Manchester Public Transport Part 1 – The Scourge of Guardianista

I’ll get this out of my system first because Part 2 (whenever I get around to writing it) will be actually about the public transport system in (Greater) Manchester but as things stand now, I’ll just take this moment to laugh at a typically deluded Guardian journo, who now seems to be on a bit of a crusade after the shock of bus fares in the county hit home.

Given the begging letters you see when you ever visit the “newspaper’s” website, I take it that expenses are a bit short for the Guardian’s staff these days.  Either that or they themselves aren’t employees, meh I don’t care, it’s your life.

 

It’s the self-flagellation that always gets me.  The unnecessary virtue signal and moan about first world problems and then the moment of realisation that, all your own morals are expendable when broken down into the realities of hard cash.

Damn this capitalism, nationalise everything all ready.

I’d have slightly more sympathy for her supposed plight if she hadn’t followed it up with this:

“How can I possibly be expected to walk a bit in order to pay over the odds for bog standard food at restaurant prices when I’ve had to fork out for a bus an Uber.”

Life is what you make it.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

Advertisements

My non-Usual Drinking History…So Far

As I make my way through yet another Bent & Bongs Beer Bash a wave of nostalgia hit me that I feel best to recount, perhaps to realign this blog briefly into a less political state.

I started drinking at around 13 on the fields near mine and my mates houses (parents houses obviously).  Back then it started on stupidly strong stuff like Kestrel Super and Ice Dragon cider, the former of which should never really be drank by anyone with functioning taste buds so as a starting point it could poison your idea of beer from the very start.

We were away from the public, actually quite quiet and respectable of our surroundings.  It took me a long summer of finding the right cans before I first got drunk; two cans of Strongbow did the trick back then, my mates were may ahead having spent each weekend seemingly trying to increase their tolerance a can at a time.

That I’m still mates with most of them, or rather they are still mates with me, highlights that the only evolution on that scale has been that we now go out drinking together in the pub, or around each others houses (our actually own houses because we’re all sensible and grown up and have responsibilities now).

We moved into drinking in pubs at around 16-17, after all there is only a certain amount of time your growing body can get used to drinking alcohol while playing football.

I’m tempted to suggest that my pub experience started in the 2nd wave of keg beer.  After Red Barrel and Double Diamond, I drank up in the Smooth Flow era.  A time of a seemingly Irish beer invasion, where it wasn’t just Guinness of off but Murphy’s, Beamish (red and black), Kilkenny and Caffrey’s, which back then started out at 4.8%.  This went along side Boddington’s launching a “Gold” version, while you could also get Thwaites Smooth, Tetley’s Smooth, John Smith’s Smooth and the personally missed Calder’s Cream Ale.

Can drinking was awash with cans with “widgets” in them; for an authentic creamy pub head in your own home, or in the case of Carling Premier, then need to mop the floor each time one was opened.

I honestly don’t recall much, if any cask at all, nothing of note anyway, that phase only entered my life when I went to university in Bradford.  A place of Flowers IPA for £1 a pint, or the premium offering of Directors (when it didn’t just taste of syrup).

Bradford had the Biko Bar, at the time it was sold as “the only student bar in the Good Beer Guide” – they regularly served cask Moorhouses’ Witches Brew (again before it tasted of syrup) and Younger’s No. 3.

Fun smoking fact about the Biko Bar; it had a no smoking section that was on a raised platform to the rest of the pub.  The pub was basically a rectangle, the platform near the windows and opposite the door, so naturally all the smoke from the rest of the pub went over the non-smoking area and out through the windows. Genius idea.

In fact back then they did a pub quiz on a Sunday, where once a team name was called “What kind of crap pub has a no smoking section” – how times change.

A pub near my halls called The Shearbridge (now a curry house I believe) had regular beer festivals and always sold Skull Splitter and Dogs Bollocks as part of them.

This brings us up to starting going to beer festivals (Bent & Bongs I’d been aware of since my dad started going from its inception) and the fact that I still didn’t really care what I drink, style wise.  Back then it was – oh what’s this 14% beer, Sam-something-or-other.

I write this piece because I’ve realised only necessity has made me “have” a preferred drink. Cans as a kid was lager or cider.  Pubs at the beginning was generally lager, sometimes Guinness.  Cost as a student meant it was Flowers or some random lager.

