Saturday, December 30

Cheesy chip innovation time

When did cheesy chips become a popular takeaway snack in the UK?

I have no idea, but a few days ago I stumbled upon an interesting variant on the theme. Rather than the usual grated cheese, Hot Diggerdy Dog in Holdenhurst Rd in Bournemouth serves up a thick cheese sauce on top of chips. And there's a good range of additional sauces. I found that the chilli sauce provided a kick that counteracted the gloopiness of the sauce. £1.40 well spent.

Another fine purveyor of cheesy chips is Frenchy's in West Bay. His fast food hut is easily identified by the copy of a Toulouse-Lautrec painting on the roof. Although using grated cheese, at the last moment he pops the chips and cheese into a microwave for a few seconds to melt the cheese, somehow without ruining the chips. A genius touch.

Thursday, November 16

Totally Mexico

Is it just me, or is everyone shooting in Mexico at the moment?

Hot on the heels of Martin Parr's rather disappointing book comes "Very Important Person" by Mark Alor Powell (aka Locaburg), which will be available around Christmas.

Mark's web site:

Wednesday, April 19

English squares

Ah-ha, I have received my first spam comments (now removed).

Talking of piazzas, I have been to Bridport in Dorset a couple of times recently. It is unusual in that it has a small square with seats where people actually sit around doing very little, continental stylee. I can't think of another town or city in England where this happens.

Friday, March 17

The difference between a piazza and a plaza

From the Guardian, architect Renzo Piano emphasises the importance of urban loafing:,,1647127,00.html

Through the London Bridge development, Piano wants to introduce the European idea of urban planning to the British capital, ideas which he characterises as understanding the difference between a piazza (good) and a plaza (less good).

"A piazza is not a plaza," fumes Piano. "The plaza is the theme park of the piazza; the plaza is the commercial version. A piazza is an empty space with no function. This is what Europeans understand." A space without function allows one to be "in the moment", he says, and to counter what he sees as a major flaw in modern life - the habit of interpreting all experience in the light of achievement, as a means to an end. We should, he thinks, learn to lighten up, and the creation of empty, purposeless spaces within cities might encourage that. "You don't have to struggle to give function to every single corner. You
can just wait and see and enjoy."