Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Uniquely Refreshing

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  • Russell Brown,

    Some Christmas links I didn't put in the post ...

    Noah's Ark: The Horror

    The War on Christmas nonsense regrettably spreads to Britain.

    The already copious Voyage of the Damned Wikipedia article (SPOILERS!!)

    And if anyone can find a link to Steve Braunias's wonderful meditation on parenthood in last weekend's SST Sunday magazine, feel free to post it ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18963 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    While not a Christian myself, to me it's an important Christian holiday and can be enjoyed by us heathens in the same way we enjoy Diwali (while not being Hindu) etc... Anyway, as there was just ourselves over at my Mum and Dad's this year we decided to go to their Christmas Day church service with them. Well, what a strange experience it was.

    Now, I haven't been to a Christmas Day service for years but this was an Anglican service so I was expecting a few carols and a cheery message of the Good Will to All Men variety.

    As it turned out I didn't recognise any of the carols, they seemed to be some horrible newbie Christian tunes that didn't invoke any kind of Dickensian charm. Instead of an old lady on an organ there was a full band of well meaning people producing tunes that were as disturbing as they were bland.

    And the message was kind of mean spirited and a bit paranoid. The Minister told a story instead of doing a sermon and it was all about 'building walls' (I kid you not) to keep the bad dudes out so the children of God can get on with the business of living in paradise. Nothing along the lines of welcoming one and all, taking the message forth etc... Just pull up the wagons so no badness can seep in. There was only one other family there with young kids, otherwise the congregation was mainly the elderly and the infirm.

    I have vague memories from my youth that these Christmas services were about welcoming everybody and having a jolly old sing-along, sadly not any more judging by this experience.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 889 posts Report Reply

  • Paul Capewell,

    Cathedral Square was being wandered by bored tourists

    That's me four years ago! Sleeping in till 12 at the backpackers', lunch from KFC, humble indeed, and very un-northern-hemisphere.

    Not long till I grace Aotearoa's shores again - four weeks to go.

    Lovely christmas post Russell, very poetic too you soft thing.

    Manchester • Since Nov 2006 • 62 posts Report Reply

  • ed hayes,

    Nice mention of New Zealand in the Doctor Who special...

    Don't forget the Extras Christmas Special (Thursday, December 27, 9.00pm - BBC One). Should be on a torrent the next day.
    Ricky ends up on Doctor Who....

    auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8 posts Report Reply

  • robbery,

    Don't forget the Extras Christmas Special (Thursday, December 27, 9.00pm - BBC One). Should be on a torrent the next day

    it was screened in america a couple of weeks ago.
    torrent already available. its quite stunning. a multi layered, moving and damn funny triumph.

    spoiler

    george michael in a park cruising for blow jobs

    new zealand • Since May 2007 • 1882 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    I don't know if anyone reads Peter Hamilton's scifi here, but in his latest book the semi bad guy was born in Oamaru. Hooray for small town NZ references by contemporary British scifi authors!

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 894 posts Report Reply

  • Grant McDougall,

    Music geeks, a heads-up: in case you're not aware, Sounds are having a 50% off everything sale, which finishes today. Obviously most of their stock tends to be chart crap, but there are still some goodies there.

    I scored the Ramones Weird Tales Of... 4cd / dvd box-set for only $25, plus Joy Division deluxe editions, Scott Walker, assorted Flying Nun goodies and more.

    While in there yesterday, I bumped into former Dunedinite and, by this time next year, Wellington Central MP Grant Robertson. We had a good yarn about the past year politically and what next year may bring, as he snapped up the Doublehappys' Nerves comp and the like. He's feeling positive about Labour's chances, despite frecent balls-ups.

    Sorry Russell, I don't mean for this to read like advertorial and god knows I wouldn't darken that chain's door-way otherwise, but I just thought my fellow music nuts here would appreciate the tip.

    Dunedin • Since Dec 2006 • 612 posts Report Reply

  • johnno,

    drizzled with Paul Holmes olive oil from Mana Lodge

    It's bloody good olive oil. I think the old fella has found his true calling.

