Tuesday, August 31, 2004


Absolutely battered from the weekend, and not in the usual way either. Due to having to move practically all my stuff myself, thanks to the tardiness of my helpers, the move down south has left me exhausted and covered in evil bruises that make me look like a victim of serious domestic violence and continue to attract pitying glances on buses.

So this is a holding post until I can sort my life out. The new flat rocks BTW. But more on that later. Normal transmission resumes tomorrow.

Friday, August 27, 2004


Sometimes you wake up and the world is a shimmering, shining, golden place. There's a massive grin on your face and it ain't going nowhere. You can't quite pinpoint the cause, but hot damn, life is good, muthafucka!

I don't know why, but I'm so far in my happy place today I'm off the planet - despite waking up still drunk 5 minutes before having to leave the house to make it to Conduit Street for my 9am haircut. Despite the heavens opening on my exit from Oxford Circus station and absolutely drenching me. Despite the fact the rest of today will consist of the tedious packing-up of all my worldly belongings.

Why so gleeful? Who knows? I've just got new perfumes - Marc Jacobs' Essence and Acqua di Parma's Colonia Assoluta - and am sporting a fab new wrap dress from Joy, so I'm looking good, smelling great. But I'm also very hungover. Go figure.

Anyway, just when I thought life (albeit somewhat inexplicably) couldn't get any better, I had the world's best haircut. And it was free! Brilliant! Big thanks and kisses to coiffeur extraordinaire Aaron at Daniel Hersheson, fresh off the boat from Nu Zild and a total star. And the salon is well lush... Call him. Now.

However, this is a totally pointless post so I'll piss off now and head home to procrastinate... er, I mean pack. I just had to share. In the immortal words of Darius, can you feel the love in this room? Have happy weekends, y'all. xx

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Good Times, Chic

Wednesday, August 25, 2004


Ms G's finally uploaded the Dallas'n'Dynasty rooftop cocktail party photos. Blondes have more fun? You'd better believe it, baby. I didn't recall the weather being quite so grim, but now I think about it, yeah, it rained like a bitch all evening. Too many cocktails pour moi, one suspects...

(Sorry about the size of the pics and the fact they may be making the sidebar go a bit chicken oriental, etc - once all involved have had a good look, I'll knock 'em back a bit.)

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And, er...
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Rubbish collection 

Sorry all, it's time for an odds and sods post to finally deal to all the things that have fallen by the wayside in recent times. Before I get into that, though, HOW much did we laugh at the clanger of a production slip-up in the Mirror's 3am Magazine today. On a spread of Shell from Big Brother dressed as a mermaid, some cheeky designer had inserted a draft caption with the words: "Note to subs: no jokes about crabs or fish please!" Sadly, the production ed must have failed to spot it and let it go to press. Oops indeed. There but for the grace of god etc. Anyway, to the random musings...

Another prime guilty pleasure contender popped up on ITunes shuffle play this morning - Phil Oakey and Giorgio Moroder's Together In Electric Dreams. I can't believe no one suggested it earlier. Hideous 80s electro genius - neither Phil nor George's best hour, but still, you gotta love it.

In beauty news, I'm most impressed with the swagload of Dermalogica booty I got from The Parlour in Shoreditch the other day, although I wasn't so impressed with the facial. I've visited The Parlour a few times - its PR is fab and promises one of the most decadent, luxurious experiences this side of heaven, but each time I've been, it's been loud thumping and banging and cussing Cockney staff. Hardly the stuff of paradise. Can't complain though, I didn't spend a bean and my skin looks like that of a 29-year-old again, rather than the usual smoke-soaked crèpe paper of a 40-year-old crackwhore. Can't say fairer.

On to a few brief reviews from Smacked Face's carousing about town of late. Food-wise, we're loving Bintang in Camden - fab Thai and Malaysian, nice relaxed vibe (though hotter than a fiery furnace in the basement room), and cheap as chips. I believe the rendang was to be recommended and perhaps the pad thai? I can't say for sure - I only sampled them off other people's plates, having only joined the party halfway through to drink lots of wine.

Finally checked out Tomlins (ex-Goya) in Acre Lane at the weekend. In previous posts I've been reluctant to give it credit, saying it'd never be as good as its much-vaunted predecessor. Having now sampled its fare, I can give it a Macca-esque thumbs-up. Nice to see they've retained Goya's famously delicious 'stack' breakfasts, and the boys practically licked clean their plates of chicken liver salad and 'Sunday lunch steak'. Thank god we now have somewhere decent to brunch in South London, although a note to the kitchen: take the blackened salmon off the menu! We were smoked out five times during our meal, resulting in Ms G and I eventually having to move outside and drink Nastro Azzurros all afternoon. (Obviously it was torture.)

And in drinking news - the best kind - I can only heap more praise on the current darling of the London bar scene, Bistroteque. This place absolutely rocks and I want to go there again and again and again. If the Whitehorse could be my local when I was living in North London, then damn it, this gorgeous piece of Hackney can be my local when I move down sarf. Just fabulous.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Cocaine, Phuture (just say no, kids)

Monday, August 23, 2004

Get real 

So new research shows that 59% of Britons believe it's acceptable for a person in their 30s to have had 10 or more lovers. This means 41% of Britons consider more than 10 partners to be dreadfully sluttish.

