438 – Coffee bah humbug!

If I get served a black Americano in one of these, I think I'll kick off.

If I get served a black Americano in one of these, I think I’ll kick off.

Yes, the famous Ebenezer Scrooge exclamation declaring Christmas to be, well, a load of shit was all I could think last week (specifically November 7th) as I walked into a particularly depressing branch of Costa Coffee. I don’t even like Costa Coffee but they appear to be conveniently placed in my way when I most want coffee and I’m not at home.

They’d gone totally Christmassy. Everything was suddenly all about Christmas and I didn’t like it. The previous day, November 6th, wasn’t Christmas, then November 7th was. I mean, I realise that at some point it’s got to be not Christmas and then the next day it is, but really? Let me explain what I was confronted with. Bear in mind that I was tired, it was early and I barely scanned the place for detail but it was pretty much in my face.

Essentially, apart from the sudden change of all signs to red background, loads of words had Christmas puns in them and menu items seemed to be all a bit different and, well, mince pie-ish, if you know what I mean. That wasn’t what made me angry though, it was those poor (literally) people behind the counter, you know the baristas (people who serve coffee begrudgingly and hastily) and the master baristas (people who have served coffee begrudgingly and hastily for many years) were wearing what could only be described as Christmas themed knitwear. Yes, those mostly unhappy people are going to have to wear chunky knitwear in front of those steaming hot coffee makers, for at least eight weeks.  Continue reading

Post 309 – When tea goes bad…

Put it in the bin.

And when I say “when tea goes bad”, I don’t mean what happened to me yesterday, when I lovingly brewed a cup and poured what amounted to yoghurt into it, turning it a very strange and lumpy orange colour, and making me gag slightly. That’s not what I’m referring to at all. Before we begin, I urge you all to read yesterday’s nonsense written about tea drinking. This may or may not make sense without reading that. (I say ‘may or may not’ because I haven’t got a clue what I’m about to write).

Tea. Made from the tea plant. Well, strictly speaking it’s made from the Camellia Sinensis plant, but that’s known to us as a tea plant. Perhaps it’s not known to us as that, because most of us probably don’t make reference to it – we don’t have to make reference to it unless we’re writing pointless blogs about it. It’s vital that we understand this. Shall I make it a little clearer? According to Wikipedia:

Tea is an aromatic beverage prepared by adding cured leaves of the Camellia sinensis plant to hot water. The term also refers to the plant itself. After water, tea is the most widely consumed beverage in the world. It has a cooling, slightly bitter, astringent flavour which many people enjoy. Continue reading

Post 308 – Tea


“What shall I write about tomorrow?” I pointlessly asked Mrs. F last night. Pointless because I don’t need help in writing it and would struggle to write about a topic at length which someone else has thrown at me. I think I just wanted her to ghost write it for me, but she has enough to write about at the moment.  “Tea”, she said. “Crap”, I thought. She then gave me the abstract, but again I just wanted her to write it for me. I am lazy. Oh well, here goes.

I love tea. It’s a major part of my life and anyone who doesn’t love tea is an idiot. This is fact. I’m a coffee lover and there are times when only coffee will do. I grind my own beans (poncey) and drink it black. This is the only way to drink it. Certainly don’t get bogged down in where your beans are coming from and how freshly ground they are if you’re then going to throw a load of frothy milk and vanilla syrup into it.

Coffee isn’t always the answer though. It’s too caffeinated as well. “Tea has the same amount of caffeine as coffee”. Well, that’s a nonsense as all non idiots know. They’re not the same, there’s about double the amount in coffee as there is in tea, which is why after a while coffee sends me a bit mental. However, I’m not here to explain in detail how and when I drink various caffeinated drinks. I realise this blog can be dull but that would be taking things a bit far. Continue reading

November 13th, 2011 – (not) Lazy Sunday

It's not quite what I'm after, but it's bloody good.

These weekends clearly aren’t long enough, and they’re not affording me any kind of lie in. This seems a shame. I was talking the other day about what I once perceived to be the ultimate middle class lazy Sunday, which consisted of something like getting up late, popping over the shop with bed hair and joggers on, picking up a couple of Sunday papers and some croissants, popping them in the oven whilst grinding coffee beans and making a fresh cafetiere of coffee, after which one indulges in said croissants and coffee whilst wasting most of the day with heads in the paper. Of course all this is done in close contact with ones loved one and in an overly well heated home, on very comfy sofas. The day concludes with either a long autumn walk, followed by a visit to the pub, or a home made roast dinner, or some combination of the two.

