#Listography – Top 5 Albums by (well, almost by) Male Solo Artist…

Kate’s showing off her wonderful taste in music this week, hoping the rest of us will show up with some interesting stuff to add to the mix.

But albums by male solo artists?  That’s where I start dredging the bottom of the barrel of my music collection.  All of the male artists I’ve got are the front men for some superb bands.  But, I think I’m close enough.  Ish.  Almost.  Well, here goes anyway:

Alice Cooper – Hey Stoopid

Alice Cooper - Hey Stoopid
Link to Amazon... Go on, buy it!

Not a single bad track on this 1991 release from a rocker who’s still churning out albums now, over 20 years later. Feed my Frankenstein was made famous in Wayne’s World, there’s the monster guitar solo that is Wind-Up Toy, the yearning of Might as Well Be on Mars.  It’s brilliant.  A work of pure class.  And he’s hardly aged a bit, judging by the back-cover shot.

Peter Gabriel – OVO: The Millennium Show

Peter Gabriel - Ovo
This is the Limited Edition cover

I first heard this album at the Millennium Dome where it formed the soundtrack to the central show, performed 3 times a day throughout the year the dome was open.  In all, we visited the dome 3 times and saw the show 8 times in total. Truly, wonderfully, amazingly, spectacular.  Even now the memories of it bring a shiver to my spine and a smile to my face.  We were some of the lucky few to catch the very last performance of Ovo.

Fish – Field of Crows

Fish - Field of Crows
At these prices, I'd aim for the mp3!

My wife and I differ in our opinions of Fish.  I rather like his music, she’d rather cut my throat with the edge of the CD before disposing of the murder weapon in the incinerator.  Old Crow, on this album, is one of my favourite tracks by what I reckon you could consider a solo male artist.  Though The Company, on “Vigil in a Wilderness of Mirrors” beats it for the top spot, this album is the better all-round.

Chris de Burgh – Live in Dublin

High on Emotion

I love live albums. Love ’em.  Although I may not always get along well with Mr deBurgh (Light years are a measure of distance, not time, you plonker) this is an absolute belter.  Get it on the stereo in the car, crank it to max, and let those cannons roar revolution!

Pink Floyd – The Division Bell

The Division Bell
New Discovery Edition! Oooh! Shiny!

I’ve been struggling with the question “Which one’s Pink” since it was first voiced on his album “Wish you were here”, but I’m putting that aside to say that this is one of his finest albums.  The last track, High Hopes, is one I want playing at my funeral.

Close enough, right?


#Listography – Top Five Cookbooks

Cookbooks should be living documents.  They should have things scribbled in them.  Aunty Molly’s Ginger Biscuit recipe, quick and easy buffalo wings, the world’s best sticky toffee pudding recipe (all 3 of those are inside the back cover of one of mine).  Whoever makes a cookbook should make it with plenty of white space around the recipes and a load of blank/lined pages at the back.  They should also be covered with oil stains where the pan’s spat, have the odd bit of dried herb as a bookmark.  Like your kids’ favourite books, they should be used.

For all the cooking I do, I don’t have that many actual cookbooks.  The best ones I’ve got have recipes scribbled in the blank spaces, folded pieces of paper inside the dust jackets and lots and lots of stains from repeated use in the kitchen.  Technically, my wife owns most of the cookbooks in the house, I’m only just catching up!

In no particular order…

Favourite 5 Cookbooks

A Feast of Floyd

For me, Keith Floyd defined TV cooking for many, many years.  Everything about the show –  the theme music,  the style of his delivery – was his cameraman really called Clive? – the recipes themselves – was compelling viewing.  Cooking everything using just one hand (with a glass of wine in the other), setting the hotel room on fire… Brilliant stuff.  This is the oldest cookbook I’ve got and contains the syllabub recipe I made for my wife (then my girlfriend) the first time I cooked for her.  Over the years I’ve dipped in and out of this book, a jambalaya here, rabbit with ale and mustard there.  I’m nowhere close to cooking everything in it and I doubt I ever will be.

Floyd also contains more hand-written additions than any of the other books and holds my sacred curry recipes inside the dust jacket.  That and a Bank of Northmavine £20.

Vatch’s Thai Street Food.

I waxed lyrical about this one in last week’s Recipe Shed post. It’s my current favourite cookbook and there’s not a recipe in it I don’t want to cook.

Hugh Fernly-Whittingstall:  MEAT

As m’colleage, Keith, mentioned when he covered this on over on his blog, this is part cookbook, part manual for what to do with meat in general.  Hugh has a very easy style of delivery, if you’ve ever seen him on TV you can imagine him reading the book to you as you go with it.  Not only does it have the single best slow-roasted pork recipe I’ve ever tasted, it also contains my go-to recipe for jerk chicken.

