For the last year I’ve been making notes on each type of beer I’ve had, largely because if I enjoy a beer enough, I tend to forget what it’s called, what’s it’s like as well as how to talk properly and how to act in public. Here’s the list of the beers I’ve had since some time last year.

P.S. many of these reviews were made after consuming many other drinks so they may not have any basis in logic, or coherence though for the most part they’re still pretty spot on.

Beer list

A
Amstel- Light lager. Quite good. Quite.
Anchor Porter- Delightfully dark and tasty beer. Flavoursome and marmitey (but not to a fault), certainly not a beer for mother!
Angry Yank- Slightly heavy IPA, makes me wonder if either I or the brewer don’t know what an IPA IS.

B
Banks’s Bitter- What it lacks in a logical name, it makes up for in being a good beer.
Bays Gold- Fantastic. Nice and light, easy to drink with a hangover.
Beast- A wonderful invention. Truly a good ale. Strong as a thing that’s penultimately strong, black as a dark thing, rest assured, it is a quite strong, dark thing.
Betty Stogs- Meaty, dark, Cornish thing.
Bierra Moretti- “The beer in Italy.” About sums it up really.
Bishop’s Tipple- Worthy of a bishop, though I hear the Pope is more of a wine drinker. Unknown effects on other clergymen.
Black Sheep Ale- A very nice light ale. “Crisp, dry & bittersweet.” Yup.
Boddingtons- Watery. A weak draught.
Bob- Decent light alish.
Boss- Weak and watery. Not at all Boss-like at all.
Brahma- Standard good lager. Refreshing, cheap, comes in an attractive bottle. Conjures up images of people wearing unlikely hats in tropical climates.
Brewhouse Something- Bovril. Just Bovril.
Brooklyn Lager- Syrupy and thoroughly excellent.
Budvar (Dark)- Surprising. Um. Gravy-like
Budvar (Light)- Slightly phlegmy tasting Lager. Very very good.
Budweiser ’66- Better than regular Budweiser.
Butcombe- BEER.
Butcombe Blonde- Also a beer. But this one is a blonde one.

C
Chimay- The kind of beer that made me start this list. Brilliant, chocolatey. 9%. What I like in a beer.
Comfortably numb- Very very nice beer. Brown. Very nice. A bit mashed potatoey!
Cornish Knocker- A bit lemonade tasting. Lighter than one might expect.
Cornubia- Tasty beer. A solid 7/10 if I did numerical ratings. As it happens, I don’t.
Corona- A light lager, refreshing but not especially flavoursome.
Cotswold Way- Tastes a bit like a wool jumper once owned by a smoker but has been kept in the loft for the last 25 years.
Cotleigh Buzzard- A bit toast-like.
Cotswold Way- Generic brown ale thing. There. I said it. They all taste the same.

D
Darkside- Like Guinness but good.
Discovery- Yeah, I suppose.
Double Dragon- Sour milky.
Doubting Tom- Milky ale with a picture of Mr Jesus on the tap. But the milk is the most important factor of it.
Duvel (Green)- Standard pale ale. Can’t remember anything else about it.
Duvel (Red)- very potent, tasty, hoppy beer. More expensive than Green because it’s good. Swish around a little at the bottom of the bottle to ensure you get all the sediment.

E
Erdinger Dunkelbier- Fruity delicious goodness
Erdinger Weissbier- A mid range potency White beer. Good body and flavour.
ESB- Quite a nice beer; hint of lavender? Probably not.
Exmoor Fox- Slight peach tasting beer. Vey vey nise.
Exmoor Gold- Cheese tasting

F
Fosters- Pretty much offensive to all concerned
Franziskana Weissbier- light fruity chemical free German-ness.
Freeminer Organic Ale- Sweet and light. Not bad at all for something masquerading under the co-op own brand label.
Frülli- The beer that tastes like strawberries. Tastes like generic strawberry, carbonated drink. Not unlike Ribeana and soda stream.
Fursty Ferret- Fooking lemonadey.

G
Ghost Ship- PFFFFFFFT. Nah.
Golden Lance- A bit shit.
Goose Island IPA- Very excellent-ish. Satisfaction akin to watching a dog sleep.
Gulden Draak- Yummy! And lovely. Stupidly strong and responsible for me not remembering my Birthday.
Grolsch- Everything it says on the tin. Good?

