Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Can you feel the love in this site? (cheers Darius) 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usGod, how do you sum up the most incredible time of your life? Already, as the real world takes over once more, I'm forgetting so many of the magic moments we experienced.

Adjusting to real life again is hard, not least because of the colossal festival hangover we're all currently battling - if you were held up on the Jubilee Line this evening due to "a passenger taken ill at London Bridge", I'm embarrassed to admit it was me. A rush of blood to the head (ick, no Coldplay, thank you very much) on standing up to alight saw me crumple to the floor - and come to on the platform with concerned businessmen fanning me. Three hours sleep a day for six days can do that to a girl.

A thousand people have tried to explain Glastonbury to me in the past, and now I'm joining their ranks, trying to adequately convey the sheer magic of the place without sounding like a new age traveller or a Glasto bore. Is it the leylines? Glastonbury Tor on the next hill or Stonehenge down the road? How can I spend six days at a festival and not see one single incident of aggression or nastiness? The last festival I went to was terrorised by drunken yobbos and violent episodes - OK, admittedly it was T In The Park and thus populated by Scottish neds on Buckie rampages, but still... People are nice at Glastonbury.

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usEven Friday morning's storm couldn't dent positivity levels. Contrary to what press coverage might have suggested, it really wasn't that bad. Shite for the people who lost their tents - of which our friends camping at the bottom of Pennard Hill made up a large proportion - naturally, but there weren't all that many people affected. And yes, the mud was a bit of a drag and getting round the site was slow-going, but don a pair of wellies and you were sorted - and besides, the rain only lasted a few hours on Friday morning and the mud had all dried up by Sunday. If it had been cold as well as wet, it could well have been miserable, but temperatures were high - which meant spirits (and brain cells) were too.

What more can I say? (Loads actually, because this week is Glastonbury Week round these parts - be prepared.) Michael Eavis may enthuse, "This was the best Glastonbury ever!" every year, but this time I think he's right. I suppose it boils down to this - I hate camping and I don't handle the after-effects of partying on no sleep well. But I didn't get grumpy once all weekend. I didn't feel tired and I didn't ever feel rubbish. I was quite literally happy as a pig in mud, 24 hours a day. And that's a rare thing indeed.

What we saw:

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usThursday: all manner of nonsense, stars at the Stone Circle, an awwwwwwful lot of Lost Vagueness (culminating in me dancing atop a table, wearing a blue bonnet, at 5am, just before the rain began...)

Friday: The Undertones, The Editors, Babyshambles, Bloc Party, Alabama 3, Roots Manuva, the White Stripes, Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra and Babyhead at the Lost Vagueness Ballroom (and a lot more of Lost Vagueness, memories now either lost or very vague)

Saturday: Taj Mahal, Goldie Lookin Chain, Kasabian (surprise acoustic set at the Guardian Lounge), Mad Professor, DJ Format, GLC (again), The Magic Numbers, The Go! Team, Babyhead at the Pussy Parlure, dawn at the Stone Circle

Sunday: Van Morrison, Brian Wilson, Primal Scream, Basement Jaxx, a collection of classics at the Crown Bar, Silent Disco, Ska Cubano at the Lost Vagueness Ballroom, Doodits at the Chapel (but no Kate/Pete wedding alas), sunrise (at last!) at the Stone Circle.

And far, far too much more to list or even remember...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Forever Lost, The Magic Numbers

Sometimes I leave and I want to go back there 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usI have had the best week of my life. Ever. I'm in danger of becoming a right Glastonbore-y as I regale non-festivaling friends and family with tales of sex, mud and rock'n'roll, but fuck it. I know you can never convey the magic of Glastonbury to those who weren't there (or I would have gone years ago), but that's not going to stop me trying. More soon, once the fog has lifted from my brain and the tears of being back in the real world have cleared from my red-rimmed eyes...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Good Vibrations, Brian Wilson

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

One more sleep 

Every bit of Glastonbury advice I've been given states in no uncertain terms, "Don't try to see everything, avoid the main stages, just go with the flow". And I will. But if I could be in 10 different places at once, this is what I'd be doing (all the while simultaneously getting a massage from an old crustie in the Greenfields and playing blackjack at the Lost Vagueness casino)...

On Friday, the place to be obviously has to be the Other Stage - just check the line-up, which includes: Tom Vek, Le Tigre, Hot Hot Heat, Cooper Temple Clause, The Others, Babyshambles, Bloc Party and Royksopp. Gah.

