Thursday, August 31, 2006

Final Night Out?

Rather late as I haven't been in the mood for writing this week, I thought I would write my thoughts about last weekend's Cross Central Festival which we attended on Saturday (that makes it sound rather formal).

To be honest, it was a huge disappointment. Yet more acts cancelled or just didn't turn up on the night. It also suffered from neither being a proper festival or a club so people didn't really know what to do with themselves. Not much dancing going on and not much to watch, so in the end lots of people just milling about.

Kelly from Bloc Party DJ-ed which was ok. He got a very good reception when he played one of his band's songs. Unfortunately, the person who was supposed to be on after him didn't turn up so he had to play for longer - we could actually see him panic about not having enough records.

I won't be going back next year unless they have some very good bands on - short of digging up Hendrix, I'm not sure who I would make the effort for really.

And another thing - the number of boys in neck-scarfs (a la Russell Brand) was just ridiculous. Only about four men on the planet can carry this look off and none of them were at Kings Cross Freight Depot last weekend.

Thursday, August 24, 2006

People are Strange

Despite 31 and a half years on this planet, people’s behaviour still amazes me.

Yesterday, in Topshop, a Japanese (I think) lady presented the shop assistant with the price sticker for a pair of shoes. She was wearing the shoes. It took quite a while for the shop assistant to convey to her, that they need to scan the security code on the shoes and that the price sticker alone was not enough. It took a while. The shoes involved complicated ribbon ties which the lady had done up and it would seem tied in quadruple knots.

Now I understand that there was a language barrier, but surely shopping procedure is pretty much the same in Japan as here? And could her other shoes (flat ballet shoes, a lot nicer than the ones she was buying) really be that uncomfortable that she couldn’t bear to wear for another 5 minutes? Or perhaps she just loved the new ones so much that she couldn’t wait to wear them?


We returned to the pub quiz last night and our team was woeful (but still came third). I was particularly terrible.

These were the answers I got right:

Charles I
Liam Neeson

But what were the questions?

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Puttting the cross into Cross Central

As discussed previously, I love festivals, but it is getting increasingly difficult to get a group of people together to go to them. So this year, our only festival outing was going to be to Cross Central. At first the OH was reluctant to go, but then the magic words appeared on the bill 'Jagz Kooner'. OH loves Jagz Kooner, so as soon as I saw he was playing, I knew he would want to go. The rest of the bill looked a bit blah - it was the Sunday, which was very dancey, but still enough decent acts to splash out £20.

Anyway, I'd been looking forward to this for months - I'd even planned my outfit -this is always a mistake. And lo and behold, today I was looking at their website and they've had to get rid of a whole stage of acts due the stage being found to be unfit for performance! Jagz has been moved to the Saturday, Death in Vegas have gone altogether, leaving only Sasha, Mary Ann Hobbs and James Hyman that I've heard of and Sasha just isn't my thing at all.

So Lind is trying to see if we can swap for the Saturday. Refunds are being offered though due to the whole being a shambles. Hopefully we'll get it all sorted out, but what a hassle. I'm going to have to change my hair appointment and gallery shifts too. Perhaps, I should give up on this going out lark altogether.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Wrestle-Mania and Grandma Dolly

In bed the other morning, we were talking about how wrestling is surprisingly popular. The OH had been in a pub in the South West recently where it was being shown on the television and the locals were all watching it closely.

This conversation led me onto thinking about my Dad's mother, Grandma Dolly (as opposed to my mum's mother, Grandma Molly, about whom I've already written).

Grandma Dolly was a big wrestling fan.

On a Saturday afternoon, she used to pull up a chair right in front of the television to watch the wrestling. She got right into it, shouting at the screen, cheering for the goodies, booing the bad guys. This was not the expected behaviour for a woman like her. Grandma Dolly was quite 'well to do', a respected local business woman, pillar of the community etc.

I never met Grandma Dolly as she died before I was born, so sadly, I don't know much else about her. Other than her love of wrestling, these are the only things I know about her.

1. Every year she left her Christmas shopping until the last minute, doing it all on Christas Eve. The local department store, Binns, would stay open late especially for her.

