Hernando’s Hideaway

¡Ole! Una numero uno mas. This is actually my favourite for weeks. I think it’s been sampled on a DJ Shadow mix. Possibly Brainfreeze.

Regardless, it’s a fantastically groove laden tango. If I weren’t on a train to London as I write, I’d have a rose between my teeth right now!

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 52

220px-Now_52

Released-  22nd July 2002

Music History

R Kelly gets caught being a touch too rude with someone a little too young. Graham Coxon leaves Blur. And Lisa ‘Left Eye’ Lopez passes on, meaning I will never get to express my love for Waterfalls.

Me History

I finish my A levels! (B, B, B, C, D) I get into university (this doesn’t work out well) and I sign a tenancy agreement for a house with three friends. By the next Now album it’s highly likely I would have been beneath four feet of dirty plates and dirty underwear.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest get a U for not submitting coursework, that track would be… Hot in Herre. Nelly will never outdo it.

Track by Track Breakdown

Ronan Keating“If Tomorrow Never Comes”

Cliché upon cliché. Easily the weakest opening track in 52 Now albums.

Liberty X – “Just a Little”

The song is pretty good. However, the first line (Sexy. Everything about you’s so sexy) is my go to line when someone does something disgusting in front of me. Works especially well for loud farts.

George Michael –  “Freeek!”

Clearly with the modem noise and groans he’s making a point about the internet… but now the nostalgia of modem noises is the best thing about the song.

Sugababes – “Freak Like Me”

Gary Numan. Nothing involving him can be bad. This is no exception. I miss Siobahn though.

Kylie Minogue –  “Love at First Sight”

The appropriation of French Touch tropes is really cool. I’d take DJ Falcon or We Are Terrorists over this every time, but still… good fun.

Enrique Iglesias –  “Escape”

Maybe it’s just that I’ve been watching Jessica Jones but the sentiment ‘You can’t escape my love’ sounds less sweet and more stalkery…

Sophie Ellis-Bextor“Get Over You”

Like a crap version of the Kylie song two tracks ago. Shame. I seem like I hate Sophie Ellis Bextor. She actually seems okay as a person…

S Club Juniors –   “One Step Closer”

Sorry. I just find the whole concept a bit creepy and Operation Yewtree.

Nigel & Marvin –  “Follow Da Leader 2002”

Feels like it was designed to be annoying. But dagnabbit I enjoyed it. Out of spite.

Scooter“The Logical Song”

Supertramp might not be cool. But that’s no excuse to do this to them. Also… I love Supertramp. So much that I could never be cool. So much that I secretly enjoy hearing this song, not because Scooter are anything but shit, but because of the 8 bars of Supertramp.

Dee Dee“Forever”

A festering sore on the arse cheek of dance music.

Flip & Fill –  “Shooting Star”

This is a weak section of this Now! album. The above review carries over for a second track.

Paffendorf – “Be Cool”

A massive improvement, by dint of an injection of humour. I like an amusing vocal sample.

Kelly Llorenna“Tell It to My Heart”

Not as good as the Taylor Dayne original (how was that missed on Now 5?) But sung by Kelly Llorenna, vocalist on the divine Set U Free I can’t dislike it.

Shy FX and T-Power featuring Di“Shake Ur Body”

A bit of pop drum and bass? I’ll allow it! Gets your pulse up and your raver juices flowing.

Tim Deluxe featuring Sam Obernik – “It Just Won’t Do”

Dance and samba just gel so damn well. You almost wish Sabu were still around to collaborate. Palo Congo would sound amazing with a Basement Jaxx twist.

Shakedown –  “At Night”

A bit of a classic. But the full version drags on a bit… love the cut up on the long notes.

Moony – “Dove (I’ll Be Loving You)”

Built from good parts. But ultimately just a little bit dull I’m afraid…

Intenso Project –  “Luv Da Sunshine”

I don’t like 10cc being appropriated for dance tracks… I mildly like it. 10cc and Supertramp on one Now! Album gives you an idea how good these could have been in the 70s.

4 Strings“(Take Me Away) Into the Night”

Too formulaic. Would have been amazing in 1995…

Mad’House“Like a Prayer” (Almighty Radio Edit)

So redundant it’s benefits are being sanctioned. The musical equivalent of lint. Just listen to the original.

S Club 7“You”

A great chorus stands out like an island, surrounded by oceans of slurry for the rest of the song…

Atomic Kitten“It’s OK!”

