Saturday, February 28, 2004

Reflections on last night 

Yet again too many snifters put paid to all my plans to be sensible and get an early night. This was compounded by the fact I forgot to change Northern Line branches at Euston and spent the best part of an hour going from Euston to Mornington Crescent and back again, before finally working it out and emerging at King's Cross.

It was an OK night - a reunion of the old Kiwi crowd who rarely see each other since the heady days of four years ago. It was ex-boyfriend-a-rama too, although it could have been a lot worse - this time there were only two, one of whom was the Donkey.

If I may be permitted to go a bit Belle De Jour here (ie. talking about ex-lovers, not 'Rimming: a modern girl's guide'), I'd voiced my concerns to him earlier in the day about the prospect of our impending meeting, specifically that I feared it would end up as it usually does, with the two of us trying to outbest each other on who's got the most fabulous new life. He assured me it wouldn't and that he would be on his best behaviour, and not spend half an hour talking about his new Marc Jacobs scarf or anything like that.

And so, for the most part, it was fine. We've always got on incredibly well, and inevitably we spent most of the night huddled together at the bar, backs to the others, talking old times. But there's a certain line you just don't cross, certain things you just don't do, even with an remarkably well-adjusted ex-girlfriend who wouldn't touch you again with a bargepole. And one of those things is telling the ex-girlfriend (of just two short months) that you've met 'The One'. Even if you have (and call me a bitter old cynic, but I seem to recall hearing rather similar words this time two years ago and, well, look how that turned out), basic tact would suggest you probably should keep that particular nugget to yourself for a while.

I'd like to stay all Belle De Jour - articulate, poignant, poetic - but the only words that spring to mind here are 'fuck', 'you' and 'you fucking fuck'. I think they do the job.

Fuck! In my panic to buy I missed the fact I just bought UPPER TIER tickets! Howl!

[Still, at least I managed to get some - two standing tickets are currently going for £112 on Ebay. I foolishly asked for box office pick-up, so no chance of me making a profit out of them. But why would I want to? I'm more than happy to throw money (and myself - not that it would do any good) Morrissey's way...]

Ticket Information
You have purchased 4 ticket for:


Seating Information


Total Price

The more you ignore me... 

Damn you, See Tickets, and the crippled, mangy pony you rode in on. You may think you're smart, having a server that can't cope with demand and a phone number that doesn't have a hold option, but you're not. I shall just wait until 9.30am and go to my good friends at Ticketmaster.

And Gigs & Tours, how can you have SOLD OUT before you're even officially open?!

Arrgh. Panic on the streets of London. If this is what it's like trying to book Moz tickets, I can only imagine the horrors that await when Glastonbury tickets go on sale on April 1st.

Friday, February 27, 2004

You're the one for me, Fatty 

Today’s not the first occasion I’ve breathed a sigh of relief that my name’s not Michael. Not just for the fact I’m female and thus having that name would be kinda weird (although it seemed to work just fine for The Bangles’ Michael Steele), but how annoying must it be to have the world’s most commonly misspelt name?

I was in the lift on the way back from another shameful Starbucks mission (that’s three times this week already, I suspect/hope they’re putting opiates in the coffee) when I spotted TWO letters atop a mail trolley addressed to “Micheal” so-and-so.

Sigh. When will the peasants learn? Never, it seems - there appears to be a new chav trend to give babies already-misspelt names (Micheal, Shavaughn, Joolie), which can only lead to certain doom, really.

It's just one hour til the weekend, but there's not the usual excitement at Smacked Towers today. Due to inexplicably gorging myself senseless for the past 48 hours and bringing on the old IBS (not to mention stretching my stomach to bursting point - why did I order a grandé latte, my tum’s sloshing like the steerage deck on the Titanic), I will be nipping off to the Eagle on Rathbone Place for one quick drink and some chit-chat before returning to the warm, motherly bosom of my beloved Stoke Newington to rest before the grand detox and exercise burst that commences tomorrow. Yes, it’s three weeks until the birthday spectacular (Sat 20th March, you know the drill), and I’ve already announced my intention to DJ in disco hotpants. There’s work to be done.

Speaking of disco, I discovered this Stick It On-style night, People’s Republic Of Disco, while idly trawling this afternoon. It could well be quite, quite ghastly, but I don’t know, there’s something about it that rather appeals. [Have you been? What’s the verdict? Email me.]

And lastly, before I bugger off for the duration, don't forget to book your Moz tickets tomorrow - tickets go on sale at 9am through See Tickets, and 9.30am through Gigs & Tours.

See you in the front row.

La-la land 

Smacked Face's LA correspondent sends this dispatch:

"Have been having the awesomest time in LA. Saw the Hollywood sign in the distance yesterday and hitched a ride (cos it was raining and the buses were not stopping on the expressway I'd managed to find myself on, buses here SUCK!) with a spunky, punky 19-year-old model, who's a bit of a woman about town.

"Then I rode a motor-powered skateboard (hand-held control) that can reach speeds of 22 miles an hour with another new friend I made at this mad rock'n'roll gig I went to on Monday... after spending the day in Jacqui Hunter's [ED: Rachel's sis] penthouse pad looking through family photos of the Hunters and hearing stories of what a cunt Christian Slater is and what a dude Robbie Williams is...

"Ahhhh LA, you would love it man!!! Haven't actually seen anyone famous yet but I love how you can stroll down Melrose Ave and know that around any corner it could happen. Seen the House of Blues and the hotel where James Belushi died, rode a bus along Sunset Blvd and past Bel Air gates. Man oh fucking man, you just can't believe that there is so much cash in the world...

"Been to the Getty museum and going to the LACMA tomorrow, went shopping in Macy's and Bloomingdales yesterday... wish I had more money... xxx"

Smacked Face is turning green with envy. Or is that the hangover kicking in?

Thursday, February 26, 2004


Ooh it’s a slow news day today, in all senses. I’m bored, work is boring, the news is boring - even hearing that an MP got turfed out of the Tory party for quoting a dodgy joke swiped off last week’s Popbitch mailout doesn’t excite me.

Thus my lack of inspiration leads me to post an age-old link but one I find tres amusant nonetheless - Worst Album Covers Ever.

In the absence of a digital camera, I am desperately trawling the web trying to find a jpeg of my all-time favourite cover, Bradley & The Boys' Dyna-Dall - A Dream Of Dynasty and Dallas... Remarkably I could sell this fabulous piece of trash for up to $14.99, according to GEMM.

