Spicy Chicken Claws


Brought back from China by my boss, Gavin, from a work trip. Tough Job.
It’s not often you get the opportunity to try something as genuinely off the beaten track as jellied Spicy Chicken Claws. So when Gav returned from his sojourn in China with a bag full, I felt duty bound to tuck in. Even wrestling it from the packet is a novel experience. The claw has the texture of a damp slug and it’s difficult not to recoil when trying to tease it from the foil bag. Once it’s out, you are almost instantly hit by the smell. It’s difficult to describe, outside of saying its unpleasant. There’s a hint of burnt popcorn in there and it has the capacity to linger on your fingers, even long after washing. But as the chinese most likely say, ‘The proof of the Spicy Chicken Claw is in the eating’, so let’s cut to the chase. To be honest it doesn’t really taste of anything. It’s about 80% smell and 20% jelly texture. The closest thing I can liken it to is eating cat food with extra crunchy bits, with the crunchy bits being the tiny bones from the feet of chicken. Yum.

(0/5 Probably better off on the chicken. Sorry Gav)


Mexicali Chicken Burrito

photo1Mexicali, 323 Fulham Road, London (£6 with sour cream and guacamole)
Take a man’s arm.It might be yours, or someone else’s. Not too big, not too small. Just an average man’s arm. Now roll any clothing up past the elbow. Disregarding the hand, take a good look at the forearm. Take a moment to really appreciate how big it is. That’s about the size of a burrito from Mexicali. And it’s very tasty indeed. You should try one.
(5/5 Sleepy time)

Westfield shopping centre

westfield1Shepherd’s Bush, London (transport details here).
Not even in my younger, more shopping friendly days would I have expected to be blown away by a shopping centre. But when I visited Westfield London last Tuesday, I have to confess to being pretty gobsmacked. Not by the shops, mind you. I didn’t even enter one (I was simply making my way home from a meeting at the BBC* and had to walk through it to get to Shepherd’s Bush Overground station). But the place itself. It’s huge. And I don’t mean a lot of stores, I mean everything about it is huge. The walkways are really wide. The shop fronts are really high. The whole thing is about one and a half times as big as you’d expect it to be. Huge. And there’s touchscreen maps to tell you not only where things are, but how to get there. And digital advertising poster sites. And sofas to sit on when you’re knackered. Not seats, or benches, but sofas. And huge chandaliers and glass roofs and everything. It’s like ‘Shopping Centre meets Star Trek’. And in my book anything ‘…meets Star Trek’ has got to be good.
(4/5 But might lose its shine when it’s full of actual shoppers)
* darling



Out on DVD (£12.99 from Play.com inc. free delivery)
Wanted? Well, if your preference is for deep, meaningful, soul searching drama that lays bare the human condition and runs the full gamet of emotions, from pain, though sorrow and angish, onto misery and finally regret tinged with more misery, sorrow and angish, then probably not. On the other hand, if your taste runs more towards guns, more guns, 2 mile headshots, assasins, Angelina Jolie covered in tattoos, improbable car stunts, implausible plot twists, a magical loom that can read the future (WTF?), James McAvoy doing a reasonable turn with an American accent and curving bullets round sides of pigs, then this should go to the top of your list.

Frankly I’m getting bored with the old, new, angsty, ‘play it for real’, ‘superheros are human too’, ‘it so hard being me’, Spiderman / Batman / Incredible Hulk treatment. So I loved it. And so did the wife. Wanted? Yo’ damn right.
(4/5 Sit back and think of nothing)

‘Old Spot’ Sausage Roll

Old Spot Sausage roll

The Bluebird Delicatessence, The Kings Road, Chelsea (£1.50).
For those of you not familiar with The Bluebird, discovering a plate of sausage rolls nestling delicately in amongst the stuffed vine leaves and foie gras of its deli won’t sound that amazing. But bare in mind that the Bluebird is the jewel in Terrance Conran’s crown – a small, but very exclusive complex of shops in a famous, old, Art deco  building slap bang in the middle of Chelsea – and you start to understand that it’s as unlikely to be there as, well, I am. Nevertheless, there we both are. Managing, between us, to effect the culinary equivalent, of the direct opposite, of discovering a diamond in the rough. If you follow me.

