Sunday, 14 August 2011

Meat Is Murder. Track One. Stafford Rangers.

As an attempt to revive my interest in this blog I'm going to do a little food writing. Not a lot, but enough to get things ticking over, I hope. The plan is a simple one. As often as possible - sometimes real life and 'politics' get in the way - my eldest and I go to the Saturday away games of FC United of Manchester on the 'Boogie Bus'. A chaotic, fan-run enterprise which has developed a reputation for never getting to a game before kick off (not true - we got there twenty minutes early yesterday - but the margin for error is often five or ten minutes either side of the whistle). The reason for the late arrivals is that the bus always takes us to a 'pre-match venue' (i.e. a pub) for a drink, to watch MUFC if they are the early kick-off on TV and, crucially, for free food. Every Boogie Bus, every venue, puts some kind of spread on. It's something that the Brains Trust who run the bus have negotiated with the venues since the earliest days. It's obvious really, we bring you fifty-odd thirsty football supporters, you bring us some food.

For the first couple of seasons me and Sonny Jim went, there was sometimes something which could be considered suitable for vegetarians - chips, cheese and tomato butties, side salad, that kind of thing - but the emphasis was most definitely on meat. In the end we would take along 'emergency vegetarian options', usually some kind of sandwich for 'just in case'. Fellow traveller, vegetarian and bon viveur, Sam operated a similar system, and had been doing so since travelling away with MUFC in the seventies. All of this changed the night of the Rochdale FA Cup game - OH HAPPY DAY! - where a vegetarian chilli was available alongside its beefy brother. The next time we travelled away we went all the way down to Brighton where, again, there was a vegetarian chilli. Since then, every time we have travelled with the Boogie Bus there has been meat-free food available for the very small number of us who lean in that direction. And so it came that yesterday I had the lightbulb moment. From now on, I'll review the 'vegetarian option' and post it on here. I'll even include a few notes about the venues.

So, yesterday and, as you've no doubt deduced from the picture above, the offering was (surprise, surprise) Chilli and Chips. The meat one looked grey and a bit gravy-heavy - a fellow diner commented that some bread to mop up the gravy would have been a useful addition. The meat-free version didn't need it; it had a good texture, with a sensible amount of red lentils absorbing any excessive liquid, soft and tasty kidney beans and a fresh combination of chilli and cumin providing a backdrop. It looked and tasted like it was its own dish rather than a by-product of the meaty version. The chips were catering fries, and some were a little anaemic. They didn't detract from the chilli, but home-cut chips or boiled rice would have pushed this food towards the top of the 'all-time greats' list. Overall rating - delicious - and the tin-trays the food was served in kept it warm to the last mouthful.

The pub itself, which cannot be directly named due to the confidentiality clause signed by all Boogie Bussers, was situated in the village of Weston. Famous, as I'm sure you all know, for coming second in the Best Kept Village Competition. The other place must be gorgeous. Outside the front of the pub was some kind of village green on which somebody had very kindly erected temporary goal posts. Once a decent football had been passed over the bar of the pub, several overweight, balding men had the opportunity to imagine themselves filling the boots of Paul Scholes, George Best, Rory Patterson ...even Barrie George.

The match was against Stafford Rangers - a ten minute drive down the road, and a good, friendly club - and ended with a first game of the season two-nil win for FCUM.

Friday, 10 June 2011

Up Against The Wall XXVII - Rats Tits!

This was meant to be the Up Against The Wall before last as the one before that reffed the bizarre media this drivel was created in. So, Rats Tits! in tape. Crap, thin tape.

Thursday, 9 June 2011

Blue Spotted Tail.

There was an item on Springwatch last night with lots of unusual nesting sites. The one above is the pole of a sign on the way into Heaton Park where blue tits were nesting. We passed it a couple of weeks back and could hear the chicks twittering inside.  On passing earlier this week, The Youngest was hoyed up for a look see and reported back that it smelled disgusting but there was nothing in there. I hope they survived the relentless torrential rain we've been lucky enough to endure here since Easter.

Tuesday, 7 June 2011

Up Against The Wall XXVI - Your Mum Smok's Dimps / You Smoke Dimps Stop Playing.

From just inside the football/basketball cage in St Mary's Park, Prestwich where I was idling the hot days of April away with The Kids. Dimps, what a beautifully northern word. And for the record, my mum did smoke dimps. Usually on a Thursday when all funds had been exhausted and with Friday's pay day in sight. As it's Prestwich I'm making the logical leap that it was Mark E. Smith who had popped into the park with a sharpie in order to test out some new Fall lyrics.