This would be of some concern - because, let's be honest here, I don't think I know anyone in their 30s with a tally less than that - if, as Kate Spicer said in yesterday's Evening Standard, I actually gave a damn.

And much like Ms Spicer, I now feel the urge to discuss my sexual history with the nation (or at least the Smacked Face readership) to prove my point, and thus risk being branded 'promiscuous' (a term I find deliciously quaint in a 'naughty' 1950s way - ooh, matron!).

My university flatmate and I used to keep a list of people we'd slept with, which was all fine and dandy until my sister found it on a visit and promptly told my mother... Anyway, let's just say the university years were a time of, er, personal growth and experimentation. They raised the tally somewhat, and I think we can safely say I had passed the 'acceptable' score of 10 by the time I graduated with my BA in Classical Studies.

After that, I embarked on a series of long-term, mostly monogamist relationships, generally lasting from six months to two years. Even taking this into account, I still find it a huge stretch of plausibility for that 41% of Britons to expect me to have had less than 10 partners in the 14 or so years I've been having sex.

As much as we may resent the fact, we're living in a society that takes an increasingly American approach to relationships - dating around to find someone you actually like. And I have to say I'm finding the whole thing rather fun, having never been one to turn down the chance of good food and decent conversation.

This year alone, I've 'dated' (in the broadest sense and in no particular order) a bar manager, an A&R exec, a TV director, a PR manager, a psychologist, two DJs, an IT engineer, an artist and a copywriter. Had all these 'dates' been to my liking, I could have embarked on short-term relationships of sorts, whereby sex would probably be part of the natural order of things. Some of them I did, most of them I didn't - I'm not saying which - but had I slept with them all (I didn't), there would be 10 people for the scoreboard right there.

Anyway, I'm not usually the biggest Kate Spicer fan, but good on the lass for sticking up for us real girls. As Joan Bakewell said on some TV talking heads thing (Things I Wish I'd Known When I Was 20?) recently, her advice to young people would be to get out there and have as much sex as possible before settling down. And as Jay Kay once said, if I like it, I do it. Quite.

[BTW: On a totally unrelated note, Ms G's pics from Friday at Fesh are now up here.]

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: We Are All Prostitutes, The Pop Group


Inland Revenue, you have been the bane of my life at times... But dumping a surprise £2k rebate in my account today has made me forgive you all your sins and henceforth I shall love you like a slavering dog, so help me god.

Crikey. What should I do with it? Prudence be damned - who wants to help me spend it?!

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Money Changes Everything, The Smiths

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Mayhem as usual 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usWhat a night Friday was... meaning what a night Saturday isn't, thus why I'm still uploading photos and being a geek when I should be out creating havoc.

Muchos dineros was invested (with no chance of ever seeing a return) at the Bank of 333, where we indulged in an evening of sweet mayhem, courtesy of, er, Sweet Mayhem (<--) et al at Fesh. Ah, what jollies we had. Simone and Brian absolutely stormed the house with their cranking electro house and Brian's guitar solos, which saw the roof just about lift off. Live Nirvana riffs? They're what dance music never knew it desperately needed...

Anyway, the novelty specs came out yet again, and you can see all the evidence here. How I was still standing at the end of the night is a mystery - any suspicions I might have had that I am an alcoholic were confirmed by the fact I was buying myself two drinks for everyone else's one each time I got a round in. (And judging by the confetti of bar receipts that fluttered from my wallet this afternoon, that was quite a few times.)

Apologies to the poor lass whose balloon I saw fit to pop with my cigarette in a moment of mischievous intent, hello to the crazy, charming viKtor (check his site here), and big thanks to Crispin Dior for the fab Fesh and Dietrich CDs, which are rocking Smacked Face Towers as I type. Hurrah.

Friday, August 20, 2004


The Hepcat and I were discussing the subject of guilty pleasures over a few pints of Holland's finest at the Northgate last night. We agreed that to be defined as such, a guilty pleasure tune really should be something you secretly own and would slip on the turntable when no one else was around, as opposed to just a old cheesy rip-roarer you'd sing along to at a party.

That decided, we turned our attention to movie GPs. Yet again, to qualify as such they should be films you either own or would make an effort to catch at the cinema or on TV, not just something you found yourself watching because you couldn't be arsed changing channel and rather enjoyed. I want to see dedication to your guilty pleasures, damn it.

The Hepcat nominated Will Ferrell's Elf as one of his more recent GPs. This in mind, I'm going to endeavour to watch it next week and add to it my list - his performance in Old School was pure genius. (And Old School is pure, unadulterated guilty pleasure in itself.)

I must have hundreds of movie GPs, although only the obvious ones are springing to mind right now. Just the other week I subjected the flatmate to a screening of Casablanca Records' disastrous disco flop Thank God It's Friday, and as much as I joined her in vociferously denouncing it, secretly I loved every second. Labyrinth and The Highlander also get a look in, and I will famously give up any planned activity if Logan's Run, The Abominable Dr Phibes or Charlton Heston's zombie shocker The Omega Man come on the box.

