Thursday, November 30, 2006

Jinxed it

I knew I shouldn't have started looking at stuff for the new flat.

I had a message from the Estate Agent this afternoon to ask what was happening. I hadn't heard from the solicitor for a while so thought I'd better give her a call before speaking to the Estate Agent.

No answer at all.

So I called the Estate Agent who told me that they hadn't been able to get in touch with the Solicitor either but had found out that she is away and there is a locum in who doesn't seem able to cope with the workload. I thought locums were something doctors had, but anyway. This is the Solicitor that the Estate Agent recommended as the best they dealt with!

I tried to find out from the Estate Agent if the sellers were in a huge rush, but she didn't know (this is not the Estate Agent we had previously been dealing with).

I'm trying not to panic and will keep trying to contact the locum to find out the current state of play.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Habitat Habit

I'm chomping at the bit to start buying house-stuff. I've completely gone off clothes, but could quite happily spend a fortune on furniture, ceramics, cushions etc.

Today, I ventured up Regent Street for a browse in Habitat and Zara Home. I've not been in Zara Home before but could easily see it becoming a favourite.

And I can't wait to go home and read the Habitat catalogue. Hopefully I'll get a seat on the tube so I can read it even sooner.

We all live in a 1960s theme park

I must remember when buying things for the new flat, that it is a home, not a 1960s theme park. The temptation to fill the place up with retro junk is very strong and RetrotoGo website isn’t helping.

For months now I’ve been longing for a Martin Sharp Dylan poster (prices for a 1st edition mint condition print start at £800). Technically, I could afford this but it would mean going without a sofa, fridge or other essential items. I would quite happily sit on a deckchair if I had something wonderful to look at on the wall, but I don’t think the OH would be so pleased. ‘Can’t you just get a cheap re-print?’ he said when I tried to persuade him to let me ‘invest’ in this, but just isn’t the same.

As much as he likes Dylan/Beatles/Beach Boys and Olivia D’Abo in The Wonder Years, I don’t think he likes 60s stuff as much as I do. If I lived on my own, I would deck all the walls in psychedelic posters and walk round dressed like an extra from Blow Up everyday.

If he had his way, the flat would be full of New York and basketball paraphernalia. One man’s tat really is another man’s treasure.

I'm quite taken with this print too of the educational character, Sir Benfro, who I hadn't heard of until I saw these prints, but he's probably still a bit too kitsch.

I dug out the old film posters we had on a lounge wall as a student but am not sure they give the right impression. Kung Fu film 'Deadly China Doll' with Angela Mao (the female Bruce Lee!) and 'Massage Girls of Bankok' might be fine in an ironic way when you are 20 and trying to annoy the feminist flatmate, but perhaps not great if the 'in-laws' are likely to call round.

Maybe bare magnolia walls are the way to go.

Cold War Intrigue

I’m rather griped by the story of the former Russian spy – a good old fashioned cold war mystery. I have to remind myself that it is real (not an Ian Fleming novel), someone has died and others may be affected, but I’m still finding it interesting.

I think it is because when I was young, before the first war with Iraq, the vague threat of nuclear war still hung over us – I remember being unable to sleep for worry after watching ‘When the Wind Blows’. And the enemy back then was still thought to be Russia. All that has gone away in recent years with the terrorists from the middle east being the new enemy so I think I find something almost comforting in the thought of Russia once more being a threat because I know where I am with that.

Not that I have anything against Russia – the two Russian people I know (OH’s ex-boss’s wife and my hairdresser) are lovely people. I never quite understood what was so wrong with communism (led to some awful regimes, but as an idea it seems quite a good one), but the power of the oligarchs there now is easy to fear. Even the word oligarchy is rather ugly and menacing sounding.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Dull as Bath Water

I feel as if I'm sat around waiting to move. Its very boring.

I'm living pretty frugally - in six weeks, the only clothing I've bought is a pair of tights.

I've bought and wrapped most of my Christmas presents - just a bit of tat left to buy for the office Secret Santa.

The most exciting thing to happen in the last week was that the drain in the bath got blocked and the water wouldn't drain away. So we had to scoop it out with a pan and a jug. But even that was only temporary - half a bottle of nasty chemicals later, it was fixed. Rather an anti-climax.

Friday, November 24, 2006

Dear Transport for London

I have paid nearly £100 for my monthly travelcard in good faith for the last couple of years. I have been a good customer, I've never fare dodged, I've always used the correct change in the ticket machines when I could and I always give up my seat to those who need it more. But this week, I feel you have abused our relationship. Every single journey I've made this week has been delayed and it really isn't good enough. Every morning before I leave for work, I check the travel news and change my route accordingly but to no avail as in the 10 minute walk from my home to the station something else goes wrong. Last night I waited 20 minutes for a tube - it wasn't vrey late (not when I started the journey anyway) and I only live in Zone 3. I hate going to work enough as it is without you adding to the stress of it. Please sort it out.

