Sunday 31 October 2021

The Sunday Ishmael 31/10/2021

I'm back now, after my Grand Progress, thank you, ishmaelites, for your good wishes for my journeyings. The Mighty Mercedes Benz enjoyed its outing, only regretful that it was confined to 70mph, and not even that, most of the time. It's not just a matter of road miles, you know - to get anywhere, first I have to embark on this:
M.V. Hjaltland
Or this:
M.V. Hamnavoe
And hang on for hours while the sea does this:

Remember the call centre operator lad who had problems in organising an engineer's visit to the manse one year? "Did you know you is livin onna Is-land?"
Yes, I had noticed.
The Hjaltland route between Kirkwall and Aberdeen is particularly painful: embark at 4:00pm in Aberdeen, depart at 5:00 pm and arrive Kirkwall at 11:00pm. Get off sharpish, or you'll be taken onwards to Lerwick, arriving at 7:30 am the following day. That's why the Shetlanders spend the crossing pished.
Whilst I've been off enjoying myself, it seems there's been another outbreak of the Fish Wars. Macron's lot have been threatening to blockade British ports, fire up the red tape machine and cut energy supplies to Jersey unless we dish out licences to French fishing boats to scoop up British fish.
Scottish fishermen have particularly sore memories of their Government failing to stand up to the EU to protect their industry and their livelihoods. Back in 2004, fishermen were paid to cut their boats up into tiny pieces so that they could never again take fish from British waters in competition with the Spanish and French fleets. A colleague fed her Aga for  two winters on the pieces of her brother's boat. Did you know you is livin onna Is-land? And the British waters surrounding our island nation are teeming with fish. Not easy work, pulling fish out of the sea. Least you can do is Eat More Fish. Patriotic Duty. 
Not salmon, though - well, farmed salmon. Don't believe that rubbish about crystal clear Orkney waters and strong currents so the salmon have, like, a gym workout every day. They don't. They have cataracts from peering through water thick with uneaten food, salmon shit and their fellow fish. Confined in a netted circular enclosure that looks like a big hula hoop from above,
the salmon are overcrowded and eaten alive by sea lice. The lice can't be controlled, not even by irradiating the waters in the sea pens. The flesh is greasy and flaccid, the maritime equivalent of battery chickens. Shortly after we moved to Orkney, a more than usually ferocious gale breached the integrity of some salmon-farm pens in Kirkwall Bay, and the poor monsters were washed up on Scapa Beach by the wheel-barrow load. The lieges were sternly warned by Radio Orkney not to take them home for dinner as they were dangerous to eat.
Oh, yes, don't eat fresh fish. My friend opened his parcel of fresh fish to find the fillets crawling with maggots. At least freezing the catch at sea kills the maggots. And worms. Maybe vegetarianism is the way to go.

Anyway, back to my road trip. Swooping down from the North like a big white swan, the Mighty M-B was a little worried by the new Edinburgh bridge, 
built since it was born, so the satnav advised me that I was off-roading in the river. Overcoming that little difficulty by finding a road that the satnav recognised, the Mighty M-B and I continued with the swooping down to Durham, the land of Prince Bishops (honest, not invent).  
Have you come across the Museum of the Moon? 
It is a touring artwork by Luke Jerram. Measuring seven metres in diameter, The Moon features detailed NASA imagery of the lunar surface. Each centimetre of the internally lit spherical sculpture represents 5km of the moon's surface.
It is on progress itself, travelling from place to place, indoors and out. Currently, it is in Durham Cathedral and well worth visiting. 
If you can't make it to Durham, have a look at its website to see where and when it will be on display.
More of my travels in future posts, but here is Mr Ishmael's 
Music Page:

You don't take many painkillers, said the doc, hardly any, looking at my notes, don't you like them? I like them too much, I said,  that Tramadol, doesn't do hardly anything for the pain but it levels my head and eases my mind,  and it's easy to get habituated. Too right, she sighed, knowingly,  like a ninety year  old junky; OK, try some of these, Diclofenac, they're an anti-inflammatory, although I need to do a blood test to see if you have inflammation, but while we're waiting for that to come back, take them anyway, they'll really get you off your face and if you take a couple of Tramadol with them, at night, you'll be able to chill. Honest, not invent;  she's a bonny lass, doesn't fuck about.