Wednesday, February 25, 2004

Dead end world 

PS: The Dive Bar in Soho - made famous by the Pet Shop Boys (In a restaurant, in a West End town/Call the police, there's a madman around/Running down underground/To a dive bar in a West End town etc, etc) - closes its doors on Saturday 6th March.

Built today, here to last? Nope.

PPS: Felixfive sends the ultimate Rainbow episode, if you haven't seen it already...

Atkins fatkins 

I was sitting next to a pair of fat birds on the train this morning who were saying how they’d just started the Atkins Diet which meant they’d only eaten the “egg” part of their Egg McMuffin this morning. Say what?!

There’s nothing that gets my goat more than uninformed Atkins Diet devotees. Now I’m no stranger to the ways of Señor Atkins, but I long ago saw the light and realised the future is not devouring plateloads of fried lipids and overprocessed pap such as that contained in a McDonalds breakfast - unless you want to be fat and dead.

THE ATKINS DIET IS BAD. Full stop. Sure, cutting down on carbohydrates will help you lose weight (temporarily) and cutting out processed carbs like white bread and rice is to be encouraged, but foregoing even good, unprocessed, fibre-rich carbs like legumes, brown rice etc, in favour of additive/preservative-rich fatty foods is VERY BAD NEWS INDEED.

If you want to know why, go read Greg Critser’s Fat Land and Eric Schlosser’s Fast Food Nation or even pick up a copy of Dr Montignac’s slightly flawed Eat Yourself Slim And Stay Slim for an insight into the all-important glycaemic index, and why eating and cooking organically and avoiding processed foods really counts when it comes to managing weight sensibly and not fucking up the rest of your system on a short-term weight-loss fix.

Smacked Face is considering launching her own diet book and retiring to the Caribbean. It will be called Stop Scoffing Takeaways And Ready Meals, Get Off Your Ass, Cook Some Proper Food And Do Some Exercise, You Fat Lazy Bitch. I think it will be a hit.

Tuesday, February 24, 2004

Notes from a coffee bore 

I can’t believe I succumbed to Starbucks again. I just really needed a coffee, Pret was out of soy and I couldn't face Eat again...

I’d always vaguely subscribed to the anti-Starbucks rhetoric, though more for the fact I thought they wouldn't be able to make coffee to save themselves than for any real political agenda. Thus I'd never been to a Starbucks until Saturday 6th December 2003 (a nondescript rainy-ish day on which I got my hair cut, shopped happily at Harrods and Harvey Nicks, ambled aimlessly about London loving the fact I was on my own; a day on which the relationship with the Donkey entered its final, irreversible decline towards implode), when my desire for a hot beverage to warm my hands during a circumnavigation of Green Park forced me to eat my words and purchase a soya latte from aforementioned anti-Christ chain.

And (gulp) I really enjoyed it. Fresh from all the Eat Café curdled-coffee disasters, my soya latte was perfect - creamy without being fluffy, not too hot, not too cold, strong-ish yet mellow beans - and the cinnamon and nutmeg I sprinkled on top had a lively, fresh, Christmassy taste to them, as opposed to the stale brown dust of other rival establishments.

But it left a nasty taste in my mouth. £2.50 for a coffee? To hell with their claims to ‘Make Trade Fair’ - the price of a Starbucks cuppa could feed an entire Third World village. And all the globalisation/capitalisation issues aside (I’m so not qualified to talk about all that palaver), you just can’t trust an American multi-national, can you? I simply don’t believe the McDonalds of coffeeland hasn’t found a way to slip a few preservatives and palm oil into its soy milk, pump up its beans with some hydrogenated fats, spice up their nutmeg with extra E numbers...

Coming from New Zealand, home of coffee snobbery, I should be more selective in my coffee choices anyway - choosing a carefully-crafted double espresso from a reputable café (like the Frenchman’s perfectly-brewed one from Il Bacio Express on Sunday night) rather than just a chain-made hot milkshake à la my soya latte.

Speaking of Il Bacio, it’s been a firm favourite for a while, but their Quattro Formaggi pizza... God, it was gorgeous. And if anyone finds the fur trim from my Silas parka on Church Street, please let me know. That’s the last time (obviously) I'll be offering it as a makeshift scarf.

Monday, February 23, 2004


Morrissey is playing Manchester! On May 22nd (his birthday, if I recall correctly)!! With Franz Ferdinand as support!!!

Sob - I love him so much! (29-year-old woman turns into hysterical teenager in one fell swoop.) Look at him in his natty gangster styles! I SO have to be there. Tickets go on sale on Saturday at 9.30am. I'm setting my alarm now...

We have fruit 

I've taken some weird things clubbing in my time (in all senses), but none quite beats going out carrying a kilo of tomatoes.

I decided to brave the freezing temperatures on Saturday and introduce the Frenchman and visitor-from-Birmingham Charlotte to the joys of Borough Market. A delightful time was had by all, culminating in the purchase of olive oil (Terra D'Otranto Adamo from Puglia - smooth, subtle, fruity), a tub of basil pesto and some Comte cheese, and (by the Frenchman who claims to eat nothing else but tomatoes) three tins of fois gras and a kilo of the rosy round fruit. [EDIT: Are tomatoes fruit? Or vege? Hmmm...]

Next, on a quest to find Napoleon some saucissons that met his famously snobbish standards, we stumbled across Le Cave, a little French wine bar tucked away next to Southwark Cathedral, and spent a lovely couple of hours there over a gorgeous bottle of syrah, some saucissons (at last) and a selection of cheeses. Even the Frenchman was impressed...

Anyway, where was I going with this? Ah right, how we came to be out avec fruit. So we headed into the Endurance in Soho to meet another mate, who after four hours' drinking suggested we headed to the London School of Economics' bar for more, cheaper drinks.

All I can say is that there's nothing on this earth guaranteed to make you feel more middle-aged than going to a student bar at the age of 29 carrying flash olive oil, pesto and fine cheese ("Yah, darling, you simply must come for dinner - and do bring Jack and Molly!"). And why is the one night the bouncer doesn't ask to inspect your bag the one night you're packing a kilo of tomatoes?

Ah, they're the new black, don't cha know...