2. The family business would have been alot more prosperous had she not frequently refused payment in cash and insisting that the debtor bought her a nice hat instead. We are still uncertain how she then paid the rest of the staff, but it does go somewhere to explaining the special treatment she received at Binns.

3. She had a purple rinse. This is in no way unusual for a woman of that time, but its a look I've never understood and I thought there should be three points of the list.

Monday, August 21, 2006

Frontroom Festival Review (continued)

I didn’t watch quite so much of V yesterday as Saturday, due to the cricket fiasco and Channel 4’s bizarre decision to leave the headliners coverage until 11.45 – i.e. after my bedtime.

But what I did see still managed to rile me.

Faithless – have they released anything in recently or are they still hawking the same tunes as about 10 years ago? Dance music for people who don’t like dance music and the whooping noises from the crowd got on my nerves too.

Starsailor - I actually liked these when they first came out and Turin Brakes too. Probably because they were just ripping off Jeff Buckley and Gram Parsons. But I soon learnt the error of my ways. Tellingly I saw one of them live but now have no recollection of which one it was.

Paul Weller – I loved the Jam and I even liked some Style Council and some of his solo stuff (well, Sunflower anyway), but he gets on my nerves now. He’s so po-faced and takes himself far too seriously all of the time. And what has he done to his hair – a sign of a mid-life crisis if ever there was one.

Lily Allen – saw about a minute of her, it was dreadful and I stand by my first thoughts that if she wasn’t the daughter of someone famous, nobody would care.

The Charlatans – they were once one of my favourite bands but I’ve lost interest in them now. The interview with them as painful – Tim Burgess really isn’t any good at talking! I only saw them doing ‘Tellin’ Stories’ which usually makes me cry, but left me unmoved this time.

I didn’t see any coverage of South, The Delays, Dub Pistols or Loose Canons who would have been on my ‘to see’ list (as well as Morrissey, of course).


noun: turmoil, uproar, fuss.

My OH was delighted when this word was used yesterday in relation to the controversy at the cricket as its apparently one of his favourite words. He was also pleased that we were awarded the game, but I really don't think that is quite in the spirit of cricket. I quite enjoyed the whole thing though - much more interesting than the actual game of cricket had been.

But that wasn't the only brouhaha. At about 3.45 this morning we were woken up by someone talking on a walkie talkie outside of our window. A few minutes later there was the sound of a helicopter circling overhead. OH looked out of the window and confirmed it was the police. We heard them talking again and made out vague bits of conversation, but not enough to know what type of criminals they were looking for. The helicopter continued flying low overhead for hours and I think it may even still be out there now. We've looked at every news medium possible this morning but found no mention of it.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

V from the sofa

We spent last night watching V on television. We had beers and veggie burgers so it was just like going to a real festival (sort of).

The television coverage was frankly awful. The sound was terrible and there was constantly interference - vague noises of people talking - a bit like the start of 'Dark Side of the Moon', but unintentional.

Far too much coverage was given to Girls Aloud, who weren't really doing much other than bad dance routines that most girls grow out of doing by the age of 14.

Editors weren't particularly inspiring, until they were joined by some of We Are Scientist to do a cover of 'Orange Crush' which was excellent, although seemed to be lost on the crowd.

Beck was by far the best act I saw. A puppet version of the band came on first with the real band hidden for most of the opening song, 'Loser', which sounded great. The puppet band's likeness to the real band was amazing (I do love puppets though!).
They also had a 'dinner party' during one song where they created sounds on the drinks, but the effect was ruined by the poor sound quality of the broadcast. The OH thought they were in danger of being too pretentious, but I thought it was good that they had made some effort, rather than just turning up and churning out the standard festival set over and over again (like bloody Keane do). They also had some great bears that came on at the end.

I saw some of the Kasabian. They were pretty good, but I still don't think their frontman is quite there yet. His clothes seem to have improved a bit i.e. he doesn't look as if he's just come from work in an office and untucked his shirt, but he still lacks a certain swagger which I like my frontmen to have.

As usual I fell asleep, so saw nothing of Radiohead or Fat Boy Slim, although OH says they didn't show much of them probably because they don't have records to promote.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

The end of an era

In more ways than one.

