Kurt Vonnegut Kickstarter

I don’t know if this will have any effect at all, but here goes, anyway.

Kurt Vonnegut is one of the greatest writers who ever put ink to paper, but you probably knew that, as you’re looking at this. To me, at least, his writing speaks in something similar to the internal voice in my head, and makes me feel less weird because somebody else is too. Except his internal voices are funnier, cleverer and kinder than mine have ever been.

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Honestly. If you have never read Slaughterhouse 5 It should be essential reading, and once you’ve read that, I challenge you not to read Breakfast of Champions, Timequake and Cat’s Cradle, all of which are wonderful. You will want to read every

Anyway. The award winning filmmaker, Robert Weide filmed a lot of footage with Kurt Vonnegut, but at the time of his death (so it goes), it had never been completed. As this is somewhat of a niche project, it’s a little short on funding, he’s got a Kickstarter set up to raise the $250,000 needed to get this film out there.

At the time of writing, it needs $50,000 to cross the line, with a week or so to go. The rewards are great- at the low end you can get the film and lovely items from the Kurt Vonnegut museum, and if (unlike me) you’re pretty, pret-tay rich, you could even spend some time with Seinfeld and Curb Your Enthusiasm creator, Larry David, at his sold out Broadway show.

So in short, please chuck a few quid their way. If only because I’d love to see this. Po tee weet?

I urge you to please notice when you are happy, and exclaim or murmur or think at some point, ‘If this isn’t nice, I don’t know what is.’ – Kurt Vonnegut

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Now That’s What I Call Music 23

Now 23
Released- 16th November 1992

Music History

These were the top ten albums of the year, according to besteveralbums. Graded according to me.

  1. R.E.M. – Automatic for the People – B
  2. Rage Against the Machine – Rage Against the Machine – A+
  3. Pavement – Slanted & Enchanted – A
  4. Alice in Chains – Dirt – C
  5. Tori Amos – Little Earthquakes – B+
  6. Dr. Dre – The Chronic – A
  7. Faith No More – Angel Dust – B-
  8. Sublime – 40 Oz. To Freedom – D
  9. Sonic Youth – Dirty – C-
  10. Beastie Boys – Check Your Head – A

Me History

I’m at an age where I’m just about getting into music. I distinctly remember being at my local leisure center swimming with my friends and being excited because the terrible Nintendo dance mixes were being played… I also remember people having Take That pencil cases. In much the same manner as there appear to be a lot of 1D ones in this day and age.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were given the kiss of death that is recognition by the Brit Awards, that track would be… People Everyday by Arrested Development. While it fails to tell the story of the Bluth family, and how their son kept them together, it’s still a cracking song.

Track by Track Breakdown

Tasmin Archer – “Sleeping Satellite”

Brilliant song. Part of a wave of brilliant female led songs around this time (see also Tori Amos, Bikini Kill, Sheryl Crow, the whole Riot Grrl scene) and a cracking song itself, by turns moody, catchy and a bit mad. Sadly, thanks to Harry Hill, I still think her name is Tasmin Archer Badger.

Jon Secada – “Just Another Day”

Somewhere beneath the inanely polished platitudes and production, are some hints of a potentially interesting song. You’d have to sift through a lot of crap to find it though.

Charles & Eddie – “Would I Lie To You?”

It’s nice, unthreatening and has an earworm of a chorus. Do I love it? No. Am I singing along? Course I am.

Was (Not Was) – “Shake Your Head”

Quirky synth noises and a fun vocal save this from dance pop mediocrity. Punches above its musical weight.

Bob Marley & The Wailers  – “Iron Lion Zion”

I think, about 12 years ago, there was an article about the most overrated artists of all time. The argument for Bob Marley being overrated was that his lyrics were so shit it’s only because he lacked the intelligence that this song neglected to mention his friend Brian, who has a tie on. The charge sticks.

Go West – “Faithful”

Turgid faux soul terribleness. A lounge singer and over production. Like reeating warm sick.

George Michael –  “Too Funky”

George Michael overestimated this one by a degree. Mildly funky. May contain traces of groove. Not a bad song, but I was sold on more by the title.

Arrested Development“People Everyday”

From the use of the gorgeous Sly and the Family Stone chorus, to the melodic and self effacing rap, there is nothing to dislike about this song.

Simply Red – “For Your Babies”

Simply Red have done far better from these reviews than I ever anticipated. Sadly, this is more what I had expected, an insipid and dull ballad undeserving of further attention.

