Wednesday, May 31, 2006

D(og)-List Celebrity

Miss Ellie (our family dog) is appearing on the Paul O'Grady show this week. I'm ridiculously excited about this and it was all I could do to stop myself from squealing when I heard the news. The thought of her travelling by train to a film studio was just unbarely cute. I'm really not normally this girly, but she is such a sweet little dog.

I hope she acquits herself well.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Holiday Attire - Some Thoughts

Sad as it may be, one of my main reasons for choosing my holiday destination was to fit around the type of clothes I wanted to be able to wear. Basically I want an excuse to drift around in pretty dresses. My holiday wardrobe therefore alternated between Italian Riviere style (Gwyneth Paltrow in The Talented Mr Ripley) and 60s/70s prints (Bianca Jaggar keeps coming to mind, but I don't know why as it certainly didn't involve a white suit nor a horse).

Whilst I understand that not everybody puts the same amount of consideration into these things, I was horrified by some of the outfits I saw. The men were all dressed pretty much standardly in tailored shorts or slack with a short-sleeved shirt or polo shirt - dull but inoffensive. But the women! Shorts pulled up as high as possible so that the waist was just below the bust, often with t-shirt tucked in and bagged over. And the colour scheme - fuschia pink with lilac seemed a popular combo.

Why do they do it? Why does all taste and decency desert some people once they go on holiday? I remember my mother saying things to us like 'it will do for your holidays' usually about a t-shirt or vest top that was cheap or not particuarly nice. It seems that this mindset is wide spread, but not in my suitcase. On holiday I dress exactly as I would at home if the weather was nicer.

Not just a cake

I've just returned from our mini-holiday. The eventual winner was Madeira, which the PM typically informed me 'wasn't a place, but a cake'.

Well, it was a place and rather beautiful place at that. Very green, but also very craggy. The weather was perfect - warm, but not too hot. And it was very quiet.

We were slightly worried when at our departure gate, there was barely anyone under 65. It was like a scene from Cocoon. We had wanted somewhere quiet but certainly didn't want to be the only non-pensioners, just because we suddenly felt very self-conscious that we stood out from the rest of the people there. But it turned out to be fine as the place we were staying wasn't populated by such a grey-crowd, but it was thankfully bereft of the usual English tourists.

We did plenty of swimming, drinking (rediscovering Portugese lager, SuperBock) and exploring (the town being rather like an Escher painting with stairs & winding paths that didn't really go anywhere. And we went on a cable car, which I found absolutely terrifying on the way up (I was frozen to my seat for the whole 20 minute ride) but I quite enjoyed on the way back down - the calming beer at the top may have played a part.

Unfortunately, within an hour of being back at work, all the relaxation was undone and I'm back to feeling wrecked

Friday, May 19, 2006

The Lambton Worm

I was reminded of the legend that is the Lambton Worm by a fellow Northern Exile in the pub last night.

I love the Lambton Worm and think its a pity that it isn't known much outside of the region - its our equivalent of Robin Hood or King Arthur really. I used to love going to Lambton Lion Park as a child (it later became Lambton Leisure Park when they got rid of the lions) and they had a little display there explaining the legend.
My school did a big musical production of it when I was about eight, but obviously it being a posh school we couldn't do the traditional song in northern dialect so we had new songs written. I can still remember the lyrics to the song that the villages sung as they saved goodbye to John Lambton as he went off to the Crusades.

Anyway, here is the original song:

One Sunday morn young Lambton
Went a-fishin' in the Wear;
An' catched a fish upon his huek,
He thowt leuk't varry queer,
But whatt'n a kind a fish it was
Young Lambton couldn't tell.
He waddn't fash to carry it hyem,
So he hoyed it in a well.

Whisht! lads, haad yor gobs,
Aa'll tell ye aall and aaful story,
Whisht! lads, haad yor gobs,
An' Aal tell ye 'bout the worm.

