Playing nine holes of golf on your own
The tranquillity, the lack of expectation to make small talk, the fact you can curse and nobody hears, and the ultimate feeling that it really is just you versus the course. And wouldn’t you know it, when nobody is watching, you can suddenly hit that five iron the way you want to.
The music of the 1970s
Go to a ’70s night and you’d think that decade was all Disco, Glam and ABBA, but the ’70s were one of the most inventive and productive eras for music. Among the things that the ’70s can take credit for are: the mass emergence of Reggae; Country rock which is the birth of the Alt-Country scene; the rise of big stadium bands like Aerosmith and KISS; the birth of metal with bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Deep Purple; Prog rock from Pink Floyd, Yes, ELP and Genesis, and the reaction to all that with The Sex Pistols, Ramones, The Clash and the rest of the punk movement; New Wave with Blondie, Talking Heads and Television, and so on. Hardly “the decade that taste forgot” as many seem to believe.
People understandably begrudge paying a lot for socks, but sliding on a soft pair in the morning generally means you’re comfortable for the day. There are few things outside of Karama Market that represent “false economy” better than the cheap, sweat-traps that are budget socks.
Sure, it was Luke Skywalker in X-Wing Red Five who fires the proton torpedo down the exhaust chute that ultimately destroyed the Death Star. And sure it was Han Solo (albeit due to huge guilt pangs) who returned to stop Darth Vader taking out Luke, thus allowing him to take the shot. But poor old Red Two — or Wedge Antilles to give the man his correct name — battled all the way right alongside him and without the power of the force for guidance in lieu of faulty targeting systems.
But we didn’t see Leia give him a medal at the end did we? Hang on though, who’s that up there hogging the limelight? Oh it’s C3PO, having done nothing to help the attack, but having the shiny golden cojones to join in the medal-giving celebrations on the podium at the end — just like Man United’s David May in the 1999 European Cup final. But back at Yavin base, Red Two got nothing. Underrated.
The Old Fashioned
Reportedly the first drink to be called a cocktail and still the best. Invented in the 1880s, at the Pendennis Club, Kentucky and made popular via The Waldorf Astoria in New York, it goes like this: Dissolve a small lump of sugar with a little water in a whiskey-glass; add two dashes Angostura bitters, a couple of ice cubes, a measure of bourbon (Woodford Reserve is ideal) then slices or a few twists of orange peel on top. Some bartenders add a cherry but you don’t really need that. This is the perfect drink to end the day and begin the evening.
“Anytime anyone says, ‘Oh This is so good. What’s in it?’ The answer invariably comes back, Cinnamon. Cinnamon. Again and again.”
Jerry Seinfeld – he’s right y’know.
The world of fashion is meant to be the epitome of glamour and beauty, but half of what you see walking down the catwalk looks like a death march with boys from Belsen. And Lily Cole just looks really weird. But next time you’re in the supermarket, look at the women modelling on the packets of hair colour products and they’re all nines and tens. The generic, nameless faces of these women will never date rock stars or get papped on the red carpet, but these beauties who appear on packets, products and in mail-order catalogues are nearly always more attractive. Males who were young teens in the pre-Internet world will already know the magic of the women in catalogues. Now it’s time the rest of us recognised their considerable appeal.
None of the calories of nuts, none of the fat from crisps and the added ability to heat up your nasal cavity like you’d just snorted a line of fire. Few snacks go better with a cold drink than the weirdness of the wasabi pea.
Daddies tomato sauce
Everyone buys HP Sauce but in blind tests the majority of people prefer Daddies. To really appreciate it however, it needs to come from a squeezy plastic tomato, on a formica table in a greasy-spoon café.
Turning off your phone
Do you really need to be on-hand ready to read those spam texts from shops/nightclubs/du/Etisalat/DEWA/etc? The silence really is golden.
In the mid-’90s people seemed to care about whether you thought Blur or Oasis was the better band. It was almost as if it defined you – south v north, middle class v working class, art school v left-school-at-fifteen. But when it came to Blur v Oasis the correct answer was actually Pulp. And they never really got the credit they deserved. These days, lead-singer Jarvis Cocker has a great digital radio show on BBC 6Music and is on his way to inheriting John Peel’s mantle. Back then Pulp were the underrated narrators of the lives of the underclass.