Well done girls. The title has reviewed the song for me.

Britney Spears –  “I’m Not a Girl, Not Yet a Woman”

Had so much potential. Could have been a spiritual successor to The Beach Boys’ When I Grow Up to Be a Man, and hits the sad notes but misses the bittersweet optimism. An admirable failure.

Ashanti“Foolish”

Amazing backing. Barely noticed the song above it, but it’s a great tune nonetheless.

Mary J. Blige“No More Drama”

She’s actually a bit flat. Seriously. You’d retake that shit, wouldn’t you? Also… Diddy cannot rap.

‘N Sync“Girlfriend” (Album Version)

Probably their first good song. But let’s be honest… it’s really Justin Timberlake’s first single.

Christina Milian –  “When You Look at Me”

An absolute tense classic. The propulsive guitar and squelchy synths boss this one forward. Brilliant.

Nelly featuring Dani Stevenson“Hot in Herre”

This song is so brilliant, I can no longer respond to any complaint about heating with anything but ‘So take off all your clothes.’

Ms. Dynamite “It Takes More”

Beating everyone by years at putting some feminism in hip hop. Especially love the dig about how many Africans died for the bevels on your rolex.

Omero Mumba“Lil’ Big Man”

For the first time ever, I am unable to locate a copy of a song on a Now! album. I will come back and edit this. I don’t give up.

Aaliyah“Rock the Boat”

A rare weak one from Aaliyah. Which is a shame, as she won’t have much more time to do this…

The Reelists –  “Freak Mode”

Embarrassing. I feel dirty for listening to it. I’m going to delete it from my viewing history on YouTube.

1 Giant Leap“My Culture”

A strange mix of Pink Floyd, Faithless and Robbie Williams… it’s good, but very odd to hear three things smooshed together like this.

Amy Studt – “Just a Little Girl”

A welcome throwback to some of the great female fronted angst rock of the mid 90s. Lovely acapella intro too.

Sheryl Crow –  “Soak Up the Sun”

More slightly out of tune guitars and bored sounding vocals. It grows on you. Pleasantly lo fi.

Doves“Pounding”

It’s a shame the prior single, There Goes the Fear didn’t make it on. That’s a lock for song of the album. But this is solid enough in its bruised, driving way.

Space Cowboy“I Would Die 4 U”

Big beat dance version of Prince. It’s Prince. I don’t give a fuck if it’s bad. It’s Prince.

Idlewild“American English”

Not a patch on their more fun, early stuff, but it’s nice to see them get their dues.

Puddle of Mudd –  “Blurry”

A faded photocopy of all that was good about grunge. Just plain depressing.

Moby –  “We Are All Made of Stars”

Moby tries to move on from Play by impersonating David Bowie. He’s more successful than he should be!

Oasis –  “Stop Crying Your Heart Out”

Almost as good as when Oasis were great. Almost. Still, that’s better than most ever manage.

Final Verdict

25 out of 42. Finally the 60% mark has been reached again. It’s been a long while.

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.

Non Traditional Traditional Fudge with a Thai Twist

Well. It’s actually tablet. The delicious Scottish variation. It’s grainy and delicious.

My little sister turns 30 this week and asked me to invent a coconut recipe for her. Which turns out to be harder than it sounds. Eventually I found this. Googled it. Nobody else has done this as far as I can tell.

So this coconut and basil tablet is for, and dedicated to my amazing sister!

Ingredients

  • 125g butter
  • 250ml whole milk
  • 1kg golden caster sugar
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 350ml condensed milk
  • 50g dessicated coconut
  • A handful of Thai basil

Method

Preheat your oven to 200c. Stick the coconut in a baking tray in a thin layer and toast it for about 10 minutes.

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Cut the basil into the tiniest pieces you can, then pat dry on some kitchen towel.

Melt the butter in the largest deepest pan you own. Add the milk, sugar and salt, and bring to a simmer for about 8 minutes.

Add the condensed milk, and turn that heat down low. Slowly bring it up to 115c (use a sugar thermometer), stirring occasionally. This will take 15 minutes or so.

Remove from the heat, and beat this as agressive as you can till it turns matte, rather than gloss… sorry. I only know painting terms for it. About 5 minutes in, when your arms are crying G out for a break, stir in the coconut and basil. Any hotter it’ll burn out the flavour.

Pour the mixture into a suitably buttered container. After half an hour or so, cut it into slices. Leave until set and then binge.