Yours faithfully

Ms S Dancer

Thursday, November 23, 2006


The flat-buying is moving along steadily – survey satisfactory (so said a text message from the lender – we’ve not actually laid eyes on the report ourselves yet) and the mortgage has been approved. I suppose the main thing that can go wrong now is for the seller to decide they don’t want to move to the country afterall, that her hernia would be best off in London (quite why the Estate Agent felt the need to tell me about her hernia, I don’t know, it is the only thing about them he has ever said).

But fingers-crossed it seems to be going fairly smoothly and I’m beginning to allow myself to think about furniture and household goods. My main concern is that we own too much ‘stuff’. Any home décor magazines or programmes seem to be aimed at people without much in the way of belongings. Nobody else seems to have 1000+ records, a million CDs (do we really need three copies of Screamadelica?) and several forests worth of books. Do other people not read or do they just use the library or throw out their books when they’ve read them? The people we are buying from did actually have a lot of stuff too but I would rather have a little less clutter.

I’m thinking I might get rid of some of the books – I hardly ever re-read books anyway, so I’m not sure why I hang on them – a hangover from doing a degree in literature I suppose and I always like having a nose at books in other people’s houses when they have them. But then the OH refuses to get rid of any of his old stuff (he could start with the Young Gods CD which I’m certain he has never listened to, then perhaps some of the copied tapes of Carter USM which are gathering dust and probably won’t play anymore).

And because he won’t throw anything out, I start to think ‘Why should I?’. Maybe I should just have clearout when he’s away and hope he doesn't notice.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Ashes to Ashes

I'm about to become a cricket widow.

Not only is the OH going to Perth to watch the third test, but he also has lots of elaborate plans to allow him to watch the other tests through the night - change his working from home days, people coming round to ours in the middle of the night, pretty much turning nocturnal. Not for him watching highlights on at sensible times (although he will probably watch those too), he has to see the action as it happens.

I'm not looking forward to this. I could have gone to Australia with him but decided I had better things to do with £1k than sit on a plane, watch some cricket, then get back on the plane. But I'd glossed over how much the series will take over our everyday lives.

It was brilliant when we won last year - I got quite into it (even found myself explaining the history of the Ashes to some people at a party - information I didn't realise I knew but must have picked by osmosis from him). But do we really have much chance this year - Harmisson has lost it, Jones is injured and Trescothick is having problems with...(I might be committing libel if I write the story we've been told 'on good authority').

I worry about the space this information is taking up in my brain as I really don't think I need to know any of this.

Monday, November 20, 2006


The Autumn Celia Birtwell for Topshop collection went on sale this morning. Despite vowing not to get sucked into it again, I found myself getting up somewhat bleary eyed at 6am to have a look online. So I looked, and after a few minutes I realised that I didn't really like any of the pieces that much, so I went back to bed 'empty-handed' as it were. I'm very proud of myself.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Pretty Pictures

So to balance out the blockbuster film and reality television this week, I took myself off to the National Portrait Gallery at lunchtime to see the Photographic Portrait Prize exhibition.

In previous years, this has been sponsored by Schweppes and previously by John Kobal but not this year. A special award was sponsored by Deloitte but there was no headline sponsor. This worries me somewhat, because as much as I was envious of the big galleries’ sponsorship deals when I was running the poverty-stricken children’s gallery, if the big names can’t get the sponsorship, what hope is there for the smaller arts organisations? Obviously, it would be great if the arts could get by without corporate sponsorship as there is still something quite distasteful about this idea, but in reality (at least in the UK and more so in the USA) it is increasingly necessary.

Anyway, end of rant and back to the art…

There were some really great photographs. I especially liked one entitled ‘Cyril’ which was an old man (the photographer’s grandfather) stood in a near empty room, having sold most of his furniture prior to moving into a home. Another one that stood out for me was a ‘The Wedding Car’, a photograph of a wedding band in Indian stood in front of car. Of those that won prizes, my favourite was the fourth prize, a picture of a young girl singing into a microphone with her gran playing keyboard, with Lake Placid in the background – its absurdity appealed to me.

With many of others though I didn’t really see what was so special about them – there were too many baby pictures for my liking, and one with an Ethiopian tribeswoman with a rifle seemed such a cliché. Still better than wandering aimlessly around H&M and Urban Outfitters in my lunchtime.

Its that time of year again

No, not Christmas. 'I'm a Celebrity Get Me Out of Here' time. And yet again we've be sucked into watching it. Dean Gaffney last night was hilarious. I can't pretend its high culture, it makes me question my morality and sanity, but it is funny, which is sometimes all you want after a hard day's work.