    I worked Chrissy this year and got sent to Gisborne for my troubles. 30 degrees at the Wainui beach, pumping surf, kids splashing in the shallows - all was good in Poverty Bay.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 108 posts Report Reply

  • James Griffin,

    Russell, after reading your most lovely words, I feel hugely nostalgic for Christmas 2007 and yet it is only December 27.

    Well done, that man.

    Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    Islands of the Gulf. My pic of the motu just now, is Rakino. I'm going out there to stay on my friends mooring. I'm going to do a bit of mineral prospecting. But first, legend is, there's or was a magnificent fruit apricot tree or at least it's remittence. This obviously means alluvial gold gold is in abundance.

    That's not superstition talking but this is: seagull's carry the souls of drowned sailor's. With that in mind, spare a thought for the infamous sailer, Smily, who sailed his mullet boat to the bottom
    of the Hauraki Gulf, on a run from the Barrier.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2751 posts Report Reply

  • steven crawford,

    The beta version.

    Islands of the Gulf. My pick of the motu just now, is Rakino. I'm going out there to stay on my friends mooring. I'm going to do a bit of mineral prospecting. But first, legend is, there's or was a magnificent fruiting apricot tree or at least it's remnant cement cast. This obviously means alluvial gold.

    That's not superstition talking but this is: seagull's carry the souls of drowned sailor's. With that in mind, spare a thought for the infamous sailer, Smily, who sailed his mullet boat to the bottom
    of the Hauraki Gulf, on a run from the Barrier.

    Since Nov 2006 • 2751 posts Report Reply

  • Belt,

    Why does it appear that I am the only one hanging on the words that describe the food? Stuff Paul's oil; the rest sounds divine. One chicken? Such modest guests you have. Michelle A? Such a fan; never had the pleasure of crossing swords. She's so... ok, I gush, as a fan does. But then I always got aroused by brains. Xmas here was primarily a consumer pre-school orgy. Grandma sends clothing. We wondered what reception it would get. Such a lovely boy, still. But it won't last. As Grandma sends clothing again, scorn will eventually follow. (aside: why are all the clothes 3-4 sizes too large?). For us, this time of the year is for kids. Me, the cynic, there is no pain. My better half misses Xmas 'of olde', never to be experienced again. Soon, I suspect, it will all be about electronics, software, and being left alone. Which is why, I suspect, I gravitate towards the food. It brings us back together, affter the power is turned off, and the wrappings are in the bin, everyone can enjoy a moment of delicious togetherness.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 49 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    it was screened in america a couple of weeks ago.
    torrent already available. its quite stunning. a multi layered, moving and damn funny triumph.

    Watched it last night. It's definitely all that. Hugely impressive.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18963 posts Report Reply

  • Danielle,

    Hugely impressive.

    And bleak. Whew. As I was watching it I thought 'this is so wonderfully grim that I'm actually exhilarated by it!' It was a weird feeling.

    If you eat duck for Christmas, you don't have to worry about it drying out. You *do* have to worry about all the duck fat clogging your arteries, though.

    Charo World. Cuchi-cuchi!… • Since Nov 2006 • 3661 posts Report Reply

  • Sara Bee,

    And - "St Clair beach seemed inviting" - it was! well, Dunedin in general. The most gorgeous morning and afternoon - sitting happily in our new little bit of paradise with the extended family, digesting the rolled turkey breast with cranberry stuffing and 13 different desserts (well, it felt like it - including this extraordinarily chocolate thing). Then, round 3.30pm the rain hail and thunder rolled in. It was great. Thanks Russell for a lovely post and all your wonderful work this year.

    Dunedin • Since Nov 2006 • 61 posts Report Reply

  • Sophie Wilson,

    What a flash feed you had! Hand stretched mozzarella and vine ripened tomatoes? Olive oil? Where's the pipi's?

