Today in Craft Beer and Street Food

 

 

 

 

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Kleenex bins ‘Mansize’ tissues

Loads of PR from this gimmick.

Waitrose to rename ‘sexist’ sandwich after protest by feminist campaigner

Loads of PR from this gimmick and the sad desperate career of the original moaner.

Keira Knightley bans daughter from watching some Disney films

Loads of PR from this gimmick and good to see the spirit of Mary Whitehouse never left us.

I’ve written about this nonsense before.  The cult of intersectionality.

People will moan about identity issue that really don’t affect anyone.  Those being complained at will capitulate and then the next line will be drawn, ready to be stomped all over in the name of a very authoritarian equality.

It will all lead to everyone who worships at its alter to eat themselves but they’ll do plenty of damage before hand.

It is a very sad state of affairs that I’ve touched on numerous times within the beer world and in general

But these stories keep cropping up…

Transgender first for Australian football as Hannah Mouncey is accepted

Transgender woman Rachel McKinnon wins cycling world championship

You do wonder when women how have/are transitioning to men will be applying and be winning things in male category sports.

But in the name of authoritarian equality…

Hostility to men…could become hate crime

And then everyone is a victim and everyone is a criminal.

 

 

Thanks for reading.

Schadenfreude vs Principles – Part 2 – Graham Linehan

Part 1

I’ve written about Count Dankula and his court trial before.  The trial itself became a lightning rod on twitter with the schism between what is and isn’t free speech becoming as blurred as the lines between common sense and hysteria as well as the old left/right political paradigm.

One of Dankula’s biggest detractors, going so far as to call him Cunt Dankula was Graham Linehan, writer of the glorious Father Ted (with Arthur Matthews) and contributor to Brass Eye and The Day Today (again, with Arthur Matthews).

Such was the shock that greeted Linehan’s response to the Dankula case; because there is a very stable Venn diagram whereby people are entertained by both artists works, that some speculated that Arthur Matthews was the one that wrote everything and Linehan was just the ego that sold it all.

To be fair there were quite a few comedians who not only didn’t speak up in defence of Dankula and comedy as a whole but did actively berate his actions but Linehan was the most vocal, such was his need to show his allegiance to the left, the progressives and generally anyone who thinks jokes are dangerous and should be censored and those that don’t agree are Nazis, fascists or the “alt-right.”

Linehan towed this line, while at the same time giving short shrift to a trans activist whom he was engaged in a war of words with.

His main infraction, apart from apparent doxxing by both parties, was referring to the now she as the former’s he persona.

A complaint was made to West Yorkshire police.  The same West Yorkshire Police that fail to investigate’ nearly half of reported offences.

Anyway in the end, Linehan was given a warning for expressing an opinion.

Graham Linehan given police warning after complaint by transgender activist (Guardian Link)

He twitter account is currently locked.

The (no pun intended) rainbow of intersectionality that accompanies equal rights, women’s rights, transgender rights and all manner of everything in between is confusing.  If you just read the defence employed by Linehan in the Guardian link above the language is just as confusing, it is almost as if it was by design that these things were that opaque that offence is bound to be taken by anyone at some point.

It is quite simple to change your opinion of the right of free speech for all but sometimes people are so far down a rabbit hole it is hard to see how far from the light you actually gone.

And in this day and age of likes, followers and retweets, sometimes people will sell out their own beliefs just to tell those that hang on their every word, what they think they want to hear.

In the end, if you are willing to deny someone the right to an opinion and the right to voice that opinion simply because you disagree with it, then expect your very same rights to be curtailed in the very same way and no manner of flag waving for any “side” will save you.

 

Thanks for reading.

ConCERN – Identity Politics in Science

I was going to write this post a few months back, based on the news of Professor Jocelyn Bell Burnell donating her £2.3 million award for a science prize to

…fund women, under-represented ethnic minority and refugee students to become physics researchers.

In fact this blog has been half way in the making ever since 2014 when #shirtstorm kicked off and Dr Matt Taylor was forced to apologise for some clothing he wore that offended the new puritans among us.

Clothing made by a female friend of his, clothing you can view here

It irritated me as a scientist (by education and trade).  Granted my science background is chemistry because I’ll never understand physics (I’m not clever enough and I hate maths) and I really should have gone further with biology instead but you make your choices based on your first influences and even though my grandma wanted to go to Uni to do physics (the family couldn’t afford it), it was my AC/DC-loving chemistry teacher that suckered me into that particular branch of the STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths*)  subjects.

