Tuesday, 12 June 2012

Kitchen Fucks: Gumbo Jumbo

I’m a slut for turning anything into a themed event, so when my homegirl @jesshartdesign suggested rustlin’ up some gumbo to complement our True Blood marathon I nearly shat my pants with joy. Sookie Stackhouse, bottled Bud and a hotpot of bubblin’ Louisiana vamp-juice – what’s not to love?

Heres how: Start with the Cajun Holy Trinity (in which the Father, Son and Holy Ghost are represented by celery, green pepper and onions, respectively). Finely dice your God-mix and leave it to sweat gently in a large pan with a glug of olive oil. For the sake of clarity, we’re calling this pan The Church.

In a separate saucepan (The Cauldron) get started on the blood: rich vegetable stock, chopped tomatoes, tomato puree, a splash of red wine, a shot of bourbon and a veritable gang war of herbs and spices (parsley, dill, smoked paprika, cumin, oregano and black pepper). Simmer away until the booze begins to evaporate and the mix no longer tastes like happy hour at Merlotte’s Bar & Grill.

Once the trinity has softened in The Church, throw in some torn chestnut mushrooms, thyme leaves, sweet Scotch bonnets, vampire-warding garlic and chunks of human flesh. For the last part, I used smokey ‘facon’ and veggie sausage but you could definitely use actual dead animals if you have no morals.

The final shift at the morgue (chopping board) involves kale, lettuce, red pepper, baby corn and okra. These join the aromatic congregation in The Church along with a tin of cannellini beans and enough boiling water to nearly cover the mix. Leave this on a very low heat whilst the greens wilt.

At this point you should have a Cauldron of bloody liquid and a boiled congregation in The Church. Next, take a large, deep pan (The Gumbo Pot) and heat some olive oil before adding plain flour and molesting with a balloon whisk until the roux cooks to a fawny beige. Add gradual ladles of the stock and let the sauce amalgamate (metaphor for precarious nature of integration in Deep South).

Empty The Church into The Gumbo Pot, turn the heat down and give a witch-like cackle as you swirl the mixture about. Upon tasting, I decided mine needed an arseload more salt, pepper, paprika, tobasco, etc. Finally, leave the gumbo to simmer (anything between 10mins and a thousand years – if the blood clots, hot water will loosen it).

I fancied something more pornographic than the traditional rice accompaniment so I took a small bowl and combined garlic, onion, mustard, egg, sour cream and grated smoked cheddar. I spread this goo over toasted walnut bread and grilled until bubbling like a vampire on a sunbed. A buttery corn-on-the-cob and a bowl of hot, smokey gumbo later, I was drawlin’ like I done lived in Bon Temps all mah laaaaife.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Where Are They Now?

It’s the classic question. What happens to the leagues of reality TV rejects once their initial fifteen minutes of fame wear thin? Criticism abounds regarding the effect of the talent show upon the careers of its participants but my investigations have evidenced that The X Factor burns bright in the personal journeys of many. I caught up with a few of the show’s stars for a chinwag.

Lloyd Daniels – X Factor series 6

So Lloyd, you’ve famously been representing Niall Horan in the security decoy project, Wrong Direction. Tell us about that.
It’s been mad to tell you the truth. I’ve been getting more pussy than I can fit in my tiny Welsh mouth. One lady actually tried to put a rampant rarebit up my crack at JFK airport.

It sounds like rewarding work. Tell us about the rest of the group.
Well there’s Joe McElderry – he plays the one that can sing – as well as Rikki Loney and a couple of lads from my old school class. We’ve really struggled to find ethnic minorities so our Zayn just uses a lot of fake tan. You can imagine the trouble we’ve been getting from the political correctness brigade for that one.

Quite. Do you have any plans for the future?
No, that’s all been taken care of by our management. Once the decoy demand dies down, we’ll simply be taken somewhere remote where they’ll shoot us in the backs of our heads.

Wrong Direction can currently be seen at most One Direction gigs, leading rabid fanatics away from stage doors.

