The Snow In The Summer or So-So

Week of 14 August 2017

Koan

Martin Schulz: "I refuse to imagine a Europe where lorries and hedge funds are free to cross borders but citizens cannot"

15 August 2017
Not Dogs

A fast food restaurant in Birmingham Bull Ring.

Hot dogs, but not as you know them. Instead of a piece of dead pig in the middle, they use a special Quorn sausage. Eight inches of non-meaty sausage, wrapped in a plain bun.

The good news: these sausages are a special order. Not the normal bland Quorn sausage, these have some spice and taste. Good news for vegans, as the range is entirely free of animal produce (assuming you don't put cheese on top...) Service is fast - it was less than three minutes from order to service.

We got the version with ketchup, cheese, mustard, and caramel onion. Not sure this was the best choice: the sweet onion was the dominant taste, and we didn't much enjoy it. It overpowered all the more subtle flavours, as we confirmed near the end of the dog. A less-seasoned topping might be the way forward.

Also got the waffle fries, a generous portion size. Served without salt (good), but the ones we got proved more soggy than ideal. We like our fries to be crisp, and our onion to have some crunch; Not Dogs lacked the firmness we craved.

The meal is just over £8: somewhat more expensive than mass-market meaty burger places in the Bull Ring, but cheaper than most posh cafes there. For what it is, it's filling, and we have the glow from supporting a local business on ethical lines.

Comments? | Permanent link

The weeknotes
TV and radio notes

Enjoyed Radio 4's Shush! (Tue), the first time we've been able to catch Rebecca Front and Morwenna Banks's comedy. Well-drawn (if implausible) characters move from a credible situation to an impossible one, and back again.

Compare and contrast with Cheap Cheap Cheap (C4, all week), where the characters are flimsy, and we never know how far they're meant to interact with the contestants.

No More Boys and Girls (BBC2, Wed) turns out to be a two-parter. This week, Dr Javid Abelmoneim sees how children are treated differently based on gender expectations, and brings in ideas that might change this.

On this week's Blue Peter

Green badge Radzi vt rpt - green badge factory / Badge wall / Badge hit - Lindsey at green classroom in Stafford / Barney and George in garden / Lindsey vt rpt - beard of bees / Barney to leave on 14 Sept / Barney vt - gasometer re-fabrication to have houses inside Barney's film shoot began in 2014 - not previously mentioned in show

Barney's contribution? We'll remember the crap jokes, and the spoof giveaways, and "I want one of those". He's always able to be serious when needed, and you don't spend seven years on Blue Peter without being bloody good. But, but, but... he was petulant at times, particularly the show in week 25. Taking five weeks for panto, and a couple of extended breaks, and it feels like Barney's been third wheel on The Lindsey and Radzi Show for a year or more.

Barney replaced Joel Defries at the start of 2011, and we're not convinced that he was so much better than Joel. However, Barney is a professional, he never tried to overshadow Helen or Andy, and he's encouraged Lindsey and Radzi to be even better than he is.

Back in 2007, Creamguide ranked all the Blue Peter presenters (so far) on a scale: Gold - Silver - Blue - Green - Competition Winner. All things considered, Barney has been bloody good, but not quite on a par with Val Singleton or Matt Baker. We reckon: Silver Badge, alongside Sarah Green, Gethin Jones, and John Noakes.

Next week

Permanent link

Vintage Top of the Pops + 34 Years and 2 Months

14 October 1982 John Peel hosts this edition. Kick off with Mari Wilson, the third appearance for Just what I always wanted is as strong as ever. Mari's backing dancers get name signs, there are wonderful camera angles in the stage, and we can almost forgive them for knocking over the girl in the front row. Almost.

Barry Manilow has a clip for I wanna do it with you, live via satellite from The Late Late Breakfast Show of 2 October. Thanks for the offer, Barry, but we'll pass.

Debut of Tears For Fears, Roland Orzabel and Curt Smith and their band send a strong performance. No obvious high point, just strong throughout.

Jonathan King has the Billboard chart, dressed like he's going to some sort of fancy parade. Clips from Olivia Newton-John, America, Men At Work, and John Cougar. Only highlight is the Men At Work song is Who can it be now, which is a) bloody brilliant and b) never gets shown again.

Viewers on BBC4 missed that (just watch the Men At Work video). Straight to The Pinkees' Danger games. They're competent, sensible, but it doesn't compare after the earlier heights. Melba Moore doesn't help lift the mood, Love's comin' at ya gets a small-woman-on-giant-stage treatment. Zoo whip out the leather for Back on the chain gang, a hit for The Pretenders.

Three videos take us through the charts. Ultravox get us to Reap the wild wind, which we've seen before. The Beatles have a clip for Love me do, a montage of early footage and some performances. It's the start of a campaign of re-releases, the entire singles catalogue will come out on its 20th anniversary. That will last until 1990, though excitement was eclipsed later in the decade.