Noo Lambton felt inclined to gan
An' fight in foreign wars.
He joined a troop o' Knights that cared
For neither wounds nor scars,
An' off he went to Palestine

Where queer things him befel,
An' varry seun forgot aboot
The queer worm i' the well.

Repeat Chorus

But the worm got fat an' growed an' growed,
An' growed an aaful size;
He'd greet big teeth, a greet big gob,
An' greet big goggle eyes.
An' when at neets he craaled aboot
To pick up bits o'news,I
f he felt dry upon the road,
He milked a dozen coos.

Repeat Chorus

This feorful worm wad often feed

On calves an' lambs an' sheep,
An' swally little bairns alive
When they laid doon to sleep.
An' when he'd eaten aal he cud
An' he had has he's fill,
He craaled away an' lapped his tail
Seven times roond Pensher Hill.

Repeat Chorus

The news of this most aaful worm

An' his queer gannins on
Seun crossed the seas, gat to the ears
Of brave an' bowld Sir John.
So hyem he cam an' catched the beast
An' cut 'im in three halves,
An' that seun stopped he's eatin' bairns,
An' sheep an' lambs and calves.

Repeat Chorus

So noo ye knaa hoo aall the folks

On byeth sides of the Wear
Lost lots o' sheep an' lots o' sleep
An' lived in mortal feor.
So let's hev one to brave Sir John
That kept the bairns frae harm
Saved coos an' calves by myekin' haalves
O' the famis Lambton Worm

Repeat Chorus

Noo lads, Aa'll haad me gob,

That's aall Aa knaa aboot the story
Of Sir John's clivvor job
Wi' the aaful Lambton Worm!

I'm a bit disappointed I couldn't find a picture of the worm wrapped seven times around Penshaw Hill.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Frock Horror

I have bought a stupid amount of dresses this year and am rather embarrassed about it because I'm supposed to be saving money & I don't really have much occassion to wear them.

Here is my guilty haul:

Primark navy with white polka dots shirt dress - worn three times so far.

H&M black 60s style jersey dress - worn twice over jeans.

Warehouse black & white striped prom dress - one once at a wedding & spilt creme caramel down it.

H&M brown patterned wrap dress - wearing now for the first time.

French Connection Brown patterned tunic - bizarrely it looks better on back-to-front

Celia Birtwell Monkey Puzzle shirt dress - needs a slip under it

Celia Birtwell Red Little Rock dress - just arrived yesterday & I think it would actually look better with opaques.

That is seven dresses - one for each day of the week, each of the deadly sins or wonders of the world.

The Happiest Day of the Year

Apparently that is what today is. That remains to be seen.

It's not started well. I've changed my combination of boots & tights three times, but still not happy with my outfit and my hair looked good before I washed, but typically now it looks terrible and there was no milk so I haven't had my early morning cup of tea and the Present Incumbent has left his phone at home which will make meeting up tonight very difficult and I'm very tired and it looks like rain.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Some positivity

To counteract the negativity of the last few posts and to try & raise my spirits, I thought I'd list some things I like:
  • Swimming
  • The smell of laundrettes
  • Cherry tomatoes
  • The Singing Horses
  • Dogs
  • Gael Garcia Bernal
  • The Monkees
  • Sangria
  • Detective programmes
  • New York
  • Duvets

Money-Grabbing Scum

It takes a rare sort of person to rip off a charity. The so-called community artist Kate Barker is such a person.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

World Gone Mad pt 2

There is a Celia Birtwell for Topshop carrier bag up for sale on Ebay for £8.95. Its a bloody paper bag. Get a grip people.

Crying at Weddings

I really tried hard not to, but cried at my friend's wedding at the weekend. Not for the usual 'oh its so lovely & romantic' reasons that most people do, but because I'm always jealous of other people having normal families around them and especially having a Dad to give them away. Its stupid because I've never wanted a big wedding anyway, but at times like these I wish I could just be like everybody else.
God knows what I'll be like if my sister does get married next year.

Friday, May 12, 2006


I always thought my gaydar was pretty good - I never fancied George Michael when all my friends did. But now I'm not so sure.

