Jack ‘Jarvis’ Gorman does…Healthy Eating

A few months ago, I decided to eat more fruit and vegetables for a week to put a real healthy kicking into my daily diet . How hard would it be? How different did I feel?


It’s always been in the back of my head that I should eat five portions of fruit and veg a day. I presume the sheer guilt keeps it on my mind because, through unrestrained laziness, I haven’t had my five a day in years.

Being a freelance journalist means it’s common to spend hours at a desk on a hideous diet of black coffee, snacks and Twitter. However, it means you’re not tied to strict timetables and lunchtime can be whenever you desire. With that in mind, I assumed this “challenge” would be as easy as getting wet after falling into a swimming pool.

I’ve started feeling increasingly incompetent and irresponsible with my own health. A glance on the NHS website (after a fantastic lunch: large sausage roll, chicken and bacon slice washed down with a can of coke) showed it is easy to add fruit to your routine diet.

The point of this task is to show just how easy it is to add fruit and veg into the daily diet, see how I feel physically and mentally as the days go on.

Day One: Monday

Waking up, after little sleep, I skip breakfast but prepare some fruit snacks to take in to work. I use a yogurt pot to transport some red grapes, as well as oranges, an apple and a banana. I am rather proud of myself for attempting this challenge and stupidly line up my snacks on my desk in the same way students organise pens for important exams. It’s an easy way to get a light snack into work, so why not give it ago?

Lunch consists of a small pizza, black coffee, a little chocolate and another orange. I feel this is a sensible lunch, although I have eaten a fair amount I don’t feel particularly full. So I have a few more grapes and get back to work feeling refreshed.

I feel pretty smug with myself as I make a dinner, which consists of delicious omelette filled with pepper, onion, mushrooms and little bits sausage and ham. After a few grapes with a yogurt, I work on another feature for a few hours then fall asleep feeling non-the wiser

Day Two: Tuesday

I am assigned to an interview in London’s Soho in the evening so have a light breakfast of toast and a few grapes. I waste time drinking cups of coffee and researching my interviewee but after such a small breakfast I am inclined to eat the majority of the day’s fruit around the mid-morning mark. This consists of more grapes, a couple of oranges, a banana and an apple. At midday I’m battling a hunger problem again and decide to make a chicken pasta salad. This seems wise, as I probably won’t be eating till late that evening. Furthermore, it’s filling and a way of using up leftover chicken as well as adding a little meat to, what many say, is a boring snack.

After lunch I speed to London and find myself in a quaint pub in Soho interviewing two independent filmmakers about strange tales of their childhood.  At 6.30pm and knowing there is a train back home just after 7pm, I pace the laps of the Underground and soon board the train rather than stopping for any food. The train then sits in the station for reasons unknown and I find myself sat in the aisles waiting for a seat to arise as the minutes in which I could have found dinner drift by.

Despite this, the day has been good and I feel inclined to celebrate by hitting a nightclub. I reach my flat looking for some quick food, which I don’t have. However, I do have some cold chicken and some crisps as well as a couple of beers. This isn’t the best way to eat and stay healthy, but I admit this is a completely regular occurrence, in fact it more irregular of me to say no to alcohol. While working your mind and body hard, you are always reminded that you need a healthy intake to keep you going.

It doesn’t take a genius to work out what happens next. Fast-forward an hour or two and I can be found throwing some shapes to Steps and Five before finishing the celebration with a meaty pizza. No vegetables as extra toppings.

Day Three: Wednesday

I wake up early and feeling rather fresh despite smelling like a brewery that hasn’t been cleaned for a number of decades. I have the day off for visiting parents, which involves buying shop sandwiches and sitting around digesting polite conversation. I manage a few grapes again in the morning before gulping down a can of coke. You may now begin to see, the weakest part of my diet is breakfast and, like many workers, I usually skip it because I wake up late or don’t feel hungry. This is something that hasn’t changed whatsoever.