Yesterday was the last day at work for the girl I sit opposite. Given the bizarre set-up at my work that people outside struggle to understand, she didn't actually work for the same organisation as me or anyone else in our building. But as she was the nearest person to me, she was the person I talked to most and we made each other drinks. I was very sad when she announced she was leaving, but I didn't think about it much until yesterday. When her boss was making the leaving speech, I could feel myself welling up and when it came for us to say goodbye (just before 11pm after far too many glasses of wine and canapes), we hugged and then I had to run off before I did cry.

She sent me a lovely text message today and I'm sure we will keep in touch but its never the same as seeing someone everyday. We've met her replacement who seems nice enough, but she doesn't drink tea or instant coffee, so we won't be bonding over beverages.

And then the other change.

I've been feeling unhappy with the voluntary work I do at an art gallery for some time now as previously mentioned. It isn't getting any more rewarding and I'm constantly exhausted. So today, I told my Co-Director that I wanted to leave. I was very worried about telling her, but had decided that it was only fair to discuss it with her first before telling the Trustees. She took it as well as could be expected - slightly worried about how she would cope, who they could get as a replacement etc, but she understood my reasons and had always been rather amazed that I managed to do this on top of a full time job. I've sent an email to the Trustees and awaiting their response. I'm going to stay until early October, to oversee the start of the next exhibition, which is one I've arranged and I may still do bits and pieces for them in the future, but without the huge committment and responsibility of being in charge.

I feel much better having made this decision. Ironically though I've had a very productive afternoon, but I think it is just that the end being in sight has made the work seem more bareable.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Auf Wiedersehen, Pet

It was on the radio news this morning that local authority workplaces in the North East are banning the use of coloquial expressions such as 'pet' and 'hinny' as they are patronising.
I don't really mind 'pet' that much but 'hinny' is a horrible ugly word. I was actually quite surprised that anyone is using 'hinnny' these days. The only person I've heard use it recently is my sister's on/off boyfriend who is a bit of a 70s throwback and I think he just says it for effect.
I tried to search for this news story, but couldn't find it. Instead I found an interesting article on the BBC about the Geordie dialect dying out. I've not seen much evidence of this (besides hinny's fall in popularity) and 'clammin' is still very much in use in Sunderland (to be desparate for something to consume i.e. I'm clammin for a pint). I can still the difference between someone from Newcastle, Sunderland and all the places in between.
It would be just my luck though to be saddled with the reminants of a defunct accent. It isn't that strong - people still in the north don't think I have any accent at all, but then to other people in the south it seems quite strong. Someone at university years ago accused me of 'putting on a northern accent because I thought it was cool' and a few people have thought I was Irish or even Norwegian. I do still get paranoid about it though and worry it goes against me in interviews. If I had the time and money, I would consider elocution, but I think my family would be a bit offended.

I would go out tonight, but I haven't got a stitch to wear

How is this possible? Having spent a small fortune on a clothes in recent months, I'm sat here with nothing suitable to wear today. As ever, it is the fault of the weather.

Do I go out in a dress and look stupid when the thunder starts? Most of my dresses will work fine in autumn with tights and boots, but really I'm not wearing tights and boots in August.

Its not helping that my favourite bronze shoes broke the other week, which rules out half of my wardrobe until I replace them.

I'm going out straight after work tonight so want to look half way decent. I can't wear anything with heels either because I've got to stand up and collate a million pieces of paper at work today (oh joy!) which needs flat shoes.

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Well done, the Shark

The highlight of my day (otherwise uneventful due to continued illness) was watching the cricket mascots race on television. My favourite, Sid the Shark from Sussex, won and did the Peter Crouch robot celebration. It was brilliant.
There is something about sports mascots that takes away my cynicism and fills me with unbridled joy.

Friday, August 11, 2006


A small mouse has just scuttled across the office.

I'm not scared of it, but we are getting paranoid. I've just picked up my bag and put it on the desk as I just had a horrible vision of the mouse getting in there and me pulling him out instead of my travelcard when I get the tube later.

