Tag Archives: stuart pritchard

ALL NEW: Lost in Translation

18 Jan

giraffeNow, I would never do anything that could be perceived as mocking one nation’s attempt to tackle our tongue; especially when their own language is to most of us as impenetrable as the Queen’s wotnot. Not that many of us would even attempt either. I speak of course, in general, of Chinese and, in particular, the peculiar, baffling and often hilarious mis-translations between Chinese and English we’ve come to know and love as ‘Chinglish’.

Yep, whilst most Brit’s only dalliance with the tonal nightmare of conversational Chinese is ordering a number 37 with Special Fried Rice, the freedom- and fun-loving figures within the decidedly democratic Chinese government like to go the extra mile by translating the country’s signs from meaningless squiggles into holidaymaker helping English; or something roughly approximating it, anyway…

Can anyone else sense giraffe?

Irony Fire Extinguisher

1 ChinglishIronyFireIf you think you don’t know what it is, imagine being an American whose understating of irony largely comes from the ironically off-the-mark descriptive prowess of queen of Canadian angst-pop Alanis Morissette’s Ironic. At best guess, I imagine this exists for the benefit of said Yanks as rapid relief in case irony levels become too much for them to bear – a pressurised metal canister full of whipped cream and burger fat that both instantly cools the mental overload and also tops up lard deposits to counteract the dangerous weight loss they’ve endured waddling from taxis to restaurants. At worst guess? The same thing.

2Incomplete Small Town Coffee

Erm, I’ll come back when it’s finished then, shall we? I mean, everyone has to applaud your commitment to signage, and if it’s just a matter off a seat scarcity and shortbread shortage, I wouldn’t mind too much, but just how incomplete are you? Oh, you still have children building the place? Right, yes, I’ll come back later…

Lovesickness-Carrying Pavilion

3 clinic

Sounds quite sweet, doesn’t it? Like The Tunnel of Love at a fairground or an amusement park for the heartbroken – a place where you’d go to try and mend your achy breaky ticker when your latest lady has stepped on it in her stilettos and left you on your lonesome. It’s not, though. It’s direction to the clap clinic at a Chinese hospital. Although ‘Lovesickness-carrying’ sounds a lot friendlier than ‘STD-ridden-slagbag’.

Deformed Man End Place

4 deformedmanThey’re a civilised lot, the Chinese. Nobody has any wish to have to look at the ugly or genetically mangled, but only in China will you find suicide booths for the fatally flawed to do the decent thing and end it all instead of making us beautiful people physically sick. No, not really, it’s the Disabled Toilets at Chengdu Airport! Though you wouldn’t necessarily arrive at that conclusion; ever.

Fuck Vegetables

5 Fuck-Vegetables1Yeah, damn right! Like the cry of a Tourettes-toting tot being forced to go down on an al-dente artichoke, it looks like the staff at this carnivore-only supermarket have had enough of pale-faced man-cows milling around the meat products and asking where they can graze. Either that or they’re actively encouraging people to fuck their five-a-day; which would be ridiculous; it’s not Japan, you know!

Do Not Defecate

6 dsc00103It’s a fair request, isn’t it? But slightly concerning that it’s a request that has to be made at all. I mean, sure, we’ve all been caught short once or twice and had to hurry past the queues for a McShit, but just how many of us would just release a hostage anywhere? Well, the fact that the authorities deemed the problem bad enough to translate it into Engrish suggests quite a few would.

Racist Park

7 Racist ParkAn all-time classic, if this was in Britain it’d be called Daily Mail Racist Park. But, despite the Nick Griffin-enticing name, this mangled bit of language actually points the way to a foreigner-friendly park specifically set aside for immigrants to The People’s Republic to enjoy Johnny Foreigner days out with their awful, godless, running dog lackey families. Actually, scratch that, if it was over here it’d be more likely renamed as the Daily Mail Centre of Racially Aggravated Assault Excellence.