As I went through all levels of education and the into employment within the (chemical) science field one thing that was apparent, not that it mattered or was something to even be cared about, was that there was a pretty good mix of men and women around me.  Yes, there was also a fair representation, per capita at least, of ethnic minorities too but this piece is more about gender balance as I’ve experienced it.

You could argue that; apart from my maleness and straightness, coming from a poor/working-class, single-parent household I had certain disadvantages in getting any further.  Possibly more so back when I was trying, now it is just used for political gain and to flood universities with people who really shouldn’t and don’t need to be there given the amount of shit and pointless degrees there are out there these days, but then again university education is now a business, but I digress.

Back then, none of this mattered…

What made the difference is that I

  • had a particular aptitude for science
  • had a particular level of intelligence required to pass exams and get the necessary grades
  • could work hard, when I wanted/needed to

And most importantly of all…

  • I really wanted to do science

Which leads us to Cern scientist Alessandro Strumia being suspended after comments he made relating to sexism in physics.

I’m not a fan of identity politics.  I’m not a fan of victim mentality.  What we have here is a failure to communicate and a certain level of chicken-and-egg nonsense.

The only thing I have to contribute to this typical modern day shit storm is that no amount of money will change either the gender or racial balance of people in science.

People go into science….

….because they want to go into science.

You have to have aptitude and intelligence and drive and a love for the subject, the same as any vocation and as with anything, the cream will rise.

Are there prejudice people in science?  Well as a reflection of society it would be the case that the probability is high.

But science is as science does and it doesn’t matter who does it.  It just is.

Science is just there; waiting to be discovered, or proved, or even disproved and the waters really need to stop being muddied by identity politics co-opted by people with really shit and pointless degrees and nothing of value to give back to society themselves.

 

Thanks for reading.

 

*Maths, not math, of all the Americanisms I read and hear, that is the one I’m most annoyed by.

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.

Beer: Zealotry, Supersessionism and Schisms

I will start this by admitting self-censorship on this post.

Apart from the fact that this piece has gone through numerous drafts as to its actual nature in my head, the title did originally have the word Putsch in it.  I thought better of it, mainly because was and still am getting pretty sick of Nazi associations.  Where as I like a good hyperbole as much as the next shamelessly needful, clamouring for any form of attention blogger out there I do have to draw a line somewhere.

That said, hate crime and the continual court trials of people for saying rude and apparently nasty things is exceedingly good fascism.

Anyway, this piece is actually going to be rather personal and has become focussed this way purely because of the events of Saturday 21st April 2018.

It was a glorious, sunny but not too hot as to burn my perpetually pallid-ashen privileged white skin, and I’d arranged to meet up with some old work colleges, some I’d not seen since the two and a half years I left my job of over a decade working with them.

Like an old musical group getting back together for the love of music rather than a cheap cash-in, we all clicked and it was like the conversation had never missed a beat.  The faint patters of 2005-onwards, beat out a wonderful rhythm and that this took place in the Marble Arch pub on Rochdale Road in Manchester brought into focus exactly what had gone on in my relationship with “the beer world.”

The fact that a phrase like that exists (world is far better replaced by bubble or echo chamber really) crystallises just what bullshit goes on in the world, the real world, thanks to the advent of social media.

I didn’t join Twitter until 2013, it would also seem that this was the year I also started this blog (I have other blogs that have been going far longer, good luck finding them) and joined CAMRA.

I had though, been drinking in the Marble Arch since 2005 when, on one Friday out of the month, I’d send out an email laced with double entendres that would get me sacked in a heart-beat these days, inviting out anyone who wished to spend a bit of their pay cheque on some beers and food in a few pubs in Manchester centre.

This was back in the day when the brewery was still in the pub, the Smithfield was still a hotel (and very red) and possibly the ceiling to the Crown & Kettle was only just being discovered.

It was the days of original Dobber, lip-stingingly sharp Marble Ginger and Pint, before cans became a chance to generate some fine Brewdog-style, everyone is picking on us, marketing.

It was a time of work mates just drinking, just actual drinking, in pubs, in actual pubs.

7 fucking years before my presence on Twitter.

I’d been going to beer festivals even before 2005.

Rather ironically in the Marble on this 2018 evening I did bump into 2 people I’d encountered on twitter previously.  One guy who runs Beer O’Clock show and I did once rile by claiming (rightly) that the #hopinions segments where getting very desperate.  They were then, who knows what they are like now.  The other bloke I think had just joined BO’C when I removed myself.

