What Will Be The Next “In” Drink?

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As a slightly more than casual drinker, you tend to notice phases when it come alcoholic drinks which are currently the popular choice of the moment. The trend at this point in time popular opinion seems to be pointed towards Gin as the big drink of the day, last year it was prosecco, when I was a teenager it was alcopops like Bacardi Breezers, Archers Aqua, Smirnoff Ice and WKD, and a few years ago it was fruity cider over ice. So when it comes to trying to discern what’ll be popular in the coming season, alcohol is a lot like clothing, you have to speculate, and generally just hope for the best. My predictions are that its likely to be one of the following.

Rum

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Rum is sexy and kind of exotic, it has the overtones of some tropical or island paradise where the waves are lapping against the shore, and the sun is always shining. Rum makes this list as I’m starting to see some more unusual brands turn up in bars and clubs throughout my surrounding area, so maybe this is a sign.

Port

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This may be more wishful thinking on my part, but more and more people are jumping on the fortified wine bandwagon, with sales of port growing at steady levels throughout 2015 and 2016, with aged tawny port being a particular favourite, with UK sales at over £79 Million maybe, just maybe if I order a port in a bar, I won’t get looked at like some kind of a freak.

Japanese Whiskey 

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Brands like Suntory are finally starting to gain traction on the UK market in fact I saw a bottle of 12 year old Yamazaki in a bar, and admittedly it was a really trendy, upmarket (i.e expensive) bar, but it was a bar in the UK nonetheless. But what may be interesting to note, is that the whiskey market in the UK has been dominated by scotch, and that swill that the yanks have the audacity to call whiskey, with a one two exceptions (like Jamesons’s Irish Whiskey) so it would be interesting to see something new, and tasty.

Advocaat 

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To be honest this is a complete wildcard, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this in real life, I mean who wants an egg based drink on a night out?

 

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Comic Review: 2000AD’s Button Man The Killing Game

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Today I picked up my copy of 2000AD’s  Button Man. Its been on my to read list ever since I put together the list of 30 comics that I wanted to read before turning thirty, and in fact has actually been something that I’ve wanted to read for the best part of 15 years after reading an entry about it in either 500 Great Comicbook Action Heroes or 500 Comicbok Villains (I forget which) but I was absolutely fascinated by the idea of “The Game”.

Button Man was written by John Wagner way back in 1992 (serialised through progs 780-791 of the weekly 2000AD), with the art provided by Arthur Ranson. The story is actually amazing in its simplicity, its a modern day gladiatorial competition which sees a former special forces operative Harry Exton (Harry Ex) getting involved with “The Game” a contest between killers with matches worked out by mysterious voices, each with their own financial stake in their chosen killers performance. The Game ends in two ways, either in death, or in taking another killers marker (one of three fingers, if they’ve already lost three, they die). The story charts Harry Ex’s beginnings after joining the game, right the way through to game over.

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Button Man: The Killing Game

The art by Authur Ranson is very textured and detailed, with great use of shadow which helps convey the dark nature of the story, and this is matched nicely with the pastel shades that dominate the story for most of the collection and whilst I don’t usually single out specific panels and pages, I want to just show how awesome the the front cover (above) of this collection is, and is probably one of the reasons why The Button Man stuck in my head as something that I wanted to check out for over a decade and a half.

A Gentleman’s Guide To Buttonholes

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A buttonhole, or a boutonniere is a floral accessory, which is worn by men on the lapel, in times gone by, the buttonhole would have been common among everyday attire for a gentleman about town, but now in the modern age, it is reserved for the more formal of occasions, in particular weddings.

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Traditionally one is worn through the buttonhole (hence the name) on a jackets lapel, which is more often than not located on the left hand side of a blazer (usually the same side as the breast pocket, with which a handkerchief may also be worn), originally the boutonniere would be worn pushed through the buttonhole itself, but in times where buttonholes on the lapel are often sewn shut it is more common for the boutonniere to pinned to the lapel.

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Originally in times past the buttonhole would have been made from an actual flower, but today, it is a more used practice to use an artificial flower, either from silk or some other man made material.

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My collection of silk buttonholes

They don’t actually have much of a practical purpose, but as accessories go, they are pretty natty, and they do manage to add that little bit extra to a gentleman’s outfit.

Outdoor Bar

Jessica and I have been tidying up the garden over the past few days, in an effort to make it look like two functioning adults actually live in our home. One of the things that I’ve always wanted is my own bar. However, not being blessed much in the way of space indoors, and being blessed with a rather large, fairly flat back garden, what I’ve decided to do is to build an outdoor bar in said back garden.

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I’m looking to do something like the above. What do you think? Do you think someone that knows absolutely nothing about DIY be able to do it?

