Monthly Archives: December 2013

’tis the season to be jolly..

elaine.. or at least it is for many of us.

Less so for one of my good friends Andy.  His Mum went missing on 9th December and hasn’t been seen since despite a very well publicised campaign for information.  Elaine Harrison was last seen in the Castle Marina area of Nottingham at around 15:30 on 9th December.  She was wearing a grey fleecy jacket with white fur trim, dark trousers and white trainers.  She’s 59 years old and has collar length grey hair, and wears silver-framed glasses.

It would be the best Christmas present ever for the Harrisons to have Elaine back amongst them to really celebrate Christmas.  Andy has already had to get through his birthday without her, and she’s also missed her nephew in his nativity play.

So please take a moment to look at the photo of Elaine and keep an eye out for her, if you have any information as to her whereabouts then please get in touch with the police via the non-emergency number 101.  Facebook users give this page a like to keep up to date with the latest information, such as there is at the moment.

Also of course have a very merry Christmas and a happy new year.

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Moulettes at Glee Club, Nottingham

Whilst thousands of people vacuously departed the Nottingham Arena having endured a JLS concert tonight Cat and I were smiling on the way back to the car having been treated to not just the headline act we’d planned to see, but two new support acts.  For the price of one JLS ticket we both had something to eat in a nearby restaurant, a few drinks and entry to tonight’s gig to see the Moulettes.  Pretty bargainous really.

I find it both sad and kinda nice that it’s this way – a few dozen folk nestled in the intimate enclave that is the Glee Club in Nottingham to appreciate what I would wager, not being a connoisseur of the JLS back catalogue, a spectacularly more significant array of talent than the multitude of arena drones, but really it deserves to be the other way around.

Georgie Rose kicked off proceedings

Georgie Rose kicked off proceedings

First on stage was Georgie Rose from our very own Nottinghamshire, Mansfield to be precise.  She immediately and confidently took to the stage with a virtuoso display of picking on a guitar accompanied by a fantastic voice.  Her ability to pick through the strings on the guitar simultaneously mesmerises me – and gives a rich sound that sounds almost like there’s a bass guitar in the mix somewhere too.

Definitely one to check out if you see her on any local billings.

Next up was Liz Green who has accompanied the Moulettes throughout their recent touring.  Initially performing with a guitar she interchanged between that and a keyboard, and played both deftly – her songs were fun and charming and energetic with some fun banter with the crowd in between to boot.  Oh, and how could I forget the mouse trumpet solo?  Another charming performance that left me feeling like I’d already had value for money out of my ticket before the headline act was even on stage.

Liz Green here behind her keyboard

Liz Green here behind her keyboard

One of the things I really like about heading out to a gig where you know the main act is the potential to pick up on some new ones – indeed, that’s how I discovered the Moulettes initially from their supporting the Levellers on their acoustic tour a couple of years ago.  Sometimes it can be hit and miss, tonight it felt like we hit the jackpot twice before the main act even came on which is always a lovely happenstance!

The Moulettes took to the stage, a slightly adjusted line up to that which I’d seen before.  Hannah Miller provides the lead vocals whilst playing either cello or guitar, Ollie Austin plays guitar, drums, glockenspiel whilst also providing backing vocals/sound effects (often three or more at the same time!), Jim Mortimore plays double bass and backing vocals whilst Anisa Arslanagic overlays her violin and also backing vocals.  They were joined for a number of songs by a harp and clarinet player who also sang backing vocals too – I’m afraid I couldn’t find her name though 😦

Time for the main event - the Moulettes take to the stage..

Time for the main event – the Moulettes take to the stage..

The melodic and sometimes hypnotic strings combined with melodic and harmonised vocals underpinned by punchy and ever-changing rhythms gives them a sound that I find difficult to describe given my lack of musical understanding.  It’s awesome though, and it’s brought alive on stage by the expressive and infectiously enthusiastic reactions from the band.

Not only are these wonderfully accomplished musicians impressing with their abilities – it’s clear they’re really enjoying themselves, as they lock eyes momentarily with each other to keep time as a beat switches from a waltz to something much faster – or an abrupt silence – you catch fleeting smiles, eye sparkles and a joy to just be playing.  Each of them is mesmerising to watch if you take a few minutes to observe them during a song.

Hannah betrays nearly every feeling that runs through the songs with her facial expressions, and even the soaring temperature in the venue causing her to forget a few words didn’t throw her off stride for too long as a helpful audience member in the front row helped her get back on track.

Ollie really destroys the notion that blokes can’t multitask, switching from guitar to full on drumming in seconds, he’ll then bring back the guitar but carry on the percussion with feet and hands in between strums all whilst never missing the moments when his vocals are needed too, all delivered with a brilliantly casual and relaxed demeanour that betrays how much expertise and concentration is being demonstrated out there.

