Friday, July 30, 2004

To pee or not to pee 

When my friends asked me to join them in buying tickets to the Big Chill, how I wish I'd said, "Yes, what a great idea!", rather than going off on one about it being a breeding ground for the bourgeoisie, a magnet for media cunts, a sani-fest full of pseudo-hippie, stroller-touting yupsters complaining about how Zero 7 were much better back in the day... Then I too could be basking in 30-degree sunshine in a Herefordshire field this weekend, rather than sweating it out in stinking, grimy London.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us But I'm not complaining. Well, that's exactly what I'm doing, but never mind. At least I don't have to battle the Portaloos, although last night I was privy (geddit) to a whole new experience in open-plan toileting (<--) at the Tonic Design studio warming in Shoreditch High Street.

Speaking of Shoreditch, a cherub-faced wee drama type handed me a flyer this morning for the National Youth Theatre's Shakespeare In The Square. "Set in über-cool Hoxton Square" (aw, bless 'em), there are performances every hour on the hour from now til Sunday. And it's free. Get down there and support, I say.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Shakespeare's Sister, The Smiths

Wind up 

I just discovered the remains of last night's boozy 1am email session with an old mate in New Zealand, consisting entirely of filthy innuendo-laden headers and totally innocuous contents - which got filthier (and more innocuous) as the minutes passed. I hope he still has a job - what would his company IT chaps make of this email log?

Do you still want me
...on your show this weekend?

I never want to hear from you again
...this weekend. I totally forgot we'd arranged that. Next week?

I'm soaking wet
...Or would be if I fell into the Thames off the boat I'm planning to be on next weekend. Sorry.

You wanna poke
...fun at me by telling me about your lush boat parties knowing that we're in mid-winter here?

You're so hard
...to get hold of these days. But two weeks' time should be fine.

You're making me hard
...ly get any work done, especially today when I'm the boss because the big cheese is on holiday... [random chat]

I'm touching myself
...Er, I mean I'm touched... Have you heard of my DJ mate Guy?

I'd love to fuck you in the arse
... Or rather "I haven't heard of Guy", but I'll keep my eyes open... Do you remember Rob?

Your cock is making me choke
Sorry, I mean - Rob? Yes, I think I remember him from years ago...

Suck it like the bitch you are
is a line I've never used before when talking to Rob, but that'd probably be the guy you're thinking about.

Tie me up and fuck me raw til Tuesday
... in some countries is the polite phrase with which to end a meal. 'Night.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

The birds 

Every morning this month, I have been woken by the sound of wings frantically flapping and a menacing 'coo' emanating from outside my window - two large, early-rising pigeons have apparently decided to nest in our guttering. This morning they decided to introduce themselves.

I awoke to find a beady eye fixated on me from between the curtains. As I had slept with the window open (London has finally decided it's time for summer), the possibility the pigeon might fly inside and recreate that attic scene from The Birds was very real indeed, so I simultaneously screamed, dived under my duvet and hurled at it the closest projectile to hand (a Keane promo CD, so no great loss).

"It was HUGE!" I exclaimed, tremulously, to my flatmate. She suggested it might have been a wood pigeon, but it looked all too flesh and bone to me.

I'm not sure what to do about it all. I'm an animal lover, but these winged rodents are driving me to despair. They start cooing and flapping about as soon as the sun comes up, seemingly either mating or fighting in mid-air directly outside my window. "Ooh, they're like an old married couple," cooed my editor. (Hmmm, that rules out mating, then.)

Chucking teabags and pints of water at them just isn't working. Am I allowed to perpetrate acts of extreme sadism and violence? Or do I heed the words of Ronnie Kray (RIP), when he said, "Leave the birds aaaht of this - we ain't got no beef with the birds"?

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Clueless, Pigeon John

Wednesday, July 28, 2004


Dear xxxxxxx,

Thank you for your email.

All the own label soya drink products are non-GMO. The value is an organic product and the flavouring is a natural flavouring of vegetable origin.

If we can help you further in the future, please don't hesitate to contact us.

Tesco Customer Service"

Evasive? Us? And what's "the value" when it's at home?

Storm in a teacup 

Killing time while waiting for the kettle to boil for my 10.30am cuppa, I idly cast an eye over the ingredients listed on my carton of Tesco Organic Unsweetened Soya Milk: water, hulled organic soya beans (6%), and, somewhat worryingly, "natural flavouring".

Let's ignore the fact that this "soya milk" has only 6% actual soya product in it, and concentrate on the "flavouring" issue. From my various readings in nutrition matters, I've learned the term "natural flavouring" should often be a cause for alarm. Even less than the term "organic" necessarily indicates a guilt-free product grown on a happy, love-filled commune where piglets and lambs gambol about in gingham neckerchiefs and gentle, bearded farmers caress every leaf and stem, when it comes to proving its credentials, the term "natural" isn't required to meet hardly any official standards at all.

And what the hell is "natural flavouring" doing in unsweetened soya milk anyway? If I wanted sweet, sickly, gooey, caramelly, "flavour"-filled gunk, I'd have bought Sanitarium's foul elixir So Good.

I haven't written any letters of complaint for a while, and after the satisfactory resolution of the Pret and Eat soya sagas, my whinging alter ego Doreen is getting itchy feet. I'm thinking perhaps Tesco could do with some correspondence.

Still, my tea was delicious.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Milkman Of Human Kindness, Billy Bragg

Tuesday, July 27, 2004

Marrying above his sheep station 

My former colleagues at the New Zealand Woman's Weekly must be positively wetting themselves with excitement at the news that Kiwiland is about to have its own royal wedding. (Actually, remembering what a snide and cynical bunch they were - people after my own heart, obviously - I imagine they'll be rolling their eyes and snorting derisively. How I miss that place...)

The Telegraph article* detailing the forthcoming nuptials of 'Denny' (20th in line to the throne) and 'Gazza' (surfer/builder) truly is a work of genius. I can't quite figure out if it is a spoof or the real deal.

Having not been back to the motherland for four years now, I can't quite recall how my compatriots speak. Do they really still say things like, "I used to shear sheep when I was a young buck"?

My favourite quote, however, comes courtesy of this chap, a neighbour stunned to discover royalty had been living next door: "I was really surprised because I would describe that place as poxy." I'm thinking the verbatim quote probably had an 'eh' or 'bro' tacked on the end.

The article goes on to describe Smacked Face's old haunt of Grey Lynn (home to the infamous "King Street of Sound" and one of Auckland's more sought-after chunks of yuppieville, where properties regularly change hands for the better part of $1 million) as "an unremarkable working-class suburb", and finishes with a heart-warming account of the wedding plans:

"One woman, describing herself as Aunt Vicky, said she had offered to sing a Maori song at the reception. It was not known if family members would greet their royal in-laws with the traditional 'haka' welcome - which involves aggressive eye rolling, tongue-wiggling and hand-flapping."

Ah, bless ya, New Zealand. And see you next year - finally, I'm actually looking forward to it...

* Thanks to Common Misconception for the tip

Love your work 

If having to eat three double chocolate muffins for a tried-and-tested feature yesterday - FYI: avoid Starbucks', go for Tesco's - wasn't enough (and at 700 calories each, it was plenty), today I arrived in the office to find an email asking if I could take a couple of hours off work to head into Mayfair to have a hi-tech luxury facial with a visiting US expert.

Who's a dead ringer for George Clooney.

It's a tough job, etc, etc.

Meanwhile, Belle (going down(hill) fast now the book deal's done, shame) lays down the law here - how timely - and this chap has the funniest site on the web.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Falling In Love With Myself Again, Sparks

Monday, July 26, 2004

While I get around to finishing the next post - it's a long one, I'm reinspired, hurrah! - a quickie to all of you who inquired: Buy None Get One Free was great, thank you. Simply superb.

An awful lot of schmoozing and flirting with the management - all credit to my fab Nanso wrap dress from The Dispensary, methinks - saw us stay open til very late indeed, the DJs have never played better and a fantastic time was had by all - except, perhaps, for the random reader of these pages, who apparently decided to attempt to clamber on to the roof and was evicted from the premises... ;) Anyhow, I was a very happy girl.

(Even the arrival of the Donkey and his girlfriend didn't dent my mood at all - in fact, it was great to see him, and to realise the new bird wasn't the Claudia Schiffer-alike I'd expected - after all, who could possibly leave me unless for a supermodel? ;) - but decidedly average. So a thick black line has finally been drawn under that whole little affair - and about bloody time too.)

Anyway, not content to rest on our laurels, I'm already goading the rest of the crew into planning the next one. I'm thinking end (start?) of summer boat party. Watch this space etc etc.

Saturday, July 24, 2004

House is a feeling 

If you had three wishes, what would you do? I've always known - well, since 'adulthood', if indeed this is it - what I'd do.

Wish no. 1 would be for money. And loads of it.

Wish no. 2 would be to be to look like Kate Moss [or insert random supermodel of your choice here]. And have her wardrobe too, no matter if Sienna Miller's taken her place as boho queen these days (amateur).

Wish no. 3? Simple. Remember when you went on long car journeys as a child and inevitably fell asleep on the back seat on the mission home, waking up briefly when your dad banged your head against the wall as he carried you inside, only to drift off again and wake up, in bed, with your pyjamas on and a hot water bottle at your feet, thinking 'how did I get here?', but more importantly, 'I wouldn't be anywhere else in the world right now'?

That's my third wish. Anytime you're out on the town, valiantly keeping up the small talk, but knowing there's an hour at least between you and your pillow, anytime you just want to be tucked up at home, in your own bed, you could just click your fingers et voila! You're there, remembering, at last, the true meaning of comfort.

Not like tonight, when I shuffled all the way to Brixton High Street, only to realise I'd left my credit card behind the bar of the Horse, meaning another 15-minute walk back up Brixton Hill, then a 70-minute bus journey back to Stokey. And a 10-minute walk from where the 242 turned off into Ball's Pond Road.

I'd let my head be cracked against a million door frames if it meant I could just wake up in bed when I wanted to.

Sunday 25th July is Frankie Knuckles Day in Chicago (thanks, Popbitch). To celebrate it, I suggest going immediately to Deep House Page and downloading a superlative 1983 Frankie mix - it's a spiritual thing, a body thing, a soul thing. Etc.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: House Music, Cevin Fisher

Friday, July 23, 2004

Everyone must go!!! 