Erma Franklin  – “(Take a Little) Piece of My Heart”

Sometimes corporate advertising does something great in spite of itself, like introducing this song to a new generation. Is Janis Joplin’s version better. I have fought this over in my mind for years. Joplin’s has raw anguish, this has a subtler charm. Still cannot decide.

Brian May – “Too Much Love Will Kill You”

Before I get harsh, I’d like to say that this is a beautiful song, and Brian May is a cracking singer. But a song with this title, less than a year after Freddie Mercury died of a terrifying sexually transmitted disease? Kind of a dick move.

Simple Minds  – “Alive and Kicking”

Builds anticipation brilliantly, which is then deflated by a chorus that falls flat. Another 10 minutes in the oven and they’d have had a great song…

John Lee Hooker –  “Boom Boom”

Classic blues stomper from one of the most hard touring musicians ever. Prefer the more soulful and grubby original, but any version is a joy.

Billy Ray Cyrus“Achy Breaky Heart”

Bill Hicks can fill in for me here.

Little Angels – “Too Much Too Young”

So clichéd you worry that they were trying to make Spinal Tap 2- The Tappening. Except without jokes.

Richard Marx  –  “Take This Heart”

We’re two years out of the 80’s now. Like a piece of 80’s camenbert that has been left out since the decade changed over, this stinks. At list Richard Marx is consistent in his banal rubbishness!

Genesis – “Jesus He Knows Me”

The song itself is dated, even by 1992 standards, and not the best thing Genesis ever did. But the subject matter, of corrupt televangelists, saves it from being completely ignorable. And it has Phil Collins in a deliberately bad wig in the video, for the lulz.

INXS – “Baby Don’t Cry”

Everyone blames drugs and his lifestyle for Michael Hutchence’s suicide, but frankly I reckon he listened back to some of the turgid crap they released and thought ‘I’ll take the way of the dishonoured samurai… while gratifying my baser urges’

Crowded House –  “It’s Only Natural”

Lovely summery 60’s pop, this time with a good chorus! If you really wanted to complain, you could suggest it has been over covered by hideous sensitive boys with acoustic guitars at open mic nights across the land.

Erasure“Who Needs Love Like That” (Hamburg Mix)

Erasure. So good that a bad Atari ST backing track can’t do them over. Na’am se’en?

The Shamen – “Ebeneezer Goode”

It truly is refined, it’s sublime, it makes you feel fine, it’s very much maligned and misunderstood. Got any dance classics about MDMA? Laaahvley!

Rage –  “Run to You”

Anyone up for a house version of Bryan Adams?

Anyone?

That’s what I thought.

Bizarre Inc featuring Angie Brown  – “I’m Gonna Get You

They threw everything into this track, but it comes out a hodgepodge of okay ideas, and little more than that.

Heaven 17  – “Temptation”

Thankfully, the urge to denies is fairly restrained in this remix, and while inferior, it’s leaves enough of the original it’s still a pleasure.

East 17  – “House of Love”

Two 17 bands in a row? Well done compilation sequencers! Named after the postcode for Walthamstow, before it was fashionable. Actually a great slice of pumping pop rap, about climate change! Years ahead of their time!

The Farm – “Don’t You Want Me”

It’s a very inferior cover. But the Human League’s original is so good it still comes up smelling of roses. The Farm really need to hire a singer who can sing notes and stuff though.

Undercover – “Never Let Her Slip Away”

Trite and cloying. Almost pulls it off with a strong hook, but never quite gets there.

Doctor Spin – “Tetris”

You didn’t realise you needed a pounding dance version of the music from the most addictive game ever until you did. Possibly the most earwormy tune ever.

Ambassadors of Funk and MC Mario – “Supermarioland”

Another good themed double tracker- more remixed Nintendo music! The rap is deeply unnecessary with Koji Kondo’s brilliant score for the games carrying the load. There’s an argument, to my mind, that Kondo is one of the greatest composers of the modern age- like Shostakovic or Cage, creating amazing music while working in tight constraints, in this case 8-bit chipset music.

Roxette  – “How Do You Do!”

Yucky and ever so slightly creepy. Actually really quite horrible.