H
Hobgoblin- Fruity, fruity, fruity fruity, fruity, fruity fruity fruit. With a bit of marmite.
Hoegarden- Fluffy, German beer served in a tea pot. Schnell!

I
Invincible- A nice beer with a hint of honey.

J
John Smith’s- Standard ‘Asda Value’ beer

K
Kwak- Beautifully fruity Belgian dark beer. Often leads to short term memory loss.

L
Leffe- An excellent light blonde beer. Like Duvel but less weighty. That’s a good thing by the way.

M
Magnum, P.A.- A disgrace to the Magnum branding and quite probably quite a severe breach of licensing.
Milk Stout- It is yes. Creamy goodness.
Moonlight- Quite excellent. Light and fizzy, would go well with fish. Pictures of a Westland Lysander on the bottle, before I forget.

N
Newcastle Brown Ale- About as genuinely Geordi as a Jaguar S- Class; a beer than panders to expectations about ale for people that don’t like ale.
No7- Regular brown beer taste.

O
Old Bob- In one of my cupboards lives one of those fragrant smelling air fresheners. Every time I open that cupboard I get attacked by that smell. That is what this drink tastes like.
Old Speckled Hen: Yeah, it’s alright I suppose. Quite good one might say. But only one.
Old Peculiar- If some sort of energy beam field was brown and had a taste, it would be this. But less exciting.
Oranjeboom- Alright, I only bought it because the name said “orange boom.” Pleasantly surprised though!
Otter Ale- Kind of watery chocolate ale.
Oyster Stout- Really bloody good.

P
Peroni- The Italians just don’t make good beer. Wine, yes. Beers and engine control units, no. Also, probably lays a better claim to being “the beer of Italy” than Bierra Moretti.
Pitchfork- Splendid and beery.
Prescott- FUCKING A
Proper Job- A bit saw dusty.

Q

R
Raven- Unanimous verdict: it tastes like beer.
Red Stripe- okay. Beery.
Rocheford- Dark and heavy goodness. Only have one at a time.
Ruddles- Light ale, comes with the gormet burger in weherspoons as their “non-Guinness” ale. 30% musty, very quaffable. Quaf.

S
Schneider Weisse- Beautifully chocolatey, sweet beer. Served in a penis-like glass. A feast for all ages.
Sierra Nevada Pale Ale- One fine, tasty beverage! Has the occasional kick of ‘very deliciousness.’
Skindog- Like most Cornish drink, it’s characterised by a vague taste of farm equipment. All in all not bad for a lager.
Spitfire- Inexplicably fizzy, marginally fulfilling Kentish ale. Marvellous ad campaigns.
Staropramen- a very smooth, unpronounceable lager. Prague actually makes something. Huh.
Sunrise- A pale ale with light notes.

T
Thwaites Strong Brown Ale- charmingly refreshingly lovely and wonderful.
Tribute- Very gentle light ale. Flavoursome and goodersome.
Twelve Nights- Very excellent, very excellent indeed.

U

V
Veltins- Unremarkable lager (he remarked).

W
Weihenstephan- Das ist sehr gut! Danke schöne, Deutschland!
Westmalle- An interesting one- like Anchor Porter but less good. Smells like beer, apparently.

X

Y

Z

Dear Moon,

Posted: 21/11/2011 in General
Tags: ,

I like the Moon, the Moon is nice. However, It wasn’t until the other evening I realised just what a marvel it is. Previously I understood the Moon as a theory, but now I think my brain is ready to accept it as fact. I realise how insane that just sounded.

You see, t’other night I was looking up at the Moon (I estimate I must have been looking at it from around a 59 degree angle) and I think it was the first time that I realised how amazing it was that people had been there. 40ish years ago. With computers less powerful than a smartphone. Of course I knew people had been to the Moon, and of course I’ve looked at the Moon before, but I’d never really gone: “People have gone to the Moon. There it is, look.”

Beforehand I had accepted that people have gone to the Moon much the same way I would accept the fact that someone once shat on a cloud. Impressive indeed, but I wasn’t around to see it, I don’t know the fuss it would have caused, I can only take people’s word for it.

People have gone to the Moon. There it is, look.
Also, follow me on Twitter now. Please. The thing you want to look for is: JamieMack1138

Many thanks.

Goldeneye: Reloaded is a very generic shooter that very few people were overly keen to see. I’m going to kill the tension right now and say that if this game were rated out of 10, it would be given a solid 7.4 for being not really original but still quite entertaining anyway. There you go.You can go away now. For those that are self-destructive enough though, I’ll explain why.