Austin Drage – X Factor Series 5

So, Austin, after finishing 8th in 2008, you went on to pose for a number of LGBT publications. Did that open many doors?
Definitely! When I first left X Factor there wasn’t much demand. But as soon as I took my shirt off at G-A-Y the offers came flooding in. At first I was nervous about taking my clothes off but then I came to realise that the more naked I was, the more people liked me.

So you took off more than just your shirt?
Oh yeah, I got it all out. Nipples, bum, legs, willy, balls. It felt strange at first but everyone seemed so happy when I did it. These days I just try to take the work that involves the most nudity.

And that’s how you came to be involved in the adult film industry?
Exactly. It was strange at first, because I’ve never really been into other guys and the things they asked me to do were quite painful. But they give you this sniffing stuff and that makes it a lot easier.

Austin (stage name Austin Tatious) can be seen in ‘Sauna Lads Pt 3’, which is available as a download from his personal site.

Wagner Carilho – X Factor series 7

Wagner, you’re one of the X Factor’s all-time biggest personalities. Tell us what you’re up to at the moment?
Well hello, dussus, and may I just take these opportunity to say what a fine and noble gentlemen you are. You are reminding me of a beautiful flower. You have ladies’ hands.

Right, thanks Wagner. So I hear you’ve opened up a new music venue with another X Factor alumnus.
That is correct. I have joined forces, as you say in this wonderful language, with the most big-hearted and also big-breasted and dignified lady, Ruth Lorenzo. Sometimes she wears the dress where you can truly see her boobies, you know? But she is a lady and I have the most profound of respect for her. Together we are running a nightclub for the salsa and all Latin dance. But no zumba.

And do the two of you perform at all?
…because the zumba is not part of my culture but of course you have all these big fat ladies – and I mean no disintent – but all they want is the zumba and to know nothing of Latin culture.

Well thanks, Wagner, it was great catching up.
Fucking zumba.

Wagner and Ruth can currently be found at The Lorb Shack in Stepney Green. Classes start from £32.99 for men and £17.99 for ladies.

Craig Colton – X Factor series 8

Hi Craig, tell us about your recent movements
Well to be perfectly frank, they’ve been all over the place. At times I swear my ring’s about to burst into flame. It’s the stress.

Could you tell us a bit about your current tour?
I’d be delighted. I’ve been working (pronounced weeerchking) with the fabulous Mary Byrne on our tour of Britain’s workingmen’s clubs and it’s literally been non-stop.

What can fans expect? Show classics like ‘Jar Of Farts’ and ‘I Who Have Nothing’?
Actually, we’ve taken things in a very new direction with the material. We’re currently performing a repertoire of Victorian music-hall numbers. Big hits like ‘Little Bit O’ Cucumber’ and ‘It’s Cold Without Your Trousers On’ – all the classics. We’ve got a fab accompaniment from old Bert on accordion. We have a laugh.

Any personal favourites?
‘Boiled Beef And Carrots’.

Craig and Mary are currently on tour and tickets are available for £1.25 from any good workingmen’s club. The Album, ‘Any Old Iron, Any Old Life’ is available to purchase on cassette.

Part 2 of this interview series kicks off next week with Storm Lee and Katie Waissel.

Friday, 27 January 2012

Angry Letters: Dear Urinals,

Allow me to preface my thoughts with a short apology. I am sorry. I do not want to hate you. I have the bladder of a pygmy shrew and you are all such willing receptacles. I should be grateful, I know.

The thing is, urinals, I do hate you. Metal trough, novelty mouth or Bowl Duchamp, I truly despise you all. You are instruments of torture and altars of piss-splattered humiliation. You are the ninth circle of toileting hell.

There are some things in life that just don’t make sense to me and the perverse custom of communal urination is one of them. It has always confused me that society, the same beast that teaches us to keep our shameful appendages covered, expects us to swagger like saloon-entering cowboys into public toilets and whip out our members without question.

“Oh, it’s not a big deal,” people tell me. “Nobody cares,” they assure me. Well I do.

