Wednesday, December 31, 2003

Yawny McYawn 

New Year's resolutions. Yawn. But here you go.

1) I will not go out and shag the first thing that moves solely because I am on the rebound and require confirmation of my loveliness.

2) I will start swimming again, also will get up in the morning and run around Clissold Park (and avoid old Stabby Wabby). And do sit-ups. And stuff.

3) I will indulge my passion for food and cooking by going to cooking school.

4) I will actually enrol in Spanish classes, not just listen to Michel Thomas's kerrrrazy tapes ("tener - tenehhhhhhrrrrrrr, like teNAAAAAAAACious, tenehhhhhrrrrrrr").

5) Yoga? Hmmm. Nah.

6) I will fit my size XS frock until at least my birthday in February.

7) I will endeavour not to look at the Donkey as a useless, bumbling buffoon or cheating, slimy toad but to look back upon our relationship as mostly a very wondrous thing. I will remember that I fell out of love first. I will not take back the Eames chair I gave him. I will be reasonable in all our dealings. I will not dwell on the fact that he is the grinch who stole my Christmas.

8) I will travel more. Lots more. And maybe - gasp! - not just in Europe.

9) I will finally stop biting my nails. Really. I will.

10) I will spend a lot more money on music and books. I will start buying vinyl again.

11) I will not stop partying after New Year's.

12) I will go to many more live gigs.

13) I will quit this job and do something more challenging.

14) I will finally get around to starting that breakdancing club.

15) I will write more interesting blog entries.

Have a fabulous New Year's, all. I intend to.


Tuesday, December 30, 2003

New Year's XS 

Hooray, hooray, NYE is but one day away. Bollocks to all these killjoys who moan about how it’s always being a letdown and how they’re just going to stay home and keep the cat company in order to avoid any disappointment. It’s going to rock.

Key ingredients for a good New Year’s are (see how my blogging has become merely listing these days, I’m so very lazy and uninspired):
• good friends
• minimum transportation time (nothing worse than spending midnight in the back of a kebab-soaked minicab, coming up on the bus or having to hike 5 miles across Hackney in a less-than-fully-functional condition)
• enough cigarettes to last the distance (make an estimate and double it)
• booze etc (ditto)


For such a scruff, I’ve totally gone to town this year, treating myself to a facial, eyebrow shape, manicure, a new LDB from the Dispensary (in size XS - oh, how break-up weight loss rules - so timely! So convenient!), fab vintage 1970s gold disco heels... Although I’m not sure about the heels, they’re very strappy - and I’m not known for being the most elegant of girls. Observe the wrist support I'm currently sporting - so stylish.

Anyway, in other news, recently I did this quiz and frightened myself by clicking on ‘Auckland’ for the capital of New Zealand. And if Gary Jules’ Mad World can get Christmas No 1 this year then I think 2004 is definitely the time for my own yuletide ditty, Satan’s Slay Bells. (Or should that be Belles? Hmmm. I’ll decide sometime over the next 12 months...) I can't imagine it will be quite as marvellous as Cartel Communique & Osymyso’s classic John’s NOT Mad vid, but then who could top that, cunt, fuck, bollocks?

(Bugger - the Cartel link doesn't seem to be working. Fingers crossed it does in the future. Alix, a friend of the Cartel bunch, recommends 'clicking on the picture of the Hoff at the bottom, he's such a heart throb'. I duly shall. If I can.)

Monday, December 29, 2003


# 5243: People who don't take no for an answer when they have the wrong number

There's an Asian man who continually calls my home number asking for Stephanie. My name is not Stephanie and no Stephanie is resident in the building - I don't even know anyone called Stephanie - but that's not good enough for our erroneous-dialling friend. I can accept people asking what number they have come through to - it's good to be able to put your finger on where you went wrong to avoid making that mistake twice. But this man tells me I must be wrong and what on earth I am doing on the end of the phone when he quite clearly WANTED TO SPEAK TO STEPHANIE. And then he calls again. And then again the next week. And again.

I'm not even safe at work. Aside from the mis-sent faxes that screech through my handset approximately every 20 minutes - update your contacts lists, PR bints - there's a posh-sounding fellow who regularly calls, complaining that no one has confirmed his order for topless Caprice shots and gets horribly upset when I can't redirect him to the Independent's picture editor because I don't work at the Independent.