[Postscript: I've just been reminded that upon returning home from said hideous student bar (why? why?!), the Frenchman and I staggered to the kitchen, Borough booty in hand, and proceeded on a debauched feeding frenzy, the like of which has never been seen before. An entire tin of foie gras was scoffed in one 10-second burst, the Comte became a shovel with which to demolish the pesto, a plateful of tomatoes were sliced and drizzled in oil and sea salt (and the plate was licked clean), and lastly - and most shameful of all - the olive oil was drunk straight from the bottle. No wonder I woke three hours later and had to go 'call for George'.]

Friday, February 20, 2004

Le petit dejeuner 

So the birthday rocked. Phew. And the copious amounts of alcohol seem to have put paid to the burgeoning cold too, killing two birds with the proverbial. Speaking of birds, apparently I inadvertently ruined Pretty Nick's chances with a barmaid at the Londesborough by remarking, "Haha, Nick's so desperate for a shag." Not surprisingly, she turned tail and left. Oops. I can't recall this happening, of course, but that's hardly unusual.

Went to Clicia on Church Street for a late brekkie this morning and I can quite categorically state that, my own Eggs Benedict excluded, they do the best breakfasts I have ever tasted. I had the vege Clician breakfast (halloumi cheese, olives, poached egg, tomato, vege sausage, hash browns and Clician bread), Nick had the vege Ark (as above minus the cheese but with filo and all manner of veges) and the Frenchman had the non-vege Nova's Ark (with delicious garlic salami) and a salmon Eggs Bene, topped off with a ferociously strong bloody Mary and fab coffee.. Yum, yum and yum. Lovely staff too, and in summer you can smoke a shisha out the back! All round, a solid 10/10.

Haha, we decided over breakfast we'd all move to Barcelona in September and open a bar - gee, I bet no one's had that idea before. Wouldn't it just be ace if it came to fruition though?

Thursday, February 19, 2004

Yay, thanks to Jason at Onionbagblog for putting a smile on my grumpy old face. His sidebar is set to sweep the board at the inaugural Smacked Face Sidebar Awards - I seem to always find something hilarious and new (even though it's just a case of me not reading it for long enough).

This time, however, it's not the random MC Pitman quote making me chortle, but the excellent 'Shit sells' section, which reminds me of one of my favourite sites ever, DisturbingAuctions.com - in particular this little beauty (please note magnified version).

I’ve come to wish me an unhappy birthday 

Don’t bother wishing me any happy returns today, your sweet gestures won’t be responded to in kind, but with a weary sigh or even an exasperated snarl. I haven’t been in a fouler mood for months, and for once I can’t even blame Nag Nag Nag for my Thursday blues.

It didn’t help that my day started with my sad father waking me up, ostensibly to wish me happy birthday, but really - as per fucking usual - to whinge about my mother and her new boyfriend. Yeah cheers Dad, you selfish git - for one day a year, give it a bloody rest.

But of course the real problem (and one I’ve never actually experienced before) is that old chestnut, the relentless march of time - the overwhelming feeling of "I’m 29 and what have I achieved? I still pin my hopes of success on winning the lottery", the whole "And you may ask yourself, What is that beautiful house?/And you may ask yourself, Where does that highway go?/And you may ask yourself, Am I right?... Am I wrong?/And you may tell yourself, MY GOD!... WHAT HAVE I DONE?" thing.

Napoleon texts, "29 is the best age - you’re mature (?), still young, still pretty, still rolling, what more do you want?" Quentishtown emails, "Cheer up - at least you’re not as hungover as me." Mum says, "Good lord, you’ll be 30 next year - how frightening!" Yes, quite. Thanks for that.

In order to stop me feeling so sorry for myself, God/fate/karma/whatever has seen fit to alert me to the fact it could be worse by various means - the chap on the bus with the giant birthmark, the woman in the wheelchair, a hearse... But it hasn’t worked. Bah humbug.

Wednesday, February 18, 2004


Cyber stalkers may be interested to tune into 95bfm at 12am GMT (1pm NZT) when I will be spouting pop culture rubbish with the venerable Damian Christie.

That is all.

Last-minute links:

• Build your own cartoon action

• A rare decent entry from The Onion

• The best Glasgow has to offer @ Radiomagnetic.com - check Papa Cool at 3pm on Sundays...

Fuckin’ posers 

Glad to see some of you agree with my N*E*R*D comments. But apparently I forgot to mention how gorgeous Pharrell is. Sorry. I guess he’s OK. And I also forgot to publicly record my disbelief and horror at having to fork out £3.40 for a large Diet Coke! 40p more than a beer! What the bejesus is the world coming to?

Anyway, over at the Brit Awards... Only six short months ago (to the day almost), I read this interview with the Darkness and proclaimed them one of the greatest bands around, as I wiped tears of laughter from my eyes. But on watching and reading the Brits coverage today, I was saddened to see they’ve sacrificed their wry twinkle and wit to crass, bombastic posturing. Attention-seeking attacks on Radiohead; inelegant, ineloquent boastings... Boys, boys, boys! Enough already.

Simon at No Rock and Roll Fun sums up the Darkness rather succinctly thus:
“...the ironic part of the Darkness - the car with the fire flash on the side, the fashion, the not-actually-over-the-top performances (more like standing on tippy-toe and peering over the cusp) - isn't actually done that well. The one saving grace of the Darkness is that they write a bloody good tune and know how to deliver it, and I think that's what people love about them. You can compare them with Kings of Leon, if you like, who are detail perfect in the recreation of their image, but can only manage tunes that score a ‘Oh, yes, I know this one’ rather than ‘It goes like this...’”

All true. They certainly kick N*E*R*D’s arse when it comes to live showmanship...

In coffee news, Pret A Manger has finally put soy milk on the menu - and not before time. Now I no longer have to darken Eat’s doors again, which is a relief because the bickering staff and cuntish manager at the Canary Wharf branch (not to kention the crap curdled coffee) were really starting to get on my wick.

Also spotted today, the world’s most irritating invention: toddlers’ shoes that squeak (a la a dog’s squeaky toy) with every step. If I’d never entertained the thought of infanticide before, I certainly have now.

Countdown to birthday: 1 day. See you down the pub tomorrow, y’all. (Actually, see a very select few of you who can be arsed heading up to Stokey down the pub tomorrow. Oh well, I brought it on myself for not having drinks in town. Sorts the wheat from the chaff anyhow.)