He wasn't wearing red shorts and yellow shoes. This picture is merely for illustration.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Good Morning, We're Under Attack

These were the words with which my oh so consideration OH woke me this morning. With scare-mongering like that, it is a wonder he never got a job at the BBC.

My first thought was that it was Hezbollah, finally having enough of our cosying up to Israel. I forgot that we were at war with terror still.

So we watched the television news and I don't think I reacted in the way I was supposed to. I didn't feel relief that the Government had saved us from this, but instead I thought how are we to know if there was really a plot? Is this just a convenient way to deflect attention from our part in the messes in Lebanon and Iraq?

I don't trust anything on the news anymore - the BBC is impotent after the Kelly affair and the constant threat of having its charter taken away if it doesn't toe the party line with the Government. And I don't trust the Government. This is a scary situation to be in. There will always be terrorists but if you can't trust your own Government, that is a much more frightening proposition.

Am I paranoid? Will writing things like this on the Internet, get me put on some sort of list? Fuck it, I think I may already be on a list anyway - I attended a couple of SWP meetings at Uni and my Amazon purchases of books by Mark Steele, Michael Moore and Che Guevara plus a few teach yourself Spanish books are bound to
must mark me out as some pinko with their sights on ruling a South American nation.

I might sound as if I'm being flippant about this. Its a defence mechanism. If I think I about these things seriously for too, I will panic.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Productive Day?

I shouldn't be left alone all day. I clearly can't be trusted.

I bought a vintage 60s mini dress of Ebay on a complete whim this morning. It only cost £7.60 but I'm sure its going to be awful and really what I'm I doing buying another dress?

I then spent a good deal of time and a bit of money on iTunes. I ended up (as often happens when I'm unsupervised) listening to some songs that I knew would make me cry. I stopped myself from buying them though which is one thing - bursting into tears on the tube isn't a great move.

Anyway, the stuff I did buy was mainly spurred on by these Guilty Pleasures lists that everyone else is doing. I very rarely come into contact with popular music these days, living in my own little indie ghetto, so my guilty pleasures aren't particularly contemporary and I suspect may even be a bit pretentious (I'm that uptight!). So here is what I downloaded today (with justifications!):

Bruce Springsteen - Born in the USA
Bruce Springsteen - Born to Run
(I love 'the Boss' - I think its the only artist from post-70s my mum & I both like)

Bette Davis Eyes - Kim Carnes
You're So Vain - Carly Simon
(I think everyone loves these two songs)

Bike - Pink Floyd
See Emily Play - Pink Floyd
(They were incredibly unfashionable for a long time, but I've always loved the Floyd)

Kids in America - Kim Wilde
(This was played once at the Creation records night at Notting Hill Arts Centre - if its good enough for Alan McGee, its good enough for me)

Just Keep Walking - Inxs
(I admit it, I used to fancy Michael Hutchence. Can't get hold of the soundtrack to Dogs in Space, otherwise I'd have had that instead)

My Boyfriends Back - Alice Donut
(Not even sure why I thought of this, but it reminds me of being 17. Most surprised that it was on itunes - there was no Cud to download though)

Werewolves of London - Warren Zevon
(Very nearly a novelty record, but has great lyrics that make me smile and want to howl along)

I also intended to buy some Simple Minds - I listened to 30 seconds of about 10 different songs, but evidently forgot to download any of them.

I've ate loads of food (to make up for not going out for curry), including some Orange & Cranberry Cookies, which tasted rather like Opal Fruits (which is good for a sweet, not for a biscuit). Will have a hot whisky & lemonade soon for medicinal purposes.

You're not very well are you?

I'm unwell. I've had a sore throat and been sneezing lots for days (a different sneeze from my hayfever sneeze). I've had hot eyelids and a muzzy head. I've been going into work still because the rest of my department have gone on holiday (another great management decision there). But after a night of coughing and spluttering, the OH has made me stay at home today.
I'm worried now that there is going to be trouble at work because of this. Obviously its not my fault that I'm unwell but I doubt anyone will see it that way. Our Chief Executive has already apparently sent my manager a 'strongly worded' email about her and the other one going on holiday at the same time, but now I'm going to have made things worse.
I'm rubbish at being ill - I hate doing nothing. It also means I miss going out for Woz's birthday curry tonight, which I was looking forward to. Well, I was looking forward to the food part - their other friends are all rich and successful & talk constantly about careers, so I always come away feeling like a failure, so its probably for the best that I can't go really.

