Archive for January, 2008

Tea! Twinings’ Cherry and Cinnamon

January 30, 2008


Okay, so it occurred to me that for a blog called ‘Tea and White Noise’ there’s a concerning lack of actual TEA going on here. I’m drinking plenty of it but I have not been sharing it with you.

Well, I guess I ought to do something about that.

Starting with… uh, well if you’re going to be a purist about these things, actually not really tea, it’s an ‘infusion’ but shhhh.

This one comes in bags rather than loose leaf, and is a limited edition in their ‘fruit bliss’ range. I am already hoping it’s not too limited because I can see myself drinking a lot of this when I don’t want to fill myself with caffeine and don’t feel like knocking up a whole pot of loose leaf goodness.

I’ll admit I was already biased with this because I love cherry teas and I also love cinnamon teas. I wasn’t convinced the two should together though, and it was actually my house-mate that picked it up for me when we were stocking back up on another twinings tea. I’m glad he did though, because this stuff is great. The main thing for me on this one is the scent. This stuff smells amazing as it brews, a really strong, deep cherry smell.

I do have to say, like a lot of fruit teas, in order for it to live up to how nice it smells, the 2-3 minutes twinings suggest you brew it might not be enough. It’s still good when it’s delicate, but give it a bit longer and you get a lovely intense fruity brew. The cinnamon takes a backseat really, but adds an extra warmth while the the cherry keeps it light and bright tasting.

So yes, I recommend this one. Go grab a box before it vanishes.


Celtic Connections

January 22, 2008

I have been to Accordion Hell. It was marvellous.

So, I’m up in Glasgow for a couple of days, to see some gigs at Celtic Connections, what is possibly the biggest celebration of traditional music still going in the UK. It’s around 3 weeks long with hundreds of acts all over the city. Sadly, due to workload and things like inconveniently having to graduate, I’m going to miss seeing my favourite acts playing here (Shooglenifty, Peatbog Faeries, Colin McIntire (or Mull Historical Society to you) and the secret GOD of Scottish song writing Michael Mara) but next year I intend to remedy this. OH do I intend to remedy this.

Anyway, enough about me, back to what I was watching last night. Keeping with the sense of humour all the best trad musicians have about the scene, as an antidote to Sunday’s ‘Harp Heaven’, last night there was a show called ‘Accordion Hell’, celebrating… well, the infamous accordion. The musicians were full into the theme and were all bedecked with little devil horns and plenty of damnation jokes. We were treated to 8 mind-blowingly talented accordion players, accompanied by a rather good drummer and an excellent guitarist (who also was an honorary accordion demon for one tune that he had written.) The range of tunes spanned from the bright and high-energy to the beautiful, delicate and moody, to the downright funky. All of it played with style, humour and skill. I think one reason most people hate the instrument is they’ve never heard it in the hands of someone who really knows how to work it, and haven’t seen what an amazing, rich sound one person with a squeezebox can make happen. When the cords and complex melodies get layered up it’s hard to accept it’s just one instrument doing it, and some of the intricate and blisteringly fast finger work that was going on in the concert was just staggering. (Though that’s something else people who have never much been in the folk scene get to see. Sure, some of it can be lacklustre, but we’ve also got some of the most technically brilliant musicians playing in this scene and the level of skill it takes to pull off some of the things they can do is hugely under-estimated.)

So yes, Accordion Hell was fantastic and renewed my appreciation for those can take an instrument used for so much evil and mediocrity and use it for the forces and good and awesome. Brilliant.

Website Update

January 12, 2008

Okay, just a minor thing but I finally got around to tweaking and updating my website a little. Just some minor things but I thought I might as well mention it here just in case.


Some quicky music reviews

January 6, 2008

I like music. I like it a lot. so here’s some short reviews of some of the things I’ve been listening to lately.

‘Hey Hey My My Yo Yo’ Junior Senior
Got on the recommendation of a friend and positive memories of that music video for Move Your Feet with all the pixel art. Anyway, the band is Danish the the album is full of pure hippyhoppy pop FLUFF that is far more infectious than it should be. Really, it’s silly and sugary and unashamedly cheesy and the result is a very fun record who’s opening track, ‘Hip Hop a Lula’ I can’t stop playing and I don’t know why. My version also came with the ep ‘Say Hello, Wave Goodbye’ that is also pretty good with a standout opening tune. It’s all very happy and great stuff unless you want to take it too seriously.

‘In Rainbows’ Radiohead
At what should be at the other end of the spectrum, at bloody last the new Radiohead album is in the shops. Ignoring the very interesting hype from before with the pay-what-you-like download fun, I wanted a CD so I waited. Now, as one of those odd people who actually liked Kid A (but that’s because it was the last one I heard so I was ready for it) I don’t mind the weirder directions that Thom Yorke has been taking the band, but… I think In Rainbows has benefited hugely from Thom making his solo album before it. If Hail to the Theif was a little bit of a return to normal after the band had got Kid A/Amnesiac out of their system, In Rainbows is even more so. It’s a bit less tortured as well, but it’s not a complete step backwards either. The results of their experiments shine through all of it, but at the same time there are great tunes going on too. And guitars! Yay! Anyway, I like this one a lot, and absolutely adore the track ‘Jigsaw Falling Into Place.’ Good stuff. Now hopefully they won’t make us wait like 3 years for the next one.

‘Hey Venus!’ Super Furry Animals
I could be lazy here and go ‘It’s SFA, of course it’s good’. Because it is. It’s a little more normal guitar pop than Lovekraft but it still has the usual quirks and charm you’d expect from them. (Especially shown in the opening tracks, the first of which is about itself being a Gateway Song to the rest of the album, and the second opening with the spoken lines ‘This song is based on a true story. Which would be fine, if it wasn’t autobiographical’). I do have to admit that none of the songs have yet beaten my fave SFA tracks from other albums, but they are growing on me and some of them are catchy as hell. It doesn’t really push the envolope or anything but it doesn’t need to because it’s still good and gives you pretty much what you want in a Super Furry Animals album. Which would be slightly odd but catchy songs mixing pop and rock sounds and great harmonies with fun synthy twiddles and interesting production. Lovely.

Anyone else been listening to anything interesting?

2008 Attacks! :O

January 2, 2008

So, the year has ticked over and it’s time for me to spend weeks second guessing myself when I write the date. Wheee!

But really, I’m glad to have a nice concrete ‘that’s enough of that’ drawn under last year. Not that it’s been horrific or anything, but it’s good to have the explicit reason to turn over a new leaf and sort yourself out and make things all together better. It’s time to put my foot down and find my own happiness, instead of panicking and worrying about the many changes in my life that are out of my hands. Insert air-punching and dramatic music here. (Also sunglasses, drills that will pierce the heavens and KICKING REASON TO THE CURB AND GOING BEYOND THE IMPOSSIBLE ROW ROW FIGHT DA POWA* etc for good measure.)

I graduate from my MA at the end of the month, drawing a nice line under my education for at least a couple of years, and after that, well, I’ll have to see what comes my way.

So, 2008 looks to be a year of… god, I don’t know actually. But it should be interesting finding out, right?

I have made some vague resolutions though, which includes updating this more often, which I WILL do. If possible, at least once a week. Those who know me, feel free to kick me if this does not occur.

Anyway guys, hope you had a great 2007, have now recovered from your respective hangovers, and will have a brilliant year ahead. Cheers.

* 2008 is also the year of Gurren Lagann on DVD. In the UK, please.