Friday, January 30, 2004

Final countdown 

Hmmm, still an hour to kill before I can escape into the wild grey yonder. For the cyber-stalkers out there (you know who you are), this is what I’ll be doing this weekend, so feel free to grab your axe and stalk away.

Tonight I shall be heading to Sahara Nights in Kings Cross to check out the venue for our grand birthday spectacular, then popping up to the Lincoln Lounge, where Karen Normal and Fran-tastic, The Professional Widows, will be spinning some tunes to entertain and delight. Then I will be refusing all offers to go on to The Key for Human Zoo and heading home for a reasonably early night.

Saturday brings with it the promise of an open book, perhaps a birthday party with the Pigeonholders, perhaps something else I don’t even know about. Or, more likely, Huey will have enticed me to The Key on Friday and I’ll just be arriving home...

And Sunday is movie day. Perhaps Big Fish. Or Elephant.

I’ve been debating the merits of Stoke Newington all afternoon with the Donkey, who has moved back down to the Stygian stables of Shoreditch, preferring its skanking charm to the joys of my beloved Stokey. I think I might love the place almost as much as Pauly does, whose Stokey-based weblog I adore. This week, his site links to Onionbagblog, which I’ve not discovered previously, but it rocks. It may even make it to sidebar status.

And on the subject of blogs, a friend forwarded Casino Avenue to me, on the basis that it said good things about this blog (ah shucks). It’s a damn fine read. It may also make it to sidebar status - but only if Inspector Sands keeps saying nice things about me... (I always thought it was "Sams", as opposed to "Sands", in the "Panic now, you're all going to die" 'secret' emergency call at tube stations, eg "Would Inspector Sams please report to the control room?" I figured it stood for "Security Alert Man Stations". But maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree. Maybe he's not referring to that at all. Maybe his last name is Sands and he's an inspector... ah fuhgeddaboudit.)

TaraNYC sends this gorgeous site.

And lastly, Tokyo James emails: “You're on Friendster? It's doomed to fail :)
For a reasonably insightful explanation, see #4 on this page.”

Can I just point out that while I did indeed put my profile up on Friendster (we all did, it seemed like a laugh, I was drunk), I DON’T USE THE THING. Except when a message comes up in my inbox saying, “You have a new Friendster message from [insert random freak’s name here]” - and of course, curiosity demands I log in and take a look. OK? No more accusing me of being a geek, Jimmy boy. I just won’t stand for it, I tells ya.

Bunfight at the karaoke corral 

After years of searching, it seems I have finally found my true calling in life. Sadly, it appears to be belting out Shirley Bassey numbers in rough East End boozers. Loud and gregarious among those I know, I’m generally rather cautious around strangers, but put a microphone in my hand and I suddenly become Robbie Williams. Hmmm.

I ventured out to the wilds of Stratford last night to farewell the sis, who’s off to Greece to work on luxury yachts, the lucky cow. Alas, it was both “quids in” night AND karaoke night at the Swan. A few £1 drinks later, and I was receiving a standing ovation for my rendition of Goldfinger, with Gary, the proprietor of Garyoke, insisting I return next Thursday for another session.

Later, heartened by my success and slightly hazy from the booze, I lay in bed and decided that first thing in the morning I’d enlist a voice coach in order to pursue my rock star dreams. When I woke up, of course, I realised a) nigh-on-29 is far too old to start thinking of embarking on a music career, and b) a karaoke queen does not a pop star make (unless, inexplicably, you’re that tubby Pop Idol girl).

Was sent the new Snow Patrol album, Final Straw yesterday. I’m not sure what to think really. Obviously it’s gorgeous, lush, poignant, beautiful music, but I think it’s just a little bit too gay-Coldplay for me - it’s kinda all been done before. They will go on to be massive stars, of course, and so they should. I guess it’s just not quite my cup of tea.

I was categorising my musical cups of tea last night actually, as I journeyed home from the far East listening to Joy Division. (I always find myself looking skyward when I play JD, as if to commune with Ian - groan, I'm sooo trite. “Where will it end?” indeed. Well, we know where it did end, poor sod.) Anyway, I was shocked to realise how much I live in the past. Looking at my previous “What I’m playing” sidebars, I find I have been mostly listening to:

1) 70s underground disco/early house - eg Heatwave (in their Groove Line rather than Boogie Nights incarnation), Fat Larry’s Band, Hamilton Bohannon
2) 80s indie/gothy - eg Smiths, Joy Division (yes I know they were 70s as well), Bauhaus
3) Shoegazey, multi-layered stuff (usually a few years old) - eg Ulrich Schnauss, My Bloody Valentine, Boards Of Canada
4) Assorted jangly pop freebies and CDRs - eg Moshi Moshi stuff, Franz Ferdinand
5) Quirky stuff - eg Mr Scruff, DJ Yoda, Lemon Jelly

Anyway, I don't know what that proves except I like making lists.

Thursday, January 29, 2004

Another day, another random Friendster. This time it's Paul, a 29-year-old married chef from the Phillippines. Ho hum.

From the City Centre Offices site comes the welcome news that the-much-vaunted-round-these-parts Ulrich Schnauss will be playing two dates in London at the end of Feb. Firstly at Eat Your Own Ears @ Electrowerkz on Thursday 26th (Hot Trees featuring The Zutons, Mountaineers, Ulrich Schnauss, Adem, Aidan Smith Bloc Party, Andrew Weatherall, Four Tet, The Bees, Warp + more). Then on Sunday 29th at the Big Chill's 10th Birthday @ Re-Union Chapel (+ Global Communication, Another Fine Day + more).

Hurrah. A nice little post-birthday treat pour moi. City Centre Offices is an ace label BTW. Not only do they have Herr Schnauss in their stable, they also have the delicious Static, another favourite of mine, and no doubt many more I've yet to discover.

Don’t believe the hype 

Don’t, don’t, don’t believe the hype. I checked out a preview of School Of Rock last night, and went with high expectations and an open mind. Jack Black - funny? Well, I’d read the style mag raves and seen it on the cover of Time Out heralded as the funniest film of the year, so I was willing to swallow my disbelief and give it a crack.