Going into pubs now, with the choice far more varied than it was, I still don’t have a drink, I’ve never got to hear the bar tender ask “the usual” and I’m wondering if anyone does any more.

Though I think I’m just happy that my usual is the places I go and the people I go with.

 

Thanks for reading.

Mark The Date – I Defend Jamie Oliver

I am not a fan of Jamie Oliver

And although he is quite easy to ignore on a personal level, his random food campaigns which have such a high influence on government policy, can not be ignored.

The holier than thou one does like to pillor (pillar) the poor with his constant attacking of their choices of food and drink and then the subsequent legislation handed down by government the only way it knows, put taxes on it to nudge people off it.

It is social engineering and its most base; carried out, enforced and cheered on by the snobby elite.

But just because I don’t like the guy doesn’t mean I shouldn’t defend him from even more spurious attacks.

Jamie is currently under tweet attack for cultural appropriation

Rice is the problem.  Microwave rice.  Microwave Jamaican Jerk rice to be precise.

Launching this attack was Dawn Butler. Heiress to the throne of Diane Abbott, David Lammy without the penis (yes, I assume her gender to be female).

White people can’t do Jamaican dishes.  Behind the scenes of every Pizza Hut and Dominoes there are hordes of Italians slaving away.  Yep, even in those kebab houses the pizza’s are only cooked by Italians, the kebabs by the Turks and the burgers are only prepared by Germans, specifically from Hamburg.

Though we can walk this back and away from slurs of racism and just make it about the ingredients.

Gate open.  Horse bolted.  And is now being prepared for consumption by someone who is hopefully French. Or South American. Or whatever.

 

Thanks for reading.

Northern Ireland – Beer and…Bass

Just a brief write up of a recent trip I had around Northern Ireland, hopefully not mentioning politics (past or current) and with no pictures of The Dark Hedges, Giant’s Causeway, boats, mountains, flags, sectarian gift shops and murals.

 

Larne

 

Larne is an odd place, eerily quiet on the Saturday night when I visited but the first thing I saw on the high street set the tone for beer (kind of) for the rest of the trip.

If you are ever in Larne, eat at Carriages, they feed you well, the feed you very, very well.

Portrush

The wondrous thing about many of the bars, pubs and restaurants I went into across the nation was that as well as the usual macro beers that everyone knows and loves the representation from local breweries was very well represented.

To dine (as opposed to takeaway) in Portrush is to seemingly have a choice between 6 restaurants all owned by the same company but the food was great as were the choices of beers but this place came alive when I found a place called Kiwi’s.

All towns (big or small) in Northern Ireland seem to work on some daft one way, pedestrianised system which directs cars on the longest route possible to find the smallest amount of car park spaces, not good if you are there for a few hours, makes sense if you are staying overnight.

Lacada brewery is the community brewery based in Portrush (community brewing seems to be big across all of NI) and to their credit, and that of many of the other businesses in Portrush, their beers were to be found in most outlets.  Kiwis itself has a wide selection of beers micro and macro plus the obligatory gin selection too.

Portstewart

People here can not drive and that is all I have to say, they also don’t like working late either so just stay in Portrush.

Derry (LondonDerry)

For my sins I only passed through Derry, on the way to the north part of Southern Ireland, it looked like quite a nice place to stop off, maybe next time.

Newry

 

The Stoke of Northern Ireland, a place simultaneously bustling and run-down. Welcoming and hostile. Where the Tesco sells a fine mix of many local breweries.

3.7% – who knew?

Mourne Mountains / Warrenpoint

Visit the Silent Valley – take insect repellent and a few beers.

Comber / Newtownards

Again many nice pubs and restaurants, quite a few carrying local beers from Bullhouse and Farmageddon.  Lots of ancient ruins and scary locals off the beaten tracks so lock your doors when you drive around Ballydrain.

Belfast

Driving into Belfast I could smell beer being brewed.  It is the exact smell you get as you drive into Cheetham Hill (Holt’s) or back down the Irk Valley (Blackjack & Runaway).  Sometimes I even mistake it for the smell of cooked liver.

Lovely pub.  And the only cask pint I found (Hilden Brewery, take a bow and the pub, it was a great pint).

Obviously a capital city has many pubs to choose from and also a wide choice of beers.  Apart from The Sunflower I was very taken by the John Hewitt and of course, The Crown

I’d take pictures of the inside but I’m more interested in the drinking, quite ethereal in here.