    That was my inner brown person, sorry. She pops up in my conscious mind from time to time, particularly when issues such as race relations or food are mentioned. That's the same part of me that expects to have had loads of boil up and hangi at this time of year.

    But on the other hand, there's the more dominant, self appointed Herbivorian in me that is naughtily (I know I'm terrible, I'm horrible!) drooling and fantasizing over the home-smoked salmon and other succulent, big, hot and juicy.... meats that everyone has been bragging about on this thread. Ugh, I mean seriously, you carnivores have it so lucky at Christmas time. You get a veritable royal feast while us poor "Veggo's" (I think that's what the meat eaters call us) are left with nothing but Kate Moss Salad's, homeless stuffing, a sea of chickpeas, tofu, and lentils topped with clouds of millet flour and cous cous.

    I most certainly am conditioned by my chlidhood in spending celebratory seasons with my Samoan family. Corned beef, spit roast pork, chicken in all kinds of dishes and any kind of meat you can imagine will go with meat or more meat. And that is meat.

    By now, you must think I'm mad. And I am. But I stand by the fact that I acknowledge my primal meat eater while I also choose to be a "Herbie" (I believe the Carnivores also use that term for my people) because of reasons linked to health and conscience.

    But I am also conditioned by spending most Christmases with one of my mum's side of the family (she has many sides, a veritable dodecahedron she is), where the cook, my grandfather, made the traditional British roast. Heavy in starchy roast veges, turkey, chicken, cold ham, tender pork and home made apple sauce. Yorkshire pud, trifle and custard usually followed for dessert.

    Obviously this is my first year as a fully fledged "committed" vegetarian, whereas in the past I have timidly dipped my toe into the brisk waters of Herbivorianism. Now that I've made the plunge, I sure hope that Christmas eating warms up. Perhaps I need to brush up on my vege cooking chops?

    Sure we have one up on the Vegan's and we can pig out (excuse the terrible pun) on the traditional Pav with cream and any other devilish desserts containing animal products that can possibly fit into the nooks and crannies of the keenest parts of our intestines. But *sigh* Christmas just isn't the same without meat.

    Rant aside, that was a beautiful post, and I second Sara Bee for all your lovely work this year. Your writing is always respectfully well paced and thought provoking.

    Chur!!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2007 • 13 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    What a flash feed you had! Hand stretched mozzarella and vine ripened tomatoes? Olive oil? Where's the pipi's?

    The pipis aren't good for my gout unfortunately -- and there were none handy anyway (have you noticed how live mussels with their constant shower have disappeared from supermarket?).

    The mozz was from up around Matarangi, I think. Beautiful stuff that came in a solid log.

    That was my inner brown person, sorry. She pops up in my conscious mind from time to time, particularly when issues such as race relations or food are mentioned. That's the same part of me that expects to have had loads of boil up and hangi at this time of year.

    I came back from London for the summer of 88-89 basically a vegetarian. By the time I'd been to a hangi and a barbecue that was over. The meat was just too nice ...

    Ever watch Kai Time on Maori Television? Those bros had a really good handle on cooking traditional kai along with new ingredients, including plenty of olive oil.

    But on the other hand, there's the more dominant, self appointed Herbivorian in me that is naughtily (I know I'm terrible, I'm horrible!) drooling and fantasizing over the home-smoked salmon and other succulent, big, hot and juicy.... meats that everyone has been bragging about on this thread.

    I recall we had a nut loaf one year. It was pleasant enough, but not really the business. What I like is that my local butcher can sell me free-range ham and turkey at a decent price (they also demonstrate that you don't have to pump bacon full of brine to make it affordable -- their dry-smoked bacon is excellent and really nicely presented). I won't eat factory pig or chicken (although I presumably get the latter at restaurants and takeaways).

    Sure we have one up on the Vegan's ...

    Doesn't everyone? I respect the decision, but I just like food too much for that sort of carry-on.

