acb: (coffee)
Fact: when given coffee, Britons (typically) do things to it which would almost be punishable by law in Australia or Italy. The result is nearly always undrinkably awful coffee, though the locals don't seem to notice.

Some abuses of coffee I've noticed include:

  • Leaving bags of the stuff unsealed. The supermarkets now sell ostensibly passable ground coffee, conveniently packed in bags with valves to keep it from oxidising. Not that this means much to the locals who rip the bag open, take a shot's worth, and leave the rest to oxidise. The result: the rest of the bag produces dull, flavourless coffee.

  • Bizarre coffee-making practices. I have, on more than one occasion, witnessed someone put a capsule into a Nespresso machine, run half a pint of water through it, pour some milk in and throw it in the microwave. Eventually, perhaps this practice will catch on in Italy, where they'll call it the "Angliano"*.

  • Generally running too much water through it until you get bitter watery mud like out of an urn at a suburban McDonalds in the 1980s. A certain hipster bar in Shoreditch is notorious for this; why do they even bother having an espresso machine?

  • And then there's actually drinking instant coffee, or considering Nespresso to be a proper espresso.

When, I wonder, will the inhabitants of this green and pleasant isle learn the proper handling of coffee?

* "Angliano" = an Italian slang word meaning crazy (literally "gone English").
acb: (buttons)
One thing you can do more easily in Britain than in Australia is hop on a train to see a band in another town later that evening; partly because Britain has trains which run at more or less reasonable frequencies and partly because there are other cities with interesting music scenes within two hours' travelling time. Anyway, this is what I did last night, going up to Derby to see The Deirdres' possibly last ever gig. (Well, last before three of their members go abroad for some months.)

Having heard about it at somewhat late notice, all the cheap tickets for the direct train were long gone, and so I booked a ticket on a cheaper route, which involved catching a train going towards Carlisle, getting off at Tamworth (a small town in the Midlands where two railway lines cross each other at a split-level railway station), and catching the next train to Derby. I did this, arriving at about 20:30, and catching a cab to the B&B I was booked into. (The B&Bm, incidentally, was alright; I booked a small attic room for £20, and this was good enough. Though the wireless internet they advertised seemed to be switched off at night, and the "full English breakfast" included in the cost took so long that I ended up leaving without it to catch my train.)

Anyway, the Deirdres gig was great. It was all themed around things that hibernate, and at the door, one had to name something which hibernates, which would then be drawn on one's wrist in lieu of a stamp. The band members were all in appropriately themed animal costumes; there was a caterpillar/butterfly, a hedgehog, a bear, and a few others. (One member, Keir, was out of costume; his costume was meant to be a computer, but apparently broke; he said it was because it was a Windows PC and not a Mac.) Their performance was much like the others I have seen; on the surface, it looked ramshackle and chaotic, but the musicianship holding it together was impressively tight, and, of course, there was the usual exuberantly ecstatic vibe to it, not too unlike I'm From Barcelona (only without the balloons or confetti).

They also screened the debut of the video of Milk Is Politics, between the second and third support bands. The video's theme has little to do with the song title or its lyrics, instead being a somewhat twee, slightly silly adventure concerning eggs. It's pretty much what you'd expect a Deirdres video to look like, and is rather ace.

Btw, Gemma and Sophie of the Deirdres are going to be in Melbourne for two months (from January to the start of March); hopefully they'll get to do some gigs then. (I could totally see them on a bill with, say, Aleks & The Ramps or The Motifs.)

Four years

Aug. 25th, 2008 10:44 pm
acb: (the doubtful guest)
As of 5:25am tomorrow morning, I will have been in the UK for four years (not counting travel outside of its borders).

September 2015

6 789101112


RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Active Entries

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Oct. 23rd, 2017 08:03 am
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios