Selection Policy – a Plea

I held this back because King Cricket gets first dibs on Rob Key-related things. Unfortunately Rob bided his time on an England recall for a bit longer than any of us mortals might’ve hoped, but The Day is finally here. Sort of. He played!

Sent to England cricket coach Peter Moores on May 1, 2008. A response is still awaited.

Dear Mr Moores,

I hope you will forgive my impertinence, but I am writing in the hope of convincing you to select a certain Mr RWT Key for the upcoming Test series against New Zealand. While I obviously bow to your superior knowledge on all matters technical, it seems to me that (with respect) it is a lack of vision that has prevented Mr Key from being more frequently picked in the past.

To address this, I have prepared an image that shows the true glory that Rob’s return to Test cricket would represent:

Rob Key and capybara, rampant on a field, vert

Rob Key and capybara, rampant on a field, vert

Here we can see Rob after a scintillating triple century at Lords, being borne from the scene of his triumph by his faithful steed, the capybara. The New Zealand players are difficult to make out, but I assure you that they are, to a man, weeping at the majesty of the occasion.

Now, the Australians will surely fight back with some sort of marsupial, but I hear so frequently of the importance of “momentum” in the modern game that I feel that the combined mass of Rob Key and the world’s largest rodent is not to be lightly passed up. Such a partnership would surely be unstoppable, both figuratively and literally, and I commend it to you with my whole heart and both of my trousers.

Yours etc.,

Simon C
aged 28 1/2.

In which I force myself to write about bacon yet again…

…and find that even I’m bored of pig puns now. Anyway.

“How was the bacon?” I hear you cry, as well you might. Pretty good. Pretty damn good, I reply. We’ve tested it in a number of exacting scenarios, and it has not proved wanting.

1) The Bacon Sandwich

Arguably the purest use of bacon, this was our first pork of call. We controlled for bread style (toasted/plain), ketchup usage, and even experimented with fried onions and tomatoes. The results were conclusive, as shown in Fig. 1.

Fig. 1: % of sandwiches that were awesome

Fig. 1: % of sandwiches that were awesome

A subgroup analysis of people who “don’t like pork” showed that these people were wallies. They still reported considerable sandwich awesomeness, however, and have not been excluded from the results despite their palpable weirdness.

2) The fry-up

Yes, I split one sausage. Poor.

Yes, I split one sausage. Poor.

Somewhat unsatisfyingly, this analysis was performed with a cohort of just one, the other volunteers having buggered off as if it were a bank holiday weekend or something. Evidence is thus anecdotal, but awesomeness was still manifest and provable. As can be seen (right), in contrast to supermarket bacon, our product rendered simultaneously crispy yet succulent rashers, a combination unthinkable when frying store-bought pap. The maple taste was present but not overpowering, and the breakfast as a whole was so enjoyable that it was not until some time later that I realised I’d forgotten the mushrooms.

It should be noted at this point that the aforementioned non-pork-lover was, at the time he could have been using to eat the fry-up pictured, standing with an ill-fitting imitation tiger on his head among numerous shirtless sweaty men, being serenaded by a man who appears to be made of beef jerky. I pass no comment on his choice.

In part two we will see how our bacon performed at basic social interaction, and examine whether bacon can ever be appropriately deployed at the opera.

Police: Nose Cancer Increase Victory


Today the Serious Organised Crime Agency announced a major milestone in the fight against illegal drugs, as a survey suggested that thanks to heroic interdiction efforts, street supplies of cocaine now comprise up to 95% carcinogenic adulterants. SOCA chief Gail Upinyerschnoz was quoted as saying:

This is one in the nose for the belligerent-at-parties community; soon we will have completely replaced cocaine with toxic filler chemicals and washing powder. Nothing counteracts a temporarily inflated sense of self-worth like having bits of your face amputated, so increasing the harm caused by illegal drugs is SOCA’s goal for the next five years.

Other cutting agents used to maintain the supply of cocaine include animal worming medications and cockroach powder. Although SOCA were unable to provide figures on worm prevalence in City nasal cavities, Conservative MP Gordon Latchley-Bing said, “speaking as someone who recently had a colony of bees coaxed from my sinuses, I find it commendable that SOCA’s forethought extends to protecting the populace from nasal insect infestations.”

If you think you may have a cockroach in your nose, contact your local dealer.

Swine Fever! – Rotation

Our bacon has been curing for a whole day; it’s time for the turn and rub. This is a highly technical procedure, so Sam and I have prepared an educational video to walk you through it.

Swine Fever! – Pork Scratchings

Today something beautiful took place in Kentish Town. An immaculate confection; the plugging of a hole in the universe. In short, the Dunollie Bacon Project is go. Equipped with the charcuterie bible, 2kg of curing salts, 500ml of maple syrup and a large chunk of pig we set forth, pausing only to document the moment:

Photographing meat on the balcony is not weird

Photographing meat on the balcony is not weird.

While some would argue that it’s unusual to emerge onto one’s patio at lunchtime bearing a plate of completely raw meat, delicately arrange it on the table, photograph it and then go back inside, this is flaccid thinking and should be rejected by all those of independent thought.

Pork being sensuously massaged

Sam gets his watches second-hand from Flava Flav

The process itself is almost anticlimactically simple. First, get your belly and ensure that the nipples are intact (picture). If your belly lacks nipples, halve an olive – green by preference – and attach as appropriate; a cocktail stick will suffice.

You are now ready to dredge the belly in curing salt. Spread 1/4 to 1/2 cup of salt on a baking tray, and press the belly firmly down. Flip the belly, and press down again, ensuring that all crevices are well filled. Then simply put it in a ziploc bag, pour in 1/2 a cup of maple syrup, seal the bag and splodge it round a bit, and put it in the fridge.

It’s fair to say this didn’t satisfy my need for porcine ceremony. The bacon really only needs turning once a day, but I’ve been checking it rather more regularly than that.

Bacon in the fridge

Eggs are best kept at an angle of 8.5 degrees

The first eight times I looked, all seemed well; but then only an hour had passed. The ninth time I was worried that something had gone terribly wrong, a luminous red protrusion of hideous dimensions having developed upon the bacon. On closer inspection, however, it turned out to be a tomato that had rolled on to the bag from the shelf above.

Inspections 10 through 13 were uneventful, although at this point I had started poking the bacon in the hope of provoking some sort of reaction. It appears that even at such a young age, our bacon is one of life’s stoics. Perhaps it anticipates its fate.

Reasoning that my bacon and I needed to maintain distance (it’s never a good idea to rush things), I went in to town, only to find my nose pressed to the butcher’s window, ogling the remaining pork bellies therein. He chased me away with a cleaver, and I trudged home to complete inspections 14 to 21, in which I attempted to talk to the bacon like a carnicultural Prince Charles.

It did not reply.

Come back mid-week to see how Sam and I expertly massage the bag, as it were.

Incidentally, I realise I forgot to credit the person who inspired this: Tim Hayward, whose excellently demented article in the Guardian on home-made bacon has been curing in my brain for about a year.