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The Vacuum - Issue 17 - Fashion spacer The Vacuum - Issue 17 - Fashion
Nibbles
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TAYTO ULSTER FRY FLAVOUR
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Some symbols and signifiers of Ulster; Harland and Wolf Crane, Giant's Causeways, Alex Higgins, The Ulster Fry, Seamus Heaney, The Tayto crisp, Bush Mills Whiskey and so on What happens if we try and combine some of these? Tayto assume they can marinate the fry, the Tayto and the tourist board image of Ulster into a product. Like a torch with a screwdriver - and a cheese grater attached. The 'Ulster Fry' flavour crisp is a 'special taste of home edition' and features images of Giants' Causeway, City Hall and a close-up (autopsy like) photograph of a real Ulster fry. A prize is offered: 'a gourmet weekend break' sponsored by the tourist board. The ingredients include the usual: spray dried vegetable fat, rusk, and glutamate. It tastes like an Ulster fry except I can't find the mushroom or soda bread flavourings, but everything else is there. Quite an achievement.
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NEW M&S SANDWICH RANGE
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Less flacid than the usual supermarket sandwich with bits in the bread and prawns that are not only 'king' sized but come from Honduras. Disappointing that miracle packaging that looks like paper (but is in fact plastic) is not used on this new range. Indeed premium price probably as much to do with large frontage on sandwich box as the air fare for the prawns. Still don't understand the appeal of egg sandwiches, others in range not suitable for non meat eaters.
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LAST WEEK IN KITCHEN BAR
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For my money the only decent pub in the city, combining both sad old men and good beer. In keeping with this realism it was clearer than ever that the bar only remained open because there was money to be made out of its loyal customers. Only the predicament of the barman Brendan, a veteran of a previous bar (Benny's) that fell prey to developers provided nostalgic distraction from the demolition machines at the door. A timely reminder that the demolition is unlikely to be as bad as what they build in its place.
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THE ULSTER HUMANIST JUNE-JULY ISSUE
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An earnest magazine that seeks to enlighten its readers and banish superstition. This entails a series on political philosophy (see part seven on 'political obligation'), reviews of films, and various articles about the misadventures and mischief of religions and George Bush. All this delivered in a style and design with a distinctive flavour of the 1970s. Least favourite bits are those which aim to be dismissive or funny, see column of jokes entitled 'Godslot', most interesting the article describing the assistant editor's ongoing conflict with Loyalists and the PSNI.
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THE WEATHER
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Plenty of opportunity for splashing around like a duck this month, sometimes even with rain and sun at the same time. Very likely all due to the melting of the polar ice-caps, isn't it supposed to be like this in April? Freakish rainstorms are always good to watch out the window but does this also mean seaons all out of kilter and it's time to move to higher ground?
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PULLING MOVES
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All depth's plumbed in BBC Northern Ireland's new comedy drama. Watch as the cheeky, cheery harp drinking 'dolescum' working class wideboys attempt to earn a living through false claims and half assed scams. This week 'the lads' tried their hands at dog breeding. Featuring patronising and cliched gay characters (who want to mate their shitzoo's; ho,ho) feisty tomboy women, needy bitchy girlfriends, spidey joyriders etc. Funny as fuck all. Up to the usual standard of patroning BBC produce. Ulster has suffered enough.
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CASH CONVERTERS WINDOW DISPLAY
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The shutters open at 10am as the crowds gather to see what's new. Step right up ­we got: Underwater camcorder cases, chainsaws, drills, 6 racing car steering wheels, (I'm coveting: a beautiful porcelin snail), a Jerry Garcia (Grateful Dead singer) miniature only £15 (suitable only for over 17s?), kettles, turntables, an 'i-cybig' dog (one of those remote control yokes that look like an arthritic canine), TV's, speaker systems, a Palm PC-(these are past their fad by date surely?), A wooden Candlestick Telephone (only £15) and sitting in the corner a 'Spinning snowflake snowman'; its speaking to me, its saying; 'take me home and watch me emit snowflakes and tip my top hat for you'. Sold, sold, sold.
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JOHN HEWITT BEER MENU
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Just looking at The John Hewitt Beer Menu is enough to initiate a build-up of noxious methane in ones bowels. Franziskaner Dunkel (German for hostile arse gas) is particularly renowned for stinking out the offices of Cathedral Quarter Arts workers the morning after Giro day. Over the course of an evening try different combinations of these over-priced Kraut imports as a form of creative wind game. Incidentally, the picture on the front of the menu is a fairly accurate representation of the bar as seen through the humid fug of lager farts. Highly recommended!
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PERSONALS Irish News, Newsletter, Telegraph 19/7/04
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The average Newsletter personal ad runs something like this: 'Genuine Male, 13 stone, likes tv, WLTM Loyal and Honest woman.' Just what is on offer here? The ads in all the papers are mostly horribly conventional. The Telegraph has the most and they are divided into 'women seeking men', 'men seeking women', 'mutual interests' (read gay) and 'friends and sports partners' (read what exactly?, athletic troilism?). The Newsletter has no specified, or even hinted at, gay listings, when I phone up to enquire about this the receptionist rather disconcertingly puts me through to the news desk, I am then redirected to the personnel department before I reach the woman who takes the ads. She assures me they get gay listings all the time. After all this choice The Irish News makes my decision easy with one solitary personal ad from an RC widow who seeks a man of 70 and will consider sharing expenses. Sounds like a good deal to me.
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