December 1st, 2015: Snack Review: Mr Simms Iron Brew Fudge
Posted by Gravecat at 12:53 am under Snack Reviews. Comment?

Alrighty, we are branching out here. Since this blog is largely just a place where I write whatever the hell seems like a good idea at the time, peppered with my usual sarcasm and cynicism about the world at large, I’ve decided my latest addition will be something I’ve actually considered doing a long time ago — snack reviews. Nobody knows snacks like me, and I figure it’s about time I put my snack-devouring skills to good use and throw up some reviews of various good eatin’s that I’ve recently found.

Some of you who remember my earlier blogs may recall that I once did a review series for energy drinks (and the oft-dreadful, thankfully now largely unheard-of “energy shots”), and I’ll likely be bringing those back too, all encompassed by this snack reviews category. So sit back, relax, and get ready to hear some opinions you never asked to hear, but I’m going to give them to you anyway.

I’m kicking this off with something fairly obscure, and likely UK-specific: Mr Simms is one of about three stores in central Liverpool (and I’m lead to believe they have stores in other towns too) which stocks extremely overpriced imported American sweets, extremely overpriced “hand made” offerings, and moderately overpriced regular sweets that you can find in just about any newsagents. Having been deeply displeased with a meal at Pret earlier, I’d decided to pick up some snacks to appease my grumpy mood. Among these offerings, I’d perused the hand-made fudge shelf for far longer than is generally necessary before picking out a couple of interesting flavours, including the one pictured to the left, already opened and with half of its contents devoured. “Iron Brew Fudge.” Note the spelling, this is important.

I picked these out of curiosity, because Irn Bru (the popular British soft drink once claimed to be “made in Scotland from girders”) and fudge are not two flavours I would expect to see together. And I’ve rambled on enough, so allow me to spare you the suspense and get straight to the point: each piece consists of a bi-coloured block, the brown part of which is just bog-standard fudge, and the orange part is the titular “Iron Brew” flavour. This seems a bit cheeky in itself, but such could easily be guessed by looking through the transparent packaging, so I can’t complain too much.

The brown, standard fudge parts are exactly what you’d expect of fairly decent, yet largely average fudge. Imagine fudge. Imagine you’re eating some right now. It’s got a bit stuck in that crack in your teeth, but it’s okay, because it’s just fudge. That’s pretty much what it tastes like.

The orange part does not taste like Irn Bru. The orange part tastes exactly like an Iron Brew, however — which is to say, it tastes like someone boiled up a handful of iron nails with the fudge, then threw in a gallon of orange food colouring just to make it more obvious. The distinctly metallic tang and lingering aftertaste is comparable to the mouth-flavours shortly after having dental work done by a moderately trained professional, sans the antiseptic mouthwash. Imagine that fudge that you were imagining eating before; now pretend someone sprinkled a few iron filings in there, but they’re so tiny that they don’t really hurt, they just leave a dissatisfying and oddly long-lingering aftertaste of metal. An iron brew, if you will.

What I’m trying to say here is that they’re terrible and you should never buy them. I regret every moment that lead me to that fateful decision. Their one saving grace is that the ordinary-fudge part is fairly decent (though certainly not £2.99 decent), and the iron brew element is palatable, though not enjoyable. Mr Simms, you sadden me.

D: Poor

November 30th, 2015: Photography: Liverpool One
Posted by Gravecat at 8:51 pm under Photography. Comment?

This was going to be the header issue for a rant about why I hate Christmas, but I just don’t feel up to it right now; having returned to the familiar warmth and comfort of my abode, free from the throngs of proles clogging up the public transport system and filling the air with their indiscriminately-shared germs, and despite my annoyances with the day and general misanthropy towards my fellow man, I thought this photo came out rather well.

Also, I drew a happy jellyfish in the condensation of the bus window on the way home, and that cheered me up a little too.

November 29th, 2015: Pirates Revenge
Posted by Gravecat at 9:26 pm under Childhood, School Diary. Comment?

Out of the plethora of relics that survived my childhood days, my favourites to this day include the old school journals, where we were supposed to write about what we’d done the day before, then draw a picture on the adjacent page. Filled with mischief and lies, I’d constantly formulate my own half-truths (and, often, utter fabrications), as I didn’t consider reality to be quite interesting enough to spend my time writing about. I have scanned images of four of these books, so let’s take a look at another, going back to the first page of book 1, at some point around September 1988.


I’m not even going to talk about the intricate mesh of cables and electronics that seem to surround the arcade machine in what can be described only as a health and safety nightmare. I’m also not going to go into much detail about the pirate’s laser, which is escaping the confines of the game screen and bouncing around the surrounding room. Instead, I’ll just say what you’re doubtless already thinking by now:

This game never existed. My first (at least, the first surviving) school journal entry was a tissue of lies.

There is no such game as Pirates Revenge, especially not in 1988. Even if there was, I’m a little confused by the control scheme, which seems to consist of a joystick only capable of moving horizontally and buttons labeled “fire”, “jump”, “run”, “walk”, “duck” (?), “aim” and a mystery unlabeled button at the top. Nonetheless, something so simple as a game not existing would never be enough to stop me from writing a school journal entry about my experiences with it.

I think it’s also a sign of the times that an arcade game would cost 10p (an amount worth around 15¢, or 0.14€ today), though I do have hazy memories of once playing an arcade game of Pac-Man and feeling annoyed that it required a whole 20p to play. That was a fair chunk of a 7-year-old’s pocket money in 1988! Luckily, I’d also taken to hanging out around the coin-pusher machines and slyly collecting handfuls of unclaimed 2p coins when gravity took its toll. I was a crafty little bastard even at a young age.

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