karohemd: (Photo)
Bitter Ruin played a half hour gig at St. Pancras Station last night (as part of the Station Sessions). The small, flat stage was set up in the middle of the busy shopping arcade with at this time of day (6pm) hundreds of commuters bustling past. There was obviously a group of fans but the duo's strong, unmistakable (and hard to put in genres, they are still looking for one themselves) quickly gathered a sizeable crowd. The sound was superb, despite the huge, noisy space and the tiny looking speakers (tall, thin bose contraptions) which coped perfectly with Georgia's incredible tonal and volume range.
They played a mix of favourites (Trust, Soldier, Beware) and one of their new songs (Leather for Hell) and, almost bizarrely, music that's more suitable for small, intimate venues really worked in this big space. They created, as a friend called it, an "island of difference".
If you have a chance to see them live, do.

Bitter Ruin at St. Pancras Station Bitter Ruin at St. Pancras Station
Bitter Ruin at St. Pancras Station Bitter Ruin at St. Pancras Station Bitter Ruin at St. Pancras Station

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karohemd: (Chef)
I hadn't had duck in a while so I picked up a couple of Gressingham duck breasts during my lunchtime shop.
This evening I was meant to go out so I just made something quick:
I trimmed and scored the skin, put the breast skin side down into a cold pan and turned up the heat. This way the fat under the skin has time to render before the skin crispens. When the skin was nicely browned, I seasoned the fleshy side with sea salt and pepper, turned the heat down, flipped the breast and cooked that side until sealed, transferred into a dish and finished it in a medium oven for about five minutes before I took it out, covered it in foil and let rest.
For the sauce, I sprinkled some icing sugar into the fat (of there wasn't much, with more fattier ducks you might have to get rid of some of the fat), deglazed the pan with a good glug of red wine, added a teaspoon of concentrated chicken stocka and let it simmer until it was the right consistency, seasoning with salt and pepper.
I served it on crushed new potatoes and with some wilted spinach (cooked in olive oil, seasoned with salt, pepper and freshly grated nutmeg).

The meat was soft and tender, the skin crispy and not fatty at all, the sauce was probably the best I've ever made and the spuds and spinach went well with it.


I have another breast which I'm going to cook differently tomorrow. It'll be an experiment so you might not see a post. ;o)
karohemd: (Devil)
I randomly bought a ticket for this a while ago because I like Robin Ince's bits he's been doing on Infinite Monkey Cage and his introduction to Brian Cox' Douglas Adams memorial lecture was brilliant.
In this show he basically talks about and reads from random books he's found (mostly at charity shops), mostly bad romance novels (Mills & Boon and the like), giant crabs, fundie Christian lit and random lifestyle advice books (how to meet girls, rabbit keeping etc.). He also goes off on tangents a lot (or all the time) so everything is a bit random but it's brilliantly performed and very funny.

Support was from Philip Jeays who sings lovely, fun and evil songs about various things in a voice rather similar to [livejournal.com profile] simonsatori's with a rather Brecht/Weill feel. Very expressive, a lot of fun. Two photos:

Robin Ince Philip Jeays
karohemd: Gentoo penguins in Antarctica, by me (Hungry)
So last night was the foodie night of my life (and one that's unlikely to be repeated). I went to the Kai We Care charity dinner in aid of the victims of the New Zealand earthquakes. Thought up and organised by Mat Follas, Masterchef 2009 winner and owner/head chef of The Wild Garlic. By the power of twitter and other social networking alone, he managed to recruit a brigade of top chefs (five with Michelin stars, all of them with various awards), suppliers and FOH staff who all gave their time and wares for free to stage a 9-course dinner for 200(!) people. Considering they only had four weeks and the event went on with barely a glitch, that was an amazing achievement.
So far, they managed to raise £60,000 (tickets and auction) with most likely more to come.

