Now That’s What I Call Music 42

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Released-  29th March 1999

Music History

Me History

I’m 15. I’m an idiot. While bowling I nick a couple of ciggies off my friend Ben. 16 years later I still haven’t kicked the habit. I have also discovered house parties and cider. That is more forgivable.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were doomed to the inevitable smokers doom, that track would be…  this, with no apologies

Track by Track Breakdown

Boyzone –  “When the Going Gets Tough”

I wasn’t keen on the original on Now 6 or so, and this is worse.

Steps –  “Better Best Forgotten”

Built over an interesting minor key chord progression, that they they try to hide under pop dance tropes. Gives it a slightly elegiac, defeated feel that fits the lyric very well. Surprisingly good!

Cher – “Believe”

And a trend that hasn’t yet stopped (Yeezy, Imma let you be, but I blame you for this), say hello to autotune laid on with a trowel as an instrument. It’s so prevalent today that it’s usage now sounds subtle to 21st century ears.

Steps, Tina Cousins, Cleopatra, B*Witched, Billie Piper – “Thank ABBA for the Music”

An ABBA medley which would be better if it had been performed by, say, ABBA.

Spice Girls“Goodbye”

Cheerio. You probably stayed an album too long. And this sounds suspiciously like Mama

Continue reading Now That’s What I Call Music 42

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Chicken Shawarma (or late night kebab)

I enjoy being drunk. And one of the most enjoyable bits of being drunk, I am sure you’ll agree, is that moment when you throw all dietary caution to the wind, and eat a big kebab. The following morning, however, as gastrointestinal discomfort kicks in, and a faint, stale taste of cigarettes and fading garlic sauce resounds around your mouth, you feel regret, and guilt, for money thrown away on food you only dimly remember through an alcoholic fugue.

Well, what if there were a way around this? What if you could have your elephant leg and eat it? What if you ate a good version, and then got properly drank? I’m here to tell you that you can! And it tastes as good as it does after a number of pints, without ever having to imbibe those pints! NB, you may still imbibe those pints with my blessing.

The trick, unless you fancy building an actual vertical grill, and compressing a huge amount of meat and herbs onto a rotating pole* is to oil it twice as you cook it, creating an effect not dissimilar to the meat stewing in it’s own juices, as it would in your friendly local kebab shop. The result is moist, rich, gently spiced chicken, which will taste delicious in a pitta or naan bread. Salad and polystyrene box optional.

Ingredients

  • 2 Chicken breasts
  • 3 Chicken thighs
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tbsp. paprika
  • 1 tsp. allspice
  • 1 tsp. turmeric
  • 1/2 tsp. garlic powder (or 30ml garlic oil)
  • 1/4 tsp cinnamon
  • salt and pepper
  • olive oil

Method

First up, you want to marinade the meat as much as possible to start. Dice up the meat into small pieces, about 10 per breast, and 6 or 7 per thigh, and put in a bowl. Mix about 70ml of oil with the hefty collection of spices (trust me, they add up to perfect kebab!) and rub this all over the chicken pieces. Cover the bowl, and leave to marinate for anything from 15 minutes to a day, whatever suits your schedule. There are benefits to a long marinade, but less than you think- the spices and oils can only permeate up to about 1/6 inch (2/3cm) in!

Continue reading Chicken Shawarma (or late night kebab)

Three Coins In A Fountain

Another number one. This time by a name everyone knows. It’s not in my top 10 Sinatra songs, but even at his blandest, his voice adds about 50% to any song.

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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Now That’s What I Call Music 41

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Released-  23rd November 1998

Music History

Nothing overly interesting happened, so here are the 10 best albums of the year, according to the NME, with my own grades applied;

1. Mercury Rev – Deserters Songs A+
2. Beastie Boys – Hello Nasty A+++
3. Beck – Mutations B+
4. Air – Moon Safari B-
5. Massive Attack – Mezzanine B+
6. Elliott Smith – Either Or B
7. Pulp – This Is Hardcore B+
8. Royal Trux – Accelerator B-
9. Jurassic 5 – Jurassic 5 A
10. Leila – Like Weather I honestly have no idea!