ABBA  – “Dancing Queen”

Is it really necessary to review this? You’ve been to a wedding before, right? It is ABBA, it is a perfectly constructed pop song, you know this already. If you’ve never seen the film Muriel’s Wedding, it uses this song, and the music of ABBA in general brilliantly, and is an Aussie classic.

Björn Again – “A Little Respect”

Double ABBA whammy? This sequencer is on fire! Three entertaining double bills on one album! Covering Erasure in the style of ABBA should be a no brainer. Sticking it immediately after ABBA just shows it up though. You can’t emulate that level of brilliance.

Vanessa Paradis  – “Be My Baby”

Lovely slice of remarkably faithful late 60’s faux Motown. The bells are an especially nice touch. Enjoyed, despite my cynicism.

Betty Boo – “Let Me Take You There”

Summery and pleasant, and proof that a good amount of enthusiasm cam paper over a defect of talent. A scrappy joy.

Sophie B. Hawkins – “Damn I Wish I Was Your Lover”

It’s a great title. Really. But I remembered the title, but forgot the song. Some great lyrics, let down by pretty boring music. But again. Brilliant title.

Peter Gabriel – “Digging in the Dirt”

I feel like half of Peter Gabriel’s singles exist as a means of saying, that’s how it’s done Phil Collins. I am better than you. Great bit of low end sleaze funk.

Enya – “Book of Days”

It’s Enya. It sounds the same as the other Enya ones. Background music for people who hate music.

Roy Orbison & k.d. lang“Crying”

Lacks the emotional gut punch of Mr Orbison original, but an amazing song remains an amazing song. Has k.d. lang always had her name written all lowercase like e.e.cummings? I’ve only just noticed this.

Freddie Mercury & Montserrat Caballé –  “Barcelona”

Not even close to the best song he was involved in, but the fact that he can hold his own against an opera singer shows you the sheer power of his voice. The contrast with Monserrat Caballe actually lends Freddie’s normally brash, powerful voice a degree of vulnerability that isn’t normally there.

If this sounds familiar, it’s because this track was already on Now 10, and frankly with around 3,500 songs to work through, I’ll be buggered if I can be bothered to write anything new!

Final verdict

22 out of 39, or 56%. A run of average Now albums of late, not filling me with hope for this decade…

This article is part of a series, chronicling a foolish attempt to chronicle the history of modern pop, through the Now That’s What I Call Music series. All the previous articles, and some other fun stuff, can be found here.

More One Tweet Recipes… #twecipes?

So I thought I’d return to a post from a few months ago. I still like the idea of recipes using 140 characters or less, in part because I’m lazy, and also because minimalism is cool.

These generally stem from a fridge full of half used ingredients, and five minutes thought, and at their best (try the warm chorizo and mackerel salad) can be better and tastier than a big, involved recipe.

As before, I would love to see other people’s twecipes, so please do hit me up! There’s a sidebar on here with my Twitter stuffs on it!

And a recipe, not of my own, for sweet and salty popcorn. Mainly because I am absolutely loving that this delicious snack is turning up in more and more supermarkets. Here’s a way to enjoy it without some hideous preservative clogging up your body.

This is the aforementioned warm salad. I was too busy eating it to snap a picture, which is a shame, as it is also probably the most aesthetically pleasing of the twecipes.

Finally, a very lazy breakfast. Very lazy and very tasty. And posted accidentally on my personal account, which I usually use to rage at the terrible service on the trains. I am that petty…

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Monday Mixtape – Miscellania

Happy Monday!

Today’s mixtape is just a bunch of stuff I’ve enjoyed in the last few weeks. No overarching theme, nothing big and clever, just some music I’m currently enjoying. In the interests of full disclosure, I got some of this music as payment for a little work I did, from a friend at Fat Cat Records, who frankly, I’d have done it for for free (both the label and the friend!).

Firstly, last night’s Oscars had my favourite song of last year performed live. You go, rapping Andy Samberg.

Next up, some Hot Chip, who are back again, still great, and still charmingly odd as ever.

And here is some Tal National, a Malian band that I know next to nothing about, but damn they are good.

And as I’ve listened to is a stupid amount over the last week, here is SL2, as I’m obsessed. I’m listening to 1992 music at the moment as part of The Now Project, my ambitious (read as stupid) plan to listen to, and review, every UK Now That’s What I Call Music album. I’m up to Now 22, and there are 90 to get through. Please feel free to have a click through and examine the idiocy of a man unperturbed by pointlessness.