Is it so unreasonable that I like to empty myself in the luxury of a private cubicle? I certainly wouldn’t make the nasty bum-fudge in front of anyone else so why should I be any more willing to dispense lemonade? It is my bodily fluid after all. Surely I have the right to dispose of it in the manner of my own choosing.

Unfortunately, toilet politics are complicated in the strange land beyond the trousered stick-man. I don’t fully understand the rules but I know that loitering in wait for a cubicle invites weird looks that make me feel like Louis Spence at a Millwall game. There must be something wrong with him, I hear them thinking. Perhaps he has an incredibly tiny penis, a micropenis even. How awful for him.

Or perhaps, I hear them think, he is some kind of pervert who simply wants to eavesdrop on our chatter and splatter. He definitely looks like a bit of a fruiter. I mean, what real man wears purple drainpipes?

I blame my suffering on no one but you, urinals. Were men’s toilets all lush sanctuaries lined with individual booths, I would not have this problem. If I could rip you from those yellow-tinged walls and relocate you to your rightful place in a museum of sexual torture then I would be happy. Unfortunately, the vast majority of the male species seems to disagree with me. Not only are most men seemingly immune to your gurgling, soap-cubey wickedness, they seem to actually enjoy the lack of privacy, viewing it as a point of camaraderie.

Well I’m sorry, urinals, but it’s not okay. It’s fucking weird alright?

Your Sincerely

Cubicle User

Fools & Gold: Have Some Conviction, Killjoy!

It is that time of year again. The X Factor has found itself a winner and that winner has a single out. It is at this point in proceedings that all serious music journos are required to whip out their cocks and wank furiously whilst wailing about their first Radiohead purchase. Of course to do this in the privacy of a locked bathroom would be ludicrous. The serious music brigade are out in force and they want the spunk of pop resentment to land right in our faces.

I remember listening to Damien Rice for the first time in 2002. It was like a revelation. I was fourteen going on fifteen and I had never before heard anything like the strained, icy romance of The Blower's Daughter or the frightening, complex duality of I remember. Three years on, I was listening to a CD of 'O' on an aeroplane when I fell asleep and thought I had dreamt a bonus track more beautiful than anything else on the album. It wasn't either of the actual bonus tracks hidden at the end if the recording but it was probably their presence that inspired my aural hallucination. Anyway, this song haunted me for ages but I can not, try as I might, remember its tune. It has to stay there, on that plane where I dreamt it, somewhere in a cloud over the Atlantic.

The point of the dream song is that we all form emotional attachments to music but we can't wrap them up in cotton wool and expect to find them unchanged each time we revisit. The Telegraph's Neil McCormick seems to disagree with this and has instead chosen the easy option of throwing his arms up in the air in protest at The X Factor turning an alternative classic into pop tripe.

The thing is, Neil, The X Factor is a walking embodiment of commercial music. For it to pick a track for one of its winners, that track must already be easily accessible. That track must have wheelchair access and a disabled parking spot. When Alexandra Burke sang Hallelujah in 2008, she was singing a karaoke classic that had been covered more than two hundred times and featured in the soundtracks of Shrek and The O.C. She was not, contrary to popular opinion, squatting down for a wee on Jeff Buckley's grave. When 2010 winner Wett Flannle bawled out his languid cover of Biffy Clyro's Many of Horror, he was covering a track that was already very popular with fourteen year old girls. He wasn't making it so.

The same is true of Cannonball. It is a song with a simple melody that you'd have to have lived under a rock for the past decade to not know. It is not abstract trophy of NME readership, suspended in the cloudy ether like the Childlike Empress in The Neverending Story.

