CMl®l?l?W ©[rul?~~~m~~~ CHRISTMAS MAY HAVE BENEFITS, BUT THEY'RE CERTAINLY NOT THE WHOLE STORY. GRAHAM D/GG/NES INVESTIGATES .. .
BAD POINTS Thl' pmt Chri;tmas h<' hang-ovt>r is still in full effect, a televised Her Majesty b lamenting another 'annw, horribi/us' and the brussl'l sprouts from the Christmas dinnt>r are giving granny the wind. Lets face it, Christma; stinks- quite literally- and here's why .. 1 it costs an arm and a leg. The festive season may be a capitalist free-for-<1/1 with presents flying left, right and centre, but students oftt>n find themselves doing the kind of jobs Calcutta's dispossesed would laugh at just to afford it all. 2 You have to spend time with your family. Mum dnd Odd may be useful sornetinws, but being cooped up with them for the whole of Christmas would try the patience of d sdint. And as for pesky broth<'rs dnd -,isters, forget it.
5 Christmas music is crap. Slade may well "wish it could be Christmas everyday," but the onslaught of cheesy tunes heralded by the festive season make even the ;ulphurous flames of Hades an inviting pro;pect in comparison.
GOOD POINTS Snow is falling, the halls are decked with boughs of holly, people are brimming over with goodwi/l ... hmmrnm, maybe not, but Christmas is still the clog's proverbials - and here's why.
J The t0/evision progr<1mrnes suck. NcH'I Edmonds is dusted down (no doubt thanks to his unfortunately festive name) and helped into one of his trademark dodgy sweaters, before blessing some unsuspecting member of the public with his latest bit of 'charity' work. Hopefully this year Noel's 'chopper' will encounter low flying turkeys ... they don't fly! ... Damn. 4 Christmas serves as an excuse for people to take liberties. Taxi drivers triple their charges ~ after midnight, pubs charge for admittance ~;t";T--.r;..;.(j"i'.) (;D and rosy cheeked children beg shamelessly under the guise of carol singing. Humbug!
remind said partner or trdffic warden that it's Christmas and you'll get off scot free (probablyl 1 2. University i; closed owr Christm<l'> 1 l. Material Gain. Baby Jesus may have been good enough for gold, frankincense and myrrh, but let's face it - today's students fancy something rather more filling. Play;lations, spirits and jewellery perhaps? Also, don't forget to ask for receipts (under the guise of insurance requirements, of course) - then simply return all unw<lntPd prPzzies in f,wour of hard cash' 4. Food and Flirting. Christmas in all its holy glory is, rather paradoxically, renowned tor tlw opportunities it offers to those who want to indulge in the sins of the flesh. Nobody wants to be accused of not entering into the spirit of Christmas, so whether it's tucking into mince pies and Christmas pud, or gPtting clown to it under the mistletoe, Christmds rocks . 5. You Cdn act liked slob. The Pntire Western
Whether you park on a double yellow line, or drink so much you're sick on your partner's shoes, all you have to do is
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THE UNION BRISTMAS CARDS FROM £1.ZO BOXED CARDS FROM £Z.99 CHARITY CARDS (OXFAM I CANCER RESEARCH) INSEL, PARTY POPPERS, GLITTER ETC. SELECTION BOXES CHOCOLATES GOLD AND SILVER PENS
EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO MAKE A COLOURFUL CHRISTMAS!
PAPER SHOP THE 1998 CONCRETE CHRISTMAS PULLOUT '
the decorated or coloured ones that come with corks. Size-wise, SOOml is a pretty reasonable bet. Head to Spoils, QD or Poundland and hunt about for some that are cheap but classy.
CAN'T AFFORD TO BUY PRESENTS THIS YEAR? EMMA NEWBERY SHOWS YOU SOME EDIBLE ALTERNATIVES TO SHELLING OUT
hey say that giving someone a present you've made yourself is more special than giving away something you've bought. Indeed, we've probably all used this old chestnut as an excuse to give away atrocious presents - coke cans stuck to cotton wool and chocolate rice crispy squares in a homemade box tend to spring to mind. However, the days when you could get away with such 'special' gifts are unfortunately now well and truly in the past. But those with either a bit of creative flair or simply just an empty pocket will be glad to know that there are still a few ways of making home-made, edible pressies that even a normal person might be glad to receive. Remember though - make sure your ingred ients are good quality - no matter how broke you are, it's worth buying decent basics, otherwise it's almost certain the finished product won't taste good.