You see in the old days James Bond titles were having incest with each other. The Spy Who Loved Me was basically just a rehash of the plot for You Only Live Twice, but they re-worked it and tweaked it sufficiently that you still got a new and exciting film. When Activision announced they’d be re-making the classic N64 game Goldeneye, I think there was a slight question over whether it would be a blow by blow remake of the original, or an entirely new re-imagining. What they did was kind of half and half. The bits that were paying homage (ripping off the orignal) were handled really well, like the Dam, Facility and Archive levels. I liked the Archive level particularly because it was very similar in feel to the original game and I don’t like new things.

In the game you play robot number 007. How do I know he’s a robot? Because whenever you have a Quicktime Event based boss battle, James Bond makes a *BEEP* noise when you press the right buttons. The overall story is kept vague, as usual with James Bond games. Everything is explained in cutscenes between levels and really all that happens in the levels is getting from point A to point B while collecting intel, doing token objectives and generally getting milk for M. I guess they felt they had to tone down the story so that it would appeal to a wider audience (if that makes any sense), or because the circumstances surrounding the plot have completely changed in the 16 years since the film came out. Still, a lot of the time I found myself wondering what James Bond was doing there. It seemed like he was just on his holiday somewhere and that’s also where the plot happened to be conveniently located. This brings me to my next point:

He was just on his holiday somewhere and that’s also where the plot happened to be conveniently located. This is painfully clear towards the end of the game when Bond is shot down in the jungle, wearing what can only be described as holiday wear. It’s not that I’m calling his sense of fashion into question, it’s just that if he was going in search of the dish, or whatever the plot is to Goldeneye any more, he almost certainly would have been wearing combat gear or some sort of stealth suit. Not necessarily Metal Gear Solid style skin-tight stuff, just something practical that has capacity to carry some spare magazines of ammo and makes him less obviously visible. Not a Hawaiian shirt and some board shorts. At around this same time in the game, Alec is wearing a shirt and sweater from the BHS Villain Autumn Collection. Again, you’d expect him to be wearing something more villainy. Also, the cradle now resembles a deck-chair.

So something else I have to mention about the game is the ‘percieved’ stealth action. By stealth it actually just means killing everyone without any one else noticing. You don’t have to worry about hiding the bodies because they just vanish. You know, like in real life. It gave the illusion of there being more than one way to play the game, when really there’s only one way with the option of being quiet or not. James Bond is meant to be a spy, not a serial killer. I’ve seen a couple of people criticizing Goldeneye for basically just being a poorly masked Call of Duty game. Seeing as they’ve been pumping out CoD games at a steady rate over the last couple of years without doing much to change the graphics or game engine and still selling millions of copies in the first week of release, I fail to see the problem seeing as they’ve always looked pretty good and handled well. Yes it’s the last CoD game with a lick of paint. Much like the last CoD game. Speaking of competing with CoD, they picked a pretty shitty time to release the game.

Traditionally it’s understood to be a stupid idea to try and compete for figures with a giant in its industry. It’s the same reason why TV programmes don’t like being on at the same time as X-Factor; no matter how well polished and mentally nourishing the show might be, it can’t compete with the sheer thrill of people making dicks out of themselves on live television. And why is it the people in the audience are always complete morons? They clap every time one of the judges says something nice about anyone and then boo whenever something bad is said. Do they want everyone to win? They can’t just expect the judges to say good things about everyone. And then they boo when someone they don’t like gets through to the next round, even though they’re the ones voting for them, the two-faced bastards.

My point is it was a stupid idea to release Goldeneye at the same time as the new Call of Duty and Battlefield games, which are all in direct competition. The only way Goldeneye could have possibly stood a chance would have been by calling the game “Super Mario Brothers Present: Goldeneye Multiplayer Deathfest Online” because people seem to like that kind of thing.

Other faults include the voice acting being clunky, probably because Daniel Craig and Judi Dench have realised they’re above this kind of job. Either that, or like myself they couldn’t really work out what was going on, despite being very familiar with the plot. Also, this game is probably much shorter and with a greatly reduced replayability factor than the original 1997 Goldeneye game, which isn’t exactly what I’d call progress.

I realise it probably sounds like I didn’t enjoy Goldeneye, when really I did. Its definitely one of the best Bond games we’ve had for a while, though it lacked the originality and sense of fun from last year’s Bloodstone. Also, on the PS3 version, you’re given a code to unlock Michael Lonsdale as a playable character in the multiplayer mode, which could well be the greatest DLC of all time. In conclusion… ah fuck it, everybody’s playing Skyrim anyway.

