Tuesday, 24 April 2012

How Evil is Fast Food? Oh...I dunno.

I have a love/love relationship with junk food. I love eating it, and that's about it. I don't hate it, because it's not the food's fault that it makes me get thunderthighs or clogs my arteries. That's my fault for eating it. That's like saying it's the dog's fault when a kid gets mauled by a pit bull - its only doing its job. It's the owners and the breeder's fault. Do you see? I take responsibility for my health in the same way that I take responsibility for my work; if I don't act responsibly the only loser is going to be me. As a result, yeah, I eat far too much junk food, but I also do a helluva lot of exercise, drink ridiculous amounts of water and eat green veg every day. I'm not a fatty, though not through lack of enthusiasm. My mum says one day I'll realise just how disgusting MacDonald's is. I doubt it - I'm 24 now for goodness sake, and I still haven't learned.

Alright, so I think that the cheapness of junk frozen food is an absolute disgrace (given the low income and long working hours of the majority of the people living in the UK today, it's often the only real option for families) and that there should be an age limit on buying fast food (ie. if you're under 12, you should be with an adult - I see so many kids walking home from school eating fried chicken every day and it makes me worry) it is still a viable food option, and I can't deny that. I've been extremely poor for the past few months now, and what I've learned is that although yes, in theory you could grow your own veg, head down to the farmer's market, buy straight from the producers and create healthy cheap meals for pennies, in-between working two jobs and living in the city without my own transport has meant it's bloody HARD WORK and often I just straight can't be bothered. Does this make me lazy? Hugh F-W (my hero) would probably say so.

The thing is though, three pieces of chicken and chips, and a can of juice (and sometimes a bread roll, if the guy at Maxin's is feeling generous/particularly sorry for me) is £1.99. How? I don't know. I often wonder if they are a money laundering operation, but on days where my tips have been scarce, this has been a bit of a lifesaver. Now multiply this by the amount of people living under or on the official poverty line in the UK, and you can see how this poses a problem.

Scrumptious or Shameful? DECIDE, GO ON

Again, I'd like to stress that this is not the fault of fast food shops - they are providing a service people are willing to pay for. The problem here lies with low wages/unemployment and the high cost of healthier foods in supermarkets. In an ideal world, everyone would skip gaily to their local Saturday market to pick up root vegetables still rustically smattered with dirt and pop them into their wicker bicycle baskets, but this is not Trumpton, ladies and gents. Knackered and skint, it is far more likely that  the breadwinner's hunt for food will be done begrudgingly on a Saturday morning in Morrissons (or Tesco, or wherever you usually go for convenience rather than quality) where the striplights and queues dispel any lingering notions of food excitement that were dreamed up on the bus on the way there. You can buy 24 chicken nuggets for £1, because it's buy one get one free on a bag of 12. You can get a head of broccoli for £1. How many meals can you make from each? It really is as simple as that.

I don't have a family to provide for, so a lot of the time I (admittedly foolishly) sacrifice quantity for quality. In layman's terms, I often eat less in order to eat better, which makes me hungry, but makes me feel less guilty. Is this a healthy way to live? Probably not. (By the way, this guilt is often totally nutritionally unfounded, and has a lot to do with my own snobbery - chorizo is ridiculously unhealthy, yet I'll happily choose that over processed low-fat ham.) Our relationships with food are twisted and formed by how we eat as children, what we learn as we grow, what we like, and what we can afford. It's dangerous to tell people what they can and can't eat, because it makes food out to be evil when it isn't. It's irresponsible for the government to push the 5 a Day campaign when there's no real ramifications if you "only" eat two or three portions of fruit and veg each day. Do we need to feel guilty about eating food? Can't we just eat the right amount of whatever we want and do exercise, and not have to sit and listen to thousands of people telling us that fast food should be banned? Doesn't that make you feel patronised? Don't you feel like you know what you're doing by now when it comes to eating your dinner?

I've finished ranting now, but as a sort of side note I'd like to point you towards this experiment that got me to write this blog post. It's about the 12 year old Big Mac and how demonising junk food isn't really doing anything apart from making well-meaning healthy eating campaigners look a bit mental.

http://aht.seriouseats.com/archives/2010/11/the-burger-lab-revisiting-the-myth-of-the-12-year-old-burger-testing-results.html

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

SP4M 15/04/12

I have a long term career goal to make the rewind acceptable at techno parties - DJG
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It's slowly becoming summer. Okay, so it started snowing at the weekend, and today it's a brisk 3 degrees in South London (yeah, are you gonna go to the effort of checking?) but in everybody's minds at least, the season of barbecues and sunburn is upon us. The British summertime is an odd thing. People start enjoying cinematic music that they can raise their arms to in festival fields. They also like doing a lot of outdoor daytime drinking. In celebration of this (the arms thing, not the boozing) let's kick things off with some beautifully bracing tracks from LSB and chums.
This first track is actually around about two years old, but the folks over at Liquid Drum & Bass 
reminded me of it this week and I thought it had to be re-shared.