Wildlife Is Not Food

8 img_1983Has anyone told Jeremy Clarkson this? Hmm, here we have the crux of the whole food-chain issue – a country famous for eating anything, absolutely anything, to the extent that the only thing with feet or wings they won’t eat is the table, seeing a local casually tucking into a raw Giant Panda haunch is probably only a matter of time. But, given the fact that we’re infinitely more civilised in the English speaking world, why bother translating it? Oh, yes of course, Australians…

Drunk, Insane, Armed

9 img_3537-2010-10-06The newspapers would have us think we have many and myriad problems in this country with drink, drug abuse and violence, but here’s an entry conditions sign for a landmark that makes our ‘problems’ look like a storm in a green-teacup. “No admittance for anyone who is drunk, insane and not properly dressed’ – fair dos, you don’t want Lindsay Lohan ruining it for everyone else. “Prohibit carrying… sword… metal-made electrical appliance… articles which can destroy the tower… articles which disturb common sanitation including unusual smell”. Fuck it, I didn’t want to go up it anyway…

Notice To Tourists

10 edited chinglish02This is all just common sense really: Do not enjoy the views and don’t flirt with the monkeys – some of them have the morals of a mandrill and would do you up the wrong ’un claiming you led them on in the wink of an eye. As to the views, they’re fucking abysmal anyway – call that a mountain? We could have gone to fucking Wales and seen better; and still got fucked up the bottom by a hairy primate…

Food for Thought

11 chinglish_restaurant_signOkay, I think we’re looking at some literal translation attempts here, so let’s take them one at a time:

The temple explodes the chicken cube – Cubed chilli-flavoured chicken

The soil bean burns the beef – beef and potato curry

The water boils the beef – boiled beef

Slip away the chicken slice – chicken breast fillet

Chicken silk noodles – just that

Black mushrooms rape – black mushrooms rape…

Moral Character Room

12 DSCN0232-e1286337146485I’d love to tell you exactly what this is, but the door-staff turned me away every time I tried to get in; even when I tried to bribe them whilst disguised as a sexy nun. I’ll have to consign this to ‘mystery’.

Slippery/Crafty

13 Chinglish5x7imageGood advice for life right there. Not sure it needs to be a permanent wall-fixed reminder of the nature of ‘the slippery’, but then perhaps if we had more signs like this dotted around the public areas of Britain we wouldn’t have let the likes of Bob Diamond screw us over with such ease.

Don’t Litter Downwards

14 dont-litter-downwardsThis may seem like a bonkers order given the predictable nature of the laws of gravity, but stop and think for a moment – this is the Chinese government, the shower behind producing the worst air pollution of any other nation on the planet. There, now it makes sense…

Mystic Yeast

15 6796495939_fc1c60f221_bOkay, you’ve got me. Possibly a sequel to 80’s Julia Roberts vehicle, Mystic Pizza, turning away from the theme of doughy junk food and to the subject of vaginal thrush? Perhaps using new age medicine? Hang on, I need to pitch this to some Hollywood types. Now, who really makes you think ‘Thrush’? Yes, Jennifer Aniston, of course!

16 chinglish_15

Civilized Urinating

Thank you, I don’t mind if I do! After all, no matter how civilised a slash I’ve just had, I still like to get away from the perfume of toilet pineapples and the stench of stale urea and enjoy an olfactory orgasm of fresh air. Sometimes I even remember to do my flies up too. Sometimes.

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ALL NEW: Hello! Is It Me You’re Looking For?

31 Oct

Apparently not, but that doesn’t appear to stop countless Google Gullivers, cast adrift on the sea on uncertainty that is the internet, persisting on washing up on the sandy shores of my blog, desperately seeking that one thing beyond their mortal reach – Lazy town porn.

Yes, as a responsible cyber-clogger, I periodically like to check up on the calibre of person perusing my pages and, indeed, what it was that led them to me in the first place. Fortunately, thanks to the analytics offered by mein hosts, I can do just that, seeing what country they hail from and the precise phrase they tapped into Google (with just the one hand looking at the results) that pointed them at me. Unfortunately, the reality of that is not so great.

I think it’s fair to say that, looking at the evidence, by and large, I can draw the conclusion that a particular type of ‘person’ ends up here quite a lot. And in case you were wondering just who you might be sharing this very sentence with right now, below is a selection from seven days’ worth of search terms exactly as they were typed in.

