Sunday, November 30, 2003

Masonic lodgings 

I am so angry I could scream. The Donkey's computer has crashed yet again and taken my about-to-be-posted last entry. It was of course a work of unsurpassed genius, lost forever to the Mac OS9 vortex containing, among other things, my screenplay for this century's Citizen Kane and the solution to world hunger.

I told off a tramp today. We were filming outside Abney Park (making a video to take back with us to the motherland in three weeks' time) when he lurched into shot and hurled an empty can of Special Brew over the fence, despite standing right next to a rubbish bin. So I pulled him up on it and he told me to, "Fuck off back to the West End, ya poncy bitch." Touché.

I've been getting called a lot of things recently, actually, although I suppose I do probably ask for it. I told a young mong in the Royal Oak last weekend that he appeared to be turning green, to which he replied, "Yeah? Well you look like a hamster." Which is one member of the rodent family I've not been compared to before.

We thought we'd seen C and T for the last time last Friday, when their quiet farewell drinks at the ICA turned into an all-night session... But due to visa problems, their departure to New York was delayed for three days and so we got a little bonus time with them, which was nice. And even better was the fact C's new employers, a Very Important US entertainment firm, put them up for the duration in a suite at the Savoy. This of course resulted in us spunking the rest of the Christmas shopping money on Bollinger (as befits one's surroundings) and room service, looking out over the Thames and talking rot 'til the early hours. I'll really miss C&T, sniff. Although the plus side is I've now got a place to crash in the Village...

As you'd expect, the hotel's ever so posh, though I can't imagine too many visiting rock stars pass through its hallowed hallways - it's more rattle-one's-jewellery than shake-your-ass. A breakfast omelette at the Savoy costs £25. I've tried to work out what they can be doing to this omelette to justify such a price, and all I can come up with is:
a) it comes in a foot-wide giant paella pan and can feed a family of five;
b) the Savoy is in league with the Illuminati (well, no surprises there) and has managed to breed a secret race of subterranean alchemist super-geese which, like in the fairytale, are laying the proverbial golden eggs.

Antiques Roadshow - oh yes, it's all action round ours - has just revealed the interesting fact that pug dogs are, or at least used to be, a masonic symbol. Apparently when the Pope excommunicated German Freemasons in 1736, they continued their shady after-hours activities under the name of the Order of Pugs. So there you go. We briefly considered adding a pug to the household a while back but came to the conclusion that dogs and London don't really mix. Had we known pug ownership might open up the world of the dark arts to us, however...

Anyway, we don't live in Shoreditch any more, which, according to the theorists, is the centre of it all. We used to live right next door to a Hawksmoor church, though, and nothing creepy ever happened to us. Except the day our scary drug-dealing neighbour shifted in... but that's another story.

Last word before I get carried away with theories about leylines, lizard people etc. Somebody PLEASE give Belle de Jour a book deal. 'Diary Of A London Callgirl' is the best thing on the net. Except maybe this.

Friday, November 28, 2003

Mmmm summer 

So while we’re out drinking and getting all very excited about Sónar last night, Northern Monkeyboy has also been out drinking and getting all very excited about Glastonbury. It turns out there’s a week between them - Sónar 17-19th June, Glasto 25th-27th June.

We’d planned to stay at this hotel in Barca, but apparently it’s fully booked already, which quite frankly is a bit of a fucker. So it’s back to the drawing board. Eurocheapo here we come probably. :(

I cried like a little girl watching the Beeb's Glastonbury coverage from the comfort of my sofa aprés-Sónar last year. Radiohead's Fake Plastic Trees, The Flaming Lips' Do You Realise... sob. Thankfully the Guardian's Alexis Petridis was there to capture it all perfectly. All kudos to him for managing to cobble together such excellent coverage while in a festival state of mind... Yet another reason why I'm not a full-time music journalist.