Grrrr. What happened to the days of simply hanging up on someone? It works for me.

Singles chart 

The break-up of a relationship’s a funny thing. Unless you’ve got somewhere else better to go, it’s a turbulent wee rollercoaster of a ride for a while there. No matter how much you knew you’d changed, how you’d fallen out of love, how much you knew it had to happen, or how much you know it’s for the best, it’s hard to stick with those convictions 24-7. Sometime, in the middle of the night, or at the end of your tether on a crowded Tube, or packing up your old photos, or walking past that bar the two of you spent that fantastic night in, there’s a sudden pang that says maybe, just maybe, you WERE still in love with him. Maybe if you’d done this, or hadn’t done that, things could have worked out. Maybe you don’t want to let him go after all.

Then you steady yourself and realise that just because you don’t have it doesn’t mean you want it. That loss doesn’t equate love, that missing somebody doesn’t equate needing somebody. Then you throw your hat in the air and start whistling the Mary Tyler Moore theme.

Friday, December 26, 2003

Christmas time (don't let the beers end) 

Ah, Christmas.

Bad things:
• The weather
• Overestimating people's snack appetites
• Underestimating people's cigarette appetites
• Making mince pies with short pastry instead of sweet short pastry (again)
• Leaving my phone at home and missing everyone's calls
• Shit cracker jokes:
Q What did one angle say to the other angle?
A "Halo there"
Learn to spell please, M&S.
• Drinking lemon schnapps as if it were wine when the champagne ran out. Ow
• Quentishtown getting a gun for Xmas and associated eye-losing fears
• Spending £36 on taxis
• Murderous thoughts about the £500 wasted on the ex's surprise Christmas gift of a non-refundable/non-transferable holiday to Rome
• Thoughts of the hassles associated with uprooting my life in the new year - yawn
• Not being with my family in New Zealand feasting on my sister's stockpiled seafood bounty in the sun
• Resenting the person responsible for me not being with my family in New Zealand feasting on my sister's stockpiled seafood bounty in the sun

Good things:
• Not over-indulging on the food front
• Not falling asleep on the sofa
• Watching terrible films (Luke Wilson's Old School was a hilarious revelation. We have now all resolved to go and see the atrocious-looking Elf on the basis of Will Ferrell's performance)
• Spending Xmas with my sister for the first time in four years
• Hayley's fantastic cooking
• Being around wonderful people
• Having a phone-ful of uplifting Xmas messages to come back to
• Scoring a pair of Earl Jeans for £75 at the Selfridges sale
• Remembering that everyone is returning to London in the next couple of days and that many good times beckon
• Realising NYE is only a week away and that a whole new - and better - life awaits in 2004
• Realising - surprisingly - it's all good...

Wednesday, December 24, 2003

You can find me in da pub 

I drank a very weight-unfriendly amount of San Miguel with pals last night at the George & Dragon, pulled a few crackers (alas, literally, in the Christmas sense - all the boys were gay), scoffed a mince pie or two and generally felt all was right with the world.

When I went to the toilet, the first bit of graffiti I saw - well, the third, really, after "Bela Lugosi's dead" and "You go on this bouncy castle at your own risk, no shoes, no drinks" - was, "Remember, the end of one thing can only mean the beginning of another." Which, though not groundbreaking stuff, was a source of comfort to this still slightly smarting soul.

Saturday, December 20, 2003

"I'm baaaaaa-aack!" 

Anyway, so the Donkey (short, hairy, somewhat smelly) has been put out to pasture, to go rutting jackasses new. The best thing is that I no longer have to head out to the dreaded NZ and can now spend the festive season in fine London style. With an awful lot more money to spare. Which could be dangerous.

Congratulations to Belle De Jour once again, who won the Best Writing category of The Guardian's Best British Blog Awards. She's - if indeed it is a she, blah blah - awfully good. I'm slowly trawling through the rest of them, although Annie Mole's London Underground Tube Diary almost crashed my Mac. Beware.

Hmmm. I'm not feeling terribly inspired, and i should really be tending to my jetlagged sister. Perhaps I'll add to this when the, er, magic is back.