Alas, all I was presented with was cheesy formulaic pap (sorry, Timbo - thanks for the tix though!). A kids’ movie that adults can also enjoy. Jack Black in OTT kinda-amusing role. Joan Cusack in hideous, ew-I-just-can't-bear-to-look-at-you, my-god-are-you-wearing-a-fake-chin role. Precocious child actors in precocious child roles. Whoopee.

I know I'm being cynical (who, moi?) and I know it's just a feel-good comedy one should take at face value, but I can't get over the extraordinary hype that has accompanied this very average film. Richard Linklater, you directed Dazed & Confused - you should know better!

That’s not to say that in places it wasn't laugh-out-loud funny, but something that both celebrates and takes the piss out of “rawk”? Surely the Darkness already did that, a year ago. And speaking of the Darkness, how very opportune that their US takeover attempt should ride on the coat-tails of this film. I reckon they’re in there...

Anyway, yes, it snowed here. Blah blah, the public services in this city are shit, blah blah they’ve known for two weeks it was going to snow and still the trains fuck up, blah blah they should have gritted all the roads, blah blah Ms Smith and I almost broke limbs last night trying to manoeuvre the back streets of Stokey after a few apres-film pints... That’s all been so done to death. Whatever. Snow is cool. It makes the already-amazing view from my bathroom skylight nigh-on incredible. It may have prevented me getting the 73 this morning (and stalking that chap) and forced me to get the skanking old 149, but hey - it’s real purty.

As soon as my new home PC turns up, I plan to check out this, goldenshower.gs, in all its glory. (Don’t let the name put you off, it’s totally office-friendly.) Don’t know what the tunes are like, but that’s a pleasure (or otherwise) that will have to wait till next week.

And if that doesn’t stoke your boiler, perhaps you’d prefer this. Woof.

Wednesday, January 28, 2004

Please sir, I have a complaint 

Whinging Doreen, aka the wannabe Ted L. Nancy sans humour (see December archive), returns...

Dear Green & Black’s

I purchased a 150g block of Green & Black’s Cherry chocolate from Fresh & Wild in Stoke Newington Church Street on Sunday 25th January, and on finishing it last night, chipped my tooth when I bit into a concealed whole cherry stone. (The packet and the stone are enclosed.)

It’s not the first time this has happened with this variety of your chocolate - the first time I bought a block of Cherry prior to Christmas, my sister reported the same thing.

I love Green & Black’s and I especially love the Cherry variety, but eating it is getting to be a bit of a health hazard, especially as I have porcelain veneers on my teeth which are liable to sheer off at any given opportunity! Is there anything you can do to ensure no more large stones get through the manufacturing process? And can I get some form of compensation for having chipped my tooth?

In a final note, as a sub-editor, I thought I’d point out there’s a spelling mistake on the back of your packaging. It reads “dark chocolate and cherries make the prefect partnership”. It should of course say “perfect”...

Regards etc

Hand in glove 

I had one of those weird moments this morning. I was standing at the bus stop, listening to my Sony Discman™ (a Mr Scruff live set since you ask), tapping my toes, minding my own business, staring blankly into the distance... and something caught my eye, just at the periphery of my vision.

It was just another person turning up to wait for the number 73, a bloke sporting a brown sheepskin jacket and multi-coloured scarf, nice-looking enough but nothing special - but there was something about him, enough to have made me turn to look at him the first time, enough to make me sneak in a second glance. Anyway, I got on the bus and thought nothing more about it, until he brushed past me to get off at the stop before mine, and our eyes met for the briefest second. And then he got off the bus and I saw he held in his hand Garry Mullholland’s This Is Uncool: The 500 Greatest Songs Since Punk And Disco, the very book I had picked out of my bookshelf the night before to re-read.

There was definitely something about him. But I’ll probably never see him again.

Tuesday, January 27, 2004

Oscars™ blurb 

Fresh off the Sky news feed... It’s rare to see this half-New Zealander big-upping her homeland because she’s a miserable git. But hurrah to Keisha Castle-Hughes, star of Whale Rider, for scoring a Best Actress nomination for this year’s Oscars, making her (as far as I can research at short notice and with my internet playing up) the youngest female ever. Awww. And cheers to the mainland - 11 nods for LOTR. Even though I don’t like the films overly much, they’re a phenomenal achievement - and Peter rocks.

Nice to see City Of God making an appearance in some of the lesser categories [EDIT: oops, and Best Director], but where was it for Best Picture? Not even Best Foreign Film? Eh? Eh?! And no Scarlett Johanssen either. Boo.

Pissed idiots of the world unite 

So. The “my boozeshame is better than yours” pissed-up stories roll in...

From foreign climes comes this gem from the weekend:
“Pharmaceuticals fuelled the stupid decision to drink VERY HEAVILY as a kind of downer. Decided it would be just hilarious to pour beer down the back of some blonde bint's trousers as she danced on a stool - thinking I could pass it off as an accident. Her friend saw me & TOLD ON ME, resulting in totally embarassing apology. WHAT WAS I THINKING? I am obviously some kind of sociopath. Or maybe it was the intoxicants. Anyway. then her ratting friend (female) proceeded to totally feel me up which I failed to register for some time due to x-treme drunkeness. Decided to call it a nite. Was sick in basin. Fared better than my other half, who alcohol-poisoned himself for the entirety of Saturday. We rule. How rank is that? How rank?! I am ashamed.”

And from this side of the pond comes the story of T, who arrived home rat-arsed after the going-away bash his work put on for him last week. His long-suffering wife awoke to hear the sound of far-away banging and smashing glass. It turned out T had been drunkenly hammering at the door to the apartment the floor down from theirs. Luckily the occupant is apparently a DJ and thus hardly ever there, but the noise had alarmed other tenants in the building, as had the sound of T deciding to hurl bottles off the third floor stairwell into the street below… Thus 10 minutes after long-suffering wifey finally found him and let him in, two constables turned up at the door, to find T sprawled on a sofa and glistening with vomit, having covered himself and most of the kitchen and lounge with his mighty hurl. “Ah, this might explain a few things,” they said, and left him to his boozy misery.

