I’ll have my pizza raw thanks!

7 09 2009

Kneading by cesarastudillo Flickr CC

Getting pizza delivered to your front door is a quick and tasty way to save on the washing up.  Although possibly filling – it’s not particularly fulfilling – unlike preparing a meal for your friends/family.

Enter “Clever Wally’s” –  a new concept in pizza delivery.

You choose your pizza, call them up and then set the oven to 220°C…
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Make your own Vertical Garden

13 08 2009

roblisameehan - Flickr CC

One of the most popular pages on my blog is about Vertical Gardening.  It talks about the origins of the concept and where various examples can be found – but it doesn’t tell you how to make one.  Now, having done further research on the Westfield Wall and the famous French botanist who leads the way in Vertical Gardening design – i’ve written this post – Do-It-Yourself Vertical Gardening…
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Dustbin Dinner – Freeganism

9 08 2009

George Donnelly - Flickr

This week i met author and historian Tristram Stuart.  I was interviewing him for the BBC World Service and it’s particularly exciting for 2 reasons –

  1. This is my first report for the BBC World Service
  2. The theme of the package is Freeganism – something Tristram partakes in and something i (for some time) have been keen to learn more about
  3. Now although this activity took me to the leafy Sussex countryside and NOT the London streets – this is certainly a movement rippling through the capital and not an opportunity to be missed from Hotspotting to talk about…


    Dustbin Dinner – My adventures in Freeganism

    Tristram met me at ten past one, on Wednesday afternoon, at a train station in Sussex. Instantly recognisable from his Googled publicity shots we drove into town and chatted about what we might find.  He was keen to point out three things –

    1. There was no guarantee what would be in the bins
    2. He wasn’t advocating us all plundering the bins for our food – instead he was doing this to highlight a problem
    3. The car was not his usual form of transport – it was either that or sit on the handlebars of his pushbike!

    After a brief 10 minute drive we pulled up at the supermarket.  We had a quick recorded chat in the car (whilst we waited for a delivery van to leave the loading bay area) and then, with the coast clear, we headed over to the 5 wheelie bins at the back of the store.

    With Tristram’s latest book entitled ‘Waste – Uncovering the global food scandal’, it’s hardly surprising that he wasted no time in getting stuck into the fullest bin.

    Lifting up boxes and ripping open plastic sacks, Tristram expertly identifies the morsels that take his fancy.  Now i realise this may sound a touch repulsive – I certainly wouldn’t retrieve my evening meal from the depths of my waste bin.  But this is where it gets interesting…

    What’s in-store?

    Unlike the bottom of a conventional home rubbish bin – with coffee grounds and eggshells, potato peelings and mouldy cheese – the food that Tristram pulled from the supermarket dumpster was indistinguishable from that which you would pluck from the supermarket shelves.

    As Tristram puts it “It’s like someone went round the supermarket with a trolley, picked what they liked off the shelves, put it in a bag and then just threw it in the bin.”

    We found organic ham, expensive cheeses, smoked salmon, organinc seeded loaves, yoghurts, green beans, sweets and cut flowers.  These products weren’t mouldy, their packaging was (in the majority of cases) intact and although some were past their prime – some things were being chucked away even BEFORE their best before dates!

    A word of warning

    Now obviously things like meat and fish need to be stored in a cool environment and there was no way of knowing how long they’d been in the bin, but Tristram believed they had only recently been taken out of the store and still felt cool to the touch.

    He also made of point of mentioning that smoking/curing meat and fish (as the ham and the salmon were) was  a commonplace method of extending the life of those products.

    He wouldn’t say on record whether he would be eating those particular products and when i suggested we eat some of the salami – during the interview – he advised snacking instead on the vegetables  (as it would be ‘less controversial’).

    Milky Milky

    Interestingly, a carton of milk was pulled from the bags which certainly wasn’t fit for consumption (looking more like something you’d spoon onto a jacket potato than pour onto your cereal!)  This, i said to Tristram, was justified in being in the bin but Tristram’s response was to ask ‘why’ had it been allowed to get to that state in the first place?

    Surely it was the responsibility of the supermarket to manage its stock more effectively?  They should have ordered less or discounted it in advance of its decay.  Certainly an interesting point and an argument well made.

    Waste

    Reading Tristram Stuart’s book you get a clearer picture of the waste at every stage of our food supply chain and as he says during our interview “this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

    All in all, I thoroughly enjoyed my adventure in freeganism and whilst i’m not quite up to the task of loitering round the back of Asda’s aright at this moment (which Tristram isn’t even encouraging) –  i have become more conscious of my own part in avoiding unnecessary waste.

    • This evening i wrapped up my leftovers for tomorrow’s lunch
    • and i ate two eggs that had passed their sell-by date

    Simple.