But there's also: The Subways, The Undertones (for Peelie's sake), Elvis Costello, Doves, White Stripes (Pyramid Stage); Little Barrie and Pitman (Dance Lounge Bar); the mighty Alabama 3 and Roy Ayres (Jazzworld Stage)...

Saturday, however, belongs to the John Peel Stage, what with, among others, The Departure, The Subways, The Earlies and the Go! Team gracing its speakers, as well as what has to be the must-see gig, the Magic Numbers. A lovestruck Romeo sings a street-suss serenade - I so have to be there when he does.

But let's not forget: New Order (Pyramid); Chas 'N' Dave and Steve Harley & Cockney Rebel (Acoustic Stage); The Proclaimers (if only to hear Sunshine On Leith for our favourite Scottish pals) (Avalon Stage); Baby head, People's Republic of Disco (Pussy Parlure); Echo & The Bunnymen (Other)...

And then Sunday. There are loads of things I'd like to see - the Ukelele Orchestra of Great Britain (Acoustic); Mylo (East Coast Dance Tent); Dresden Dolls, Sons & Daughters, The Kills, LCD Soundsystem (John Peel); The Futureheads and Ian Brown (Other) - but by this stage we'll be needing wheelchairs. All I care about is seeing Brian Wilson on the Pyramid Stage, to whom I shall shed fat milky tears - I'm misting up just thinking about it. And I'll probably stick around for Primal Scream too.

So here's to the Glastonbury Festival of Performing Arts. I can't wait. Normal transmisssion resumes Monday.

[PS: And a huge happy birthday to my darling baby sister, Smacked Trace, who turns 28 today - love you loads, Junior Cow... xxx]

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Wouldn't It Be Nice, Beach Boys

Summer daze 

Standing in the 30-degree sunshine on Brixton Hill this morning, the Magic Numbers' Love Me Like You flicked up on my iPod, and as my eyes grew embarrassingly moist, I had one of those rare moments when you know beyond all doubt that the era has just been encapsulated for eternity - that this song will be the one you will listen to for years to come, that will forever transport you instantly back to a certain Technicolor©-hued time and place. Like the Lips' Do You Realise? was the song of that golden summer of 2003, so Love Me Like You is the sound of summer 2005, and by god, what a truly beautiful soundtrack it is.

Excuse my sentimentality this morning. With just one sleep to Glastonbury, I'm getting all emotional (and not just because the spray tan Ms G and I had to trial for my work last night has left us orange and patchier than Jacko's penis). Even the most mundane transactions are taking on an air of poignancy, of significance, of... I think the pollen's getting to me.

I hooked up with an ex last night for cider under the stars at the Telegraph, a place I haven't frequented since the Jaxx's Rooty days. I hadn't seen him for a while. It was nice. We talked like old friends, we laughed, we didn't allude to past transgressions.

Whether it was the cider, the full moon blazing like a Batman floodlight projected on to the London haze, or just the general effects of a warm summer night, I briefly found myself wondering whether we really could have had a future together. And as we awkwardly said our farewells, I thought about asking him to turn right instead of left, and to accompany me home... But then I remembered why I'd called a halt to it in the first place (and that I had hairy armpits due to today's pre-festival wax session, and stunk of fake tan).

I kissed him on the cheek and skipped off up the road.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Love Me Like You, The Magic Numbers

Monday, June 20, 2005

Ticket to Ryde 

Image Hosted by ImageShack.usHow do you shock a roomful of repressed Middle England tourists? By quaffing too many bottles of rosé and hijacking the hotel karaoke system to perform your all-singing, all-dancing rendition of Cabaret, of course. Then following it up with a hi-energy jigging rendition of Men At Work's Antipodean classic, Down Under.

Yes, the Isle of Wight is no doubt still reeling from Smacked Face and Ms G's weekend excursion - and good, it could do with a shake-up. It's a beautiful place, make no mistake, but it's certainly not, er, cosmopolitan, and the legions of dispossessed, moody teens stalking its streets were testament to that.

But we had a blast. The lovely DJ Kay told me to make sure I went to the vintage clothes shop, the name of which she couldn't recall and the location of which she couldn't remember, but it was "where the ships came in". We assumed she meant Ryde, where the ferries dock, and so asked the locals on our arrival. They were perplexed, but eventually someone pointed us in the direction of Masqueryde, a second-hand shop specialising in party hire.

It was, of course, pure gold. Ms G emerged with two sublime Lady Muck hats, some vintage 70s heels and a gorgeous white gown; I scored myself a battered old Stetson, a fab floppy blue sunhat, a long hippie skirt and a paisley tunic, all utterly perfect for Glastonbury (and the sunshine?).