And a nameless friend reminds me of the time, many years ago, she decided to hotwire a car while under the influence - always a good move. She got 180 hours' community service after police noticed a DIAL-A-RIDE VAN (specially equipped for wheelchairs) swerving violently down the road towards them. Verily, an inspired choice of wheels to steal.

Keep them coming. I feel SO much better now.

Monday, January 26, 2004

“My name is __ and I am an alcoholic” 

If I had a shiny English penny for every embarrassing drunken moment I’ve suffered, I’d be a very wealthy girl. Generally, however, while some of these may have left me dying of shame*, they’ve never actually involved endangering my life...

... Until last Friday, when after much, much vodka with my dear friend Kate, I decided it would be a good idea to jump out of the taxi Uncle Gay had poured me into, outside Finsbury Park station, the motivation being that I was “going to get the bus”. Cue three hours of wandering aimlessly around the wilds of north London after getting freaked out by the leery characters at the station, freezing my tits off, texting practically everyone in the north London area and generally asking to get mugged and raped. Who the hell leaves a cosy, warm cab to get a bus, FFS?

Anyway, thanks to Gay and Kate, working tirelessly behind the scenes to a) locate my whereabouts and b) get me another cab, I got home - miraculously - safe and well, only to be woken up two hours later by the removals men who’d come to take the Donkey’s hideous £2,000 sofa out the first-floor window. Nice. One thing I have learned, though, is that if you’ve drunk enough the night before, you can remain pissed all day and not get a hangover.

* More shameful Smackedface moments (a list that will surely increase as people remind me):
• pulling my law tutor at university, going to the toilet, getting lost on the way back and waking up in his flatmate’s bed wearing nothing but an unbuttoned body suit (ew)
• drinking far too much at an ACT New Zealand parliamentary dinner in my second week of the job, falling down the spiral staircase at the restaurant in front of the party leader, then copping off with the caucus press secretary
• getting legless on air during my show at George FM and talking all over the top of DJ Paul Dean’s set before passing out while eating a chocolate muesli bar and waking up with it stuck to my face
• thinking it would be fun to skateboard down a flight of stairs, breaking my foot in the process
• marching topless down Ponsonby Road in Auckland at 3am
• marching topless through the Eixample in Barcelona at 3am
• every single Southsidesoul night...

Friday, January 23, 2004

Mmmmm. Pikey paradise. Scalliwigs galore. Genius.


Technicolor™ dream goats 

To all those who derided me for my decision to go check the Jungle Brothers at 93 Feet East last night, saying, ‘They’re just a second-rate De La Soul, and even De La Soul are shit these days’, I extend a bony middle digit and say, ‘Fuck you!’ I haven’t had that much fun on a Thursday since New Year’s Day, and this time I didn’t need a chemist shop’s worth of pharmaceuticals to enjoy it.

The Bros themselves admitted they were going to do a “hip-hop karaoke” set, but I didn’t mind in the slightest - and nor, it seemed, did anyone else. Sure, it may have verged a little on the cheesy at times, what with a cover of the Jacksons’ Don’t Stop Til You Get Enough etc, but hell, they were tight as, hilarious and brilliantly entertaining. I laughed (and danced) my ass off.

Baby Bam is still a babe, too - when his baggy-ass pants fell down mid-track and he finished the rest of it in his boxer shorts, my esteemed companion Miss Smith (up the front, within touching distance of said boxers) just about passed out. And I’ll House You still totally rocks. Hooray.

Mmmm. How much am I loving the single life? I remember seeing the Chemical Brothers a few years back, and while not a big Chems fan, I was blown away by the visuals at this particular gig (Big Day Out, Auckland 2000). There was one bit where a track had been pondering along, accompanied by visuals of a constant stream of animated black and white marching robots. Then, as the track built, the robots marched faster and faster, until suddenly the track peaked - and the black and white became colour. Such a simple concept, but absolutely mindblowing. And that’s how I feel right now. It’s like I’ve been blinkered for the past two years, and now, all of a sudden, the blinkers are off, and everything is lighter, brighter... It’s like living life in Technicolor™. Even the boys are better-looking.

La la la. :)

Ooh, almost forgot today's link of choice: marryyourpet.com. Please note the disclaimer.

And I've just spotted the Mirror's exclusive that Jethro Tull's David Palmer has become a woman! Crazy! I remember Aqualung being the soundtrack to one stoner teenage winter in '91... Who'da thunk it?

Thursday, January 22, 2004

Sisters are doing it for themselves 

Note to self no 28475: never involve men in house-shifting. Kate, Tracy and I made remarkably short work of it last night, employing relaxed tactics, a chain-gang approach and big cheery smiles. Well, mostly cheery smiles. Nothing an Il Bacio pizza and a bottle of (v nice) Bulletin Point Shiraz didn’t fix anyway.

I seem to recall the past few flat moves as verging on the horrific, especially the Kingsland Road-Hackney Road move a few summers ago, when the Donkey decided it would be a good idea to do the entire shift BY HAND, using a rickety old box trolley. How I laughed (from afar, having stormed off much earlier in the process) when his wheeled clothes rail (avec clothes) toppled over and fell apart in the middle of Kingsland Road. Ha ha. Well, he brought it on himself with his Scrooge-like refusal to hire a van.

One drawback to all-hands-on-deck moving, though, is the likelihood of things going astray. Since I’m remaining in the Church St abode til the official move-in date at the weekend, I kept behind a skeleton selection of essentials - which my darling sister innocently decided to load up and cart away to la nouvelle maison. In the words of dear old Moz, I haven’t got a stitch to wear. So if you see me looking scruffier than usual about town (yes, it is possible), you’ll know why.

In another bizarre occurrence, I have been randomly Friendstered again. First random January Friendster Stephen was a Brit but with an unhealthy interest in Iceland. Second random January Friendster Úlfur is Icelandic but with an unhealthy interest in... Newcastle. I fear there is some strange Scandinavian conspiracy. Or perhaps my unhealthy interest in Pig Bag really speaks to these people.

