Thanks for all the festive Comments yesterday as we saw in the six-month mark. We begin the second six months with the return of a popular feature, the Very Late Review. Once more, it has been guest-edited by the excellent Megan McLeod, and I am deploying it because I think there’s a good chance I might fail to blog on time tonight, and imagine what a comedown that would be, after our landmark.
If you’ve not read the Very Late Review before, readers of this blog are asked to review a mixture of films, books, albums, people, experiences and anything else I feel I ought to have tried, but haven’t. Or sometimes they’re things I HAVE tried but want to poll opinion on. This time, Megan herself chose the categories. But I’m nominating the new ones.
To get involved with the Very Late Review 7, check the new categories at the end of the blog, and leave your reviews as Comments. You can review any or all. You should leave a mark out of ten at the end of your remarks, trying to avoid scores like 4,670 million out of ten, however much you love
Over to Megan.
Hi all. Here’s another edition of the Very Late Review, which will hopefully prevent some coronaries in the midnight hour tonight. Fewer selections this time, all of which, I must admit, I have some fondness for.
A rather popular choice, aside from a couple of people with serious orange/citrus hate. Many suggestions on how to properly eat a Jaffa for maximum awesomeness. Ivan even had a mind-blowing ‘recipe’ involving layering and ‘squirty cream’. (Presumably whipped cream out of a can? It’s called ‘psh-psh’ in my family.) I caused some controversy by calling these biscuits, as Customs ultimately ruled that they were cakes (I did see the QI episode during which they explained this); however, as they come in tubes like HobNobs do, I say they are definitely in the biscuit family, if only a cousin. Several people noted that these are addictive (true – Kathryn deducted .3 points off a perfect score because of the guilty feeling one gets after eating six at a time) or that they are a good sub for vegetables and/or supper (sadly, probably not true, sorry).
Memorable quotes: ‘I can still remember an advertising thing they used to have. It was a small note on the back, informing you that you could contact Jaffaholics …We tried it once. It was quite surreal. If anyone wants to try calling it to see if the number is still active, please inform me of the results.’ (Seamus); ‘These would be perfect without the orange bit. You bite into one and you’re enjoying the generic chocolate biscuit kind of taste, then the wave of orange slams you in the taste buds so hard that you forget that you once enjoyed eating it. ‘ (Tom Beasley); ‘I’m afraid to say I’d swap my entire family for just a lick of the orange disc inside’ (Carl); I have a special way of eating them compared to everyone else: I take a bite, chew, then swallow. I repeat this until the whole of the cake has been devoured. (David Calder – who also notes that Serbians love them. Poles do too, BTW.); ‘They should be the size of the original Wagon Wheels (from the 70s, not the teeny ones you get now).’ (glamlovinkitty)
Diving score: 8/10
Full marks: 10 out of 26
Nul points: 0 out of 26
JORVIK VIKING CENTRE
Unfortunately, not very many of y’all have experienced the joys and horrors of the Jorvik Viking Centre (ie the ‘sights, sounds, and smells of Viking York’). A couple of people were terrified by the experience as children (or, at least, by mice and demanding demonstrators), others associated it with fond memories of school trips/crushes, but very few people actually mentioned any kind of educational benefit and/or indicated that they didn’t remember much about it.