We were besides ourselves with joy. Then DJ Kay texted to say: "The shop is called Cameo, it's in Cowes." Not only the wrong shop, but the wrong town! Which just goes to show the Isle of Wight is a vintage shopper's dream.

Eventually we hauled ourselves away to hotfoot it to Sandown in time for our pre-booked facials and massages. They were of course delectable, and we emerged looking 20 years younger once stripped of all that accumulated London grime and crackwhore-lifestyle residue. Our hotel may have been a bit on the naff side, from the silver plate covers to the six elderly waiting staff attending to the 20 diners in the restaurant to the Saturday night karaoke entertainment (more on that in a minute), but they couldn't do enough for us and the location was just stunning. Plus it was worth it just for the wonderful collection of memorabilia from the 1970 Isle of Wight Festival on display - someone's keepin' that dream alive.

Before dinner, we'd made a pact to think of the excursion not as a "detox weekend", but in fact a plain old "girlie weekend". This left us free to indulge in a couple of G&Ts and crack into a bottle of Chilean rosé, which rapidly became two and...

Before long, we'd bumped Dave the karaoke man off his microphone to bash out a selection of hits, although apparently this never happens (he did look a bit peeved to have been relieved of his duties). We warmed up with a fairly lacklustre performance of I Got You Babe before the Dutch courage kicked in, and we felt brave enough to unleash our notorious Minnelli-esque Cabaret routine (as first performed at Ms G's 30th last year and which is to be reprised at Turnmills in September, in our first-ever 'professional' booking, pop pickers!).

The audience were left speechless by our high kicks and razzmatazz, but undeterred, we persevered to blast out Men At Work's Down Under, complete with impromptu haka from Ms G... before it was apparently closing time and we were ushered back to our rooms.

The next day, we skulked down to breakfast and hotfooted it to the beach for a day of superb fish'n'chips, ice creams and sunbathing before anyone could witness our morning-after shame.

We loved the Isle of Wight - one can only hope (against hope) they loved us too.

Beelzebub's booze 

Knowing my recent unfortunate experiments with the demon drink, a pal alerted me to the article on Buckfast in today's Times. I like to think of myself as libertarian in principle, but even I wouldn't object to the stuff getting banned. It truly is the devil's plaything - and wine writer Jane MacQuitty agrees: "Despite its religious origins, the Buckfast Tonic Wine bottle looks like the devil’s own work and the contents taste worse." Quite.

But hark at me, coming over all puritan after a 'detox' weekend away (never mind the fact we drank more than a normal night down the Horse). I'll put my self-righteous hat away in the cupboard (with the five others purchased in that brilliant vintage clothes store in Ryde), and get to work on recounting the weekend's Isle of Wight antics. And antics there certainly were...

Friday, June 17, 2005

The detox before the retox 

As London hits a sweltering 31 degrees this weekend, Ms G and myself will be basking, bikini-clad, in a cooling Isle of Wight sea breeze while minions on a pampering mission cater to our every detoxing need at this place. (I know I whinge about my job, but hell, you gotta love the perks...)

But all shameless skiting aside, our luxurious weekend is a necessary calm before the storm, for next week means Glastonbury - and anyway, after the past few weekends I've had, I reckon I've earned a little R&R.

So. Our first Glastonbury. All plans of doing it in VIP style were long ago dashed, but, well, we are travelling down with a bonafide English lord who presumably should have an OK car, and Ms G's eBaying has procured the daddy of tents - a two-roomed, four-person job for just us two lassies (if this tent's a-rockin...). Not quite the same as the chopper/campervan/golf cart fantasy, but it's better than a bin liner.

Debate has raged all day over the best place to camp, and since we're going down early on Wednesday, we should have a fairly free run of it. William's or Dragon Field? Pennard Hill? Campervan field E18? It's mind-boggling.

As for what to see... Criminy. Here's the line-up, what do you reckon? Obviously a great deal of our time will be spent ambling about Lost Vagueness, and I'd like to think I'll be happy to just sit back and, in a very Greenfields manner, let Zen navigation take its course - que sera sera etc - but hell, I'm a secret stickler for planning, and if I don't get to see Alabama 3 on the Jazzworld Stage on Friday or the Magic Numbers on the John Peel Stage on Saturday, you bet I'll be throwing my toys out of the pram. Which, to be honest, is probably bound to happen at some stage anyway because, hell, it's six days without a hot shower, Egyptian cotton sheets or hair straighteners, and I'm unbearable as it is even after a normal big weekend... However, the optimist in me says there's nothing that can happen that can't be remedied with a large hat and cover-all-sins Aviators.