Comic Review: The Order, Die Mensch Maschine

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The Order is one of the 30 comics that I want to read before I turn thirty next year. Originally published as a serial in the British weekly 2000ad (Progs 1912-1922) the order follows the story of Anna Kohl journey to discover the fate of her missing father, she discovers his secret society, the order, run by a robot from the future, and 3 steadfast warriors, and a wolf. The Order is dedicated to the prevention of an alien incursion by extra dimensional Wurms, that has been prophesied for centuries, by the order and the robot Ritterstahl.

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The story moves pretty fast as is the nature of these serialised pieces that I’ve come to expect from 2000AD. And its fast flowing nature works really well to drive the story forward. Its 13th century setting is an interesting plot point as it manages to get in a few little historical references, like the actions of the Teutonic Knights, and the architecture of Prague. Ken W manages to create a fluid and accessible new world where the reader feels right at home, and whilst you may have a few questions, that is the nature of progressing literature.

The art by John Burns is absolutely fantastic, both the pencil lines and painted feel really add to the quality of the story. The art feels 100 percent right for the story, and its nice to see that text and textural merger that just sits beautifully there on the page. And whilst this book does contain two different outings for the order, I for one cant wait for more.

The Best European Superheroes

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I’ve been reading some troubling Brexit related news stories lately, and whilst it may be in vein, I am still committed to the Ideals of a united Europe. The EU has done so much for all the people who live in Britain, a minimum wage, maternity leave, so pretty good health and safety laws, and yes even some pretty good superheroes. So here is a look at some of the finest heroes from the European Union.

 

Banshee

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The emerald Isle’s very own Sean Cassidy, one of the second generation of X-men gifted with his very own sonic scream. Banshee died trying to prevent a plane crash before being resurrected in service to the twins of Apocalypse.

Crimson Fox

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IVivian and Constance D’Aramis shared the role of Crimson Fox to allow each something of a normal life, Crimson Fox originally appeared as part of Justice League Europe serving as a long time member until the death of both sisters.

Captain Britain

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Brian Braddock was a physicist working at the Darkmoor Nuclear Research Centre when the facility is attacked by the The Reaver Brian tries to find help by escaping on his motorbike. Although he crashes his bike in a nearly fatal accident, Merlyn and his daughter Roma appear and they give him the chance to be the superhero Captain Britain. He is offered a choice: the Amulet of Right or the Sword of Might. Considering himself to be no warrior, he rejects the Sword and chooses the Amulet. This choice transforms him into Captain Britain, the defender of the realm, Captain Britain has had a long career serving as founding member of the superhero team Excalibur, and serving with the Knights of Pendragon, The Avengers, the counter intelligence group MI13 and even as the leader of the ill fated Captain Britain Corps.

Empath

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Empath is a Spanish mutant appearing in Marvels X-Men titles coming from the town of Castille, Empath is recruited into the Hellions and then serves along with the X-Men until he betrayed them.

Wild Huntsman

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The reincarnated spirit of a Germanic Warrior, aided in his crusade for justice by his trusted hound, Donnerschlag, and his horse Orkan. He served as a member of the Global Guardians

A Guide To Sparkling Wine

With the news that British Pub Chain Wetherspoon’s is to stop selling both champagne and prosecco I thought that it would be a good idea to talk about the different types of sparkling wine available.

Champagne 

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Champagne is sparkling wine which comes from the Champagne region of France. This alcoholic drink is produced from grapes grown in the Champagne region of France following rules that demand, among other things, secondary fermentation of the wine in the bottle to create carbonation, specific vineyard practices, sourcing of grapes exclusively from specific parcels in the Champagne appellation and specific pressing regimes unique to the region.

Prosecco 

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Prosecco is an Italian white wine. Prosecco controlled designation of origin can be spumante (“sparkling wine”), frizzante (“semi-sparkling wine”), It is made from Glera grapes,  the name is derived from that of the Italian village of Prosecco near Trieste, where the grape and wine originated.

Cava

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Cava is a sparkling wine of Denominación de Origen (DO) status from Spain. It may be white (blanc) or rosé (rosat). The Macabeu, Parellada and Xarel·lo are the most popular and traditional grape varieties for producing cava

Moscato d’ Asti 

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Moscato d’Asti is a DOCG sparkling white wine produced mainly in the province of Asti, northwest Italy, and in smaller nearby regions in the provinces of Alessandria and Cuneo. The wine is sweet and low in alcohol, and is considered a dessert wine. It is from the Moscato bianco grape. A related wine, Asti, is produced in the same area from the same grape.

There are however a few rules that you should make yourself aware of.

  1. Always serve chilled
  2. It should always be served in a flute or Mari Antoinette glass.
  3. It should never be referred to as bubbly, bubbly is how you describe a slightly annoying blonde who you’re trying not to be nasty about.

I hope that helps you discern the subtle differences in your fizz.