Monday, December 15, 2003

Weekend events have overtaken me, I'm too lazy to blog.

Back soon. Maybe.

Friday, December 12, 2003


I can't believe it. My tooth really did fall out. Well, it's a veneer, so it fell off really. But how spooky is that? And, er, how embarrassing. In front of all of the Donkey's clients and all. MAXIMUM SHAME.

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Their rock is not as our rock 

Oh yeah, and then there’s this little gem, unearthed by the Donkey who, in his quest to exorcise the indoctrinations of a religious cult upbringing once and for all, has been scouring the web for wacko Christian sites. (Although this one doesn’t come close to the Westboro Baptist Church’s site, God Hates Fags.com. Now there’s some very scary shit.)

Anyway, the God-fearing types behind “Rock Music - Premature Death of Rock Stars” have calculated that the “Average Age at Death of Included Rock Stars” is 36.9, as opposed to the “Average Age at Death of Americans”, which they give to be 75.8. The years of the wicked shall be shortened, indeed.

Now I don’t want to be a nitpicky nelly, but even taking “rock music” back to “the birth of rock’n’roll” - which purely for the sake of argument we will put as the release of Bill Haley’s Rock Around The Clock in 1954 (yes I know Whitey pilfered rock’n’roll from the black man but that’s a whole other can of worms) - we end up with a situation where the majority of the protagonists are still too young to have died of the most common forms of death, ie. old age-related causes, thus the figures are very skewed indeed.

Perhaps if they recalculate their figures in 20 years’ time we might see a rather different outcome. That is, of course, unless the Rolling Stones are in fact a template for the future and old rockers really will groove on forever. Radical.

Room on fire 

Yes, well, I don’t imagine I’ll be queuing up to go ice-skating at Somerset House again. The rink is too small, the skaters too many, and there are far, far too many testosteroned-up dickheads delighting in crashing into people and breaking their legs. Even I came home with swollen purple knees and my skating ability is the stuff of legend.

Another letter from Hackney Council popped through the slot the other day, this time requesting our opinion on the proposal to erect a mobile phone transmitter on top of the fire station across the road. This is something I think I'm going to have to read up on before I can officially record my views. I vaguely recall an incident concerning a transmitter and an Auckland primary school back in New Zealand, and certainly the microwave analogy cited by this expert doesn't give the impression that a cellphone transmitter is a particularly nice addition to the neighbourhood. But I'm sure when I can be bothered doing my research I’ll find just as much 'evidence' to the contrary cited by the phone companies.

The funny thing is that smugly right-on yuppie communities such as Stokie tend to be full of the “not in my backyard” people who one week are indignantly decrying the fate of poor Molly and Jack who have to go to school nearby and risk being fried like kittens in a microwave, the next cursing in their Golfs and SUVs when their cellphone cuts out halfway up Stamford Hill.

Speaking of fire stations, am I the only girl in the world not to be turned on by firefighters? It would seem so. I’m getting a bit sick of my dinner parties being hijacked by hormonal lasses suddenly needing to chain-smoke out of my front window. I’m quite well aware there’s a fire station directly across the road, so this transparent excuse isn’t fooling anyone. I'm not dissing the profession - firefighters are evidently brave and noble people (as this incident log reveals), and if I met any firemen I'd no doubt find them wonderful human beings. But, much like rugby players, the ability of these chaps to turn women (and some men) to quivering lumps of orgasmic jelly leaves me scratching my head. I feel fairly qualified to comment on this subject, too. Due to a lack of curtains in the lounge (now thankfully remedied), you could say the boys of 39 District and I have really got to know each other these past few months.

And in a final grouch, what a letdown this site, mycokemusic.com, turns out to be. I could almost hear Gra and Philip preparing their lists as we speak...

Wednesday, December 10, 2003

Chicken piss 

So Jonny Wilkinson's car runs off the motorway and smashes into a tree, yet - gasp! - he's back at training the next day. Verily this is a miracle and pressure must be applied to the Vatican forthwith so that this man, nay HERO, can be canonised at the earliest opportunity.

Bah humbug. I'm very hungover after the lavishly-catered work do last night and just hope I can pull it back in time to go ice-skating tonight at Somerset House. After three years of trying we finally booked early enough (ie before the birth of Christ) to get tickets. Lucky us - we get a whole hour on the ice - still, it's no doubt plenty long enough for mishap and injury to ensue.