And whereas just a week ago I was pretty 'yeah, whatever' about the whole deal, now, with just five days to go and having read all the tips pages and seen the long-range forecast, well... my pants are moist*. Bring it on.

* Speaking about moist pants, well done to the person who Googled this site looking for "pics of moist gussets". Nice work...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Freaks For The Festival, Rahsaan Roland Kirk

Thursday, June 16, 2005


Since making the decision to quit this town for a while and setting a firm date for my departure, a couple of things have happened.

Firstly, the firm date has become not so firm, as I wait to see if New York City Boy can put me up for a weekend in the Big Apple on stopover or if his visiting parents will be bagsing the sofa. So the tickets didn't get paid for yesterday, but that's cool, I can easily rebook once plans are set in stone (as long as I don't spend the money first - and fuck me, preparing for Glastonbury is turning out to be an expensive business).

Secondly, and more strangely, rather than wanting to suck the marrow out of London and indeed the entire Northern Hemisphere before departing for the deep South, I've developed a terrible ennui.

My prevailing attitude over the past five years has been one of, "Well, I could do that/go there/experience that... but I'm here for life so I've got all the time in the world to get around to it." Which is all well and good, and god knows I've probably done more than many people ever do and of course I'll be back at some stage in the future, but it does mean I'm leaving these shores, however temporarily, having not fulfilled a lot of ambitions.

I still haven't made it to Rome, for instance - although admittedly not for lack of trying (at last count, I'd booked the trip four times, not including the non-refundable big-bucks anniversary weekend I'd intended to surprise the Donkey with, booked for shortly after he decided to run off with that flaky fashion floozie). I haven't done Morocco, Egypt, Turkey or any of that side of the Med. I never made it to Berlin. I never ate at Gordon Ramsay, St John's or Rick Stein's. I didn't dine in San Sebastian. I never quite succeeded in entirely losing my Kiwi twang...

But the thing is, now I've got three months left here (this time around), I can't be arsed doing anything. I've cancelled my Glade and Bestival festival outings (due to having used up all my holiday time admittedly), I can't be bothered organising the many parties we'd planned to throw over the course of the summer, I haven't even got around to compiling a list of must-do things, let alone actually get around to doing them.

When you're tired of London, you're tired of life? So it would seem right now. Must try harder.

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: The City Is Here For You To Use, The Futureheads

Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Is the smell... 

... of duplicator ink the most nostalgic in the world?

I think so - I'm instantly transported back to the store room of Birchwood Primary School, where we would sometimes help Mr Climo crank the spirit duplicating machine and produce seemingly hundreds of purple carbon copies, it seemed like magic - but what I can't figure out is why our apartment block's lift shaft smells like it this morning.

Personally, I'm liking the idea of No 14 being inhabited by a family of resolute Luddites, giving the big finger to photocopiers and their fellow mass-producing tools of Satan. All hail early 80s technology! Now where's my Sinclair ZX-81?

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Temporary Secretary Paul McCartney

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Top Ten Tuesday: Mr August Darnell 

A tribute to the man in all his many modes, as promised weeks ago.

1 Stool Pigeon Kid Creole & The Coconuts
From the genius 1982 Tropical Gangsters album, and sampled by a thousand folk or more, including the Avalanches and the Greenskeepers' snarfily-titled Stool Sample. I've got a fab picture-disc 7" of this track and it's fairly near the top of the list for things I'd risk the flames for to save from a house fire. Rocking!

2 Cherchez La Femme Dr. Buzzard's Original Savannah Band
Pure disco sunshine with a bit of charleston swing thrown in. Bronx boys August and bro Stony Browder Jr joined forces with husky-toned vocalist Cory Daye and made this lush gem. I cannot say how much I love love love this track. If I believed in the concept of marriage, I'd probably play this as the first dance at my wedding. As it is, you can hire me to DJ (badly) at yours and I'll drop it for you. But probably a better idea would be to just go buy it yourself.

3 There But For The Grace Of God Go I Machine
More stonking disco, this time co-written by Darnell and Machine keyboardist Kevin Nance. A song with a serious groove and a political message that brilliantly reflects the social turmoil of a 70s America in recession, about a Bronx family in search of a "better" life (with "no blacks, no Jews and no gays") that all goes tits-up. As it tended to back then, thus why so many people lost themselves in the drugs and the discos presumably. Erm, isn't there a recession on right now?

