Saturday, March 31, 2007

"Please try to remember we're hardly commercial travellers..."

(Glamorous spoilers ahead!!)

After spending the morning being blown around Clapham in sunshine and high winds, I came home, cooked lunch, and fell onto the sofa just as the wonderful Now, Voyager was starting.

I haven't seen it since studying it as part of a Uni course, NINE YEARS AGO. But it was a glorious few hours in monochrome. It's a complete piece of WWII propaganda, designed to reinforce some slightly dodgy messages around home and family to women while the blokes are off fighting johnny foreigner, and some decidedly dubious morality - a man almost literally gives away his daughter to his lover.

But who cares!? It's fabulous! Not least because Bette Davis spends the first twenty minutes of the film in full Ugly Betty-style frumpiness as spinster aunt, Charlotte Vale:

I mean, I know she is supposed be on the verge of a nervous breakdown, thanks to her overly oppressive mother, but still. Those eyebrows. Wow.

Luckily the audience knows she's not really Charlotte Vale. Really she's Bette Davis in a lumpy dress, which everyone knows is bound to be replaced with something svelte and lovely pretty damn quickly.

And to be fair, even as Almost Mad Aunt Vale she still manages to make the bitter clipped dialogue sound downright flirty. She clearly has the hots for the kind psychiatrist who takes an interest in her. "I think you're the least clumsy person I've ever met," she whispers from behind several inches of spectacles, before going back to dementedly carving ivory boxes in her bedroom.

Luckily, it's not long before she breaks out of her opulent film set of a home, and the 1940's glamour is cranked up several notches:

Apparently the best way to avoid a complete breakdown is to embark on an exotic round the world cruise by oneself. This was before the NHS. And it's not long before Our Bette is attracting all sorts of attention, although she's still doubting her team of make-up artists at this point:

Smooth-But-Troubled Man: "You made a striking figure by the door, looking for me."
Our Bette: "I probably put on too much lipstick."

That's what happens when a girl gets a bit happy with the Maybelline Nuclear Fission range of cosmetics ("Maybe she's born with it! Maybve it's Flunitrazepam!").

Clearly the scripwriters had enormous fun, and there are some quite shocking lines, including a reference to high-class abortion. Sex is never far off the agenda (much like the full string-backed orchestra, constantly just out of frame):

"Well, I'm not going to struggle with you."
"Who knows what sort of primal instincts you might arouse."

OOOOOOOOOHHHH! HE MEANS SEXING!! Mind you, even simple things like lighting a cigarette become fraught with meaning. Bette chuffs her way through Capstan Full Strengths for most of the movie, but never once sparks up her own (I suppose it's difficult when you're forever in gloves). She has but to wave her hand towards her handbag and about three Real Men do that thing of lighting two cigarettes at once and giving one to 'The Woman'. I'm sure they must have lost some footage of chaps competing at this - "Look! Look! I can light seventeen cigars at once! PLEASE LET ME LIGHT YOUR CIGARETTE!!"

But the glamour of it all is amazing. Spinster aunts in disguise. Exotic locations. Car crashes. And the HATS! How did women travel with less than fourteen types of hat, all requiring hat pins inserted through several layers of lacquered hair and straight into the skull!??

Eventually, Our Bette gets back from cruising (sshh at the back) and confronts Mother Dearest:

"I didn't want to be born! You didn't want me to be born! It's been a calamity on both sides!"

She stomps around her mother's bedroom. As their manor is rather roomy, she is able to get out several lines of cracking dialogue in the time it takes to cross the room and come back. Which is lucky, because when she finally makes it back to the dresser she discovers her mother croaked it at the first 'born'.

Unsuprisingly, this sets back Our Bette's recovery a touch. Only now she is able to dispatch herself off to the sanitorium, with the full set of hats, scarves, gloves and evening wear, of course. And not a little determination:

"I thought you came up here to have a nervous breakdown?"
"Well I've decided not to have one."

I shouldn't mock it though. Despite all the outdated fantasy and politics, I still think the film has one of the all time best melodramatic closing lines, as the whole thing shudders to a very untypical end that is neither traditional, neat, nor tidy, but all the better for it:

"Oh Jerry, don't let's ask for the moon, we have the stars..."

