All entries for Monday 11 December 2006

December 11, 2006

A question of sport

Question. Does anyone actually like Ashley Cole? Please identify yourself in the comments. No, not you Cheryl.

Let this extract from his recent book help you:

“Ash! Are you listening?” said a virtually hyperventilating Jonathan [his agent]. “I’m here in the office and David Dein [Arsenal Vice-Chairman] is saying they aren’t going to give you £60k a week. They’ve agreed £55k and this is their best and final offer. Are you happy with that?” When I heard Jonathan (Barnett) repeat the figure of £55k, I nearly swerved off the road. “He is taking the piss, Jonathan!” I yelled down the phone. I was so incensed. I was trembling with anger. I couldn’t believe what I’d heard. I suppose it all started to fall apart for me from then on. I’d trusted Mr Dein to push the deal through.

Second–class murder victims?

There’s something about the way in which the murders of three (possibly four) women has been reported that I don’t quite like.

Gemma Adams, Tania Nicol and another woman have all been murdered in Suffolk. Another woman, Paula Clennell, has been missing since Saturday.

19-year-old Tania NicolAll worked as prostitutes, and it is this fact which has caused some news outlets to choose language which is somewhat questionable.

The Sun refer to the women as prostitutes first, and women second. They are called “The brunette…” and “The blonde…” and The Mirror calls them ‘hookers’.

There’s an aspect to this sort of reporting which suggests their lives were worth less than those who didn’t work as prostitutes. And while the profession is a questionable one in many ways, it’s pretty disgusting to be talking about these women in such purposefully derogatory language now they’ve been killed.

As well as prostitutes, they were daughters and sisters. But you won’t see them described like that in the tabloids.

Televisual gastronomy

I’ve been enjoying Heston Blumenthal’s In Search of Perfection, which has recently finished on BBC Two. In it, he perfects some classic dishes using his unique blend of cookery and science, but tries to make them relatively accessible to the home cook.

Take for instance his Black Forest Gateau, which requires chocolate spray paint and vacuum-packed chocolate bubbles. It’s highly impractical yet brilliant at the same time.

The most recent episode I watched – for I’m watching them out of order – was on fish and chips. Not only did he slave over the fish, but the batter itself required reinvention. Beer-battered cod might be well-known but he proved using science that you need to batter it in Vodka to get the mix right.

My only quibble with the series is that he sometimes makes things too accessible. I quite like the ridiculousness of the recipes. The deep-fried chicken for instance. Yes, it required a metal dustbin in a car park, but I was disappointed that Heston felt the need to apologise for the stupidity of it.

Surely his greatest quality as a chef is that he doesn’t give a sh*t how over-the-top it all is, just so long as it tastes great. He is the anti-Delia, and I love him for that.

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