Last time I had anything to do with skating was at a Eurovision party at Shadders Towers, when Quentishtown (hellbent, as usual, on creating as much alcohol-induced carnage as possible) encouraged me to skateboard down the stairs. I came to in the morning with a very blue, very broken foot - handy when your two-week holiday to Barcelona and the beaches of Costa Brava is just weeks away. Dance music festivals are much improved when you're on crutches.

I cut a lonely figure at my desk last night as all the fashion bints spent literally hours ransacking the fashion cupboard for outfits, and managed to embarrass a nervous workie when she asked what I'd be changing into for the Christmas do. ‘Er, what I’m wearing, dear.’ I mean, without sounding like a prat, a £140 pair of Earl Jeans, a £120 Reiss top and heels surely counts as ‘smart casual’? All the same, it's probably time I looked into a party frock. One cannot live in Kate Moss-style parkas and jeans all the time. Especially when one does not look remotely like Kate Moss. And anyway, parkas are soooo last season. Apparently.

I saw the best restaurant name ever on Albion Road today. It sells both chicken and pizza, so logically it is called Chickpizz. The Turkish place on Stoke Newington Road called Testi is a close contender for the prize though. And Jamrod and Matson’s old local chippie, Star Chick ‘N’ Land, gets points for pure class.

Tuesday, December 09, 2003

'You're out of your element, Donny!' 

So an ape called George Bush comes over and costs the city £4 million and one helluva lot of inconvenience, and how many people get out on the streets to tell him to F off? A piffling 300,000. Then a bunch of cauliflower-eared chimps win a sporting contest that the majority of Brits see as a pastime for posho twits, and how many idiots bunk off work to go wave a flag while hijacking an African-American spiritual (written by the very people their ancestors enslaved)? Three-quarters of a million! Nine pages + the sports section of the Mirror today devoted to rugby. Seven pages including special commemorative cover in the Metro, ditto in last night’s Evening Standard, devoted to a stupid game that three months ago everyone loathed. For ruck’s sake.

But I suppose I can’t talk. I’ve never been to a protest in my life and I don’t intend to start now. And I haven't watched a game of rugby since renouncing my NZ citizenship and getting off that plane at Heathrow all those years ago, and I certainly don’t intend to start doing that again now.

Formula 1 on the other hand... Mmmm. I had a gratifyingly dirty dream about Jensen Button last night, which made a refreshing change from the usual nightmares about my teeth falling out. Apparently, “this classic dream has a number of interpretations. It can show the beginning of a new phase of life just as we lose our teeth when we pass from early childhood and head towards adulthood. You may be worried about your self image or the dream may signify unexpressed anxiety. It can also literally mean that you are frightened of losing your teeth.”

I’m opting for the latter, as my teeth have a habit of regularly falling out, thanks to my dodgy South African ex-dentist’s shoddy veneer job and my revolting habit of biting the skin around my thumbnails with said shoddy veneers. Yes, the saga of my teeth is a long and complex one, and proves that pride (or vanity) does indeed come before a fall...

It all started when, flush with my first freelance job wages after arriving in this fair land, I asked my dentist to fit me up for four veneers for my front teeth - and came out with six. That was after being fitted with temporary plastic teeth that first broke off into my pint glass in very public and embarrassing circumstances*, then turned bright yellow after eating a curry. Next came the first set of porcelain veneers that my dear dentist had ordered too big and too white, and which left me with the lifelong nickname of Donny. These days, however, I merely choose to ruin my beautiful £2,000 veneers by sporadically chewing on things such as biros, flat batteries, thumb skin etc.

I like to think it’s money well spent.

* Although not half as embarrassing as the time a journalist friend, who, reporting for a venerable dance music institution and as a guest of a very famous DJ at a very well-known London club, made the mistake of assuming a very fat line of ketamine was a line of coke. After spending most of the DJ’s set muttering rubbish to himself at the back of the DJ booth, he finally got it together enough to stand up, wandered up to the decks to commend the DJ on his choice of track – and promptly spat out his false tooth on to the turntable.

