May 30th, 2004


Big Up Glasses

That's what they call me in these parts. Don't forget it.

Undoubtedly it's this coffee I'm drinking. Cachet seems to be a word I've been using over frequently this week, but it is one that certainly applies to Illy coffee. Now, I don't argue it's a pretty good coffee, but it's retail price (around £3.99 for 250g) generally precludes its purchase. I don't know why it costs this much more. Maybe the website explains, but I assume it's mostly to do with marketing. You get a reusable container, but not a container that's worth the added value. Aside from its impress-your-guests aspects. Oh, Illy... Suffice to say, although 250g is currently retailing for £3.80, the small 125g tin is only £1.10, which works out cheaper than Lavazza or similar. So head to Safeways, specifically the large one halfway up Stamford Hill.

One word of warning to the uninitiated. Illy don't use the vacuum packing common to Italian brands. Since the coffee is in a tin, they instead keep the coffee under pressure. But with what? Nitrous oxide? Argon? Freon? So you don't get that moment of the package breathing in the air around it in a reverse sigh. No, Illy breathes out. Adopt the procedure of cracking the tin open enough to allow the pressure to equalise and then pull the top off. Doing this all in one swift movement wil result in espresso-fine coffee blown over the kitchen. I didn't make this mistake this time around, but I have before.

Sunday morning news on Radio 4 is Broadcasting House. I don't quite get this "no serious news happens on Sunday" way of programming. Anyway, Michael Winner was interviewed this morning. I've been wondering about Winner recently. I've been spotting this series of adverts on the tube with a man who looks like Winner, but too thin and, frankly, more Jewish. It's as if they've done work on his nose. Or more plausibly, that Winner's been having a bit of snip and tuck. Anyway, Michael (a restaurant critic and sometime film director. Did he ever do a film I like? Checks IMDB. No. In fact I reckon he killed off Charles Bronson's career with the Death Wish series) has been slimming of late and has given up his previous "utterly self-satisfying" lifestyle. It is him. Compare and contrast... Okay, so I couldn't find a photo of the slimmer Winner from the adverts.

The tabloid press have been rejoicing over the arrest of Abu Hamza. He's not hard to paint as a pantomime villain, what with his one eye and hook prosthesis, and they take every opportunity to portray him as inhumanly as possible. It helps that he spouts a vile line in dumb-kcuf bullshit. The Professor and Landlady live just down the road from his ex-mosque in Finsbury Park, so I keep an ear open for news. Now, I've zero tolerance for his invective, but his arrest does not please me at all.

If he really does have information that America is so needy of, couldn't they just fly over and ask him? Why does he have to be extradited to the US? He is still a UK citizen, isn't he? Earlier in the week, I had more to say about this, but, like so much of this strand of news currently, it wears me down. Suffice to say, I shall be voting in the fortcoming elections and I don't vote normally. It's safe to assume I shall be voting for none of the following: Labour, Conservative, BNP, Respect, CPGB, UKIP. This leaves the Greens and the Liberal Democrats. Oh dear...

Bin Laden of Britain, my arse. I haven't read the papers yet, because I know my blood will boil, but there is this Observer article to look forward to. Mind you, the unexpected upshot of all this Iraq/Terror/Islam malarkey is that it is making me feel politically engaged again after a fairly long hiatus. There's no one I want to engage myself with, but for once I wish there was. I don't think I'm alone in thinking this the WWII issue of my lifetime. I've never known how I would have reacted in WWII without the gift of foresight. Would I have been a naive Stalin sympathiser? A conscientious objector? I'd have no moral problems fighting in WWII with the knowledge of Nazi policy and actions, but just how aware of them would I have been at that time? It's hard to know how to judge the current picture.

The most important thing to achieve in the short term is to oust both Blair and Bush from their respective positions of power. Once upon a time, I'd think that keeping the worst people in power for as long as possible would encourage the more radical of changes. I've no faith in Kerry, but that Bush clique has to be removed from power. They're stupid and incompetent. They're filling the world with death. Voting for Bush or Blair is voting for death. Voting for Kerry might be voting for a non-entity, but it's defensible in the short term. Everything makes me think that America is just plain ol' incapable of witnessing just how ugly it looks to so much of the world and it really cannot conceive of what it is inviting upon itself. Well, I'm not writing so well this morning, and I'll agree that what is America/what is American/who is America/etc is a complex issue. But, people, you need to wake up and smell yourselves.

I'VE LOST A FRIEND the Nico song that then started playing. I was excited to see that someone had made a Velvet Underground video game. But then I saw it sucked. Why waste a morning programming a Flash game if you only need to play it for two seconds to get the joke. Then again, why not?

That's where I'm off to. Sorry. No time to flesh out the links. Or even explain why my nickname is Big Up Glasses. You'll need to wait on that one. Adios.