Naturally, where I can I’ve tried to help… or at least try and understand…

Amish Tits
As far as I know, these are salty cured meat knuckles sold by the side of the road in Pennsylvania.

The search for Amish Tits unearths a typical sampler depicting some Amish types and, of course, Lara Croft Tomb Raider and her unfeasibly large chest.

Sex in a luxury Jacuzzi
I like the inclusion of the word ‘luxury’ – it suggests that this fastidious pervert won’t have sex with strangers in just any old cheap Jacuzzi. My kind of bloke.

Hobgoblin Cake
Progressive rock group from the 70s whose greatest hit was a four hour epic on ice based on the very least popular of J.R.R. Tolkien’s books, The Annual Accounts of Mordor.

Fat bloke in Jacuzzi
Probably the same bloke from before checking how well he’d be received in said hot tub sexy time.

Sewer overflow cartoon
Because eventually the kids grow out of Disney.

Caravan sex
Disappointed fat man formerly thinking of Jacuzzi jizing now clearly lowering his sights.

2000 anorexic models
Make one ‘to scale’ model? For those days when 1999 anorexic models just can’t get it up.

Amish and where all the hoes at
He may not have mastered the workings of the search engine, but he knows what he wants well enough.

Cracked canoe beer bottle
My Native American name.

Dick ellershaw and ebay
The legal lap dog of the famous-name-portable-convenience manufacturer (see here) and eBay. Selling second-hand shitters?

Cock slag
One from my teen audience there.

Models gone anorexic
Ah, Russell Brand, welcome to my blog!

Jacuzzi orgasm
After crushing rejection the fat bloke’s given up on the idea of sex in a luxury Jacuzzi and is now happy to settle for a bit of self-service in a public spa.

Captain America golf cart float ideas
Yep. I’ve some of them.

Mexicans. Doing typically Mexican things.

Things that Mexicans do
Although stereotypically labelled a lazy race, you’d imagine there would be many other sites citing the activities of Mexicans that appear before mine. Apparently you’d be wrong.

Laugh mannequin
A non-sex sex doll for the man who just wants someone to find him funny? Is that you James Cordon? And have you been trying to cop off in a Jacuzzi?

cartoon the journey of a cheese sandwich through your digestive system
Wait, this sounds like me. I’m sure I followed it up with charcoal relief of a tin of Spam on a busman’s holiday up the rectum, too.

lazy town porn call the cops
Becomes self-aware at 02:14 am Eastern Time… half way through a tawdry tug over a kids’ TV programme.

pooh fucking piglet
Oh Jesus, what’s wrong with you people?

unfeeling robot
What he really wanted to Google was ‘wife’.

The robot wished it was unfeeling; but it felt everything he did to it….

fit pikey girls
Define ‘fit’, Mr Gadd…

glory hole wall of cocks porn
It’s important to cover as many bases as you can when conducting your search to ensure satisfaction.

Pritchard Media Tour: Part One

5 Aug

It occurs to me that it’s been a while since I could be bothered to post anything, so to make up for this utter lack of blog faeces-giving, I thought I’d give an unprecedented insight into my world.

Like opening the doors on Willy Wonka’s Chocolate Factory but with less chocolate and willy wonking, you’ve won a Golden Ticket, a Golden Ticket that takes you on a journey, a journey behind the scenes here at the magical Pritchard Media Factory. Pritchy Witcha’s Media Factory, I guess … actually, no, forget that, it sounds rubbish.

Some call it the TARDIS, some my Fortress of Solitude, to others it’s the Palace of Glittering Delights, to Josef Fritzl it’s too easy to escape, but to me it’s that place where I spend no less than 26 hours a day, sweating over a hot keyboard and milking out word-strings of varying degrees of interest from the very teat of fact.

But enough from me, go now with my two Essex Ooompa Loompas here and marvel in open-mouthed wonderment as you head behind the scenes at the most successful freelance writing/editing company ever in this house…

The Console

The very heart of the creative dream machine, from here ideas are formed, works of wordy art written and flogged off like cheap hookers or unwanted children, and porn is observed.