Me History

I am in two bands. The first, Loose Ends is a pretty solid blues and rock cover band, with a talented guitarist. We get pretty regular pub gigs and they pay us in actual cash! While I begrudge playing the same five chords for 7 minutes during Still Got the Blues, it’s damn good fun. The other, called Cajlerclit is named after the noise our guitarist made when passing out drunk two hours before out debut gig. Said guitarist is now a very talented dub/step/raga/drum and bass DJ under the name Whut? It’s good fun, we almost certainly made a financial loss, but we do a great cover of Tourettes by Nirvana. I am a skinny teenage rock god, except without the godliness.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were doomed to become less than a footnote in rock ‘n’ roll history, that track would be… Gangster Trippin’ by Fatboy Slim. To be honest, it’s the best of a weak bunch, but it is just all of the fun, and has a great video too!

Track by Track Breakdown

 

Boyzone – “No Matter What”

Impartial hat on, this is a very warm little ballad. It’s one flaw? It’s perfect for Stephen Gateley’s sweeter, softer voice, and Ronan Keating’s parts are too strong and lose some of the vulnerable charm of the song.

Robbie Williams – “Millennium”

Yeah, this one’s genuinely great, to the point it’s probably more recognisable than the Bond theme (You Only Live Twice) it samples.

The Beautiful South – Perfect 10

These days, a song like this would launch 100 think pieces about skinny shaming. Which would miss the point of the song entirely, which is funny, witty and open minded.

U2 – “Sweetest Thing”

Maybe I’m just a contrarian, but I like this silly, sweet love song. U2 should allow other members to write more songs.

Culture Club “I Just Wanna Be Loved”

Culture Club break their run of bad singles! While not mind blowing, this is a perfectly enjoyable reggae slowie.

Continue reading Now That’s What I Call Music 41

Sticky Toffee Pork Belly

This is one I’m particularly happy with. Theoretically it’s summer, though having gotten drenched on my way to the corner shop makes me doubt this somewhat… so what better time than to face down the weather gods and say ‘I’m having a barbecue this weekend’.

The day we cooked this, there was a full blown storm in the morning, but the fates smiled on us, and gave us some good weather in the afternoon!

Anyway, the recipe itself was delicious, sweet, rich,  and with a hint of Chinese flavour. You need to do the prep work the day before, but please trust me on this, it’s worth every moment of time at the end.

Finally, the barbecue was great, and the first team up on this blog! I did the prep work the night before, but on the day, the undisputed King o’ the Grill, my Dad, did the BBQ’ing. For those who weren’t there, it was like the first issue of World’s Finest Comics, with me as Clark Kent, and Antipathti Sr as Bruce Wayne.

image

Ingredients

1kg pork belly
2 pints chicken, or other light stock (we used rabbit)
100ml treacle
200g soft brown sugar
1 tbsp five spice powder
1 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp mustard seeds
10 black peppercorns

Method

In a large cooking pot, add all the ingredients, save for the pork, bring to the boil and stir together.

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Now That’s What I Call Music 40

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Released-  3rd August 1998

Music History

A quiet couple of months, really. The Eurovision Song Contest happens in Birmingham (woop!) and is won by Dana International, and Israeli transsexual (woop woop!). Lauryn Hill destroys the competition with the sublime Misseducation of Lauryn Hill, and presumably stops paying tax. Linda McCartney, and Frank Sinatra pass away, so not A Very Good Year for him…

Me History

I’ve kissed a girl! Take that universe! I mean, it’s also meant that I’ve had to see Titanic several times, but frankly, 14 year old Ben is willing to pay that price. It’s summer again, and when I return to school, I will be doing GCSE’s. Damn, I’m nearly an adult ‘n’ stuff.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were to kept inside at lunchtime for all eternity, that track would be…  Teardrop by Massive Attack, because it’s actually brain meltingly beautiful. Although K-Ci & JoJo came alarmingly close.

Track by Track Breakdown

 

John Travolta & Olivia Newton-John“The Grease Megamix”

I have no idea why a Megamix of songs from a 70’s musical (set in the 50’s) is on a compilation in 1998. What the flip? Not that it’s bad. Who doesn’t love Grease? I worked for someone who liked Grease 2!

Spice Girls – “Viva Forever”

The end approaches, and you can sadly feel it in the quality of the music.

Karen Ramirez –  “Looking for Love”

Sounds suspiciously like Everything But The Girl’s big hit from a couple of summers before. Luckily it’s a formula that works.

Billie –  “Because We Want To”

If any overseas readers wondered why English people were so concerned about Doctor Who relaunching, it essentially boils down to this song. Infectious and silly, but she was a much better Rose Tyler than she ever was a pop star!

All Saints – “Lady Marmalade”

The better cover version with Missy Elliot comes out in a year or so. This one’s better left alone.