[Edit: Is Iceland part of Scandanavia? Or just some weird independent polar outpost? Hmmmm. Email me and save me the five seconds it would take me to Google the answer.]

Wednesday, January 21, 2004

OH MY GOD. A huge box of Krispy Kreme doughnuts just turned up at work.

I was a Krispy Kreme virgin but no longer. I have been roughly pushed on to a bed of calories, thrown against a wall of carbs, held down while high-fructose corn syrup and palm oil has been rammed down my throat, left saturated with fats, and been deflowered in a particularly sickening(ly-sweet) manner - and all for a fleeting few seconds of pleasure.


Inspiration misinformation 

Note to self: do not consider jacking in media for hairdressing. I tried to colour my sister’s hair last night to disastrous results. Greeny-blonde and ginger streaks, with a large orange patch at the front. Thank the lord for my sister’s good-natured and sunny disposition, the dear child.

Hmmm. Not much to report today really. I did manage to lug my enormous solid oak bureau (or the Federal Bureau of Ingestation, as I hilariously like to call it) down the stairs last night, in preparation for tonight’s big move. It was a much easier task than envisaged, but I’ve still ended up pulling a muscle in my bum and walking like an hip-replacement OAP.

In the absence of inspiration I’ll resort to wishing Gid Pigeonhold a happy birthday for Saturday and copying and pasting his Birthday Weekend FAQs, which probably only make sense if you a) know Gid, or b) er, know Gid. Hmmm.

Gid's Birthday Weekend FAQs
Q: HOW old?
A: Yup. 31.
Q: And why aren't you going to some noisy bar-club-thing?
A: I've decided that I'm too old for that sort of messing about. Everyone has to grow up some time and face up to their responsibilities, and my time is now.
Q: Are you sure that's the reason?
A: Absolutely. That's why pigeonhold was retired.
Q: But I heard that the retirement was all lies. What do you say to that?
A: No. Yes. Look, it's like this: the fact is the reason I'm not going out this weekend is because I've got a very busy few weeks ahead of me, what with all the parties and everything, but in no way makes the retirement of pigeonhold nothing more than an elaborate fiction concocted to deceive the public.
Q: Yes it does.
A: That's true.

And lastly, all you ever wanted to know but were too afraid to ask about shoes.

krrrreeeeeettttchhhhh [= sound of barrel bottom being scraped]

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

Rottener dot com 

God I’m glum. Chronic insomnia hasn’t helped the weekend recovery much - it’s so weird to finally have the house to myself after two years or so. Not a bad thing at all, but without anyone else to blame it on, I keep thinking every little noise during the night is the return of the rat/mouse/indeterminate rodent.

And it’s bad enough home’s now a hi-fi and computer-free zone - come tomorrow night, after we’ve shifted all the big stuff to ma nouvelle maison, I’ll be TV-less as well. Gah! How will I cope till Saturday? It’s lucky, I guess, that I’m reading an excellent book (Easy Riders, Raging Bulls: How The Sex ‘N’ Drugs ‘N’ Rock’n’Roll Generation Saved Hollywood). I know I should have read it years ago, especially since the sequel, Down And Dirty Pictures: Miramax, Sundance, and the Rise of Independent Film, has just come out, but sometimes I’m a little slow on the uptake.

My life seems to be a whirl of going-away parties at the moment, as London experiences a mass exodus. It’s most disconcerting. Last year, among others, it was sayonara to fellow boozehag and partner-in-crime Nic, the lovely Dennis and Max of Goya fame, and Chris & Tara, who headed off to NYC; this year Chintz shot through to Geneva, Charlie, one of my oldest friends, departed last weekend, Lu and Tony are leaving London this weekend, and Piri and Haley are heading home to NZ in March. It’s really not fair. I am so sick of going-away parties.

Grim, grim, grim. Perhaps it’s been non-stop listening to melancholy indie tunes that’s set me on such a miserable course - I’m hoping a switch back to disco might do the trick. Or the shit weather. Or perhaps it’s just that Tuesday feeling. Ah, that’ll be it.

Ooh, on the plus side, the Southsidesoul site seems to be back up and running, although it’s still wildly out of date and the graphics still look kinda crazy on a Mac. Never mind - I promise to put up all the as-yet-unseen photos kicking around on the Donkey’s computer as soon as I can get my hands on them. You have been warned.

Monday, January 19, 2004

Rotten dot com 

It’s all self-pity and woe at Smacked Face Towers today. I feel like I’ve been run over by a milk float. I didn’t even have that big a weekend, although I did manage to churn through more than £300 over the duration. Gulp.

This went on:
• £50 worth of pillows (so very comfy)
• Elizabeth Arden 8-Hour Cream (to repair the ravages of so much smoking and so many late nights)
• Benefit Boi-ing Industrial-Strength Concealer (ditto)
• Ulrich Schnauss’s A Strangely Isolated Place (see below)
• Dinner at The Real Greek (see below)
• Drinking at Zigfrid in Hoxton Sq (home to the slowest bar staff in the world) and at Dovebridge Studios (stinking troglodyte lair)

Ulrich Schnauss makes some of the most exquisite music I’ve ever encountered. Shoegazey, driving and lush, it’s the perfect soundtrack to marching through dreary London in this cold, grey, blustery weather - it takes you away to another place (very possibly a strangely isolated place), making you feel removed from the general blahness that usually surrounds, the equivalent of sticking up two fingers to the crap outside. And it’s also the best late-late-night music you’ll ever hear. I like it very much and I strongly advise everyone to buy it.

On to The Real Greek in Hoxton. This was a once-much-vaunted restaurant I’d been wanting to eat at for some time. However, not until 20 minutes before our booking did we think to check the reviews at London Eating - and they were all terrible. Off we went regardless, our expectation levels dramatically reduced - and The Real Greek certainly didn’t go out its way to redeem itself. Mediocre food, average cocktails, crap service, hugely inflated bill - avoid.