Anyway, over to you. Thrill me with your shameful cinematic titillations. Do it.

[PS: Like everyone else, it seems, I've succumbed to the vanity of creating my own quiz, although typically half the questions and answers are too long and it's fucked up slightly. Anyway, I don't know why you'd want to, but test your Smacked Face knowledge here and WIN PRIZES*. Then check out the scoreboard. Or something.]

* Prizes may not exist.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Thank God It's Friday, Love and Kisses

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Radio ga-ga 

I've been experimenting with morning radio of late. Morning TV is obviously a no-go area, fronted as it is by simpering idiots like Natasha Ka-plonker-ski, a woman who makes me want to ram a microphone down her throat (though if the papers are to be believed, she'd be more than able to accommodate it...).

I've checked out all the mainstream breakfast options: Virgin's Pete and Geoff were just not funny; Wogan on Radio 2 was, well, Wogan; XFM, Capital and Radio 1 were almost identical in their 'wacky' japes and shenanigans... I attempted Phil "Jolly" Jupitus on 6 Music, but couldn't stomach him either, so instead have been forced to tune in to the station's Funk Show on repeat, on the sole basis that the music is guaranteed to be good, even if Craig Charles's skin-crawling 'Scouse Funkmaster' routine makes me want to cut off my own ears and boil them in light syrup.

I need help. I want to rekindle my lifelong love of radio - but how?

We were all massive radio fans as Kiwi kids. There's something about growing up in a smallish town that makes your local radio station particularly special. And besides, back in the day - without the internet, on limited pocket money and with rubbish record stores - if you wanted to know what was going down, apart from Ready To Roll at 6pm on a Saturday, the radio was your only option.

My early years meant Buzz O'Bumble on the Sunday morning kids' show on Radio Nelson 1341am, getting scaring shitless by Peter & The Wolf or Bad Jelly, or singing along to Flick The Little Fire Engine and other such nonsense. And your birthday wasn't worth celebrating unless your name had been called out on the daily birthday shoutouts - if you were extra-lucky, you'd win the double movie passes.

When I was eight, hip new summer station Fifeshire launched, and we abandoned yawny old Radio Nelson like the proverbial rats/sinking ship. Ah, they were good days - the time I won a CD player (when they were, like, new and exciting) after sending in three Fruju sticks, winning the obligatory tickets to Icehouse (who seemed to tour every summer despite having not released an album in years), losing a Crowded House cake competition by simply baking a crap chocolate cake, trying - and failing - to paint on windows with runny icing and sticking 100 jelly babies in it (a Crowded House, geddit?)...

Radio phase no. 3 was the short-lived "I've just been to orchestra camp and snogged a trumpet player, so now I'm listening to Classic FM every day" period. It was followed by the equally short-lived Fresh FM stage, as host of our school's show - a thinly-veiled excuse on my part to hang out and get drunk with touring bands under the guise of being a "reporter". The Chills' guitarist seemed to swallow my "possessive boyfriend" excuse as to why I wouldn't be accompanying him back to his hotel room. (Actually, my mum wanted me home by 1am).

Phase five was the 'serious years' where, imagining myself as the next hard-hitting journo à la Paxman (or Kim Hill - we were in New Zealand, after all), I tuned in daily to the National Programme's Morning Report. This phase continued long after I realised I was the world's worst interviewer - once asking a very famous DJ the equivalent of Ralph Wiggum's "So. Do you like... stuff?" - and abandoned all hopes of a serious journalism career.

Then it was George FM where, due to convenient nepotism, I scored myself a succession of shows, perhaps gaining most notoriety for my boozy Saturday night guest DJ showcases. It was after one particularly liquored-up show (having consumed no less than one and a half bottles of Lindauer and the best part of a 1100ml bottle of Stoli) that the infamous "muesli bar" incident occurred.

Anyway, what was the point of this post again? Give me another radio show? Oh no, right, just give me some decent radio to listen to. I swear this Smashy & Nicey nonsense is enough to drive a girl to drink. Again.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Bear Cage, The Stranglers

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Guilty as charged 

And the list grows. Having given the whole "guilty pleasures" thing some thought last night (and having blasted a few forgotten treasures while starting to pack up the flat for the big move sarf), here are some more gems I can't believe I omitted yesterday.

Billy Joel, Allentown Or indeed anything off his Greatest Hits - My Life, It's Still Rock'n'Roll To Me, Tell Her About It... Oh lord, the list is endless. Shame.
The Osmonds, Crazy Horses "Rrrrreeeeeeeeeee-oooo, rrrreeeeeeeeeee-oooo!" Nuff said.
Matthew Wilder, Break My Stride This was my favourite song for years as a child. Weird.
Supertramp, Take The Long Way Home Or yes, indeed, any tune from the 'Tramp.
Chicago, Street Player Ignore the fact Peter Cetera is no more a street player than John Major. This rocks.
Sarah Brightman & Hot Gossip, I Lost My Heart To A Starship Trooper Or Andrew Lloyd Webber even. Ewwww.
ABC, When Smokey Sings I grew up listening to Smokey Robinson. My mother would be appalled by this choice.
• Anything off the Solid Gold albums vols 24-29. Childhood nostalgia be damned. Rock on, Racey! (Some girls will, you know...)