4 I'm a Wonderful Thing Baby Kid Creole & The Coconuts
I think I only realised the genius of this track when one of the Alabama 3 boys dropped it recently at Jamm, despite it lurking in my collection for a few years. Laid-back funk, deliciously swaggering lyrics, perfect summer tune.

5 Yolanda (Adnaloy 12" mix) Kid Creole & The Coconuts
Stumbled across this via Derrick Carter's Choice: A Collection of Classics comp from a few years back - it's the track Yolanda played backwards. Much like the time our impish mate Hud decided to slowly wind a record back at 5am one very wonky morning (it took us 10 minutes to work out what was going on), this is guaranteed to fuck with your heads. No wonder Carter loves it.

6 Annie I'm Not Your Daddy Kid Creole & The Coconuts
Samba madness and evil lyrics - a guy telling a kid he's, er, not her dad: "See if I was in your blood/ Then you wouldn't be so ugly". Nice. Again off the Tropical Gangsters album (which incidentally was released on the very excellent Ze Records - much beloved of the Optimo boys, and home to some of NYC's finest no-wave post-punk artists of the late 70s/early 80s, such as James White & The Blacks, Lizzie Mercier Descloux, Was (Not Was) and The Contortions - Ze's Mutant Disco series is a must-have).

7 Me No Pop I Coati Mundi
Totally infectious 80s semi-rapping styles from Coconuts man Andy Hernandez. Weirdly, its Top 40 UK position was apparently due to it being thrashed by 'Hairy Cornflake' Radio 1 DJ Dave Lee Travis, "who was also responsible for getting Papa’s Got A Brand New Pigbag into the charts after playing it for a solid year." Bizarre.

8 Mister Softee Kid Creole & The Coconuts
Haha, the Kid can't get it up. Great shouty girl-group-style backing vocals, a phat-as-fuck ska bassline, a sound reminiscent of early Talking Heads and the best lyrics ever. Maybe not a track for shagging to though...

9 Que Pasa Kid Creole & The Coconuts
Latin rhythms so Latin it's almost a pisstake. Perfect for a Cuban Brothers set.

10 I'm An Indian Too Don Armando's Second Avenue Rhumba Band
I've big-upped this tune so many times I'm just gonna cut and paste from last time: "Tom-tom drums and a disco beat - Darnell takes an old Irving Berlin song from Annie Get Your Gun, and creates the campest dance tune known to man." Etc. Cracker.

Mr Darnell, we salute you.

Crap Toast 

Talking about all things Kiwi, and we were, that is, I was, yesterday, we thought it might be a harmless way to spend our Saturday by making use of the press passes I'd snagged for the Toast New Zealand Wine & Food Festival at Clapham Common. Hell, if nothing else, it would be a nice day out in the sunshine with the always-welcome opportunity of free alcohol as a bonus. And I could also use it as a "training-wheel day" for my imminent return to the fatherland.

"Ooh," said I, as I went weak at the knees, having spotted a few choice specimens of bronzed Antipodean manhood in the queue, "Don't Kiwi boys put the Brits to shame in the looks department?"

Alas, it would not be the first time the words "Kiwi boys" and "shame" were used in the same sentence. For as the day wore on and the booze went down (alas, not down our throats, but more on that in a minute), people's inner bogans were unleashed and I was reminded of why I had fled the land of the long white cloud in the first place. My countrymen are heinous boors when drunk. We hurriedly Britished up our accents so not as to be tarred with the same brush. We were mortified.

As should the organisers of the festival be. We didn't even pay for our £25 tickets, yet we still felt ripped off. It was under-catered - half an hour minimum queuing for the toilets (it's not bloody Glastonbury, come on) and the same time again to get any semblance of food (£5 for a dodgy steak and cheese pie is taking the piss) - and ridiculously poor value. For £25, I'd expect minions running about offering me free samples at every turn, not a handful of vouchers entitling me to 30ml (yes, two tablespoons-worth) of wine. We bought one disappointingly reedy bottle of Nobilo sauvignon, which we sculled in record time, shivering next to a tent to try to escape the freezing wind that had whipped up.

Even the entertainment was shite - poor Nathan Haines and his band were saddled with the shittiest PA system this side of a wind-up gramophone, and talking to the crew afterwards, even they didn't want to be there.

It was time to get the hell out before we assimilated and became like the hordes of disgusting pissed-up idiots staggering around us. So we headed to the excellent Coach & Horses on Acre Lane for a few tasty ciders, before staggering like pissed-up idiots to the Whitehorse and onwards to oblivion, finally arriving home at 11pm on Sunday. But that's a whole other story...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Hijack, Herbie Mann

Monday, June 13, 2005

She's leaving home 

So in the interests of progress, this weekend I ditched the Love Interest (any doubts I had about my decision were swiftly cast asunder as, in spectacularly teenage fashion, he snogged some manky bird in front of me at a house party that evening - all class).