Anyway, on to the recipies...
SWEETS A selection of home-made sweets can take a while to make, but yoC~'ll have great presents for all your friends, aunts and uncles. Make batches of different sweets and mix and match them for different people.
.cboco!att Truffles fMJtkes
100g Dark Chocolate 1Sg butter 1 egg yolk
1 tbs rum/ brandy 2 tsp cream cocoa or chocolate for coating
PRESENTATION Save any chocolate boxes you find, cover them in gift wrap and bung a bow on top - it shouldn't take long and will make whatever you've cooked look more appealing. Have a look around in shops like Thorn tons for tips on how to present more flash gifts and purchase a stock of gold and silver pens along with paper, ribbon, and black card. Alternatively, you can always buy bags from Clinton cards if you really can' t face bow-making.
Break chocolate into a bowl or pot and add the butter. Place on top of a pan of boiling water. This means that they will melt without coming into contact with direct heat. When they have both melted, add in the other ingredients and stir well. Leave the mixture in the fridge for 2-3 hours or overnight. To finish, take teaspoons of the mixture, and roll it into balls. Coat them with cocoa, or use a fork to roll them in melted chocolate. Try experimenting with the flavours - you could add a little
orange zest and cointreau, or use a few teaspoons of strong black coffee instead of alcohol. it's also worth using a variety of coatings, to make the truffles look more professional. Try covering half of them in white chocolate and the rest with dark chocolate.
Take 10 dried red chillies and a handful of peppercorns, wash them well and pat dry on a piece of kitchen paper. Put them into a bottle, and fill with oil. Label it with the date and what's inside. This can be used for a variety of things, either to add a different flavour to curries or stir fries, to spice up your salad dressings or even your Mexican cooking. So there you have it - perfect gifts for a very attractive price.
MARZIPAN Stuffed dates are the classic marzipan gift - buy a box of dates, remove the stones and replace them with rolled oblongs of marzipan. You can then gift wrap the original box, making the packaging easy. Another simple idea is to just coat balls of marzipan in chocolate, or even make discs and put cherries on top. The more adventurous might want to zap them under the grill until they are golden brown • they'll taste and look a lot better. If you've got any melted chocolate spare at the end, try mixing a little into a lump of marzipan. Push it out into a square and then put another square of normal marzipan on top. Roll it up like a Swiss roll, and slice off some exciting looking wheels.
FLAVOURE.D OIL For the more health conscious. You can use any old bottles for this, but if you can afford it, buy one of
SECURE YOUR PLACE IN HISTORY BY DRINKING THE FRIDGE AND ENTERING THE OWENS HALL OF SHAME .-
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THE 1998 CONCRETE CHRISTMAS PULLOUT
Carry on Drinking! WHAT BETTER WAY COULD THERE POSSIBLY BE TO CELEBRATE THE BLESSED BIRTH THAN BY DRINKING FAR TOO MUCH AND ENDING UP BLIND DRUNK, LYING ON YOUR BACK WITH A PAIR OF PANTS ON YOUR HEAD? JUST FOLLOW ROBIN MILLARD'S QUICK FIVE POINT GUIDE TO OBLIVION
1 . Cheap Alcohol lt might be Christmas, but remember - you've still got to buy all those presents. So steer well dear of those extortionate oldeworlde monk-brewed senuine ales - you can get 1S of the shop's own brand economy value beeB for the same price as fiVe of the ales. And you'll get drunk a lot quicker.
2. Avoid Eating Easier said than done with all those roasts about, but food soaks up the booze - so try and avoid it at all costs. Remember, NI:VER eat before going out, if your stomach's crying out to be filled just answer it with a ridk:lllous amount of plonk. NOTE: Ignore this point if you're going out for dinner!
3. Mix lt Up
Always, always mix your drink!. Lager, shots, reds, whites, ddetl, ~ - line them up, get ready to choose and it'll feel like you're fcve yem old again on Christmas morning. And what could pos6ibly be better than that?