Obligatory Friday party plug post - here's the guff (click to see it etc):

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Change is as good as a holiday 

Just when you take this dirty, hulking, oft-charmless city for granted, London pulls a fast one on you by amazing and delighting you in the most unexpected places.

It was with a great deal of effort I dragged myself off Ms G's Streatham sofa this morning in order to make the early-morning trek to East Putney in order to replace my missing veneer. It's been a bit of a mad week, what with mopping up the weekend fallout and all manner of the usual pre-party promotion hiccups (co-promoter getting stopped by the cops for fly-posting, erroneous info in Time Out, Donkey living up to his monicker* by deciding to invite himself and the new bird, venue being a pain in the arse, etc). Plus, a visit to the dentist is never something to look forward to at the best of times, and the prospect of battling suburban commuters on the overland trains at rush hour is almost as unappealing.

But hark! There were seats on every carriage, I'd radically overestimated the time it would take to make the journey, and I ended up in picturesque Putney with 40 minutes to kill. I grabbed a soya latte from Pret (which I'm happy to say haven't served them curdled for some months now) and wandered down to take a pew next to the "mighty Thames" (said in Yankee tourist fashion, to rhyme with James).

Swans, ducks and other assorted birdlife paddled past, a quaint little longboat putted gently upstream, the sun briefly broke through the now-seemingly-permanent cloud cover - and all was right with the world.

Sometimes you simply need to change your scenery.

* "Those with long ears, like the donkeys and mules, Often are taken for garrulous fools" - Camille Saint-Saens, Carnival Of The Animals

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: (Little) Bubble, Ordinary Boys

Tuesday, July 20, 2004

Licence to ill 

I've just been alerted to the existence of 'Smacked Face syndrome'.

Teenage wasteland 

If you can remember your first drunken experience, you weren't really there. Or something.

After the excesses of the weekend just gone, SF has yet again boarded the detox wagon with vigour, in addition to quitting smoking, taking up transcendental meditation and finding God. Well, two of the above anyway. Whether these resolutions will last past the weekend is anyone's guess, especially as it not only sees the return of Buy None Get One Free on Saturday, but also the onslaught of the Scottish contingent for Papa Cool playing the Whitehorse on Friday. Willpower was never my middle name, but goddamn it, I'm going to try to be good. After all, I haven't always been a lush - although frighteningly it would seem I have been one for more than half my life.

I had my first encounter with the demon drink at the tender age of 14, at the cast party for the school musical (Guys & Dolls, since you ask - I was the understudy for the gimpy Salvation Army female lead, how, er, apt). Held at a local BYO restaurant, it involved scoffing an awful lot of pizza and even more cheap and nasty Chardon-brand sparkling wine.

I vaguely recall stumbling from the restaurant with a pal, attempting to walk back to my house opposite the boys' college. I barely recall meeting two boarders from said college on the way, who recognised me and offered me a sip of their super-sized McDonald's Fanta. I don't recall but am told I sculled the lot. Little did I know behind those golden arches lurked half a bottle of Southern Comfort.

Somehow escaping the boys' leery clutches in the Fairfield Park gazebo, I staggered home and managed to sneak into my room without alerting the parents - whereby I vomited continuously out of my window for the next four hours. In the morning, I crept out, my head banging like the town bike on prom night, to inspect the damage. Not only had my stomach contents eaten into the brand new coat of paint my father had spent all weekend applying, I had also somehow managed to expel an entire, unchewed, large black olive.

I was grounded, natch. Word had obviously got around about the new lush in town over at no. 261, though - boys kept throwing pebbles at my window at midnight for months...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Baba O'Reilly, The Who

Monday, July 19, 2004

Summertime blues 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usEverybody's sad nowadays. By that, I don't mean sad=losers or sad=boo hoo, but SAD=seasonal affective disorder. Which is an odd thing, considering it's the middle of July, but not so surprising when you consider the non-existent summer we've had so far. You expect to feel a bit grim during the dark days of winter, but in summer, when everyday is, well, like Sunday, silent and grey etc, it catches you a bit offguard.

So it's of some comfort to know I'm not alone in my general glumness and lethargy. I have had to take the morning off, however, though this is more due to spending the majority of the weekend swanning about South London in a blonde wig and cocktail frock on no sleep than to any mental health emergency.

A particularly annoying aspect to this summertime SADness is that it's made me feel keenly aware of my solo status. Usually being single in the glorious days of summer is a fine and beautiful thing - warm-weather flirtations abound and everyone looks so much better with a rosy glow to cheeks and long, sun-kissed limbs. Well, so I vaguely remember.

This year though, in a summer not so glorious... I don't know. Are this season's pasty-faced boys less appealing? London's been beset by storms lately, but there certainly haven't been any thunderbolts in my direction. Is it that no one can hold a candle to those who have gone before? Or can I simply not be bothered? Perhaps all three. Whatever the case, I've only had three dates since ending it with the Frenchman at the end of May, and as none of those involved good food and fine wine (merely a lot of beer and forgetting to eat), I don't think they really count.

The good news is it's a beautiful day. The bad news is another of my veneers fell off on Saturday, so yet again I look like a scurvied pirate.

