Hard News by Russell Brown

431

Food and drink

Much as I had planned to make this the usual Feckless Friday post, I suppose we should all think seriously about the Law Commission's Alcohol in Our Lives issues paper, and its headline proposals.

I'm intrigued to see the proposals include an age split for buying alcohol -- 18 on licensed premises, 20 for off-licence sales. I thought this seemed a good idea way back when the drinking age was lowered to 18.

I'd go further than simply proposing a lower excise tax on low-alcohol drinks -- I would oblige bars to sell them significantly cheaper than full-strength drinks. I was out recently and, mindful of the fact that I was driving home, ordered an Amstel Light at the bar. Eight bucks. That's crazy.

The reduction in the blood alcohol limit for driving to bring us in line with many other countries seems inevitable, although a differential penalty for a breach at the bottom end of the scale seems reasonable. And if you're going to make it harder for people to drive home after socialising with alcohol, it also seems reasonable to look at providing them with useful and affordable transport options.

I'm less convinced by the proposal for sharply curtailed licensing hours. As I recall, one of the problems when almost all pubs and bars closed at 11pm was that all the drunk people hit the streets at the same time. (Indeed, it would be wise not to pretend the problem of public drunkenness is new. I'm not convinced it wasn't worse when hours were limited.)

Anyway, it's laudable that the issues are up for discussion on the Commission's newish Talklaw website -- if a little bewilder at how many times I have to click to find a public comment.

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One of the best things I've bought this year was a Sodastream machine. I wish I'd done it much sooner. Although actually finding the replacement gas canisters, let alone buying a spare, can be a bit tricky, it offers the pleasure of a lightly-carbonated beverage without the waste of buying it in disposable plastic bottles.

My favourite Sodastream-sourced beverage involves the use of elderflower cordial. It's delicious, and, I am assured, positively healthy. Elderflower cordials aren't easy to find either, but there are two on show (and on sale) at the Auckland Food Show: the Aroha Drinks and the Addmore. (I would complain about Addmore's Flash welcome page, but the music's kind of groovy.)

Of particular note: Aroha's elderflower and rhubarb fizzy drink, which is amazingly delicious.

The Food Show itself doesn't seem overly troubled by the recession, although there are fewer wineries amongst the exhibitors. Stella Artois has a bar fronted by young men and women in some sort of period costume: the funniest sight of the day was walking into the men's toilet just as two of the chaps were discovering that their costumes were not compatible with the use of a urinal.

Best new convenience product? Taste of India's new range of microwaveable punnets, which includes some very tasty vegetarian curries as well as beef, lamb and chicken options. Instant rice sachets still suck, though.

Big trends? More specialty meat companies than ever.

Most delicious thing in the whole place? Patties of fresh Karamea whitebait. My only regret is that I only had one.

If you go, do look out for Noel Crawford from the Hawkes Bay company Aromatics. Not only does he sell top nomz (especially the smoked mushrooms), he's a nice bloke.

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I'm getting one of those soon-to-be-released $2000 Panansonic Freeview-DVR-Blu-Ray-recorder-YouTube-player things to play with over the weekend. Will let you know.

Meanwhile, last night's Media7 interview with TiVo CEO Tom Rogers and panel discussion with Rick Ellis, Michael Carney and Scott Bartlett is online here.

The programme also features Gary Gottleib and Karl du Fresne on legislative panic, and a Maori Language Week panel featuring Naida Glavish (the NZ tolls operator who took a stand on her right to greet callers with "kia ora" in 1984), Dr Hone Kaa and Maori Television news and current affairs head Wena Harawira.

Yes, it was a rather busy show.

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The Dim-Post's Goose Sworn in as New Opposition Leader is some classic Danyl.

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Layton Duncan of new Zealand's first iPhone developer vents, big time about Apple's race to the bottom"with the iTunes App Store:

As with many other serious iPhone developers recently, we’ve made the hard decision to kill all but one project in progress, and stop investing any resources in creating new applications. We’ll continue to sell and fully support our existing iPhone offerings, however we’re already moving to platforms which show signs of real viability.

It’s a shame, the iPhone showed so much promise, it’s such a fun technical platform to develop for, but Apple have simply setup a market in a way which kills real businesses.

Ben Gracewood agrees.

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On a happier note, the not new but still tremendously fabulous High Contrast remix of Adele's 'Hometown Glory'.

Adele covers The Strokes 'Last Night'.

And Santigold covers 'Hometown Glory', live.

A groovy Lupe Fiasco mash-up.

And some booty: I have three copies of Dimmer's new album Degrees of Existence to give away. I haven't really had time to listen to the CD since getting it, but I liked the sound of the new songs at Dimmer's King's Arms show last Friday.

The challenge is simple enough: click "Reply" to enter by email (or click the little envelope icon next to my name in the discussion below if you're reading this in System): name another member of Dimmer, and put that answer in the subject line of your email.

PS: See those new small ads to the left of the page? It's a test for a new small-ads service via the ffunnell network. The ads can be geo-targeted at different parts of the country, and the CPM rate will be affordable. The current crop are going out free -- we also extended the offer to IMNZ members, and they came up with some nice creative for us. I'm hopeful that we can give local music labels and artists a really useful advertising solution. In the meantime, feel free to click on those ads.

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