4. Drop of the Hard Stuff Special brews, extra strong lagers, super-11trength efforts - all are extremely handy tools for comttuding a jlbbering drunkard. Yes, they taste foul. But they're cheap and they work a treat. Down it, wnshinc.
5. Keep on Pushing Back the Threshhold When you start feeling like you're saturated, it's crucial to remember to keep on drinking 50 as to withstand an immediate hangover. As Ray Nightingale from Head & ShouldcB says, "When you're doing something nght, keep doing it.â€˘ Spot on, Ray, let's get another one in.
THE 1998 CONCRETE CHRISTMAS PULLOUT
THE 1998 CONCRETE CHRISTMAS PULLOUT
EVER WONDERED WHAT IT WOULD BE LIKE TO BE ONE OF FATHER CHRISTMAS' SLEIGH-PULLING REINDEERS? PAUL STOKES HEADED OFF TO LAPLAND TO FIND OUT
How long Have You Been Pulling Father Christmas' Sleigh? Well, it certainly seems like an eternity! What you've got to remember is that the Guv is pretty much an ageless being - so you get to do the job for a while. I'm actually the shop floor steward for the lads now, but as you may of heard we've had some new signings quite recently which has really changed the nature of the sleighpulling team. Who's new then? We had a double signing about 100 years ago when Donner and Blitzen came onto the team. They're German, mind, but they couldn't do enough for you. I know the governor was quite keen to have them up front, he said they'd bring a new approach to the side and to be fair you can't argue with the Father really. He made the changes at the right time, particularly when
xmas menu \R'!'E~S LIGHTLY CURRIED PARSNIP
8c APPLE SoUP,
8c CRAIME fRAICHE 8c H OME PICKLED CUCUMBER WITH ORANGE 8c RUBARB RELISH 8c fRIZZE SALAD CORIANDER
PRAWN SALAD, CHARRED CHIABATTA, RED TARTARE SAUCE TERRINE OF SMOKED CHICKEN
ROAST NORFOLK BRONZE TURKEY, CHIPOLATA, BACON, NUT STUFFING
ESCALOPE OF SALMON, CREAMY HERB MASH, COMPOT OF M USSELS, TOMATO
WITH CHAMPAGNE fiSH CREAM PAN fRIED COLCANNON CAKE, ROASTED ROOT VEGETABLES, CREAMY lEEK
...... H OMEMADE CHRISTMAS PUDDING WITH BRANDY SAUCE
8c PECAN SOUFFLES GLAZE 8c LEMON TART W ITH MARSCAPONE
CHOCOLATE, RUM WARM TREACLE
£15.95 HAPPY HOUR PINTS £1.50
5.30PM • 6.30PM
WINE BY GLASS £1
SPECIAL 6PM • 7PM
£4.95 VILLAGE THAI CURRY
THE 1998 CONCRETE CHRISTMAS PULLOUT
some of the lads, myself included, were ready to settle down in a position nearer the sled. Then of course in the last 50 years we've had all the fuss surrounding the signing of the so-called wonder boy, Rudolf. Is having a reindeer with a shiny nose like Rudolf an advantage? There's been quite some controversy surrounding Rudolf. When you play a reindeer up front by himself you're altering the whole dynamic of the sled, and that puts a lot of pressure on Rudolf. Sure, he's attracted a lot of media and fan attention, but fame and fortune don't make up for on-the-job experience. The press have been giving him a lot of stick recently, but at the end of the day the lad's got natural talent - his nose sure shines- and I think with a couple of decades experience he'll do alright You only get one chance per year to do the job; does that put you under a lot of pressure? Pressure? Tell me about it You can cut the air with a · knife in the build up to some of our ru n out'S, particularly when there's been a toy shortage or something in the year. I remember when no one could get hold of those Power Ranger thingys. I've never seen the boss so up tight, his blood pressure
was so high he turned the same shade of red as his uniform. We're a well oiled team though and we work best when the game's brought to us. We'll get the job done, the Guv knows he can trust us! Is it tiring been a Reindeer? Tiring? Don't make me laugh; of course it's bloody tiring! We do the whole world in the space of one night (though the different time zones do make the job slightly more bearable) so towards the end of a run you do start to feel the burn. There's plenty of holiday for the rest of the year though and the whole team is safe in the knowledge that we're doing a worthwhile job. The thought of all the little children un-wrapping those brightly packaged boxes the next morning really helps get you through the night Bless!