As for more 'respectable' music, we're still digging that schaffel beat here at Smacked Face Towers. Go here to learn why schaffel is "resuscitating techno".

Tuesday, August 17, 2004

Pleasured guilt 

Feeling vaguely ill and very lazy, I thought I'd let my mates do all the work for me for today's post and asked them to reveal their musical "guilty pleasures". It's neither new nor original - Radio London DJ Sean Rowley's set rocked the Big Chill by all accounts, and his Guilty Pleasures CD is out soon. But it's a talking point and has saved me having to think, so it's all good.

As a disco DJ, some might say my entire record collection is well guilty and not particularly pleasurable, but those people can go hurl themselves off a cliff for all I care - philistines. Personally, I don't think you can go past ELO for guiltily pleasurable audio experiences - specifically, Living Thing, Last Train To London and, er, Xanadu. Anyway, enough about me, here are a few starters for 10. Feel free to make good use of the comments box...

Ms Cam: "Jump by Van Halen, Starship's We Built This City [EDIT: Starship is Satan's own spawn. I'm ashamed of you, Ms C...] or John Farnham's You're the Voice. Oh yes."
The Donkey: "Any 80s glam-metal (and not for irony's sake, either)."
Matty: "Hip house is um... cool."
Quentishtown: "Firehose, Brave Captain... it's bo."
Jimmy: "I'm a sucker for Macca - a little bit of Wings never goes amiss. Thumbs aloft for Band On The Run!"
Spiller: "Um... you asked. Whitney Houston I Wanna Dance With Somebody, Spandau Ballet True, and of course, any Guns 'n' Roses - for truly boganic moments."

And speaking of bogans, it doesn't get more bogan than this. Munter!

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: all of the above. Mmm, thanks, guys

Monday, August 16, 2004

Let's do the timewarp again 

Recently I was heard to complain on these pages about the Garfield movie and how it felt like I had been transported back to 1984, what with Bill Murray voicing it and all, and how much do we hate CGI and what the hell is that stupid fat cat doing back on cinema screens in the 21st century for fuck's sake. (Commonly known as "Jen's going off on one again".) I was also heard to quip, "What will we see next? The return of Fido Dido?", or something along those lines.

So you can imagine my horror when, on a particularly stinking hot Tube en route to the surprise 30th we organised for the venerable DJ Dean Webb in Brixton last night, I spotted two 7-Up posters featuring none other than... Fido Dido. Complete with "witty" comments such as "Flip-flops should be seen and not heard" and "Read something new. Try alphabet soup".

I'd rant on but what else can you say to that? "Get out!", basically.

Weekend update:
Keys: intact
Replacement phone: intact
Camera: intact but dropped and dented
Records: somewhere in South London
Wallet: gone

EDIT: Crikey. And hallelujah! Some lovely person has found my wallet and handed it in to the police - with the £50 I'd just withdrawn from the cashpoint still in it! Faith in human nature can safely be said to have been restored. (Though my faith in myself has hit an all-time low. "Wah, my wallet's been stolen!" indeed. Pissed-up idiot.)

Saturday, August 14, 2004


Having my wallet stolen was just the start of what turned out to be a fairly traumatic evening out, most of which I won't be going into here. All I can say is that if you can be arsed sitting on hold for a while trying to get through to Islington Police, reporting a crime is remarkably easy these days.

I remember waiting for hours in the squalid surrounds of Brixton station last time my bag was nicked from outside the Horse. These days a simple phone call gets you the coveted crime reference number. Cool. (How stupid I will feel, however, when Transport For London gets hold of me to tell me I actually left it in the back of a black cab.)

Anyway, so yet again I am having to re-piece together my life. It's killed my social life tonight, not having two brass farthings to rub together and no way to access my banked millions. (That reminds me, my Lotto ticket was in that wallet. Damn!) I rather fancied joining the flatmate down at the Londesborough for a pint before the radio gig, but I'm stuck watching synchronised diving on the telly. Boo.

Music-wise - I've been ploughing through anything to hand during my forced confinement to barracks - the good people at Optimo have a fabulous summer reggae mix on the site right now. And thanks to Mr Bingham for sending me the best mix I've heard in ages, courtesy of Philip Sherburne. Eli describes it as "Kompakt-style 'Schaffel' house... imagine T-Rex meets techno". I'd describe it as fucking rocking. But then I always did have a way with words.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Schaffeling The Funk Out Of Rachel Stevens, Live @ Optimo

Friday, August 13, 2004

It's a whole new era at Smacked Face Towers. Jürgen Teller should be running scared, La Chappelle had better watch his back and Nick Knight should just go back to photographers' school right now - because Smacked Face is the proud new owner of a digital camera. A Casio Exilim EX-Z30, to be precise, the tiniest, tastiest, most exquisite piece of kit this girl's come across for a while.