Oops - the phone cam shot above - where someone has Tippexed "Watch a good film instead" over an American Pie ad on Brixton Hill - hasn't translated to the small screen terribly well. I thought it was kinda funny at 7.30am on Sunday anyway...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Everyday Is Like Sunday, Morrissey

Friday, July 16, 2004


Right. Large apologies all round for the haphazard (read: crap) standards of this week's posts - I'll be asked to re-join London Metblogs at this rate... I feared I'd forgotten how to write this thing (if indeed I ever knew), but then again on Tuesday I couldn't even remember how to tie my own shoelace, so I'm sure it'll all come flooding back.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThis weekend promises an awful lot of running round, spreading the word about the wondrous Buy None Get One Free party next Saturday which you are all coming to (<--), an awful lot of spirit-drinking while sporting a Margot Leadbetter frock at our rooftop cocktail party on Saturday, and an awful lot of dodgy record-playing at Booze, Disco, Etc at the Whitehorse on Sunday. All of which should be awfully good.

I plan to come back reinspired and reinvigorated on Monday. Or, more probably, hellishly hungover. Either way, there'll be tales to tell.

PS: Bored? Today's hot picks all come from the lovely Matty, who's been plying me with top tunage pointers all week. First, get revved up with some tasty mixes from The Cybernetic Broadcasting System. Second, exasperate yourself looking for Matty's disco (not-so) secret (any more) weapon (sorry), the impossible-to-find The Voice Of Q on 12". Then chill out with the delicious pop-goes-the-folkness 'wonky disco' of M Craft. Just perfect.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Up The Ladder To The Roof, Diana Ross & The Supremes

Thursday, July 15, 2004

On the move 

The Donkey and I don't talk much any more. We went through a stage of trying to remain good pals, but it's a tough call and gradually the chumminess fell by the wayside and we entered the inevitable post-LTR period of bitterness, recriminations and one-upsmanship. Then, to save bother, we stopped talking altogether.

It's a shame really, he's not a bad chap. I fell out of love with him long before we split up, but it does pinch from time to time to think of the friend I've lost. As has been stated in these columns before, he remains the one ex I'm not good mates with - and that seems a sad and bizarre thing. So I've been half-heartedly trying to heal the rift, bygones being bygones, etc - gifts of anchovies from Spain in the post (sealed in their tin, natch, not some sort of stalker offensive), email pleasantries, offers to meet up for coffee to smooth the waters before we inevitably bump into each other at some Shoreditch party - but no, he says the new girlfriend wouldn't approve.

Anyway, he emailed the other day, to tell me he and the new bird were shifting in together. He hoped I wouldn't be upset. And the funny thing is I'm not, not even in the grim post-festival mood I've been in all week. It's like a weight I didn't know existed has been lifted. I genuinely wish him luck. But I'd still enjoy that coffee...

And speaking of moving, guess who's heading back down South? Smacked Face does Streatham, of all godforsaken places - but oh, the flat! The 180-degree views of London! The roof terrace! The cheap rent! The short crawl home from the pub... It's all good.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: It Ain't No Big Thing, Donna McGhee

RIP Arthur 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usOh no! New York Dolls bassist Arthur Kane (the chap in the red <--) has died. Thank god they reformed in time for him to go out with a smile on his face, one hopes. I feel very privileged. And rather sad. :(

Smacked Face goes to T In The Park, part II 

Right, let's get this nonsense down on paper and out of the way, pronto. It's, like, so last weekend right now...

So Sunday morning dawned, cloudy and grey, but our eyes were clear and bright. This was soon put paid to with a quick wake-up snifter before a fabulous fry-up of the old school variety - none of your olive oil nonsense here, we want lard and lots of it. Although no porridge was consumed, Scots lassies Misses M and T educated me in the finer arts of porridge cuisine - such as the fact it should always be stirred in a clockwise direction using a 'spurtle'. (Read more fascinating porridge facts here.)

Donning my festival outfit of Sienna Miller-alike poncho and miniskirt, topped off with pink Wellington boots and massive Aviators (a festival essential), I was well fed, wide awake and ready to rock. But despite our best intentions to catch opening acts Scissor Sisters and DJ Yoda, we pissed about and, inevitably, it didn't happen. We made it in and over to the main stage just in time to hear the delectable Alex Kapranos mention Jake Scissor Sisters had stripped. I'd missed seeing a good-looking naked man – not happy.

Anyway, the Franz, next up, were their predictable self - rocking, but could do with another album or even just a new song or two under their belt. The hometown crowd loved it though, naturally. As I've now seen them a gazillion times, I dragged the posse away early and over to the NME stage, where The Killers were doing their thing. Yet more mucking about meant I only caught the last strains of favourite track Jenny Was A Friend Of Mine, but I bit my tongue and took a seat for the duration. I thought they were rather good - lead singer Brandon Flowers has a fab voice.

At this stage, a breakaway faction emerged. Unhappy with Smacked Face's thoughtfully-plotted itinerary of all-day rawk, they fancied a sojourn in the Slam Tent to Groove Armada, of all things. "Fie, be gone, noodly-fromage-loving philistines!" I cried, and yet again I was saddled with minding the Frenchman, who'd shown no let up and had been swilling beer and necking all manner of illicit concoctions since boarding the bus at lunchtime.