Mousse T. vs. Hot ‘N’ Juicy“Horny ’98”

I remain unsure if there’s anything more to this song than a moronic peurility.

Continue reading Now That’s What I Call Music 40

15 Minute Mexican Chicken

So, like everybody else with a kitchen an a bookshelf, I have copies of Jamie Oliver’s 15 Minute Meals, and of course 30 Minute Meals. Like every other human being, I too feel they should be called 60 Minute Meals and 30 Minute Meals, as he appears to have mistaken human beings for unstoppable cooking machines. And he leaves out the time it takes for you to go into a cupboard, set the damned food processor up, wrestle with a stiff cooking accessory drawer, rifle through and find the weird thing you bought, used once, and cannot remember the purpose of.

My little hissy fit aside, they are both pretty great- and some of the ideas he has to speed up your cookery are invaluable! The main thing here is to flatten the chicken with a meat tenderiser. This is one of those hammers which are used to punish meat. Why they aren’t just called meathammers is a mystery to me. And if not, why is there no metal band called Meäthämmër?

I have also realised, since writing most of this last week, that there IS actually a Mexican recipe, if not in the book (I haven’t checked), then certainly in the series of 15 Minute Meals, as it came on at the weekend, causing much swearing and sulking, as I thought I had done this completely independently. His is for a sandwich, whereas mine is for a dinner, so I’m still putting it up here.

Ingredients

NB- You need a meat tenderiser (or a rolling pin. Anything heavy and whacky)

  • 2 chicken breasts
  • 2 limes
  • 1 tbsp. coriander
  • 1 tbsp. cumin
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • White rice
  • Sweetcorn
  • 1-2 tbsp. tomato puree
  • 2 very ripe avocadoes (avocados? avocadii?)
  • Chilli flakes

Method

Put enough rice to make a decent side on boil. Keep an eye on it as you go, but it mostly looks after itself.

Get the breast fillets, and beat them till they’re about 1cm thick. This way, they’ll cook quickly. Sprinkle over the coriander, cumin and paprika.

Continue reading 15 Minute Mexican Chicken

Little Things Mean A Lot

Ostensibly I’m on a week off, hence the lack of posts this week. But I couldn’t resist a quick listen to the next number one, and I’m very glad I did. It’s a gentle, sweet, romantic blighter, and one of my favourites so far.

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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Minister No More!

I am proud to share both a continent and a blogging platform with this man. Would that the UK had more principled, decent and honourable politicians like this.

Maybe on Wednesday, we can say OXI too.

Yanis Varoufakis

The referendum of 5th July will stay in history as a unique moment when a small European nation rose up against debt-bondage.

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Now That’s What I Call Music 39

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Released-  6th April 1998

Music History

The first mp3 player is launched at a trade fair in Germany. But we all have a Discman already guys, it’ll never catch on. Also, George Michael gets arrested for lewd conduct in a public restroom. We’ve all moved on a long way since then, especially George, who is far more likely to plow his car into a public restroom these days.

Me History

I’m 13, a full blown teenager. I am hopelessly lazy at school, muddling by with the least effort possible, and getting a shed load of detentions. I would slap me if I met me now. However, the 500 word essay of the title, Describe the inside of a ping pong ball was at least amusing.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were to kept inside at lunchtime for all eternity, that track would be…  Never Ever, after a long and fractious argument with my credibility. Honourable mentions aplenty, Cornershop, Run-D.M.C, Wildchild, Pulp, Radiohead, Steps.

Track by Track Breakdown

 

All Saints – “Never Ever”

Just beautifully constructed, and somehow earnest and painful. The spoken word intro should be painfully embarrassing, but they pull it off. Best opening track for a good while.

Lighthouse Family –  “High”

Same same. But different. They actually appear to have put together a whole song! It’s not great, but I don’t want to take a pencil to my temple. Big win by their standards!

Janet Jackson – “Together Again”

Pleasant and summery, but sounds far more dated than its 18 years, with its basic house unoriginality.

Spice Girls  –  “Stop”

Given that 18 years on, I still
know the dance routine for the chorus, I’m not sure I have any right to criticise.

Natalie Imbruglia – “Torn”

This track was hideously ubiquitous at the time. It’s likeable enough pop rock from a former Neighbours star, but it doesn’t survive the billionth listen.

Billie Myers –  “Kiss the Rain”

Am I get soft in my old age, or is this actually rather touching and sad. I hope it’s the former…

Continue reading Now That’s What I Call Music 39