    I got Bill Buford's Heat for Christmas. It tells the story of the author's George Plimpton-style internship in the kitchen of a very good Italian restaurant, run by a mad, brilliant Italian-American chef called Mario Batali.

    The first two pages are largely a rhapsody about being fed thin strips of lardo -- the fatty back of a pig -- specially cured by Mario himself and taken from a very fat pig that had spent the last months of its life eating apples, walnuts and cream. The instruction was to let the fat dissolve on their tongues to fully savour the flavours.

    Mmmm.

    But I'm not trying to sway you, honest. You started it ...

    PS: Dinner tonight is ... tofuburgers!

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18963 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    The most gorgeous morning and afternoon - sitting happily in our new little bit of paradise ...

    You've got space!!

    That house looks really lovely, but you should knock out both sides of the serving hatch from the kitchen. Cooks like to socialise too. And you can't need that much storage ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18963 posts Report Reply

  • Finn Higgins,

    The first two pages are largely a rhapsody about being fed thin strips of lardo -- the fatty back of a pig -- specially cured by Mario himself and taken from a very fat pig that had spent the last months of its life eating apples, walnuts and cream. The instruction was to let the fat dissolve on their tongues to fully savour the flavours.

    That all sounded really appealing until I realised you were talking about scoffing down lard. That's enough to nearly make me retch, and I'm from yorkshire for feck's sake!

    (And, it's worth mentioning, vegetarian. So I suppose that disqualifies me - but eating lard is still totally rank, sehriusly!)

    Oh, and:

    >Sure we have one up on the Vegan's ...

    Doesn't everyone?

    Better watch that kind of talk, 8 Foot Sativa might get you...

    Wellington • Since Apr 2007 • 209 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    That all sounded really appealing until I realised you were talking about scoffing down lard. That's enough to nearly make me retch, and I'm from yorkshire for feck's sake!

    (And, it's worth mentioning, vegetarian. So I suppose that disqualifies me - but eating lard is still totally rank, sehriusly!)

    Not lard, pork fat cured with salt and herbs, sliced thinly and presented by the same chef who cured it with salt and herbs, and who oversaw the pigs' diet. Not exactly yer packet of of dripping ...

    PS: The tofu burgers this evening were quite nice. Lots of satay sauce.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18963 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    The tofu burgers this evening were quite nice. Lots of satay sauce.

    I'm not vegetarian, but I still hanker after the tofu burgers that we used to get at the wee place on Lorne St, in the 80's. Does anyone remember it's name?

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    I'm not vegetarian, but I still hanker after the tofu burgers that we used to get at the wee place on Lorne St, in the 80's. Does anyone remember it's name?

    Dominos. And yes, they were nice -- most of the food was, as I recall.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18963 posts Report Reply

  • Jackie Clark,

    That's the one - and now I'm dreaming of the lovely frozen yoghurt cones from the little place in Victoria St, just by where the Rodney Wayne salon is now. Bah! Enough of that nostalgia and hooray for sunny Saturdays.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3123 posts Report Reply

  • daleaway,

    There's a specially sharp nostalgia pang for food you know you'll never taste again.

    I still recall the perfect Scotch eggs from the downstairs snack bar of James Smith's in Wellington in the 1960s. (The little one outside the haberdashery notions department - belt buckles and so forth. ) So crisp outside, so melting within and with apple in them too. Ruined all other Scotch eggs for me for life. The ones sold in supermarkets are truly incompetent. Bad gristly meat, and oversalted. Ugh.

    Since Jul 2007 • 178 posts Report Reply

  • James Griffin,

    Okay, in the spirit of 80's Auckland food nostalgia (Fed Up anyone?) there is some confusion in my house. We would have said Simple Cottage for the yummy tofu burgers on Lorne Street. Where, if not on Lorne Street, was Simple Cottage then? And were the tofu burgers any good?

    Hell, all this talk of vegetarianism and I'm on the verge of digging out my Moosewood Cookbook. This can't be right and proper thinking in BBQ season.

    Since Nov 2006 • 28 posts Report Reply

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