Let’s look around:

A) The Swear Box. Far too small to account for even an hour’s casual cursing, the Swear Box is now only called into use for the really bad words that I emit when I catch sight of stories about the Daily Mail, any TV talent show with ‘Britain’ in the title, the abortionate issue of such programmes, people who are too short, people who are too tall, fuckers with faces, swear boxes and, of course, blogs.

B) Pipe. For pondering purposes and, in the event of video conferencing, making a point.

C) Phurba. Tibetan Buddhist ritual knife. For reasons I find difficult to explain here.

D) WWII German Stick Grenade. Family heirloom from the period my grandfather dabbled with fighting for the other side.

E) Rear-view mirror. Even locked in your own impregnable office you can’t be too sure there’s not some whey faced goon, teen hoodie, Raffles-alike or evil clown behind you.

F) Sugar-based sustenance. Mostly Jelly Babies.

G) Magnifying glass. Used in the study of unidentified things found attached to either the furniture and fittings or myself.

H) Walther PPK/S. In the event of items seen in E) becoming tangible.

The Observation Platform

Through the reinforced shutters lies the white light of death from the moment nuclear Armageddon came to Colchester, frozen in time for me to gaze upon solemnly, mourning the loss of flavoured milk. This is the area in which I concentrate most of my looking, occasionally I flick channels to check on the state of the locals. It’s not looking good for them.

Let’s look around:

A) The Black Box. Beyond the Sheffield tones of my Artificial Intelligence virtual assistant, JARVIS Cocker, this is the only source of my aural inspiration. Except when Steve ‘Alan Partridge’ Lamack is on, or the empty headed drone of Nemone is covering for someone, then I put my headphones on and listen to something else until they go away.

B) Loose change. Conveniently bagged so that I can hurl the whole sack at passers-by instead of individual coins, thus saving time and effort.

C) Digital camera binoculars. Because neighbours need to be watched.

D) Discombobulating Oscillator. All in the name, really.

The Archives

A) Robert. So named not because of Robert Plant, that’s just one of those freakish coincidences. There to remind me that, in Britain, you are never more than a metre away from the terrors of nature. Also there to provide oxygen in the event of a full system lock-down.

B) Dictionary/Thesaurus. Because sometimes the internet is wrong.

C) Suspended globe. Because sometimes Wikipedia is wrong.

D) Randomly acquired figures of a selection of gods (yes, and a terracotta warrior) so that I can hedge my bets with that whole afterlife thingie.

E) Guitars. A complex series of riffs are played to signal to the household that coffee/a sandwich/cigars/hard liquor is required to help work through a tricky article on, say, horse-highering technology.

Blimey, this hatchet-faced harridan came out of nowhere! Okay, the boys are off now to drink cheap cider and fumble with some local slappers down the park, so she’ll be continuing the tour tomorrow. It’s time I also went to the pub to catch up on news and beer, so wait here with this feast for the eyes until I get back. Go on, go with her. Just don’t touch her. Or let her touch you…

ALL NEW: The Death of Technology

14 Mar

After well over a decade working in and reporting on the subject, I think it’s fair to say that not only am I’m in a decent position to comment on the future of consumer technology, I should be considered a tech expert; if not some kind of tech god. And if there’s one thing that my godlike experience dossing around in this sector has proved time and again it’s that all things which come initially heralded as ‘dazzling’ and ‘cutting edge’ rapidly become outdated, outmoded and, ultimately, replaced by the next best thing. Which is the issue I address now – sadly, no matter how I look at it, consumer technology itself is clearly on its last legs, doomed to obscurity and soon to be replaced by something bigger, better and faster…

This may come as a shock to some, particularly those in Cupertino, but I think the signs of the imminent death of consumer technology have been obvious for some time. Unlike food that constantly surprises us by swinging from being ‘beneficial’ to ‘Cancer-packed’ in the space of a week, or suddenly links itself with a previously animal-only life-be-gone affliction, consumer technology has just got lazier and lazier. In essence, it stopped trying…

Despite being an industry that exists solely because of its inventive nature, the consumer electronics world has long been a little bit, you know, unimaginative. Take the names bestowed today upon some of the sexiest kit available: the PT-AT5000E, the ATH-W3000ANV, the 55ZL2 – mere model numbers used to label, in order, Panasonic’s latest and greatest 3D Full HD projector, Audio-Technica’s limited edition 50th anniversary headphones, and Toshiba’s brand-new glasses-free 55-inch 3D TV. It’s almost as if they’re just too shagged out from all that inventing to come up with a decent name.