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The Man From Laramie

Another number one! Taking us up towards the end of 1955. I’m now only 60 years from today!

It’s okay. Love the plinky harpsichord! And dammit, there’s not enough westerns these days! But it’s never great…

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.

View original post 50 more words

Christmas Spiced Rum

So… If you’re looking to get drunk in style this Christmas, you probably need to get making this soon!

Tasty Tuesdays on HonestMum.com

Antipathti

This recipe is mostly taken from this month’s Waitrose magazine. I’m making a batch and decanting it into little bottles as an alcoholic stocking filler*, and let’s face it, they are the best kind.

The flavours in this remind me of a fisherman’s festival in Tossa de Mar, in Catalonia, that we chanced upon on a family holiday a few years ago. They served a clove spiced rum from enormous vats on the beach, warmed over a fire. We all imbibed quite a lot, and my Dad, with a rum induced smile, kept saying ‘Christmas drink’. In June.

A bowl of flaming cremat A little research has shown that this is called cremat. It’s great, and I’ll probably try and make this at a later date- it contains coffee too, so wins all round there!

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Now That’s What I Call Music 51

220px-Now_51

Released-  25th March 2002

Music History

Adam Ant goes a little bit mad, and ends up in a psychiatric hospital for waving a gun around. Virgin pay Mariah Carey $28m not to record any more music. About 15 years too late…

Me History

I’m 18, and can now legally do all the things I was doing anyway. I have an amazing surprise party, where my sister interprets an offhand reference to National Lampoon’s Animal House and I arrive at my house to all my friends dressed in togas. Cheers sis.

If I had to save one track from this album, and the rest were doomed to some John Belushi tragedy, that track would be… the greatest inspirational track of all time. Thank you R. Kelly. THANK YOU.

Track by Track Breakdown

Enrique Iglesias –  “Hero”

Hilariously overblown. I don’t know what everyone was thinking.

Blue –   “Fly by II”

Good fun from Blue. It’s funny hearing them use vague hip hop tropes, when they are about as urban as a working farmyard!

Ali G featuring Shaggy“Me Julie”

The problem with Sacha Baron Cohen is that while he’s actually fucking hilarious is that he tends to run his jokes into the ground. By this point, even Richard Madeley was in on the joke.

Daniel Bedingfield –  “Gotta Get Thru This”

Brilliant. I mean… garage is officially over with the release of this, but it’s a brilliant pop song. I do wonder why he feels the need to sing the bassline, which is just annoying and distracting, but these are mere details.

Aaliyah – “More Than a Woman”

This is a great, creeping track by the much missed R&B queen. The beat is so brilliantly lopsided you can barely tell where it begins and ends.

Robbie Williams and Nicole Kidman – “Somethin’ Stupid”

You know that they couldn’t hope to take on the power of Frank and Nancy. Still, it’s so similar that all that’s missing is the power and richness in the vocal, and the song itself is still brilliant.

R Kelly“The World’s Greatest”

I want to be more cynical about this song, but I genuinely use it to inspire myself when running, or feeling low. When the choir kicks in towards the end, you feel like you can do anything! It may just be the greatest song of all time.

S Club 7“Have You Ever”

You’d been doing so well! Guys… massive dissapointment. It’s not the worst pop ballad ever. But it sounds like it took all of 10 minutes to put together out of old pieces.

Britney Spears –  “Overprotected”

Really? Judging by gossip magazines for the next 5 years, I’d say you were the opposite. Okay. Pretty Britney by numbers…

Sophie Ellis-Bextor“Murder on the Dancefloor”

Possibly the reason it took Daft Punk another decade to resurrect disco. Horrid.

Kylie Minogue“In Your Eyes”

Let’s face it… she’s peaked already. But this is better than most of the vocal house it’s impersonating, so credit for a good (ish) song.

DB Boulevard –  “Point of View”

A bit of laid back, elegiac dance soul. It’s actually really nice, warm and sensetive. Some clunky lyrics, but it’s forgivable.

Lasgo“Something”

Maudlin, creeping house. Probably the best thing they’ve done so far.

PPK – “ResuRection”

Continuing a strong showing for the bleaker end of house, some pleasant minor key blipping and mildly epic sounding backing from PPK.

DJ Aligator“The Whistle Song (Blow My Whistle Baby)”

Every noise in this damnable record is really irritating. The whistle, his voice, the half arsed music. Burn it. Then bury the ashes and urinate on them.

