Tuesday, May 27, 2008


An article in Metro this morning about the Bank Holiday Weekend weather used the word “dank”.

Dank is a great, richly descriptive word that isn’t used enough, although perhaps it is a good thing that we don’t have need to use it more often.

Dank perfectly describes how the weather was – cold, wet, dark and miserable. It also perfectly describes how I’ve been feeling.

I have been feeling dank. In fact, I am still feeling dank.

Hopefully the outlook for the rest of the week will improve.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Hitched Hitch

The wedding season is upon us again. I can tell because the stall near work that once sold fruit, then starting selling t-shirts, it now selling pashminas.

My summer is being dominated by weddings. The OH is best man at one in August. Then I'm bridesmaid for my sister and my oldest friend. With hen weekends and visits for dress fittings, its costing a scary amount - more than our week's holiday in San Francisco, in fact.

So I've been worrying about how I'm going to pay of it all, but reasoning that some of it at least should be fun.

Then I get an email from my sister, distraught.

The hotel she had booked to hold her reception has been sold to another company and is closing for refurbishment. She has had this venue booked for a year. Nobody there told her this was happening. She found out by chance because a friend went there for lunch and overheard staff talking about the takeover. Quite when they were planning to tell her if her friend hadn't stumbled upon this, we don't know.

Tomorrow she has a meeting with the venue to discuss what can be done. I hope some alternative can be found, otherwise its looking like all going back my mother's for the reception. And as much as my mother does put on a lovely a spread, that is certainly not what my sister wanted for a her big day.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

More Musical Oldies

Following on from my Neil Diamond admission yesterday, I seem to have got myself caught up in a wave of musical nostalgia and whilst I have resisted paying to see Mr Diamond, I’ve found myself lured to see other pop pensioners.

The WonderStuff
They were the first band I ever went to see and at this rate they may well be the last band I go to see, when I see them again in October. You may remember them from the dreadful Vic Reeves collaboration “Dizzy” or the annoying “Size of a Cow” neither of which are particularly representative of the rest of their work. Not that I’m saying the rest of their output was particularly good (an over indulgence on the fiddle being one flaw).

The WonderStuff are a unique band in that they attained a certain level of success but they have never influenced anyone else. No new bands ever cite The WonderStuff as an influence. Nobody ever mentions them as being their favourite band. Their influence has been nil. But they still have some loyal fans, willing to turn up toatch an increasingly bald and overweight frontman and a decreasing number of original band members belt out the old favourites.

Amongst those fans seem to be quite a few of my friends and I will now be seeing them for I think the fifth time. Not only that but my friend who booked the tickets, opted for the VIP tickets which involve meeting the band at a backstage after party. Their frontman, Miles Hunt was surly enough in his youth so I’m struggling to picture him at this “meet and greet”.

An Evening with Primal Scream and MC5
The last time I saw Primal Scream (not counting the time I stalked Bobby on the tube), they were back on form, but I could have probably resisted seeing them again. Until they were put on a bill with MC5. Or what remains of the MC5. I’m not sure if there are many of them left but at least this concert is in June so not too long for the rest of them to hang in.

I really did expect the OH to refuse to go to this one as it means a return to the Royal Festival Hall to see one (or arguably two) bands that are way past their heyday. I didn’t expect him to be too keen on this since he accompanied me to see Roky Erickson last year. But I was wrong.

So in June we will hopefully see both bands on stage together playing Kick Out the Jams.

My Bloody Valentine
Another reformed band, but this time a bit more credible and the OH’s choice. These will probably be pretty good.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Me and Neil

Or as my father would point out if he was alive, “Neil and I.”

The Neil in question is Neil Diamond. I love Neil Diamond. I make no apology for this fact.

He has a new album out this week, produced by Rick Rubins, who revitalised Johnny Cash’s career. Apparently he’s doing the same for Mr Diamond. But in my book, that didn’t need doing. He has written some of the best pop songs ever in the work he did for the Monkees (a band I may have claimed to prefer to the Beatles,)

Whilst to some, he might be in the category of “guilty pleasure”, to me he has never been anything other than great. There may have been a year when grunge ruled my stereo and I may have temporarily forgotten about the majesty of Neil, but for the past decade, his place in my heart has not been questioned.

It must be said I’m from a family of Neil Diamond lovers. Whatever else we may or may not have in common, this one thing is certain. My sisters love him, my mum loves him and my dad loved him. So I grew up listening to him, in the car, on holiday (the song America was on heavy rotation the year we went to Florida!) and watching The Jazz Singer on video.

There is also a lot of poignancy tied in with this. We choose a Neil Diamond song to be played at my dad’s funeral. It was our choice so we’ve nobody else to blame if the even the first note of the song (Songs of Life) can reduce us to tears.

But still I love Neil. I’m disappointed that I won’t be able to go see him play at Glastonbury but I’m still contemplating going to see his Wembley show next month. But as much as I love Neil, £70 seems way too much, no one will go with me and I don’t want to run the risk of flooding the arena with tears. Perhaps I shall just buy the new album instead.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Casting my Clout

Readers not from the north of England or those unfamiliar with its sayings may well be confused by that title. It relates to the saying "ne'er cast a clout til May be out". Roughly translated it means don't stop wearing your thermal vest until May is over. In practice this means that if you dare to walk down the high street before June without wearing a cardigan and mac on a hot day, old women feel they are justified in tutting at you.

Despite it only being the 10th May, I put aside this old warning and , today I made the change over between my summer and winter wardrobes. Away went the jumpers, parka and boots, out came the t-shirts, linen trousers and sandals.

Whilst having this changeover, I learnt the following things:
  • I have a disproportionate number of tops, compared with trousers and skirts
  • For someone who prefers plain clothes in neutral colours, I have an awful lot of strange coloured, heavily patterned clothes
  • For someone who is very clumsy, I have a lot of silk and/or dry-clean only clothes
  • Most of my clothes come from the same four shops
  • There are two items in my wardrobe that I've never worn and doubt I ever will, but I don't feel able to part with them yet
  • There are five things in my wardrobe that I'm keeping for sentimental value
After I'd sorted out the clothes, I hung some towels outside dry. Coupled with having "cast my clout", I feel sure it will now rain.

M. I. A.

The reasons for my prolonged absence were that I was:

Busy at Work
Up North
Busy at Work

It has been hectic but mostly uneventful.

Yesterday, we went to Oxford for the day, for no other reason than it is there and not too hard to get to from here.

The University buildings were beautiful and there were some lovely riverside pubs, but besides that it was disappointingly pretty much like any other place in England.

Busy at Work is likely to remain the case for the next week.