But it's all good - the last thing I need right now is another boozy loser dragging me down to their gutter. And anyway, it all provided yet another impetus to rouse myself from the limbo I'm currently in - a going-nowhere-fast job, perpetually skint, still living for the weekend at the age of 30 - and get the 'life plan' back on track.

So with all that in mind, last week I secretly booked myself a flight back to Auckland - D Day is Friday 30 September. I'm nowhere near ready to leave London - it feels more like home than New Zealand ever did - and truth be told, I can't really afford the move. But sometimes bullets have to be bitten, and if it's a choice between another grim winter, scraping by in London and still in that going-nowhere-fast job, no doubt drinking far more than is good for me in seedy south-of-the-river bars, or changing careers, putting my head down and enjoying the New Zealand sunshine for a bit, then the decision's not too hard to make.

So yes, as soon as I get paid on Wednesday, that ticket will be 100% confirmed. And it's non-refundable - so there's no going back.

It's freaking me out, but in a good way, I think. In fact, I feel kind of emancipated. And one should never underestimate the importance of a good Kiwi brunch.

Friday, June 10, 2005

Things irritating us today 

Don't you just want to punch people smack bang in the face sometimes? I know I do, and a day of Mac-crashing madness at work yesterday left me ready to kick newborn kittens, such was my frustration and rage. I pity the poor fool who accidentally yanked my headphones out of my ears yesterday while changing trains at Stockwell - he felt the sharp end of my tongue and no mistake, the fucking imbecile. Anyway, I like a good seethe session, so today I got the email gang involved - share and share alike - and now we're all enjoying venting our anger on the world. Feel free to join in.

So. We hate people who:
• say 'card shark', rather than card sharp. (And yes, I know that due to continual misquotage, the term 'card shark' has now become acceptable - but not in my hearing, buddy...)
• pronounce maroon 'maroan'. It has two Os, dimwits - like moon and spoon. Not 'moan' and 'spoan'
• pronounce pronunciation 'pronounciation'. Sort it
• say "very unique". But I've bitched about that before
• say 'pacific' when they mean specific
• say 'pavalova', when they of course mean pavlova, like the Russian dancer
• pronounce appreciate 'appreseeate'. Sh!
• say 'congradulations' instead of congratulations
• say 'Wimpleton', not Wimbledon
• say 'all intensive purposes', not all intents and purposes
• say 'off of' instead of just off (grrrr)
• say 'gotten', not got
• say 'one and one half', not one and a half
• pronounce 20 'twenny'
• pronounce quarter 'korta'
• pronounce Ireland like 'island'
• say 'alooominum' instead of aluminium*. And who pronounce nuclear 'nucular'. And who say "Ly-sester-shyer' instead of 'Lester-sheer' for Leicestershire. In fact, Americanisms in general. Without wishing to generalise, they're a nation of idiots**.

* The venerable Ms G responds: "I just read something about that in Bill Bryson's A Short History Of Nearly Everything - apparently, when they first discovered/made alumnium, the first person to name it didn't use an 'i', but because that didn't fit with all the other metals/elements ending in 'ium', a few traditionalists decided to add an 'i'. However, some rogue still left it off and it is actually spelt without an 'i' in the US..." So there.

** To illustrate: five years ago at Fabric, stuck having to entertain a Yank bird my mate was trying to pull... "So where do you go to university then?" I ask, languidly. "Well," she squeaks by way of reply, "in America, we have these things called 'states', and each 'state' has its own college. I go to my state's college." Riiiiight... "So what are you studying then?" I labour on. "Well," the halfwit replies, "right now we're studying Shakespeare." Any particular play? "Um, I can't remember. I think some guy dies?" Speechless...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Sweet Sweet Jenny, Toots & The Maytals

Thursday, June 09, 2005

Laziness is a virtue 

It's amazing what you find in old, disused email accounts. Along with far too many complaints to supermarkets about peanuts, old love letters from Donkeys way past their sell-by date, a confirmation of a reservation at El Bulli and a collection of Never Mind The Buzzcocks quotes (?!) - absolutely none of which deserved to be saved for posterity - I've uncovered a collection of long-lost home-made "funnies", such as the below, obviously written in response to those interminable email circulars, shared here solely because I'm a well-lazy blogger these days and they might perhaps raise a wry smirk. (I like making lists - see also "More Than 100 Things You Did In The 90s".) But probably not. Fuck it, it's all getting deleted anyway.