N*E*R*D N*E*D*S 

I was gutted two years ago when, all set to check my then New Favourite Band N*E*R*D at the Shepherd's Bush Empire (I think), the then-boyfriend announced that his parents were coming over and we had to stay home that night and meet them. Damn it. So to endeavour to make up for missed time, I thought I might as well get us all tickets for tonight's gig at the Hammersmith Apollo - I figured we'd pretty much missed the N*E*R*D boat, but hoped against hope the boys might pull a stormer out of the bag anyway, and that maybe it wouldn't be so bad.

Alas I had reckoned without the presence of an Essex-ful of neds and fake-tanned, caramel-streaked, flabby-bellied, singlet-wearing chavver tarts, all sporting ridiculous camo trucker hats (like The Last Days Of Shoreditch had never happened). That alone was enough to make a shy bald Buddhist reflect and plan mass murder, but with the Apollo's crap sound on top of that, and a mostly lacklustre performance from Pharrell and the boys... boo. I was very unimpressed.

It seems these days N*E*R*D gigs are more about who the surprise guest stars will be than anything else. Tonight was no exception - the performance had been rolling along fairly averagely when 'special guest' (sigh - again?) Justin Timberlake took the stage to wild hysteria. I'm sorry, but I came to this gig to see Pharrell and Chad (and the other one who no one can ever remember), not some woolly-haired Mickey Mouse Clubber. I HATE TIMBERLAKE. Him and his lamo beatboxing can just fuck off back to the hick town from which they came. And their 'spontaneous' "Hey, how about I play keyboards, Pharrell, and you play the drums?' routine was exactly the same as the last time they played here. Tsk! (EDIT: But as Ms Cameron reminds me this morning, he did save the gig from supreme mediocrity, damn him and his white bread styles.)

Yep, N*E*R*D are just too reliant on their friends - others included Naomi Campbell, Dizzee Rascal (who once Friendstered me with the immortal words, "You look like the sort of Jezebel I'd like to juice up") and the dude from the Black Eyed Peas, although to be fair the tracks with the last two were pretty wicked. This is hardly surprising, however, since, without proper backing vocalists, Pharrell and Chad's voices just aren't strong enough to carry a big venue like the Apollo on their own.

I had much more fun sleb-spotting in the crowd - Noel Gallagher looking bored with/by excitable blonde missus, Keisha Sugababe, Misteeq, Danny Goffey, Missy Elliott, various other random lad band types whose faces aren't yet famous enough to stand out in my view from the lowly stalls - and shoving a lardy pikey teenager in front of me who kept ramming her backpack into my face. She took issue with the fact that she couldn't have a 5m space to leap about and scream at Timberlake, and gave us a bit of lip. I was very close to telling her, "Lose some weight, you fat chav, and you'll have more room", but realised that was cruel and unusual, and could very possibly scar her for life.

Anyway, I'm supposed to be staying up late to write my review of the gig, but all I can think are nasty, negative thoughts. I think I may need to sleep on this and write a rational, objective report in the morning. At this point in time, the only thing that sparkled for me tonight was Pharrell's blinging diamond earring. Shame.

Time I brushed up on tonight's Brit Awards anyway - and what better way to do it than at Pop Justice. Good night all.

Tuesday, February 17, 2004

The Milky Bars are on me 

Another success for Doreen. Yes, my whinging alter ego has struck gold again, with a lovely letter arriving this morning from Catherine from Green & Black’s Organic, apologising for the cherry stone in my chocolate and enclosing £15-worth of vouchers so I can “continue to enjoy Green & Black’s in the future”. Yes indeedy. There’ll be a whole lotta chocolate lovin’ going down in Stokey tonight. (Actually there won’t be, cos we’re off to N*E*R*D at the Hammersmith Apollo - skite, skite. Rock on.)

Cheap night at the Brixton Ritzy saw us check Gus Van Sant’s Elephant last night. It possibly wasn’t the wisest idea to go see a notoriously subtle and slow-moving film at 9.30pm after a weekend of no sleep though - I had to keep poking the Frenchman with a sharp stick to make sure he didn’t doze off and drop the box of Maltesers on the floor.

Not quite sure what to make of the film really. I guess I did quite enjoy it, it’s gorgeously shot and keeps the ironies to a minimum - it would have been very easy to go OTT on that score to suit the moronic American public, but he doesn’t, so there’s a plus. But it does drag so - even though I’d been warned, I still found the first 40 minutes fairly yawny on occasions. And why did GVS (like everyone else dealing with school killers - Vernon God Little etc) make his killers gay? Is this just a common stereotype (which I wouldn’t have expected Van Sant of all people to use) or do the stats actually bear this out? Hmmm, something to research there.

Anyway, it gets a B+ on the Smacked Face scale. It’s no Drugstore Cowboy, that’s for sure, but luckily it’s no My Own Private Idaho either. Good but eminently forgettable. The actors are lovely-looking though...

Countdown to birthday: 2 days.

PS - bloody Kiwis...

Monday, February 16, 2004

Wow, I've just discovered this amazing site - everything you ever wanted to know about street art and graffing but were too afraid to ask. Pure brilliance.

Also forgot to say we discovered London's second coolest pub in Camberwell, of all places - the Joiners Arms. Nick is being dispatched there this week to bat his eyelashes and use his pretty-boy good looks to tee us up a DJ slot. (Although he is categorically not going to be allowed to call the night "After Hours with Richard & Judy" - but we won't tell him that just yet...)

Hang the DJ 

When I finally get my own bar (now that’s a dangerous thought), there’s no way I’m paying some pasty, poxy git to bang out his favourite rubbish tunes at such a volume that social intercourse and chit-chat go out the door. Nope, I’ve seen the future and its name is JUKEBOX.

Our Stokey local, The Shakespeare in Allen Rd, has THE best jukebox in London, possibly even the world (almost as good as the CDs I compiled for Napoleon over the weekend which have now apparently become the Sunday soundtrack to the White Horse in Brixton - well, you can’t beat Another Girl, Another Planet, can you?). More Bowie than you can shake a Polaroid picture at, The Stranglers, Buzzcocks, Smiths, Happy Mondays, Stone Roses, Echo & The Bunnymen, Jesus & Mary Chain... Need I go on? We only popped in for one pint but simply had to stay for four. And the best part is the jukebox is free! Joy. It’s quiz night there tonight, but I daren’t drink for six nights on the hop - do I?