I’d asked them where they’d been and what their plans were for the rest of the evening. They’d done a few brew taps (non-existent in 2005, non-existent until about 2013) and that they were thinking of going to the Pilcrow, a soulless place, so desperately in need of a personality that it hadn’t even managed to steal one via osmosis from the “help” of willing slaves that built it from scratch.

I did suggest visits to the Angel, Smithfield and Crown & Kettle (as a route back to their hotel),  I had suggested a quick trip down the hill to Runaway Brewery but that wasn’t really possible given the time.  I do hope they took in those pubs and had a fine time.

They could have been tourists from another country or just unsure where to go next and looking for a pointer or two, instead there were from the beer world, knowledgeable and urbane and these two very nice people meant absolutely nothing to me.

For the five years I put into twitter, yes another odd phrase, I put half a decade of my life “into twitter” – I met and talked to some, nice people.

Not good people.  Good people is an anathema.  They were nice.  Helpful.  Friendly company.

This may be me burning my bridges but that is not the aim.

I left twitter, everyone’s lives moved on.  Next.

And then CAMRA have to do this revitalisation thing and I think I can guess, given the results, or at least THE ONE RESULT, what the reaction is.

It wouldn’t even surprise me if the reaction is very much like Brexit.

Old people.  What do they know?  Head in the sand.  Its OK, they’ll die soon and we can move on.  They don’t represent me.  I’m cancelling my membership.  I’m cutting up my card.  The vote wasn’t fair.  The threshold was too high.  Not enough of a turn-out.  I represent the silent majority.

As far as I’m concerned some would have actually wanted this result, I finally chance to virtue signal about how irrelevant CAMRA is and likewise how very relevant they are. A ha ha ha.

Nuance is dead.  Facts are dead.  It is and always will be us verses them but for some reason we can’t ever be the bigger people, shrug and move on, we have to, just have to move even further to the other side to address some hypothetical imbalance.

 

It is with no small irony that, being an actual active CAMRA member, I was thinking of leaving the organisation last year.  But life got in the way and I didn’t cancel my direct debit.

Why would I leave?  Well it is a nonsense really.  I give my Spoons vouchers to my mates.  I know enough people at all the local beer festivals I volunteer at (to get free beer, like everyone else does) to guess I can continue to volunteer at them (mainly because I’m quick, helpful and not as drunk as most of the other volunteers working behind the bar) and it just seems like a unnecessary folly.  A folly I am at least making use of in actual involvement.

In the Venn-diagram of CAMRA vs craft and everything in between, the bubble peak point because in my time out of it, I drink, I enjoy myself and I’m surrounded by real people free of beer bullshit.

On 21st April 2018 a vote happened.  A few people on social media got upset.  A few people on social media were OK with it.  A few people on social media fell out with each other because of it.

In the real world.  With real drinkers. In real pubs.  Drinking was done and no shits were given.  Let the beer egotists argue amongst themselves.  Whatever fills up your day.

The bubble is inflated by the hot air of elitist, all of which needing their own and their adversaries bullshit in order to justify their own reason for being in the bubble.

Of course this post is part of the bullshit.  Here is hoping it is the one final turd that causes the shit-show to slurry as a giant shit-tide out into the fucking sea.  I somewhat doubt it.

I raise my glass to you all.  It passed the time.

 

Thanks for reading.

An Interesting Beer Interview

Despite being out of the beer loop it was quite a surprise that I had an interview, perhaps a none broadcast pod-cast, fall in my lap quite recently.

I’m not one for conspiracy theories but it does seem a bit odd that I was never made aware of it whilst I was part of that most exclusive of clubs.

Anyway, I present it to you for your own delectation; transcribed as best as I can, all spelling and grammatical errors are mine, as you’d expect.

 

Interviewer (I): Hello, its everyone’s favourite blue-haired beer communicator Simon Jessica Wrighton, here for another episode of “Beer, its a really fucking serious business” and I’ve yet again braved not only stepping outside of London but also, being in the North of England, outside of Manchester and Leeds, to bring you this interview with John, brewer and owner of Common Sense Brewing, here in [remember to add which backwater town this actually is].  So John, as most of our readers and listeners might not know about you and your beer please tell us a bit about yourself.

John (J): Well, my background was in science and I home-brewed for a number of years and then, following a small lottery win I thought I’d see how well a hobby could grow into a business and if I could make enough to leave science and hopefully earn a living doing something I preferred, while being my own boss and hoping that I didn’t end up hating it.  8 years on, so far all 3 of those criteria have been met.