In more positive news, I did manage to swap my too-small bra at Agent Provocateur - the staff insisted it was their fault I went home with the wrong size and I didn’t bother to correct them. Thus I exchanged one too-small bra for three pairs of scanty panties, with a fourth thrown in for free. Sorry, panties is such a horrible word - let it be known my tongue was FIRMLY in my cheek there. (Actually, that doesn't sound too good either. Hmmm.)

To health matters, and it can only be a good thing that the infamous Royal Oak (see November’s blog) is set to shut its doors next week. Good riddance, I say - it’s been the ruin of many a poor boy and girl. Frankly, the place spells nothing but trouble. I swore I would never lose another Sunday in there and now it seems that will be one promise I’ll actually manage to keep.

In New Zealand news, a workmate has just returned from holidaying there, bringing with her a selection of Kiwiland’s favourite biscuits - Toffee Pops, Tim Tams and the mighty Mallowpuffs. I had such happy memories of their chocolate charms, but after having sampled all three at lunchtime, they provide yet another reason why I will never go home again. Bleurgh. The Mallowpuffs tasted exactly like dust.

And while we’re on the anti-NZ tip, this jandal-wearing (that’s flip-flops to you) fool just about sums it up.


Friday, January 16, 2004

Gimmering idiot 

Yesterday I purchased a Sony Discman thing. Not before time really, considering my last one was nicked almost two years ago, and of course the Donkey took his iPod when he left the stable. I’m well chuffed with it, though, and duly listened to “next big thing” Hot Chip all the way to work. Although my choice of non-adjustable Sony ‘neck band’ headphones was a weird one, considering I have the world’s smallest head. The bottom of the neck band reaches halfway down my back.

Big posters all along the Essex Road have been bugging me for some time now. Advertising Pink’s new single, they read:

"God is a DJ
Life is a dance floor
Love is the rhythm
You are the music"

Sigh. Apart from the utter tragicness of the lyrics (yuk, it's like that awful 'Love like you've never been hurt' bollocks the Bacardi campaign appropriated), just how out of step is the beastly barneted one? “God Is A DJ”? Not only did Faithless do that five years ago - and it sucked balls even then - but everybody knows rock is the new god and thou shalt worship no other god. Jeez. ;)

My favourite words today: ‘tumescent’ (courtesy Mr B) and ‘gimmer’ (© Emma Fusebox). Hmmm, I wonder what a tumescent gimmer would look like.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

Simple pleasures 

Definitely something to be said for coming home on a school night wearing a pale blue sleeping mask on your head and carrying a foot-long plastic lobster.

Happy birthday to Karen! (And to Charlie, of course, with whom I spent a lovely couple of hours eating fine food and drinking crap wine at the Easton, mmmm.) There can obviously be something incredibly naff about parties where late-20s/early 30-somethings play party games and smear themselves with glitter and confetti, but I'm happy to say this wasn't one of those occasions. I narrowly missed out on most of the pass-the-parcel prizes (the plastic rain macs-in-a-bag, the condom, the E, the musical pedometer and the nude-man-on-a-lilo light switch cover) but I'm happy - nay, proud - to say I came home with a pale blue eye mask (see above) and the grand prize of a large, red plastic lobster. No home should be without one.

I remember my mother reading a "Life's Like That" piece from Reader's Digest many years ago, when during the abrupt halt between the 1st and 2nd movements of some violin concerto, an audience member was heard to say, "We fry ours in lard." Tonight's comparable moment was when the music stopped unexpectedly, to broadcast me explaining, "Yeah, I have holes, but they don't get much use." (I was talking about earrings - OBVIOUSLY.)

Anyway, enough about me. For those of you growing accustomed to "funny links", knock yourself out on these babies - thanks on the whole to Quentishtown's beady eye. (No, really, it's made of beads, he got it in Tanzania.)

Q says, "This isn't too funny this week. but can be v good - geordies on the piss and the pull ..."

To remind us that nothing spells lovin' like marryin' your cousin...

And lastly, for the antipodeans in the house: Bogan Carpets.

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Green & Black's Organic Dark Chocolate with Cherries rules 

I've developed an awful habit of coming home a little bit on the tipsy side of sober, sitting down at the Mac and condemning my thoughts to cyberspace. How terribly, terribly geeky. [Now playing: New York Dolls, Trash. Nice.]

Anyway, after sifting through the day's emails, this is what I'm left with.

Tony has been wracking his brains for graffiti but can only come up with:
• "England is mediocre" (on a banner at a cricket match in India)

That's good enough for me. And true, as well.

Mr B says, "I like that phrase 'lets not but say we did'. someone had grafittied a sticker saying 'lets party like its 1999' with 'not but say we did'. erm does that make sense?" Ummmm...

I'd almost forgotten snapping this house, near Barcelona's Parc Guëll.

And the Donkey offers:
• "On the wall in the celeb's toilets (Ak) - 'My girlfriend is a bitch'; underneath it: 'Ha ha - mine's a babe!'"

Jimmysupreme swears the Coach & Horses in Soho "has the greatest graffiti. Well, they did until me and Stephen covered the whole cubicle with an Op Art homage to Concorde, our fantasy synth duo..." I was in there tonight but the ladies' all looked very wallpaper (the wall covering, not the mag*) to me. The mens' toilets are evidently where it's at.

Personally, my best laugh of the day (I won't link to it because it'll be gone by now) was the headline from the BBC's Have Your Say Devon site:
• "Phone mast debate"

And the suggestion, once again on Popbitch, that they do a celebrity version of the no-sleep-til-dawn reality TV show Shattered, with Lemmy, Shaun Ryder, Bez etc, called Battered. Now that I'd pay to see.

Lastly, how gratifying to see that some people actually read this thing. Aw, shucks. xxx

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

Hip hop you don't stop III 

And still it keeps coming...

Tokyo James sends this, though he acknowledges he nicked it from a thread on B3ta:

• 'In my halls at KCL there was a hole in one toilet stall, about 2" in
diameter. On the inside was written "stick your cock in here for a
blowjob", and on the other side, which was out by the sinks, it read "I
don't know what this is, but if it sticks its head out again, kick
• Written on a wall: "I am 12 inches, do you want me?", written
underneath:"that depends on how big your cock is"

And spotted by me, on the way home from Sound Radio in the sunny climes of Clapton, on a massive billboard for upcoming series Nip/Tuck, the words Nip/Tuck scrawled out and replaced with (in foot-high letters): "TV demeans us all".