Don't get me wrong, I'm hugely disappointed that Little Mix will be making their first mark on the industry with Damien Rice's Cannonball. I'm disappointed for them because I think that they are better than that. They are better than covering a drivelling ballad that no longer means anything anyway. They deserve their equivalent of The Promise or Freak Like Me or even, at a push, Independent Women Pt I. Until they get that, I shall agree with @Popjustice's tweet, "At least there's one good thing about the Damien Rice cover - It's annoyed Neil McCormick"

Are our associations with the music we love really so weak that they crumble under the pressure of a mainstream cover version? I believe people should have more conviction in their music tastes. When I say conviction, I do not mean a horn-rimmed muso ranting on about liking the Smiths before it was cool. I mean accepting the fact that you cannot hold on to anything forever. Look back on the first time you heard a song - when it was new and untainted by association - look back on that moment with fondness but don't ever expect to get it back.

Fools & Gold: Fix Factor?

I don't know quite how this is possible after eight years of The X-Factor but a large proportion of viewers still seem to be under the ridiculous impression that the contest is some kind of democracy. For shame, British Public, for shame.

The elimination of Janet Devlin against the less-voted-for Misha B has thrown a can of petrol on the already towering inferno of the 'fix factor' debate. Voters are livid, tearing through city centres, wearing nothing but bonnets made entirely of bees. "This is an outrage!" they cry, "We musn't stand for this!"

But what exactly is so devious about recent practices on the show? The bottom two has always existed and the judges have always used it to salvage the contestants that they deem most beneficial to the show. The bottom two is not a new and shocking corruption come to scorch an otherwise fair and level playing field. It's an intrinsic part of the game.

Gary Barlow has been moaning recently about The X-Factor being a singing competition. This is nonsense. The X-Factor is a competition that measures popularity, personality, charisma and the ability to pander to a regional voting base. The latter point was a large contributor to Devlin's success on the show. If people want to believe that a lack of focus on real talent is what led the show to dismiss Janet then that, like Scientology or crack use, is their own bewildering prerogative. Were it purely a singing contest, I would not fancy Devlin's off-tune, hiccupy mumbles and forgotten lyrics getting her anywhere near as far in the contest as she has managed to do with the help of her 'quirky' personality 'rebellious' streak and hardcore regional voting support.

It was that 'rebellious' streak, perhaps, that made producers change their minds about Janet Devlin. Around the time of the third live show it became clear that the whining Celtic wind-sprite was no longer a judges' favourite. What ensued was a cringe-inducingly long and tedious assassination of unsympathetic VTs, poor song-choices and negative comments, which last night finally paid off.

Those who immediately reached for their judge-shaped voodoo dolls should remember that this wasn't a general election. It wasn't even a programme on the BBC. The X-Factor is a commercial machine, which is funded by advertising and bolstered by the successes of its most notable alumni. If producers allowed us, the public, to make all the decision on our own then the show wouldn't be producing the same level of quality, marketable acts. It would also struggle to make headlines by retaining controversial acts like Kitty Brucknell and Misha B. Without the power to do these things, The X-Factor would not be able to continue on the same scale. It would not be able to continue at all.

In business, one has to trade. The X-Factor demands trade-offs from both its participants and its spectators. The show has been running for eight bloody years now so those feigning shock and disappointment at its methods don't really have a leg to stand on. For anybody who's still confused I shall clarify. These are the deals on offer:


We can make you rich. We can make you famous. We can guarantee you the best TV exposure available to humanity. We can dress you in expensive clothes, style your hair, send you to premieres and help you to live your karaoke dream on a Saturday night. We can give you glitter and smoke machines and screaming fans. For five minutes we can make the world turn around you.


You must sacrifice your integrity. You must forsake your privacy. If you do what we say then we will play nice but if you try to be your own person (or if we decide that you're boring) then we drop you like a turd in a patisserie box. Once the show is over, you have no guarantee that we will care, or even remember, who you are. If you don't like it, fine. There are thousands of young hopefuls who would kill to take your place.


We can entertain you. We can spice up your Saturday night. We can show you a good time, baby. Not only that, we will let you join in. If you are prepared to pay a small amount of money then you can vote for your favourite act in the hope that they will progress week by week and possibly win.