After yesterdays food-fail I still have some fruit including more grapes, three oranges and a banana. The increased amount of fruit and vegetables is making me feel as stressed or as bloated.

Dinner consists of a lighter than usual cheese sauce with broccoli, peppers and onions over spinach pasta. It’s a time consuming process to make the sauce but it is worth it for the delicious but light taste. It is at this point that I reminded that the meals that take time to make are usually the best and healthiest.

Day Four: Thursday

I’ve had enough.

The day didn’t start in such a bad turn.  Sleeping for over 10 hours and waking up to a blend of grapes and Friends, I have a spring in my step. I want to treat myself so I buy triple “40% less fat” sandwich from a supermarket and head to a meeting. Near to midday I am struggling to hold back my urges of hunger.

At the same time the meeting begins, 1pm, I devour the sandwiches like a man who hasn’t seen food for a month. I then munch through a small amount of chocolate, an orange, an apple and a trusty banana.

By 2.30pm, I feel hungry again which forces me too lose my temper somewhat and come up with an insulting alternative to nicotine patches to discourage smokers. I reason my anger is directed upon the smoking members of the community because, like a smoker fag-less for a week, I am craving a big juicy burger with a mountain of chips. After a few days of feeling less stressed and better about myself, I feel actually feel worse. I don’t want to do this anymore, somehow I have lost my motivation and I don’t feel as inspired to keep to my new diet.

After the meeting, I have an interview scheduled with a local record label owner. It goes very well discussing matters relevant to us and I then retreat to dinner. After discussing more everyday stresses with my girlfriend, I head to the kitchen hoping that boiling potatoes for mash will magically turn into a wonderful waterfall of chips and the fish in bag I place in the oven will morph in to the meatiest pizza ever. This doesn’t happen, and the meal is served with boiled carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.

I have a treat chocolate pudding and head out to present an evening radio show, with an ugly urge to pop into a fast food chain and give in to temptation. Instead I buy a pint from the bar below the station and insist that is my new diet that is making me listen to more Radiohead than usual.

A joke it may be, but I feel like I want to go back to my lazier and, maybe, easier ways. Without motivation it becomes annoying to cut, peel and slice vegetables and make sure there is always a supply of fruit around. But for the results of feeling healthier and eating better, this effort and easily compensated.

Day Five: Friday

After the previous evening, I crave for some fast food to balance things out. I resist temptation as well as breakfast and indulge in a baked potato salad for lunch, with some cheese, tomato, lettuce and cucumber.

I am expecting a phone call to interview a major label representative, so prepare myself for the wait by sending out emails to future interviewees. After 10 minutes my Internet dies and I am forced to find something else to do. I decide to eat fruit that ups the count my daily intake but, yet again, doesn’t make me feel full. So I have some more until I feel the hunger has passed.

With it being Friday night and a planned evening ahead, I plan to cook something a little special for my girlfriend. Chicken in a creamy mushroom and tarragon sauce with small boiled potatoes and mash is delicious and by far the best meal of the week.

Day Six: Saturday

I have a part-time job at the local football club working at the coffee stand on match days. I awake feeling a little under the weather, with a runny nose, sore throat and general bad mood. I have caught up on some more sleep and have a quick breakfast of some toast, oranges and a banana.

I head towards work to start my shift just after midday. The club gives us a bottle of water and a Mars bar to feed us until we finish. My shift is less than eventful and I spend the majority of it making coffee for myself. I pop into a local shop and pick up a jar of bolognaise sauce for dinner and a reduced-price chocolate and vanilla cheesecake as a treat for my girlfriend.

As always we add more to the bolognaise, such as more mushrooms, onion and peppers and cap it off with the chocolate cheesecake.

Today has been a problematic day to eat in a more healthy way, sure I had some fruit in the morning and extra veg at night but I was restricted to what and when I could during most of the day. Ideally, I could have made more of an effort with breakfast like having a fruit salad, which is something I will try next time.

Day Seven: Sunday

Although nearing the end of the challenge and knowing I can return to life where a packet of caramel digestives is lunch, I struggle to have any fruit at all.