(A few people have said that I look likeDec, so it does make me feel a bit uncomfortable at times - although somewhat worse for the OH who I often catch looking from Dec to me trying to decide & feeling a bit odd about it all, or my best friend who had a picture of Dec on her bedside table until someone in a pub said he looked like me).

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Shaken, not Stirred

I went to the Bond Premiere last night. It was actually a bit of a con (not that I can really complain as it was free) as it was being shown at three screens in Leicester Square at the same time, so we weren’t actually in the main cinema with the stars & the Queen. We still got to walk down a red carpet though and it was pretty grand. And I got to wear my green dress again (emerald green satin, thin straps, beaded chiffon scarf tying to form a halterneck, fishtail back).

So the film itself then. Daniel Craig is ok – convincing as a cold blooded killer, less convincing as a romantic lead, but then the whole romance plot was a bit dubious. The plot didn’t really hold up to close examination. There were some witty bits about the martini.

The baddie has a nasty tick where his eye bleeds when he is nervous. This made me feel rather sick. He was taking part in a card game where the buy-in as a million dollars and yet nobody objected to him weeping blood at the table. Surely he could have got some drops for it?

The film was rather long, even worse if you’d already been waiting near two hours for the Queen. Rather tellingly, a women had a funny turn about 30 minutes from the end and the call went up of ‘Is there a doctor in the house’ which was then followed by lots of standing up, sitting down and general confusion (the woman never actually left the auditorium so it couldn’t have been that serious) – most people seemed much more interested in watching this little drama unfold than the action on the big screen.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Like the Poddington Peas on Acid

This was how the OH described the start of the Flaming Lips gig last night, when a hundred green balloons floated around the auditorium. I'm sure how much experience he has actually had of the Poddington Peas on acid, but anyway...

So the gig started well enough, but then I was disappointed. The new songs aren't really that good and there was far too much talking between them. At first, the anti-Bush and 'I love you guys' comments were endearing, but he did it too much and over-explained some songs that really need no explanation at all.

Some of the crowd annoyed me too - the bloke in front who was doing interpretive dancing , raising his fists in the air and really feeling each song and then him & his mate competing to see how could be the most over-the-top, to prove they liked the band most. Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots is a great song, but really I find it hard to believe that was saying that much to him about his life.

And the obligatory cover version - bloody Queen, sodding Bohemian Rhapsody. Of all the things, I may have claimed to hate on here, Queen is my absolute biggest hate. I can't stand them and just don't understand why so many people love them.

So in the end, I left feeling disappointed and with the distinct impression that the glitter, balloons and Santas were all just a giant smoke screen to distract the audience from the fact that the band aren't that good anymore.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Morning Glory

I've recently realised that my morning routine really doesn't give me the best start to the day. Its not so much that I'm not a morning person - I always actually have to get up quite early to give myself plenty of time to have a cup of tea etc, rather than rushing about. But its what I do with that time that is the problem.

The OH normally puts Radio 5 first up. Nicky Campbell annoys me so much - his style varies from being inappropriately combative or just sounding bored - he managed to do both in an interview the other week with parents whose daughter was killed by a drunk driver. If he doesn't manage to irritate me, then chances are a news story will - this morning the story that some prisoners are suing the Prison Service for making them go cold turkey, which they claim infringed on their human rights. Last time I checked drugs were illegal so really can't see what they are complaining about, unless of course, the BBC missed out some key facts. Either way, it annoyed me.

At 8 o'clock, we switch to XFM, so I can listen to the 8 o'clock shuffle - three songs choosen by listeners (i.e. not the playlist, so a slim chance of hearing something decent). But recently they've been a dreadful selection and yet Lauren Laverne enthuses over them no matter what. I used to like her, but have decided she shrieks a bit much for that time of day.

Then I struggle to find something to wear, usually trying on half my wardrobe. Obviously next comes the tube journey which is never much fun, where I read the Metro, which again usually manages to annoy me with its poor standard of journalism.

No wonder I arrive at work in a bad mood.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

I feel queasy

Just tried to watch the film 'A Hole in My Heart' , but had to turn it off after 10 minutes because it was making me feel ill. I'm not normally squeamish really, but this was awful. Basically, the plot was about people making an amateur porn film and the young women in it had had her cosmetic surgery on her bits. There were quick shots of her 'bits' and the talk of surgery made me feel quite sick. I had absolutely no idea what the film was about when I rented it - I just picked it because I have liked the director, Lukas Moodysson's other films (Together, Lilya 4Eva, and F***ing).