    Extra info

    Look at Tristram Stuart’s own website to learn more about him and his Liber-ate movement

    The London freegan scene is currently quite disjointed with only a few meets advertised.

    Alternatively – let’s try and arrange some freegan fun, a dumpster dive or a backstreet bin raid in London – whatever we call it – who’s up for joining me?!  

    Either email (info[at]nataliebarrass[dot]com) or comment at the end of the post.

    Picture at top by George Donnelly CC 2.0 on Flickr





New Rubicon – Watermelon flavour!

12 07 2009

guitavares - Flickr
I LOVE Rubicon drinks. They’re brilliantly sweet and sickly and refreshing and fruity and basically just yum.
I live in a mostly Indian part of London and Rubicon seems to be sold in all the shops, restaurants and take-aways.
A few years back, desperate to find out if others shared my love of Rubicon, i had a look on Facebook and joined the Rubicon Appreciation group [click here to find it]
This is an unofficial page but the smart guys at Rubicon were using it to communicate with their fans and asked for taste-testers.
I signed up and now once in a while i’m sent a new product to try and give my feedback on – BRILLIANT!
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3D Art – UPDATE

12 07 2009

jimf0390 - Flickr
I finally got around to uploading these extra pics of artist Edgar Mueller and his 3D art at Docklands.

After i posted the original blog entry about Mueller’s 3D pavement art i went back the following day to see how he was getting along.  Click on the link below to see fab pics of Edgar Mueller at work
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Michael Jackson Graffiti homage

29 06 2009

stylespion - Flickr

Whilst cruising on my narrow boat, i spotted a recent work of graffiti art on the Limehouse Cut  on Sunday 29th June – 4 days after he died.

RIP Michael "Slippy Fist" Jackson

RIP Michael "Slippy Fist" Jackson

HºtИât





Moonwalk Flashmob – Liverpool Street

28 06 2009

A flashmob descended upon Liverpool Street on Friday evening for a pre-arranged moonwalk, en masse. Organized through the usual social networking channels – most notably Twitter – the message was simple –

“Right. It’s on. There will be a mass moonwalk at 6pm tonight at Liverpool Street station.”

With no further information needed, I, along with a significant percentage of London’s social media savvy population, headed to the station.

Arriving with a few minutes to spare, it was enough time to suss out the best spot for documenting the event.
With a heavy police presence and an unusually high volume of ‘commuters’ (eagerly gripping their mobile phones) if you weren’t in on the plan – you definitely knew that something was different…

Tannoy messages began to address the crowd –
“If you have just arrived at the station for the Michael Jackson Moonwalk event scheduled for eighteen hundred hours, please make your way outside onto Liverpool Street outside the McDonalds where it will now be taking place.”

Confusion is placed in our minds –
“Is it a bluff?”

“Are they trying to disperse us?”

“Will it actually end up happening in here and then we’ll have gone outside and missed it?”

Argh!

Anyways. We headed for the escalator at 17:59 and 30 seconds, hoping to get a rising aerial shot of the concourse.

17:59 and 50 seconds– on the escalator – camera is on.

18:00 –
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
>
Nothing.

Top of the escalators and it all seems to be happening outside…

What’s happening exactly though isn’t a moonwalk – it’s people with cameras waiting to take pictures of a moonwalk. Everywhere you turn is someone looking expectantly, holding a cameraphone aloft. If they haven’t got a camera phone, they’ve got a camera, if they haven’t got a camera they’re on the phone, if they’re not with either of those – they have a video camera, and not just a little handycam – huge broadcast quality Z1s et al.

After 20 minutes, of taking pictures of people taking pictures, i’m ready to leave when suddenly a speaker system bursts into life and a man begins to speak.

After he speaks, the Michael Jackson music begins.

And…

Nobody really does anything. People take photos of… people doing nothing.

Bizarre.

It reminded me of the recent Liverpool Street ‘riots’ where a media mob descended on just one person attempting to smash in a window. Desperate for something to film, with nothing really going on.

For me the most interesting thing is the lure of this event, not for people to be involved in the actual moonwalk, but to be involved just as an observer.

Is this the death of the Flashmob? Surely the point of them is to be unexpected? A brief, bizarre interlude, in the otherwise predictable routine of someone’s day. It all becomes a bit ‘pop will eat itself’ when it’s mass-marketed and pre-publicized to the gawkers. (and maybe even a little in bad taste when you consider the reason for the gathering was someone’s death?)

I like Flashmobs – but i think they need to go back underground, maybe even on the Underground again – a la the circle line party. [Click here for the Circle Line party flashmob video]

I honestly didn’t see anyone moonwalk on that Friday evening. But I did spot a very cute dog, so i guess it was worth it…