Three weeks at number one for Musical Youth with Pass the Dutchie. They'll be on Blue Peter next Monday, wonder if they'll collect anything other than their badges... Carly Simon's Why is the dance-out.

A lot of strong points in this show: brilliant direction from Brian Whitehouse, strong performances from all in the studio, and John Peel's on good form. Tears For Fears shade the Best Performance award, just ahead of Zoo and Mari Wilson.

World news

Solidarity went out on strike, after being banned by the parliament in Warsaw. There were running battles on the streets in Gdansk. The Yankees imposed more trade sanctions against the Polish regime.

The SDP conference backed an automatic right for people to share a job. Labour will take the government to court over plans to change boundaries for the Commons, they believe the boundaries are the only thing to stop Labour winning a majority and not (for instance) an unelectable leader. Labour ruled out a coalition with the SDP. The NUM will ballot members to strike over pay and pit closures. Sidney Weighell's resignation was accepted by the National Union of Railwaymen; he had submitted it expecting to be re-appointed as general secretary.

Trans-Atlantic airfares are to come down by up to a fifth. 449 for a return to LA, 329 for New Amsterdam, and 366 to Chicago. Rail fares will go up by 7% in January. A return from London to Birmingham will be 12.50, to Leeds 23, Bristol 13, and Brighton 5.80. Bank base rates came down to 9½%, their lowest since 1978. Negotiations at Aintree broke down: the course owner still wants to sell to a housing estate.

Snubbed noses in the government, after some papers broke an embargo on medals from the Falklands war; Bernard Ingram didn't give out advance copies of a report into cable television. The report itself called for a swift rollout of cable, and would let companies pick whatever channels they wanted to carry - perhaps not including BBC1 or ITV. The Office of Fair Trading will investigate the listings monopolies - Radio Times and TV Times are estimated to make 10 million profit each year.

A succession of depressions crossed England early in the week, causing flooding in some areas. Thursday had rain clearing to the east, and a nor-westerly wind. 12°C.

Other television

Raise the Mary Rose was the cry: bad weather on Sunday prevented the planned lift, but it happened on Monday, inching up to the surface without major damage. The ship was put in dry dock in Portsmouth and restored over the next three decades. The SDP Conference went by a chartered train to Cardiff, Derby, and Great Yarmouth. Who Killed the Lindbergh Baby? asked a BBC-WCBH co-production. Exotic flowers and wine as Jeux Sans Frontieres visits Madeira. 40 Minutes spends time with skinheads.

On Saturday Superstore, Mat Irvine demonstrates his Batmobile, Paul McCartney performs his new song, and Mike Read whips out his guitar. Olivia Neutron-Bomb is on Late Late Breakfast Show; so are Hall and Oates, boring at least one of this blog's parents. Jackanory read Starstormers by Nicholas Fisk. Pop Carnival came from a series of muddy fields, Steve Blacknell introduced open-air highlights. Rentaghost introduced Earl Perivale. Ace. And to promote a longer series, BBC2 aired the indispensible guide to the Ring Cycle, What's Opera, Doc?.

More ...BBC1 from Tuesday lunchtime... and BBC2 from Tuesday evening... NCAA-ball: Missouri play Kansas Province and Oklahoma play Texas and Michigan take on Michigan Province but the game of the week - if not the season - is #4 Alabama at #3 Penn Province... Bay's Ball: St Louis play Atlanta in NCLS game 3.

Permanent link

Popular music

The number one singles this week:

10aug 16h PINK - What about us    [7d21h]
18aug 13h JUSTIN BIEBER & BLOODPOP® - Friends [   ½h]
18aug 13h LITTLE MIX &CNCO       [2d 0h]
             - Reggaetón lento
20aug 13h PINK - What about us    [+7d21h]
UK Charts for w/e 26 August 2017
 TracksAlbums
Number One
What about us - Pink - 1st week (Number 1339 in seq.) The 50 Greatest Hits - Elvis Presley - 1st week (Number 1118 in seq.)
Highest new entryWithout you - Avicii Ft Sandro Cavazza - number 19 Rainbow - Kesha - number 4
Fastest climber
(within top 40)
Mi gente - J Balvin / Willy William - up 21 to 16 Rumours - Fleetwood Mac - up 6 to 30
Fastest climber
(within top 100)
More than friends - James Hype ft Kelli-Leigh - up 52 to 6 OK Computer - Radiohead - up 24 to 37
Lemming-like fallKnow no better - Major Lazer Ft Travis Scott/Camila Cabello - from 32 to 57 Pop Voodoo - Black Grape - from 9 to 96
Top 40 debuts Sandro Cavazza (ft on Avicii), James Hype Ft Kelli-Leigh (both), Stefflon Don & French Montana (as duet) David Rawlings, Paul Draper, Rat Boy
Top 100 debuts Sandro Cavazza (ft on Avicii), Justin Bieber & Bloodpop (as duet; Bloodpop at all), Marshmello, Mick Konstantin, Stefflon Don & French Montana (as duet) David Rawlings, Paul Draper, Rat Boy

Tracks

A twenty-place climb to number one for Pink. What about us becomes her third chart-topper, after Just like a pill (2002) and So what (2008). We're not immediately sure the new song will be as fondly remembered, but give it time...