Monkeyboy claims to have a friend whose property backs onto the Glastonbury site and who runs VIP festival packages - helicoptered in, luxury campervans, a fully stocked bar and, er, delivery service, and golf carts to take you to the actual festival. No doubt it's very blasphemous if you’re a crusty festy kid, but it sounds all good to me. I recall rolling around in mud and sharing stinking, overflowing Portaloos where every previous user seemed to have eaten lentils for dinner at the rained-out millennium Gathering in NZ - and even back then I ended up retreating to the car... If doing Posh Glastonbury means I won't pass Authentic Festivalling 101, it's a price I'm happy to pay. And I'm sure I'll be able to deal with the sneers of shivering, "authentic" crusties from the safety of my cosy, sheltered, nay, WOMB-LIKE golf cart... Mmmm.

No going out tonight, bar up to The Film Shop in Church Street to prepare for a DVD-and-wine-on-the-sofa night. Here's hoping we can prevent the Donkey having any say in the video choice after last time's My Big Fat Greek Wedding fiasco. Christ.

Misery loves company 

Ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha. www.mymiserablechristmas.com. Ha ha ha ha ha ha. I just can't pick a favourite. Shannon "Mommy doesn't love Daddy anymore"? Anonymous "Gran made my parents spend our Xmas money at bingo?" Or Petie "Mum made me dress as an elf at school"? Oh my sides. Sob. I wonder if any are real. I'm hoping at least the bingo one. Verily I will burn in hell for this.

Good morning sunshine 

Lordy! What a beautiful day, not a cloud in the sky, the sun almost - gasp - warm on your shoulders. And so bright! Although that may be down to the mild hangover I'm nursing this morning. Stoke Newington was in fine form too, Abney Park a positive beacon of gothic gloriousness.The temptation to sample the bready delights of The Cooler downstairs was strong as ever but I resisted. Well done me.

Not even anything of note to report on the dreaded Essex Road bus experience, apart from a polyphonic blast of Tasmin Archer’s Sleeping Satellite which rang out five mins from Angel. Cue surprised looks all round until passengers worked out it was a ageing PR matron’s phone, which she answered with a braying, “Sweetie!” and proceeded to yell into for the rest of the journey. Cue universal under-breath sigh of “cunt”. I mean, Sleeping Satellite? Get with the programme, Mum.

Went to the Jimmy Turrell exhibition launch last night. I think his work's fantastic, but as the Donkey says, it’ll date very quickly, so don’t think I’d pay £250 for a piece. Ended up drinking Asahis at Yo Below down the road when the free beer at Phonica ran out. Hmmm, Yo Below’s a weird place, twats in suits and secretaries with love handles spilling over the backs of their pants singing karaoke and dancing to Now That’s What I Call Muzak. Great udon noodles though.

Thursday, November 27, 2003

The Emperor's new comedy 

The Donkey sends me this from the NZ Herald. It's just hilarious - and for once the words 'hilarious' and 'Mike King' can be used in the same sentence.

I remember once writing a piece for some Kiwi rag about the perilous state of New Zealand comedy and the fact that unfunny dickheads like Mike King were at the forefront of it. Kiwi comedy clubs are - or at least were, when I was last there - like the emperor's new clothes, often helmed by buddy-buddy "comedians", all sitting around wiping tears from their eyes and slapping each other on the back, when really someone should be pointing out to them that IT'S JUST NOT FUNNY.

It's a shame because there are some absolutely brilliant Kiwi comics, but sadly a lot of the people who rise to the top in NZ comedy circles seem to have a level of fame inverse to their level of talent. (Brendhan Lovegrove, I'm looking in your direction. It's sad when even new best mate "comedy terrorist" Aaron Barschak is funnier than you.)

I haven't seen Newsboy's new TV show obviously but I hear it's genius. I can imagine. And bravo BFM.

In your face King.

