Monday, 18 February 2008

Seahorse dreams

I have a day off today and am enjoying taking it easy. There will be some more coffee drunk later and a wander into Helsinki.

I've been meaning to post for a little while on a completely unrelated food topic - the as yet untitled 3rd album project from Pebble. I know the working title is Olympic 52 at the moment but that just sounds like a giant Hollywood movie giving itself a fake name so as to avoid attention.

This project has been a long time in the works, the move to Norway and now Finland have delayed any real work but now I have a nice space here in Helsinki all I need is some time and some inspiration!! What I know is this:

This is a sad song and yet hopeful for the future. I am always struck over and over again how people can get themselves in all sorts of emotional knots and yet one day spring out of them and face the future with renewed hope. I have a few nice chords so this should be a keeper.
*Captain Jessica Fantastic
This one has some killer chords and a bright upbeat style of early REM but (damn that 'but') I've used the old trick of taking two songs and compacting them together to make a single more interesting song and the joins are a little too obvious right now and I haven't solved it...yet.
This one was originally started in 1997 and not finished until a few weeks ago. I have always loved the first line, "I crashed and burned with an actress in a pub on Drury Lane." I really did crash and burn when I tried to chat her up and that was the start of a wild, wild night. The rest of the song doesn't deal with that evening at all. It's done as a song.
Beautiful riff, goes in all sorts of interesting directions. Absolute no idea what is going on. I think I'll have to record it and hope some words arrive.

They are the songs with something real going on. There are a few other chord sequences and melodies floating around including a stray line about the Cat who used to live next door to us in Malvik, Norway which are too good to drop but still homeless.


"It began without words, they came later and made things worse, not better."

This is the first line from my new novel. The problem is this is the only thing I remember from my dream last night. What is the book about? Why can't I remember?

Saturday, 16 February 2008

When you're big in Japan

It's a beautiful morning and the coffee is good and I am in an uncharateristic manner blogging twice in as many days and I haven't even got round to writing about how the songwriting is going.

This morning's post is about food so read on and please begin to drool discretely.

My boss is coming round for dinner on Sunday en familie and I promised Japanese food. This was OK until he mentioned his wife doesn't eat fish and he loves sushi. Here in the kitchen we love sushi and enjoy making it, it's one thing we're quite good at (souffles are something I am bad at but that is another post!). So I know I can make a few old favourites using avocado and cucumber. I also have begun to understand the battleship principle so have bought some fish roe to experiment with. However in an act of imagination I want to create some kind of courgette battleship where grilled julienne strips of courgette replaced the seaweed. The filling would then be some cream cheese with fresh dill. My challenge is to get the rice and the courgette to bond like the seaweed does. Finally we're employing the principle of lots of little dishes to make a balanced meal. So here is the menu for tomorrow's food:

Miso soup (made with home made dashi stock)
Inside out avocado rolls
Salmon nigiri
Fish roe battleships
Grilled courgette battleships with dill and cream cheese
Hijiki seaweed balls
Red and yellow cherry tomatoes in a soy dressing
Carrot salad
Mushrooms and pickles
Leeks in sweet chilli sauce
Pickled plums

Green tea cheesecake


The kitchen is open for reservations!!

Friday, 15 February 2008

Thursday night movie club

I first moved to Bristol in 1999 for a job. The company rented a house for the 5 or 6 people working on getting the Bristol Store opened. We had a house virtually opposite a lovely pub called The Hope and Anchor. On most evening we could be found in there enjoying a pint (or two) and some cheesey chips. It was then that my friend Mike and I founded the Thursday night movie club. It lasted a few years and was a pretty mainstream affair, I had to keep my art house tastes hidden like a dirty secret, and it was fun.

Now in Helsinki we seem to have stumbled across another Thursday Night Movie Club which is excellent and we have been to the movies more in the last few months than in the last year.

It is very civilised to meet for a beer beforehand and then just enjoy the dark room and the big picture. I wish there was time afterwards to sit and talk about the films but that will come in time.

So last night was Ang Lee's Lust, Caution which I experienced through the prism of Swedish subtitles. The film has received almost universal praise in almost everything I've read and attracted additional publicity for being critisiced by the Chinese authorities for it's gratuitous sex scenes. So where to begin...certainly not with a precis of the plot.

First of all it looks beautiful (and this is the first time I can actually understand what that overused term means) and while it appears to be a love story (on many different levels between many different characters) it is at heart a story about power and often an unflinching one. The sex scenes seemed more brutal than passionate and appeared positively painful to all those involved. The plotting was good, well paced and the 2 hrs plus running time never dragged. Yet I left the cinema saddened by the movie. The overwhelming impression I had was that every character held power over another at various points and all it gave them was an empty taste as a reward.


The week before was My Blueberry Night which saw me inducted into the Helsinki chapter of the Jude Law fan club by my fellow movie goers (you know who you are and I thank you for the honour!). It was the film that was offered by "the club" that night and I had no expectations of it other than it appeared to be dangerously close to being in chick flick territory and being a "real man" (Please please please note the irony there and do not take that seriously I would be mortified) that I would hate it.

So my advice to all you guys out there - go and see it.

A week on I'm having the idea that it is somehow related to "It's a wonderful life". In that movie Clarence has to show Jimmy Stewart what the world would have been like if he hadn't been born. In MBN Norah Jones' character is a kind of Angel connecting with various dispossessed characters so that somehow she can help Jude Law. I think I should stop now before I start waffling....the point is I thought it was a nice bit of fluff at the time and then the next day driving to work I was struck by how it had made me happy as a movie and that is a good thing.

There is a list of things I'm supposed to post on relating to the Kitchen so hopefully will get those up this week.

In the meantime waste nothing and watch art house movies.