Smacked Face's Kiwi 80s Memories

1. You always had really sore, runny eyes because you couldn’t rub them or you’d get called “Rubella fella”.
2. You had at least one Wombles record and still know all the words to the ‘obscure’ tracks that weren’t Underground Overground - like Wombles All Over the World, Super Womble and Remember You’re A Womble.
3. A scoop of chips cost less than 50c and for an extra 10c you could get extra-special “crinkle-cut”.
4. Prince Tui Teka was OK, but Dalvanius and the Patea Maori Club whupped his ass.
5. Your mum collected empty Jungle Juice packets to give to your school to swap for cash.
6. You still can’t quite remember the difference between Glump, Morph and Chapie Chapeau.
7. Leeds lemonade was it, closely trailed by Ballins.
8. Silly putty ruled! Followed closely by Slime and those egg-shaped toys called Weebles.
9. You weren’t too sure whether you liked the fact the Munch Bunch had found a home in your gaaaarden.
10. Piggy Muldoon and David Pongy.
11. Wearing a mesh singlet over a T-shirt was stylee.
12. You formed a breakdance club at primary school and wanted to get T-shirts printed up like the Rock Steady Crew. (If you were a boy, you called yourself Crazy Legs and the girls fought over who got to be Baby Love.)
13. Telethons rocked.
14. After School was cool but it was always ruined by that dumb programme 3-2-1 Contact. And what the fuck was Tomfoolery?
15. You wore those pastel-coloured plastic coil bracelets around your wrist and they always got twisted and then someone else tried to fix it and then they broke.
16. Sneakers in general were Bata Bullets.
17. SHAME with hand on chin. But SHAMOLA was even worse.
18. You saw The Dark Crystal at the movies. It was scary.
19. You saw Labyrinth at the movies and laughed at David Bowie’s bulgy tights. Then had your first dirty dream about it later.
20. You had a Commodore-64 that took an hour to load each game. Then it came up with “Syntax error in Line 24678”.
21. The Littlest Hobo always made you cry because he should have stayed with the nice family/old man/widow/street bum who loved him, rather than run off down that railway track.
22. Rainbow jandals ruled.
23. The best school games were non-stop cricket, pegball, four square and patter tennis.
24. Your parents MADE you buy cigarettes… for them.
25. The song Que Sera Sera always gave you shivers up your spine for no good reason – until someone reminded you a couple of years go about that scary seatbelt ad.
26. Zinc wasn't just for cricketers.
27.”Join on girls, kick out the boys” was somehow a very cool game, as was “Boys are weak, throw them in the creek” a cool rhyme and “I know you are, you said you are, but what am I?” a cool comeback.
28. Excalibur was a legendary cricket bat.
29. Glow-in-the-dark was the order of the day, thanks to those free Buck Rogers frisbees from KFC.
30. The only DJ you knew was that denim jacket you unsuccessfully tried to tie-die.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Aimless thoughts on my way to the station 

As some sanctimonious Irish twat might sing, it's a beautiful day. This morning, like every morning bar the absolutely shitey rainy ones, I set out down Brixton Hill en route to the tube station, but there's an extra swagger in my step now I don't have to brace myself against the biting winds and "fresh" wintery temperatures of the past few days.

I decide to leave the soundtrack up to the magic of the iPod shuffle function, and it kicks off with The Clash (The Card Cheat off London Calling), which is no bad thing at all when you're strolling through such Clash territory as Streatham Hill. I tip the Crown & Sceptre a nod on my way past, and resolve not to succumb to the temptation of a pint of Weston's Cider on the way home.

Two workmen are busy jackhammering the footpath. I tsk as I notice they're not wearing any protective earphones – and turn my iPod volume up to 11 to drown out the noise of the drill. Ah the irony.

The Pod throws up War's The World Is A Ghetto next, sending me into introspective mood. I'm thinking back to last night, when I spent an entire evening sitting on the sofa next to the Love Interest like an unaffectionate statue - until it was time for him to depart, when we snogged in the hallway like horny teenagers - and come to the conclusion I'm an emotional retard and possibly the most defensive person in the world. I'm crazy about him, damn it, time to drop the ice queen act. But I digress.

Ronnie Laws' original jazz version of Always There drops next. I have four versions of this tune and must admit this is my least favourite. Too much "groovy" sax, man! It's the kind of thing you'd hear in a rubbish wine bar that owns three "bar grooves" type CDs. I've sworn not to tamper with the random selections, but I'm very tempted to skip to the next tune...