Flip & Fill featuring Kelly Llorenna – “True Love Never Dies”

Without the vocal, this would be much more enjoyable, all atmospheric and twiddly synths over pounding techno beats. Sadly, the vocal is there…

Hear’Say –  “Everybody”

You know when somethings not terrible but not good enough that you can think of anything to say about it? That.

Allstars“The Land of Make Believe”

They get away with this covet. Probably mainly because Bucks Fizz were hardly a high watermark, but it is a cracking chorus.

Victoria Beckham –  “A Mind of Its Own”

Ahh, you know… she tried. And that’s what matters.

Steps –  “Words Are Not Enough”

The addition of handclaps and campfire acoustic guitars can’t hide another horrible Steps ballad.

Geri Halliwell – “Calling”

Objectively terrible. But there’s something about the bossa nova rhythm and the change from the usual brashness that makes me like this one really quite likeable.

Rik Waller“I Will Always Love You”

Proving pop shows are a waste of time, a chap with a good voice records an okay version of Dolly Parton. Nobody has anything to say other than ‘he’s fat’.

Stereophonics –  “Handbags and Gladrags”

What a coincidence… Just as The Office popularises it again, Stereophonics get this Rod Stewart cover out. Cash in.

Nickelback – “How You Remind Me”

Kurt Cobain shot himself in part because he couldn’t live with being co-opted into a bland, soulless mainstream. Hearing this, you kind of feel he did the right thing.

Alien Ant Farm –  “Movies”

This pop punk ballad really doesn’t warrant inclusion. I swear it’s success had more to do with having Mr Miagi from the Karate Kid in the video than any quality.

Sum 41 – “In Too Deep”

Cute enough pop punk, with the emphasis on pop. You kind of want to tickle it under the chin…

Puretone –  “Addicted to Bass”

Actually way less bassy than than you’d expect. Good bit of breakbeatage though, which never gets enough pop love.

Christina Milian –  “AM to PM”

The production almost convinces you this is more than just a half arsed attempt at pop R&B, but the limited vocal and dire lyrics wreck it…

Ja Rule featuring Ashanti –  “Always on Time”

This soundtracked a lot of bad nights out at this time. Yet strangely I still have a soft spot for this track, even if Ja Rule is weak as hell. Honestly, in the 13 years since, our expectations of rappers have improved immeasurably.

City High featuring Eve“Caramel”

Nothing background music. Utterly ignorable save for a little section in Spanish.

Beverley Knight –  “Shoulda Woulda Coulda”

Finally, her great song! Funky, touching and tonally varied. Thoroughly enjoyed this one.

Samantha Mumba –   “Lately”

Funny, as an R&B artist, her output has been crap so far, but a bit of laid back pop here serves her brilliantly.

Backstreet Boys –  “Drowning”

Curtains closing slowly on their career. To a dirge of a ballad.

Mary J. Blige“Dance for Me”

Jittering, propulsive floor filler. More for dancing to than for listening to, it gets a little boring by about 2 minutes in otherwise.

Afroman – “Crazy Rap”

Moderately amusing but horribly misogynistic. Sealing his position as a one hit wonder…

Princess Superstar featuring High and Mighty –  “Bad Babysitter”

I love that her filthy hip hop nearly crossed over (see also: Peaches) at this point. Fantastic wonky horn sample and terrifying lyric…

Platinum 45’s featuring More Fire Crew“Oi!”

And so grime came to pass. This skittering, cossack dance track is still an absolute favourite. And Lethal B simply added an ‘izzle’ to the end of his name and is still going strong, with Fester Skank on August 2015’s Now 91!

Goldtrix pts Andrea Brown – “It’s Love (Trippin’)”

Spooky, dark dance, seemingly recorded in Freddy Kreuger’s abandoned warehouse. A bit of a dark edge and good production and you have a classic instead of standard house filler.

X-Press 2 featuring David Byrne –  “Lazy”

David Byrne was, and remains, a genius in all he does. He should be brought back all the time just to make life more interesting.

Jakatta“So Lonely”

Not similar. Identical to their last single. Just go back and read that. I’m not trying if they won’t.

The Chemical Brothers – “Star Guitar”

Great as ever. This one also has a brilliant and clever Michel Gondry video just to make it perfect!

Lange featuring Skye – “Drifting Away”

Minimal trance. A bit too minimal. Pretty much empty.