Sunday morning is home to the toasted bacon butty and today is no exception, especially as I haven’t had one in weeks. I rub the sleep from my eyes and get on with a little work and tidying up. I have to go out to work on a magazine article, so have a quick lunch.

The afternoon becomes unusually stressful, fuelled on coffee and a small Kit-Kat. I return to start on the traditional Sunday roast. I prepare the chicken only to find no kitchen foil, I sulk off to the corner shop to stare at an empty shelf where the product should be and then sulk some more to another shop. Feeling angered by the unnecessary trip outside I accidently cut my self under my fingernail whilst peeling a carrot. I throw everything in the oven and sulk until the chicken is done.

Served with a stack of vegetables and a little gravy, it is a perfect Sunday roast that leaves the feeling that the weekend is over and it is pack to the grindstone tomorrow morning, only with more fruit in the lunchbox and better understanding of how my diet affects my daily routine.

Summary of the week:

In one way, I was right. Trying to get more healthy foods into your daily diet isn’t too hard. I swapped crisps and the high intake of chocolate for healthy alternatives in the day but didn’t need to accommodate more vegetables in my main meal as I have plenty.

On the other hand, despite the vast amount I was eating I wasn’t feeling satisfied which in work terms meant that I was struggling to concentrate, unless I ate more fruit or low salt chips. One way around this would be to eat a good hearty breakfast, which many people avoid. Don’t be fooled with two slices of toast, have a bowl of cereal high in fibre but low in sugar and salt such as Weatabix. This is also a great opportunity to up your fruit count for the day by adding a banana or even more exciting fruits like strawberries.

Furthermore, it could be argued that in modern times, we expect food quickly and preparing, peeling and slicing vegetables becomes an unforeseen annoyance. At times during the week I was desperate to come home and eat something quick and easy like oven chips and pie, but with a little effort I made delicious meals that weren’t too stressful or difficult to make. Which, as a result, became a pleasant surprise and is something that anyone can do.

In terms of my state of mind, early in the week I felt less stressed and clear minded about my daily routine. Even after a heavy night out, I woke up the next day feeling great. That being said, towards the end of the week I started to feel increasingly angry, as I had to think about meals with plenty of veg in or snack on some fruit when I was desperate to give in. I also believe because I had a busy working week, where I would work a great deal in the week and then working for a few hours after dinner, I was becoming stressed about succeeding in this challenge as well as the other work commitments and by the end of the week I was back to eating a few bits of fruit here and there.

Regardless of both the negative and positives of this experiment, it is important to remember that this is a change in diet that must last longer than a week to feel the full effects.

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The Interviews: Kill It Kid

Kill It KidIT’S A Sunday afternoon at Southampton’s Joiners. Kill It Kid lead singer, Chris Turpin is sat quietly restringing his Gibson Les Paul, while drummer Marc Jones is idly flicking through a local magazine. They’re sat by the bar, waiting for dinner but looking relatively fresh for band, that before yesterday’s break, had played 18 dates in a row.

“We went home,” Marc smiles, looking visibly refreshed, “and that was great!”

In the resulting months the Bath four-piece, completed with Stephanie Ward and Adam Timmins, will complete the recording of their second album then meet Jack White at this year’s SXSW Festival.

“We’ve done loads of gigs,” Marc explains, “but on this tour it has picked up. This is our biggest tour with the line up change, our violinist moved on to do other things, so we became a four piece. We did a little tour in November to sort of road-test the new album.”

“We know we can put on show,” he continues, “people are coming to see us which makes us more comfortable. People are there because they have bought our album and like it, so we have to please them and ourselves.”

Set for release on One Little Indian Records, the follow up to 2009’s self-titled debut is expected this summer, and the band seem eager to show it to the world. It will be their first record without violinist, Richard Jones.

“I don’t think it came as a surprise,” Marc says, “we’re really happy that he is doing what he wants to do. You spend so much time with someone that you care for them as a friend and we still see him and hang out.”