Consumer technology: not so good 'out of Windows'

Portable Predictability
It’s not just AV kit either where we encounter this dearth in moniker-imagination; take mobile tech such as smartphones and laptops, both the kit in general and their operating systems in particular. While Apple favours a numerical based system to distinguish between products, occasionally throwing a fruity ‘S’ into the mix, and Windows would like to follow suit but just ends up spluttering like a child with learning difficulties and some particularly unusual form of Tourette’s: “95… 98… 2000… ME! ME! ME! XP! 2003… VISTA! 2008! 7?!” At least Android puts a bit of effort in with its delicious range of OS options, including Gingerbread, Honeycomb and the all-new Ice Cream Sandwich. Personally I’m hanging on for the Eton Mess, Spotted Dick, or Cheese Platter with Port and Coffee that should inevitably follow.

Is this too subtle? God I hope not.

Then we come to fruit. Consumer technology is as obsessed with fruit just like geriatrics are, worrying about their diets all too late. Apple, BlackBerry, Orange, Raspberry Pi etc? Fruit – that would be the stuff that occurs naturally, yes? Technology – not so. Okay, so while I admit that you do often get as many different genera of, say, oranges as you do variations of a smartphone model, how often do you see people comparing oranges down the pub? “Oh you’ve got the Seville? How are you getting on with that?”Well it was an upgrade from my Mandarin and I’m still getting to grips with it. What have you got now?” “I’ve still got my Bergamot on contract for another few months. It’s okay though because I’m waiting for the new Tangerine to be released… Do you realise how fucking empty our lives are?” You don’t, because it’s stupid.

Next we have terms like ‘hands-free’ – it’s all a bit Ronseal isn’t it? Like ‘earpiece’ and ‘touchscreen’, as though without making us use these elementary terms for working the thing properly we’d all end up being wheeled into A&E with a bad case of tech-gerbilling and a redefinition of the term ‘ringpiece’. But then keeping things simple is, again, high up in the realm of the nearly deads – it’s comforting to coffin-dodgers to use terms that even Sun readers can understand, not frightening ones that require any discernible trace of a mind.

If it was down to me, in a manner not dissimilar to Apple taking something already in existence, renaming it to something beginning with ‘i’, then claiming to have invented it, I’d rebrand all techno-gubbins every year or so just to keep things fresh and interesting. It’s not got hands-free, it’s got Abu Hamza, it’s not connected to the internet it’s having Acid Air Dreams, it’s not equipped with a webcam it’s got iSight. No, wait, that last one is utter shite.

The Apple iAye-Aye in Rectal Upload Mode.

The ‘i’s Have it
Which brings me back to Apple not unlike a furious mountain gorilla going back for one last arm-battering go at a dead conservationist, why must they put a lowercase i before everything? I can remember way back in the mists of tech-time when it seemed cool. I probably had massive chops on the sides of my face and was stood on a grainy, windswept moor at the time, but it did seem cool; at first. Now, in keeping with the entropy of consumer technology, it’s just a sign of utter apathy on a new level of arsed inability and shit giving poverty. “Mr Cook, look we’ve just invented this: it’s a small lemur up the bottom of which you can store all your iThings for easy transportation! We’re calling it the iAye-Aye…” Or something.

Then there’s the newly launched Raspberry Pi, a pretend computer that the manufacturers are probably still sexually congratulating each other for coming up with such a clever name. If you’ve yet to encounter this, the Raspberry Pi is the plug puller when it comes to coma confined consumer tech. Marketed as an incredibly affordable computer to encourage the teaching of computer science in school, what it actually is though is a computer which they couldn’t be bothered to finish building. Look at that. It doesn’t even have a case.