The PM is certain that the manager of the venue we are using next week is gay but I had thought he was straight but I've realised now that I can only tell with people whose first language is English.

The PM even thought he might be in with a chance if he was single. That I find even harder to believe.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

Finnish Death Metal

As our entry is so rubbish, Lauren Laverne is backing the Finnish entry for this year's Eurovision Song Contest - a catchy Death Metal number by Lordy. She interviewed Lordy this morning and he was nice, polite young man by all acounts. His song was an awful dirge, but I think he would have my support too as it makes a change from the usual EuroCheese.
I'm actually rather disappointed that we won't be watching it this year though as we'll be on holiday at the time.

World Gone Mad

On television last night:

Eating With - Malcolm McLaren takes a journey from British roast beef to French chicken.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Crying shame

I think I probably cry more often than the average person. Films & television programmes make me cry very easily. My sisters used to take great delight in shutting me in the sitting room with a carefully lined up part of Watership Down just so they could see me cry. I often well up at Cup Finals too - inexplicably really.

And in the past year and a bit, I've cried alot through grief. And then in the last couple of months as work has battered my self-esteem I've cried on a few occasions because I've felt like a failure. On Saturday I cried twice - once when I saw an old man sat on the bench outside his house in his dressing gown in the rain and later at a documentary about Bobby Moore.

But I have never cried in front of anyone at work. I've gotten annoyed & once or twice, my bottom lip has started to quiver but I've always managed to get a grip in time. There have been times (London bombings when my sister started to cry on the phone which set me off & finding out someone I knew had died) when I've had to dash to the toilet for a few minutes.

However, my manager, henceforth to be known as The Tearduct, cries at least once a fortnight when something work-related goes wrong. Its getting ridiculous. I'm useless in these situations and really I don't think that crying is the right response from her most of the time.


I have just eaten a whole punnet of raspberries, barring two which I noticed were mouldy. There may well have been some other mouldy ones, but I wasn't really paying attention as I was eating them.

They were purchased from a random stall that sometimes appears near work (like the shop Mr Benn frequents). It wasn't there yesterday when I went out to buy fruit, so I bought a tunic/dress from French Connection instead! I don't think that can count towards my 5 portions of fruit & veg.

The young lad serving managed to carry out a phone conversation with his girlfriend while serving me. This covered how she was better off with her mum because hostels are awful, but he isn't taking her mum's side, when she would next call him, how she was tight for ringing after 6 as she had plenty of credit on her phone. He would have been better off making sure he wasn't serving rotten fruit.

All the World's a Stage

Vanessa Redgrave is visiting our offices today. This is actually quite a big deal - not because any of us are in anyway impressed by this, but because it isn't an everyday occurence. If I tell anyone where I work, they always think I must meet loads of famous people - we really don't. Dame Judy Dench never pops in for a cup of tea.

The other assumption is that we must be able to get free theatre tickets. Again we don't - unless shows aren't selling - in which case it is fairly safe to assume that you don't really want to go either (with the exception of some things at the Soho Theatre). Today the office was broken into and a CSI type woman came - she was asking about the nature of our business and sure enough her second question was about free tickets.

I must say I was rather disappointed with the CSI women - she was decidely lacking in glamour - she wasn't Horatio by any stretch of the imagination. I remember being equally disappointed when I did work experience at a law firm and it was nothing like LA Law. One of the female lawyers had a hump and mustache.

Sunday, May 07, 2006

A Big Rant

The flipside of my happiness yesterday over the grant was my outrage at the contents of the current exhibition, which has been supplied by what I'm increasingly sure is a cult. Their website claims that they are not a religious organisation, yet there is a definite religious overtone to all of their literature - i.e its preachy, sanctimonious and self-righteous. And the person who is my contact within this organisation seems unable to see why the propaganda she had put up is inappropriate for a children's art gallery, which to me suggests a some sort of religious zealotry. Maybe I'm over-sensitive to this stuff as a pretty much certain atheist (I tried to be an agnostic, but I have enough other things to worry about) but anyway even if it isn't religious, it is certainly on dubious grounds.