Uh, OK.

Hip hop you don't stop II 

Jimmysupreme offers:
• "Jeff Searle can't play golf" (in huge letters on a crane, Reading)
• "Goblin food is bad for your elf" (Hackney)

And from Phil:
• (underneath a sign saying 'bill stickers will be prosecuted') "Bill Stickers is innocent"
• "I wish my wife was this dirty" (on a white van)
• "Dad is a gay" (on a friend's fathers fridge)

Hurrah. Keep 'em coming...

Hip hop you don't stop 

From the Popbitch messageboard today:

Great news!!!
I have met the person responsible for the Archway station grafitti 'Angelica Houston is a Nonce'. Mystery solved.
gordonsalive, 11:25 13/1, Reply

i was wondering why
they have amended it all to read 'Angelica Houston is a once' - I mean, why not just paint over the whole thing?
itsy, 11:47 13/1, Reply

This reminded me of how much I love graffiti (unless it’s mindless tagging and on my fence). Favourites include:

• "Land rights for gay whales" (Auckland, c.1990)
• “Why do I do this every day?” (above the southbound M40)
• “Ian Curtis lives” (Wellington)
• “The sporting team from my local area will soundly thrash the sporting team from your local area” (London)
• "Simon Hawkins is a plastic cunt" (Stoke Tup toilets)
• "Fuck Eat George Bush" (NYC)
• "The chameleon” (written on a poster of Hugh Grant for Love Actually)
• The Pure Evil bunnies (Shoreditch)
• So Fuzzy Crew panda-cum-Bin Laden (Hoxton Sq)...

I’ve decided to assemble the ultimate collection, create the definitive work. I’m sure I’ve seen sites that have done this before, but I can’t find them now so they don’t count. Make a sad writer very happy by emailing me with your favourites.

In other news, we’re finally getting the breakdancing crew off the ground - bo! - and signing up to classes in Kingsland Road. I am going to be so fly you’ll confuse me with Jeff Goldblum.

And finally, how scary/bizarre/arousing [delete as applicable] is this?

Monday, January 12, 2004

A little something from the weekend 

Urgh, note to self - never write film reviews when tipsy. What a load of sentimental, emotionally-charged dross. My review below, that is, not Lost In Translation, which of course remains a thing of genius.

My frenzied scramble for sexy smalls at the Selfridges Agent Provocateur sale on Saturday backfired when I got home and realised I’d accidentally bought a 32A bra that could only fit a 12-year-old (even my pathetic A-cups aren’t 32-pathetic) and a pair of sheer undies that are just too sheer and kinda baggy - the effect is quite vile. £50 well spent then. Damn.

Other than a lacklustre shopping expedition, however, the weekend was quite, quite excellent. A bender at Catch on Saturday night (and a brief but strange excursion to a Hoxton Sq squat party in the company of a Marc Bolan lookalike) saw me wake up the next morning on my lounge floor, with sunlight streaming in through the window (shock! And in winter as well!), surrounded by wine glasses full of lemon schnapps. Tsk. Surprisingly, this didn’t impair me too much and after an hour steaming the alcohol from my pores in the bath, I was a box of fluffies again. (Definitely time for a detox though.)

On the recommendation of some (no-longer-a) friend, Mr B and I decided to flag our lunch reservation at the esteemed Banners in Crouch End and instead stay local and check out the Vortex on Stoke Newington Church Street. What a mistake. Baked beans straight out of Mr Heinz’s garden, “hash browns” (hash yellows, really) direct from Cap’n Bird’s Eye’s freezer and veggie sausages presumably created from floor sweepings. All thrown together on a plate and popped in a microwave, accompanied by orange juice that didn’t even try to disguise the fact it came out of a Just Juice carton. Sucked in by the Vortex indeed. (My friend Sally seems to like its night-time jazz incarnation though - see her review here.)

An afternoon surprising perverts in Abney Park and wondering where the Clissold Park pygmy goats had gone, and a couple of hours of the darts final later (all hail the mighty Viking), it was off to the King’s Head in Crouch End for comedy night. It veered between the sublime and the excruciating. You had to admire the courage of the chap with the severe stutter, but alas you couldn’t really admire his jokes. And perhaps Paul Chowdhury’s special-needs routine might have worked better if there wasn’t a wheelchair-bound girl in the crowd, looking well fucked off. I do have a new comedy superhero though - Andy Bone. I love him and I want to have his babies.

Saturday, January 10, 2004

Spoiler alert 

Wow. Lost In Translation. I unreservedly deem it my film of the year - although considering it's only the 10th of Jan, that probably doesn't do it justice.

So subtle. So real. Who hasn't been there, lying together on a bed with centimetres separating you yet seemingly a gulf a mile wide, nervously tense yet striving to appear so relaxed, so close yet so far...

I thought it was an incredible piece of film-making. I did struggle at times with the feeling I got of condension of American culture towards that of the Japanese, but that's all just a matter of perspective, I guess. I love Bill Murray - that's a given, surely - and Scarlett Johansson was luminous in Ghost World and The Man Who Wasn't There, but in this they excel themselves. I actually saw a lot of myself in Charlotte (that's probably not the best advertisement) and I definitely saw people well-known to us in her wanky photographer hubby John. And such a soundtrack.

My cheeks were moist at the end, I have to confess. (I am SUCH a softie when it comes to film.) Just what did he whisper? Americans will read it one way, Brits the other, perhaps - and that's the beauty of it.

But it did put me off marriage and babies - if I needed any further convincing... Who are these people that can keep honeymoon love going for 25 years? Two years even? I look forward to the day - but I don't suppose I'll be holding my breath.

Hmm, my stomach is rumbling. That'll be the wine on a empty stomach, no doubt. I must remember to start cooking - nay, eating - properly sometime again soon.