At £150 a ticket, this wasn't exactly cheap but where can you get a 9-course dinner with matching wines with each course cooked by a group of top chefs? Nowhere. You'd pay at least that much for a normal tasting menu at a high class restaurant in London and then you'd get only one chef. As I was looking for a birthday treat to myself, this was perfect and I wasn't disappointed.

At the reception at the rather splendid venue of 1 Moorgate Place there was kiwi champagne (which I actually liked!) and canapees: cured salmon/cucumber "fruit pastilles" (sweet/savoury, very fresh), port and Spenwood pencil (also nice) and the highlight, Pork crackling toffee apple (basically a ball of apple coated in a crunchy but not too sweet crumb, fantastic). No photos of these because the reception was cramped and it would have been a bit awkward. I'll pass on links to the official photos when they're out.

Then into the main hall with large, round tables, seating 9 people each. On my table were a group of Irish people (who all knew Dave Ahern) and a couple from Essex. Was quite a friendly table.

Kai We Care - Pre starter Kai We Care - Starter Kai We Care - Fish Kai We Care - Main Kai We Care - Pre-Dessert Kai We Care - Dessert


Food and wine: )

There was also entertainment in the form of a Maori dance group who performed a variety of dances and songs, very interesting and also amusing.

Throughout the evening the auction was held and raised a huge amount of money, with most lots going for well over a grand, some for multiples. I held my own for a while on the bid on the tasting menu for four with wines at Alimentum but it got too rich for me quite quickly. I think it went for 750 or 800 at the end.

By the time I had finished the petit fours, it was already well past 11 so I said good-bye and made my way back to Kings Cross where my train was already waiting. I was finally home at about 1:40.

It was a stunning evening and a great success for a worthwhile cause. Would go again in a heartbeat. Being in the presence of so many high class chefs, who all seemed to be really nice people and not as stuck up as you'd expect them to be, was fantastic.
I'm glad I'd taken the 50mm f1.4 because the light was very dim so I still had to set the D700 to ISO3200 for the food shots. Therefore, the DOF is a bit too shallow but I have to live with that. I hope Richard Budd had a proper setup somewhere.
ETA: Richard Budd's superb photos are here (mostly food and chefs/kitchen and performers) and even more photos by Philippa Edge here.
karohemd: (Photo)
Yesterday I visited the Botanic Garden in Cambridge for the first time (I know, shame on me).
Given the time of year, there wasn't that much on show yet but there were enough interesting things for the three and a half hours I was there. It being a weekday, there weren't many people so neither were they in the way of my photos nor did I annoy others by hanging around various exhibits for a long time.
I really need to go back during other seasons, too.
Here's a selection of photos:

 
  
 

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karohemd: (Chef)
My butcher had these wonderful pork tenderloins so I bought one as I hadn't cooked with one in quite a while. It was vacuum sealed so I thought I'd try a rough approximation of sous vide cooking. I basically poached the loin, suspended from a wooden spoon in a stockpot full of hot water (don't know how hot it was, I chose a temperature I could still touch so probably around 60 degrees) for a bit more than half an hour, prodding it now and then to get an idea for how done it was.
I took it out, removed it from the bag, patted it dry and cut it in half (so it would fit into my frying pan). It was done just a little under pink so after I seasoned it with salt and pepper and seared it in a really hot pan in some olive oil on all sides and rested it for ten minutes, it was on the spot.
While the meat was resting, I made a sauce by deglazing the pan with cider, seasoning with salt, pepper and thyme and finishing with some double cream and the resting juices.
I served it on some potato and parsnip mash and wilted spinach. It was fantastic and I could have charged good money for that at a restaurant. I wish this happened more often. I like my cooking but only sometimes it's as good as this.
The photo is a bit rubbish because it was rushed.

karohemd: (Photo)
Spucktute who are doing I'd like to describe as beat poetry with an electronica soundtrack. Quite bleak and angry lyrics.

