21 August 2012

Shreddies: the curse of smart quotes

The new TV advert for Shreddies breakfast cereal is plagued by incorrect punctuation.

As is increasingly happening these days, thanks to so-called smart quotes, an open quote (looks like 6) has been used here instead of an apostrophe (looks like 9). Apostrophes mark omission, people; quote marks surround quotations. Grrrr.

(I've long since given up whinging about the grocer's apostrophe and other such errors. But this is bad typography and is unforgivable on a national TV ad. I may have to switch brands.)

10 August 2012

The past, and wallowing in it

In these days of chip-and-PIN – or, if you're really down with the kids, contactless payment – the recent past seems a quaint place.

While having a clearout in my office this afternoon, I stumbled across some old credit-card payment slips from over 20 years ago in a box in the corner. (Yeah, I know, hoarder. They're heading for the shredder now.) Most were stapled to the relevant statement, but half a dozen or so had come loose and were wafting around aimlessly. It made me smile to see these artifacts, handwritten and hand-kerchunk-kerchunked in imprint machines back in the day. Five years before I got online. Nine years before I got a mobile. Only the year after I bought my first CD player.

And then I saw this one.

A long-defunct record shop in Dorset. And the date. I immediately realised what the CD was. Hats by the Blue Nile. Back in 89, I'd read gushing reviews of this in the music papers, although I hadn't heard any of their work. So I asked the shop owner to play a bit. Two minutes into track one, "Over the Hillside", I was sold.

It's still one of my top 3 albums.

02 August 2012

Yet more chilli crisps: Mackie’s scotch bonnet flavour

Yet another update in our ongoing group test of chilli-flavoured crisps. This time it's the turn of Mackie's of Scotland and their scotch bonnet chilli pepper flavour (currently available in your local Lidl).

These crisps are a little old-fashioned in texture: they are quite thick and hard, rather like the way KP and Murphy's crisps used to be back in the 80s. Not immediately appealing. They are also quite dark in appearance as they are "well done"; the seasoning also makes them look quite dark, and there are red and green flecks.

The flavour is quite pleasant, heavy on the sweet chilli/capsicum, with a dollop of tomato and herbs. Reminiscent, if anything, of chilli ketchup. However, the dark fry also pushes through – not exactly burnt, but it makes its presence felt in the flavour.

In terms of heat, they don't really live up to the "fiery hot" billing on the packet. There is a slow build of heat on the tongue and in the throat, but only to about 2 or so (2.5 if we're generous) on the insertcrisps.com heat scale.

Overall, fairly pleasant but not one of our favourites.