Archive for August, 2012

August 28, 2012

Required Listening

Instead of doing proper bank holiday Monday things (rain-lashed barbecue, argument in Homebase, etc), Olly and I spent the afternoon doing a show on BBC 5 Live. Helen & Olly’s Required Listening features loads of unusual broadcasters and podcasters – a full list of the terrific contributors is here and you can hear the show on BBC iPlayer here.

The Friday before, I took part in the round table discussion on Ian Collins‘s LBC show, with novelist and TV headmaster (also real-life teacher) Simon Warr. We talked about nude Harry, George Osborne and honours for Olympians, and you can stream the rather lively chat here.

Just one more thing – voting closes for the SXSW panels on 31st August, so please vote here for me, Jesse Thorn, Roman Mars and Colin Anderson to talk about podcasting in Austin, Texas!

August 15, 2012

South by Southwest

Readers, I have a favour to ask.

I’ve been enlisted for a panel about podcasting at next year’s South By Southwest festival. I’ve heard it’s like North By Northwest but with people talking about tech and film rather than crop-dusting.

The line-up is decided by public vote, so I’d be terribly grateful if you could vote for our panel, which includes Jesse Thorn, Roman Mars and Colin Anderson. You have to create a profile, but it’s no biggie, I promise. Here’s where to vote:

While you’re there, please also vote for my friend Mary O’Hara‘s panel HERE, because when Mary suggests you do something, you bloody well do it, OK?

Thanks very much! If we get enough votes, I’ll bring y’all something nice back from Texas.

August 15, 2012

Wedding cake

Last weekend I made something I’d never attempted before. I turned this lot…

…into this!

That’s a wedding cake, in case you weren’t sure. Five tiers of chocolate sponge, dark chocolate ganache within, vanilla buttercream and raspberries without, as commissioned by my friend Clare. Clare is one of the only people for whom I would spend two days slowly mashing a cubic foot of butter into a sackful of sugar with a wooden spoon. I now realise that this laborious process is symbolic of marriage: the bride and groom, hitherto separate elements, are mashed together by the wooden spoon that is vows into delicious unity.

Over the course of the evening, the raspberries’ juice ran and made the cake look like it had stigmata. But at least it didn’t collapse, which was my main worry. I used lightweight cake boards in between layers, with straws for extra support. And there is a mug in the middle of the bottom tier. Luckily nobody accidentally ate the mug.

The groom is not a cake fan, so Clare bought him his own cake made out of something he prefers…


Isn’t it beautiful, like an eggy fractal? The big egg is an ostrich egg, and the small ones quail eggs with various different types of sausagemeat, eg black pudding, chorizo. Alas hard-boiled eggs are one of my never-foods, so I didn’t actually sample the w-egging cake; but it was certainly a treat for the eye. The nose too, if you are a person who finds sulphur romantic.