Monday, December 08, 2003

Self-indulgent weekend post 

Ah, the best-laid plans of mice and men etc. The weekend did NOT go as expected. Let’s deal with it from the beginning.

I got my wish for an early night on Friday, as mentioned below, although we were fresh out of Horlicks. If you suspect you may have an allergy to goat’s milk, a good tip would be not to consume Antony Worrall Thompson’s Mandarin & Ginger goat’s milk yoghurt the day of a big night out. Let’s just say I didn’t leave the house - or the bathroom, even.

Anyway, it all had its benefits, apart from the obvious weight-loss bonus. With an early night behind me, Saturday day was a joy. I sidestepped the sleeping Donkey (who’d got in at 7am, twitching, red-eyed and muttering about ponies) and headed out to spend a fabulous afternoon by myself in town. Even dealing with the manic crowds at Harrods was almost bearable, although four years of stress just to get my mother a bloody Christmas pudding are quite enough now, thank you. A leisurely hour trying on jeans at Harvey Nicks, a life-affirming walk through Hyde and Green Parks, and a fantastic haircut later, and - unlike the tired and cranky Foreign Muck debris still sprawled on my sofa, wrapped up in duvets and scoffing pizza in front of the telly - I was full of the joys of life and ready to rock.

Which was lucky because next it was off to see The Darkness at Brixton Academy, an outing jeopardised by the non-arrival of tickets (boo Ticketweb!) but saved by the laissez-faire attitude of the ticket girl at the venue (hurrah Brixton Academy!). They were of course as fantastic live as has been reported, with jumpsuits-a-go-go, pyrotechnics, children’s choirs, fake snow and glitter showers, and Justin Hawkins circling the 4,000-strong crowd on a roadie’s shoulders. Very much a contender for best gig ever, and Justin and Frankie are certainly contenders for future husbands. If Justin doesn’t lose any more hair, that is.

Yes, they may well be a one-trick pony and their future looks sketchy after the nouveau-glam rock trend they started fades from favour, but whatever. They’re at the top of their game now (or ‘Top of the music tree’ as read the T-shirts thrown to the band from the crowd in a suspiciously staged-looking incident) a brilliantly tight band with a charismatic and witty lead singer possessing real superstar quality, so all those sad music snobs saying “Queen did it better 30 years ago” can just bugger off.

I was intending to write a proper gig review yesterday but later events put paid to that plan. All I will say is that we went on to spend a brilliant evening ligging in the Fabric VIP room for Intec’s Christmas party, and a brilliant day swigging at the Pigeonhold kids’ house afterwards, culminating in the most ridiculous conversation ever held. This basically consisted of substituting film, song and book title words for “cunt” - eg Return Of The Cunt, Cunt 90210, Seven Cunts For Seven Cunts, Another 48 Cunts, The Cunting, Cunt Actually... You get the idea. After two hours of sniggering, we looked up, realised it was nearing 7pm, got scared and ran home.

Friday, December 05, 2003

More plugs 

Oh yeah, we're also off to the Theymademedoit gallery show tonight, a rad UK graffiti collective whose last show in Brick Lane, Don't Believe The Hype, was v good indeed. The exhibition's on 'til the 26th, 17 Kingsland Road, Shoreditch...

The only living boy in King's Cross 

Oops. I forgot to big up the Donkey's night this evening, Foreign Muck. It'll be a blinder - blast it. I just want an early night and a cup of Horlicks. Damn this endless festive season.

The ever-brilliant Gid of the extremely excellent Pigeonhold parties (see you there next Saturday) describes FM thus:

Last month they had Ivan Smagghe from Black Strobe playing and then he emailed and told them it was the best gig he'd ever played in London. How's that? Bloody good, that's how it is. This month they've got Jef K from Silvernetwork and Crack&Speed in Paris. It's going to be very French, very Fresh, very electro, and very house. And they've got a light-up dancefloor and Boris Horel and Greg Sonata from Sketch - the best residents in town (apparently, although there's more of us so we'd still win in a fight). There will be mix CD Christmas presents (nice for granny), and a quality festive filthy feel. The last one was packed and totally rocking.
email: guestlist@foreignmuck.co.uk and tell them you are a friend of pigeonhold for massive concessions.
The Key / Lazer Road / Goods Yard / Kings Cross
11 - 6am / £7 before 12 and cons / £10 after.