More travel is on the agenda as we learn that the Optimo DJs are playing Kill The DJ in Paris on April 1st. Hurrah - I love Paris in the springtime. Alas this now means I’ll be jetting off almost every month - Glasgow in March, Paris in April, Berlin in May, Barcelona in June, NYC in August and Greece in September (ooh hark at me) - so I’d better stop spending money like it's going out of fashion - or start buying a second lottery ticket every week...

DC - another grammar freak - emails to say: “I was so impressed at the supermarket the other night I ended up taking a photo of the first ever '10 Items or Fewer' signs I've seen. Obviously they had a community uprising against bad grammar at Devonport New World.” That’s my boy - keep the faith, brother.

I had something else exciting from the weekend... Oh yes. Checked out Pearl Necklace at the Redstar in Camberwell on Friday night, where Rusty Egan from 80s legends Visage was DJing. On a roll from the drink, the dancing and the fantastic company (until half of the fantastic company got so smashed he had to be carried home), I asked him if he’d play my birthday party. Amazingly, he said yes. Now there’s something to tell the grandkids... Have to call him today to sort it - which is where I find out he was blind drunk and can’t remember talking to me at all, no doubt. Oh well.

Lastly, a great fat big-up to Piccadilly Records. They’ve had sidebar status for a while solely for their enormous range of disco tunes, but I hadn’t ordered from them until last Friday afternoon - and promptly got a confirmation email this morning saying my tunes would be with me tomorrow. Selection and service - what a store.

Ain’t life grand?

Friday, February 13, 2004

Tight spot 

The whole crisp packet/condom thing has gripped the nation - and the world - it seems.

Faithful Smacked Face contributor Tokyo James sends this:
“From an ensuing discussion somewhere else on the web, re crisp packets -
‘God help the lass whose bloke tries to use a Pringles can.’
‘Don't be stupid. Everyone knows you use the caps for diaphragms.’”

And Nicola H emails the following joke:
“Doctor, doctor, is it a boy or a girl?”
“Congratulations, madam, it’s a beautiful bouncing Cheese Quaver.”

On another matter entirely, the Donkey directs me to A Man In Tights, which he claims he “accidentally stumbled across”. Hmmm. The more I look at it, the more I see the man bears a DISTINCT resemblance to Eddie Izzard.

Is there something the Izzard-alike Donkey isn’t telling us? That would explain all my missing hosiery over the years...

Thursday, February 12, 2004

Arrgh the dilemmas! Sahara Nights called me today to say yes, they CAN now do the 13th March as initially requested, do we want to change or keep the booking for the 20th? In the interim, of course, I’ve only gone and booked that bloody weekend in Glasgow. Damn it. What to do? Keep the 20th, go to Glasgow and piss off fellow promoter Tim, whose birthday Blonde is also happening that weekend at AKA? Or move it back to the 13th, flag Glasgow and spend my birthday party without the current squeeze in tow?

Obviously I opted for the former. So. It’s sorted. See you on the 20th. (It’s guestlist only so random stalkers need not apply...)

Hurrah, tonight is Thursday which of course means Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace. I’ll have to chuckle on the sofa by myself as the flatmate will be at the NME Awards and after-show party, the lucky cow. Hopefully she’ll be home next Tuesday, though, to video Strangest Ever on Five (I’ll be at the N*E*R*D gig at the Hammersmith Apollo, yippee), which this week features “a man who is so obsessed with beans that he has tried to become one”. No, I am not making this up.

Late addition: Quentishtown says "shouldn't laugh but..." and sends this. He's so wrong - you should laugh, it's the funniest thing I've ever read. Um, apart from the bit about the guy dying and stuff... (Incidentally, there's a brilliant short story by Alexei Sayle along a similar theme in his book Barcelona Plates - well worth it.)

Pow! Zap! Shazam! 

You know it’s been a good night when your phone’s in-box is filled with text messages from Shazam...

Back in the day at Mixmag Towers, I remember learning about this new and exciting thing that claimed to be able to identify any track just from holding your phone up to the speakers. We duly put it to the test, and found it sorely lacking - back then, it couldn’t even spot Strings Of Life. Hmmm.

But how things have changed - these days no track, it seems, is too obscure for the Shazam kids (check it out for yourself - call 2580). I was re-alerted to its wonder at Pigeonhold last weekend, when my Napoleonic friend was able to sound smart and knowing by correctly identifying My Mine’s Hypnotic Tango - after a surreptitious Shazam trainspot, the cheating, cheese-eating surrender monkey.

And last night (at Nag Nag Nag again - groan), my trusty Sony was able to spot Bow Wow Wow’s Prince Of Darkness (which I admit I should have known already) and something called Virtual Origami 2 by Japanesse (sic) Telecom.

Bravo Shazam. Whatever ill I may have spoken of you in the past, I take back without hesitation. Truly, you are the clubber’s best friend.

Anyway, please go with all haste to Rubbish Gays, my new favourite site. (And who gave me the inspiration to install my own rubbish sidebar poll - see right).

Wednesday, February 11, 2004

Oh my god. Urgent addition to birthday wishlist! I know I'm not supposed to buy any more cookbooks, but I really, really, really do need the Leiths Cookery Bible I just spotted in Waitrose. That and the "FUCK" and "SLEEP" pillowcases from No One as per below...

And isn't this Animals On The Underground site just so cute?

Yee-hah grammar 

So I’m reading Lynne Truss’s excellent Eats, Shoots & Leaves: The Zero Tolerance Approach To Punctuation, which (as the giver of said gift so rightfully observed) is a book that could have been written for me. By me, in fact.

Being able to spot a spelling mistake or grammatical error from 500ft is often more of a hindrance than a help. Although it guarantees you sub-editing jobs for life, it also means you never have a moment’s peace in this crazy, mixed-up, misspelt world. And neither do your friends - most of them don’t understand the weird obsession that dominates your life and look on you aghast as you piss yourself at the latest grammatical atrocity you’ve spotted. I’ve even been known to ditch boyfriends over no greater crime than a misplaced apostrophe in a love letter or a badly-spelt birthday card (modern-day suitors are somewhat more fortunate as they have the luxury of a wider margin of error in these times of “relaxed” email syntax).

