Musically-inclined…

Firstly, apologies for the long break between posts; it seems like everything is happening RIGHT NOW and I just have a lot on my plate at the moment, hence the slight blog-neglect.  Also, this will probably be a more music-centric, rather than food-centric post, so you have been warned!

Tired of lying in the sunshine, staying home to watch the rain,

You are young and life is long and there is time to kill today,

And then one day you find ten years have got behind you,

No-one told you when to run, you missed the starting gun…

Time – Pink Floyd

(This feels very relevant to my life at the moment.  It is as if, in the past two years of university life, I have simply been drifting along and trying to get through my degree without too much mishap.  Suddenly the end is drawing near and I have no idea where I’m going with my life after I finish my course next summer.  It’s a wake-up call, reminding me that real life is out there waiting and I am very much unprepared for it.  Time to start running…)

Recently, I’ve taken to listening to Pink Floyd again.  It seems that my musical tastes run in cycles and I go through phases of rediscovering music that I love but don’t listen to for inexplicably long periods of time.  (To give you an idea of my eclectic tastes, this includes Muse, The Beatles, The Strokes, The Killers, Rachmaninov, Norah Jones, Coldplay, David Bowie, Ingrid Michaelson, Queen, Mahler and the Hairspray soundtrack.)  However, sometimes, a rediscovery leads to something more, almost like I am finally realising the potential of my love of a particular artist, composer or group.  This is what has happened with me and Pink Floyd in the last week.  (A casual re-listen to Shine On You Crazy Diamond (Parts I-V) led to a desire to revisit the entire Wish You Were Here album and things just spiralled out of control from there.)  The strange thing is, it’s not like when you discover an artist for the first time; you already know and love this music, but it’s as if all of a sudden, everything just falls into place when you hear their songs.  I don’t know how to describe it, other than it just feels right.

I was first exposed to Pink Floyd several years ago, in my early teens.  (Strangely, my dad felt that it would be appropriate to play The Wall album whilst we decorated the Christmas tree; as a result, I have come to associate Christmas with Pink Floyd.  It’s definitely not your usual Christmas soundtrack, that’s for sure.)  At the time, they were just another of my dad’s bands, good but nothing special.  Then, as my own musical tastes developed, I began to listen to and take a great interest in music from that era, including the likes of The Beatles and Supertramp and of course, Pink Floyd. I longed for the 60s and 70s, an era that seemed so romantic and remote from the times we live in now; the music was better, life was more exciting and it just felt a world away from the decade that I grew up in.  I know it’s strange to be nostalgic for a time that I wasn’t alive in, but I’ve always felt like I should have been born thirty years earlier; of course, it’s probably much more romantic to look back at it now than it was actually living in those days.  After all, it’s easy to idealise the past…but anyway, now is not the time to go into my opinions on modern society – maybe I’ll leave that for another day!

Right now, Pink Floyd has become the soundtrack to my daily life; I can’t explain it or deny it, it’s just a fact.  I’m currently reading Nick Mason’s personal recollections of the band and have a Syd Barrett biography waiting for me when I’ve finished.  It’s a distraction, an escape from my otherwise boring daily routine of lectures, rehearsals, essays and research.  In some ways, my passion for music (unrelated to my degree, of course) is like my passion for baking.  It takes me away from the responsibilities of university and daily life, gives me a chance to breath and to relax and take a break.  It’s just something different, and that’s important – without these things, I would be entirely consumed by worry and stress about my course and my workload and goodness knows what else…

Talking of baking, here’s the food part of this post!  (Sorry if you had to wade through reams of nonsense about prog rock and music to get here, I just needed to get it out of my system and thought it might make an interesting post…)

So, Sundays are lazy days – I like to turn off my alarms on Sundays and sleep in.  I like getting up later than usual, not worrying about work, having leisurely meals and just having a day off.  Sometimes, I like to spend time cooking, and that’s what I did yesterday.

American-style pancakes (or drop scones) with butterscotch bananas – 23/10/2011

I struggle with pancakes.  I don’t know why, but more often than not, my attempts result in heavy, doughy slabs of floury, tasteless nothing.  I don’t know if it’s the recipes I use or (more likely) my method, but me and pancakes are not friends. (That’s not to say I don’t enjoy eating them – it’s just making them that I find stressful!)  However, seeing a recipe for pancakes on this week’s episode of Nigel Slater’s Simple Cooking, I was inspired to try once more.  What’s different about this recipe is that it is much simpler than all the ones I’ve tried previously.  Four ingredients mixed in a bowl, no faffing about with baking powder or gradually adding liquid to form a batter – it was literally just a ‘measure your ingredients in this order and mix them together’ approach.  Simple.  I feel that where I fall down with pancakes is in the actual frying; my impatient nature doesn’t agree with the slow frying over a medium heat method and I inevitably end up burning half the batch. This time, I managed to exercise some restraint and actually turned out a nicely-browned and non-doughy batch of pancakes!  It was a sweet success, after so many failures.

To go with them, I decided to cook down some bananas in a butterscotch sauce.  It was really more of an experimental approach to butterscotch, made up in the spur-of-the-moment rather than taken from a recipe.  (In all fairness, it tasted good, which is all that matters in the end.)  The fruit and the soft, cake-like pancakes complemented each other very well, and I will definitely be recreating this recipe in the future.  An excellent start to my (what was actually an unintentionally) lazy Sunday.  Needless to say, I spent the remainder of it listening to Pink Floyd and not getting any work done…

Oh well.

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