I propped him up in the middle of the crowd for The Rapture and danced round my bag like a maniac. Worryingly I think I am finally turning electroclash (three years after the bandwagon departed, alas) - the things rocking my world these days, apart from my beloved disco, are definitely at the electro end of the spectrum, eg. festival highlights Tiga and The Rapture, who were on top form. How I laughed as the burly Scot dancing next to me abandoned his hard man act and whirled about like Iggy Pop on acid, belting out the "woo-oooh-ooh-oohhh" bit of Sister Saviour in a squeally falsetto.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usPost-Rapture, it was Papa Cool o'clock, Billy and Batty Mauch (-->) laying down the jazzy-soul-disco-funk nonsense in the Fountain tent. Things were getting a little hazy by this stage, and it was here the sun and the novelty specs came out to hilarious effect. I danced up a storm - sadly literally, as the clouds closed over as soon as I took to the floor. Over to the T-Break stage for the Red Bee Society's set (I had to make amends to drummer Stuart for dribbling drunkenly to him for two hours at the CCA on Friday), with five minutes of Goldfrapp on the way, and it was almost Pixies time. Hurrah!

Then the shit hit the fan. Half the group bailed early to the main stage, the other half went missing, and I was left adrift with Frenchboy, who decided he had to go meet some surprise attendees at Jeff Mills in the Slam Tent. This done, and with half an hour of Frank Black and friends to go, it was now or never. I hauled him back across the field - success was within my grasp. Then... "We need to go back to the Fountain right now," said Frenchie, texting furiously and discovering newfound strength to rip my arm out of its socket. "Everyone is there, quick, come on!" Alas it was all lies, and Frenchie just wanted to pester his ex again. The Pixies had finished and I hadn't heard a single chord.

Anyway, nothing much else happened of note. We missed the Strokes, had a glorious festie moment to Massive Attack's Unfinished Sympathy, got on the bus, went to Optimo, finally heard the one track I'd been hanging out for all weekend (Orbital's Chime), partied til dawn and flew back to London. The end.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: the sound of synapses popping

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Smacked Face goes to T In The Park, part I 

It's chucking it down and gloomy as an undertakers' ball outside, entirely appropriate for my post-festival mood. But I think I'm ready to relive the weekend and record the events for posterity. It was a long weekend, this is a long post - and it's my blog, so shut it and come back tomorrow.

Friday saw the French boy and I arrive in sunny Glasgow - and for once, that's no lie. It was a gorgeously warm afternoon - so of course we went straight to a dank basement pub. Three pints of the Brunswick Cellars' finest later, we staggered back, bags in tow, to the lovely Miss M's West End apartment, stopping to collect beers, champagne and Sambuca en route. The night then descended into madness. Apparently I spent several hours swaying in the confines of the CCA Bar and the Sub Club, before ending up at a scary party in the South Side, where an ageing swinger stripped down to her thong.

Two hours' sleep later, it was time to bus it to T In The Park. The Frenchman prepared for this by drinking two bottles of Buckfast (see below) and treating the queue to a 20-minute rendition of the Loose Joints classic Is It All Over My Face?, before thankfully passing out on the back seat of the bus - but not before biting Miss M's leg and spilling a can of beer over everyone's coats, luggage and tents. (This man is 28 years old.)

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usEvery festival needs a mystery, and on arrival at Balado, we discovered two. First, the bizarre wording of one of the guest entrances (<--). Who were these 'Elvis/Cobos' and what were they doing here? I made it my festival mission to find out. The second, more pressing mystery was how our large group would keep track of each other in the absence of mobile phone coverage. As in the olden days, the best way seemed to be random meetings en route to the Portaloos.

Anyway, let's get to the music - and this phrase would prove to be the recurring theme of my weekend. The best-laid plans of mice and men etc - many people, no phones, a wastrel ex and a lot of random distractions meant my carefully-planned itinerary might as well have been left at home for all the use it would prove to be. NO Beta Band, Libertines, Ordinary Boys, Delays, Bees, Mylo, Dogs Die In Hot Cars, Darkness... NO Strokes, Pixies, Kings Of Leon, Thrills, Scissor Sisters, Goldie Lookin Chain, 22-20s, Sons & Daughters...

So what on earth did we manage to catch then? Saturday saw us wander about getting our bearings, meeting up with friends and queuing for toilets and drink tokens for several hours while catching random snatches of Pink (hideous), Funeral For A Friend (noisy) and Keane (dull) as we passed the various stages.

Come 6pm, we somehow inherited the Frenchboy and decided to lose our bearings by heading to the Slam tent for Tiga, possibly the most sensational DJ set I've heard for some time, and only slightly dented by an incoherent Frenchie asking, 'Oo is dis playing?' ('Tiga'); 'Oo is dis playing?' ('Tiga'); 'Oo is dis playing?' ('Tiga') 20 times - not seeming to notice there was a massive screen a metre in front of him bearing giant, flashing letters spelling 'TIGA'.

The Canadian electro maestro blasted a massive set which out-Optimoed Optimo, including a wicked track that sampled Rapper's Delight, which Felix da Housecat also would go on to cane later that night (clues, anyone?), and a good handful of his own stormers such as Hot In Herre and final track Pleasure From The Bass. I emerged, blinking in the light and busting for a pee, a very happy girl.