I don't usually get off on electronic equipment (don't be rude now), but ooh, it's sexy. I cannot wait for it to finish charging so I can head off into the night and snap away. And no doubt either drop it into my cocktail or lose it en route. But fuck it, that's what insurance is for.

Weekend plans involve celebrating Jodie's birthday tonight in Bond Street, no less, and the obligatory, particularly special Booze, Disco, Etc at the Whitehorse on Sunday. Saturday involves staying in and behaving, alas, in order to talk to Damian Public Address on his most excellent 95BFM show (Sunday Best, 10am-12pm NZ, 11pm-1am UK). Tune in - if you're not out having a life like I should be. :(

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Video Killed The Radio Star, The Buggles

On the buses 

I was party to - and indeed, part of - a bizarre chain reaction on the 149 bus this morning.

I was sitting on one of the sideways-facing seats near the bendy bit, opposite a pair of 20-something girls and next to a good-looking young man. The young man was chatting busily on the phone, thanking a friend for the dinner last night in an effusively well-spoken manner. (My gaydar - rightly or wrongly - detected a hint of pink.) The two girls were yabbering away to each other about nothing in particular. One was tanned, slim and very attractive, her friend much less so.

The bus stopped at Liverpool Street, and the attractive girl got off. Moments later, the frumpy friend's phone rang. "Oi," she yelled across to the young man, in rough Cockney. "My mate Caroline who just got off wants me to ask you for your number."

Cue titters across the bus. "Er, OK," stuttered the young man. "It's xxxxxxxxx. My name's Tom."

Whether this was his number or even his real name, who knows? But it kicked off an extraordinary series of events. Suddenly people all over the bus were taking their pride in their hands and asking their fellow passengers out. [EDIT: OK, email pedants, maybe not the whole bus - give me some poetic licence here, sheesh. I can only speak for myself. Well, I was wearing that fabulous Dispensary wrap...]

"Er, while we're here, can I get your number?" the hither-to unnoticed chap standing next to me said. I eyed him up and down. He wasn't bad, but not worth risking a stalkathon for. "Um, sorry, love, I'm spoken for," I lied.

It was all like a low-budget, shabby Brit version of Sex And The City. This insidious creep of New York-style 'dating' into the London culture is frankly disturbing - but kind of interesting and, dare I say it, rather exciting at the same time. What happened to good old British reserve? Nowhere, it would seem, is safe.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Radio with pictures 

My posting is somewhat erratic (read: rubbish) this week, partly because I've spent most of it in an enjoyable Tipsy McStagger haze due to dining out over many bottles of wine every night this week (recommending Gallipoli Bazaar and, surprisingly, Shish, even though last time I went there I said I'd never go back over my own dead carcass), but mostly because I've had absolutely nothing to say.

So let's say it in pictures. Thanks yet again to the Reverberations crew for a fabulous boat party on Saturday. Get all the dirt here. Or simply enjoy this as a taster. Ah jeez.
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> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Rock The Boat, George McCrae

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

Drowning sorrows 

Thanks everyone for your kind words yesterday. Much appreciated. I dealt with it all in typical style by knocking back a goodly number of pints in an Earls Court pub - cheers, Ms Cam and Quentishtown.

We arrived, unwittingly, at "girls' night" at the Kings Head, where a bored-looking DJ played five-year-old deep house to an unimpressed audience. Girls' night didn't look any different than one imagines most nights look at the Kings Head, except there was confetti and Smarties on the table, and buying a bottle of Duvel meant 'ladies' could have a free rummage in the lucky dip bag. Where the 'lucky' bit came in I don't know, except perhaps I would be 'lucky' if the sample tub of foundation I 'won' contained enough product to cover half my face.

Anyway, the craic was good and the beers stirred in us a hunger for feasting, so we popped down the road to the Lotus Garden restaurant for some of the best Chinese food I've ever encountered. Prawns so plump and juicy you could practically snog them, scallops so tender and sweet you wanted to pick them up and dandle them on your knee. SW5 certainly isn't my local hood, or even my district of choice when it comes to going out, but, like Arnie, I'll be back. Yum.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Shrimp, Mr Scruff

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

And she's gone. At 1.30am NZ time, very peacefully. Mum was there for her last breath. Ten minutes before she went, she was apparently pointing to my photo on her wall and telling the nurses about her 'beautiful granddaughter' in London.

Which makes me happy. And incredibly sad, obviously.

Rage against the dying of the light 

My grandmother is dying. Possibly. I get a phone call at least once every three months from my worried mother, and the last ex-boyfriend certainly tired of laying on the sympathy after the fourth false alarm, but this time I suspect it might be the real thing. Admitted to hospital with a raging fever on Sunday, two heart attacks last night, morphined to the hilt today...

It's strange. I've been away for so long and the poor old love has been too deaf and doddery to talk to on the phone, so I feel I've been horribly slack on the dutiful grandchild front, especially to a woman who was so much a part of our lives for so long when we were growing up.