Easy as Pi, basic as that bloke openly masturbating outside the bus station every day.

What it does have though is the processing power of your average Iceland advert ‘actress’ and a price tag that’s guaranteed to ensure national disappointment levels rocket as kids everywhere open the new computer they’d been promised for their birthday… followed of course by an astronomical upturn in parenticide. Still it’s nice they’re doing something as a family.

Tech or Leave It
But there it is: the long fade and inevitable on-coming demise of that shiny purveyor of the desirable we used to call consumer technology. As fat, flabby and lethargic as the morbidly obese people it set out to serve, milked dry like the last cow on Earth, doomed now to merely repeat itself until, ultimately, it chokes to death on its own fruit-flavoured sick.

Still, cheer up because we’ll soon have something spankingly new to replace it! Want to know what exactly? How the hell should I know? Give me a damn break, the source of my expert/godlike status and financial security just died, you heartless arse-clown. But I’m sure all will be revealed soon over, perhaps over the remnants of the Acid Air Dream…

FROM THE ARCHIVE: Life of Pie

8 Mar

To celebrate British Pie Week we’re harking back all the way to the glory days of the final issue of SmartLife International (again), out a year ago this month, when myself and my then glamorous assistant and Deputy Editor Sam Corrigan set about pairing pies and fine wine. As you do. Sadly the Wills and Kate was a Royal Wedding speciality and is no longer available, regardless it’s still worth reading Sam’s review of it if only for his glorious overstatement and his admission of getting ardent over Kate. Tuck in…

LIFE OF PIE

Wine and product-packed pastry together at last! Ignoring the more traditional union of pie and ale, STUART PRITCHARD & SAM CORRIGAN tackled some epic pie and plonk pairings; and then the Wind-eze. Lots of Wind-eze…

When a PR lady emails you and asks if you’d like to try some proposed pairings of fine wines and equally fine pies, you have to say yes; it’s the law. But as I say, these are no ordinary common or garden pies that merely blend meat and gravy, cheese and onion, or fruit and fruit, no, these are the kind of pies that you should approach with a due sense of reverence (especially in the case of the Matador Pie which tried to kill me) because of the stunningly rich variety of ingredients and flavours they contain, each ready to explode in your mouth like some kind of delicious taste-bomb.

Of course, when you have pies of such magnitude, clearly no ordinary wines will be sufficient to wash them down, which is why the alco-pairings here have been sourced from all round the world to provide the ideal accompaniment to this pastry perfection.

So, get comfortable, loosen your belt and prepare to indulge in the supper upper crust…

THE PIE: Matador
Warning: absolutely delicious and hearty as it is, there’s a very real chance this pie could make you dead. A fusion of free range British beef steak, chorizo, olives, tomato, sherry and butterbeans wrapped in some seriously tasty pastry, the Matador is richer than the man behind MyFace and really should not be attempted alone unless you are, of course, an actual matador, a human stomach, or John Prescott.

Unfortunately, because it does taste so good, I struggled through alone and as a consequence couldn’t move or breathe for five days afterwards as I was, literally, dead. Fortunately, I did get better after the digestion period ended, which is why I’m here now to recommend the Matador Pie to couples and anyone who thinks they’re man enough to tackle it alone. And to recommend the accompanying wine…

THE WINE: Cune Crianza 2007
A juicy, flavour-packed Spanish red to go with the Ernest Hemingway pleaser of pies, we tried the 2006 last year and were hugely impressed with this blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Mazuelo, and the 2007 appears to have been an even better year.