Monday, August 07, 2006

We are stardust, We are golden...

By the time we got to Fruitstock
We were half a million strong
And everywhere there was song and celebration

Yesterday, we went to Fruitstock. Not sure it bore that much resemblance to Woodstock really, but then Joni Mitchell never actually made it to Woodstock and just wrote the song from a hotel room.

The bands on the main stage were all a bit coffee table or world music odyssey (not many proper songs in evidence), but it was pleasant enough to sit in the sun with friends and a few drinks (courtesy of the Pimms Bus).

We were a bit confused when one performer was announced as we thought they said Robert Plant and played a lot of percussion rather than 'Stairway to Heaven', but it turns out he was called Robert Pla.

Linda and I got quite excited when we walked by the dance tent on our way back from the loos, so we packed up and stood outside there for a bit. It really was very good. A woman behind us shouted 'Everyone's really aving it there!' which made us laugh, but we had to agree with her. My favourite was a father with a little boy on his shoulders and they were both waving their arms & pumping their fists in proper rave style.

Saturday, August 05, 2006

Mick Rocks!

I'm at the gallery -its been very quiet, but I have just spent two enjoyable hours 'in the company of' Mick Rock, the rock photographer, who now has a show on XFM. It is the second time I've heard his show and it is much better than the usual 'same shit, different hour' on the station.

Over the course of two hours, he played these records that I loved:

Primal Scream – Dolls
Yeah Yeah Yeahs – Gold Lion
David Bowie – Jean Genie
Bob Dylan – Can you please crawl out your window
Roxy Music- Love is the Drug
Television – The Blank Generation
Flaming Lips – Do You Realise
T-Rex –Telegram Sam
Nirvana – The Man Who Sold the World
Buddy Holly – Peggy Sue
The View – Wasted Little DJs

He also played some Scissor Sisters, Muse and Snow Patrol, but I won't hold that against him. He mentioned Snow Patrol being a great laugh again this week - I'm still not convinced by this and think he doth protest too much.

In between records, he tells anecdotes about bands he's worked with - its all very interesting and doesn't come across as just name-dropping (as it would if anyone else did it). He also used the word groovy and he still sounded cool.

Unlike when my OH described himself as 'hip' recently!

Another Legend Dies

I've just found out that Arthur Lee from Love died on Thursday.

Despite my love of all things 60s, I only discoverd Love fairly recently - on the coverage of Glastonbury 2003, where Arthur Lee was one of the best acts and one of the main reasons for us going to the festival the following year. While the crowds went to watch Franz Ferdinand, we trudged up to the acoustic tent, against the flow, to see Arthur Lee. He didn't disappoint, especially with 'You set the Scene' where he changed the lyrics slightly to have a go at Bush.

Love were an influential band in the west coast psychedelic scene, but they never really achieved great fame or commercial success (although I believe 'Forever Changes' is Ken Livingstone's favourite album). Arthur Lee described himself as the first black hippie and was a great self-mythologist - he claimed that Hendrix tried it on with him once!

"This is the only thing that I am sure of
And that's all that lives is gonna die
And there'll always be some people here to wonder why
And for every happy hello, there will be good-bye
There'll be time for you to put yourself on"

Friday, August 04, 2006


I've been feeling wintery - it might be because I've got a bit of a cold. The weather hasn't been so good this week either, but it has suited my mood. I've been glad of the opportunity to wear a jacket again - summer clothes give you no comfort - you have to be a happy sunny mood for them to work. I've been hankering after big, snuggly jumpers too.

Ideally, I would like it to be cold enough to wear a cosy jumper and jacket, but bright enough to still justify wearing my sunglasses. Not to pose in - I like hiding behind them too.

I hear that grey is going to be 'in' this Autumn/Winter. I love grey. Like me, its dull.

Reading Material

I've barely read any books recently.