Dua Lipa climbs from 5 to 2 with New rules, though ROPRA invent some "sales" to make her number one on their fabricated chart. Despacito slips from 1 to 3, we had grown quite tired of this already. Feels and Subéme la radio also drop two, to 4 and 5, making way for fresher tunes.

ITV2's successful series Celebrity Love Island finished recently, and one of the featured cast has stuck before we forget who he is. James Hype (featuring Kelli-Leigh) storms from 58 to 6 with More than friends, a gloopy love song so thick they could use it to resurface roads. New peak at 7 for Louis Tomlinson's Back to you, not quite redeemed by Bebe Rexha's brilliance.

Couple of climbs for Demi Lovato songs - her own Sorry not sorry moves 15-14. From 13-11 goes Instruction, with Jax Jones and Stefflon Don. Mr. Don has another new entry, Hurtin' me with French Montana comes in at 39.

Mi gente catches light this week, leaping 37-16 for J Balvin and Willy William. It's the third hit filed under broad "Spanish", though the difference between Madrid and Guatamala is broad. Avicii comes in at 19 with Without you, vocals from Sandro Cavazza, and we've managed not to hear the preferred cut from Avicii's latest EP.

Two more new entries into the top 40. Liam Gallagher's For what it's worth at 31, his tribute to the Penny Junor consumer affairs programme. And at 38, Ella Eyre's Ego, not a cover of the The Saturdays song. Chart entry for Yungen with Bestie at 29. New peaks for Duke Dumont and Gorgon City (Real life, 22), and Arcade Fire (Everything now, 24).

In at 41 on one day's sales: Justin Bieber and Bloodpop with Friends. Obscurity of the week from Mick Konstantin, There's only one Conor Mcgregor makes number 83. And sign of the times: Ed Sheeran's second biggest hit is Perfect, it overtakes both Castle on the hill and Galway girl.

Facts

Quite some comments this week about how few women have reached number 1 lately. These are the last ten number one singles with a female lead vocal.

26aug2017 PINK What about us
17jun2017 ARIANA GRANDE One last time
08apr2017 Clean Bandit Ft ZARA LARSSON Symphony
19nov2016 Clean Bandit - Rockabye*
29oct2016 LITTLE MIX Shout out to my ex
14may2016 Calvin Harris Ft RIHANNA This is what you came for
02apr2016 Sigala Ft IMANI Say you do
06feb2016 Jonas Blue & DAKOTA Fast car
07nov2015 ADELE Hello
31oct2015 Kda Ft KATY B Turn the music louder
05sep2015 RACHEL PLATTEN Fight song

Only five of those were clear female leads, and Clean Bandit (mixed group) may also count, but it's arguable. Here's the next five instances of women on top.

25jul2015 LITTLE MIX Black magic
04apr2015 JESS GLYNNE Hold my hand
14feb2015 ELLIE GOULDING Love me like you do
15nov2014 CHERYL I don't care
11oct2014 MEGHAN TRAINOR All about that bass

And, to complete the top ten, the next two solo women.

21jun2014 ELLA HENDERSON Ghost
24may2014 RITA ORA I will never let you down

But this ignores the collaboration between Jessie J / Ariana Grande / Nicki Minaj, and it ignores Cheryl Cole ft Tinie Tempah, and Ariana Grande ft Iggy Azalea. Kiesza's another 2014 solo woman.

Has there been some conspiracy to freeze out women? We don't think so: it's fashion. Right now, fashion favours Justin Beaver, Ed Sheeran, Quavo, Drake, Rag 'n' Bone Man, Little Mix, Clean Bandit, Kendrick Lamar, Ariana Grande, The Chainsmokers. Most of these are blokes. Two or three years ago, fashion favoured Beaver, Sheeran, Little Mix, Jess Glynne, Cheryl Tweedy-Cole-Fernandez-Versini, Rita Ora...

It was always thus. Teenage girls are fed a diet of attractive young men - Ed, Justin, the various members of One Direction. There are fewer women role models at the very top - Demi Lovato, Selena Gomez, even Pink and Little Mix will sell slowly.

The teenage and tweenage girls want to be their heroines. They want to be Ariana, they want to be Miley or Taylor or Little Mix. Live performance is their forte, not singles.

