Tactical Nuclear Penguin: The World’s Strongest Beer and The Ultimate Antarctic Beverage?

We interrupt our usual broadcasts to bring you news of something that actually involves Antarctica. Well, penguins anyway. Oh alright, two Scots dressed as penguins. But hey! It’s a world record claim involving a malt-based beverage, and as long-term Antarctic Odyssey readers will know, I claim the record for the world’s southernmost whisky tasting.

The fabulously hip Scottish brewery BrewDog has this week announced a new limited edition beer: Tactical Nuclear Penguin, which they claim is the world’s strongest beer at a whopping 32% ABV. As well as being so hip they have difficulty seeing over their pelvis, they do make exceedingly good beer. I’m a fan, and even at an eye-popping £30 for a bottle, I couldn’t resist.

BrewDog James and Tactical Nuclear Penguin

BrewDog James and friend unveil world's strongest beer: Tactical Nuclear Penguin

So, why talk about beer in a week that brought us an in-depth look from Radio 4 at the problems of the lack of organs for transplants? I’m not going to; I’ll leave the beer talk this time to the BrewDog guys. Go to their blog and watch the video, it gives the lowdown on Tactical Nuclear Penguin. And it’s very funny.

So, no beer tasting notes from me, there is another reason for this post, inspired by the thought, “Wouldn’t it be great to drink Tactical Nuclear Penguin to Antarctica?” You see, there’s a reason BrewDog has risen meteorically: they think big and they market themselves fantastically. If our Antarctic Odyssey has taught me anything it’s Dare Big And Dare Sooner. Whether I’ve learnt that lesson is another matter.

Which leads me to think it’s time for a new adventure. There is another trip down south organised by Australian explorer Peter Bland, with whom we travelled before. It’s in February, which is big dare but perhaps too long a shot in too short a time. How about taking the Penguin to the Arctic? We’ve talked about doing a North Pole trip with our Transplant friends, again for The Transplant Trust. One said it needn’t just be kidneys, it could be a mixed grill. I still fancy Antarctica, but we could at least go for the wolrd’s most northerly beer tasting. Who’s up for it?

Tactical Nuclear Penguin from BrewDog on Vimeo.


Do you want to do one good thing today? Go with The Floe

I bet you think I’m going to ask you to sign up for the organ donor register. Well, I’m not. “But just a minute” (I hear you say), “Aren’t you in the middle of a campaign to do that? You were on the radio last week…” Well yes, but today I’ve got something else to ask you.

Today I’m asking you to buy a love song. And if you’re not quite up to that, I’d like to encourage you to fwd, share, tweet, post, or even talk to somebody about this song “I hope you know”. It’s no ordinary girl meets/desires boy (partner) drama.

We often get asked what can we do to help your cause? After all, you can only sign up once, and although there’s donation (I don’t mean the Ultimate Donation – just money), people want to give of themselves and do something helpful without having to die for it. It has been quite tricky to know what to say. Until today… (Good grief, I sound like Jeremy Clarkson.)

Sarah Springett of The Floe

Sarah Springett, lead singer of The Floe

You see, Sarah Springett is the singer in The Floe. A year ago, 19 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, she donated a kidney to her boyfriend. She didn’t make a song and dance about it, she just made a song, it’s called “I hope you know”. And it’s about the love that would make someone give a loved one a new lease of life.

She was on BBC Radio 4 Woman’s Hour to talk about it. (Surely Top Gear is only a matter of time.)

Then they made a website and a video, and the proceeds are going to The Transplant Trust, and hopefully it will do something to balance the stats. If enough people download it so that it gets into the charts, then there’ll be a huge amount of exposure.

Look, I’ll stop going on, why don’t you listen to Sarah talk about it – it’s her song, and she does it much better than me. You can go to the download sites or perhaps even get a real CD.

And remember, if you just pass the word on about the www.ihopeyouknow.co.uk website, by whatever means necessary, you will have done your One Good Thing.

And on that (blonde) bombshell, I’ll hand you over to Sarah.


Our job: Find out Why People Would Receive an Organ but Won’t Sign Up

We were interviewed recently on BBC Surrey Radio as part of a new campaign to encourage people to sign up to the NHS organ donor register. The interview as posted unfortunately didn’t cover the whole interview, I think the last few minutes was cut off for some reason.Until we get the permanent download, I’d like to say what was missed, because it reveals the point of the campaign.

I said that we know that there are many people out there who want to register but never get around to actually doing it – so I asked how we can help them to do that.

Nick Wallis, the BBC Surrey presenter who interviewed us, mentioned a couple of times the statistics – that 95% of people would take an organ but only 27% has registered to donate.

It is up to us to do something about balancing that statistic.

Sign up to the organ donor register here.
Thank you!

Interview on BBC Surrey Radio

If you got stuck in traffic this morning in the Guildford area, I must apologise.  The extra chaos was no doubt caused because Cim and I were called in to be interviewed live from the studios of BBC Surrey Radio. Rush hour?  Maybe, but traffic is not as bad on interview-free days.

We were on the radio to help publicise a new campaign to get people to sign up for the organ donor register in the UK. Apparently, there has never been an out-and-out campaign with the single aim of getting people to, well, sign up – it’s always been a “by the way…” Can that be true?

Anyway, a very nice lady rang Cim and fixed us up to be on Nick Wallis’ Breakfast show. And despite the traffic, we arrived in time. You can hear us on BBC iPlayer; our bit starts at 2hr 39 mins. goes up to the traffic news, and there’s another snippet at 2hr 55, which unfortunately cuts me off in full flow. Be quick! It’s only up until Monday 9 November, 10 AM GMT.

BBC Surrey Radio's Nick Wallis and Cim

BBC Surrey Radio's Nick Wallis and Cim

Nick the presenter was really nice and natural, and asked just the right questions so that we could get our message across, which is: it’s a great idea to sign up for the organ donor register because if something terrible happens to you, you could make a huge difference in up to 9 people’s lives and your life won’t have been in vain.

If you have already registered, thank you! (Please make sure your loved ones know.)
Otherwise, to register go to: http://www.organdonation.nhs.uk

Shackleton’s Whisky Stash Found

If you’ve been on this blog before, you might be aware of my claim to the World’s southernmost whisky tasting, from our trip to Antarctica in March 2008. It seems the pioneer Ernest Shackleton was tasting whisky on the continent nearly 100 years before me.

According to this article in the Global Post, “Polar explorers of that era relied on their alcohol of choice to help them and their crews through the long Antarctic nights and insomnia-inducing days.”

Two cases of Mackinlay’s blended Scotch whisky were found at Shackleton’s hut at Cape Royd by conservators from the New Zealand Antarctica Heritage Trust. The question they’re asking is what will it taste like now? According to Richard “The Nose” Paterson, master blender, if the bottles’ seals are unbroken, they’d taste much as they did in 1909.

That’s all very interesting and historical, but I don’t think Shackleton’s drams constituted a whisky tasting. My claim still stands!

Read the full story here.