Aged in American oak for 12-months, there are wonderful red berry aromas on the nose, with spicy hints and the vanilla drawn from said oak. On the palate meanwhile, the rich fruit and subtle spice works wonders with the taste sensation that is the Matador Pie to enhance the whole experience of gorging yourself to a capacity technically known as ‘stuffed’ to dizzying new heights… mostly dizzying because you can’t catch your breath. Did I mention this killed me?
Price: £9.99

THE PIE: Chicken of Aragon
If I were to be asked to give a brief list of things I’d like to eat at any given moment, including after just waking up, I can guarantee that very early on in that list would be free range chicken, smoky bacon, roast garlic and fresh tarragon. And if you were to then hand all these things to me mixed with vermouth and wrapped in the flaky confines of a pie, I’d probably assume you were some kind of food-angel. Well, that’s exactly what Pieminister have done here with their Chicken of Aragon pie, a soon-to-be staple of my regular diet that I would previously have thought was nothing but a wife of the Chicken Henry VIII.

Nowhere near as much as a challenge as the Matador, the Aragon may be lighter but it’s no less delicious and pleasingly filling. Out of the three I tried this was my favourite, served up with fresh mashed potato, a drop of gravy and…

THE WINE: Villa Maria Private Bin Sauvignon Blanc 2010
The produce of the Kiwi vineyards of Villa Maria has long been a favourite here at SmartLife Towers, so marrying up a top-notch bit of eating like the Chicken of Aragon with a wine that – let’s face it – I already know is superb is not exactly rocket surgery…

Made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc, this bright, sharp, elegant wine hits the nose with citrus and gooseberry promise and then a palate that’s like a slap in the face from the god of refreshment, potent with citrus, gooseberry, green pepper and hints of passion fruit – the freshest from the Marlborough region yet!

You don’t have to be a brain scientist to see how well this match works – as though it were made in heaven, like Brad and Angelina, Beyonce and Jay Z, me and Kylie (worth a go). So perfect a pairing in fact that lucky readers in the UK (if ‘lucky’ applies) can even pick both up together from branches of Sainsburys. But fear not abroad-types, for you there is the Internet.
Price: £9.49

THE PIE: Henny Penny Pie
Intensive journalistic research on Wikipedia informs me that Henny Penny is the same character as Chicken Licken (and Chicken Little) in that it’s the chicken that becomes convinced the end of the world is coming; which in the case of the tasty free range British chickens involved in making this pie, something that was very much a reality. But don’t mourn those plucky cluckers, Pieminister has mixed them with mushrooms, white wine, cream and herbs for you to celebrate their deliciously noble sacrifice.

Like all of the oral delights featured here, Henny Penny comes lovingly served in Pieminister’s finest butter-based pastry (their flour supplier also supplies to the palace), making this fresh take on the traditional chicken and mushroom pie that’s very probably even better that that your mother used to make.

So with that nostalgia firmly kicked to the curb, what fine wine should accompany this premier poultry pie?

THE WINE: Vidal Chardonnay 2009
Back to New Zealand now like some kind of bizarre dating agency as Henny Penny gets set up on a tasty liaison with one of the North Island’s stars. Vidal is one of the oldest wineries in the Hawkes Bay area having been founded in 1905 and has long enjoyed a solid reputation as a quality producer. What’s more they know about food too as their restaurant is regarded as one of the best in NZ. So who else to pair with Penny?

Nutty, citrus aromas dominate the nose with hints of subtle oak, while on the palate this zesty, refreshing fruity number contrasts so incredibly well with the flavours of the pie it’s almost as if they been made for each other. Like me and Kylie. I’ll stop now.
Price: £9.95

Here’s where Sam takes over…

THE PIE: Heidi Pie
After the Matador Pie literally killed Stuart to death we entered an extended period of mourning here at SmartLife Towers. However, halfway through planning an extravagant funeral, including a gin fountain, a fly-over by the Red Arrows and a performance by an inconsolable Kylie, he miraculously got better and I dropped that plan and decided it was finally safe to take on my own selection of Pieminister pies… we kept the gin fountain.

