Cocagne Sardine Fillets in Extra Olive Oil

Wacka Flocka Flame & Lil Xan: Youth versus Legacy

How long do tinned sardines last? How are tinned sardines cooked? How are sardines preserved? Did Lil Xan really mean to dismiss 2Pac? Was Wacka Flocka Flame out of line to ban Xan from Hip Hop?

These sardines are bad. But how old is the can? How long do tinned sardines last? A google search on the shelf-life of tinned sardines says after five years they begin to lose flavour and consistency. On the front of this tin there is a logo advertising the hundred-year centenary of the company in 2006. Would Cocagne have kept printing cans with this celebratory date for more than, say, five years? Does this mean potentially these fish were canned, at the latest, in 2011 but perhaps as long ago as 2006 or even earlier? And, so, could be anywhere between six to twelve years old? Is it fair to judge something without fully understanding its past?

This is the reason too it comes as no surprise that Lil Xan would diss 2Pac or, more likely, be so easy to manipulate by the media into appearing to diss or dismiss one of the Mt Rushmore figures of hip-hop. Xan was born in ’96, the year Pac died, he could easily

Wacka_Flocka_Flame
Wacka Flock Flame. Est. 1986

have  little or no basis for contextualization of 2Pac. Wacka Flocka Flame was born in ’86 and so only ten years old when Pac died but this is much more time to be exposed particularly because 2Pac was still charting after his death throughout the late 90’s and even into the early to mid 2000’s with posthumous releases, most notably the Loyal to the Game in 2004. Flocka was also immersed in Hip Hop from a young age and when he rises to fame it is building on the regional style of Atlanta.

Arguably Lil Xan is just the latest in a long line of posers to think they’re making a statement by dismissing 2Pac. For the last decade posers have been confusing whether they prefer west or east coast rap (or know anything about either) by talking big about how much they like Biggie over 2Pac. This is often simply because they’ve heard Biggie more at parties or clubs. They stupidly dismiss 2Pac based on select singles where the production sounds comparatively dated. This is often also informed by

Lil_Xan
Lil Xan. Est. 1996

the many attempts by people cashing in without caring if they ruin 2Pacs legacy such as the awful remix re-releases of his albums, poor quality merch, and probably the worst thing, that ridiculous hologram.

Lil Xan is young and like most young people he wants to destroy all that came before him. He probably would prefer not to have to pay homage to a rap lineage he is in many ways removed from. For better or worse there’s always going to be an old guard who reactively defend the edifices of the past. A similar outcry from the twitter peanut gallery roared loud when Lonzo Ball rated 21 Savage’s Issa over Jay Z’s 4:44 though it was clearly a valid opinion for anyone under thirty. I don’t like Lil Xan much but whether the comment was intentional or the media manipulated him as he now claims, I wish he had stuck to his guns with this especially when Wacka Flocka Flame banned him from hip-hop. If Lil Xan had owned it rather than stepping back, he could have led the charge in what surely must inevitably be a concerted break by his SoundCloud/mumble rap peers to break from traditional hip-hop.

Cocagne Sardine Fillets in extra virgin olive oil are made by Conservas Ramirez in Portugal, which claims to be the oldest cannery in the world. Their products are often priced and discussed in the context of premium sardines. I don’t see the need for DSC_0134boneless sardines as western style fish is often almost boneless or has very small bones anyway, but I liked the tin and design, and this was the only variety on sale at my local store.

Once opened, the fish and oil look promising. The oil is a nice bright colour and tastes and smells mild though there is too much of it. The fish themselves are clean tasting but don’t have much flavour or minerality. They have a good inside colour but texturally are flaky and seem like they may have been over salted and/or cooked to a tough and chewy, almost mackerel like, consistency. I don’t want to rush to condemn when I don’t know how old this can is, whether preserved fish do really degrade over time and, so, some allowances should be made but to paraphrase Lil Xan looks good, tastes boring, 2/10

Hollywood & Levine

Ken Levine

Hollywood & Levine is a podcast by Ken Levine. He is/was a show-runner, screenwriter, radio-presenter, playwright and author. Over the course of three decades his writing credits include, but are not limited to, Mash, Cheers, Becker, Frasier and guest spots on many other hit TV shows. He has written several books, worked as a sport presenter, radio DJ and, recently, written plays. Even the side notes of his career warrant mention; for example, he wrote what I would consider two of the best episodes of The Simpsons (Dancing Homer & Saturdays of Thunder). His life has created or helped to create some of the western worlds most loved entertainment.

Levine’s podcast is based on his critically acclaimed blog, By Ken Levine. With such a massive career there is plenty to cover. He provides advice on comedy writing, self-deprecating stories about his bad fashion sense, being bored at award shows, early dating efforts in sixties Hollywood as well as often brutally honest insider accounts of Hollywood culture and the changing face of television.

Which is fine but, of course, there are a thousand podcasts presented by Hollywood types, so why should anyone care about this one?

Mainly because Levine seems to understand what many other podcasters don’t, that podcasts are often really fucking boring. That they can, and often should, be crafted rather than free form discussion. Podcasts aren’t an absolute good just as radio wasn’t an absolute evil. Hollywood & Levine as a podcast is a creative pastiche self-aware enough to foreground the radio experience of its host and playfully combine both mediums. The show has a jingle and Levine jokingly throws to commercial breaks even though, at least at time of writing, the show doesn’t have or seem interested in getting sponsors (though surely the mattress and stamp sellers of the world will soon try to come knocking). Each episode usually runs for less than twenty minutes but never feels constrained by such brevity. Levine hams it up by seamlessly affecting a traditional radio voice only to subvert it by swearing or carefully steering stories into darkly honest places. He splits episodes into segments and there is a tightness and sense of fun to the show even as the tones shits as sweet reminisces are book ended by his snarky takes on people, shows, or phenomena. For those used to the carefully masked diplomacy of the usual Hollywood celebrity podcast this will be confronting, perhaps even off-putting. This too is the beauty of Hollywood & Levine, that it can roller coaster from sweet to sour, that it’s host is capable of luring in the listener with his sweet tales of teen dates in sixties Disneyland and interactions on the sets of Cheers and Frasier but just as easily turning them off as he skewers all and sundry in his annual reviews of the Oscars. For all of the radio gloss, the jingles and the crafted segments, Hollywood & Levine is unashamedly honest, personal, entertaining, and often vulgar, in short, a podcast done well.