Go on then, tell us the juicy stuff. How does Father Christmas get up and down all those chimneys, and how do you get the job done in j ust one night? Arggh! I can't tell you that, if I did I'd have to kill you! No, only joking mate, but I really can't say. it's a closely guarded secret. What I can say is that it all comes down to good tactics, a lot of planning, and a little bit of luck on the day. I' ll give you a clue about the chimneys- we do carry a large supply of lard with us, but I'm not saying any more than that!
D THIS CHRISTMAS, WHEN YOU'VE FINALLY PRISED THE LAST LINGERING GREAT AUNT AWAY FROM THE DRINKS CABINET AND PACKED HER OFF HOME, YOU MIGHT THINK THAT A LITTLE TV IS JUST WHAT YOU NEED. THINK AGAIN, SAYS JACK HANAUER
he season to be merry it may well be, but Christmas is most certainly not the time for quality cinematic entertainment. The birth of a rather well-known carpenter with a splendid beard and a couple of top notch baby-blues two thousand years ago has undoubtedly given us a very useful excuse for a huge knees up each year, for which we should all be truly grateful. But it has also, rather incomprehensibly, resulted in our cinema screens being annually filled with movies possessing more vomit-inducing power than a can of dog food
with extra maribone jelly. However, it hasn't always been this way. ll's a Wonderful Life is generally regarded as one of the alltime movie greats, and goes some way towards remedying the inevitable bouts of filmic salmonella caused by too many celluloid turkeys every Christmas. Most people will be familiar with this classic movie, but in case you've been habitually abducted by aliens each Yuletide for the last 50 years, the film stars ]ames Stewart as a suicidal idealist who feels his life is a failure - until a sympathetic angel arrives on Christmas Eve to show
him just what a top geezer he is. Well it works on film anyway ... Tim Burton's recent and bizarre animation, A Nightmare Before Chri tmas, is not at all bad either. This fo uses on misguided protagonist jack Skellington, a character who decides to kidnap Santa and do the job himself with predictably chaotic results. Another passable excuse for a festive Aick is Richard Attenborough's Miracle On 34th Street, even though it does seem to centre around the rather ludicrous idea that Father Christmas is actually the one who gives us all our lovely presents every year. We knew Richard lived a sheltered life, but this is ridiculous! Everyone knows Rudolph 's the one with real present pulling power anyway. Unfortunately though, these watchable Christmas Aicks are simply the exceptions that prove the rule about Yuletide turkeys. Far more representative of the general standard of Christmas movies are catastrophes such as jingle All the Way. This film stars Arnold Schwarzenegger and Sinbad as two put-upon parents who are desperate to get their hands on the only toy-of-the-moment left in the city for their expectant children. The two over-sized adolescents are thrown into a pitched battle for that single remaining Turbo Man. The usual "wild and wacky" chaos ensues, before the predictable smoochy, "Aw shucks, let's be friends", happy-ever-after ending arrives to save us from any more Schwarzenegger
torture. Home Alone is another example of stamina-testing festive film fare. The inclusion of Mr Annoying himself, Macauley Culkin, single-handedly turns the movie into a trial by obnoxiousness. By the end of the film you are wishing the villains would succeed in their efforts to breach Cui kin's defences, and do as much damage as a PG certificate can possibly allow them to do to him in the process. The examples are endless and, unfortunately, it doesn 't seem as though an end to the annual arrival of such pitiful efforts is on the cards, judging by one of this year 's upcoming productions. /'// Be Home for Christmas stars ]onathan Taylor Thomas (Randy in Home Improvement) as a college student who is desperate to, well, get home for Christmas. Predictably, though, he finds it a tad harder than he had anticipated and he duly encounters all the problems we have come to expect along the way. Sounds like a bundle of laughs doesn't it? But, alas, early reviews of Disney's latest offering have not been entirely nattering. to say the least, so don't book your tickets just yet. Indeed, there is some pretty simple advice for anyone looking for quality entertainment this Christmas: smash your TV, bolt your doors and just pray that the New Year arrives quickly.
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