And finally, Blur are back! With Graham Coxon, so actual Blur, not a Damon Albarn vanity project! I am rather happy about this.

 

 

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Broken Wings

Another Sunday, another number one, and another hangover. Steve, the author of these original posts wasn’t a fan of this one. I must disagree. It is a maudlin and very depressing song, true, but I like a little gloominess, and the organ backing sounds as though it may have come from a creepy fair where teenagers go missing with alarming regularity. What’s not to love?

Talk About Pop Music

I have a playlist that contains every UK number one song since charts began in 1952. Thanks to EveryHit, this is a fairly simple process. Let’s remind ourselves of these songs.

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I Love Brum – Victoria Square Fine Food Market, and a slow cooked Moroccan Lamb Stew

So, it’s been about three months since I last did one of these. Still loving Birmingham, just haven’t had a hook I know enough about to write about it. It occurred to me yesterday, that despite shopping here every Wednesday, I haven’t mentioned the city centre food market that comes very close to my workplace every second Wednesday.

Anyway, I have a few stands I really like, and a couple of them were there yesterday, and a few I’ve yet to enjoy, in spite of my intentions. If you’re ever in town, it’s here on the 1st and 3rd Wednesday of every month, and you can pick up a great lunch and a coffee for less than a fiver. The somewhat limited council website is here, if you need to find it.

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First up, All Terrain Caffeine is essentially a 4×4 vehicle, serving really good coffee. I had a nice chat with the chap who runs it, and he is passionate about sourcing good coffee, and the blend he uses, a mix of Brazilian and Vietnamese coffee is a pleasantly smooth cup of coffee, with a lovely bitter kick at the end.

There is talk of a ‘third wave’ of coffee shops, with the first wave being your bog standard, polystyrene cup affairs that you will remember fondly if you’re of an age similar to mine, the second wave being your Starbucks, Costa, Nero etc which actually have the decency to serve coffee, and this wave being coffee sellers who know the provenance of their beans, and source coffee they’re passionate about, care about the brewing methodology, and are dedicated to getting the best possible cup o’ Joe in your hands at the end. I can happily say ATC falls firmly in this last camp. This you ever need a coffee stand to meet you in the wilderness, you can book them, or find their whereabouts here!

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Before I wax lyrical about any of the others, I can happily add you can get great West Indian food, ostrich burgers, Mexican, and all sorts of other things here. They had live food demonstrations during the day (they were demonstrating how to store cooked mushrooms without them turning to slimy mush while I was there- useful to some, I just eat the things!), and some local music acts playing too.

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The other stand, which I come back to each time I’m here, is Woodhouse Farm, a Leicestershire farm, that deals mainly in pork, but does very nice and very reasonably priced meat of most kinds. Their black pudding is a thing of beauty, and on Wednesday I picked up a tasty leg of lamb- more on which follows this bit!

They also serve up a bit of classic English cuisine, which I have cooked and mentioned before, the faggot. It’s a meatball made of pork shoulder, sweetbreads and spices, and is my strongest argument against the rest of Europe’s belief that English food is rubbish. If you can obtain these, even the frozen supermarket variety (charmingly names ‘Mr Brains’) I strongly recommend them, with peas and mash.

They also give you a more than generous filling in their pulled pork rolls, and while I’ve been paid nothing to blog about this, food this tasty almost counts as a bribe in itself!

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You can order online from them, if central Birmingham is a bit of a trek, from their website, here.

Anyways- if you’re down this way, it’s well worth a visit, and I’ll be back there in a fortnight to further expand my waistline!

I mentioned above that I’d say what I did with my leg of lamb, and here is a ridiculously easy slow cooker recipe.

Slow Cooker Moroccan Lamb Stew

I’d call it a tagine, but then you’d think you might need a tagine, which is a stupid purchase, as you’ll only ever use the thing twice a year. Apologies if you do own one. I’m sure you enjoy using it… twice a year.

Anyway, this takes 10 minutes prep the night before, or in the morning, and maybe another 10 in the evening. Really simple, and this is a real 20 minutes, not a Jamie Oliver 20 minutes…

Ingredients

  • 500g lamb leg (bone in)
  • 2 sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 400g tin tomatoes
  • 200ml lamb stock
  • cumin
  • coriander
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 3-4 cardamom pods
  • Salt and pepper to taste

In the evening

  • 150g Cous Cous
  • A handful of dates, finely chopped
  • Another 200ml lamb stock

Method

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Put all the sweet potato, spices, stock and tomatoes in the slow cooker. Give it a good stir. Quickly seal the lamb in a hot pan with a little oil, and add to the slow cooker. Put the lid on, stick it on low, and go to work.