(I): And tell us a bit about the beer.

(J): Well, we brew a variety of beers, your pales mainly, we have a bitter, a mild, a stout and sometimes I try and dabble in what seems to be on trend in the beer world.

(I): So would you say you’re more of a traditional style of brewer or a more modern, forward thinking brewery?

(J): I brew what sells really.  Obviously my main market is my local area and it has a more of what you probably call a traditional feel to it but they all seem willing to try anything.  Likewise I can sell to wholesalers who can ship it around areas it isn’t really practical for us to reach.

(I): Give us an insight into the set-up of the brewery.

(J): Well it is a one man operation, I…

(I): Person.

(J): Sorry…

(I): One person operation.

(J): Er, OK.  So I’m the sole person handling the brewing, sales, admin, accounts, marketing and everything else in between.

(I): So you don’t have anyone else on your staff.

(J): Not at the moment no, I’m handling things quite well as I’ve have done since I started.

(I): But in the future you may need to employ some other people to help, possibly from other ethnic or gender backgrounds?

(J): What?

(I): You’ll be an equal opportunity employer?

(J): Well, yes, because I think it is the law.

(I): So you might end up getting a woman to help out.

(J): I suppose so, but if the time ever comes I’ll get whoever is best qualified or suited to whatever role I need filling.

(I): So what you’re saying is that you wouldn’t employ a woman?

(J): Where are we going with this, I thought I was here to talk beer and brewing?

(I): Yes, of course, but I’m sure our fans want to know that they won’t possibly be buying your beer knowing they are funding someone who doesn’t believe in equality.

(J): Sorry? You’ve lost me, but look, if the time comes I’ll advertise a role, interview whoever applies for it and then make a decision based on what information I’ve gleamed from them and their CVs, but this seems to be a hypothetical discussion so perhaps we should just talk about the present?

(I) Yes, of course. Tell us a bit about your most popular beer.

(J): Right, it is a very simple 4% pale ale.

(I):  What is the grist make-up?

(J): Just pale malt with a bit of wheat for head retention.

(I): So you don’t use any black malt?

(J): Er, not is this particular beer as it is a pale.

(I): But you do use black malts?

(J): Well yes, in my more amber and red beers and I of course use chocolate malts in my mild and stout.

(I): So what you’re saying is you’ve not yet brewed using all black malts yet?

(J): Er, no because I wouldn’t get beer, at least beer as we know it, out of that.

(I): Don’t you think you should at least try?

(J): I could try but experience and the general science behind brewing says that I won’t get beer from it.  If we are still talking about beer that is?

(I): Yes, of course we are.  What is the hop profile?

(J): I use Admiral hops for bittering, I use Admiral for bittering the vast majority of my beers just to keep it simple and cost effective.  The aroma comes from liberal use of Mosaic hops.

(I): Do you use more Admiral or more Mosaic?

(J): Erm, Mosaic but that is because of the nature of the beer.

(I): So why not use more Admiral?

(J): Because that isn’t what this beer requires.

(I): So you’re saying that Admiral and Mosaic aren’t of equal value?

(J): Eh? They both do important jobs but both are quite different in the jobs that they do.  Seriously pal, are we still talking about beer?

(I): Touched a nerve have I?

(J): No, you’re just confusing me with this line of questioning.  Is there anything else I can answer for you.

(I): Yes, of course.

(J): Is it about beer or brewing?

(I): Of course it is.

(J): Ask away then.

(I):  Why don’t you maintain quotas for how much hops and malts you use?

(J): What do you mean by quotas, I record all the weights I take on my brew sheets if that is what you’re getting at?

(I): Good.  So you’re saying we could look through you’re brew sheets and see how equally you spread your use of hops and malts.

(J): What do you mean equally?

(I): To make sure you use everything equally.

(J): What?  I can’t use everything equally, that isn’t the nature of the beer I make.

(I): So you’re saying you don’t use hops and malts equally?

(J): Well, they do completely different jobs.

(I): So they aren’t equal?

(J): What, hops and malt, are we talking by weight?

(I): Yes.

(J): Well, no, as I just said, they do different jobs and they can’t be compared as being equal.  There is no like for like comparison.

(I): Not even as an average?

(J): What? Especially not as an average.  Honestly, are we still talking about beer here?

(I): Thank you John, thank you for your time and a highly revealing insight into the brewing practices up here in [remember to add name of this rainy backwater].

(J): Er, thank you.

 

 

 

Thanks for reading.