Clapton Drops Second New Single In As Many Weeks

Given the newfound audience he’s acquired with his surprise anti-vaccine hit, Gotta Stop, Eric Clapton wasted no time heading back to the studio. The follow-up’s urgency came from his desire to have it released before he embarks on his US tour with its one venue. (Jagger’s ex, Jerry Hall, helped him book a Desantis ’24 fundraiser to be held at The Villages.) This recording gives new life to an obscure Ike and Tina song from 1974, Sexy Ida.

It’s hard to get funkier than Ike Turner, but with some of his raunchiest guitar licks ever Clapton’s cover does just that. He’s also taken some liberties with Ike’s original wording. For example the line “Don’t give your love to Sexy Ida, Cause she’s the sister of a black widow spider” is now “of a CIA insider.”

In addition to doctoring the lyrics, there are brand new verses that address the devastation caused by Hurricane Ida. Clapton sings “Evacuation’s just speculation, Big brother can’t tell you what do” making it clear there’s no role for governments in peoples’ daily lives.

There’s also a not so veiled threat to charities like the Red Cross and Unicef to stay away. He poignantly laments: “How can they learn the lessons of life, If they’re not allowed to fend off strife.”

Clapton has served as something of a moral compass to a generation of baby boomers that began in the late 60’s. That’s when he started an affair with George Harrison’s wife, Patty Boyd. Breaking up his best friend’s marriage did not stop him, in fact it inspired him, in writing the rock classic Layla.

Clapton has become a master at capitalizing on current events. He hopes “Ida” will equal the success of his biggest hit, Tears in Heaven. That song memorializes the death of his four-year-old son in March 1991. It was released in January 1992.

The Sine Qua Non

I

In July 1972, Gary and I were in New York for opening night of the final dates on the Rollng Stones’ tour. We’d seen them seven times in five different cities. We knew the exact moment in Stevie Wonder’s opening set to break for the stage before the guards were positioned.

Large arena tours were still a new concept and crowd control techniques had yet to be perfected. The only method promoters employed in those days was to have faith people would stay in their assigned seats. They miscalculated.

(It should be noted after this Monday night performance, Tuesday’s concerts featured much heavier security with huge sheets of plywood blocking both ends of the aisles on the main floor. As well as all the entrances onto the floor.)

Crowds in the other cities had been a little unruly, a lot of jostling for position but nothing we couldn’t handle. We always made it to the lip of the stage. In Madison Square Garden, however, it was pure anarchy. We were surrounded by throngs of New Yorkers doing what they do best: push, push, push.

As the intermission was coming to an end Gary and I were five rows back. We realized this was the best we could do. Then the houselights dimmed and over the speakers came the dramatic, low-key announcer’s voice, “Ladies and Gentlemen….The Rolling Stones.”

With the opening strains of Brown Sugar I instantly found myself in an ever-tightening vise: surging hordes behind me, an immoveable stage to the front. I lost Gary in the mayhem and was pinned in by all of the humanity. My back was to the band though show business was not foremost on my mind at the moment. I searched for an exit route but couldn’t move. There was no way out.

Suddenly I felt an arm around my waist and in one fell swoop, someone pulled me backwards on to their chair. Everyone in the first rows was standing on their seats and the space where their feet once rested was now occupied by the influx of fans. We were packed so tightly I couldn’t turn to see who my captor was. But for the next hour a strangers arm around my bare midriff and a three inch sliver of a folding chair were my only security.

When the concert ended and the crowd began to thin I jumped from the chair and turned to meet the person who rescued me. He was a very cute high school senior on a date with his girlfriend. Although I gave him a perfunctory thank you over my shoulder when he pulled me from the scramble, I doubt if he heard me. Now I was effusive. I thought he’d spared me great harm and I was very grateful.

In a very sexy moment he gave me a sheepish smile. As if he’d enjoyed touching the forbidden flesh as we listened to the devil’s music. Sensing trouble his girlfriend quickly sprayed her territory, threw her arm around his shoulder and said, “come on honey, let’s go.”

In the midst of the chaos when I first landed on my perch they were still playing Brown Sugar. I was 10 feet away so I could finally see them clearly. When I looked at Charlie he seemed to be staring back at me. I thought I was imagining it because I didn’t think he could see through the lights. Real or not, we were locked in a stare down for quite some time.

Maybe he’d seen me being trampled and was worried about what was happening on the floor. Whatever the reason, I finally had the attention of one of The Rolling Stones and I wasn’t going to blow it. I continued to act as if things were perilous.