Which saves me having to say anything really.

Thursday, December 04, 2003

Fox pass 

We’ve just sat down at Yum Yums on Church Street for a Thai supper (and it definitely lives up to its name, I might add - the chilli prawn noodles are superb) when K decides she would like a cigarette. Ashtrays are called for and cigarettes are duly lit. Halfway through, however, I'm horrified to notice we have been puffing away like chimneys right next to a mum-to-be. ‘Oh my lord!’ I exclaim loudly. ‘That woman’s pregnant!’ Appalled by my lack of grace, I blush furiously and apologise. ‘I didn’t realise, I’m so sorry we’ve been smoking around you, we’ll put them out straight away. And apologies for calling you “that woman”.’ No discernable reply from the table, and I continue to glow scarlet for the next five minutes (I’m very polite, in my way, you see).

But the horror is yet to come. When the group finally get up to leave, I glance over at them. The woman is standing up. And she’s not pregnant. Just very, very fat.

Wednesday, December 03, 2003


The Donkey says my whinging campaign reminds him of “Ted L, Nancy’s letters, although his were better”. He’s not wrong. Ted’s letters - ‘discovered’ (or written?) by Jerry Seinfeld - are genius. I guffawed so loud at "I will be dressed as a giant stick of butter", the Donkey made me get off the bus.

And AlexP emails to say she suspects Roger Bannister would not be shaking in his Zimmer frame (as stated below) as he is dead. Shame on you, Alex! He is in fact very much alive and a sprightly 74. I suggest that in future Alex refers to this site for all her ‘dead or alive?’ needs. (And for all her Dead Or Alive needs, she should of course go here.)

Eat update (yawn)  

Yes I know I'm the only person interested in this but whatever, I received the following email from Tracey at Eat Customer Service just now and I think I should give the company their dues. Still doesn't help with the invalid vouchers though, but good to see my complaints are being taken (very) seriously...

First of all I must apologise for your obvious annoyance at the compensation which I sent you.  I am sorry that you found this insufficient and hope that the further compensation Ben has sent you has settled this matter.

Secondly, I wished to get in touch with you as I felt this situation warranted further communication and explanation than Ben provided.  I am disappointed that this situation has happened again and would like to emphasise that we are doing all we can to rectify this problem. When you first contacted me and I subsequently passed on your comments to our food development team, we carried out tests on the milk, boiling it, re-boiling it, trying it out in different products to see what the effects were etc.  We also contacted the supplier and informed them of the situation.  When we found nothing we put it down to the storage of the milk in our shops (Soho Square and Canary Wharf in particular) and I personally issued fresh instructions to these stores regarding refrigeration, shelf life etc.

Since the incident last week our in-house coffee expert, Phil Meil, has carried out additional checks on this product.  Again, boiling, letting the milk cool, then re-boiling the milk.  Also he left some milk opened and unrefrigerated overnight and then tested the milk first thing in the morning.  Again, we have relayed this information on to the supplier. However, we are at a complete loss as to why this problem seems to be continually arising in these stores.  Just for the record I have received no other complaints from any customers or stores about this milk.

Phil has spoken to each of our Barista's in our shops and asked for any feedback they or their customers have on this product.  He has also made it clear again how this product should be stored and used.  We will continue to monitor this situation and I will gladly share any findings we have with you.  Phil's only conclusion is that we have had a bad batch from the supplier, which, as we do not sell a tremendous amount of soya, and given that it is a long life product, could still be in use from when you first complained until now.  However, if this is the case it does not explain why we cannot get the milk to curdle again.

I am sorry that our findings are non-conclusive on this issue.  As I said above it is something which we are taking very seriously and which we will be monitoring very closely, at all levels of our business, in future.

If you have any further questions, comments or issues which you wish to discuss with me please do not hesitate to get in touch.  I will be happy to help and am keen to resolve this matter as soon as possible.

Kind regards...

Stop whining (2) 

My Eat Café saga continues. As detailed below, I received a lovely email from Acting Customer Services Manager Ben apologising for not compensating me properly for my curdled soy lattes, and I duly received another £5-worth of vouchers in the post. However, on trying to redeem one this morning (on a very well-made soy latte, I might add - finally), I was told they don't have the required validity stamp and thus cannot be used. Yawny McBeal. It's back to the whinging board, I guess.