Outside, it was alarming to see a line the size of a seven-nation army queuing for entrance for the Slam Tent, so we popped round the back to join the throngs waiting for the single Portaloo. Bad move. It's always nice to see considerate couples deciding not to shag or rack up lines in a situation like this - and of course this didn't happen here. More than an hour later, I'd never been so happy to see the insides of a Portaloo. Scarred, I would go on to use the trusted coat'n'squat technique for the remainder of the festival.

We banished the Frenchman to find other friends, although he promptly got lost and turned up an hour later, somehat worse for wear (if possible), having been trying to text "Help" to our phones for the duration, poor lamb. Meanwhile, we headed back inside for a fairly average stop-start set from Mr Housecat - lots of acapella nonsense and a cheesy singalong to Blur's Girls and Boys. He did make up for it, though, by greasing-up the Caledonian crowd with a housed-up version (possibly the Daft Punk remix or the flipside) of the Franz's Take Me Out as his last track. The cheer that went up was absolutely deafening.

Next up, Basement Jaxx. I didn't twig until later that I was supposed to have been watching the Libertines on the NME Stage, and there were tears at bedtime when I did. The bootilicious vocallists rocked, but on the whole the Jaxx were too loud, too screechy, disjointed and nowhere near as good as they were the last time I saw them fully live (not counting the brilliant Brixton Rooty parties) in NZ in 2000. It reminded me why I went off the Jaxx post-Camberwell. But them's the breaks at festivals - you can't have everything your own way.

But that's more than enough for now. Suffice it to say, the night ended by going back to the lovely Tracy's dad's house in Perth and drinking Papa Jimmy's bar dry. We then had a great night's sleep, a shower and the biggest fry-up known to man before returning to the scene of the crime for the Sunday action.

There's only one more dose of festival fever to go before we resume normal transmission. Stay with me, kids. I just need to exorcise the 'T-mons' first...

[Disclaimer: the Frenchman does come in for a fair bit of stick here, so let me hasten to add that I love the wee dobber to bits - but he is a useless idiot (albeit with great comedy value) and I do intend to kill him when I next see him. ;) xx]

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Forever Tuesday Morning, The Mockers

Monday, July 12, 2004

Tired and emotional 

After a weekend partying like a maniac, I've decided it's best I wait until the apres-festival fear and loathing has subsided before writing my T In The Park review proper. A brilliant time was had by all, but right now, grumpy, exhausted and sans cigarettes, the negatives (ie. having to babysit a daft French ex-boyfriend who chose to go on a 48-hour pills'n'Buckfast* bender - the ned - alternately stumbling round the site chasing his other ex, collapsing or getting lost, meaning I MISSED THE PIXIES AND THE STROKES) are threatening to overtake the many positives. Normal transmission will no doubt be resumed by mid-week.

In the meantime, and until I develop my photos, a selection of lo-fi cameraphone snaps, featuring the Smacked Face festie-fave novelty specs and a cast of fools. (BTW Random Mullet Boy, whoever you are - your hair really is the worst ever. So bad it's good. Keep flyin' that mullet flag, son.)

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* For the benefit of our overseas readers, as per Harvest Bird's request, Buckfast "tonic wine" is a vile fortified-wine concoction commonly consumed by Scottish winos. The disclaimer notice on the bottle hilariously states: "The term 'tonic wine' does not imply health-giving or medicinal properties." As the French boy found out, to his our peril.

Thursday, July 08, 2004

Getting boggy with it 

So. All preparations for the big trek north tomorrow are in hand. In the event of sunshine (stop sniggering at the back), I have waxed, buffed, tanned and preened myself to a glossy sheen. In the event of rain (this is 99% probable), I have procured the loan of a pair of sexy, pink, Glastonbury-mud-encrusted Wellington boots, and invested in a Sienna Miller-style poncho and 10-pack of bin liners, reluctant as I am to hump a bulky parka all the way to Scotland. (This last decision I will come to regret.)

First stop, Glasgow, for a night out with the local maniacs. This will take in one or all of the following venues: the Brunswick, McPhabb's and the CCA. Possibly also the Buff Club. Then, early Saturday morning (maybe not the Buff then), it's off to Balado, to queue for hours and miss all the good opening acts at T In The Park. But nae bother, as Sunday's the best day anyway - although we will no doubt miss all the headliners, as everyone else will want to bail early on a bus back to Glasgae for Optimo at the Sub Club. Hmmph.

To my dear friend Damian @ Public Address, who emailed this charming billet-doux: "Can I just say a quick 'Fuck you and your Pixies-watching arse you Pixies-listening motherfucker'?": Yes. Yes, you can.

To the rest of you, au revoir. I'm back on Monday night. Right now, I'm amped and ready to go very large indeed. In my absence... oh, fuck it, as if you care. Have fun - I intend to.


PS: Scream! Ms G's brilliant Reverberations' boat party pics are now up (the Thames has never looked so good), courtesy of Asad, Ravi and Tom's fine site. Next bash August 7th, be there...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Date With The Rain, Eddie Kendricks

Only saying what we were all thinking 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI embarrassed myself hugely this morning by ignoring the unwritten rule of stony-faced silence on the Tube and laughing out loud at the p3 lead in the Metro, then proceeding to try to muffle my sniggers until big fat tears rolled down my cheeks and plopped on to the paper. Read the story here.