Sunday, 1 May 2011


Darth Gummidge., originally uploaded by mithering.
To get the kids out of their Mum's hair yesterday afternoon I took them up the road to a pub with a play area. (Yes. I know). The pub is in a village called Simister and it appeared that they had been having some sort of Best Scarecrow competion. Going by his rosette, this fella impressed the judges and won first prize. He was big as well.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Up Against The Wall XXV - DAN Shit BREAF.

Illiterate, obscene and insulting it may be, but it is also environmentally friendly. Blasted into the floor-grime of a seedy Prestwich back street by a power-cleaner. I've seen ads created using this method - most recently stencilled ads for FC United's community share scheme - but this is a graffiti first for me. Next up, more rude graffiti, and another unique media used to create it. Thanks to Paul Whositsnexttome for the pic.

Wednesday, 6 April 2011

The Book I Read - Turn The Beat Around: The Secret History of Disco by Peter Shapiro.

I'm cheating slightly here as I'm only a hundred or so pages into this, but it's all good so far. Ticks lots of boxes for me; index - tick, footnotes - tick, bibliography - tick, discography - tick, only £3 from Fopp - tickety tick. It's wide-ranging, all-encompassing and for Doctor Who fans of A Certain Vintage features Whoberfan (and composer of the K-9 and Company theme music) Ian Levine in a prominent role. Best of all, though, was the revelation that there was a disco/high-NRG cover of this:

Which, given the double entendre implicit in the title, is not surprising. Listen for the 'guitar' break in the cover.

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Sorry For Laughing.

Only two posts on this blog this month, so please treat this snak rock gem as an apology.

Tuesday, 1 March 2011

Pictures of Matchstick Men VII.

Saw this dirty little bugger last week when in town with The Kids. They loved him. Mainly because he has 'his nuggets' out.

Monday, 14 February 2011

Man or astro-man? - Reversal of Polarity

They are, most definitely, out there. The playing of the 'double bass' on this is brilliant. A band full of entertainers. I hope their reconfigured line-up gets somewhere near Manchester very soon.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Up Against The Wall XXIV - Stop Pickin' Yer Nose.

04022011231[1], originally uploaded by mithering.
In chalk, and possibly part of a longer narrative (see writings below), on a side-door on the old fire station on London Road. All that's missing is '...or your head will cave in.'

Monday, 7 February 2011

Flat-top Fucker.

27012011224, originally uploaded by mithering.

Well, apologies all round for the lack of regular updates here. Many reasons, not all worth going into on here, but they do include new phone not talking properly to Blogger or flickr, newer projects and the system in work not talking properly to Blogger, flickr etc. But, I have managed to create a 'work around', so will now be able to do what I've done in the past and blog from my desk at dinner time. (Home-made hummus butty, since you asked). Speaking of work, the above graffiti appeared on a boarded-up window outside work where everybody stands around smoking. Topical? Yes, because as chance would have it a new temp has started work on the floor above who could well have been the guy in Kirsty MacColl's titular chip shop. I really like the crown on top of the 'i' of Elvis. The King would have loved it. (And just in case you are that temp and you're reading this and thinking of applying a blue suede shoe to my skinny white arse, Flat Top Fucker was a song by Jackknife and I just couldn't resist using it as the title of this post).

Wednesday, 26 January 2011

Louvin Brothers - I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby

Despite being an atheist I have a great love of certain forms of religious music, and The Louvin Brothers' gospel material is right up there. Truly heartfelt and inspirational. Unfortunately, clips of them performing it appear to be low to non-existent. So here's one of their secular numbers, I Don't Believe You've Met My Baby. Charlie Louvin (real name Charles Loudermilk) died today, a full forty-five years after his elder brother, Ira, was killed in a motor accident. Their close harmonies are unmatchable.

Saturday, 22 January 2011

Working On A Chain Gang.

Oops, they did it again. After their earlier appropriation of Goya's take on Saturn devouring his children, a brutal carbuncle redefined, this week's episode of The Simpsons featured a 'reimaging' of my nominated 'Favourite Painting', Manet's Un bar aux Folies Bergère. A work which, in its original form, really captures the sights, the sounds and the smells of working in retail.