2018: A Year In Food
In 2018, my gym coach assigned me to keep a food blog so he could track my meals. Through developing healthy eating habits to satisfy all of my nutritional needs and a rigorous exercise programme, I lost the 21 kg between January-August 2018 I'd gained on anti-depressants.
I wanted it to be somewhere more private rather than being shoved down people's throats (literally) through Instagram/WhatsApp. Hence I've posted my culinary creations here.
Being vegetarian and/or vegan always presents a challenge in terms of hitting the protein target so this was particularly the most interesting challenge for me.
I made a conscious decision to stop food blogging in 2019 (due to time restraints), but it's useful to have a year's diet documented as a reference and a source of inspiration!
PB Underground @ Jazz Cafe
The PB Underground is a large funk, soul and motown outfit featuring many of the UK's top musicians. The band kicked off in 2008 by building on a core of musicians who have played with one another in various lineups, so the level is already tight and has instantly created a storm on the London funk scene, fireballing several sell-out shows and stirring up a party at festivals, clubs and venues wherever they appear. The band's expansive lineup is built upon a tight core of heavyweight rhythm section players who have played together as a unit for several years and already make a phenomenal sound together. Added to this are a pool of London's top vocal stars, each with big personalities, wide ranges and oodles of bling factor - each commanding the stage and creating a captivating presence. The ready-made and gelled horn section, bought into the band after having extensively toured together, give it that 'BIG BAND' sound - combining blistering brass hooks with stabbing, stinging riffs, and crisp, chunky blocks of harmony. The texture is fattened out with a trio of pulsating electric guitars, tasty keyboards and illustrious backing vocalists, all laid down with thick, buttery bass lines. The resulting 17-piece lineup is truly a spectacle, and nothing is done half-heartedly or in small measure - the band bring extra percussion, extra pianos and special electronic effects to add that extra zing - in terms of their lineup, sound and general vibe, think BIG. Their live shows cook up a stonking mix of heady Tower-of-Power-style funk, with touches of James Brown and Stevie Wonder, and the progressive momentum of Earth, Wind & Fire, causing a funkadelic revival and inspiring a surge of new, raw material to be written, played and enjoyed worldwide in the coming decade... This is straight-up, to-the-point, no bollocks, good music, the way that music is meant to be played, bringing sledges of attitude, soulfulness and positive feeling. Listening to the band, it is impossible not to move; the catchy vocal refrains mess with your head and make you dizzy with euphoria. With each song, the band drive the energy and momentum up another level until you think that they cannot possibly go further (yet they still do) whilst successfully avoiding the usual clichés saturated throughout most mainstream commercial music, but instead brewing up their own uniquely infectious and engaging recipe. These musicians have their heads screwed on and their feet firmly in the music. All clearly professionally trained and industry schooled, these guys are at the top of their game and they KNOW what they are doing: they understand how to write a good tune that utilises that 'jazzy' technical sensibility to the max - juicy, sophisticated chord changes, inventive rhythms and grooves, and flashy improvisation - without losing the ingredients of a quality song that moves audiences with an effortless mastery direct from the laboratory of FUN. The rhythm section maintained the pumping dynamic throughout the entire set, as the vocalists brought the ecstacy into relief. Even though they had played for two hours straight, it was all over too quickly, and by the end of it, the audience was in rapture, demanding not one, not two, but THREE encores. As a musician watching, it is pretty scary to see how far they can push the bar, with their roof-shattering solos, floor-shaking grooves and cascading vocal cadenzas; it reminds you how man is truly the measure of all things, and it instantly generates ripples that you simply want to be part of. In just three days, I have been completely blown off my feet by some of the amazing things happening in the festival, and the sheer talent that is all around us, but this has definitely been the highlight for me so far. Here is a band destined for great things, and definitely one to follow in the coming months with plenty of shows lined up and the promise of an album release in the forthcoming year, and one I'll be raving about to everyone I know. The band modestly describe themselves as 'a work in progress'... I say that it is a work of a collective genius, and an inspiration for musicians and audiences alike across all genres and backgrounds, for generations to come.
Rory spent the first few years of his life in an ice cave, carving out his palace of wonder. He's a bit of a love doll, but he who melts the ice shall have their reward.