On the buses 

The fabulous Jimmysupreme - a fellow Hackney dweller - writes:
“What the SWEET BABY JESUS are they doing on Essex Rd?! I too was stuck in a bus of fuming people all ready to go ape shit for about an hour this morning.
You can just see it - 3 rival 'construction' companies:
'I know, lets dig up the whole of one of North London's busiest roads on a Thursday morning.'
'Right you are, that should fuck off just about everyone.'"

Like me, he saw the best minds of his generation destroyed by madness on the Essex Road. My worst recent experience was a couple of weeks ago when, after half an hour going nowhere, the no. 73 suddenly veered off course and started heading up to Highbury. After 20 mins outside Highbury tube I couldn’t take any more and jumped off the bus to hoof it to Angel, in heels and IN THE RAIN. Outside Angel tube I saw the reason for the delay - A LORRY HAD DRIVEN INTO THE HOLE THE WORKMEN HAD DUG. Quick, lads, get the Thermos out...

The irony is when you type “essex road roadworks london” into Google, it comes up with the BBC’s page “Keeping Britain Moving”. Oh ha bloody ha.

Stop whining 

If you’re releasing a disco compilation the law states you have to call it “Disco something” - Dave Lee’s excellent Disco Spectrum series, Dimitri from Paris’s fabulous Disco Forever, the now-deleted Disco Blueprints which I still haven’t been able to track down... And now there's the new release on the Tunes website, Disco Sessions. What an ace collection. New Jersey Connection’s Love Don't Come Easy just makes me want to cry big fat snotty tears every time I hear it.

It’s good to see my ongoing dispute with Eat Cafe has - hopefully - finally been settled. They’re the only people making decent soy lattes out in the corporate wastelands of Canary Wharf, but occasionally something will fuck up - they make it with off milk or overheat/overfroth it, or something - and it turns to a cupful of soy chunks. Mmm. So for months I’ve been hassling them for refunds for my three undrinkable coffees (and some compensation for my time, natch) and last week they sent me a voucher for £2.50. Tsk! The coffees alone cost £5 - shameful. Anyway, an uppity email to New Store Opening Manager Dawn Thomason later, a lovely email from someone called Ben arrives. He says they’re so sorry and that lots more vouchers are on the way. Way to PR, Ben.

I’ve found the best people to complain to are Waitrose. I twice found a peanut in a bag of almonds and got £15 and £25 vouchers respectively. My workmates call me Doreen. Maybe it’s time to take Arnie's advice and "STOP WHINING!"

Best Ananova headline ever. (Cheers again Ms Cameron.)

Ah man, I can't believe I'm still "blogging" after three whole days. I feel like that fat ginger septic who does those movie reviews...

Wednesday, November 26, 2003

The worm has turned 

Talking about the Royal Oak, Emma Fusebox emails to say:
"The Royal Oak is the ravers equivilent of HELL. You know there was apparently an article on it in The Independent on Sunday - I'm still trying to find it, I think it was in the magazine, they even had a photo of a mate of ours......"

If anyone can help... I never read the Indie, I'm a Sunday Times/Observer girl. I just look at the pictures...

Emma does a very cool net radio show called FUSEbox (Tuesday nights 9-11pm GMT, Sound Radio 1503AM/MW or www.svt.org.uk). Last night's guests were Banksy and Joshua/Iz from San Fran on decks. Ace. And she can hip-hop dance like you wouldn't believe. Really. You wouldn't (want to) believe it.

In other news, Nic Cam directed me to the Soviet Museum of Anti-Alcohol Posters, presumably as a warning after the weekend. I'm glad she did. There are some genius works of design there, and of course a moral - although admittedly there are some pretty twisted ways of depicting this moral. Too much 80-proof vodka for Vladimir in the art department, I think...

The Donkey's out having a pint at the Stoke Tup, but I've stayed home to catch the BBC's Bodysnatchers programme at 9. I dunno, it's just one of those nights I really feel like seeing someone extract a 10-foot tapeworm from their arse.

