shaped like a sculpture of a male head from one side, and it looks like a torso from the other perspective. The face of the campaign shot by Jean-Baptiste Mondino is model Jon Kortajarena.

Another revolting 1970s recipe from my complete set of Good Housekeeping cookery cards; beautifully photographed in full colour with wipe-clean surfaces, they are designed to help you in two ways: to provide you with a repertoire of delicious recipes selected from Good Housekeeping magazine’s famous Creative Cookery series, and also to simplify the complex business of planning perfect menus. For Good Housekeeping cookery cards have an extra value – each one includes ideas for two more suitable courses to make up a complete three-course meal, linking the recipes to other cards in the series.

You don’t have to be an expert cook to produce these superb dishes. All recipes have been double-tested. All are clear and easy-to-follow. All include oven temperatures, cooking times, and number of servings.

Ingredients

8 medium-sized tomatoes
salt
3 tbsp cream
2-3 tsp lemon juice
¼ level tsp freshly ground black pepper
¼ level tsp sugar
1 level tbsp freshly chopped mint
lettuce

Method

Skin the tomatoes, cut in half, remove and discard pips. Roughly chop and sprinkle with salt.

Blend together the cream, lemon juice, pepper, sugar, and mint.

Arrange tomatoes on crisp lettuce leaves on four small plates. Spoon dressing over.

Suitable for vegetarians … if you know any.

Dolly Parton arrives at the premiere of her latest film, Joyful Noise, at Grauman’s Chinese Theatre in Los Angeles.

Aberdeen Harbour

Rushing southward every weekday from this fourth largest city of Scotland, go long express trains carrying the catch of the sturdy North Sea fishermen – herring, halibut, sole, and the like – to the markets of London; for Aberdeen now rivals Grimsby, the great English fishing port, as a centre of the British steam trawling industry.

Aberdeen is situated on a bay of the North Sea, 130 miles north-east of Edinburgh, and is the chief city of northern Scotland. It is sometimes called the “Silver City by the Sea” because of the gleam of its grey granite buildings, especially after a heavy rainfall. In addition to its fisheries and granite quarries it has large manufactures of woollen and linen goods, paper, jams, and preserved foods. There are also large breweries, distilleries, and chemical works.

Aberdeen was already an important place in the 12th century. It was burned by the English king Edward III in 1336, but it was soon rebuilt and extended. Aberdeen University was founded in 1494. The city owns and operates its waterworks, electric light plant, and tramways.

I recently spent a drunken evening and night with a linguistics professor who informed me that “pure zero-grade English” is spoken not in England, but over in Ohio and specifically in the posh suburbs of Cleveland (e.g. Shaker Heights), Columbus (e.g. Upper Arlington), Dayton (e.g. Oakwood and Kettering), Toledo (e.g. Sylvania and Ottawa Hills) and northern Cincinnati (e.g. West Chester).

I do not recommend spending an evening or night with a linguistics professor.

The actor John Thaw had quite an interesting accent. In the Inspector Morse TV detective series based on Colin Dexter’s novels he adopted a sort of posh accent with something of a drawl and long vowels. I assume this was so the character could seemingly deal with Oxford dons and luminaries as supposed equals. However, an underlying Northern accent kept creeping in. I always thought this was inadvertent and that he simply was unable to sustain the accent he was adopting.

John Thaw is (or was) from the north of England.

Black Dogs Defined

This is the best of me; for the rest, I ate, and drank, and slept, loved and hated, like another: my life was as the vapour and is not; but this I saw and knew; this, if anything of mine, is worth your memory.

(John Ruskin, Sesame and Lilies)

Whatever people say I am, that’s what I’m not.

(Alan Sillitoe, Saturday Night and Sunday Morning)

This is my letter to the world, that never wrote to me.

(Emily Dickinson, This is my letter to the world)

Safe upon the solid rock the ugly houses stand:
Come and see my shining palace built upon the sand!

(Edna St. Vincent Millay, Second Fig)

R.A.D. Stainforth

I was born before The Beatles’ first LP and brought up in the reeking slums of Jericho. I am in love with a woman called Hazel and in love with her daughter, also called Hazel, both of whom I met at Alcoholics Anonymous.

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