If I had a camera phone and this site could take pics, I would have long ago posted the gem of a sign for Tac Wedding Warehouse on Stoke Newington Road (the name itself is enough to get me going). It claims to sell, among other things, “veil’s” (veil’s what?) and “necklesses” (for those unfortunate types among us). There are more horrors on the one sign, but I forgot to pay attention in my scramble for the 243 bus this morning. I’ll add ‘em in tomorrow...

Anyway, that’s enough on my geeky grammar obsession. My last word on the matter is this: NEVER EVER use the term “very unique” (or “rather unique”, “kind of unique”, etc) in my presence. You will get a short, sharp slap. Maybe a long, blunt slap. Nevertheless, your cheek will smart. Something cannot be “very” unique - unique means “one of a kind”, thus something cannot be "very one-of-a-kind”. Understood?

There endeth the lesson.

Tuesday, February 10, 2004

Get busy 

Countdown to birthday: 9 days. Thus the annual Jeneral wishlist:

• An Ipod (I wish)
• Rare disco vinyl, eg. Love Committee Just As Long I’ve Got You, Brainstorm We’re On Our Way Home original 12”s (see Sound Library Records or get Ebaying)
Club Culture Club 1-4, V/A selected by the Glimmer Twins (Eskimo)
Happy Days Vols 1, 3, 7, 9, V/A
Sennheiser headphones
• "FUCK" and "SLEEP" pillowcases from No One in Shoreditch
• "I’m back” T-shirt, Pure Evil ornament from Pure Evil Clothing
Lots of champagne. Even just Lindauer Special Reserve if you don't wanna part with the cash for the real stuff
• A weekend in the sun
• A big clock for my wall
• Exciting op arty screenprints/lithographs - eg. Peter Phillips, Patrick Caulfield (no Banksy though)
• A funky lamp from Two Columbia Road
• A big juicy voucher for The Dispensary
• A fetching stuffed squirrel
• Shoes. Lots of pretty shoes (size UK 5 1/2)
• A pair of Adidas ‘Melbourne 1956’s
• New scarf
• New hoodie
• New bags (one must be big enough to fit magazines, pref vintage leather)
Agent Provocateur candles, vouchers, underwear....

And my Xmas leftovers...
• Pair of Seven For All Mankind skinny-leg jeans
Laura Mercier Creme Brulée Honey Bath, Sugar Scrub and Body Souffle
Guerlain Issima Midnight Secret and Midnight Star
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
D'Arenberg Dead Arm Shiraz or Ironstone Pressings Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre
• These cushions from Sukie


I had three different dreams last night that all involved falling from great heights - once from the top of the World Trade Center (RIP), the next from a Triumph Herald bizarrely converted into a stretch limo that could fly, and the last from the top of a very tall inner-city flying fox.

What could this mean, I wondered, so I consulted the Dream Dictionary to reveal the significance of my subconscious night-time musings. It claims falling in dreams indicates:
“A need to establish balance and stability
A need to ground yourself
Feeling helpless or out of control
Surrendering yourself to something pleasurable, such as falling in love.”

Er, righto. Crikey.

An interesting story caught my eye in the all-new tabloid-sized Times this morning, about the American Airlines pilot who asked his passengers to "raise their hand if they were Christian”, following it up with, "Everyone who doesn't have their hand raised is crazy.” You can read the rest here, but my favourite part was the AA spokesperson, who claimed the pilot’s actions demonstrated “a personal level of sharing that may not be appropriate”. Oh how I love Americans.

And finally... Feeling a little horse? Would you like to?

Monday, February 09, 2004

It burns 

And call me a smug, white, middle-class git, but how the hell do you use a crisp packet as a condom? Ouch! Ouch ouch ouch. And that's not even factoring in the Salt & Vinegar possibility...

"I'd like to thank the Academy..." 

I haven’t been able to get off the phone all day for all the casting agencies pursuing me, what with my new starring role in television's popular Tabloid Tales. I am of course exaggerating ever so slightly - the series hasn’t even finished filming yet, let alone been screened. But when it does, I’ll be sure to keep my phone lines open. I’m the one pretending to work intently with a sly smirk on her face that they’ll show for half a second, even though they spent half an hour filming me. I had to sign a release form and all, it was hilarious. My TV career starts here.

Actually, my TV “career” started in 1988, firstly as a winner of the Smith's City Telethon Carpet Challenge, then as a brace-faced, perm-haired spotty geek on TVNZ’s general knowledge quiz show It’s Academic. I was so appalled by my teenage plainness that I wiped the video as soon as I saw it. I wonder if, much like the beast from 20,000 fathoms, my younger self still lurks in the vaults at Avalon Studios...

The "career" continued along the telethon theme - snogging wildly-popular television host Simon Barnett in return for pledging a tenner, snogging my foxy journalism tutor for $20 (it was worth every penny, er, cent - my knees literally went weak) - before it progressed to the ‘talking head’ stage, doing a couple of random news vox pops before being asked to appear on the Holmes Show back in 1999, to discuss youth apathy to the upcoming election. ("Huh? What election?") I wore yellow. Not a wise choice.

And if you watch the opening scene of SW9, you can clearly see me pretending to rave to Paul Oakenfold for an entire 1.5 seconds. Mind you, that would mean having to watch SW9 - and that’s something I would never recommend.

Anyway, enough about me, damn it. Tobias asks, “Have you been to the Jolly Butcher in Stoke Newington? If you do you might not come out... There’s a joke in Stokey: If you need to go to the hospital it's quicker if you don't ring from your house but go to the Jolly Butcher, as you will soon be bottled and the ambulance knows where to come.”

No, Tobias, in answer to your question I haven’t been to the Jolly Butcher, but obviously I must make a point of getting down there at once.

Oh yes - Green & Blacks replied to my letter of complaint re the matter of the cherry stone in my chocolate (see January archive), apologising and requesting evidence of my dental treatment so they can compensate me for my chipped tooth. Steady on kids, I just wanted some free chocolate! They were also “appreciative” of the fact I pointed out the spelling errors on their packaging (read: made my letter object of derision in the office for a week before consigning to “nutbar” file) and promised they would correct them on their next print run. So that’s something.

By the way, that Optimo site (as per below) is fascinating reading - I whole-heartedly recommend the Classics section. And in just over a month's time I shall be there, whooping it up in sunny Glasgow. Hip hip hooray.

