Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Into the wilds...

Well I spent my weekend eating enormous amounts of excellent food and getting drunk with friends in Wales. It was awesome! But probably a bit tedious for you to read about 'in-depth'*, so I'm just giving you the major highlight:

Dolphins! Actual dolphins! I have never seen such things in the wild before - so was very excited on the hill we were perched on at the coast. Catching them on my camera was difficult, but clicky-click on the picture above, look at the black smudge in the middle and feel my jubilation.

And now the short week has started, here I am at my desk and already I am covered in nonsense and confronted with all sorts of fresh hell.

"Fox's wife, Vicky, was a shoe designer and a former protege of Jimmy Choo. She has retrained as a yoga instructor. "She is unfeasibly supple," volunteers Fox, rather unnecessarily."

(c/o this interview)


I think I speak for the world at large as I declare that this is far too much information.

* Largely because any "hilarious" witticism s have probably been lost for good in a mix of alcohol and fresh air, and were only really funny for people who have known each other for years anyway. I'm cutting my losses.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Outrage update

Clearly, it is silly season and apart from the 'Lympics there isn't much news around. At all.

But it's good to see that the quiet spell is allowing the book age banding debate to get some further airing.

The chattering classes at war with themselves. Watch and see - the revolution is coming, comrades. There will be fighting in the streets. Possibly over recycling or access to early-morning yoga classes. Radio 4 will be outlawed and have to broadcast from a dingy in the channel. Suspicious undercover Au Pairs with mannerisms straight from 'Allo 'Allo* will start appearing on the streets.

The end is nigh! And possibly organic!

* Mwah Mwah..?

Monday, August 18, 2008

Purl and spleen

Mmmm what a nice busy week off work.

I've seen this at the British Museum. Which leads to wonder if having a slight crush on a long-gone Roman emperor is entirely healthy. He seemed like quite a nice, clever dude. PR-led statues aside, a few lines of his reflective poetry written contemplating the near termination of his life at the end of the exhibition reduced me to tears:

"Little soul, little wanderer, little charmer, Body's guest and companion, To what places will you set out now?
To darkling, cold and gloomy ones - And you won't be making your usual jokes.

The 2008 BP Portrait award was also very good again this year - although there was a distressing amount of painting one's wife or girlfriend. Lovely and everything, but perhaps not the most absorbing or stimulating of subjects. Ooo that sounds harsh, but I definitely preferred the portraits with subjects who were less connected to the painter. I wonder why. Perhaps I have intimacy issues.

The over to the Southwark Playhouse for some theatre. This was good, but I'm not very familiar with the Moll Flanders story and Lady Donna assured me they had done their best to remove the vim, vigor and vitality of the women. But the staging was fun and it was an okay evening. A Restoration Greek chorus was kinda cool - can I have one, do we think? Plus I'm really glad to have ticked off the Playhouse as I hadn't been before. And for £7 you actually can't go wrong, really. So I shouldn't carp. But, er, I just have. Damn.

All this and I'm sleeping with my knitting teacher.*

Thankfullly I was able to counterbalance all this cultural activity with several bottles of wine and The X Factor on Saturday. And the ITV2 spin-off programme (Holly Willoughby - actually something of a revelation; she has got a personality after all! And a good one! And was funny and shizz! You would never have known this from Dancing On Ice).

Also, best comeback in a musical spat of the week - go The Ronson! I am on his side partly because the notion of either Gallagher brother accusing anyone else of derivative music is frankly hilarious, and also my sister has a big crush on him. These factors have over-ridden my teenage enjoyment of Definitely, Maybe. Which lets face it was a while ago now.

So that's me at the moment. Knit on.

UPDATE: Shit, I baked a not-too-shabby carrot cake too (after discovering halfway through making the mixture I didn't have a cake tin, going out, buying one, coming home, baking the blasted thing (also - revelation - CHEESE in ICING. Amaaaazing.)). Knitting? Cardigans? Baking? Unsuitably crushes on dead emperors? I am evolving into a glorious old grannie. AND I LOVE IT.

* The marketing strategy worked - hurrah.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Idea stolen shamelessly from dinner party chit-chat.

Sara and Stan are unpacking, having clearly just moved house. They are in their early thirties. Sara is sorting through boxes in the living room.

Stan enters.

STAN: "...I can't find the thingummy to do the wotsit flaps."

SARA: "It's in the box marked "stuff'" Pause. "Hun?"


SARA: "Have you seen that religious triptych?"

STAN: "The plastic one? With the faux-3D rendering of the crucifiction?"

SARA: "Yeah. That that Nun my mum knows gave us at the wedding."

STAN: "I gave it to Oxfam."

SARA: "What? When!?"

STAN: "2003."

SARA: "Oh no!!"

STAN: "What? What's the problem? You hated it. It was vile. You were the one who put it in storage. It's not like you're religious."

SARA: "But I'm Catholic. And now I feel guilty! We were given that by an actual nun! On our wedding day!"

STAN: "She'll never know."

SARA "But I know."

STAN: "It's not like a TV license. I don't think they have a database. The guilt won't travel through the air like mobile phone signals..."

The doorbell goes. They look at each other.

SARA: "Actually, have we transferrred the TV license yet?"

STAN: "No. I'm not sure I can flush the 14 inch down the toilet."

SARA (muttering to herself): "Not for the first time."

They open the door. There is a small nun in a blue habit staring at them like thunder. She has a jolly blue clipboard.

SARA: "Sister!"

NUN: "Felicitations. We have been monitoring the area and we notice we are not picking up a religious artifact in your house... according to our records you were given a triptych of the Christ. Do you have this for inspection?"

SARA: "I'm sorry, siister?"