The Diclofenac pills do actually relieve the pain quite a bit but they, too, are a bit what we used to call spacey and I was up all night, between here and watching the telly.  It was a wee small hours, musical interlude, on Channel Four,  firstly a film of Liam Gallagher's new ensemble, Beardy Eye, playing their new album in the Abbey Road studios.  Liam is the truly neanderthal, younger  brother from Oasis, a thick, grunting Manchester-Irish fuckpig, dumb as shit, you can hear the wind whistling between his ears, if he was any more stupid he'd have to be watered twice a week; makes Manchester United's Wayne Potato look like a full Mensa meeting, does Liam.  Nothing wrong with stupid.  There's lots of people like Liam, their oil just doesn't reach the dipstick.  He's not as stupid as he looks, mind, because he looks like he was beaten with the Ugly stick and then ate it, ugly as fucking sin, is Liam Gallagher, ugly as  a hatfull of arseholes;  if your dog had a face like Liam's, you'd shave its arse and teach it to walk backwards. Stupid, ugly and nasty, that's Liam Gallagher, a truculent moron, charmless, graceless and entirely without discernible musical talent, a sign, in fact, of Ruin's corrosion.

His new band, anyway, consists of four competent but unimaginative player-songwriters, and him. And the album's a turgid lukewarm brew of reworked Oasis numbers which Liam's brother Noel, every bit as ugly, every bit as unpleasant but a fraction less stupid would have rejected;  the  band switch between a dazzling selection of Rickenbaker and Gretsch guitars - funny, isn't it, how a fiddler will manage with one Stradivarius, Robert Johnson played only  a two-dollar guitar, Rory Gallagher the same battered old Strat and yet the current lot switch from one expensive instrument to another between songs, maybe even during songs, the rock'n'roll of Consumerism -  to produce the  same sounds, the same chords, the same figures over and over, to sing the same harmonies,  the same shouty, angry,  miserable, hateful,  retarded adolescent drivel, tripe, every fucking bar of it; Liam, stooped inside his ugliness,  howling and frothing his whining, meaningless  doggerel; forty year old men,  there oughta be a law against them doing this shit. Liam, rock hero  caricature posturing, grunts at one point that this is whaditsallabout knoworramean, fucking keeping on playing and touring, selling the albums, to the kids, otherwise I'd end up working in fucking McDonalds, knoworramean;  setting his sights way too high, there, overestimating his personal qualities,  I mean, Billy Bragg might get a job in McD's, on the mop bucket, Paul Weller, maybe,  but they wouldn't let Gallagher within a hundred yards.

The next show was the Manic Street Preachers.  From Wales.  They are, look you. Steeped in Dylan Thomas, they are. Probably Max Boyce, too, the grinning, leek-waving pansy. Read a lot about them, over the years, but never seen or heard them.  Supposed to be original, independent, antsy is it? ....feisty? Out of a profound  sense of something or other they were preaching their new album in a working men's club, not that they'd know anything about working, unless it was working their way up their own arses. Working men's club or not, the band sported a string section, sawing laboriously away away at those Electric Light Orchestra riffs. You can do all that stuff on a fifty quid keyboard, wouldn't make a scrap of difference to the sound  but it would lack the pretension to Art  of a real-live string section.

The singer-guitarist and the bassist are obviously the creative  pulpit of the Preachers.  Jesus, they're like Men Behaving Badly, the Musical.