Friday, January 09, 2004

The curious incident of the rat in the night-time 

Having turfed the dossing sister out to the lounge at 2am this morning due to her incessant snoring, I was obviously not best pleased to be woken up an hour later by a piercing scream. But on further investigation, her actions were more than justified. The poor minx had awoken to find a large mouse/rat/indeterminate rodent giving her the evil eye from beside her pillow. Truly horrorshow.

It transpires the creature had crept up from a hole in the boiler cupboard, the doors to which are usually kept firmly closed but, due to all the Donkey’s debris being stored in there until his return from sunnier climes, were partially open - and thus the rat was free to attack. I’m glad we know about it though - I can only imagine how it would look for said Donkey to come and collect his possessions to find a dead rat among them. It may have been rather hard to convincingly explain that away...

Anyway, yes, the Saddam thing below was a bit crap. I apologise. Here’s another link I can’t get to work here at my office of gainful employment. Funny? You be the judge.

Alarming news this morning when a missive arrived from Gid Pigeonhold, proclaiming ‘Pigeonhold is dead!’... and then another one, 30 mins later, declaring ‘Long live Pigeonhold!’ Phew.

Apparently the good people at Pigeonhold HQ had decided to give up the game after six years in the business, but the tearing of hair and rending of garments that greeted their announcement was so great they’ve decided to kick off the Pigeonhold Never-Ending Comeback tour starting Saturday February 7th at the usual venue - the Salmon & Compasses in Angel. Thank the lord for that. And see you there.

And lastly thanks to Jimmy Mixmag for this gem of a site from the Hayezsquad. He says: “It's so good I almost thought it was a spoof. What a bunch of dicks. Read the profiles, they're brilliant. ‘Make her give you head until her knees go red’ is one priceless quote.” Oh yes.

Thursday, January 08, 2004

Hurrah! New Morrissey album due out in April!

"Tracks will include I Have Forgiven Jesus, Come Back To Camden, How Can Anybody Possibly Know How I Feel and I'm Not Sorry." Still the same old Moz then.

Five years ago I would have written him off but he was so breathtakingly amazing at the Royal Albert Hall last year that... well, my cheeks were wet.

Grinning myself to death 

For some reason I am stupidly, ridiculously happy today. I don't know exactly why. It certainly wasn't the London weather, although I confess to wearing a smug glow of satisfaction as - brolly-less but well wrapped up - I watched people almost getting swept away while battling with flapping, inside-out umbrellas on Church Street. Even being coughed and spluttered on by a revolting Orc-like creature on the 73 bus this morning couldn't dent my demeanour.

My little ray of sunshine-ness probably has a lot to do with the fact we signed the lease for our amazing new flat last night, and that (at last!) I'm not hungover. It might also have had a little something to do with the ace Xmas compilation I've been given, which I finally had a chance to play at a loud volume this morning due to all the Christmas lodgers being out of the house. Track 3 (Ulrich Schnauss, On My Own), with its gloriously hazy guitars, reminds me so much of late, late nights in 1997, lying in a darkened room, listening to Ride and My Bloody Valentine, and bathing in the soft glow of a cigarette end...

Which in turn reminds me of Damian @ 95BFM, and a big thanks to him for kindly letting me prattle on his radio show again last night as his, er, "official London correspondent". There's nothing better than talking pop culture crap with an old mate, especially when both are world champions at the art of talking crap - and if there's an audience, so much the better (well, perhaps not for the audience).

In other news, I was alerted to this recently. When it said "pussy snorkel", I was genuinely concerned for cats' welfare. I can be so naïve sometimes...

Then, in light of today's anti-Arab outburst by Kilroy, I direct you here. Pure, bonafide genius.

Also, this Outkast vs Saddam thing is apparently worthy of a titter, but as usual my work Mac won't let me access it. Vaguely amusing? Answers on a postcard to the usual address please.

And a final observation (see, not even a real gripe this afternoon). Every morning at Angel tube I wait for the train opposite a giant poster that reads, "Orlando - destination imagination". This is clearly false advertising. I cannot think of any place less stimulating to a child's imagination than Orlando, Florida, home of Disney World and the long-haul family package deal. Unless they are referring to the nightmares that must surely follow any encounter with giant Goofy and friends.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

Snatching defeat out of the jaws of victory 

So we didn’t go to La Porchetta but Pappagone Pizzeria down the road. It was in fact in this fine establishment that Mr B developed a lifelong devotion to all things Enrique. Well, one thing Enrique.

Anyway, so the food was great and I limited myself to a mere two glasses of wine over dinner. I handled myself with aplomb. Almost.

I’m determined to make a bizarre situation even weirder, I think. Eschewing the standard “that was a nice second date, thank you”, I somewhat bizarrely went for the “that was a nice second date, thank you - now won’t you take my ex-boyfriend’s place and come on an all-expenses-paid 'surprise anniversary trip' to Rome with me in two weeks' time?” option.

Last heard, the pitter-patter of size 11 feet all the way up Crouch Hill. Probably.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Big pizza pie  

Yummy, I’m off to La Porchetta in Stroud Green tonight. My dining companion Mr B describes it thus:
“It is super cheesy (in atmosphere not ingredient) and the waiters shake your hand and flirt with you (if you are a lady anyway as they are of course all super straight in a camp italian kind of a way) which i used to find annoying and now i just find amusing.”

Last time I was there was for a friend’s birthday. The waiters did their usual routine of banging pizza dishes together very loudly while singing happy birthday - sadly this happened at the same time as the birthday boy’s girlfriend was giving a speech and proposing marriage to him. Thus no one heard her, probably not even the man himself, and it became all a bit embarrassing for everyone concerned really. Very sweet though. I hasten to add they’re still together and happily engaged - they obviously got there in the end.

Mr B goes on to say (we’ll ignore his dodgy spelling):
“One of my most embarassing moments occurred there. a tune was playing on the stereo that was admittedly very pop and very euro and i was unashamedly loving it and i had to ask the waiter what it was. it was enrico englasias. the waiter looked embarassed for me.”

Power cut 

Scream! Phil 'The Power' Taylor has sensationally quit the world of darts, claiming darts is "a young man's game".