We will attempt manipulate you at every stage. If you are smart or strong-willed enough then you will see through this and you can take us with a pinch of salt and a self-congratulatory pat on the back. If you are dumb enough to fall for every trick that we play then you will think you are having a great time and forming your own opinions. It's a win-win situation.


So that's the basic outline then. The X-Factor is not a public service and therefore we have no reason to feel short-changed by its lack of transparency. People have allegedly been complaining to Ofcom about the unfair treatment of Janet Devlin. This is ridiculous. Next week there will be millions congregating in Trafalgar Square to protest after Misha is inevitably saved from the sing-off for the fourth time. I hiss and spit at you. Kill-joys every one.

The judges need to save Misha because we live in a patriarchal society that thinks black women should be meek and grateful like Leona Lewis. The judges need to save Misha because she's the most talented and charismatic contestant in the show (when she's not desperately trying to convince the audience that she's not a bully). The judges need to save Misha because the public is incapable of electing a winner whose music it will actually listen to. The public need to save Misha because her version of Girls Just Wanna Have Fun was the epitome of great pop music.

You give the people a vote and what do they do with it? I'll tell you. They vote for the act that the judges say are good, regardless of the quality of their performance. They vote for the act that hails from their hometown. Most distressingly, the public invariably votes for whichever act performs in the last slot of the live show. When the public can learn to think for itself, the public can come back and complain about the manipulation of its vote. Until then, it can wait for the BBC to launch The Voice, which is all about vocal ability and being wholesome and boring and sounding like Jessie J or James Morrison or something.

Angry Letters: Dear British Gas,

"I'm sorry but we seem to be experiencing an unusual amount of calls," is not an appropriate automated message to receive every time I call you. Perhaps in the future you should consider something along the lines of "I'm sorry, we're just this shit" or "Be warned, it doesn't get any better."

Once I have listened to your insistence that I can probably sort my problem out online (I can't) I am then put on hold to the mellow, trumpeting borefest of Blur's 'The Universal' for up to forty minutes at a time. This is not acceptable. Are you aware, British Gas, that there exist genuine forms of torture based on similar techniques to your hold music? I am.

You should be aware, British Gas, that I do not spend forty minutes of my time with a phone pressed against my face, purely for the shits and the giggles. Therefore, British Gas, when your operator finally does pick up, please give me more than two seconds to respond to your voice. I am obviously going to have put you on loudspeaker whilst I spend forty minutes of my time doing something that actually benefits me, even if it is flossing between my toes. Do not merely say "hello" once and then hang up, leaving me to embark upon the whole ordeal all over again.

When, British Gas, I finally get hold of you, can you please ensure that your operator has a slightly less obnoxious grasp of grammar than that which I have experienced thusfar. I do not mind in the slightest if English is not your operator's first language. Unlike many bigots, I couldn't give two hoots as to their accent, as long as they understand me. So the underpaid, outsourced guys in the call centre in India are off the hook for this one. What I do mind is the ex-estate agents in your employment abusing reflexive pronouns like there is no tomorrow. In particular, today, your operator said to me, "We can get someone out in the morning or evening. What would be better for yourself?"

Yourself? YOURSELF? A situation cannot be better for myself, only for ME! I can buy a present for myself or spank myself on a lonely Friday night but YOU cannot offer an appointment to MYSELF! MORON! MORON! DIE! DIE! DIE!

Yours with eternal gratitude and earnest pleasure,

A Victim of your Services

X Factor 2011, The Battle For Middle Earth

And once again it is that time of year where Saturday nights revolve around the fierce battles between dew-faced princesses and lecherous indie-trolls in the war for public approval. The theme for this year's X-factor seems, overwhelmingly, to be one of musical 'authenticity' - a word which translates roughly into standard English as "copying any (white) mercury-prize-nominee of the last five years as closely as possible."