One of the original line-up disappeared.  No fucking wonder.
 Editor mr verge has hit a gold seam of comments by mr ishmael about the following music videos. The responses of the outraged fans are hilarious, but omitted here for reasons of space:
The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with Jackson Browne, These Days 16 Sept 2015 
Why do people employ Jerry Syrup and his ghastly, overbearing guitar; he smothers everything he approaches. If he comes round here I’ll break his fingers. All of them.
America - Paul Simon live in Hyde Park @ British Summer Time 2018 16 Jul 2018 
Dismal, vain, silly old man; why do they do this, clawing at the entrails of their young genius; him, Dylan, Keef‘n’Mick? Why do people go, to this geriatric community singalong, this obscene, pitiful spectacle, this discordant drivel, mewling and puking? They wouldn’t know a really great performance if they ever saw one. This is absolutely dreadful, as though the players were let out of the loonybin especially and had thrown all the charts in the air and were each playing from a different one. Simon has, over the years, given some perfectly excellent concerts, exquisite, unparalleled by any of his generation, meticulous, virtuosic, usually he never played or sang a wrong note, usually his band was talented but restrained. This gang are half-wits and as for you lot drooling over this dogturd of a concert, well, better that you’re dribbling and farting on here than out amongst the grown-ups. 
dead link, text survives : Richard Manuel of the Band did the only good version of this song, and he hanged himself. You people, here, you would applaud if you heard Bob Dylan’s kettle boil. This is trash, an old man doodling. He hasn’t given a good live performance since 1965/66, and they really were something extraordinary. You really should develop some critical faculties, instead of wetting yourselves, like teenyboppers, at every shitty, contemptuous outing of a man trashing his own creativity, merely to be in the spotlight. If you compare this tripe with his masterly ‘64 Newport performance of Tambourine Man or with the train-wreck rock‘n’roll of Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues, live in Liverpool, ‘66, with parts of the Band, you will see that this really is an awful embarrassment. Doesn’t he now sing Frank Sinatra songs to people who don’t know any better? I bet they make you all cry, too.
Mark Knopfler -- Restless Farewell 16 Dec 2011 These comments are so juvenile, worshipful of millionaire conceits; this is tripe, ill-sung, overarranged, not as bad as Dylan’s own innumerable fucked-up versions but alien, nevertheless and incongruous. In a very limited fashion Knopfler was an exciting but repetitive guitar player and singer of his own increasingly bombastic songs but he is no interpreter. The original, album recording of this song is unsurpassable, magical, and swooning over this drivel is well, just nonsense. In ten years Mark’s voice will be...what, exactly? You need treatment, mate, long treatment and profound. 
Jerry Garcia Band - Positively 4th Street - 4/24/93 9 Apr 2012 If proof was required that acid is bad for you, well, here it is, this is awful, embarrassingly so. Mr Garcia’s singing is almost beyond his range and his legendary playing is meagre doodling, the rhythm part would not tax a seventeen-year old playing in a folk club and the lead stuff was lacklustre and uninspired. As for his reinterpretation of young Dylan’s song, there isn’t one, this is note-for-note as Dylan phrased it, while the rest of the ensemble lack the caustic stridency of the original studio musicians; this is pointless, save, perhaps, to underscore the pungent juxtaposition of the words grateful and dead. So he should be. 
John Martyn with Kathy Mattea - May You Never 5 Feb 2007 All you wasters should stop seeking part-time jobs as obituarists, Man. Be better for everyone if Martyn had got a grip of his addictions, Christ, it’s not hard; instead he died a rotten, protracted death, too young. As for this performance, Kathy Wotsername is entirely superfluous, as is that awful, oily slide guitar which dominates everything on Transatlantic Sessions. And while we are at it, despite the charm of some of his recordings and performances he wasn’t in the same virtuoso league as, just for instance, Richard Thompson or Paul Brady, both of whom manage to both play and stay alive. It is the midnight ghoulishness of you people that is so hard to stomach: “Thinking of you always, BigMan.” Jesus wept. …
There's more from mr ishmael and his young friend Stanislav in the two books: Honest Not Invent and Vent Stack from Lulu or Amazon. It is cheaper to buy from Lulu. Register an account with Lulu to save a couple of quid, as going straight into the link provided below seems to make paypal think it's ok to charge in dollars, and apply their own conversion rate, which will put the price up slightly for a UK buyer. Once the new account is set up, follow our link; a pop-up box asks for age confirmation - simply set the date to (say) 1 January 1960, and proceed. (If you type the title, the anthology will not appear as a search result until the "show explicit content" box - found at the bottom left by scrolling down - has been checked.  You may also see the age verification box, as above, at this point.) 
 The full title is "Vent Stack love from stanislav" by ishmael smith, and the cover you'll see is red with white titles and a picture of Buster the Previous Blog Dog having a green thought in a green shade. 