A huge, immensely special proportion of my childhood memories involve Gran - the interminably long and hot grocery shop with her, Mum, my sister and a large labrador each and every Friday; the annual attempt to cram in a traditional English Christmas dinner in 32-degree New Zealand heat; playing her version of gin rummy for hours and ignoring the fact she cheated like a gangster; sleeping over and hearing all her wild and wonderful tales about her life...

She was - is - such an amazing woman and led such a remarkable life, in that kind of everyday way women of her time did. She worked in service in a grand house near Birmingham from the age of 14, and would recount a host of hilarious anecdotes from this period, such as the butcher's boy shocking her with his 'special sausage' one morning at the trade entrance. Later, she met and married my grandfather, who was famed for his quick wit, brilliant sense of humour and his prowess on the bugle (and ability to fart the 'Last Post').

She couldn't have children of her own, so she and Granddad adopted a severely disabled girl called Maureen, who died tragically a few years later aged 10. During WWII, with her army captain husband away in Africa (and 'diddling all the local gels', as she'd say), she had an affair with a gorgeous GI called Smokey and famously got knocked out cold at a funfair by an Italian prisoner of war who fell off the chair-o-plane. That is, when she wasn't hiding from the Blitz in the cupboard under the stairs, wearing a colander on her head.

After the war, Granddad - the love of her life - returned, but managed to sneak in an affair with a farm girl in Yorkshire, who got pregnant. When she wasn't able to keep the baby, Gran selflessly stepped in and raised it - my mother - as her own.

After an unfortunate incident involving a box of matches and a highly flammable nightie, which saw my mother in and out of hospital from ages two to seven, there followed what to me sounds like the most fabulous life (and certainly, from Mum's point of view, an idyllic childhood), spent travelling the world, living in exotic locations as an army wife, before returning to Reading in the swinging 60s. Here, Granddad took up managing bands (and my mum took up going out with band members). Eventually, they emigrated to New Zealand - and the rest is history.

Granddad died when I was one, and I'm sad I never knew him. But Gran was my closest relative after my mother - I knew her so, so well. She had the best stories, the best photos and slide collection, did the world's best fish pie, had the sweetest nature and was the most generous woman to walk the earth. I hope she'll be there on my return in January. I've a lot of time to make up for.

Monday, August 09, 2004

London, you crazy bitch. From sweltering 30+ temperatures one day to snow - yes, SNOW - the next. What the hell is going on?

Phone drowning, lifeguard drunk 

I drowned my phone in beer while trying to smuggle a pint out of the Whitehorse to the boat party after-party on Saturday night. Why I thought placing a full pint in the front pocket of my bag was a good idea, I'll never know, but the resulting spillage certainly signalled certain death for my poor T-610. What a way to go, though - I hope one day someone will do the same for me. Anyway, I've been off-radar since then, so if anyone is wondering why I've been ignoring them, that's your answer. (Losing the sim card while attempting to investigate the damage obviously didn't help matters either. Pissed idiot.)

Went for dinner at Rasa Travancore last night. Last time I was there was last December, which I recall was a fantastic meal, but seeing as I'd proceeded to get very tipsy due to muchos glasses of vino, I thought it should be put to the test again in a more sober state. I was somewhat doubtful that curry was the right thing to eat in the disgustingly muggy heat, but I guess Indians know a lot more about hot weather than we do, and if it's good enough for them, it's good enough for a meagre London heatwave.

My Frisco-disco dinner companion and I shared the baby aubergine dish and one of the chicken curries, which were absolutely perfect. Even with a few bottles of Cobra thrown in the mix (less gassy, more classy - if only I could say the same for me), we didn't feel the need to roll home, having successfully avoided the bloat most curries leave you with. (Actually, I'm convinced Brick Lane has one vast communal curry vat which all restaurants dip into for all their dishes, such is the uniform colour, taste and texture of their substandard fare. Yuk.) Anyway, top marks, Rasa.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Lifeguard Sleeping, Girl Drowning, Morrissey

Friday, August 06, 2004

Gone fishing 

If you think London is falling down, you obviously haven't been to Detroit recently. Idiotblogger has. And check this for the world's best world's best mural - Coronet Street bombers, take note.

No time for a real post today, have you seen the weather today? Luckily the editor has, so it's an all-expenses-paid work jolly to sit and get pissed in the sun all afternoon. Bless her heart.

EDIT: I'm usually the first with the diss when it comes to Canary Wharf, but E14 certainly pulled it out of the bag today. Lounging languidly in 30 degree-plus temperatures at an outside table at Jamie's in Westferry, on the banks of the Thames, we could have been anywhere. Only the Gherkin in the distance reminded us we were still in London. Now if it could just be like this every Friday...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Happy People, Brass Construction

Thursday, August 05, 2004

Animal house 

Ouch, the head, the head. A night at the Whitehorse spent celebrating Hot Curry's birthday and Smacked Face's imminent return to the area has taken its toll. It has reminded me of the sheer joy of a decent local though - every second person through the door was a familiar face, and thus a raucously good time was had by all.