Monday, January 05, 2004

Sob. As my hangover grows, so does my sense of shame. The poor lad must be running scared - if watching my terrible boozy shimmy to Hey Ya (making the most of all the space in my large lounge, oh god I'm blushing as I type) wasn't enough to scar him for life, then surely waking up to find a pasty, eyebagged Robert Mitchum lookalike next to him must have been. Still, at least I passed out before I could compromise my morals. Hardly much of an achievement, I know, but in this shameful tale of woe I have to grab any positives I can.

No more drinking for this girl. I'm going to handle myself with decorum from now on. No, really.

Sorry, it's a no-work Monday for me - which is lucky, under the circumstances. Anyway, head here for everything you ever wanted to know about the Oxford Circus 'Sinners and Winners' megaphone man but were too afraid to ask.

Also, if you get in there quick this afternoon, you can score a free flight to Iceland with Iceland Express. Which I've been told is a very nice place indeed. Niceland, if you will.

Oh, and the Auld Shillelagh was pure genius. More screens than you could shake a stick at and all of them showing Phil 'The Power' Taylor beat Kevin 'The Artist' Painter in the world darts final. Nowt better.

The morning after the night before 

Wah. My evening o' tipples ended up being an evening o' many tipples. Too many tipples. I woke up in Finsbury Park - not the actual park, mind, but I might as well have. My head hurts. Or at least it will when I sober up.

Why did I do it? WHY?

(I quite enjoyed it...)

Sunday, January 04, 2004

Nurse! The screens! 

I just can't get enough of Outkast's The Love Below. Speakerboxx is great but Andre's effort is truly sublime. I loooove the Shuggie Otis styles of Prototype, the hilarious, inspired lyrics of God and Roses, the way Hey Ya! instantly transforms a too-cool-for-school dancefloor into a bunch of goofy, grinning, Charlestoning fools - I even had to have a solitary shimmy in my lounge after getting back from the pub last night...

Bizarrely, at the pub the other day some old fellow told me I had "the sweet face of a Victorian street urchin". He was a bit boozed, granted, but I guess a New-Year's-ravaged nigh-on-29-year-old should still take it as a compliment.

Speaking of age, in Belle De Jour's latest postings (another thing we just can't get enough of), she claims to be just 25 1/6. Which doesn't quite ring true to me - I always pictured her much closer to 30, if not older. No 25-year-old has that much experience, gravitas, finesse - do they? Perhaps I just know the wrong 25-year-olds.

In home news, life is simply brilliant. A flat-hunting expedition yesterday saw Ms Smith and I secure ourselves possibly the most perfect property in the greater Stoke Newington area - a massive 2-bed Victorian place that's just been totally refurbished by our new landlord, a hip young PR consultant who's thrown thousands at his first property. Everything - everything - is brand new, oh-so-stylish and - hurrah - not done on the cheap. I'm positively salivating at the prospect of bathing in sunlight in our fabulously-tiled, south-facing skylit bathroom. Or cooking up a storm for friends in our gorgeous galley kitchen overlooking the garden. Or toasting marshmallows around our stylee gas fire in the lounge. Or... Flatwarming instructions to follow.

I think tonight may have to mark the end of my Christmas drinking marathon. I forgot for a time there that I possess neither the recovery abilities of an 18-year-old nor the bank balance of a 50-year-old company director. Work commences tomorrow, and I really don't want to be scaring too many workmates, dogs and small children alike with my Robert Mitchum-esque eye bags.

But before it all ends, I'm going to sneak in just one more evening o' tipples, this time at the Auld Shillelagh down the road. I'd always viewed it as just a crusty old man's/junkies' pub, but N16 Mag describes it thus:

"One of the hippest bars in Stoke Newington. Home of the classic Frank's Happy Hours and many other storming evenings. The best Guinness in London. Giant screen, plasma screen and even a screen in the garden. DJs, live music. Normal opening hours."

I don't know how I shall control myself in the presence of so many screens. Verily it is screen madness.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Bus-iness as usual 

1) Getting the No 45 night bus from Brixton to Kings Cross is never a good idea.

2) Going to the loo after drinking four pints before getting on the No 45 night bus from Brixton to Kings Cross is always a good idea.

The bus does have some advantages though, not least a wealth of inspiration for sad Stoke Newington bloggers.

I learned from the boozed wide boy at the back that "all pubs on Camberwell Road are shiiiite, mate. They're all shite holes. They just do up the aaaahhtside, but inside they're a farkin' cage of shite." So there.

I also learned that the only thing more annoying that someone selecting a new polyphonic ringtone on the bus is someone MCing incessantly in a drunken, lisping garage stylee all the way from Brixton Hill to Elephant & Castle. "Can I get a punchline for my thyle? We're talkin' about the lyricth from da street, yeah." Er, righto. (Now shut up.)

Haha, the chippie outside Kings Cross station, Incredible Edibles (somehow I doubt that), has a list of what it sells in joined-up words on a large sign outside, one of which being "SALADSPIES". It took me a few minutes to realise that meant salads and pies. I was imagining a strange kind of CIA sequel to The Munch Bunch.

Incredible Edibles is next door to a brightly-lit amusement arcade. Growing up in my small New Zealand town, it's rather telling that the worst threat to social harmony was apparently the local spacies parlour. People smoked on the street outside Wizards Amusements, thus I was banned from even walking past there until I was 18. Oh Mother, I'm so glad you didn't see me at the Islington Social from 11am till 8pm on New Year's Day. Actually, it's become a catchphrase for seediness - "What would your mother think if she could see you now?" Not a lot, I should think.

And lastly, I realised that every time I get on a bus a bit tipsy I hum Brainstorm's We're On Our Way Home the whole journey. You can take the girl out of the disco but you can't take the disco out of the girl. What a tune.

Friday, January 02, 2004


Lord, how the day after the night/s before drags. And especially at this time of year. Random Friendster Stephen offers these thoughts: "i heard someone call this bit of the year twixtmas. then someone else called it the perinium of the year which was a foul but fairly accurate description i thought." Quite.


Ok, so I'm taking the Eames chair.

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?