It’s not often I find something interesting on a second hand vinyl album. Usually it’s scratches, once it was cocaine. Never before have a found a personal letter, clearly meaning something to someone.

On the sleeve for Eric Clapton’s (excellent) 461 Ocean Boulevard someone has written:

“Listen

Track 2 + 3.

read between the lines.

‘Sit here lying in my bed

wondering what I’d said…

thinking I’d lost my mind

but I’d lost my heart instead.’

Please be with me. Jan.

‘Let it grow.

Let it blossom.

Let it flow.’

Love is lovely.

Let it GROW.

The second song, Let it Grow is my favourite on the album and if I’m honest, the reason for me owning it. Listening to Please Be With Me with fresh ears, I can feel something and understand how this can be viewed as such a powerful song.

I get a level of frustration in knowing that I’ll never find out any more about these people and their lives, if it was just a summer romance or if they lived happily ever after. Potentially the trail could go all the way back to 1974, it’s what they call in detective series a “dead lead.”

It’s been a long time since I’ve felt this way about someone and I guess it was nice to be reminded that those feelings are still out there and in a way, that they always have been.

An artist's impression of the power cut.

Every person in the world that lives in West Cornwall was shaken in between the hours of one and three this morning, when an unexpected power cut forced them to stop watching “My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding” and instead get a decent night’s sleep.

Citizens of Falmouth and Penryn were heard taking to the streets in the early hours of the morning bellowing “Where are TV and other things?!” Others were tweeting and posting on Facebook about how it was like living in the dark ages, in spite of the fact during a blackout they were able to post on social media sites from their phones using a web connection generated from thin air.

An exaggerated one million people are thought to have not died as the black out caused them to turn into Inspector Clouseau-esque slapstick idiots, who lived to regret keeping a box full of knives next to their beds.
Steve Briggs of Penryn said: “When I first noticed the lights were out, I had to tell my wife that the lights were out. We went around the house, waking up the children, telling them not to be worried.”

“I tried googling where the power went, but there was a blackout.”

The electricity board in charge of West Cornwall claims that the power outage was part of a test; to see what happens when they flick certain switches that no one really knows how to use. Another one is planned for tonight, when they aim to find out if power conduits like jelly.

Another theory about what happened is that somebody tried using the unpopular search engine Ask Jeeves, but didn’t put their query in the form of a question, causing the internet to boil.

The brief energy-loss forced many people to revert to pre-industrial revolution activities, such weaving by candle-light and jousting.

Fresh from this year’s Detroit Auto Show there’s one name on everyone’s lips: 918 RSR.

It wants to race as much as I want it to

Combining the power plant from a 911 GT3 R Hybrid and the whopping good looks of the 918 Spyder concept, the RSR was always destined to be something momentous. Now it’s up to Porsche to deliver the goods on what is by all accounts a very special racecar.

It’s the latest in the line of manufacturers’ attempts to prove to the world that hybrids can be cool and it must be said, it’s definitely the most compelling argument I’ve ever seen for it. Sure it won’t ever have Steve McQueen behind the wheel in a Gulf liveried special edition, but it does have great potential as a Le Mans racer. With technology borrowed from the 911 GT3 R Hybrid, which has already proven itself to be a more than capable racer it’s not too much of a stretch to imagine one tearing along the Mulsanne Straight, locked in a heated 24 hour battle within the next couple of years.

So, will Porsche do it? Probably. It’s already been confirmed that the 918 Spider will go into production and the public response to the RSR has been more than excellent, plus the time seems right for Porsche to want to dominate motorsport again. As if the name 918 isn’t close enough to the 917, there are a couple of other nods to the 917 racer of days gone by. The prototype shown at Detroit wore number 22 graphics, the same number as the 917K that won at Le Mans 40 years ago (and kept the record for fastest average speed right up until last year by the way). Also, the fan sits on top of the engine just as it did on the 917, a fairly distinctive design feature by all accounts. A Gulf liveried version would be nice, as would a Martini one, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves.

Cool? Check. Fast? Check. Environmentally friendly? Did that matter?