Bass

Bass (keg) was prevalent in many of the places I visited.  There seems to be some tie in to Tennents, possibly when both were on by InBev.

So there you have it.  Northern Ireland; a place of fine natural scenery, good hostelries, many, many flags, red triangles, big red T’s, fake retro Guinness pumps, potatoes, so many potatoes and me trying not to sing out loud lyrics to Stiff Little Fingers songs.

One final thing…

 

Public signs for dog fouling seem to all have to display the actual mess, either falling out or a steaming pile of it next to the cartoon dog…it is the small things in life…

 

Thanks for reading.

Hipster Racism! This Explains Craft Beer Racism

Wandering through the internet last week I was pointed to an article about “how to know if you are a hipster racist”

I didn’t give it a read at the time but came back to it today and reading it made me realise how this totally connected to the piece in Thrillist that pointed out that there are few black people in craft beer, that got a hell of a lot of beer people in a tizz back in 2015.

Couple this with a further story from 2015 about how barbecue food is racist and it now all becomes clear.

When you go to any craft beer bar, food hall, or street food gathering you seldom see any faces that are any colour other than white.

Its full of young hipsters, old hipsters, hipster parents; all strongly in the IC1 category, loving the diversity of their food but not of their company.

Sure, there might be some BAMEies cooking and serving the food but luckily they wear gloves because who wants to eat something that has come into contact with non-Caucasian hands, which they probably haven’t washed anyway.

No, so long as the Chinks, the Wogs and the Negros know that their place is hemmed in behind a counter, shackled to a hot grill and waiting on their fair-skinned masters then every one can enjoy some jolly good grub.

In fact, better yet, just get some whites to set up their own food stalls and culturally appropriate the food of the lower castes and then we never need to feel even slight pangs of guilty as we tuck into to our food in our monochromatic atmosphere.

 

This is of course all complete bollocks.

There is something rotten at the core of this craft movement but it isn’t racism.

This is a nod to the collectivists, the neo-segregationists, the social justice warriors and the painfully illiberal liberals.

These fuckers will eventually eat themselves.

And probably set up a street food stall and charge £10 a plate for the experience.

 

Thanks for reading.

Life – Its Just Space Between Chippy Teas

There is nothing so great a the Friday night chippy tea, a sign that the working week has ended and the weekend starts now.

This assumes that most people still work a standard 9-5, Monday to Friday week. Oh and that you know that tea is the evening meal in this instance, not the drink.

Breakfast, dinner, tea – that is how it goes, with supper being a post bed snack. You can throw in elevenses if you wish.

Breakfast, lunch, dinner – that is how some others refer to it but these are the type of people that probably order “lightly- battered” fish and they deserve to never be indulged.

Fun fact, the more batter the healthier the fish is as the less oil that gets to it, so if you don’t want too much batter in your diet just eat less of it.  Don’t order it with less and then became a bit distressed that you have to wait while 5 normal people are served before you because “we’re still waiting on your fish.”

I’m blessed with an inordinate amount of chip outlets near me, even all the Chinese takeaways do a fairly good stab at it and whereas the chips and peas are good, the fish is pants but that is OK because I’m a pie, pudding and/or sausage person at this time of the week.

I’m not going to bore you with a load of local slang terms for the food you can get a chip shops, it serves no one in the long run and it just cultural appropriation.

The closest chippy to me did the most wondrous thing recently and decided to open in the evenings every day (except Sundays), I’ve yet to have chippy every day yet but I will build up to that.  I’ve not attempted it yet, not because of some health reason but because the Friday night chippy tea is still a special event for me.

The amount of cars parked outside the chip shop is a usually a fair indication of the queuing status.  As is watching people parking up, leaving and walking.  Each act done with an misplaced, increased level of stress that chips should not really cause as each character tries desperately to get into the chip shop, get home to eat, or beat the other foot soldiers who also valiantly increase their walking pace to get higher up in the queue.

One thing I’ve never learnt, how you wrap up left over chips they way they were presented to you originally.  The wrapping style associated with chip shop paper is like unfolded origami, it makes little sense with just a creased, 2-D piece of slightly fatty paper looking back at you.

The good thing is its now the weekend, which means dinner time chippy.

 

Thanks for reading.