Albums

Forty years after his death, the Estate Of Elvis Presley is still milking his work. Lest we forget, he's been dead for twice as long as he was recording. 2000 collection The 50 Greatest Hits is re-packaged, re-promoted, and reaches number 1 - it originally made number 8 just before Christmas 2000. Glen Campbell and Ed Sheeran drop to 2 and 3.

New at 4 comes Kesha with Rainbow, the first in her series looking at classic children's television. (See also: The Shadows' Jigsaw, Sonic Youth's Experimental Jet Set, and Alunageorge's Bod Music.) Rag 'n' Bone Man drops a place to 5.

You is new at 6 for Dodie, a mini-album from the internet video star. The Cribs hit number 7 with 24-7 Rock Star Shit. More positivity from Rat Boy, Scum is in at 10; he's been on the fringes of success for a couple of years. Paul Draper from Mansun makes his solo debut, Spooky Action at 11. Martine McCutcheon's Lost and Found enters at 12, her first hit album in 15 years, and her first top 20 hit since her 1999 debut.

Richard Thompson has Acoustic Classics 2 at 14, Chip offers League of My Own II at 19, and Poor David's Almanack makes 31 for David Rawlings.

Avicii's EP is missing in action. The OCCCC's rules state that all digital albums qualify for the main chart, regardless of price; the budget albums require a physical edition. There's no CD of Avicii's work. Once again, the OCCCC have buggered up their own rules, and make their own chart a bit of a joke.

Permanent link

This week's news

Ouagadougou At least 18 people were killed when gunmen stormed a restaurant in the city.

Sunken Garden The planned "garden bridge" has been cancelled. The private folly, which would have spanned the Thames in Battersea, became notorious for its cost - over £85m of taxpayers' money was squandered with nothing to show.

Justice to the Swift David Mueller is a sex offender. The former radio DJ groped pop singer Taylor Swift at a meet-and-greet in 2013. Mueller sued Swift, claiming she organised his firing from his radio station. Swift countersued to ensure her day in court, where she made it clear: no means no, and Mueller's a pest.

Far reich Sarah Champion was Labour's critic on equalities. This came as news to us. We only found out about her position when she was resigned from it, after putting her name to a tabloid piece. Critics believed she said that Pakistani men are all child rapists.

Previously, the same tabloid had published a really inflammatory piece, bringing back the spectre of anti-Semitism against Moslems. Champion's piece was infinitely better, yet she attracts all the opprobrium while Trevor Kavanagh continues on his racist way.

On the one hand, Champion is guilty of expressing herself badly. She appears to be tarring all Pakistani men with the same brush. That undermines her position as opposition critic on equalities.

But there's a suggestion that Labour is shooting the messenger, and doesn't have to consider the point Champion tried to make. Is there a problem of endemic child abuse in some communities? Are religious bodies used as a front to enable grooming? Do white people turn a blind eye so as not to be accused of racism?

These are bloody difficult questions. It will take a courageous effort to answer them. It will require patience, sensitivity, compassion, empathy. By firing Sarah Champion, Labour shows it has none of these qualities.

Barcelona A van drove into a tourist crowd in Barcelona, killing 12. Local police say this was deliberate. Foxface condemned this attack.

Bong! The Westminster chimes will be silenced for four years, while repairs are made in the clock tower. Foxface condemned this silence.

Racist shitbags A bankrupt property tycoon said that he was a white supremacist. This particular tycoon pretends to be a big cheese in His Majesty's North American possessions. Foxface remained completely silent, clearly she is also a racist shitbag.

Dead: Bruce Forsyth, television legend.

Permanent link

Weather

Another week of unsettled weather, with low pressure tracking to the north of this location. There was a particularly vigorous band of rain on Friday, including some hyper-local showers: literally a minute or less of intense rain, then it completely stops.

Hurricane Gert tracked off the eastern seaboard last week, and the resulting depression is approaching these islands. It's likely to introduce some humid tropical air to southern parts, with the associated fronts draped over Ireland and northern England. This will last until about Wednesday, when all the warmth will be swept away by yet another depression. Remaining cool for the time of year, so do wrap up.

14 Mo cloud              10/20
15 Tu sun                13/21, 1.0
16 We sun to cloud        9/21
17 Th rain o/n, sun      15/22, 7.0
18 Fr sun to rain        14/18, 8.5
19 Sa showers            12/17, 6.0
20 Su sun to rain        11/19, 0.5

Rainfall in August: 55mm; monthly average: 72mm

A one-in-three chance of there being no peak above 20, and this week last year was the hottest in ten years. So we're slightly below average, but nothing unusual.

Degree cooling days: 144
2016: 118/179
2015: 98/113
2014: 162/174
2013: 192/241
2012: 108/127
2011: 125/190
2010: 133/135
2009: 76/79
2008: 104/114
2007: 65/91

Permanent link