Here is a poem, by Philip Larkin, on the subject of work (warning- contains some strong language)

Morning, noon & bloody night,
Seven sodding days a week,
I slave at filthy WORK, that might
Be done by any book-drunk freak.
This goes on until I kick the bucket.
FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT FUCK IT

Good, isn’t it!

Anyway, get home from work, turn the slow cooker off, and remove the lamb with a couple of forks. Pull the tender meat apart, removing the fat and the bone, and return the lamb to the pot, putting the lid back on to keep the heat in.

In a bowl, add your cous cous, and pour over the remaining hot stock. Cover for 3 minutes or so, then stir in the diced dates, fluffing the cous cous as you go.

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Serve and eat.

 

Now That’s What I Call Music 22

22

Released- 27th July 1992

Music History

Let’s see… Ice T releases the charmingly titled Cop Killer, which gives the Daily Mail something to do for a few weeks, David Bowie gets married again, and Guns ‘n’ Roses release November Rain notable for having the most hilariously overblown video of all time. I include this for your amusement.

Me History

I have discovered football. At the moment it appears as if I can choose side to support, and I’m flirting with the idea of supporting Newcastle United or Manchester United. This will continue for about 5 years, allowing me to enjoy the Cantona era, before I give in to the drudgery, dissapointment and majesty of my Dad’s team, Millwall. I also have a sticker album with Gary Lineker given the nickname Gary Glitter, which has become hugely inappropriate in the ensuing years…

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were reduced down to make cracker toys, that track would be…  On a Ragga Tip by SL2 because AY BADAY BAWALLA DI DAY.

Track by Track Breakdown

Erasure“Take a Chance On Me”

You know you can’t outdo Abba. But Abba could never have gotten away with pumping synths and a Ragga breakdown, so it gets away with it by boldness and/or sheer stupidity.

CeCe Peniston – “Finally”

Absolutely a classic. Also impressively timeless. Could have been a JBs spin off in the 70’s, or a Mark Ronson track from last week. Isn’t either of those, it’s just a great soul track.

KWS – “Please Don’t Go”

The sum of it’s parts, essentially a poor 80’s ballad over a dance beat is transcended by a vocal that conveys vulnerability and hurt and actually makes it quite good!

Take That – “It Only Takes a Minute”

Who they? Starting as they mean to go on (save for the whole five members thing), an unimpeachable pop song from Manchester ‘s least clever musical export…

Nick Berry – “Heartbeat”

Deeply average cover of a Buddy Holly classic, for the deeply average TV show that still seems to be repeated ad infinitum.

Snap – “Rhythm Is a Dancer”

Dance pop classic. I can’t help but remember the godawful line I’m as serious as cancer being rhymed with the title… this led to the alternative lyric It will make you lose your hair in the chorus. Slight sense of shame there.

Utah Saints“Something Good”

Hyperactive ADD music. I love it, especially the filter that makes it sound like the vocal is being forced through a seive.

The Cure – “Friday I’m In Love”

The Cure are a great pop band. It’s their serious po faced stuff that costs them. This is a joy, and probably their best since The Lovecats. Comparitively, A Forest or Camus referencing Killing an Arab are joyless affairs.

Marc Almond  – “The Days of Pearly Spencer”

Tonally interesting when compared to the rest of the album with its soaring strings and country twang, but as a song, fairly pedestrian.

The Beautiful South – “Bell Bottomed Tear”

It’s not terrible by any stretch, but it’s too countrified for my tastes. Probably the weakest song they’ve done as yet.

Prince – “Thunder”

Not as strong as at his peak. But a great companion to When Doves Cry nonetheless. I love it when he makes a choir out of his voice, and a great break beat at the back of it all. 2good2btrue, as he himself might say.

U2 – “Even Better Than The Real Thing” (Paul Oakenfold Remix)

At last, one of U2’s better songs! Okay, it’s not One or Sunday Bloody Sunday, but I didn’t wish a cycling accident on Bono for making my ears hear it!

The Shamen – “L.S.I.”

A scruffy mess, but much like this author, just about pulls it off, I hope! It stands for Love Sex Intelligence by the way, which despite the vocal line trying to explain it to me, makes no sense at all!