Sunday, February 08, 2004


Actually, talking about I'm A Celebrity reminds me of the time I snogged Peter Andre - or rather he snogged me.

As a workie at NZ's Dominion newspaper back in 1996, I was dispatched to cover Pete's visit to a young cancer patient (who died two weeks later - it was one of the saddest things I'd ever experienced). On introducing myself, he grabbed my outstretched hand, pulled me in for a clinch and stuck his tongue down my throat.

It was quite, quite vile.

(There's also the time I smoked dak ate smoked duck with David Attenborough at a bird sanctuary... but that's another story.)

Go bang 

The one thing in the world better to run to than disco? Why, DISCO DRUM'N'BASS of course. I found an old CD left over from my days at the venerable institution that is Mixmag, popped it in the player (with my new Bang & Olufsen headphones, cheers Donkey) and ran harder and faster than ever before, doing little pecking-chicken moves with every step. Sonic & Silver, I salute you. I may never dance to D'n'B again, but I can damn well kill myself exercising to it.

It was another excellent Pigeonhold last night, thanks to the mighty deck skills of Will b (small "b", not to be confused with Will B, big "B", from East London's popular Need To Know parties), Gid, Karen, etc, and the addition of the marvellous Terry Bristol of Studio 54/Paradise Garage/whatever fame, who I was stoked beyond words to have back to ours afterwards. What a godlike creature. I fawned sycophantically as if my life depended on it. And... he's playing my birthday party (Saturday 20 March - put it in the diary NOW) - hurrah! He's promised to bring a bagful o' disco too - yay.

Tracks of the night of course belonged to Terry - My Mine's Hypnotic Tango and Liquid Liquid's Optimo, which almost caused my young French friend to collapse and die on the dancefloor, such was his frenzied excitement. (My friends have nicknamed him Napoleon, which I think is most unfair (while being hilariously funny) - he may be French and have a penchant for wearing military-style jackets in a dandy highwayman fashion, but he's not that short and he certainly doesn't have any nasty skin diseases à la that famed historic leader... he has rather nice skin in fact.)

And speaking of Optimo, that's my Valentine's Day destination - Crash in Vauxhall for a night of the esteemed Weegie club types. Mmm, how romantic.

Ooh, yay, I just won the v-hard-to-get Jumpin' - Original Disco Classics 3xLP compilation on Ebay. Score. Anyhoo, must dash, I'm A Celebrity's on. Ha ha, the tragic lives we lead...

Saturday, February 07, 2004

Geekster's paradise 

Oh my lord. The joys of a PC that does EVERYTHING. The joys of blogging and not having to type out manually each and every bit of HTML coding... The joys of discovering Soulseek and finding every single track you ever wanted... The joys of Windows Media Player crashing. Oops.

And yes, I know I should be out having fun in the city this afternoon, but I had to wait in for the man to come put up our blinds, OK? I'll make up for it tonight at Pigeonhold, promise.

Friday, February 06, 2004

It's link madness laziness 

Right, in the absence of any other inspiration - bar an ill-advised rant about patronising ex-boyfriends - it’s time for a pre-weekend clearout of the “blog bits” file that lives on my work desktop, filled to the brim with assorted garbage and randomisms.

As usual, I can’t vouch for any of the below due to crap work Mac being limited in its functions and spanking new home PC not yet connected to the net. But they're sure to provide you with at least five seconds of distraction from your humdrum lives, if only by crashing your machine or getting you in trouble with your boss. Here goes...

• Feldman fans will love Corey’s “Licence To Jive”. Although Outkast fans may very well hate this.

• More fun'n'games in Newcastle. [EDIT: I've finally managed to access this and it is SHEER BRILLIANCE. Hear hear, good fellows.]

• That penguin thing. (Quentishtown’s record is 320.5m.).

Herve sings - the planes, the planes indeed.

• Something from the good folk at www.stupidpeopledostupidthings.net.

• And a gratuitous photo of a guy called Kermit.

That’s all, don’t shoot the messenger if they happen to suck balls.

My weekend? Well, since you ask, I’ll be heading along to Timmy, Jimmy and Chris’s birthday bash in Belsize Park tonight, the venerable institution that is Pigeonhold on Saturday night, and lunching in Kensington of all places on Sunday. Provided I make it home on Saturday, that is.

Countdown to birthday: 13 days. Comprehensive present list to follow next week.

Happy weekending kids.

Bidding wars 

My forthcoming UK DJing debut (as one third of the Gimmer Twins™) has sent me running to the warm, welcoming bosom of Ebay. It’s such a dangerous addiction - one search reminds you of another search, then you “view seller’s other items”, that reminds you of something else and before you know it, you’ve run up hundreds of pounds’ worth of bids on items you didn’t even know you wanted - and you end up winning them all. Then the debt collectors start calling. Gulp.

So much fun to get the parcels in the post though. Just this week I’ve had much-anticipated vinyl deliveries of Hamilton Bohannon’s Let’s Start The Dance/Let's Start II Dance Again, Ulrich Schnauss’s Far Away Trains Passing By and Heatwave’s Groove Line, plus of course that best-forgotten Sister Sledge disaster...

Though I should have had an early night last night, I ended up staying up late again, unpacking my new computer (yay! none geekier...) and catching Garth Merenghi’s Darkplace on the teev. I wasn’t convinced at first, but Ms Smith, who did some of the post-production on it, assured me it was worth perservering with - and my efforts were rewarded. It was pure genius. No more going out on Thursdays for me... Actually, since Ms Smith has videos of the series, I probably still can, but you get my point.

In other news, a friend of a friend sends this:
"know anyone who wants to DJ for MTV? are they female? can they get the party started? do they play quality Hip Hop, RnB, Ragga, Breaks or House?
I'm organising a series of 6 events across Europe in association with PUMA. We're looking for 4 female DJs to form a team known as a '4SOME'. The 4SOME will tour across Europe as part of the MTV SoundSystem.
Destinations: UK, France, Benelux, Germany, Austria, Spain
DJs must be fun, outgoing and up for a laugh!"

If this sounds like you, drop me a line at the usual address...

Lastly, may I direct your eyes to a fine new blog, Pettifogspot, written by a very good friend of mine, turned on to the wonders of blogging by yours truly when he stayed on my sofa for a month over Christmas. Parting was such sweet sorrow, but now, thanks to the miracle of the internet (and my farewell gift of a tin of Capitaine Cook's Sardines a L'Huile D'Olive), I can feel as close to dear Charles as ever. Bless him.

