12 August 2006

impending doom.

There's a mini Luvians reunion tonight. I fear the morning after.

sexy mullet?

We ate Vietnamese food and watched Miami Vice last night. The former was a disappointment, the latter was not. This came as a surprise.

The starters were fantastic - simple soups made with care. The mains, however, could have come from anywhere east of Calcutta and as such fell far short of the high expectations the soup and word-of-mouth had brought for the cuisine. This could have been our fault. Sam and I may have ordered badly. But I think it may have been a case of dumbing down the menu to a tad to get those nervous about trying new cuisine to feel at ease. It's understandable from a commercial standpoint, but frustrating. The result is that Chinese, Thai, Japanese and now Vietnamese blend into one. You've got to be lucky enough to find, or in the know enough to know, the best; those that stay true to their food, with little or no pandering to the nervous westerner. I say this with a small amount of hypocrisy - I'm not a big fan of chicken feet.

Miami Vice was excellent - genuinely gripping and beautifully shot. The love story was difficult to swallow though, looking slightly extraneous. And it's disheartening to see that, even with a mullet and porn star mustache, Colin Farrell can pull.

11 August 2006

Cornwall pics 3 - The Eden Project

I was not terribly keen on seeing giant greenhouses. Horticulture isn't really my thing. Of course I'd read the press - about how amazing everything was and how it was so much more than just a bunch of big bubbles with plants in them. Looking back on it, it was, for the most part, a bunch of big bubbles with plants in them. Which is odd, because I thought it was amazing. And big bubbles with plants in them aren't things I normally find amazing. We spent five hours there.

I've been trying to work out what it was that made it so cool and it's hard. It's probably the most well organised large tourist attraction I've ever been to, so much so that even when it's heaving with people, you don't have to wait long and you don't feel claustrophobic. The queues are short and fast. But that's not it. You don't go to the Bodleian Library to admire the card catalogue. The world's most organised lint exhibition is still going to suck.

I think it's enthusiasm. The whole thing is epic. These aren't just big bubbles, they're the biggest, and they're not just filled with plants - they're filled with a lot of plants. And the people who put them there don't just hug trees, they get to know them. Every aspect of every tree: social, commercial, scientific and cultural, is examined. And the people who have done this, from the directors to the guys emptying the garbage neutral recycling bins, believe in the tree. They believe in all the trees in fact. They've approached the entire thing with such enthusiasm and optimism that it's intoxicating, because the whole thing has been designed to channel that enthusiasm and optimism straight into the hearts and minds of the people wandering around, staggering, awestruck, mumbling that they thought it was just big bubbles with plants. It overwhelms cynicism with a sense of wonder, excitement and hope and lots of plants. I still can't wrap my head around it, but it was wonderful. And you should go there.

Big Bubbles. With plants.

A surprisingly empty flower bed.
They had vines! And this wicked Dionysan ritual, bronzed. They omitted the traditional severed head for the sake of the children, but at least they mentioned that there should be a traditional severed head.

Waterfall. In a big bubble.
This machine was an elaborate piece designed to crack a nut, highlighting something deep and meaningful regarding plants and industry and how far more of the former could be used in the latter. It thought it looked cool.

Oh - and on top of everything, they have awesome concerts - Snow Patrol, Magic Numbers, Goldfrapp. All sold out. Got to get their 2007 schedule. Party in the big bubble, baby.

10 August 2006

Cornwall pics 2 - St. Mawes

We travelled to St. Mawes to have dinner at a posh hotel, but they had no room for us and so we wandered about in the early evening sunshine. It was just after the funeral, and the summertime buzz of sailing, swimming, rowing and life in boundless activity served as an excellent and vivid reminder to live.

There's something about red sails - I don't know what it is, but I'd like a small green boat with red sails. Better sort out a car first though.

Not quite the Shell garage in St Andrews.

What a place to grow up in the summer - hurl yourself into the harbour, swim out to a boat and go for a sail.

Then after your sail, you head home to your thatched cottage where you have a massive pasty for tea and something involving buckets of clotted cream for dessert.

Cornwall pics 1 - Perranporth Beach

Cornwall was sad but wonderful as well. There's something gleefully pagan and wild in the corners and shadows cast by the ubiquitous tourism juggernaut.

Perranporth Beach - very long - I ran the length and back Tuesday morning and am still recovering.

Three pics of the cove on the western end of the beach. They're all kind of the same but I like them, so I'm sharing them

another lego link

Irony and I were chatting and she showed me this, a miracle of Lego engineering.

09 August 2006


I'm back, but I'm tired, and I ate a lot of clotted cream in Cornwall. So I'll post everything tomorrow.

07 August 2006

Go West (but not with The Village People)

I'm off to Cornwall for a funeral. Back Wednesday sometime, though there may be a post beforehand. Who knows?

06 August 2006

Mystery Job

I have been offered a job. I don't know what it is though. I'm a bit taken aback by the whole thing.

Even though I don't have any idea what the whole thing is.

food and music

It's hard to regret a good lunch. The sun sparkled off the river, the fish was fresh, the batter light and crispy, the beer cold. The banter was good - got caught up on the past month and chatted about what the next one has to offer. Sated, my cohort and I sauntered off towards Regent's Park to take in Fruitstock, the Innocent (of smoothie fame) music festival. This was a last minute thing - I didn't even know it was on. Instead of standard music festival lunacy, it was more like 30,000 Londoners decided to have picnic in the same corner of the park. And what a good idea that was, because instead of vans selling minging mystery meat burgers, almost everything was from small, quality, organic food companies. And there was a farmer's market - at a music festival! Pure brilliance - I would say the most brilliant thing ever, but I say that a lot, and it's beginning to wear thin. I wandered around looking longingly at a cornucopia of culinary delights, cursing my full stomach.

As for the music - well, to be honest, it was pretty chilled and I was paying far too much attention to the food. Sadly, full of fish 'n chips, I could only squeeze in a wee chocolate truffle. It was brilliant though.