The Saturday miscellany: BIG video graphics; how to make perfect coffee; can I eat soap?


THE DIGESTED FAD: BIG music video graphics

By Holly Williams

It may be less remarked upon than the nudity in the "Blurred Lines" video or Miley Cyrus's tongue-out twerking in "We Can't Stop", but both videos are in the vanguard of a typographic music video trend. Robin Thicke's "Blurred Lines" pre-empted internet buzz with #THICKE written over the action, while "We Can't Stop" spelt out its own name, its singer's, but also its writer's – 'MIKE WiLL made it'. Both are from director-of-the-moment, Diane Martel. But the trend is spreading: witness the new Kings of Leon video to "Supersoaker". Directed by W.I.Z., it not only ticks the Instagram retro-look box, but also spells out lyrics – 'SENTIMENTAL GIRLS' – on screen.

CAN I EAT THAT? Unorthodox digestion queries, answered. This week: soap

By Archie Bland

Well, look, it won't be very nice – washing your child's mouth out with the stuff, let's not forget, is traditionally considered a punishment rather than a treat – but if you really must consume something from the bathroom, it's probably a bit worse than toothpaste, a bit better than shampoo. Most soap is non-toxic, and if you eat a very small amount you aren't likely to keel over. Some people with an eating disorder called pica, which makes them crave inedible substances, have eaten it without immediately disastrous consequences. Keep eating it for a long period, though, or eat a sufficiently large quantity at once, and you could cause yourself serious digestive problems – diarrhoea and vomiting for a start – and even skin irritation. In summary: don't worry if you accidentally swallow a sliver in the shower, but don't go making a pie out of it.


By Ellen E Jones

Dear Ellen

Q. When I first met my 23-year-old girlfriend I let her believe I was 32. I'm actually 42. Should I tell the truth?

A. Remember that turning on your life path sign-posted 'Adult Maturity'? Well, you missed it. Doing a U-ey now is risky, but if you continue speeding along in the wrong direction, the emotional car-crash is inevitable.

@MsEllen E Jones

HOW TO: Make perfect coffee

By Liam O'Brien

Remember when a cup of coffee meant a spoonful of Nescafé? Here are three tips from Jeremy Challender of Prufrock Coffee for a tip-top brew:

First of all, you will need "desirable water". That means bottled water. "We don't consider tap water to be horrible tasting, but it will cause limescale in an espresso machine and it doesn't have a neutral PH," says Jeremy. Alkaline H20 can neutralise flavours.

Buy your beans. "I'd need a certain amount of information, such as the farmer's name or the co-operative – and I'd need to know that it was harvested fresh," says Jeremy. (This sounds like hard work, doesn't it?) Make sure it was harvested in the past 12 months.

Believe it or not, your equipment doesn't really matter – as long as it's clean. "The cafetiere, the AeroPress and the Syphon [also known as vacuum coffee]" are all effective. "For immersion brewing, you don't need anything, just use a jug," says Jeremy.

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