Link for the paperback:


shorter link, which might make it easier if you wish to paste it into an email and tell a friend:

 Honest, Not Invent is available in paperback or hardback.
Link for Hard Back :

Link for Paper Back

At checkout, try PROWRITINGAID15, WELCOME15 or TREAT15 in the coupon box, which  takes 15% off the price before postage.  If this code has expired by the time you reach this point, try a google search for " voucher code" and see what comes up.  
With the 15% voucher, the book (including delivery to a UK address) should cost £10.89


Saturday 16 October 2021

The Sunday Ishmael 17/10/21

Back in June, the Queen attempted to tell Boris Johnson that Matt Hancock is full of shit, during their first face to face briefing in 15 months, prevented only by Bojo, in an unaccustomedly diplomatic spirit, substituting the word beans, by talking over her - a solecism that would have his head removed from his shoulders in Good King Henry's court. Anyway, she's at it again, criticising the world's leaders for their hmm, I'm not sure I'm going yet, approach to the Weegie Cop26 conference. Apparently, she's "irritated." She's flying there herself, and hang the carbon footprint. Here we go, throwing a massive party for the world, and the invitees are just not RSVPing. Maybe its Glasgow. Maybe they've heard about the crime rates, drug deaths and rampant covid, and they would have preferred to go to Solihull. I could warm to this new, effing and blinding queen, her own woman after 73 years of naval discipline. Time was, the news that the Monarch was irritated would have had the lieges trembling, especially when the Monarch's words were revealed by semi-covert surveillance....
mr ishmael knew of her inner barrow-boy - Lahndunner, in't she? On the 6th April 2010, the prime minister, Gordon Brown, having run out of alternatives, went to Buckingham Palace and asked the Queen to dissolve Parliament on 12 April, confirming in a live press conference in Downing Street that the general election would be held on 6 May, five years since the previous election on 5 May 2005. Simultaneously, the world's air travel had been brought to a standstill as the air was thick with ash and debris spewed out in volcanic eruptions over 6 days at Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. mr ishmael was a fly on the wall at Brown's meeting with the monarch:
Good Queen Brenda 16/4/2010

A  great result for the Dark Lord of Snot  and could be  better only if Good Queen Brenda said:
 Oi, Mr Snot, We Like You Ever So and you can't have an election  after all, best that you stay and give your wise counsel on  Vaaal-ewes and Sol-you-shuns to poor, stupid Lilibet and  anyway, Mr Snot, We say fuck the people,  fuck 'em.......... 
Me, too, your Majesty, that's what I say, all the time  ........ 
They are so tiresome, Mr Snot,  the people,  wanting elections all the time and they're always wanting We to pay taxes, like We was one of them, well, Mr Snot, let We tell you, that there's not much point in them having a monarch if they want to treat Her like just anybody else, like common people.  Fuck We, Mr Snot, it's a diabolical liberty......
You know, your Majesty, as I go around this great country in my bulletproof vest and underpants, in my  armoured limousine, with my team of sharpshooters,  meeting everyday, ordinary, carefully chosen, cheering  people, they all say to me, Prime Minister Snot, you have saved the world, why can't you just stay as prime minister for ever and I have to disappoint them by saying No, my people - Your people, actually, your Majesty but you know what I mean - I cannae serve you for more than five years at a time, even if I had been  elected,  because we must have elections. No, they cry, Boo to elections,  but there it is, my election for a fourth term is certain, that I may carry forward the necessary reforms in order that the money may in future just combust before it gets into people's pockets and save me the trouble of keeping the furnace going down below Downing Street;  they only spend it unwisely if we let them keep it. 
Quite right, Mr Snot, We are not amused by them.....

While I am here, your Majesty, or Brenda, if I may, I do feel we have a lot in common, since neither of us is elected...
No,  your Majesty is fine,  We are the fucking Queen......
I would like to discuss the volcano-terrorism being perpetrated on us by the Eskimos, who all, by the way,  seem to be called Thorsen ThorsensenThorensensensensen ......
Yes, dreadful little bastards, run around naked in the snow, We understand,  jumping into hot spas........
Quite, your Majesty,  or Eyjafjallajoekull glacier.
Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Queen Victoria
The frankly terrifying Queen Victoria was anointed Queen of most of the world (well, the important bits) in  1837, aged 18. There was then no formal intelligence operation (intelligence in this context meaning spies, not being clever), so Victoria set up her own, initially by breeding her own network of nine children by her first* husband, Albert, and placing them in the Royal Houses of Europe:
Victoria married Frederick III of Germany
Edward married Princess Alexandra of Denmark, and got the top job
Alice married Louis IV, Grand Duke of Hesse 
Alfred married Marie Alexandrovna, Grand Duchess, Russia
Helena married Prince Christian of Schleswig-Holstein
Louise married John Campbell, Duke of Argyll, Marquis of Lorne
Arthur married Duchess Louise Margaret of Prussia
Leopold married Princess Helena Frederica of Waldeck and Pyrmont
Beatrice married Prince Henry of Battenberg.
Just a reminder that the First World War was a family squabble.