A few months ago decided I was going to stop buying books and only use the library; a) to save money, b) I'm running out of bookshelf space.

But then there was nothing in the local library I wanted to read and the larger library was absolute chaos.

I then thought I was onto a good thing with the Waterstone 99p paperbacks. Percival Everett's 'Erasure' saw me through my holiday in Madeira.

But then the next one I selected was poor. I can't remember the title or the author but it was a square-shaped book with a blue cover and the plot involved the IRA. I did finish it, but it was a struggle and knocked me off my reading stride.

Then I saw that Tariq Godard had another book out. I really liked his first two 'Homage to a Firing Squad' (set in the Spanish Civil War) and Dynamo (about football under Stalin). But this one 'The Morning Rides Behind Us' hasn't been anywhere near as good. Perhaps, it because its set a bit closer to home - the New Forest after the Second World War. But I've completely stalled with it and even resorted to buying a magazine for my train journey up north.

For the journey back down, I bought an Ian Rankin book, which I read in what felt like minutes. Not exactly challenging stuff, but sometimes I want an easy read (I don't do chicklit though).

Next to the Rankins was a book by Mark Radcliffe 'Northern Sky'. This what I'm currently reading.

Its mildly amusing, but I can't help but think I could have written it myself - although my version would need to be about an indie band, rather than folk music, about which I know next to nothing. My version would undoubtedly struggle to sell though because, apart from not being very good (full of cliches and stereotypes), I'm not a radio DJ.

Its alot easier to have a successful novel, if you are already (even slightly) famous.

'Oh look, a book by that man on the radio. I like him. I'll buy his book'
Well, that exactly what I did, so it worked. Damn.

Anyway, only another 224 pages left to go.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Wish You Were Here

I grew up in a seaside town. Lots of the houses on our street were guest houses and there were chalets on the beach. As a child, I used to walk along looking at the B&Bs and play the game of deciding which one I would stay in if I was there on holiday. Most of them had brass ornaments in the their front windows - the bigger the brass, the better the accommodation seemed to be the implication with houses competing with each other with ever more outlandish window displays.

In retrospect, I don't think we had that many tourists. I remember a couple of families staying in the next door house whose children became my friends for their brief stay, but really most of the guests would have been long distance lorry drivers and seamen. The Council tries its hardest to promote it as a tourist destination - its beautiful beaches (where its always bitterly cold), the Roman Fort(!), and of course the famous local author. She has her own museum (complete with a recreation of the kitchen in the house she grew up in) and each carriage of the steam train in the park is named after one of her books. You wonder why anyone would choose to go to Spain or Florida.

Photobucket - Video and Image Hosting

Now I live in one of the busiest capital cities in the world and it still surprises me that people want to come here on holiday. Perhaps because I've never visited London as a tourist (I had only been here a couple of times - once shopping, once on a protest march) and there are still lots of the sights I've never 'done' despite being here nearly 10 years. I just don't see the attraction.

Leicester Square tube station has a souvenir shop - bears dressed as beefeaters, union jack t-shirts, the usual shit. It seems preposterous to me as I go through the station everyday on my way to and from work that someone is holidaying here and might want to buy a reminder of it. Not that a bear in fancy dress would remind me of London.

Sometimes, as I walk around Covent Garden, I want to shout at the tourists 'What are you doing here? There is nothing here that you can't buy somewhere else for half the price'. And then those living statue things - 'Stop looking at them. You are only encouraging them'. So far, I haven't actually done this, I've just thought it, but one day I will surely snap.

I feel in the need of another holiday, but not in either of these places, which is looking like my only options.

The Return

Last night, the Tai Chi bloke was back and this time he had a big sword!

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

Welcome to August

A few days ago..

Him: Its nearly August
Me: Yes it is
Him: That means a new dog on the calendar
Me: Yes
Him (hesitantly): I don't really like August's dog much
Me (treading carefully): What do you want to do about it? We could just leave it on July?
Him (relieved): Yes, if we could
Me: What's wrong with August's dog?
Him: Looks arrogant. Full of itself

So, it will remain July in our house until September. Unless, of course, September's dog is in any way egotistical.