Mind you, it only works if you forget that on the other side of the library doors the rest of the uber-rich Bostonian clan are roasting weenies over the living room fire with the psychiatrist.

Even more fabulously, these days there is a gay and lesbian travel service called,Now, Voyafger.

Take ten bonus points for being brilliant. And someone telephone my milliner!

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Adventures in Gym Land One: Boz doesn't exist...

It doesn't bode well. I went to the gym for the first time today - all excited bounciness and no verbal protestations whatsover* - and despite all reassurances from The God of All Finance, I don't exist. They couldn't find my membership on either of their shiny databases.

Customer service manager: "Your CEO has obviously pulled a fast one docked your pay but not set up the membership, hey?! Aha."
Boz: "Aha." (while thinking murderous thoughts)

Still. I think paying for padlock convinced them that I was not some fly-by-night gym swindler, and they let me use their shiny gym anyway.

Now. My first instinct after spending 45 minutes looking like a numpty on various bits of complex-looking S&M equipment was to run home and bash dementedly into my laptap "IT WAS FULLLL OF PREEEEEETTTYYY PEOPLE!!" but I shall refrain**.

It has to be noted though; there is something deliciously serene about wandering home through the back streets of Clapham, under the setting of the early evening sun, feeling holy from exercise and peacefully calm from a bit of huffy puffy.

So it wasn't all bad. If they decide I am really a member, I'll definitely be going at least three times a week***.

And further on the upside, this arrived this week - and it's a corker! On the day it arrived, several ungainly and inelegant titters escaped my lips while at work. UK? You are hilarious!

I've waited until the first rush has passed before flogging it again here; if you have not already got a copy then SHAME ON YOU. Go here and buy a copy immediately. It'll make you laugh like a drain, and who knows - your copy might just be the one to tip proceeds to Comic Relief over the £2,000 mark! Hurrah!

* Bollocks
** Utter bollocks, obviously
*** Here we are again with the bollocks

Monday, March 26, 2007

Just beyond the edge

While waiting for a friend on the South Bank this evening*, I spent a languid fifteen minutes watching the sun set over Hungerford Bridge. It occurred to me in my reverie that we are at a fantastic time of year. Today was bright and refreshingly warm. The sky was clear and it was sunny enough to feel like Spring - especially with the clocks going forward at the weekend.

But! And here's the rub, people have not yet started spoiling it all by doing summer-specific things. I have not seen a single person with their legs out. There are no 'outdoor events' in specially erected tents. No ice-cream vans. No strappy tops. No barefoot in the park. Yet.

I like all that, don't get me wrong, but this feels lovely. It's like we've all been caught unawares by an unexpected treat. We're wandering around in a slight daze, happy but gently confused. Rubbing our eyes in the sudden illumination. Wonderful.

* and let us be brutally honest about this; perving politely over the pretty people, slightly. I said slightly.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

"Somebody rang me and said they had two-thirds of a pineapple..."

M'flatmate has cruelly abandoned me to take part in his brother getting hitched in Australia. Tsk. Clearly I've now got far too much time on my hands, as I've found myself doing all sorts of unusual bits and bobs around the flat, such as....


And yes, before anyone says anything, those of you with higher screen resolutions may well point out that these fairy cakes are a touch more golden brown than they should be, ie burnt. However. These were a birthday present for Ruth and the whole point of the devilish little treats is the two generous spoonfuls tipped over each cake after they've been baked. Moworaaghaa. See thewonderful receipe for green fairy cakes by Dan Lepard. His own website is found here.

I saved a couple for after the party, and it may have been them, but something Donna said to me at that point made absolute and perfect sense:

"I find every good photo of me has been taken by someone I fancy."

There is a reason why there is no photo on this blog, you know; it's because there are no good photos of Boz. I can only go so far in blaming this on other people, alas, but how true is this!? I am hunting down down attractive folks with a good zoom lens as we speak.