As Popjustice's Peter Robinson pointed out so excellently in the Guardian, "by the time this year's X Factor boot camp rolled around, every white male contestant appeared to be attempting the self-consciously excitement-free vocal style of Tom Waits in a Strepsil famine." On that note, the other little idiosyncrasy acting as a tyrant upon my ears is the screeching, cracking hiccup technique of one Ms. Janet Devlin (for those of you who are foolish enough to shun this televisual delight, imagine a slowed-down Florence and the Machine without the laughable drag-queen element). Janet does my head in. Truly fucks me off. "It makes me feel more grounded," she whimpers, Celtic, as Kelly Rowland challenges her naked feet in Miami, "I'm just a sweet little fairy from heaven and I know not how good I be! Tee Hee (hiccup!)" Literally, Janet, fuck off. Nobody's buying it.

Except they are! A clear bookies favourite (ahead, even, of Matt Cardle at this point in last year's odds), Janet is also clearly what Sofabet.com commonly refer to as The Producers' "PLAN A". Not only this, but I am forced to face the fact that friends of mine, people with whom I converse, INTELLIGENT PEOPLE, like her. This bizarre phenomenon rattles round my head in a way that makes quantum mechanics look like a joke on the back of a Penguin wrapper. What is it that you all see that I cannot see? Or is it what I see that you cannot? Was it her simpering rendition of 'Your Song' that stole your heart away? Were I not the kind of person to glue my eyes to the screen, had I been looking away at that moment, I would have assumed I was listening to John Lewis feat. Ellie Goulding in the commercial break. I would have panicked that Christmas had crept up on me. The version was fucking identical. The very performance that made this Janet Devlin stand out as unique was, in fact, a total rip-off. And a cheap one. Straight from the 99p shop. She's a poor man's Diana Vickers, a baby Florence and a wannabe Goulding (a silvering if you like). She might be on trend but she is anything but unique. Anything but 'special' as she is so often called on the show.

Over the weekend, two of the best acts went home. The fantastic 2shoes were the first blow to my X-factor season. Not as stupid as they looked, almost to the point of being calculated, 2shoes were nonetheless a hell of a lot of fun. And as Tulisa so sharply articulated, Essex is very 'current right now.' No doubt they would have done very well in the public arena - Sofabet fancying their chances of coming third overall. Why were they jettisoned? Alas, they were pregnant (well one of them was) and pregnant people can't be popstars.

The second and more crushing blow to my spirit was the sacrificing of Amelia Lily. As the anti-Devlin, she was the only other girl with a chance in hell of winning the competition and my only hope of a satisfactory champion. Unfortunately, a weak vocal on a big song with an unusual arrangement made her seem mediocre, shouty and a bit forgettable - a far cry from her amazing rendition of 'Extra-terrestrial' at Judges' Houses and her placement with bookmakers as second favourite to win outright. Far more 'unusual' and 'unique' to me is not barefootedness and folksong whimsy but a strong, personable female who can come out on stage and belt a tune with confidence and panache whilst still applying her own twist. With the evacuation of Amelia from the building my only hope rests on the recently rebranded 'Misha B' - a fantastic performer that producers have already pigeon-holed and attempted to turn into the UK's version of Nicki Minaj. Misha's rendition of Aretha Franklin's 'Respect' at the initial audition stage blew my socks off and simultaneously sealed her fate as a loser. If I have learnt anything from experience it is that the credible acts never do better than about eighth place.

On the whole, the weekend provided few surprises. The older boyband were marginally better than the younger boyband. The girlband's performance looked like an argument with the judges, Sami Brookes wailed her way through a mediocre rendition of a club classic, Marcus Collins was still too cheerful to show up as a real contender, Johnny Robinson was a vision in silver and Kitty Brucknell was a Hot Mess.

Sophie was soulful and sexy as she sat cross-legged on a piano, trying her best to sound like Adele. Lots of singers are doing this at the moment - at least four of them among the X-factor finalists. I can only imagine, in light of recent news regarding Adele's vocal 'injuries,' that singers all over the world are preparing to usurp her throne. The crack in Janet's voice is typical in this trend but the surprise performance by an Adele Soundalike on Saturday was in Craig Colton's version of 'Jar of Hearts'. Whilst he's not to my taste, in fact whilst he sums up pretty much everything that is mediocre in the world, I find Craig a lot less offensive than Janet. He has an offbeat sense of humour and you get the feeling that he's not trying to trick anyone into thinking he's more humble than he actually is. On top of that, I think he's a better singer. It's really only Craig or Marcus that have an outside chance of beating the Devil-woman into submission. The former is very middle-of-the-road whilst the latter is only slightly more interesting than Joe McElderry. In short, the possibility of this season creating a genuinely successful star is narrow.