Jim gives the bassy oomph at the perfect moment when slow ballads kick in to a darker atmospheric mood or more of a stomping tune and too is on hand to lend his vocals to the harmony mix that is impressive in its own right before you consider the complex layers of instrumental accompaniment underpinning it.

Anisa’s violin gives that high end melodic accompaniment to its larger relatives in the string section – anyone who knows me will note the violin is often present in my favourite music, it gives real soul and emotion somehow to a piece of music when used well – and it is here, Anisa too adds to the overall vocal harmonising too.

Whilst nestled in the corner of the stage for only some of the set the harp, clarinet and backing vocals of the lady whose name I don’t know (sorry!) added that extra layer to the whirling dervish that Moulettes songs become.

The set was a mixture of the familiar and songs from the new album that is due out next spring.  Whilst I do like Moulettes recordings very much, they never seem to quite capture the vibrancy of their live performances (something not uncommon with many artists I like, I might add!), however, I’d recommend checking some out nonetheless.

So for a mere £8 a piece we were treated to a veritable smorgasbord of excellent music – I’ll be certainly exploring more of Georgia and Liz’s respective music and look forward to the forthcoming Moulettes album.  I quite enjoyed the Glee Club as a venue too – the seats got a bit uncomfortable after a while and sitting down at a gig is a bit, well, weird – but worked well for this more relaxed and melodic gig to those I typically find myself at.

It will be interesting to see if they opt for a seated arrangement for when we go to see The Beards play there in February!

I tell you what else is good about The Glee Club too, because they unusually insist you arrive between 7:30 and 8:00, it gets everyone in the venue and settled in plenty of time before the entertainment starts – and there was no background chatter or interruptions I could detect during the performances (something I’m normally very sensitive to and irked by) – either it was down to that or a particularly polite and attentive crowd.

Either way, it made for a splendidly enjoyable evening!

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Slow cooker Irn Bru pulled pork recipe..

I’ve long been a fan of pulled pork (both because it’s delicious, and because it can lead to innuendo overload of course).  I never really thought about making it, but when Cat unearthed the dormant slow cooker to make some healthy food it occurred to me that this would be a perfect vessel to experiment with this easy to make culinary deliciousness.

Upon researching online I found a few intriguing recipes involving using Coca Cola or Dr Pepper to slow cook the pork joint in, which piqued my interest sufficiently to decide to go for an Irn Bru variant, partly to be a bit different, but partly because in my Forest circle of friends we have a probably-inane-to-the-outside in-joke around anything Scottish and Oscar – so it’s officially Oscar Austin Memorial Pulled Pork.

So having marinated the meat overnight in a spice and Worcestershire Sauce mixture I set everything in motion this morning and having got back from football I can happily announce that when coupled with some Newman’s Own Sticky Barbecue Sauce in a flatbread burrito style, it’s bloody delicious!  Definitely something I’ll be making again, and probably including some other fillings like coleslaw and/or rice or similar.  Although an all-meat wrap is a win in anyone’s language!

Should you wish to replicate this piece of culinary wizardry then you will need:

Ingredients

Ingredients

One shoulder of pork
Seasoning (I used Salt, Pepper, Paprika and Chilli)
Worcestershire Sauce
Barbecue Sauce
Flatbreads
Irn Bru (I used a litre of it!)

To prepare I rubbed the meat with the dry seasoning mixture then added Worcestershire Sauce and left the meat in a ziplock bag in the fridge overnight.  I suppose if you were in a hurry you could get cracking after a few hours, but given this is a slow cooker mission then prior planning is key anyway!

photo 2

Once you’re ready to get cracking transfer the meat to the slow cooker and pour in the Irn Bru so that it’s covering the meat.  Put the lid on, what it on low and leave it for 10-11 hours (my work-followed-by-football day meant it was 11 hours – if I’d been in I’d have struggled I think to leave it that long!).

Remove the meat from the cooker and it should be pretty easy to remove the fat from it – once you’ve got yourself a nice lean lump of cooked pork in some kind of bowl you can set to it with two forks and pull it apart into a lovely pile of shredded goodness.  Originally I had planned to add some of the sauce back to it, but elected not to – so I disposed of the sauce.

Because I was too excited/poor planned/lazy to have prepared some coleslaw or any other accompaniments I whacked the pulled pork straight into some warmed flatbreads, applied a healthy slug of barbecue sauce and wrapped it up burrito style and tucked in.  It was a delicious moment!

photo 3

Tender fally-aparty pork with a gentle spicy kick along with a hint of Irn Bru goodness and some lovely caramelisedy bits from the edges where the joint had basically so broiled in the lovely sticky Scottish elixir.

Enjoy!

Since it was inspired by, and is now named after Oscar Austin, here’s a picture of him, too.

photo

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