Talking of food, and ignoring the fact that this blog is rapidly descending into a very limited media review, while m'flatmate is away I'm obviously cooking for one. Bar the odd night out with mates or indulging in a take away (steak and kidney pie with chips being the current choice du jour. I will go to the gym. Soon. I will...), it's just me on my tod. Cooking for one is an odd thing, and I'm trying hard not to waste any food but with minimal success so far.

Which reminds me of this article on this very subject in The Times last week, Don't let good food go to waste. It has an arrray of good tips to avoid being criminally wasteful when shopping, planning and eating. All of whichj I have thus far failed to adhere to.


But this piece also has an amazing, bolted-on, column by Marguerite Patten, who sounds just a little bit fabulous. Marguerite was a government food advisor during the war, and afterwards became a tv cook. She is severe in her admonishment of those who let good food be dipatched to the bin, and her article has some genius one-liners:

"I've never known anybody who doesn't like fishcakes."

"Of course, my generation learnt to cook. Younger generations haven't, so when faced with leftover meat, instead of saying, by Jove, that would make lovely rissoles or meatballs, they just despair."

And, the killer quote:

"Somebody rang me and said they had two-thirds of a pineapple..."

Hell's teeth, man. I am hereby raising my standards and making the effort to reinstate the words 'By Jove' into my daily vocabulary. Read the full thrusting, bristling call to arms here. Put that in your wok and fry it, Ainsley!

(In case you're wondering, Ms Patten (OBE, thank you very much), suggests slicing the leftover pineapple, shoving it under a hot grill on foil, covering with brown sugar and ground ginger until the sugar bubbles.)

Also, purely on the basis of this little piece of slightly cynical marketing fluff, I have decided that in the film version of The Further Adventures, Boz shall be played by the magnificent Emily Blunt. Get to 3 minutes and 25 seconds. Fabulous.

We ARE going to need a slightly imaginative scriptwriter though. Certainly one more creative than I. Paging Michel Gondry, Paging Michel Gondry...

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

"Am I still ageing? I hadn't noticed..."


Meme me, baby!

Right so, as you may have gathered from the last gazillion posts, I have been tagged with some Julaberry goodness.

Here's the deal* - I am to list seven songs I'm into right now. NOW you crazy batfinkers.

Keep up at the back, here we go...

Paulo Nutini - New Shoes
Someone played the album at work recently, and I wasn't particularly enamoured. But then I heard this on the radio** while making dinner last week, and I found myself humming along. Before you could say '79p plus no postage please sir!' I had whipped it off iTunes and onto myPod. The fact that it is so ridiculously easy to spend almost a quid is a bit scary.

Kings of Convenience - The Weight Of My Words (Four Tet Remix)
I love a good remix, me. I have no shame in the matter. Shopping in Fopp recently I impulse-pur-chased the Kings of Convenience remix album. V good. KoC are always a bit brilliant, and I had some of Erlend Oye's solo stuff. Marvellous. Would love to see them live, but as usual I'm larte to the party and everyone who would go with me has probably alreday gone. Boo hoo.

Gnarls Barkley - Who Cares?
Two and half minutes of some quality bopping funkyness. "A must".

Mint Royale - Blue Song
I sorta like bands that don't take themselves too seriously. It's like being poked in the gonads with a knitting needle by an elderly relative who's been at the cooking sherry and feeling a bit Frank Bruno-ish.

Cheshire Chord Company - I Predict A Riot
I must get hold of a copy of this - it's wonderful. See above and because how could you not love it??

The Flirtations - Nothing But A Heartache
And isn't that the truth, hey?

Handsome Boy Modeling School - The Truth (featuring Roisin & J-Live)
A song a friend introduced me to very recently. Deeply mellow and slightly sexy. I've found myself singing along to it in my head a few times before I've even realised what I'm doing. Kinda sleazy and wonderful. Makes Boz purr.

Rialto - Untouchable
I have no idea why, but for the first time in years this popped into my head the other day, so I dug out the CD single from my collection, and plonked it onto my Mac. I can't remember much about the band, through the fog of the years and hazy Indie music memories. I never had the album, but always liked this one song. My visual memory of this is the band perfoirming on the long-lost and much missed Light Lunch. Which will probably tell you pretty much exactly when I was student.... More work for Mel & Sue, please!