And cheers to the mighty Quentishtown, who forwards a particularly appropriate Flash game, which for once I can actually be bothered living playing.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Bad Weather, The Supremes

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

Tittle and tattle 

"Smacked Face goes Popbitch", says the venerable JonnyB in the comments box below. What a great idea. And so today, for one day only, Smacked Face will go Popbitch. I know for a fact various readers of this site possess some of the most genius sleb gossip never to have graced the pages of PB - and I warmly encourage them to post it here. (We'll deal with the legal ramifications later.)

My (rather sorry) starters for 10:
• I smoked dak ate smoked duck with Sir David Attenborough at an endangered bird sanctuary
• Watched Phil Tufnell get so pissed he almost couldn't talk at the British Grand Prix
• Was snogged by Peter Andre in his Mysterious Girl days
• Snogged NZ 'celebrity' Simon Barnett
• Took photos of a major youth TV star hoovering speed like it was going out of fashion
• Got £20 from the Mirror's 3am girls for spotting Dermot O'Leary drinking at The Cock tavern (snarf)
• Moby once pissed in my beer bottle
• Cringed with embarrassment when the Donkey told Carl Cox he should go on the Atkin's Diet...

And a host of celeb spots, dull DJs-on-the-drugs tales and second-hand stories that could cost me my job, alas. (Buy me a pint and I'll reveal all, however.) Anyway, we can do far better than this. Post away. Do it.

[For more celeb dirt you could shake a crack pipe at, you should of course go immediately to perennial Smacked Face favourite, the A-List. Or indeed Popbitch itself.]

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper, Hot Gossip

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Shake him like a Polaroid picture 

Gasp! Is summer finally on its way? The sun is shining and although there are the usual post-1pm London clouds, it seems reasonably warm, almost like one might expect for a July afternoon. Not that I've actually been outside, of course - a 3pm appointment at the staff gym has put paid to that. (Why I need to waste my lunch hour on a fitness assessment is unclear, though - the lifestyle I lead surely only points to one result: tragically unfit.)

Anyway, here's hoping the cold snap was just that, and that we can look forward to having a proper summer after all. Sunshine and temperatures of 19-20C are forecast for Balado-Kinross* this weekend, which is livable. I shall still be packing the wellies, naturally.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us The walk to work this morning produced its usual batch of unconnected ponderings. It seems big things are afoot at what used to be known as the Russian Pub on Kingsland Road. I'm not sure what, but there has been much construction-like activity of late, leading to the word "pub" mysteriously being removed from the sinister cartoon signage. How very intriguing.

And truly frightening was discovering, thanks to the large billboard on Stoke Newington Road, that yesterday marked the release of Will Young's new single, Friday's Child - backed with Will's version of Hey Ya. Now I've always tried to stick up for the Youngster - he seems like a decent guy, no matter how much certain TOTP directors may beg to differ. But Will - Will, Will, Will - just don't fuck with the 'Kast, OK?

* As regards T In The Park, the lovely Matty emails: "Mylo (as in the producer of that tardy dance rock album currently plastered all over London) rocked up to me at Glastonbury and asked me for directions to the hospitality tent. I duly gave them, but I was somewhat distracted by the enormous hairs growing out his nose. It kinda threw me off my direction-giving (usually I'm pretty good with geography and maps and stuff). It really is quite an impressive effort. It must be caught on camera."

That's a challenge then? My trusty T610 shall never leave my side.


Monday, July 05, 2004

The doctor is IN 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usAs promised, Smacked Face slips into her Disco Doctor guise, ready to prescribe musical pharmaceuticals and tuneful unguents for whatever the problem at hand.

Birdman of London writes:

"Dear Disco Doctor,

There's a fucken bird that sits outside my window every morning and squarks its head off, waking me up and pissing me off. Am tempted to get an air rifle and deal to it but my girlfriend says that would be cruel. Can you help?"

Dr Face is all too familiar with your dilemma, Birdman. For years during her 'difficult' teenage phase, she was woken up at 5am with the melodic, yet insistent tones of a tui, which nested in a nearby kowhai tree. Her mother said it was a phase she would grow out of, and likewise, that the bird would one day move on. The bird did move on (or died); Smacked Face has yet to outgrow that 'difficult' phase.

Don't shoot the bird - that would indeed be cruel and unnecessary. I daresay you've had your fair share of moments when your friends wished you would shut up, but guns are never the answer - unless it's 'wacky' Christmas-jumper man from the office with a guitar... But I digress, Birdman. In this instance, I recommend a good spoonful of Donald Byrd's Think Twice. (Though obviously, given your aversion to our feathered friends, anything by Cockney sparra Martine McCutcheon is to be avoided (good advice at any time), likewise Robin Gibb, Doves or the rapper Pigeon John. And don't even think about getting jazzy to Birdland.)

You could also look at this situation constructively - perhaps this is nature's way of alerting you to the fact you are, in fact, a slob. In which case, a daily dose of Matt Bianco's 80s hit, Get Out Of Your Lazy Bed, should help.