Then I thought better of it. If he was genuinely concerned I should at least let him know I was okay. So I dropped the act and flashed a big smile.

His reaction was immediate. With the coolest indifference he slowly turned his head to the side and stared off into the distance, never to look my way again.

In a very polite way Charlie Watts was telling me not to waste his time with my bullshit.

Better Living Through Gelatin

The aspic from Dinner at 8, George Cukor’s 1933 film. It was Pre-Code
Hollywood. Any suggestive associations are those of the beholder alone.
We’re running a clean website here, one worthy of Will Hays.

Silicone has become such a part of our lives. It’s in our kitchen utensils, in our breasts, and in our personal lubricants. So much so that this year the First Annual (and many are hoping, last annual) Summer of Silicone Fun was held at Chez 55 Laguna.

Pandemic Netflix binging led me down several strange paths including the 11th season of the Great British Bake Off. I was awestruck by the episode called Desserts whose showstopper segment was a jelly art design cake.

Many of the gelatin domes were so crystal clear and contained such intricate designs they were reminiscent of Venetian millefiori paperweights. Being the impressionable bloke that I am, I was personally challenged to master this newly discovered technique.

I temporarily halted my bible study reading of Ezekiel to scour the internet for information on molding gelatin. I bought a few silicone bowls and rounds. Then I did a prototype with my favorite summer pudding to see if I could unmold it. It was kind of okay. The prelims out of the way, sights were set on a true jelly dome with fruit.

My first attempt at silicone molding was a strawberry-rhubarb mousse.
The result was amorphous, mushy and semi-firm.
I get enough of that in the bedroom, I don’t need it in the kitchen too.

With my friend Eric’s help, methods and ingredients were tested. The first lesson learned was forget Knox gelatin, it’s crap. Gelatin is rated by its bloom (basically, strength) that can be as high as 325. The better grades hover around 300 and the American standard is 250. Knox is 225.

The second thing I learned was watch the sugar. Although it helps to strengthen gelatin, using my higher grade stash I made a test batch with no sugar at all and it turned out fine. But one cup to four cups of water? Pancreatic cancer anyone? Please! 1/4 to 1/3 of a cup is more than sufficient. Especially if coupled with delicious seasonal fruits. Give those berries a fighting chance and don’t anesthetize the taste buds with glucose.

As for the citric acid, order it from Amazon. And go light on it. It’s foul tasting but seems to be a necessary component in the equation. Three days were spent being the urban warrior hunting and gathering locally for the precious powder. All for naught. It can’t be avoided any longer: just render unto Bezos what is Bezos’.

Is there any more satisfying summer trip than the one from the
garden to the silicone kitchen molds? Probably not.

My first jelly design was a carrot cake with nectarines, raspberries, and blueberries. In my zeal to make it sparkle I coated the blueberries with a glittery food coloring. The coating immediately melted when the berries touched the gelatin and bleed throughout the crystalline dome.

The biggest hurdle was dealing with the huge expanse of nothingness that tasted like nothing. Sure you’d eventually get to the good stuff, the fruit, but there was all that blank space in between to chow on. I tried to make it appealing with the clear flavorings of ginger extract and anise. (I was living dangerously because ginger along with kiwi and pineapple have elements that can destroy gelatin’s protein. My novenas were answered, however, I achieved a perfect gel.)

Here’s to the ladies who lunch.

My next jelly was more of a traditional aspic, a tomato base with a crabmeat dome. The red bottom needed no adjustment but for the clear crabmeat capitol I added cucumber and onion as the flavors. I spent a half hour squeezing those two vegetables through cheese cloth to extract as much juice as possible. It clouded the aspic so badly you couldn’t see anything.

Highlighting the stunning detail for my guests.

As I worked with the clear gelatin I sampled it. It tasted like dishwater. But when I served my guests they raved about the vegetable flavors that came shining through. Who knew? One man’s Dawn is another’s Lafitte-Rothschild.

Molding gelatin/molding genital. What’s in a mold.
Bloody Mary penises (made from yellow heirlooms)
that were suspended in the cloudy aspic. Don’t be afraid to
mix a healthy diet with your favorite adult themes.

My final foray of the summer jelly season was another cake with fruit. Eric advised me to use a pyrex bowl instead of silicone to get the glassy surface. But the kids on Bake Off used silicone so I had to try it one time. It turned out pock marked. Eric was right.

I’m starting to get the hang of it. Which should serve as fair warning to those who invite me to their next pot luck dinner.

Three Mile Island revisited: a cherry-berry-jelly sponge that
put the kum back in the quat.