Gregg Wallace: Puddings

If ever a man knew puddings, it’d be Gregg Wallace.  He’s on Twitter as @puddingface.  He can be seen drooling over the wonderful concoctions from the Masterchef chefs.  He’s parodied mercilessly in the  “Historical Masterchef” sketches on Horrible Histories (him and John are both done very, very well there).  And his book of puddings doesn’t disappoint.  Unfortunately I don’t get to do much with this book for the first few months of the year as they’re not exactly conducive to dieting.  If I had to pick a couple of favourites, they’d be the treacle tart and his divine rice pudding.

Jamie Oliver, 30 Minute Meals.

Jamie Olive Oil, as he’s referred to in certain circles (go on, try finding a recipe in the book that doesn’t use “a lug of olive oil” somewhere – it’s like Delia Smith’s Summer Collection and limes, Delia Smith being an anagram of it had limes), has written a blinder of a cookbook here. Since my wife was given this book as a Secret Santa present for Christmas 2010 we’ve cooked 1 recipe a week (give or take) for the last year and we’re 2 recipes short of cooking the lot.  We’ve scored each one out of 5, scribbled down a review and noted any substitutions or alterations we’ve made.  There’s been only 1 recipe we’ve not really enjoyed as a family but far more we’ve come back to time and again.  I’m going to write more about this book in a couple of weeks, when we’ve finished it.  Put very simply, though, if you’ve not got a copy of this book then you need to buy one.  It’s on offer in most supermarkets, anyway.

So that’s my 5, follow the linky to the right and find out about everyone else’s.  Or you could just click here…

And the rest


#Listography – Top 5 Phrases that Drive me Crazy

A lovely Listography this week.  One that I think will throw up almost as many common themes as the websites from last week.

Working the ICT helpdesk I have a range of special phrases that are guaranteed to make me want to pick up the nearest keyboard and try to beat my high score on “how many keys can I embed into your skull with one good swing?”.  I suffer from (if suffer is the right word) Scrubs-esque fantasy sequences.   “Why no, officer.  I have no idea how that printer cartridge came to be lodged there but it does look painful…”  Those little escapes keep me sane in a world of…

1, While you’re here…

We have a helpdesk system. It lets us track things like how many problems we’ve had with certain pieces of equipment, software, etc. Not people. No, we don’t use it to keep score at all.  If people don’t use the helpdesk (which is, at heart, a very simple little form to fill in) then we have no record of the job done unless we manually add it in.  So every single Columbo-esque “While you’re here”, “Just one more thing,” or “Just the person!” adds to my paperwork.  And I hate paperwork.

2, Do you have…

Today’s was “Do you have a laminator?” No.  No, I don’t have a laminator, this is the IT office.  Or, “Yes, I’ve got a laminator. It’s on the shelf over there next to the toasted sandwich maker and underneath the record player.”  People ask us for the stupidest of things!

3, How do I do this in <insert weird piece of software here>?

I could kill people when they ask questions like this.  I have no idea how this obscure piece of statistical analysis software works. Yes, I installed it on your computer but that is as far as my involvement in the bloody thing goes.  You know who does know?  Google. The manufacturers. Someone else.  If you’ve not taken the trouble to Google for your question I will sit at your desk and do just that right in front of you. It’s empowering you to go away and do the same thing next time.

4, Can I have…

Not so much a works problem (though since we took away everyone’s admin rights they’ve had to ask us for every single piece of software they want installing, every new device. It’s fun!).  No, this one is the kids.  You’ve just finished dinner, cleared away the leftovers, about to sit down with Twitter and a cup of tea and one of them will pop their head round the kitchen door. “Can I have something to eat?”  “Well, you just turned down seconds of dinner, so no.”  “What about a piece of fruit? It’s healthy.” Or, having caved in and put a movie on for the Saturday afternoon, “Can I have some popcorn…”  Some days are just a long stream of Can I haves.  Even worse are the ones were one kid will get another to ask for them because they know that if they ask, I’ll say no.  And the ultimate problem ones are those when they’ve already asked Mum and she’s said no. That’s not an acceptable answer, so they ask me (or they’ve asked me and then ask Mum).  Woe betide them when we find out.  And it’s usually delivered in such a whiny voice!

5, But that’s boring.

I’m getting this one more and more.  Kids, let’s watch Star Trek! Kids, let’s watch <just about any movie/TV show I enjoyed when I was their age>. Apparently my tastes and theirs no longer coincide.  Same goes for music as they start listening to more and more radio in their rooms.  At least we can still watch Dr Who together.

Now I’m off to read through some other entries and try and use their phrases for the rest of the week, see how many people I can wind up. Maybe we should do some sort of “Phrases I hate” Bingo?