And there we are. Is that me done? What an odd little fly-on-the-slice-of-life selection. Now shushing, please. Desperate Housewives is imminent.

Perennial, Dan!

* Or no deal. Stick that in your three-ply, Edmonds!
** S'digital no less. oooooooooo.

A Tight Budget Interlude

Okay. I am on the case with the meme thingy. Yes yes yes.

But in the meantime, if you're here* you may well have noticed the Big Brown Budget happening today. Sprinkled with a extra dash of shag-me-nicely magicstuff as it's Gordy's last one as Chancellor, before he up sticks and moves... well no where actually, as I think he already lives at Number 10.

Anyway. I am not naturally a reader of The Times, but a work LadyColleague pointed out this very funny blow-by-blow blog by Hugo Rifkind.

I particularly like the following choice lines:

12:44: It's like he has a bet with somebody, to say "front line services" as many times as he can
13:09: Ruth Kelly is in a trance.
13:14: Amazing. Throughout the whole education section, he didn't use the word "education".

Tee hee hee.


* the UK, not just Clapham. If Clapham had its own mini-budget that would be just silly. Although...

Monday, March 19, 2007

Hard-ish Times

Not so much a stressful as just a very long one. Everytime I go through Swindon biblical weather seems to follow. I battled the walk back from work in hateful sleety snow ice slush, to find that a neighbours bin bag had split all over the front steps.*

Finally stomped back indoors, debated whether to get take away or not tonight for all over 0.0047 seconds, and had well-deserved post-work snack.***

But then joy, as I have been tagged by a lovely fellow blogger.

I will get to this presently.

That is alll. Move along now.

* Which I cleared up. With a grumpy expression.**
** Sorry internets, I have to telll someone to get it off my chest.
*** Three packets of Wotsits, since you ask. And believe me I was eyeballing the handy bottle of wine, but settled for new and beloved Tick Tock Rooibos tea instead.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Shaggy Blog Stories is out!

Go hence and purchase a copy! I've ordered mine and it's at the benefit of Comic Relief. Plus - it should be extremely good!!

You can buy it from Lulu here:

Happy Friday - I'm off to the Wile West again this weekend, so no updates from me.

Jog on! :-D

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Loving the Blookers

Genius idea, really.

I love the Blookers.

It’s just wonderfully creative. Let’s rip down all the walls and publishing house rules, and just get on with being a bit interesting and creative, shall we?
Who cares if it’s not a Waterstones best seller?
Who cares if no one decided to back it because it did not have multi-demographic appeal in a sub-market that’s So Hot Right Now?*
Who cares if no one else likes a book about the history of paperclips? If but one single person does – hurrah! Free choice! No limits to people’s mad and wonderful creativity! Hurrah the technology revolution making all this possible!

Oh look, am being slightly evangelical. And even a shade hysterical.

However, I shall take a nail gun** to anyone who poses a threat to Beloved Hatchards. Obviously.

* Henceforth abbreviated to SHRN. Someone else on t’internets must have thought of this already, but dammit I’m claiming it anyway.
** Not really, you sillys. Wouldn’t want to get done for inciting violence AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAAHAHAHAHA***
*** :-|

Monday, March 12, 2007

Adventures in gym land - I may be about to get slightly melodramatic and hysterical

I did something very grown up last week. I got a pension.

Now before you get all ooooooOOO! up in my face, this was as easy as saying 'Yes thank you I'd like to do that please' to the God Of All Finance*. And voila. T'is done, because HE IS AMAZING. I did not have to do anything complicated like fill in a form or anything.

The problem then came when what to do with my added extra benefit (because my work are quite shiny like that, bless them). I got to choose between a pension top-up (sensible free money!), gym membership (the vanity option!) and healthcare (sensible but not the NHS which is free!).

I'm not good with choice. I panicked and picked the gym membership because all the people going in and out of the local gym look so... perky.

Oh crap.

I joined a gym once before some years ago. I got bored and gave up after six months. But now I live so close to work I can go whole weeks without using some quite major muscle groups in my body. I thought it might be a good idea.