So I do. It's Inner City's Good Life. Perfect. I pick up the pace and start to strut. My mind wanders to thinking about returning to the motherland, and where I should stopover on the way back. New York and San Francisco? Meet up with the mater familias on an Asian beach? Save my pennies and just do a quick visit to the Big Apple? Although the more important issue is do I go back at all? But that's a whole other kettle of fish/can of worms...

I pass the Whitehorse, alcoholic temple of doom, and on cue, the Greenskeepers' Low & Sweet kicks in - gorgeous dixie-style guitar backed with a stomping house beat. Many a mad disco stomp's been had to this particular tune, and I fondly recall the dearly departed DJ Bobby B bringing the house down with a legs-akimbo performance to rival Travolta.

Past the open-all-hours offy - the real alcoholic temple of doom, as purveyors of 24-hour Buckfast - and the Greenskeepers' guitar fades out into that of Joe Bataan's Aftershower Funk. The sun is beating down and the tramps hanging out outside St Matthew's Church are loving it. One breaks into an impromptu jig, or sun dance, or hobo shuffle, whatever, while the others clap the beat. Everybody's happy this morning.

My phone beeps - it's a picture message, a photo from the weekend. I appear to be holding a marble pestle to my forehead and pretending to be a unicorn. Through my headphones, Grandmaster Flash admonishes me about the dangers of White Lines. Quite.

And I'm at the station already. That was quick.

Friday, June 03, 2005

Give us your money 

Checked out Mysterious Skin at the Ritzy on Wednesday. It's... quite shocking. But very well done - the usual tendency when dealing with this kind of subject matter (read: paedophilia, gay sex, male hustlers) is to opt for the trite (see the dreaded Tarnation, for example), but director Gregg Araki has handled it in an incredibly mature, poetic way. I can't say I'd go to see it again, but it was definitely worth the price of the ticket. And Joseph Gordon-Levitt (the young one from Third Rock From The Sun) is simply amazing.

As always, though, a night out at the Ritzy left me irritable and scratching my head (no, I do not have nits). Back in the colonies, an evening at the cinema doesn't just mean paying your moneys and taking your choice - it means grabbing a drink beforehand, a coffee afterwards, making a proper night of it. Can you do this at the Ritzy? Nope. You can't get a drink after a late-finishing screening, because the bar shuts at 11pm. Fair enough. But you can't even get a coffee or even a herbal tea after half nine, because for some reason, they shut down the machine, and don't appear to possess such a thing as a kettle. Idiots!

It's a symptom of London in general, and something I'm sure I've ranted about before on these pages - a chronic shortage of places to get a decent coffee. In town, all that exists is chain outlets serving vile, milky American-style crap in less than salubrious environments. Or bars. Serving nothing but booze. And as for getting a decent coffee in slightly more outer-lying areas, forget it.

Brixton is crying out for good coffee. If I had a spare bit of cash (or indeed any cash), I'd open the cafe of my dreams (called Rangi's, it's all been nutted out over many sleepless nights) and bring quality flat whites and long blacks to the people of Lambeth. And carrot cake to die for. And brunch. Lord, the brunch... All in an environment that would put Verona, Roasted Addiqtion or Fidels to shame. All I need is the Benjamins, baby...

> INTERNAL JUKEBOX: Long Legs, The Magic Numbers

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

Nowt to say and saying it too loud 

Sometimes in life, there's just not much to say. Especially when your brain is dulled from a combination of head cold and Sudafed overdoses, and your home internet is down thanks to BT's week-long (and counting) investigation of a fault on the line.

So yeah, if it's gone a little quiet round here, that's why.

Cheers to the venerable Simon Grigg for his knowledgable tips on rock'n'roll pub crawling in London. He recommends this site as a handy starting guide. My own trawling has dredged up this gem at Derelictlondon.com too - actually, the whole site's a beauty, and well worth long and thoughtful contemplation. And of course the excellent Urban75 offers a swag of Brixton history, including a great feature of the infamous Brady's/Railway Hotel of Clash Rude Boy and Alabama 3 fame.

Speaking of Alabama 3, we never did get to meet Shane McGowan on Sunday, thanks to one of our number deciding it would be a good idea to spank a lady's sunburnt bingo wings. Hard. Sadly, she wasn't impressed and no amount of "I'm with the band" would save him... In reluctant solidarity, we slipped quietly out a side door and home, where only a good blast of my latest favourite guilty pleasure, The Spinners' Working My Way Back To You, would ease the pain.

BTW: first five minutes of League Of Gentleman movie here... if you can't wait til Friday.

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