Lastly, if none of the above seem to be assisting your situation, why not just get a copy of Metallica's Enter Sandman, put the speakers out your window and blast the little fucker with it?

The good Doctor will return next week.

Sunday, July 04, 2004

Cheers London 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usIn all the 'excitement', I forgot to note yesterday's date - well, two days ago now, seeing it's quarter past one (Smacked Face, stop posting after a night out, you saddo!).

Anyway, on July 1st 2000, I left New Zealand, never to return (as of up to this point, literally) and, after a 28-hour flight from hell (you try long-distance travel on no sleep and the repercussions of a big going-away party), landed at Heathrow airport at 5.15am on July 2nd. Whereby I tucked the NZ passport away in a shoebox and reclaimed my rightful heritage. I was home. Four years later, I still am. I'll drink to that. Veuve Cliquot? Well, if you insist...

Thanks London. I really, really love you. (And I don't need to write for no London bloggers' site to prove that.)

PS: Oh, and the move to Glasgow? I think we all knew that was going to go by the wayside as soon as the sun reappeared over the Thames...)


Saturday, July 03, 2004

Doctorin' the house 

Next week sees the introduction of a new (and probably very temporary, knowing my lazy readership) Smacked Face feature: Disco Doctor. Every month I am appalled by the Observer Music Monthly's Record Doctor feature. I think we can do it better, and solve every problem - musical or otherwise - with the application of good, good tunage. Or more likely, a lot of debate over what constitutes good tunage. So gather together whatever ails you, send it in, and let's see if together we can't, to quote Ms Ross, make this world a better place. If we can. (Groan.)

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Get Up Off Your Fat, Rose Royce

Friday, July 02, 2004

1, 2, 3, 4 

Just four things, because I'm in a very can't-be-arsed mood today.

No one deserves their sleep disturbed by the random clinking of a wind chime on a gusty night, sounding much like the final scene of Close Encounters Of The Third Kind where the spaceship goes nuts with the synth action, but minus Richard Dreyfuss or any semblance of a tune. So this weekend, do yourself, myself, your neighbours, friends and family a favour, and sabotage any wind chimes you may encounter on your travels. I don't often recommend anarchistic acts such as this, but the world should be free of this evil audio menace.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us2) SPARKS, KIMONO MY HOUSE
Get the party started with this old 'Maelstrom' (geddit?) of genius. Put on Barbecutie at your barbecue and watch the girls twist and shout. Or at least tap their toes.

3) BOOZE, DISCO, ETC: this Sunday (4th July), Whitehorse, 94 Brixton Hill, 4pm til late, free
I've just had the PC fixed so have been illegally downloading sick tunes like an obsessive compulsive, Jamie Robertson and I have been spending money like lottery winners at the Spitalfields disco stall, and Terry Bristol... lord knows what he's been doing. 'Avin it large probably, as is his way - surely he's too old for all that? Anyway, see you Sunday for the best disco/soul/funk/italo/new wave in the world ever. No cheese!

4) BUY NONE GET ONE FREE: Saturday 24th July, a secret central London venue, 10pm-very late indeed, free
This offensively good event will feature raw, underground, full-spectrum selection spread liberally across two floors and a roof terrace of one of London’s most salubrious venues. Expect the freshest, deepest, dirtiest, finely tuned, hand-crafted dancefloor action from the likes of Tim Red & Luke vB (armadillo), James Priestley (All Over My Face), Matt Tarr (disque), Gid (pigeonhold), Dan Berkson, Dirty Hernandez (Lincoln Lounge), Papa Cool (Glasgow), Tumble Kool (Kanvas), and the Booze, Disco, Etc crew. You will dance. You will have a very good time. You will stay out all night long. You will love it like the bitch you are. Note that date NOW.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Barbecutie, Sparks

Thursday, July 01, 2004

Pee in the dark 

OK. So no Dave. How will I spend my T In The Park now? Looking at the line-up I see I was somewhat blinded by Bowie, but there's still some great stuff going on.

My initial picks are below, but please feel free to add your own suggestions, bearing in mind I've seen 90% of the dance tent before, haven't heard of half the King Tuts' acts, and will like as not spend the majority of the festival getting twatted with the Red Bee Society and the Papa Cool lads, who are due to be playing one of the lesser tents, and thus waste the entire weekend...

Saturday: Beta Band, Libertines (oh Pete darling, please sort it and come!), Ordinary Boys, Delays, the Bees... Mylo? Dogs Die In Hot Cars? And fuck it, I AM going to look in on the Darkness. I don't care that they're a 'joke band', or that old Rustin' Dorkins has become a right prat - when I saw them last year they were bloody good entertainnment. So there.

Sunday: Strokes, Pixies, Kings Of Leon, Thrills, FF (drool), Scissor Sisters, Goldie Lookin Chain (OK, the entire main stage), The Rapture, The Killers, 22-20s, Sons & Daughters... though how I can be in two places at once, only time will tell. (Then it's off back to Glasgae for Op-teeee-moooooow. Hurrah!)

BTW, anyone know where I can get some funky wellies for the occasion? I'm definitely going prepared - hell, it's Scotland, innit?

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Summer In The Parks, East Coast Connection (this track seriously rocks - get it on the very excellent comp Disco Unusual... x)

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