Last July in their new lineup with Nevla on guitar. A decent PA and the extra layer of the electric guitar made them so much more fun to watch than last time I saw them. A really excellent gig. I predict a great future for them. :D

I probably don't need to introduce Devilish Presley who play dirty and fun Rock'n'Roll with great impact and charisma while only consisting of a guitar duo and a drum machine.

The light during the first two acts was poor but DP had two extra lights pointing up from the floor which helped a lot.

  
 
  

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Yet more on flickr.
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Fog)
Got out of work on time to catch the 5:15 train and made it to the Underworld at just before 6:30 where there was a queue but no open doors. [livejournal.com profile] civi was there and later [livejournal.com profile] fractalgeek so at least I had a few people to talk to while we were waiting in the freezing cold. Around 7 they told us there had been problems during soundcheck. Another 10 minutes or so later and the doors finally opened. I'd also found a random bloke who needed a ticket so my spare wasn't wasted.

First on the bill were Pettybone, a rather retro, all female hardcore/punk band who didn't do much for me but they had a good energy/vibe on stage.

Then, Bitter Ruin, the "musical sorbet of the evening". I've been talking about them repeatedly so just listen to their music if you haven't heard them. They played a great set of favourites, keeping the new songs secret, dammit (especially as I can't make the 15th).

Next up, back to loud and fast music in the shape of Bo Ningen from Japan. The best I can describe it is "psychedelic wall of noise" or "Merzbow with guitars". They also had a lot of hair. ;o) The more and longer they played, the more I warmed to them and I really enjoyed their set. Here's an interesting bit about them from the Guardian.

And finally, the main event, Gentlemen & Assassins, consisting of (at least this instance) Sxip Shirey (mad beatboxer and improv percussion monkey from NYC), Brian Viglione (best known as drummer and other half of the Dresden Dolls) and Elyas Khan (who I knew very little of/about and who sang, played guitar and a sequencer thing).
It's hard to describe, really, as there was a lot of improvisation and mix of styles but they played a couple of tracks from Sxip's latest album and other things and it was fantastic and a lot of fun. Sxip is a mad genius who uses his voice(?) to make noises and occasionally to sing, all kinds of bells and whistles (incl. the Sxipenspiel made by Neil Gaiman and AFP) and various actual and improvised percussion instruments. Brian is a beast on the drums (but unfortunately was sitting in the back in red light and usually covered by Sxip). Elyas sings in an Arabic/Middle Eastern style and plays guitar. The combination is just wonderful.

I'd taken the camera along because I knew The Underworld aren't usually arses about it but the light is still awful and was mostly red. I don't think I'll post any of Bitter Ruin's because they had only red light. Also, due to the distance (I was on the main level in the back) a lot of them were blurry. :o( A few samples:

  
 

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They finished early and I made the 23:15 train to Cambridge.
karohemd: (Photo)
PsychoCandy is a new clubnight at the Q Club in Cambridge. It was a lot of fun and hugely successful for an opening night. The club was already packed well before 11.

 

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Even more on flickr.
karohemd: self portrait (photo 85mm)
Katie West has published a book of black and white nude self portraits and asked for photos of people with her book. This is my contribution.
You can buy her book on lulu.

For Katie West

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karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Fog)
I mainly went down to London to see Deathboy live again who were supporting Project Pitchfork at Islington Academy and thought it was a good opportunity to see PP live (which I hadn't) and take Deviant UK and Dutch Order as a bonus.

Cambridge Bus Syndrome meant I missed the train I wanted to take and came in halfway through Dutch Order's set. They weren't quite my thing but fun and techically sound.

Deathboy were next and they rocked their (and our) little socks off, especially considering they hadn't played live for something like three years. They played a great section of their repertoire from Cheap Shot to tracks from CogRock (which is free to download). The band very obviously enjoyed themselves and the audience went for it, too.
[livejournal.com profile] jasontheknight had organised a photo pass for me and I tried my best to fight against the venue's backlighting. (they actually do have white front lights but never use them :o()

Deviant UK were the surprise for me. I hadn't seen them live and hadn't been impressed with their recorded stuff but they're really powerful and fun live. The frontman stomps over the stage like a madman and really brings the thing alive. Excellent stuff.