One of the greatest actors that you almost never think of when talking about great actors. Buy Huff season one on DVD and see why this guy really needs to be given a lot more screentime, but frankly he never fails to improve any film or TV series or simply any scene that he appears in. Do yourself a favour and go to his IMdB page and look him up, then start watching more of his stuff.
If you get eight hours of sleep a night then by the time you are 75 you will have spent a quarter of a century asleep. If there was ever something that was worth shelling out a bit extra for then it must be a decent, comfortable, pillow.
Jim Henson’s ’80s series was a witty, puppet-led, socio-economic study of class struggle and hierarchy in a subterranean society. If The Muppet Show was Saturday Night Live for children then Fraggle Rock was a sprawling Dickensian epic. Themes ranged from faith to work ethic and morality, and not just between the Fraggles. Other races, including the downtrodden construction workers (the Doozers) and rich-but-selfish Royal family (the Gorgs) and the spiritual advisor (the Trash-heap) made up a world set underneath a lighthouse in Cornwall. It was never more educational and entertaining than this – parents take note.
Stand up comedians aren’t just standing up and being comedians these days, they’re everywhere – writing columns, appearing on TV panel shows, acting, protesting and even releasing singles. But Jones has stuck to what he does best – telling jokes to an audience. The heir to the Tommy Cooper throne of goofy wordplay, he’s warned us of a dangerous place you should never go swimming – the hepatitis C. He advised that if you’re being chased by a police dog, try not to go through a tunnel, then onto a little seesaw, then jump through a hoop of fire, because they’re trained for that. And he told us that a month before his grandfather died, they covered his back in grease – he went downhill very quickly after that. Milton Jones – the best standup you’ve never seen.
Five underrated Films
Total Recall (1990)
In the mid-to-late ’80s, Arnold Schwarzenegger was a star thanks to a run of dumb, violent films, but Total Recall (based on a story by Philip K Dick) was far superior. The notion of perceived reality, dreams and the ambiguous ending may have been done better in this year’s Inception, but the conclusions to both have similarities and if you look beyond the three-boobed-hookers and mutants, this is a far more intelligent film (at least story-wise) than it was ever given credit for. Watch it again and ask yourself, was the ending actual reality or exactly the implanted experience he had asked for at Rekall in the first place?
The Last Supper (1995)
Largely shot in one room it poses the question, “If you met Hitler as an eight- year-old, would you kill him knowing the monster he was going to become?” From this discussion, the liberal housemates invite extreme right-wing guests over for dinner and if they can’t convince them they’re wrong they poison them. Despite the presence of Cameron Diaz, Ron Perlman, Bill Paxton and other known actors in the cast, the film grossed less than half a million dollars in America. But even now it holds up as a fine black comedy about liberal versus conservative ideals and what you’re prepared to do to uphold them.
Gary Ross’ allegory of race relations, conservatism and values in 1950s America, as Tobey Maguire and Reese Witherspoon play a 1990s brother and sister who are sucked into their TV and become trapped in soap opera from that era. But their modern thinking brings trouble and colour to the seemingly perfect world of the ’50s suburbs. Visually brilliant and well told without ever feeling preachy.
After The Sunset (2004)
Pierce Brosnan and Salma Hayek play retired jewel thieves living in the Bahamas, and Woody Harrelson is the detective who’s spent a career unsuccessfully chasing them. When a rare stone comes to their port on display aboard a cruise liner, Harrelson suspects they may try one last job and give him a final chance to catch them and salvage his reputation. The panning from the critics appeared to be tainted by their dislike of director Brett Ratner, but it was nothing like his usual over-the-top work. As heist comedy-capers go, this was great fun and zipped along without overstaying its welcome.
Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas (1998)
Martin Scorsese and Oliver Stone both tried to get this film made, but Hunter S. Thompson’s journey “into the heart of the American dream” was eventually brought to the screen by former Monty Python animator Terry Gilliam. The twisted vision of ’70s Las Vegas and Thompson’s mind-altered condition were recreated well by one of the few directors who could pull this off, and Thompson’s friend Johnny Depp. The largely negative reviews seemed to miss the point that this wasn’t meant to convey a message, a moral or a story. It was just a trip — you bought the ticket, and you took the ride.
So what else have we missed? Let us know.