I’ve done it, loads of times. The coffee gets cold too quick, as do the croissants, but on the whole it’s a wonderful experience which I love dearly. I’m not doing that today. I got up too early and drove Mrs. F into town where she shall work for half of the day. I shall spend the morning pondering the logistics of my now-not-so-good-as-it-used-to-be recording studio and how I can get two vocals comfortably into my system whilst keeping both singers happy. I shall then tidy up a bit, spend all of the afternoon recording and most of the evening mixing, whilst constantly worrying that what I’ve written is rubbish and what I’ve arranged is lazy.

This isn’t quite how I’d like things, but I suppose if anything it gives me the pennies to try and find time to do it soon. Well, it’ll be after Christmas to be honest, but that’s just the way it goes. My ‘job’ doesn’t quite afford me the luxury of not taking on any other work and indeed I’d probably take something like this on even if it did, but either way I’m home alone anyway today so it doesn’t quite add up.

Never mind, I do have sausage baps (no sniggering) and freshly ground coffee so things must be OK.

The recording I’m doing today is another step along the line of making me feel less anxious. The job is nearly over, but I’ve still got a ton of work to do. Yesterday I worked hard and got masses of writing finished, but there’s still all the logistics of printing music, bouncing down click tracks and generally making things ready for the start of rehearsals a week tomorrow, but of course that’ll just be the start of it, as things will change and I’ll really have to start working efficiently and balancing fixing their every whim, and just saying no to stupid ideas. Of course the main anxiety is whether they’ll like what I’ve done. It’s only panto music, of course, but ‘only panto’ is one of my least favourite phrases in the world, it’s theatre which will be seen by tens of thousands of people, so I better get it right. What if they don’t like it? Then what do I do?

These are the things which keep me up at night, and keep the tension in my shoulders, but it’ll be over soon enough. Today is a big step along that journey, so I hope the vocal parts are right and the singers are in good voice. The rest of the singing doesn’t happen until this time next week, which is the day before rehearsals start.

Nothing like leaving it till the last minute!

In other news,  yesterday’s talk of clicking links was very interesting, in that some of the links got almost no clicks, and some of them got none. Even whilst preaching to the converted nobody could be persuaded to read anything else. Oh well, frankly, I’m just glad you’re still reading this, sod everyone else! Hey, why not subscribe using the box on the right hand side of this page, and then you’ll get email from me every day. Yay!

A coffee based lesson for all of us

Of course I realise that it’s illegal. Lots of things are, strictly speaking. Driving at 31mph in a 30mph zone is illegal, but we all do it. Yes you do.

Anyway, as I may have mentioned, I’ve been on the road rather a lot recently and seem to have developed some kind of driving based narcolepsy. I can be perfectly awake, until I hit the motorway, at what ever time of day, and I suddenly become overwhelmed with tiredness. I’m getting a sore neck from all the nodding.

The obvious solution, other than just getting a fucking grip, is to indulge in my love of coffee. Ideally, coffee made from a person would be best but that’s not always an option. Quite often it’s from something like this:

It makes coffee, and it's OK

It’s a bit shit, but, do you know what? In the circumstances it’s OK, and to be honest sometimes I’m glad to not have to engage with anyone on a personal level, but you do have to take the offending article to the till and sometimes you’re asked what’s inside. Sometimes I forget. Idiot.

All this is quite tedious and not really getting to the point. Perhaps the point is that having recently bought several white tops and have learnt the lesson that perhaps a Latte coloured top might have been a better idea.

I’m not even completely sure what I did. But somehow I decided that the coffee would be better served being stored about my person, rather than being stored in my stomach. I thing I just had a spaz moment and it went everywhere. In fact the picture below doesn’t really show the extent of the damage caused.


It was much worse further down, but given I was driving at the time, I think I did quite a good job of the picture. Fortunately I didn’t have to go anywhere else before I could change my top. I put on a black one, but can’t help thinking of horses, doors and bolts.

Oh well. So the lesson is, either don’t drink (coffee) and drive, or even better, just wear a brown/black top. There, you’ve all been warned.