I’m afraid I can’t shead any real light on the origins of the name ‘Old Spot’. Perhaps it was the name of the dog the meat came from? The other thing of note is the slightly disconcerting pinkness of the sausage element. Under most cicumstances i would take both of these things as fairly ill omens, but given its provenance, I feel pretty happy that I’m looking at a reasonably high quailty snack. So how does it taste?

Delicate, flakey pastry. Light, not too greasy. Good firm sausage. Nicely seasoned. All round, very satisfying. And surprisingly good value too. If you’re ever up in Chelsea, I’d recommend it.
(4/5 Nice work Terry)

Large Hydron Rap

I’m a sucker for a bit of science, particularly when it involves smashing things into other things at extremely high velocity. So my ears pricked up this week when they announced that, after 30 years in the building, the Large Hydron Collider at Cern in Switzerland is finally to be powered up. But that’s not all. Not content with attempting to recreate the Big Bang, the crazy scientists have created a Rap Video to explain the whole darn thing to the Yoof.

I’m not sure if they will be able to prove the existence of the fabled Higgs Boson, but they have already proved, beyond doubt in my mind at least, that things really can be so wrong that they’re right. I particularly love the fill-ins from Stephen Hawking. Genius. Literally.

(5/5 Science and popular culture collide with unexpected results)

Leonard Cheshire Ability 6 sheet poster

Its been nearly 4 months since my last blog and in the intervening time I have often wondered what it would be that finally got me back to my keyboard (besides a break in my workload and the demands of parenthood). Not once did I think it might be a poster about disabled folk. And yet here we are.

I have passed this particular poster on my way into work every day for the last week or so and a number of things about it fascinate me. First up, although it is ostensibly an advert for a charity or pressure group for disabled people, what its essentially saying is HAVE MORE SEX WITH DISABLED PEOPLE. Just looking at it sitting there in capitals. I can still barely believe it. Since when has it been ok to put ads at bus stops encouraging everyone to have sex with this or that minority? Hand jobs for Budists? Anal for lefties? Where will it stop? (Oi, tits only!). And are they just talking about the physically disabled, or do the mentally disable get a slice of the action? Equal opportunity as they are, I’m sure they’re keen not to rule anyone out of the action. Have more sex with mentally disabled people. Sure, it’s not saying it. But it’s not not saying it, is it? Where’s the cut off point? ‘She said she had a mental age of 16 M’Lud.’

The next thing that fascinates me is that having decided to run an ad, at some point something like the following conversation must have taken place…

‘So what shall we use as a visual?’

‘Well… a disabled person?’

‘Euugh. Do we have to? To be honest it puts me off a bit?’

‘Yeah, me too… I know, let’s have a small, pink rabbit in a wheelchair?’

What the fuck? Now we’re encouraging people to have sex with disabled rabbits? Perhaps the headline should read ‘It’s not the wheelchair that gets in the way of sex, but the fact my reproductive organ is only 0.42 inches across and I’m an animal’. Or perhaps the choice of rabbit isn’t coincidental. Perhaps what they’re saying is ‘you should have more sex with the disabled because they go like rabbits? Like Duracell, they go on and on and on. (Hang on a minute, has the whole Duracell campaign been one long innuendo? Is nothing sacred?).

Despite all this, I have never thought so long and hard (ho ho) about having sex with disable people as I have since clocking the poster. I’m afraid I won’t be throwing my hat into the ring (he he). Nevertheless, it’s difficult to argue that it’s not job done.

(4/5 Nice ears, shame about the face)