Electronic – “Disappointed”

You can’t say you weren’t warned in the title. The best bits of New Order, Pet Shop Boys and The Smiths combine to create so much less than the sum of their parts.

Shakespears Sister  – “I Don’t Care”

Probably their weakest single yet. Still one of the best songs on this record. Slightly stage musical sounding, and corking fun.

Carter The Unstoppable Sex Machine –  “Do Re Me, So Far So Good”

Great song from a a band who had more than a few. If you don’t know them, a cursory look at their song titles should sell you. The Only Living Boy in New Cross, Bloodsport for All and the above all shining examples of a silly wit that is irresistible. Have a good time. All the time.

Ugly Kid Joe –   “Everything About You”

Maybe it’s just that I’m a grumpy sod, but it’s nice to hear a song this negative once in a while. Especially when it’s done with a sense of fun, like this is.

SL2“On a Ragga Tip”

The next time you’re in a bad mood, find a room to yourself, put this record on and dance around like a massive prat. Better than prozac.

The Orb   – “Blue Room”

A first for Now! A nice bit of post club stoner dance music. Not great when sober, but pleasantly dubby and meandering.

Richard Marx –“Hazard”

Everyone picks on Zeppo, but clearly Richard is the worst Marx brother? This is his best song, and at best it could be described as plodding.

Elton John – “The One”

Dull. The good news is he’s only a couple of years away from a slight return to form. The bad news is its brief and a few years after that he hits a really big low.

Roy Orbison – “I Drove All Night”

A gorgeous classic that some divot has posthumously ruined by putting really shitty instrumentation beneath. Whoever produced this version should be pegged to a beach as the tide rolls in.

Jimmy Nail  – “Ain’t No Doubt”

Entertaining song. The hilarious was he deadpan the phrase ‘she’s lying’ makes me think he should be bundled with every polygraph machine ever sold.

Joe Cocker – “Unchain My Heart”

Unnecessary rerecorded version that adds a ton of extra bells and whistles, but removes the soul of the original. A spayed dissapointment.

Curtis Stigers – “You’re All That Matters to Me”

Old fashioned, and somewhat promising. Let down by a limited and uninteresting chorus. A strong chorus would have made it a great song.

Wilson Phillips – “You Won’t See My Cry”

It’s not for me, but credit where it’s due, Wilson Phillips has this generic soul ballad game locked down.

Crowded House   – “Four Seasons in One Day”

Lovely, analogue warm, Beatlesy verses, let down by a jarring, dull chorus. Half of a brilliant song.

Annie Lennox  –  “Why”

Annie Lennox hits her second creative peak here, with a very sad, but truly lovely song. The arty clever cleverness of The Eurythmics gone, you can see the real songwriting talent at last.

George Michael & Elton John – “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me”

First Electronic, then this. 1992 appears to be the year of crap collaboration. Horrible song from two artists capable of much more than this.

Diana Ross  – “One Shining Moment”

An improvement on her last single, but still a waste of a talented artist, deserving of much better than makeweight ballads.

Vanessa Williams – “Save the Best for Last”

I can only associate this song with Nescafe Gold Blend. Similarly bland, and will leave you aching for something a little less processed and a little more sophisticated. This review is brought to you by Waitrose Own Blend single origin Javan filter coffee.

En Vogue – “My Lovin’ (You’re Never Gonna Get It)”

Yes. Just yes. Funky as all hell. So much attitude and funk, it’s a wonder George Clinton, Prince and James Brown don’t turn up on the Funkadelic Mothership.

Soul II Soul“Joy”

Clearly a miscommunication here. Not joy, Boredom.

Incognito – “Don’t You Worry ‘Bout a Thing”

Why not take a crap all over one of Stevie Wonder’s best songs? It’s not like he’ll see you! Horrible end to a good record.

Final verdict

18.5 from a possible 34. A meagre 54%, but it does have On a Ragga Tip, so lets not be hasty with the pitchforks. a lot of disappointing efforts from established acts, though.

This article is part of a series, chronicling a foolish attempt to chronicle the history of modern pop, through the Now That’s What I Call Music series. All the previous articles, and some other fun stuff, can be found here.

Squash and fennel lasagne

Another lasagne recipe! And another from Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall’s Veg. This is, in short, the creamiest lasagne ever, and the unctuous nature hides the lack of meat spectacularly.