Such fun didn't come cheaply, however - but then it never does, does it? Whoever sang that "the best things in life are free" obviously hasn't lived in Smacked Face's world. My wallet looked forlornly empty this morning, and my bank balance frighteningly near its overdraft limit - not helped by having to cough up £800 today for my tickets back to New Zealand in January (and having to give Belushi a fiver to get home - chivalry is well and truly dead, ladies).

So yes, the girl is coming home - for two weeks, at least. Auckland-based readers can start fighting now over who gets the privilege of having me to stay, scowling, jetlagged and irritable, on their sofa on arrival (Saturday 22nd January) - and as an extra bonus, they can even collect me from the airport at 6.30am.

I'm not going to go into how weird it will be returning to the place I waited years to leave - that's for another post. But I'm rather looking forward to it, if only to put the rest of pasty London to shame on my tanned return.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usFYI: the second Reverberations boat party happens this Saturday. The last one has entered the annals of infamy, I see no reason why this one should be any different. Asad (<--) and Ravi will be manning the decks, with help from San Fran's Eli Bingham and a ship of fools. The weather is set to be hot, sunny and glorious. Is there anywhere else you could hope to be on such a day than on a merry vessel travelling up the Thames? (Yes, yes - Barcelona, the Maldives, the south of France... But you catch my drift.) Go here to secure your boarding pass. Don't miss the boat.

But make sure you miss the Circle Line. TWATS.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Six Months In A Leaky Boat, Split Enz

Wednesday, August 04, 2004

What's new, pussycat? (Not a lot) 

When I first spotted posters advertising Garfield: The Movie last week, I wondered if I'd somehow stepped into an eddy in the space-time continuum. Surely the last time anyone cared about the fat orange cat and his "wry" observations was back in the 80s - and to be honest, it was really only chubby Americans then.

I'm aware the cartoon strip still runs to this day, but 2004 is hardly the time or place to be going big screen with the return of the tubby bastard, surely? It's like stumbling across Jem: Revenge Of The Misfits, Punky Brewster - Legal At Last or Fido Dido's Bad Hair Day 2, innit?

Anyway, it's good to see I'm not alone in my animosity towards this CGI conundrum - I snapped this wee graf gem (complete with opportunistic stickering) at Old St tube this morning.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Image Hosted by ImageShack.us

Sucked in 

Eagle-eyed readers will notice the sudden retraction of the last post, a supposed gig review of Peter Doherty at the Scala last night, due to reports on XFM and the NME site that he pulled another no-show. Then who the hell was that stumbling about and Jesus-posturing on stage then? Wolfman, apparently.

In our defence, I offer the following:
• I did comment on the singer looking rather too long-haired, tall and skinny to be Pete (and that there was a lack of any Libertines songs, and that the whole thing was a bit crap), but put that down to having shocking eyesight, a good handful of beers and old-gits positions up at the top balcony.
• And having lived in Hackney and/or Brixton all my London life, I've come to the conclusion all junkie wasters look the same anyway.
• I don't know any Wolfman songs bar For Lovers and presumed they might have been experimental new Doherty works.
• We were talking so much about how crap it was we didn't hear the announcements.
• Um...
• OK, we suck.
• Good thing I'm not a journalist, innit. Oh, hang on...

Ever get the feeling you've been cheated?

EDIT: Peter responds

Tuesday, August 03, 2004

The good doctor 

Enough of 20-something junkies who don't turn up when they're supposed to. I've got a new love now, having finally been for my £200 freebie facial with the George Clooney-alike Dr Georges. No one told me he was French - ooh la la indeed! And what a charmer - no wonder old posh duckies were queuing up in his Mayfair waiting rooms. A sample of our conversation:

Smacked Face: Sorry Doctor, I've been partying quite a lot recently, my skin's a bit crap and congested... er... I should really quit smoking... [titter]
Dr Georges: Non, non! You have fantastic skin, you have nothing to worry about.
SF: [blush]

Dr Georges: Open your eyes wider - I want to see what colour eyes you have. Green? Blue?
SF: Haha, my sister says they're 'sludge'... [nervous laugh]
Dr Georges: Then she is a fool! Zey are a beautiful shade.
SF: [blush]

Dr Georges: What work have you had on your lips?
SF: Eh?
Dr Georges: Oh come now, do not lie to me - you have collagen, non?
SF: Collagen? God, no! I'd be too scared of a trout pout.
Dr Georges: Then you are very lucky, you have fabulously full lips.
SF: [blush]

Dr Georges: You know, you look so much like zis patient I have, a very famous actress...
SF: Oh... Er... [blush so much am unable to speak for three minutes]

Lies! All lies! (I look like a lipless crack whore.) But lord, it felt good to hear them... Feeling a million dollars right now? Ohhhh yes.

What a waster 

OH PETER!! You're so naughty. I knew I shoulda gone to that Clerkenwell gig last night... Here's hoping he's sorted the hangover/changover for tonight though, or there'll be hell to pay. Fucking loser. ;)

(Thanks to Nic for the link.)