NUN: "We have been inspecting the area.."

STAN: "Inspecting?"

NUN: "Yes." She pauses then waves behind her vaguely. There is a battered TV van with a massive cone arial on top, clearly like the fake TV detector vans of our youth. An older nun sits in the front. Having never worn big headphones before she has slightly the wrong idea and has them on upside down. She waves cheerily.

NUN: "We are here to collect payment."

STAN: "But how did you..."


Sara and Stan look at her blankly.

STAN: "I'm sorry?"

NUN: "Your first born! If you cannot produce the sacred artifact entrusted to your care..."

SARA: "We don't have any children."

STAN: "The upstairs landing doesn't even have floorboards."

The Nun pauses. A bit let down. She makes the best of it.

NUN: "Any favourite pets?" (There is a hoot from the van, inspiration strikes) "Or any cakes? We always need cakes for the work of our saviour."

SARA: "Not really."

She looks disappointed. Four quick hoots in a row from the van sound quite urgent.

NUN: "Could Sister Bridget perhaps then use your downstairs facilities? She can't climb. It's the sciatica."

STAN: "Um. We can't find the toiletroll..."

NUN: "It's in the box marked 'More Stuff'. Is there a brew on?" (She charges past them into the house. Sara and Stan look at each other)

Monday, August 04, 2008

This is just brilliant!

Was hanging out at the Innocent Village Fete on Saturday. Was good fun; lots of nice food, nice drinks, free things and other such middle-class treats (macrame your own plants, grow your own babygrow, colour supplements - the new green alternative to muesli, is truffle hunting the new yoga? etc etc.)*.

Frolicking about in the sunshine some music reached our ears from one of the big top tents. We were chatting away when... wassatt... is that? ... but that's a brass band, they can't be playing late 90s dance riffs and acid house choons?!

This, my friends, is JUST THE THING. I urge you to check out The Fairey Band and their Acid Brass project. I have rashly ordered a CD** and am verymuchlookingforward to popping it onto my iPod. I love this kind of stuff. Interesting cover versions by unusual people are just my bag, baby. One day I'll do a post on here of my favourite ever covers versions (after some very, VERY careful thought).

Also, it's a good antidote to some of the tracks I have downloaded from the excellent score to The Dark Knight, which I saw on Saturday. I have discovered that the music is excellent for striding down the high street, full of brooding intensity and purpose, but also makes me feel slightly tense and constipated. Sort of full of portentous dread on a heavily red-meat based diet.

Anyway. I've given up booze-based drinking for a bit***, so we're expecting this distressing spate of rapid blog postings to continue.

* Although we did see an actual instance of pram-rage. Nasty. Worringly I also found myself automatically on the side of the parents, not the child-free couple. I must be getting on in life. But then we also saw one women, mid field, shouting at her two year old "Allegra! ALLEGRA! Leave that young man selling The Times alone!"

** I am a slave to whimsey and frippery.

*** Because my father came down to stay for a night and broke me. And he insisted we catch taxis to places and carry on drinking. And then drink some more. And, as usual, he was up with the larks and bounding around at 7am.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Everyone loves a good protest

Saddling up the high horse and touching up the war paint as I type.*

12 Point Michael has reminded me about the most worthy campaign to stop pointless age ranges being branded onto books.

I mean honestly. Next you'll be saying we have books for blond people and books for male people. How utterly pointless. Books are for everyone. They might resonate with people, they might not. You pick a book up and start reading, if you hate it, you stop. A book is a collection of experiences and thoughts and feelings and a thing of magnificence. when I was younger I read books made with people my age in mind, and I read books written for adults. I enjoyed both. I certainly learnt more. And the idea my parents would take a book away from me is anathema**. How can you form a balanced world view if you haven't had other points of view and perspectives? How can you widen your horizons?

It's all a bit patronising, isn't it?

No one is going to stop me reading Harry Potter, so what right do I have to stop a fourteen year old reading a supposedly 'grown up' book.

Anyway. Rant off...

* Sorry, but Manscara is surely the name of a sci-fi villainous overlord. Guy Liner is an estate agent in Milton Keynes.
** Tellingly they recommended Armisted Maupin, who I used to faithfully reread almost every summer.

Friday, August 01, 2008

A local update for local people

Because basically I've noticed I haven't talked about Clapham for a while.

1. They're re-phased the traffic lights outside Sainsbury's so you don't have to wait until all of your freshly brought ice-cream has melted before you can cross the road.

2. It is quite hot. This has brought out a rash of flying ants and slightly smug couples - are the two related?

3. The strange and, um, quite large lady is still peeing up against the side of Londis. Can someone perhaps ask her to do this elsewhere?

4. They've done a very shiny refurbishment of the Clapham Picture House - and the ticket booth is also the magnificent sweet and drink counter of goodness, so you don't have to queue twice. HOW SENSIBLE IS THAT LADIES AND GENTLEMEN.

5. Everyone in the office went OOOOOOOO last month when spotted Oliver Chris of Green Wing and other such telly fame having a quiet moment outside a nearby buildling.

Jog on! As most people seem to do round here. If you have a reasonably normal body shape and size it's quite possible to feel fundamentally inadequate as a human being just by popping out to get some tea. Honestly. Are they giving out gym membership with Osyter card top-ups...

"My lovely horse. My lovely horse" etc.

Bugger the eclipse - more unusual portents are upon us.

I find myself in total agreement with Katie "Jordan" Price. I never expected this situation to occur.

These are strange times. I fully expect a shower of incapacitated amphibians at any moment. Or someone to telephone me and tell me they have three quarters of a pineapple.

All my planets are out of sync.

Take heed of the signs, my friends. Take heed...