So Victoria set up her own Circus, running her network of agents across Europe. “Queen Victoria selected the most intelligent member of each European royal family, and ‘on any question . . . she obtained an opinion’.”* Her daily correspondence was mammoth. She had been instructed in surveillance techniques by Uncle Leopold, and was adept at reading and resealing letters and  sending misinformation to foreign powers through her Circus.
Queen Victoria's most valuable field agent was
her eldest daughter Vicky,  married to the German crown prince. Vicky sent crates of sensitive documents to England from the Prussian court, and wrote to her mother in cypher to foil Bismarck’s counterintelligence efforts. After the Second World War, Anthony Blunt visited her ancestral home in Germany and smuggled Vicky’s personal papers back to Windsor. Blunt, surveyor of the King's pictures (are these jobs ever advertised? I could look at pictures), was a self-confessed KGB agent,  pretty familiar with the dark arts, and clearly an excellent choice for wrangling sensitive documents.
The intelligence community and methodology instituted by Victoria is now a commonplace, but it is amusing to note how far the Royal Family has itself been under surveillance:  a foreign office report on the Duke of Windsor stated: he "is notoriously pro-Nazi. He is also a heavy drinker, and what few wits he had have wilted.”  Nazi Germany thought the Duke could be a puppet sovereign-in-exile. So a Nazi agent attempted to prevent the Windsors leaving Lisbon for Bermuda at the instruction of the King when Edward's pro-Nazi proclivities had become just too embarrassing in Europe - by sabotaging the car containing the couple’s extensive wardrobe as it was thought they couldn’t leave without their clothes.
George VI asked Special Branch to vet his potential son-in-law, because his family had Nazi connections. The Queen Mother allegedly referred to Philip as "the Hun". MI5 reported that his rooms were messy, his language “coarse” and that he enjoyed late-night drinking. Princess Diana and her butler, Paul Burrell, searched her residence for surveillance devices, the two of them rolling up carpets and taking down mirrors. All this and more is revealed in
 *The Secret Royals: Spying and the Crown, from Victoria to Diana by Richard J Aldrich and Rory Cormac.

*Victoria's second, morganatic (and hotly denied) marriage to John Brown, foul-mouthed, heavy drinking Highland commoner, allegedly resulted in an unspecified number, but no more than three, unacknowledged children, brought up in America or Paris or both, depending on the rumour. 
Victoria and mr ishmael both considered the  Highlands to be worth lingering in. Here's a travelogue, extracted from a longer piece posted in 2015:

North-west of Pitlochry into Victorian, hunting and fishing Scotland, here's Dame Judi Dench and Dame Billy Connolly, at her own wee postbox.

This is the hated A9. 
More accustomed, previously, to the M42,  I love it. 
It is my own Route 66, my own Highway 61,

running from up in the hovel-sprinkled
Badlands of Caithness

  down to sparkling Inverness
and Perthshire.

Driving northwards from Dundee

we entered the Tay Forest Park. It was gorgeous; trees, water,  and mountains, trembling on the edge of Spring, the odd sheep, some Highland cattle,

 just like the Beasts, Drinking at Sunset,  in all those Victorian water colours. 

There was no traffic and we travelled about fifteen miles, as fast as the road would allow, which was  approaching thirty miles an hour, until we reached our hotel for the night. We passed a farmer now and again, coming the other way on a quad bike, going between his jobs, giving us a brief wave; I am sure one could work a life away there, in the country, nestling in the mountains, watching the seasons.