And then, Project Pitchfork, one of the bands that have been active for quite a while but I hadn't had a chance to see live and don't know that well, either. I have a few tracks on compilations but actually none of their albums, something I need to change, I think.
They absolutely killed on stage, despite only the frontman being really active on stage with two static synths and a drummer (who was really going for it), their act felt really organic and was a lot of fun. The audience were really going for it, too, the majority were dancing and I think that impressed the band, too. I'm not sure but this might have been the first drum solo I've seen an industrial/EBM band do. It was ace.

Three photos for now, more to come:

Deathboy Deviant UK Project Pitchfork

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karohemd: (Photo)
I had this funky tin so I thought I would try my hand at some product photography.

karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (Default)
I'm at my parents' in Upper Franconia, Southern Germany at the moment and this is how much snow we had overnight on our entrance path. Effectively, it was about 5cm but there's always wind that blows snow around so you get some more in some places.

Overnight Snowdrift

Yay!

23 Dec 2010 12:00 am
karohemd: by LJ user gothindulgence (snowman)
I just remembered I do have an USB cable for my external hard drive and it fits!
Due to limited bandwidth, I won't be able all of them, so have a look at the following flickr set

Xmas photos 2010

Highlights:

Disembodied Heads

Tit 3
karohemd: (Photo)
Sir David Attenborough
signing books at the Royal Geographic Society after a talk with Richard Fortey on the naming of animals. Thursday, 16/12/10
Taken with the G10 so a bit noisy.
karohemd: (Photo)
Still more on flickr

karohemd: (Photo)
Club Sacrilege ran a Halloween Special last night and the Undead and other critters turned out in droves.
A fine need indeed with cool music, cool people and lots and lots of fun.
Here's a first selection of photos, more to come, i.e. I'm going to expand the set on flickr as I process more images.

  
 

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karohemd: self portrait (photo 85mm)
Viktoria Modesta is not only a model but also a singer/songwriter. Check out her website for a few samples (warning for those of you at work, the music starts playing immediately when you allow scripts/flash).
The most fascinating bit about her for me was her wonderfully sculpted hair. Apparently, it's very easy to do but I guess everything is when you know how to do it.

Again, a few samples here, with more on flickr.

  

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karohemd: (Photo)
I have to admit I've been a fan of Ulorin Vex for quite some time so I was excited when this opportunity came along. Her crazy orange hair is just as variable as her poses and the outfits she brought along were brilliant, too.

Here's a selection, there are a few more on flickr.

  

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karohemd: self portrait (photo 85mm)
On Sunday I took part in an alternative fashion photography workshop run by Allan Amato at 4 Princelet St., an amazing Edwardian house.

The morning consisted of a demonstration of various lighting techniques (fill lights, key lights, one, two or three sources, with/without additional reflectors/diffusers etc.).
In the afternoon we split into three groups, each picking a room with a different lighting setup first rotating models, then rotating photographers so everyone got to shoot with everyone in each setup. The venue is absolutely amazing with a large number of rooms, many of them with big windows, creaky floorboards, even creakier stairs and lots of really old furniture and paraphernalia.

The models were fantastic, too, all with different styles and personalities: Nina Kate, Ulorin Vex and Viktoria Modesta.

Equally different were the attending photographers, reaching from photography student to older than me and both amateurs, semi-pros and pros. I got along really well with everyone and we already vaguely planned a group outing to Houghton House (if/when we're doing it, I'll be asking for people to model for me so keep your eyes peeled).

And last but not least, Allan Amato was cool, too. Nice guy, happy to answer questions and give suggestions. Definitely someone I wouldn't mind getting to know better over a couple of pints.

Let's start with Nina Kate:

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