The Gender Genie has this to say on my limited posts so far:

"Female Score: 1139
Male Score: 1312

The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male"


Market forces 

It’s been a great week, all things considered. Three hours’ sleep and 10 packets of cigarettes over the weekend has contributed to me losing my voice and the workmates thinking I have a throat infection, and proferring sympathy and offers of soy lattés at every turn. Fantastic.

Typically it’s every time I think I’ve grown up and am living a sensible North London lifestyle that a weekend like the last one comes along and bites me on the bum. And these days, because you’re no longer young and trying oh-so-hard to be sophisticated, you end up behaving in a manner that would see your ‘cool’ younger self cringe and hide in a cupboard - bouts of rooftop broom golf, a quest to wedgie every irritating character in the Royal Oak, battles with East London hyenas... Sad.

www.visitlondon.com has this to say about the Royal Oak: “Situated right on Columbia Road's flower market, in the week it's gay, gay, gay, while on a Sunday it's packed with market traders and visitors.”

Yeah right. They’re certainly trading something in there but I don’t think it’s flowers, unless they’re of the opiate variety. And after 14 hours on Sunday I saw just one visitor - a kindly-looking old lady queuing for the toilets who looked rather startled to see Jimmysupreme and Jenkins (in his Teen Wolf guise) spill out of the cubicle at 11am...

It’s a interesting little British quirk that, despite the rubbish UK licensing laws in general, pubs in the vicinity of markets are still permitted to open early on market days, presumably to prop up the hard-working traders with a pint of stout and a greasy spoon brekkie. So quaint. I can’t imagine the Royal Oak is the only early-morning-opening market bar to have been appropriated by ravers and lowlifes who just can’t face going home to bed, however - I may have to do some further investigation.

The big weekend has left me in a fine mood today though. Growl. Just what is the appropriate course of action when sitting next to someone on the bus or tube with a personal stereo that has gone above and beyond the outer limits of the definition ‘personal'? Am I just being a cantankerous old fart or should the buggers turn it down? And does this course of action also apply to people with new phones who decide to select a new polyphonic ringtone on public transport? Or is something stronger required…?

I’m still not convinced by this blog thing. As the Donkey said last night, who’s gonna read it? It’s like keeping a diary and then hoping someone finds it under your mattress. Which incidentally is exactly what happened to me the last time I kept a diary, at age 16, when my mother would routinely find it under my mattress, and not only read it but actually take notes and reply to my woeful teenage wails in the margin. Example:
Me: I HATE living here. If I could move out tomorrow I would. I know Mum and Dad want me to stay though.
Mum: Oh no we bloody don’t! Your behaviour is unacceptable - buck up your ideas or bugger off. Obey the rules and you are welcome.

My favourite Ananova gem so far today has to be the one Quentishtown emailed me first thing. I mean, really. Who impersonates New Kids On The Block in 2003? Actually, on second thoughts, it’s probably a good idea - who among us either knows or cares what Jordan Knight looks like these days? Genius. The headline is fab too: 'Man jailed after boy band fantasy'. I knew they'd get Jacko eventually.

Yesterday I liked this one.
No wonder British Sea Power sucks balls.

Tuesday, November 25, 2003

"She's got a face like a smacked face" 

So I’ve been persuaded by an old friend in NZ to start a weblog. Apparently you’re no one 'til you have your own blog, although considering DIY blog sites such as this one are free to use and not exactly taxing on one’s technological skills, it’s hardly up there with getting a table next to Posh’n’Becks at the Ivy at an hour’s notice on the exclusivity scale, is it? Anyway, so be it. Here it is. Who knows what wonders lie ahead?

And cheers to the lovely Jimmysupreme, whose exquisitely phrased insult over the weekend spawned the blog name. She did have a face like a smacked face. And her name was Clementine. Oh my darling indeed.

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