Feb. 8th, 2016

millionreasons: (marnie)
It's about time for my fortnightly round up isn't it? Last weekend, we went to Daylight Music at the Union Chapel, a.k.a the early bird catches the free gig. My fave were the Marine Girls-esque Citizen Helene, featuring the eponymous and utterly talented Helene, whose trousers matched the lights. Afterwards we went to the pub for, um, eight hours.

Last Thursday, we also went to the pub for a whisky tasting. For years, I didn't drink any wee drams, as it was the second alcohol I ever vomited up and it still tastes vaguely of sick to me. But this wasn't Lidl own brand, it was the good stuff: Cardhu, caramel and bourbony, Johnnie Walker Gold Label, smokey and sweet, Black Label, briny, and Talisker, which was peaty and antiseptic and grew on me as I drank it.

We learned a lot of facts - Johnnie Walker was an actual person: he sold Johnnie Walker Original Highland Whisky and Johnnie Walker Deluxe Highland Whisky, but they were too long to say (or more likely, people were too illiterate to read them), so this caused him to create two labels (red and black) that remain to this day. Also, single malt whisky is not necessarily posher than blends; with blending you can create a pleasing style, whereas single malts can be unpredictable, you might get a bad year. Plus blends are named after people and things (Teachers, Bells) whilst malts are named after the area in which they are made.

I also learned that if the man leading the whisky tastings leaves the bottle on the table, I will finish it off, start tweeting stupid things on the bus, and feel like death all the next day.

Yesterday, we went to the Cosmonauts exhibition at the Science Museum. I was disappointed that they didn’t have a stuffed Laika on display, like the dog that used to collect money at Slough station, but there was a rather adorable canine spacesuit in a cabinet (I wonder of the dogs in space concept was an influence on the Muppets' soap opera, Pigs In Space?) Also various sputniks, which presumably had an impact on the dalek design, and a rover with a Wall-E face.


There was much about Yuri Gagarin, who became a celebrity and whose image was used to hawk rather un-Communist goodies – a sputnik tea-set, Yuri Russian dolls (the gift shop doesn’t miss out on the consumer goods either – there’s a Laika silk scarf for £75). There was also info on Sergei Krikalev who went up to space in 1991, a Soviet Citizen, and came back a Russian, and Helen Sharman, the first Briton in space, 24 years before Tim Peake.


Afterwards, we went to Duck and Rice; a fancy-ish Chinese restaurant in Soho for a pre-New Year meal. It didn't serve takeaway-style sweet and sour pork balls, nor the more authentic chicken feet soup fare of Gerrard Street: the best thing we ate was minced soya “chicken” with cashews and mushrooms cooked in soy sauce and served on lettuce; it was deliciousness on a leaf. And my fortune cookie had a prize in it – a cheeky (Year Of The) Monkey.

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