Friday, November 10, 2006

Avenue Q (again)

Surprisingly, I enjoyed it just as much the second round and even the musical-hating OH enjoyed it. He still claimed there were too many songs in it, but I saw him laughing.

Also, as he noticed looking at my program before the show even started, one of the puppets (pictured) bore a striking resemblance to him (his skin is less green though). This seemed to please him. He likes to have someone he can identify with in films, books & plays.

Thursday, November 09, 2006

The Opening of an Envelope

I’m continuing to do well on the something for nothing front. Yesterday, was a free lunch, a few glasses of champagne followed by a few glasses of wine – admittedly this was in return for a hard days work and a load of stress.

Tonight, we are going to see Avenue Q which bizarrely the OH got free tickets to – a bit strange considering I’m the one who works in the industry. I’m not convinced he’ll enjoy it as he really doesn’t like musicals. I’ve already seen it – I’m not normally one for seeing things more than once, even if I loved it, but the tickets were free and if its free, I will go the opening the envelope.

Tuesday night however looks like being the best freebie for sometime.

I’m going to the premiere of the new Bond film.!!!

To be honest I’m not a recent huge fan of Bond films - I don’t think I’ve seen anything more recent than a Roger Moore one (the books are another matter entirely – I think I’ve probably read all them -I had to read one as part of a popular culture course and got a bit addicted to them – they are horribly racist and sexist, but very readable). I’m mainly interested in going for the glamour – despite being resoundingly unglamorous myself, I am a sucker for glamour. And of course, its free. My savings are coming along quite nicely with all this ligging, although I may have to buy a new pair of shoes for the occasion, which does ruin this theory somewhat.

I must not, I repeat, must not buy a new dress though.

Monday, November 06, 2006

In the news

I was rather taken aback by the news that Saddam Hussein is to be hung. I know he is guilty of some terrible crimes, hundreds of people died under his reign etc, but I’m not comfortable with the idea of hanging. I think this has proved to me once and for all that I am totally against the death penalty, in all circumstances.

Not that my alternative is exactly a picture of liberal thinking – I think that such people (mass murders etc) should be used for medical research, their brains examined to see if we can come to some understanding of what causes their behaviour in the first instance. And failing that, why not use them to test new drugs – better than innocent rats.

The Metro handled the story with its usual sensitivity this morning with a nice graphic of a noose - presumablyfor anyone who doesn't know what hanging is. Rather unnecessary I thought.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Fear of the Multiplex

After three weeks of dithering and change of plans and general, we eventually got our collective arse in gear and went to see 'The Departed' at the cinema last night. The OH really wanted to see it, I had free cinema vouchers. So far, so good. Except it involved going to the local multiplex.

I hate multiplexes.

I love going to see films at the cinema - as mentioned before I get very excited by the Pearl & Dean music, but I hate the multiplex. Everything about it. The food - why can't you buy anything there that isn't really bad for you? Why must it all be processed, sugary, neon and served by the bucketful? The limted choice of films - Borat was showing on about six screens, yesterday.

But mostly I hate the people there - its like a sci-fi vision of a distopian future. This might be limited to our local one, but there always seems to be an undercurrent of violence there. Numerous cars with blacked-out (bulletproof?) windows drove passed us. We witnessed two very heated arguments at the popcorn counter last night, one of which seemed to be escalating into a fight as we went into our film. People seemed incapable of sitting still and quiet in their seats for the duration of the film (yes, it was long, but really as an adult you should be able to concentrate for more than 10 minutes).

We are never going there again. I will stick with my independent cinemas or wait for stuff to come out on DVD in future.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Three Cheers for the Cold Snap

Is it wrong for me to be enjoying this cold spell?

Not that it ever gets that cold in London, not like New York or even Newcastle for that matter, but it is certainly feeling more wintery now.

So here's a few things I like about the cold weather:

1. Soup - I love it, I could quite happily have it for every meal every day.
2. Boots - my favourite footwear
3. Tights - I know they are deeply unsexy, but I've always loved a thick pair of tights - my legs look a million times better in them.
4. Staying in - gone is the pressure to be out doing something, 'making the most of the weather' that you have in summer. Plenty of nights in, under a duvet, watching DVDs.

Apparently its not going to last and we'll be back up to a balmy 15 degrees next week.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

One Track Mind

I have very little to write about as the flat-buying is occupying all my waking thoughts. Its actually even occupying a lot of my dreams too. So far, I've had the following dreams:

- We were buying a house off Bobby Gillespie
- We had bought a house (which was actually my Gran's real house) and were having it valued by an Estate Agent
- The couple were are buying the flat off were being very fussy about buying their next property which was holding things up and then they were exposed as being robots!

Hopefully soon things will return to normal and I'll have something else to write about.