I thought it best to start my quest for the best weekend newspaper with the biggest-selling “quality press” title in the UK. If the British people are right about anything (and who knows, they might be) then chances are they will be right about this too. Dear reader, we could be looking at the winner already!
Let’s find out…
I thought I’d have a go at Tom Kerridge’s turnip and swede soup with chilli and crispy lamb breast. His version has a puff pastry crouton on it but it seemed a tad excessive when I was only cooking it for two people so I left it out. Also, he does another crouton thing with chopped lamb breast rolled in cornflour and while I’m not vegan or anything, killing a sheep to make croutons seems a bit… much, so I left those out too. Also, the watercress in the supermarket was looking sad so I didn’t get any. Oh, and there were no turnips in Morrisons either. OK, so I didn’t make the soup. Let’s say… it looks nice but involves unnecessary bloodshed, 3/5, and I’ll try harder next week.
The Sunday Times puzzles page is superb. Have you tried a Tetonor? You should. They’re very good. Very satisfying. 5/5
You know those one panel cartoons they have in some broadsheets? You know, where someone draws something from the news but writes something from another? So, during Wimbledon, they might draw a tennis player smashing a racket and an audience member saying, “I think he’s just read Piers Morgan’s tweet about Stormzy’s set at Glastonbury!” I don’t like those cartoons. They’re basic. 1/5
My horoscope suggests I leave urgent matters until Sunday. The deadline is Thursday though, isn’t it mate? 0/5
The TV Pick of the Week was Shock of the Nude, Mary Beard’s documentary about art and, you know, bits and that. I couldn’t be bothered to watch it. Sorry. I’m pretty busy, you know. Stuff to do. Mary Beard is usually very good though, so let’s give it a decent score and never speak of my laziness again. If there is a tie at the end of the year I’ll track it down on the iplayer or something, ok? 4/5
The Radio Pick of the Week was Barry Humphries’ Forgotten Music Masterpieces. I managed about half of it. Some of the music was good but I really struggled with Humphries’ presenting style, which was mostly just listing things that had happened in the 1920s to posh people without offering any insight or analysis. He simpers when he talks of the gentry and punches down when he mentions anyone else. In a nutshell, he comes across as a bit of an arsehole. Playing Al Bowlly can only go so far in alleviating that. 2/5
The Album of the Week was Silver Tongue by Torres. Very good it is too. 4/5
Broadsheets (fine, #notallBroadsheets) review a lot more non-fiction than they do fiction because, in a nutshell, it is much easier to review. You don’t even need to read the book, pal. You just skim the introduction and the conclusion then write five hundred words stating a) what you personally reckon about the topic and b) how you reckon that is more insightful than the author’s take. Then people read the review, pretend they have read the book, and do a bit of reckoning of their own. It’s a win-win, money for old rope, situation all round, mate. Just saying, mate. Just saying. The Sunday Times books section is 95% non-fiction and I have marked them down accordingly. They did do a short stories round-up though, so they get a bonus point for that. 3/5
The Sunday Times’ leader is a pretty sober, largely uncontroversial, account of where we have reached in the Brexit process. I don’t agree with their assessment that ‘now we have left the EU the buck will have to stop with the government’ because I think the government will blame the EU for more of their, and our, problems than it currently does. The traditionally Labour areas that voted Conservative aren’t going to see any of the prosperity they were promised. You’ve got to blame someone, haven’t you? 3/5
The main interview in the paper is with John Bercow. It’s fine. 3/5
Decca Aitkenhead writes about her time on a magic mushroom retreat in Jamaica. It is a fascinating piece that makes you question your own opinions about stuff, which is nice. Her time at the retreat changes her outlook on life so much that your natural wariness to that sort of miracle cure rears its ugly cynical head. Then you have to decide if it is wrong, or right. It doesn’t matter, I suppose, as it seems to have worked for her. 4/5
I had never actually read a Jeremy Clarkson column before. I’ve seen him on telly and that, but his written work has escaped me. He’s erm, interesting, isn’t he? The main thrust of his argument seems to be that proposed government plans to encourage farmers to think about the environment will lead to us all starving if there is another war. Another war, Jesus. I’m not sure one less nature reserve and one more chicken farm is going to make the difference when the nukes come but, you know, it’s just opinions. In other news, Jeremy is pro-otter but anti-badger which is, frankly, a preposterous position. Stripes aside, they’re basically the same thing, aren’t they? 1/5
Surprisingly bland. 2/5
The half page dedicated to ‘Flight-Free Breaks’ suggests North Norfolk, which seems a very good idea to me, albeit one that needed more scrutiny than it has geese, seals, and a place that does good mussels. 3/5
I like gardens but I’m not really sure how they work. Plants and that, innit. Anyway, the article in the paper says they are good for your health because plants and that. Seems legit. 5/5
Actually Do Something…
There weren’t any “You really should be…” articles so this week the thing I chose to do was follow the advice of The Vivienne who suggests, “Whatever you do, be authentic to you.” It’s solid advice. 5/5
Clarkson, again. He’s pretending to be confused about climate change, again. And he’s weirdly protective about otters, again. What, the fuck, is it with him and otters, eh? 2/5
Architect Mark Marshall recommends a window seat instead of all-glass bifold doors and, while I will almost certainly never be wealthy enough to need that make sort decision, I appreciate that he is correct, and they are lovely things. 4/5
Actually Buy Something…
While I was (kind of/not really) tempted by the selection of recommended ‘crisps made out of fish skins’ I decided to buy Vegan(ish) by Jack Monroe because, you know, we already own it, so I can complete this category without spending any money. Bit cheeky, sure, but it gets them a 4/5.
No men’s fashion at all. I’ll just wear a sack then, shall I? 0/5
Total Score = 58
It’s a decent score but it isn’t a great one. The problem with The Sunday Times is too many otters and not enough fiction. I’m sure I’m not the first person to say that. I probably won’t be the last.