“He didn’t really want to be in a rock and roll band,” Chris continues, “the touring, sleeping away from his bed and playing venues. I think it worked out for the best.”

With the release of the debut album and the trend of faux-folk having an impact on the chart, Kill It Kid became lumped into the “crop of neo-folk bands”. When this quote is mentioned, it produces a giggle from Marc evidently humoured by the phrase.

“We really like what those guys were doing,” he concedes, “but we were very aware that because folksy stuff was doing very well we got lumped in with that. When actually, we’re playing bluesy rock ‘n’ roll.”

“In my mind, I always thought of us as a blues band in essence,” Chris says, “when we were being bracketed in the same sentence as Laura Marling, it just didn’t fit right with us as a group of musicians”.


The violin probably didn’t help their “non-folk” argument, insisting they used it as the hook instrument in their songs. With that gone the band have adapted the “less is more” approach making their material come alive.

“We’ve stripped back the acoustic guitars too,” Chris explains, “I’ve been told our debut album is too busy with too much going on. We needed to take out one lead melody instrument.”

“When you start off as a band you’re throwing all your ideas into the song,” Marc interjects, “and I think we’ve actually matured to understand what a song needs and creating a vibe and atmosphere. There’s less instrumentation, but we’re doing more.”

Chris claims that he had “probably 60 or 70 songs” for the second full-length but “a lot of them didn’t fit” into what he had in mind. The band headed to a studio in Central London and recorded songs in a week and with great “immediacy”. Songs set to appear on the album are said to have “less narratives” and showing the attitude that they feel were hidden underneath layers of melody on their first record.

The record is also more of a concept, using samples of 1920 and 1930’s speeches, including the Alan Lomax snippet opening new single Pray On Me.  Chris points out that the band had the “opportunity” to release radio friendly songs but opted against to make an album that they were happy with.

“This might be our last bat in the music industry,” he announces bodily, “so we’re going to make an album we’re extremely proud of. We’d much rather be in the industry for five years and release two albums that we are very proud of than compensating and working around the trend.”

“There is defiantly a lack of honesty and sincerity in the charts,” he continues with a certain vengeance towards the Top 40,  “we just don’t want to do that. We wanted to do it very quickly in London with a great producer rather than spending weeks in the woods like we did on our first album.”

mypace.com/killitkid

JACK GORMAN

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Riverfest

LOOKING TO DO something different as we drift ever closer towards a busy summer? Why not pop along to this year’s Riverfest down at Newport Quay tomorrow afternoon (Saturday 21st) and enjoy the delights of the River Medina?

Set to celebrate “the heritage, community, business and wildlife associated” with the River Medina the event has been organised by the Footprint Trust. Last year over 4, 000 people attended the festival, making it the biggest community event in Newport.

The day begins at Noon with many vessels upon the water, art and craft stalls and the chance for youngsters to make something to take home.

The Little Brig , one of the smallest tall ship in the world, will be sailing up the river as a treat for the adults too.

Ray Harrington-Vail works at the Foot Print Trust and says it is set to be a brilliant day down by the river.

“We’ve got a lot of things down there for free,” he explains, “things for children to do including art activities. Also, there is the opportunity to explore the mud of the river. A lot of people see the mud as being untidy and don’t understand it, but the reason we have so much wildlife on the river is because we have so many creatures living in the silt, so the kids will have the chance to have a dig through and see what is in there.”

Ray believes it is great event that celebrates the river and it’s history, he says the Medina is part of the Island’s heritage.

“It is where the gasworks was, where one of the first power stations was, and today still has a good number of boats sailing along it,” he says, “we’ve also got the Riverside Centre and the Quay Arts Centre there too. The event will have a number of local charities there as well as local businesses. We’ve tried to celebrate local food as well as.”

Admission to Riverfest is free.

Don’t forget the Paddy will be popping down there and will be broadcasting live.

