Tag Archives: insects

Tied up with string: January

What’s been tickling my fancy this month then?

A Song

Song of the month is Traktor by Wretch 32 featuring the ungoogleable “L”. Wretch says CHOO CHOO GO HARD GO FASTER in it, it’s made of an insanely good combination of beats, synth wooshes and surf guitar, and it’s stupidly addictive. I had it on repeat play ten times in a row at one point. Ahem.

An album

I already put it in my Top 20 of last year, but it’s only really come out in the UK this month, and it’s a big grower. Last Train to Paris by Diddy – Dirty Money is superb. It sounds to me like an electro-R&B sequel to Kraftwerk’s Trans-Europe Express, with a consistently hypnotic chug about it, a strange atmosphere of repressed minimalism, and some brilliant songwriting. Hear it on we7


How lovely was ‘Head Over Heels In Rats’? I am now broody for a rodent friend who isn’t my toy rat from Ikea.

A film

‘What about the King’s Speech?’ asked a colleague on the bus the other day, as I was confessing to my Black Swan addiction (I’ve seen it FOUR TIMES at time of writing). ‘Oh I couldn’t give a shit whether the King makes his speech or not,’ I replied. And I couldn’t.

I've been looking at you, you've been looking at me

I want 100 minutes of extreme close-ups, brilliant sound design (SO LOUD in the cinema!), paranoia, feathers, creepiness, crotch-grabbing, and mirrors, mirrors, mirrors. It’s Roman Polanski meets John Waters meets David Cronenberg and I can’t remember watching a film so obsessively and repeatedly since I got my hands on a VHS of Nightmare On Elm Street in the mid 80s. I suppose there’s my formula: give a girl an eccentric mother figure and throw her into a world where the boundaries of reality are always shifting, and I’ll love it for life (see also: Run Lola Run, Hellraiser).

Some adverts

I’m a big fan of the Which? advert with the ‘genuinely filthy dog’ in it. Why does it speak to me so much, this creature who starts out all clean and handsomely muzzled before going off to have adventures, lick tramps and rifle through bins? Who can say?

Genuinely filthy dog

I also admire Jedward’s well-judged self-mockery in the Money Supermarket ad; they’ve certainly managed to appear in the only watchable Money Supermarket ad I’ve ever seen.

And an honourable mention for holidaying in Jersey, not an amazing advert in itself, but I like that they’re now ‘The Warmest Place in the British Isles’. It’s a vast improvement on previous years’ Channel Islands campaigns which have proudly boasted ‘WHERE A POUND IS STILL A POUND’. That’s a revolting slogan which speaks only to the aspirations of Daily Express readers, who like the idea of going abroad but only if they don’t have to endure any foreign muck or funny money.

Animal of the month

Born to make you happy

And finally, a salute to the humble cochineal, whose pulverised remains are once more featuring in the ingredients lists of some of Britain’s favourite shop-bought cake slices. They went away for a while, but these days with ‘No Artificial Colours or Flavourings’ a big selling point, they’re back back back!

Thousands of these otherwise unloved beetles are dying every day to ensure that our cakes are just that little bit more red. WE WILL NOT FORGET.

Silk and honey = spit and sick

Credit your sources

Reaching for a tub of Coffee Mate today (I wouldn’t normally, but the whole reason it’s there is for lazy milkless Sunday mornings) I was struck by its claim to have a “smooth silky taste”.  I would just like to point out that SILK IS THE STICKY SPIT OF A LARVA. At some point early on in history the secretions of a worm became associated with luxury. That’s fine by me, but I’d like to see a bit of “credit your sources” on the packaging of all the foods and beauty products that refer to it.

Likewise, bee-sick has long since been rebranded as “honey”, and hats off to whoever came up with that one.  We don’t eat the vomit of any other insect, as far as I know – marketing wins again. Give me a room full of breakfast tables and I’ll happily go round reminding everyone of THE SINISTER TRUTH (*gets banned from all B&Bs everywhere*).

The Food Chain: EXPLAINED

Nature is cruel

Why DO cats like eating fish so much? Yes, their evolutionary ancestors must have hunted to survive, but fish? I can’t imagine any relative of the domestic cat having the attention span to sit around on a riverbank, trailing a paw in the water for hours on end. Five minutes and it’d be off following a bit of dandelion fluff or licking itself under a bush.

No, the idea that a fish is a cat’s natural prey is about as logical as the idea that they must like spaghetti because so many ancient cats lived near wheatfields. Well, that’s logical if you imagine that the wheatfields were often buffeted by strong gusts, blowing the crop into a neighbouring FIELD OF FALLING ANVILS where it got crushed, then onto a nearby ice floe where it happened to get wet enough to become dough and then got accidentally rolled on by some passing polar bears getting dry after a swim. And some poor kitty still has to make the bastard sauce.

We all know they like fast-moving shiny things (WHO DOESN’T?), but there’s nothing fast-moving or shiny about the slurry that comes out of a pouch of gourmet cat food or the brown-grey flakes in a can of tuna. So by rights Puss should be craving a daily risotto stirred through with lashings of nature’s fastest and shiniest creatures, the lovely silverfish.

And what do the silverfish eat to get so shiny? Glue, tapestries, the corners of photographs and bits of discarded hair and dandruff, says Wikipedia. Which, as you couldn’t make it up, means you may as well say they eat mercury. Metal-eating creatures aren’t common, and mercury’s deadly poisonous, but I think we can all easily picture some sort of illicit silverfish speakeasy they can sneak off to after a hard day’s cardboard-chewing for a drop of the silver stuff. They know it’s bad for them, but they can’t resist the gleam; like humans with a blue Bacardi Breezer or a big sniff of poppers.

Speaking of our own ridiculous cravings, let’s not laugh at the other animals’ eating habits quite so readily. We’re the species that came up with oxtail soup, after all (note to readers outside the UK: yes). We take an ENORMOUS shaggy lumbering animal, and someone, a nice person at Heinz I assume, keeps hordes of them breeding, presumably filling up vast aircraft hangars all over the country, in order to harvest ONLY their delicious tasty tails. And that is the logic of a cat.