Thursday, February 05, 2004

The afternoon after the night before 

Oh god... Nag Nag Nag until close... Baileys and red wine until 6... no sleep... on a school night...

I hurt, damnit.

BTW you'll notice all some of the links are pop-up windows now, due to popular demand. Thanks to Ms Cameron for the HTML tip. Nu-look site coming soon too, courtesy of Mr Tukere - when he can find a nu-look that doesn't end up crashing my Mac...

Wednesday, February 04, 2004

Hip hop you still don't stop 

Back on to the subject of my graffiti quest (you thought I’d forgotten about it - it goes on), and CUE from So Fuzzy Crew emails with his favourite all-time East End graf - which also happens to be mine. Sadly this page can’t take pics yet, so I send you to his brilliant So Fuzzy Crew site for the best grafs in the world ever. Note the So Fuzzy Crew panda-cum-Bin Laden (as previously lauded on this blog) on page 3 and the genius piece of window graf on page 2.

And if anyone is wondering what to get me for my birthday in two weeks’ time, anything from Pure Evil would be a very safe bet indeed...

Disco - is there anything it can’t do? 

I woke up to the sound of the rain chucking it down outside, and my foot aching in the spot where I broke it last year. Feeling the weather in my bones always means it's going to make for an extremely damp day - verily, the morning was not looking encouraging. But it’s amazing what a long soak (with the help of some Aromatherapy Associates' Revive bath oil - yum) and the rediscovery of Phil’s ‘Cheer Up Jen’ Broken Foot mix can do. I swear to god I almost cut a rug in spectacular disco fashion on the DLR as Double Exposure’s Ten Percent reached its peak. (Nice to see they’re finally knocking down the rank abandoned council estate in Shadwell too.)

I learnt three things yesterday:

1) Always secure cheques firmly in pocket or bag when going across windy Docklands wasteland to the bank. Losing £100 due to carelessness is guaranteed to ruin your day.

2) Ebay at haste and you WILL repent at leisure. After winning an auction for Sister Sledge’s Lost In Music, I was dismayed to find I’d actually won a CD rather than a 12”, and rather than the pure long-playing disco grooves of the original, it was a CD of rejigged, housed-up 80s versions. Sacriligious! And just terrible! Sob!

3) Wales is great – see here and here.

Tuesday, February 03, 2004

The Charlton FC-obsessed Inspector Sands of Casino Avenue fame responds to my earlier post (below) thus:
"Incidentally, it *is* Inspector Sands who you hear called for at railway stations when an emergency may be imminent - I think it comes from theatres having a Mr Sands, as in bucket of..."

Another little nugget to impress your mates with. And just in case that explanation wasn't enough for you, the pedants at The Guardian's Notes and Queries page have, erm, a bucket more for you.

What else? Ah yes. I know this is a few days old now - I keep forgetting to post it - but you must agree it is surely Ananova's greatest story yet.

Getting away with it 

I’m still a bit shellshocked from yesterday’s news, but I had these bits and pieces ready to go from the weekend, so let’s run with them... And if anyone wants to offer me some HTML suggestions for smartening up my sidebar design - damnit, why not the whole page - hit me with ‘em.

Sigh. It was yet another boozy weekend. I really wanted to go to a new Saturday night in Kentish Town called Getting Away With It, which has a music policy of "The Smiths, New Order, Pet Shop Boys and their descendants". HEAVEN. But alas, no one else shared my enthusiasm, so we ended up going down to the Medicine Bar in Highbury with some old friends, a few Weegies down for the weekend and their guests from LA.

Man, Americans are HARD WORK. It’s a fact of life that if you want to drink late at night in London, you’re going to have to queue. And it probably won’t even be that great when you get in there, such is the price you pay for the luxury of drinking after midnight... But that’s the rub. Deal with it. You’re not on Sunset Boulevard now, kids.

I spent some time talking to the LA boys - Max, an overbearing Robert Downey Jr lookalike, and Rich, who owns a clothing boutique on Sunset and also - of course - does “some TV production in my spare time”. How Hollywood - you gotta love it. And then all the LA girls started getting off with each other. How Hollywood - you gotta love it.

On the home front, my lovely flatmate Ms Smith has seen fit to invest in a washing-up bowl. I think this must be a quintessentially British thing - I remember my gran having one, but even then I pondered its use. What is the purpose of a washing-up bowl? Washing up, obviously - but surely that’s what a sink is for? Hmmm. Answers on a postcard please.

Lastly for now, another list. This time, Inventions I want to patent:

• alternative soundtracks to films - inspired by the genius of DJ Yoda vs The Goonies at the ICA last year. I’d love to market accompanying CDs to DVDs, so you can turn the sound down and listen to a corresponding mix, which would be much more conducive to those large gatherings where people feel compelled to talk over top of the movie - this way it wouldn’t matter. The licensing would be a right bitch though... oh well.

• tights and stockings for long-legged/short-torsoed girls - I am sick of wearing my tights up under my arms. I feel like a Teletubby. I demand shorter gusset action.

• outdoor weeing accessories for women - so that I never have to squat in nettles at Notting Hill Carnival ever again.

Monday, February 02, 2004

Words fail me 

I didn’t see the news last night. But even if I had, chances are I wouldn’t have paid the story about a suicide bombing in Iraq much attention. After all, it was just another suicide bombing and they happen all the time, don’t they? Except it wasn’t “just another suicide bombing”. This one killed my friend’s father and brother (who also happened to be his best friend).

What do you say to someone who’s just lost half their family? There’s not much you can say, except to offer your support and question the utter senselessness of the world.

Likewise, there’s not a lot I can say in this particular forum. It’s an awful thing how human nature generally dictates that proximity and relevance makes news matter. I wish it didn’t take the deaths of a much-loved friend’s family to drive the point home that truly terrible things are happening everyday. I wish I was a better, nicer, more caring person on a global scale, but the truth is, I’m not - I don’t think too many of us really are. We live in a cosy shell, caught up in our own little trivialities and inanities, only rarely getting a jolt out of our middle-class sensibilities.

At the time the bombing happened, I was discussing with my flatmate how I wish I could do something “noble” before I died. C’s dad, a Kurdish leader, probably did noble things every day. How hollow my words sound now.

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