JACK GORMAN

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Jack “Jarvis” Gorman’s Classic Album of The Month: May 2010

IDLEWILD-100 BROKEN WINDOWS


The bands that succeed in their careers do so by evolving, Idlewild are no exception.

From the “flight of stairs falling down a flight of stairs”, scruffy, unpredicatable and manic punk rock of mini-album Capitan and full-length début Hope Is Important, 100 Broken Windows is obviously cleaner, concise and contained within it’s subject of history.

Unlike most bands, you don’t need to previous work to comprehend and believe in Idlewild. The collected material is excellent, catchy even and doesn’t feel like akin to their work today (From punk to post-punk to melodic rock to folk rock to mainstream rock).

Little Discourage almost feels archaic in it’s title and chorus, a tune from 1986 rather than 2000. It feels educated and wise (“I found a mountain on my own/Trust history to say it’s unknown”). The opener builds in sonics whilst pushing the boundaries of hypnotism within it’s final chorus.

The level of new-found wisdom continues throughout the record. The singles, These Wooden Ideas and Roseability (a nod Sonic Youth), ooz the confidence and charisma unseen since The Smiths. Better still, the record begins to feel like a concise document of imagination and ideas.

Let Me Sleep (Next to the Mirror) is the greatest single never released and sounds unaware of how huge and moving it sounds, whilst Actually, It’s Darkness may say everything without saying anything at all but still has the biggest chorus the band has ever produced.

The closing tracks show Idlewild can record anthems that often understate themselves. Quiet Crown and The Bronze Medal  burst with a sense of raw emotion that has been borrowed by Snow Patrol in their mainstream years.

100… is a staple alternative album if you are a fan of Echo and the Bunnymen and R.E.M. and Sonic Youth. Almost a relative to The Holy Bible by the Manic Street Preachers, a stark and intriguing piece of art that wanting to be viewed and discussed. Moreover, it pushes forward the eagerness of youth with a firm sight on maturing their sound that will see them create the blissful follow up album The Remote Part.
It is the sort of album that prevents most teenage boys from going mad, giving into modern day R’n’B and pimping their garden hoes.

JACK ‘JARVIS’ GORMAN

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ITV’s Home Is Where The Heart Is

Home Is Where The Heart Is

"a mixed triumph"

THIS 3-PART series from ITV highlights the fundamental problems this country has with the homeless. Sure it may not be as common on the Island, and the statistics show a scarlily high number of people sleeping it rough on UK street but it is the indiviulal stories that are more horrific.

Home Is Where The Heart Is views as a mixed triumph. A group of celebrities take in four unfortunate souls to try to help them recover and fit back into society.

They include Anneka Rice, chef Aldo Zilli, designers Colin and Justin and Blur bassist Alex James welcoming in strangers of the street and into one of their many UK homes (sorry, an ounce of cynicism slipped in there). All supervised by a member of the charity SPEAR.

The Blur man is a bizarre choice for the programme, at times he potrays himself as the country village idiot driving around in a car with a front door that won’t shut, wearing tweed and egging his guest on like he is a child at a football match. However, when 18 year old Danny Newton tells production staff, and not Alex,  he has been hearing voices coaxing him to self harm and be violent to others a psychologist arrives for an assessmen. Alex reacts in a way that on the face of it seems spoilt. On reflection it is a near touching account of someone who is genuinely concerned for a fellow human being.

Elsewhere with Colin and Justin, their guest, 34 year old Jim Gilraine, spends the first night sleeping on the floor rather than the lavish four-poster bed that has been provided. Further on in the episode the two designers treat him to a ride in a helicopter to give him some positive energy.

It make for sometimes difficult viewing, when the overriding feeling is “So at the end of this series, they’ll be kicked out back on to the streets?”

A bit of a heart string puller but for a real tragic story and education of the homeless check out Alexander Master’s Stuart: A Life Backwards.

Home Is Where The Heart Is broadcasts tomorrow at 9pm on ITV1.