My only other shock of the night came with Frankie Cocozza covering Ed Sheeran's 'A Team.' The shock came not with the song choice (although I thought they'd save this one for Frankie in later weeks) but with the horrific realisation that he may be more than a tabloid contestant. Whilst I had though he was there only to grab column inches, I now suspect the producers hope to get him into the top 5 in order to carve out a post-show career for him as a teen heartthrob professional rasping indie-twink. There is little hope for this world.

Angry Letters: Dear Goldsmiths Catering Service

Dear Sir/Madam,

I am writing to express my blistering disappointment at the catering ‘service’ you provide on site at Goldsmiths College, University of London. The three years I have spent eating at Goldsmiths have been characterised by a cyclical pattern of dissatisfaction and short-lived boycotts. If we take as truth that the body cannot remember pain, then we are some way towards understanding why I have returned, time after time, to these spaces. On each occasion I steel myself, convinced that the new experience will be an improvement on the last. Each time my hopes are thwarted by a plate of overpriced slop, a total absence of common courtesy and a hair, or worse, a bone in my ‘vegetarian’ meal.

On one occasion, last year, I foolishly dared to enquire as to whether an egg and cress baguette was made with free-range eggs. The gentleman serving me replied immediately and with an eloquence that far made up for his failure to answer my question in any way. His words, ‘Look, do you want it or not?’ have stayed with me ever since. The establishment in question was ‘Loafers’ café, a place named presumably in reference to ‘loafing’ students rather than the style of footwear. In actuality, many of the hardworking and generally polite students of Goldsmiths are faced with apathy, misery and even hostility on the part of Loafers’ staff. I will be writing to Her Majesty the Queen this week, in order suggest that the creator of this café’s witty name be knighted for his services to hubris.

Having been both a vegetarian and vegan at different points over the past three years, I was initially pleased to see that the refectory at Goldsmiths claimed to cater to these specific dietary needs. You can imagine how my pleasure increased when I bit into a falafel wrap marked ‘vegan’ only for a generous dollop of yoghurt to spill brazenly onto my unsuspecting tongue. My confidence was cemented the following week when I found traces of cheese on my ‘vegan’ pasta dish. When I complained to the on-site manager about the same utensils being used to serve both meat and vegetables, he kindly gave me an honest explanation. ‘I understand what you’re saying,’ he began, reassuring me, ‘What you have to appreciate is that we just don’t have the time to keep everything separate for the sake of a small minority.’ What this gentleman failed to grasp is that I don’t have to appreciate anything because I am not running a catering service and thus I am not responsible for upholding food hygiene regulations as designated by the Food Standards Agency and in The Foods Standards Act 1999. If it is truly beyond the staff on-site at Goldsmiths to provide truly vegetarian or vegan food, such options should not be advertised at all.

My most recent foray into the gastronomic minefield of Goldsmiths catering occurred last week. When I ordered pasta with tomato sauce to take away, I received a portion far smaller than would have been given on a plate. The kind lady (she must have been new) on the till agreed with me that it was an unusually small amount but when I returned to the server on the pasta bar to request a full measure, he was extremely rude and ignored my complaint. I did not enjoy this flavourless, insubstantial handful of overcooked pasta quills but I ate them because I was hungry. When I had finished, I looked down into the puddle of translucent fluid at the bottom of the plastic pot and wondered if the sauce had really been that watery, or if the ongoing trauma of such terrible food had actually led me to cry into my lunch.