I made some tweaks to make it friendly to a fodmap diet, but no concessions on flavour. If you do have issues with IBS, it might be helpful to know you can eat low sugar, aged white cheeses like Stilton or mozzarella, but not the higher sugar, young cheeses, like supermarket goat and feta cheese.

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Ingredients

  • 1kg butternut squash
  • 3 bulbs fennel
  • 150g GF lasagne sheets
  • 150g Stilton or other crumbly blue cheese
  • 50g parmesan
  • 750ml whole milk
  • 50g butter
  • 50g flour
  • 1 tsp dijon or wholegrain mustard
  • Thyme
  • Turmeric
  • Bay leaf
  • Garlic oil

Method

First, cut the squash into roughly 1 inch cubes, and roast them, dressed in the thyme (and any other woody herbs that survive cooking) and a few spoons of garlic oil, in an oven at around 180c for around half an hour.

Then in a saucepan, heat the milk, with the bay leaf added to a simmer and allow it to remain there for a couple of minutes. Remove from the heat, and let it sit there infusing.

While this cooks, sauté the chopped up fennel in a frying pan over a low heat for about 15 minutes, until they look collapsed and lazy, adding a little turmeric about halfway.

Now, make the Bechamel sauce. Melt the butter and add the flour, bit by bit, to make a roux. A roux is essentially a floury, buttery, soft but even lump. Go slow- it’s inexact and you may not need all the flour.

Once this is made, add the milk in 5 or so goes, stirring in the milk till it’s evenly coloured. Bring to the boil then simmer, stirring pretty much constantly till it has a creamy consistency. Stir in the mustard.

In an ovenproof dish, put in a layer of lasagne sheets, add the roasted squash, crumble over a third of the Stilton, grate over a hire of the parmesan and pour over a third of the Bechamel sauce.

Add another layer of pasta. Add the fennel and repeat with another third of the toppings. Add another layer of sheets and add the remaining cheese and sauce.

Put in the oven at 180c for 30-40 minutes until golden, remove from the oven then allow to sit for 5 minutes before slicing and eating.

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Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

She Wears Red Feathers

The observant amongst you may notice this is a day late. This is due to a birthday hangover, for which I would apologise bit won’t! Enjoy another cracking post from nowthisiswhatiwouldcallmusic.com

Talk About Pop Music

I have a playlist that contains every UK number one song since charts began in 1952. Thanks to EveryHit, this is a fairly simple process. Let’s remind ourselves of these songs.

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Monday Mixtape – Everything I know I learned from TV

Good Monday!

I’ll keep the into short, as it was my birthday at the weekend, and I remain a little sore headed from the festivities. Today’s theme, as suggested by one of the M4 crew, Naila Moon, is TV show themes that have become top 40 hits.

I hope that I can claim successfully that I have both the greatest, and worst to fall within this category, and so, without further ado, here is the very worst TV has to offer.

It’s the 30th Anniversary for Eastenders this week. For those of you not lucky enough to hail from the UK, it’s a soap opera, set in the fictional London borough of Walford. In 1986, Anita Dobson (now the wife of Brian May, Queen’s guitarist, and badger bothering astronomer) who played Angie Watts in the show released this wonderful single, which involved stringing some terrible lyrics over the show’s theme tune. It reached no.4 in the UK, and this is why we aren’t allowed nice things.

Next up, and slightly more credible, are the Manic Street Preachers, performing the Theme From MASH, the bleakly funny Suicide is Painless. This was a number 7 hit back in 1992!

Next up is The Archies, and Sugar Sugar. Possibly the defining bubblegum pop hit, and the theme to The Archie Show. This was a number one on both sides of the Atlantic in 1969, and is still an infectious joy to this day, even at 46 years of age!

Here’s another one sneaking through on a technicality. While Delia Derbyshire’s iconic original theme never charted, the Doctor Who theme is probably one of the most recognisable in TV history. Luckily, dance anarchists The KLF recorded a glam rock cover of it under the pseudonym The Timelords, and scored a UK number one in 1988.

And finally, a track that fails, by 18 chart places, to qualify for today’s criteria, reaching number 58 in 1984. However, it is the greatest TV theme of all time, which I think allows it some leeway. At once maudlin and triumphant, and opening what may still be the greatest ‘old fashioned’ sitcom America ever produced, here is Gary Portnoy’s truly wonderful, Where Everybody Knows Your Name.

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