First on my hit list was the Heidi Pie, which at first glance seemed distinctly lacking in one key ingredient: meat. Breaking the thick buttery pastry I was greeted with delicious Somerset goat’s cheese, spinach, sweet potato, red onion and roasted garlic and instantly my carnivorous urges were allayed. Each sumptuous mouthful offered my palate a treat and the lack of meat meant that I wasn’t levelled by the heartiness of the fare, it also meant I had enough room for the wine…

THE WINE: Louis Jadot Beaujolais Villages 2009
Designed to be enjoyed young, this offering from one of our favourite winemakers is a fruity, full-bodied number that marries perfectly with the flavours of the Heidi Pie. An olfactory treat the Beaujolais Villages 2009 has strong hints of fresh red fruits that mellows into subtle but distinct notes of cherries, a pattern that continues on the palate.

Adding a hint of raspberries, a dash of vanilla and finished off with firm tannins the fruitiness is never too rich and makes for an enjoyable tipple right to the last drop – which I quickly found out. A treat for vegetarians and normal folk alike these two are seemingly a match made in heaven, speaking of which…
Price: £9.49

THE PIE: Kate & Wills Pie
Now I’m not an ardent Royalist but in my opinion the Royal Family should be treated with a degree of reverence. Therefore it troubles me slightly that I find our future Queen so incredibly, well, sexy – is that treasonous? Or would it be treasonous to not find her sexy? Either way she’s a tasty one, speaking of which her very own dedicated pie isn’t too bad either.

Wrapped in delicious pastry, the pie not Kate, the ingredients list reads like a fact sheet of deliciousness. British beef, wine, bacon, pearl onions and a dash of brandy are the constituent parts of what is quite possibly the finest act of jingoism I have ever seen. If there is a better way of celebrating the nuptials of two strangers then I’m yet to eat it, and considering it is only available for a limited period of time my chances of experiencing it again are dwindling by the moment.

At this point I should issue a massive claim alert: this is the greatest pie I have ever eaten… ever, EVER! So when it came to washing it down I wanted to be sure that my palate wasn’t left disappointed, luckily it wasn’t…

THE WINE: Errazuriz Wild Ferment Pinot Noir 2009
This drop is a 100% Pinot Noir from the Casablanca Valley region of Chile. Located just west of Santiago the vineyard is marked by its proximity to the Pacific Ocean as cool breezes from the coast ensure the grapes ripen gradually, developing strong aromas and flavours along the way. All this leads to a fruity nose that elicits thoughts of summer fruits and even offers a subtle hint of rose hips. On the palate the full majesty of the wine comes to the fore; subtle and refreshing the lightness of the wine perfectly complements the richness of pie – much like our Royal couple.

After imbibing this wine and pie-based meal my fervour for the Royal Wedding has increased exponentially and now I find I’m digging out the bunting and planning to eat lunch with people I wouldn’t normally acknowledge, and in the street of all places.
Price: £11.99

THE PIE: Shamrock Pie
In a crowd of ostentatious attention grabbers the Shamrock Pie seems a little unimaginative when one casts a ravenous eye over the ingredients. Containing British beef steak, Irish stout and gravy this pie may seem like the simple option, but as I found out to my delight sometimes the simple things are the best.

Served up with buttery mash and proper gravy I devoured this pie like it were to be my last and I soon entered the torpid state that inevitably follows such hearty food. It was in this dreamlike state that I had a moment of clarity, this pie was a classic and you don’t mess with the classics. The reason the Shamrock Pie doesn’t need any extraneous ingredients is because it is pie-based perfection without them, and when you consider that all this comes locked inside Pieminister’s delicious pastry you realise that this pie, inspired by the Emerald Isle, would make St Patrick himself smile with voracious glee.

THE WINE: Grant Burge Benchmark Shiraz 2009
Owing to the fact that the Shamrock Pie is such a substantial meal the accompanying wine needed to be elegant and refreshing without being overly imposing. This is achieved adroitly by winemaker Grant Burge with the 2009 vintage Benchmark Shiraz. With red berries and a hint of blueberries on the nose, this tipple mixes soft and subtle tannins with its fruitiness to ensure that the sweetness of the wine complements the robustness of this classic pie on the palate.

An unassuming option this wine and pie combo won’t stand out from the crowd, choosing to merely sit quietly at the back, self-assured in its deliciousness, welcoming in the discerning customers who know that simplicity is often the path to epicurean happiness.
Price: £7.95