Off the wall 

These days, knowing the move dahn sarf means my walking opps are now strictly limited, I absolutely savour each morning I walk to work via Shoreditch's "gritty" streets (and I mean that literally - you should see the colour of my flip-flopped feet by the time I arrive at Old Street station). I have no doubt Streatham will provide its own charms, but I fear it cannot match Shoreditch's unique mix of contradiction, irony, cuntery and plain silly-buggery. There's always something to raise a wry smile in the dirty old Ditch.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThis morning's stroll produced an array of gems. The systematic defiling of the Hackney Council 'dob in your neighbours' anti-crime billboards - from the somewhat chilling "As an informer, you are never safe" tagging to this equally charming missive (<--). And who could fail to arch an eyebrow at the black stretch limo parked at the back of the Old Street Holiday Inn? You're sooooo rock'n'roll right now - not. If you can afford a limo, why not a better hotel, dahhling?

However, I was saddened to see someone has wiped out the fabulous collection of random graffiti in Coronet Street with a series of bombings that look, frankly, like a school mural project. For years I've been planning to photograph the wall in its entirety and print it out half-scale for my own wall, but my procrastination has meant I've now missed the chance forever. Alas.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.us Luckily, I know the good people at Pure Evil will keep the standards high and the flag flying - whatever the Keep Britain Tidy prudes may say. I'm loving their latest addition to Kingsland Road (-->). I highly recommend you head down to No 17 on Thursday night and give 'em all your money. I intend to.

Tonight, however, it's all gone Pete Doherty - I'm off to the Scala for his gig with Wolfman (although I don't believe for one moment the rumours that Carl Barat will turn up). And to the surprising number of you who saw fit to email me to ask how on earth I could feel such unrequited lust for such a junkie wastrel, well duh. Putting to one side for one moment the fact the man is supremely talented and has achieved more in his short, messed-up life than most of will ever do, the junkie wastrel bit is precisely why so many of us find him - and others of his ilk - so attractive. All girls like a challenge, the feeling that they could be the ones to turn him around - it's the same principal why girls fall for gay men too. Girls like bad boys and girls like losers. And if you can't understand that, lads, then you might as well give up now. ;)

Monday, August 02, 2004

It's great up north 

I knew as soon as I sealed the deal on moving to Streatham I'd fall in love with North London all over again. A wonderful weekend was had in the North's sunny climes - hours spent lazing in beautiful Clissold Park, a brilliant barbecue in Highbury, a hazy, boozy afternoon in Crouch End... I have to keep telling myself that Streatham isn't the other side of the world. With that in mind, I'm - gasp - buying a bike.

Havaianas outnumbered Birkenstocks 3-1 at Saturday's BBQ, demonstrating what style sheep we are. (Although in my defence I will say growing up in New Zealand meant we wore nothing but Havaiana-style "jandals" for our formative years, so we can perhaps claim "originator" status. Indeed, they were practically glued to our feet - until "rainbow thongs" came along in 1982 and stole their thunder. But that's another story.)

I don't see the Kiwi contingent en masse that much any more, so it was lovely to see them all, especially in the appropriate setting of a BBQ in the grand Nu Zild tradition. It predictably resulted in the drinking of many beverages, scoffing of dodgy sausages and swapping of motherland memories. (My favourite nugget to trot out on these occasions is the NZ capital's slogan: "Absolutely Positively Wellington", the Maori version of which translates as "Tumeke Poneke", or "Aww, too much, Wellington". Classic.)

Sunday saw the nursing of sore heads in the chilled confines of the King's Head in Crouch End, a place I haven't been to since an ill-fated date back in January. It's still good, although we flagged the live jazz downstairs in favour of jazz salt upstairs (kidding, but it sounded good, didn't it?), before retiring to a friend's new house to partake of several bottles from the off-licence's cellar, dance atrociously to The Logical Song and generally make fools of ourselves. (And yes, Quentishtown, those pictures will be posted when I can be arsed.)

In another nod to dates past, I finally made it to the renowned Banners for dinner, and I can categorically state my jerk chicken was the best meal I've had in many months. Someone tell me again why I'm moving to SW2 and not N8?

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: What A Waster, The Libertines

Sunday, August 01, 2004

Boy in the band (though not any more) 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI confess I have a embarrassingly full-blown, teenage-style crush on Pete Doherty of Libertines fame. At 29, I thought I was over this sort of nonsense - indeed, I haven't fallen victim to anything like this since succumbing to (ahem) Ted McGinley's blonde charms in Revenge Of The Nerds at age 13. But anyway, having just spent £250 on this (<--) print from Proud Galleries has left me a bit skint. So if anyone wants to give me a ticket to either of the sold-out Barfly gigs on Monday and Friday, feel free. No, really. I'm definitely looking forward to the Tuesday Scala gig - but I think we all know where the action will be...

EDIT: Peter's doing a secret matinee gig today - see here for details. Could I get away with throwing a sickie and heading home early on the hottest afternoon of the year? I think not - damn it.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: For Lovers, Pete Doherty & Wolfman

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