Pants pants pants. For instance:

And I wonder why perhaps I might feel a little bit physically inadaquate. I nearly vomited in the underwear section in Selfridges at the weekend. BAH.

Argh. I'm going to have intimidating things like inductions and such from people who are cheery and enthusiastic. Oh lummy. Well if I'm going to have to do such things in the name of 21st century living then you're bloody well going to have to read about it. Ppppppprrrphpht!

So after all that decision making type drama, what I needed quite a lot was a nice cup of tea and a sit down. Hadn't been over to Nicey and Wifey's site for a while. Oooooo it's still lovely. And biscuity. Mmmmm. Nice.

* Worship him with expense receipt offerings! Behold the mighty timesheet system! Bow down before the monthly invoicing!**

** I'm not taking the piss. Honestly. If one or two of the rest of us gets hit by a bus tomorrow, the company will muddle through without too much of a drama. If The God Of All Finance gets a fatal papercut we're all up shit creek without so much as a pair of knitting needles and we won't even get paid.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

Blog for some light Relief (as in Comic)

The continually fabulous (note to self: must stop blog adoration) Doris has pointed out this fantastic idea from the excellent Troubled Diva.

Do swing on over and have look-see, pronto stylee. It's a SuperSmart piece of creative thinking for a v worthy cause type stuff.


Thursday, March 08, 2007

"Ballad of the Londoner"

Well, you can't see it very well in the picture, but the bad photo above is one the Poems on the Underground series - which has been running for years and I think is a good and proper thing. Being the middle-class lefty I hope to always be.

I was on the way to a gig last night, and spotted this one while on the Victoria Line. It's by James Elroy Flecker, who I had not heard of before. I think it is a bit wonderful:

Ballad of the Londoner

Evening falls on the smoky walls,
And the railings drip with rain,
And I will cross the old river
To see my girl again.

The great and solemn-gliding tram,
Love's still-mysterious car,
Has many a light of gold and white,
And a single dark red star.

I know a garden in a street
Which no one ever knew;
I know a rose beyond the Thames,
Where flowers are pale and few.

I nearly didn't catch this, as I only decided to change onto the Victoria Line at Stockwell at the very last second. I am glad I did. Later that evening I wondered across the river on the Millenium bridge and was thinking about this still. The river looked beautiful in the late evening - black like treacle and shining with the reds and golds of the lights beside it.

I think I might be turning into a mad older man.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Breaking News

All is quite in the flat. The oven is cooking dinner. The telly is off, music on. Flatmate Mark and I are having 'quiet time' in different corners of the room.

Flatmate Mark looks over at me, and breaks the peace thusly:

"Your birthday is on a Sunday this year."

Well if that doesn't just take the shagging garibaldi I don't know what does... what kind of a party night is a Sunday? Harumph.

Who is Calvin Harris? This is Calvin Harris. He appears to have a small piece of the future of pop in his hands. Don't screw it up, man.

Good show.


The sky is wonderfully clear.

The sun casts a long lost shine on the air, as if life is freshly minted and new and wonderful. Blossom is beginning to creep across the dark branches. The daffodils have come out by the church on the common and prompted an unnatural burst of custom towards the nearest flower seller. There is more than a sniff of Spring in the air and a hint of excitement about the whole damn town...

..and then you look down at the pavement and discover a used condom sprawled before your feet.


Thursday, March 01, 2007

Sweets & Treats

A few days ago, at work, I won a chocolate bar in a bet because someone didn't believe that Smarties contain lots of tiny crushed up beetles.

Hah! I win, thankyouplease.

The rampant DVD watching continues apace. This time I've been catching up with my yoof by watching the TV adaptation of Iain Banks' The Crow Road.

It was one of my favourite books as an early teen, and the TV version is ace. Now I'm craving some wide open spaces, away from London. Among other things.

I really must get out and do some exercise or something. With my ridiculously short walk to work, I'm really not stretching my body very much these days. But I'm not feeling very motivated. Pfffffffff. If it's not a bar, I'm not getting changed.