When I was an infant, sitting on her knee, my mother lullabied me with a song which I now know to be The Road To The Isles; her father's family were Orange Glaswegian and she, like many in Belfast, had absorbed Glasgow street slang and idiom and was fiercely sectarian. The song of The Road To The Isles, though, in her voicing,  was  rhythmically wistful -

Sure, by Tummel and Loch Rannoch
And Lochaber I will go,
By heather tracks wi' heaven in their wiles;
If it's thinkin' in your inner heart
Braggart's in my step,
You've never smelt the tangle o' the Isles.

It was just a couple of years back,  I discovered that not only were Tummel and Loch Rannoch and Lochaber  real places but that quite as a result of an accidental departure from the A9 I was actually standing beside Loch Rannoch reading a signpost to Tummel, Lochaber and to the Isles.

The approach to Loch Rannoch

The view from the hotel window

On this trip we were heading back home, looking just for an overnight stay, and for the river- and loch-side journey through the still-snowy glens. Any half-way decent hotel would have served that purpose but this was an establishment in which you would expect to find George Clooney,  being rich, debonaire, handsome and  gipped out of his coffee. Inside, it was a fairly typical Highlands hunting lodge - tartan carpets, antlers on the wall, fireplaces, settees and oak sideboards, all perfectly fine; the food and the service were nigh-on perfect and the tariff half that of Dundee's Malmaison Knocking Shop.  But it was the view outwards  which electrified; in Dundee  I had looked-out over a depressed,  grubby street, strewn with food containers, fragranced, occasionally,  with happy hash smoke;  in Loch Rannoch, a vast, crisp Creation bid me Welcome, have a nice day, and meant it.

Here, in the Highlands,  in the distant, off-road Wilderness,  is the Scotland for which people say they would die;  here is the prompting of my own thought that  Scotland is  the very best part of England.  

It is oddly encouraging that those of us who reside and wrench a living in rural and remote Scotland are the least likely to vote with  a road-locked and ranting urban  minority cult, inebriated,  embittered and too lazy to even visit the lands over which they claim Lordship.

 If  Scotland's natural, fierce,  soaring grandeur could speak it would say, Ye've never, wee Gnasher, smelt the tangle o' the Isles, awa' then and boil yer heid.

Cookery Corner

 Make Chip with Stanislav, young Polish Plumber, chef and connoisseur, busy Making Better Life.

National dish of Great Britons, chip, but rubbish is usually. Even esteemed missus of Stanislav old friend and mentor, ishmael smith, is problem with chip. Ishmael come round my gaff, desperate for proper chip. Stanislav, she did it again. Raw inside and black burnt outside.

 Why not teach her, Old Friend and Mentor? Here is instruction, as delivered to Scottish Women’s Volunteer Service in chip demonstration in Clackmacfuckery Village Hall.

 Go down in garden, find where planted potato,  called tatty in Jockbastard language in smart successful Scotland, best part of England, the noo. Locate tattyplant, hiding in weed and maverick turnip. Kick weed aside and pull out tatties. Search vigorously for leaf of dock, as bastard nettle not weed; grind leafs of dock into arms until have green arm, not finger. This is English joke or pune, as green finger is good at gardening, but not nettling.  Howling and cursing like bastard, as leaf of dock is horse and cart economy rubbish alternative to proper medicine, prise slugs out of little holes  drilled in side of scabbytatties, throw away and go down Tesco to get weedkilled tatties with no additional slimy protein.

In Tesco, many, many, many sort of potatoes are. Best for chip is Maris Piper and Edward King, but most will do, if no slug living inside or if not poison green or if no long wavy white sproutings like octopus arms have.

Stand at sink, peel tatties under running cold water.

 Get front of jeans wet, so tell everyone this cold water not piss. Proper bloke not wear pinnie. Better get meat and potatoes frozen and wrinkly with cold water as more manly is. Pinnie is for happy bride and lady boy and jockbastard in kilt. We plumbers is used to torrents of cold water, with soluble but not very, sanitary towels, toilet paper, bits of poo and diced carrot. And sweetcorn.

Use Big, Fuck off knife to cut tatties into slices. 

First cut a bit off tattie and place tattie on cut side to stop it rolling like bastard. Cut slices into sensible width of chip. If not expert like stanislav, do not show off knife skills, or deep fry finger ends. 

Ratio of surface to chip interior is important. Big fat chip useless as not possible to cook inside and not burn outside. Throw raw chip in running cold water.