JACK GORMAN

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Richard: A Novel by Ben Myers

Richard: A Novel

"This can only cause debates"

If you don’t know who Richey Edwards is, then this book might not be for you. Furthermore, if you don’t understand that Edwards wanted to be a cult icon then this book might soar majestically over your head.

Ben Myers has been brave in creating a story about the disappearance of the missing Manic Street Preachers guitarist. He is bold to split the book into two entwined narratives one a monologue of Edwards’ known and possible movements concerned with his disappearance and a first person view account of his career from his childhood onwards.

This is where the problem lies. The audience for this book is likely to know the well-published history of the Manics. A Richey fan will simply skim over the chronological points, save for the interesting facts that are fleshed out with fiction in a tidy, entertaining and fitting manner.

Richard’s appeal and hook lies with the monologue that begins with Richey leaving the London Embassy hotel. For the early stages this is built from the known facts, the packge left in the room and the fact he disappeared early in the morning all read with the air of  chronology rather than a debated histroy.

It is even more an elaborated piece of non-fiction if you have read Simon Price’s biograpghy of the band, Everything. Myers uses the spusptected sightings  Price mentions in his book as part of tale, but more importantly engages the audinces with Richey’s thought processes.

This can only cause debates regarding it being something Richey would do, but either way it becomes compelling to read and also to find out how Meyer chooses to end his tale. The use of two story lines that collide right at the finale of the book certainly help to keep the readers eyes on the page.

A good read, but suited to those who have a theory regarding the lyrical content of the Revol single…

7.5/10

JACK GORMAN

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AT THE VENUE: Twin Atlantic with Fighting With Wire

12TH MAY 2011

SOUTHAMPTON JOINERS

THE JOINERS has the reputation of being one of the best music venues in the South and tonight is evidence to this claim. Crowd surfing, smashing guitars, feedback and enough sweat soaked t-shirts to keep a laundrette running for months. Rock and roll.

Derry’s Fighting With Wire are possibly the best rock band in the country. If you think Foo Fighters live show is nearing a comedy classic then you thought wrong. Front man Cahir O’Doherty gets the crowd on his side with gags and the best pornographic guitar solo-playing his axe with his feet.

The band is tight for thier power-pop alternative, riff-tastic rock, they are a power trio that have the live show behind them and after this performance will get a grand crowd for the next Southern visit.

Then it is on to the big boys. With the full-length debut out in the shops, Twin Atlantic have a bit of swagger about them. Opening Free is a little confusing especially for a band that has some many breath-taking songs. Sure there is a sing along, but it is probably best to get the weaker song out the way first.

Then their balls drop, guitars glaze with vengeance and Twin Atlantic “come alive”. Edit Me, The Ghost Of Eddie, Lightspeed and Caribbean War Syndrome are hurled into the Joiner’s crowd just as fast the teenagers slam themselves into each other. Lead singer Sam McTrusty demonstrates his new found ability of being a passionate live front man, his confidence in his vocals and reasons why guitar straps need to be well maintain because the George Formby look doesn’t suit him when they do break.

Sure the new songs sound good Yes, I Was Drunk, Crash Land and We Want Better, Man sound solid, but it is tracks mini-album, Vivarium, that get the best response. They sound heavier, leaner and more crowd ready with Audience and Audio causing a mini-riot.

But the heat of the Joiners begins to the get better of the band. Sam admits struggling to breathe yet still rattles in Where Is Light and Where Is Laughter?, but it’s during finale You’re Turning Into John Wayne that the heat really takes over. At the end of the final coda, Sam gives up throws down his guitar and hurls into the welcoming crowd, his sweat drench t-shirt being basically see-through. Meanwhile, lead guitarist Barry McKenna calls it quits and begins slamming his Jazzmaster into the stage and allowing the orgy of feedback to commence. A proper end to a proper rock gig.

Then it’s over, the chilled May breeze is a welcome relief and Twin Atlantic staking their claim as one of Britain best live bands.

9/10

JACK GORMAN

Read Jack’s review of Free here.

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