Yesterday, in a fit of rage that I can only liken to Jesus overturning the money lenders tables in the temple that time (I did go to a CoE school so I know this stuff), I tore down part of their display from the wall that was blatantly anti-USA propaganda.

It was a piece about the world's population that started off with the claim that the world was over-populated (I braced myself for Jonathan Swift's idea to eat the poor) but then continued into a diatribe about how the USA controls most of the world's wealth. What it had done was to simplify the world's population into 100 to make it easier and then claimed that 20 of those people owned 40% of the world's wealth and they were all in the USA (I can't remember the exact figures, but you get the idea). I have heard similar figures to this before, but usually it is the whole G8, not just the USA singled out and in doing this, it started to read like anti-USA propaganda.

The problem with simplifying figures like this means that it is easy to turn everything into a black & white issue, which it isn't. Now I hate Bush as much as the next man (assuming the next man is someone like Michael Moore rather than Rumsfeld) and I'm not a big fan of capitalism (alright I buy alot of clothes but that is down to insecurity more than rabid consumerism and I have voted Socialist before) , but this anti-USA business isn't right either. The USA is a huge country - it is wrong to tar all its citizens with the same Republican brush as loads of them didn't vote for Bush - the branch of my family out there are now ardent Democrats and they really don't fit the stereotype of wishy-washy liberals. Furthermore, the healthcare and child-poverty levels in parts of the USA are shocking, which their simplification of the statistics has erased.

To top it all, the rest of the exhibition isn't even very good.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

Happy Happy Joy Joy

I arrived at the gallery today to find an envelope marked Wates Foundation and to my delight, they have decided to give us £8,200 for our Education Programme. We actually only asked them for half this amount but they have given us funding for a whole year. I was so pleased I actually did jump around a bit - they was no one here to see me thankfully, but if there was anyone downstairs they would have heard my thudding.

I was so close to resigning as well.

Thursday, May 04, 2006

The dream is over

I'm even boring myself with this now, but anyway the Celia Birtwell dress arrived yesterday and its going back. It wasn't too long - there was just too much material and it did nothing for me. It wasn't the usual problem of me not going anywhere suitable to wear it, I couldn't even think of anywhere that it would be suitable for. I can vaguely picture women lounging around behind Jimi Hendrix wearing it, but that is no longer an option.

I haven't actually filled out the return form yet - I don't know why I'm delaying it because I really can't keep it.

Still that frees up £100 to try to spend next week when Oxford Circus restocks.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006

Not so bad

Its funny how when you are really dreading something that it turns out not to be so bad afterall. The hen night, or pre-wedding party as she insisted on calling it, was actually quite a good night out. Japanese food still isn't my favourite - I love those little dumpling things, but I was physically unable to eat anymore of the tempura as I could feel my arteries hardening. And I won't be rushing back to K-Box for karaoke anytime soon, but it was certainly an interesting experience. It probably helped that there was someone there shyer than me - I didn't actually sing into the mike but I sang along with everyone else to a few songs (I wanna be adored, Hey Jude, My Way).

We then went to Don't You Want Me Baby. The ex-holiday rep caused a massive argument in the queue that resulted in 10 people being barred - she was in the right but I hate scenes & Jo was rather embarrassed too. The club itself really wasn't worth the effort - the floor was covered in broken glass & the music wasn't great. There were a few sleazy men in there - one who when it was obvious he wasn't getting anywhere with me said that all my friends danced as if they were from Essex. The Dutch girl kept claiming random men were the stripper, including one bloke who had such bad BO. At the end of the night he came over to Charlotte & I and asked who from our group had called him a tosser - diplomacy had left me by then so I replied 'It could have been anyone of us' and walked off.
I also managed to get the night bus home without having to wait ages or fall asleep en route & I arrived home rather sober - all in all a successfully night.