I've been a bit slack on the whinge front of late. Things I have successfully complained about in the past include:

• Sky - installer refused to put up satellite dish ("nah mate, I'm not allowed to climb a ladder, you need the special heights team, mate"). Complained of dissatisfaction with surly and useless installer. Result: two month's free Sky.

• Waitrose (1) - found peanut in bag of almonds. Complained of dangers to those with peanut allergy. Result: £15 voucher.

• Waitrose (2) - found another peanut in second bag of almonds. Complained that had eaten it and fallen ill from peanut allergy*. Result: £25 voucher.

• Rachel's Organic - apricot yoghurt had stringy stuff in it. Complained of excess fibrous matter ruining yoghurt experience. Result: £5 cheque.

www.extralot.com - Peter Phillips lithograph arrived with small tear in centre. Complained that didn't meet advertised "mint condition" standard. Result: discount on future purchases.

• Freeserve Broadband - wanted to move service to new house but was informed it would take two months and I would have to pay for service during that time. Complained that was taking the piss and why the fuck should we pay for something we couldn't use. Result: switched to BT.

This morning's Tunes mailout reminds me that you should all go out and buy Tubbs' new album. It's ace. You may remember Tubbs from such parties as Southsidesoul (RIP) - he finished his set with the theme from Taxi which made us all go aahhhhh.

And Melbourne's fabulous Nathan G has a tune coming out on Dec 15 called Hardy Pardy (on Kinky Vinyl), which Mixmag made their track of the month. If everyone buys it he'll have enough money to come back to London which will be good for us all.

* NB: I do not have a peanut allergy

Tuesday, December 02, 2003

Gift giving 

So I’ve been doing the blog thing for an entire week now. I celebrated this milestone with an early-morning run around Clissold Park, where I discovered that squirrels like to hang upside-down out of trees when they think no one is looking. I also reminded myself of what I already knew - that disco is the best music ever to exercise to (and in general, natch), and that Dan Hartman’s Relight My Fire makes me run twice as fast as any other track. Roger Bannister must be shaking in his Zimmer frame.

We’re off back to New Zealand for a Christmas holiday in the sun in three weeks' time, after an absence of 3 1/2 years. I’m not too sure how I feel about this, I’m still kind of resentful towards the Donkey for making me spend a lot of cash on returning to a place I spent 25 years trying to leave, but I guess it would be churlish to not look forward to all that sun, sand, surf and seafood (so much seafood), especially when I look outside and see London in all its shitty grey glory.

But anyway, it’s got me thinking about what I want for Christmas. What I’d really like, not just the cheap options I politely inform people would be “ooh, lovely”.

• Pair of Seven For All mankind jeans
Laura Mercier Creme Brulée Honey Bath, Sugar Scrub and Body Souffle
Guerlain Issima Midnight Secret and Midnight Star
• ‘Pure Evil’ ornament thing from No One in Shoreditch
• Sculpted silver Tiffany’s cuff (The Donkey says I shouldn't covet things that have sentimental meaning to those in your circle of friends but when I saw this, which belongs to the lovely Sheena, I just had to have it. Or at least drop hints in order to get it.)
El Bulli 1998-2002 cookbook
Copper sauté pan
KitchenAid mixer in black
• A Knife Skills Masterclass at Divertimenti or Saturday cookery school at Leith’s
• More knives to go with my newly-acquired skills ("I like knifes")
• Armando Manni's £175-a-litre olive oil
• A case of Augustus Chardonnay 2002
• Siri Hustvedt's What I Loved
• DBC Pierre's Vernon God Little
• The first edition of Hotel New Hampshire from that second-hand bookstore on Church Street
• Matthew Williamson butterfly top
D'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz or Ironstone Pressings Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre
• Lots of Green & Black's Organic Chocolate
• These cushions from Sukie
• The new Outkast CD
• Larry Levan's Definitive Salsoul Mixes '78-'83

This list will be added to over the coming days as I think of more, so do keep coming back, gift givers (and I don’t mean that in that creepy AIDS-sharing way).

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