This little wonder by Technicolour (who if you don't know about, you should look up as his mixes are pretty much sublime) Komatic and LSB is worth all of your time. Listen to that build up! What a stunner.



You all know how I feel about S.P.Y, yes? Well, his "Love & Hate" EP is due out on the 7th May and I think it goes without saying that it's a must-buy.

BTW, full disclosure, "Clouds" is the best track and it is ace and I love it.


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On Easter Sunday I went to A Bunch Of Cuts features Exit. It was ace. Skeptical did a promo mix for the night before it happened - this is it and if you like deep, dark DnB, I suggest you grab it. Even though the event is over, the mix is still...how you say? Fiyah? Get it here.
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I've been listening to a lot of Joy Division lately.



Right, if you've not already bought this single yet, don't worry, you're not a total right-off, just head over to wherever you get your music from and add it to your collection as soon as you can. Spectrasoul's latest release on Shogun Audio has re-affirmed my love for the label (I was starting to get a bit weirded out over some of their recent choices) but aside from that, it's just INCREDIBLE. Remember how good I said Remeniscence was? This is just as good. A-side "Light in the Dark" is an epic string section moody bastard, wheras the flip "Shackles" features sick jungly vibes (eugh) and vocals from the brilliant Fox. Can't recommend it enough, get it bought.










Hot things from Hotflush - the forthcoming EP "Never Love Me" from Beaumont is a shimmering, synthy, glamorously messy affair and I really rather like it.




Juk Juk is quickly becoming a name I immediately link to serious quality. Weird and slightly unnerving chilled beats, one thing he's not is boring. Ever. This warmly dawdles along for a minute or so, and then swells into a crashy, garagey April shower. I like that.




Wreckless' forthcoming release on Peer Pressure might be something I'm working on (I like to be honest with you all) but I do honestly think it's wicked. Current fave off the EP - Smoke Signal. Deep and dark, but with soulful intermissions (and the occasional heavy freakout), have a listen to the whole thing and tell me what you think - I'd like that.





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Dance music makers, if you feel like your song is missing something, it's probably claps. Get some claps on the go. - Daft Limmy
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A slightly insane Ruckspin mix for you all. A bit of a faff to download if you've not got a D&BA account, but well worth it (you could probably find it on D&B Share if you looked, but I'm not condoning that) Ruckspin - D&BA Mix

NEOSIGNAL PODCAST, VOLUME COOL



Philth (of Flexout Audio and Peer Pressure) had his excellent EP come out last week, and to mark this he did a totally bodacious hour-long mix for Dogs On Acid. Radical! Find it here along with an interview and a picture that proves how ginger he is.





Another great podcast from Intelligent Recordings. Gosh guys, stop showing off.


I'm sure you don't me to tell you just how good any mix by Owen Brown is, so here, just listen to this and shut up. Clarity mix for Organic.


I've learned my lesson about ranting on about Ital Tek. This is me not ranting on about Ital Tek. He did a mix for Urb Magazine, here it is.
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Tempted to give up being vegetarian just so I stop doing farts so potent they wake me up in the night - Stenchman
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Eastcolors is a name you need to re-acquaint yourself with. He's been busy over the past year or so collaborating with Enei and Nuage, however he's got a SWEET 12" coming out on Demand very soon, and to be honest, I reckon it'll be very difficult for any other release to beat it for me this year. In the mean time, have a listen to this mix he's done for EMToday.


I also wanted to show you the live mix he recorded last year and allowed d/ls on - however he's taken it down, which I think is a massive shame. I don't want to put it on here as he must have taken it down for a reason and I don't want to spread stuff around artists aren't happy with. Saying that, I really want people to hear it, so if ou want it, drop me a DM or something and I'll see what I can do.


Do you want some heavy bastard snares and a bit of nasty bass? Course you do. Have a listen to this forthcoming release by Mikal and get a bit lairy. For what it's worth, I like "The Chant" the best, it's been a tune to look out for (for me anyway) since Break dropped it on't Symmetry podcast. Big.


Ah, you might as well have the Symmetry podcast too, eh?


You know how I hate the word "vibes"? Well...I can't really think of an alternative description for this:



There's not really much Nuage could do to ruin this glowing opinion I have of him. Perhaps if he stole my cat or ran me over in a tractor I might have to have a rethink. Until then however, he can carry on making tracks like this with the likes of Gerwin, and I'll be a very happy Katie indeed.


More ace old-style soulfulness from Mars, with another release from uber-prolific duo dRamatic & dbAudio. Both sides feature smoothily smooth vocals from the one and only Grimm.



I love this and it came out yesterday. Nuff said.


Last but certainly not least by any measurement known to mankind, I'd like you all to know that Lung's debut EP "Why Does Anyone Ever Do Anything?" is out now, and if you like chilled, hopeful dubstep with glints of soul and a smattering of glitchy blips, you should get it. In fact, just get it anyway. If you don't I won't be your friend anymore and I won't invite you to my birthday party, and my mum said there's going to be a bouncy castle and everything.

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They're not real people, not until they've lost their shoes at a Radio One Roadshow crowd surfing to Pato Banton - LurpackShakur
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