Memorable quotes: ‘When the ride is over there’s a mini-museum with people doing demonstrations and more American tourists shaking their heads in disbelief at mundane facts. You can write your name in runes and things like that and then you can spend ages in the shop buying things you don’t need but that are lots of fun.’ (amycool); ‘I was 13 or 14 and on the bus down to York spotted a boy from my school I’d never seen before and remained obsessed with him for about three years…I spent most of the time in York, and in the viking centre, engineering opportunities to take photos of him.’ (glamlovinkitty); ‘They made me dress up in costume just because I was small enough to fit it which I absolutely hated and really did not want to do.’ (Emily); ‘It smells like the stairwell in a multi-storey car park on a Sunday morning. This is, apparently, intentional.’ (Jon); ‘If I lived in York I would be off to the Jorvik Viking Centre on my bike whenever I had a spare moment.’ (Rhian)
Diving score: 6/10
Full marks: 0 out of 8
Nul points 0 out of 8
(Full disclosure: I am finishing up the writing of this during the Coronation Street omnibus on a Sunday morning. I don’t know who half of these characters are anymore as I haven’t watched regularly in more than six years.) Generally, people who likes soaps like this less than Eastenders, find the theme song a bit annoying, and/or are reminded of their grandmothers by the show (I fall into that latter category – I only remember my paternal grandmother ever watching Corrie and Hockey Night in Canada). Sets are cheesy, the stories are far-fetched/hilarious (I agree with Tom Beasley that Norris is one of the great comic/soap characters ever), and yeah, this wasn’t a terribly popular choice.
Memorable quotes: ‘I’m a southerner and daren’t cross the divide even by T.V.’ (Katie D.); ‘If I genuinely wanted to watch people living such wretched lives I’d go to the Jorvik Viking Centre, which may smell, but at least I wouldn’t have to endure the dismal theme tune.’ (Jon); ‘As someone who generally holds 90% of pop culture in contempt, I ought to dislike Coronation Street. It is however, a guilty pleasure of mine, and my inability to leave something I’ve started, however bad it is, means I’ll be watching until this monstrous first season finally draws to a close.’ (JontyLarr)
Diving score: 4.5/10
Full marks: 1 out of 16
Nul points: 1 out of 16
Those who like it? Like it quite a lot. Those who don’t cited discomfort, environmental conditions, traffic congestion, and cyclists themselves for their lack of enthusiasm for this mode of transportation. Many people waxed nostalgic about biking years ago and expressed a desire to do it again. David Calder and Chris P’s comments are too lengthy to quote in full (although I’d like to), but excellent (though I disagree with Mr Calder on helmets, as one saved my friend’s life last year when she got doored). Other people reported injuries (including lacerated ankles (!!)) and that bike commuting makes them too sweaty. (Full disclosure: I mostly commute by bike from March through December. In Canada. But I have my own office at the cinema, so if I’m a bit smelly, I’m only offending myself.)
Memorable quotes: ‘Don’t do this very often due to being hugely unfit and living in Scotland where even towns are hilly (well anywhere I’ve lived has been anyway).’ (Amy); ‘I tend to walk everywhere, but don’t shout about it, the way that cyclists do. Think you’ll find *I’M* the environmentally friendly one Cycly McCycle.’ (JontyLarr); ‘I’m all for it in principle, it just shouldn’t be attempted in inclement weather, or up hills. Or with cars / trucks on the same road. Therefore impractical for the lardy-arsed & exercise-shy’ (K.); ‘The only faults with bicycles are CARS. Cars, and angry drivers. Bikes are brilliant – easy to use, cheap to maintain, good for the environment AND for your health.’ (Aislinn); ‘Get a well built bike that suits your needs, good comfortable clothing and necessary protection, look after it, and it will look after you.’ (ChrisP); ‘Cycling probably got me through my interview at the University of Birmingham where my interviewer and I just compared how much we bought all of our bike accessories for!’ (Steph – I also included this one (in part) because I went to U of B too.)
Diving score: 6/10
Full marks: 1 out of 22
Nul points: 1 out of 22
Well, that was fun (again) and a good way to spend time while avoiding a 12+km run due to an hours-long thunderstorm. Thank you again to Mark for letting me babble on and to all of you for participating/being very funny and helpful!
And up for review next time:
ANT AND DEC (people)
THE TIME TRAVELLER’S WIFE (book, film, or both)
SALAMI (food; for vegetarians, HOUMOUS)
THE iPAD (device)
THE SKY (large area; this is for people who aren’t in a position to comment on any of the others)
Off you go, and see you next time on… The Very Late Review!!
(Credits roll; Mark and Megan shuffle papers and pretend to chat, the way presenters do at the end)