Dreamcatcher“I Don’t Wanna Lose My Way”

Completing a double bill of piss weak dance to close out this album.

Final Verdict

23 out of 43. 53% pukka pop.

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.

Rose Marie

Another number one. 11 weeks. Nearly three whole months… It has it’s moments, but how people didn’t get sick of it sooner is a mystery to me.

If you like a bit of country wailing, I’m sure it’s right up your street. Not a street I’d wander down though.

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.

View original post 94 more words

Two Autumn roasts

My gas hobs are on the blink. So here are two oven only roasts I’ve done while I await my bloody landlord’s whims to finally settle upon ALLOWING US TO COOK FOOD.

Setting the meat on a rack to cook and adding the veg 40 minutes from the end makes great use of the flavoursome cooking juices, and saves on washing up, making these two pretty easy recipes, even on a weeknight!

NB- most of this was written a week ago… I’ve moved house now, and will be returning to my patented mix of fine food and hilarious incompetence shortly.

Pork leg and Autumn Veg

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I love crackling, and with some autumn veg and some simple fresh herbs you have a really easy roast, and probably enough meat to last you all week!

I have refrained from including measurements, as this meal is endlessly scaleable. You essentially want enough paste to cover the joint of pork comfortably, and base the rest on that!

Ingredients

  • Leg of pork, skin on for crackling
  •  A mixture of squash, pumpkin, sweet potato and swede, all cut up into rough 2cm pieces.
  • Coriander seeds
  • Fennel seeds
  • Black peppercorns
  • Salt
  • Rosemary
  • Thyme
  • A mix of some of the following- sweet potato, squash, pumpkin, carrot, swede, parsnip, turnip. If it’s rooty and comes out of the ground, its good!

Method

Preheat your oven to the highest number the dial will go to.

Put all the seeds and peppercorns in a pestle and mortar and bash them to bits. Add the salt, and enough oil to make a coarse paste.

Score the skin of the pork in criss crosses, or ask your butcher to do this for you, as recipe writers often say, forgetting that the majority of us lowlife human beings buy our meat in supermarkets- use a box cutter if you don’t have a butcher. Mind your fingers though.

Rub the paste all over the meat and stick in the oven for 25-30 minutes to get the crackling started. Reduce the temperature to 180c, and cook until the internal temperature is around 65-68c.

While this cooks, dice all of your selection of autumn veggies into roughly 1.5cm chunks. Set these aside.

When the meat is cooked, take this out and cover with foil. Put all of your chopped veg, and chuck it in the tray you cooked the meat in, giving it a good shake to get everything covered in the roasting juices. Throw in a few sprigs of rosemary and thyme, and season with salt and pepper.

Turn the oven to 200c, and roast these for 30-40 minutes.

When you’re done, carve the meat, add veggies to the plate, and put a healthy chunk of crackling on there while you’re at it!

 

Chicken and Mediterranean Veg

It’s tasty, it’s simple, it fills you up and tastes rich and summery, while being the sort of hearty fare you want as the weather turns sour. I have little else to say, save for that it’s one of my staple dishes for myself. You can switch up the seasoning on the chicken, and adjust the veg to your preference or whims, but it’s always there for you, like a food based Ryan Gosling…

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Ingredients

  • One medium chicken
  • A tablespoon of tarragon mixed with a couple of tablespoons of unsalted butter
  • 2 courgettes
  • A red and a yellow pepper
  • Red onion
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp dried parsley
  • 1 tsp oregano
  • 1 tsp salt
  • Olive oil

Method

It’s almost identical to the last one! Rub the tarragon butter all over the chicken, then cook in an oven at 190c for 45 minutes per kilogram, plus 20 minutes. Get your own damn calculator!

While this cooks, chop all the veggies up, not too neatly, except the garlic and put in a large bowl.

Put all the dry herbs and spices in a small bowl, and add enough oil to make a sticky paste. Toss the vegetables in this.

As before, when the chicken is done, hide it inside a tent of foil to rest, and toss the seasoned veg in the juices from the chicken, adding the three unpeeled garlic cloves when you do this. Roast for 25-35 minutes at around 200c.

Carve. Serve. Eat. Enjoy.

 

 

Dreamboat

Another Sunday number one from July 1955. Frankly, if there’s one problem with modern music, it’s that there aren’t enough songs where the backing singers say things like ‘Bop shoo wah wah’.

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.

View original post 64 more words