Despite my severely negative experiences of the food in your café and refectory at Goldsmiths, it is the unabashed rudeness of your employees that disappoints me more than anything. Despite my anger at past experiences, I have always been polite and friendly to staff, whether making a complaint or simply ordering a coffee. I always make a point of saying hello, please, thank you and goodbye. The act is rarely reciprocated. Unless asked a direct question, the only words regularly spoken by your staff are prices. When I say ‘Good morning, how are you?’ to somebody, I don’t expect the answer to be ‘£2.50’

There are a number of excellent establishments serving food in and around Goldsmiths. Crème en Gold in the second floor common room of Goldsmiths serves food which is delicious, colourful, affordable and healthy. Best of all, this food is served with a smile. Café Crema and Goldsmiths Café also boast friendly staff, whilst the newly opened Goldsmiths Garden Café-Bar, directly opposite the college, is already gathering a firm base of support from students. In an ideal world, I would choose only to eat in these spaces. Unfortunately, due to their popularity, it is often hard to find a table. Time after time, I am driven back by default into the bowels of Loafers or the refectory to experience the very worst that college catering has to offer. Once again, I will grimace as I chew on limp lettuce, lukewarm chowder and lentil-loaf so hard and clay-like that it even draws comment from the grumbling staff-member collecting plates. If I were in any way responsible for the soul-destroying service provided on site at Goldsmiths, I would be truly ashamed of myself.

Yours faithfully,

Douglas Williams

Angry Letters: Dear ITV

Dear ITV,

I am writing in response to your general programme with specific regards to several ideas I have had for new shows. I do this out of love and will expect no fee should you decide to develop any of these projects.
I have noticed several trends in televised programmes since the advent of Channel 4’s excellent Come Dine With Me. After the subsequent success of programmes such as House Guest, Dinner Date, Secret Dealers and now Ten Mile Menu, I have started to devise a formula for immediate success and guaranteed entertainment. Please take a moment to consider the following:

Glam Race (For Life)

In which each member of the Saturdays is allocated a brand new Kia Picante in correlation with her individual personality. Frankie Sandford will have a pink one. The rest are up to you. The girls must then race around a different city each week, visiting children with cancer and singing to them. The girls will score points based on any signs of physical improvement as a result of the visits.

Presenter: Eamon Holmes

Christine’s Cheese Challenge

In which Christine Hamilton must not only master the art of cheese making but produce cheese so appetising that she can break the will of hardened vegans. As an added twist, Christine Hamilton will be on fire.

Presenters: And & Dec

The Great North/South Chef Battle or Banger & Mash

In which celebrity chefs from both the North and South of England must source organic produce which they will then have to sell to the public in order to secure a budget for the final stage of the competition. They will then have the chance to spend their earning on firearms, which they will use in a genuine shoot-out.

Presenter: Allison Hammond (as an impartial midlander)

Loose Women Extreme

In which the Loose Women are forced to banter in the nude. And on cocaine. And on fire.

Presenter: Joe Swash with a hard-on

Stools for Fools

In which Adrian Chiles and Christine Bleakley are sent on a mission around the nation, visiting various toilets and trying to deduce the identity of mystery celebrities based on the consistency of their bowel motions.

Presenter: Holly Willoughby

Terror or Turban-Wearer

In which members of the public must identify genuine terrorists from a line-up of ethnically dressed individuals.

Popstar to Firestar

In which popstars are on fire.

Presenter: Fearne Britton

Cops on Fire

In which policemen are on fire.

Presenter: Kate Garraway

Please, sir, I’m not a racist

In which Jo O’Meara, Robert Kilroy Silk and that woman Gordon Brown called a bigot must compete against one another by working a brothel allocated especially for the sexual requirements of asylum seekers

Presenter: Sherrie Hewson

Poo-House Hilton Style

Filed under: utterly pathetic > DICK DICK DICK!

Check out this HIGHlarious fan vid in which our gurl Buffy gets her stake into some hot man vamp.

We like it a lot. Mmm, lick! But we'd like it even more with some of our DICK IN IT!

What do U think? Do U like it but would like it better with some DICK IN IT!?