The real question is exactly what kind of role the RSR will play, since there’s no racing category for a car like this; it’s taken the FIA this long to work out that diesel and petrol cars should probably be judged separately so I imagine they’re suffering pretty strong headaches trying to figure this one out. Even with efforts from just about every manufacturer out there finding their own solution to the growing need for environmentally friendly cars, this is still a very new concept in motorsport and one that was never going to be easy to take on board. The possibility of seeing the car go head to head with the likes of Matech’s Ford GT1 and the Aston DBR9 are too great for fans to ignore, so hopefully they’ll find a way to allow the RSR to race, even if it means creating a championship for Priuses.

One of the best features of the RSR is the flywheel, mounted where the passenger would traditionally sit. It’s interesting firstly because it looks a bit like a flux capacitor but secondly because it collects energy, which it then uses as a sort of “boost” for the car, though reports indicate it will only last for 8 seconds. That’s perfect for overtaking or trying to set a fast lap. It could be that Porsche are trying to take back their “best average speed” title from Audi after it was so rudely taken from them at Le Mans last June. Really that’s all there is to do with this car at the moment: speculate, hypothesise and dream. Hopefully it won’t be too long a wait before campers in the fields of northwest France are kept awake by the howl of its exhaust note at three o’clock in the morning.

The Ponchos of Star Wars

Posted: 08/01/2011 in General
Tags: ,

If asked what the most iconic thing in Star Wars is, you might say “lightsabers”, “The Force” or “blue milk.” They’re all pretty good answers I suppose, but appearing in all but one of the films, ponchos are more important to the Star Wars universe than you might think.

Also, after a quick Googling, I can’t find any more information about it on the internets, so this might be the first of its kind, meaning Star Wars has officially been looked at in every way imaginable. These are the ponchos I remember in Star Wars:
Episode 1: Qui Gon Jinn

When they arrive on Tatooine, Qui Gon wears a Poncho into town, as was the style of the town. The garment is beautifully constructed from organic wookie scalps and is a very nice shade of brown and different brown.

Angry Qui Gon hates sand.

Episode 2: Anakin Skywalker

In the scene where Anakin and Padme get on board the ship to Naboo and possibly on Naboo. I don’t know. I hate this film. Made using midichlorians, the light earth tones reflect his still uncorrupted morals.

Again, I could only find a picture of the toy. If there was a slight variation on costume, chances are they made a toy of it.

Padme Amidala

Padme had many costume changes and I wasn’t really paying attention, so I’ve only counted two ponchos that she wears for the duration of the film. She wore one when Anakin goes off to kill sand people and another, ‘hippie’ one that I cannot remember at all. They are made from slaves and reflect that she has too many freaking clothes.

Groovy, man.

Episode 3 (Special Edition): Wumpa Oopootu

The most fearless bounty hunter in the galaxy, Wumpa was cut out from the original film for being to too believable and not computer generated enough. Cutting out his epic fight scene with Yoda was truly cinema’s loss.

Think of the merchandising possibilities.

I’m pretty sure Padme wore a poncho in Episode 3, but I can’t really be sure without watching it. Let’s assume she did and be done with it.

Episode IV: Luke Skywalker

In this deleted scene, Luke wore a poncho which looks alarmingly like the one Qui Gon wore in Episode 1. Normally this would be considered a coincidence, but in George Lucas’ “this is how I always envisioned it happening” universe, the poncho must have been made by R2D2, brought back to Tatooine (presumably by Obi Wan at the end of Episode 3 in a scene that would probably go: “Here, take this baby. Also, this poncho.”) and is now used by Luke.

Please Lucas, don't let this be true.

Episode V: NO ONE IN ‘EMPIRE’ WEARS A PONCHO.

It’s true, I’ve watched this film with a crack team of poncho-spotters (that’s not a breed of dog) and aside from one dispuitable crowd scene, where a man with his back to the camera is either wearing a poncho or a cape (most likely a cape), no one wears one in this film. Missed chance for merchandising?

Episode VI: EVERYONE IN JEDI WEARS PONCHOS

So, it’s the end of the last Star Wars film and what better way to celebrate than with a poncho-palooza? Luke wears one, Leia wears one, even some guy called Major Panno wears one. This is truly a sign of Lucas’ dominance. He’s got more ponchos in more shots than any other film maker in cinema history. This is his crowning achievement.

Leia's poncho...

Luke's Poncho...

Those guys...

(Images courtesy of JediBusiness.com)

Really, the only place left to go, is to go back and digitally restore all the films while adding in more ponchos where previously there were none. How great would Jango Fett look in a poncho?

What the fu-