 Wedding tackle already soaking so no problem.  Running cold water remove starch and make crisper chip. Science. Ask Esther Blumenthal. Dry chip in teatowel. Clean, not teatowel of death. Discard wet teatowel and line a roasting tin with fresh dry teatowel. Spread chip to air-dry.

Prepare oil bath. Very Important not use chip pan or chip basket of set-on-fire-burn-down-house. Fire Brigade had Amnesty to hand in chip basket in caring Scotland but is possible chip basket is still hiding in Witness Protection Programme in cupboard under sink. Throw away immediately in special recycling containers for hazardous domestic waste in local dump.

Returning from expedition to highly technical biohazard recycling centre, rummage under sink for Big Saucepan, which is best for chip. One third fill with Rape Seed oil. Do not use Pig Fat to fry chip. Disgusting.  Pig religion say Humans is Great Satan. Do not use Extra Virgins Olive Oil as they not  get hot enough and give steamy, oily chip. Heat up oil. Not too much. If blue haze form, you is fucked. Throw away start again. Insert trial chip. If rise to surface, with pretty bubbles, 

okay to put in more chip. Not too many or steam not fry. When chip blanched, take out with fishandchip slice. Spread in cold roasting pan, single layer. Blanched chip will continue cooking gently in its insides without heat. Blanch second batch as same way.  Sprinkle salt over blanched chip to draw out water. 

Take oilpan off stove and go and do something else.

When ready to eat, fire up oil bath to hotter than before but not blue haze hot. Add blanched chip, which should bend, not snap. Briskly fry until golden brown. 

 Remove from oil with chipslice 

onto kitchen paper. 

Serve on hot plates. Can put mayonnaise on side of plate if from Amsterdam, like in Pulp Fiction, but proper bloke tomato ketchup has and white bread spread with I Can’t Believe It’s Not Petroleum By-Product.

Proper Chip crisply rustle like golden autumn leaf. Not greasy. Not black. Not wet, limp and white.  Not Fries To Go. When cold, filter and funnel oil into bottle and store in cool dark place.  Do not keep reusing it like UnHappy Haddock or CodULike chippy shop or contract  Grumpy Bowel Syndrome.

 Anyway, good happy cooking with love from  Stanislav. 


"Why don't you write a book, my friend said to me, for forty years. There's enough books, don't need any more fucking books, books're the last thing we need more of. The last time he asked, a couple of years back, I wanted to say Well, in a sense, I have, it's called stanislav, a young Polish plumber."

And you can buy both anthologies of the books of mr ishmael and Stanislav :  Honest Not Invent and Vent Stack from Lulu or Amazon. It is cheaper to buy from Lulu. Register an account with Lulu to save a couple of quid, as going straight into the link provided below seems to make paypal think it's ok to charge in dollars, and apply their own conversion rate, which will put the price up slightly for a UK buyer. Once the new account is set up, follow our link; a pop-up box asks for age confirmation - simply set the date to (say) 1 January 1960, and proceed. (If you type the title, the anthology will not appear as a search result until the "show explicit content" box - found at the bottom left by scrolling down - has been checked.  You may also see the age verification box, as above, at this point.) 
Link for the paperback:


shorter link, which might make it easier if you wish to paste it into an email and tell a friend:

 Honest, Not Invent is available in paperback or hardback.
Link for Hard Back :

Link for Paper Back

At checkout, try PROWRITINGAID15, WELCOME15 or TREAT15 in the coupon box, which  takes 15% off the price before postage.  If this code has expired by the time you reach this point, try a google search for " voucher code" and see what comes up.  
With the 15% voucher, the book (including delivery to a UK address) should cost £10.89

I stamp on you British. I do, I do (image created by mr verge)

mrs ishmael is on holiday for the next two weeks. 
Yep, I'll be taking the route described so beautifully by mr ishmael in the travelogue above - through the Badlands of Caithness, where even grass struggles to grow and on dark wet nights the demons come rolling out of the gorse-covered hills; down into Sutherland, so named by the Vikings, as only the north men could consider Sutherland even a little bit south; passing through the stony Victorian town of Golspie, over which the massive monument to the First Duke of Sutherland broods, and his gaff, Dunrobin Castle, squats on a gorgeous stretch of coastland; then down to sparkling Inverness, city of the sea and river, Gateway to the Highlands.