Monday, April 25, 2005

Every step you take

Soundtrack: The Monkees - Listen to the Band

Walking to Windsor and Eton Riverside this morning was so fresh. The ground was wet after an all-night downpour, and the air was bracing, but the weather was sympathetic enough to let me trudge to the train station - keyboard and percussion on my back - through the momentary lapse of rain.

I passed the police station and saw a van backing with 'Pauleys' written on the side. It was a white van with green writing akin to that you find on Hollands or Peters pies. I was chuckling along at the thought of a pie van pulling up outside a police station. And that's when it hit me - it was quite clearly an undercover police van.

Pauleys. It's practically phonetically the same as police!



Thom reminded me of an episode of The Simpsons where the FBI go undercover under the pretence of being from a company called 'Two Guys from Quantico' (Quantico being the location of an FBI training centre). I love the thought of undercover police officers hiding out in a faux pie van.

Friday, April 22, 2005


So I heard about my uncle. He has cancer of the oesophagus and it's inoperable so he's having to have chemotherapy.

I was at work when I heard the news, and was pretty shook up, and then the simplest thing (not being able to write a CD) just set me off and I broke down completely. There's nothing worse than crying at work. I spoke to my sister on the phone, and with her scientific nouse and calming influence she explained to me that it's a good thing they think it's treatable. Apparently the ways to treat cancer are to cut it out (but my uncle's tumour is too big), try chemotherapy, or it's too far gone to do anything about it. So, as Sue wisely said, they thankfully think his tumour is treatable so I have to think positively. Bless her. I really feel for my auntie though. I had a very distressing text from her when I sent her my best wishes. They've been married 35 years too... I just can't imagine what she's going through. :(

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

I'm singing in the hailstone

Soundtrack: Brian Eno - Before and After Science

Gah, I just got caught in a huge hailstone storm on my way back from lunch. My tights are soaked now.

I don't know what it is about hailstone, but I find it a very apocalyptic weather. It's so fierce, so powerful, so full of hatred, it just makes me feel like the end of the world is nigh. Or 'nice' as my subconscious just told me to type. The end of the world is nice. Sounds like a Douglas Coupland novel.

The weather has been so schizophrenic this year. April has still seen snow, followed by a heatwave (in which I ate scones by the Thames in Windsor). And here's me, walking around in my spring-to-summer transition cardigan and freezing my metaphorical bollocks off. All I want to do right now is go on a nice relaxing beach holiday, feeling the warmth against my skin, cool off in the sea. Which is quite strange as I hate the sun. My favourite weather has to be rain - but not when I have to go anywhere. I prefer rain when I'm lying in bed at night with the window open. So soothing and calming.

Enough about the weather. Anyone would think I was British.

Monday, April 18, 2005

the mundanities of life

There's a girl at work, recently married, recently sprogged up, and all she talks about ALL DAY is what she bought from Marks and Spencer that morning and what she's going to cook for her husband that night.

I now know that tomatoes send her funny. I know that she prefers cracked black pepper (her husband prefers ground white). I know that her husband won't eat anything green. I've just heard that she has a DIARY of the meals she is going to cook that week. I know that everyone at our local M+S are the rudest people out of any M+S store in Britain.

When will it end?

Am I going to turn into that?

It scares me. I earn my money, I like to treat myself and Thom. I find myself asking Thom what I should cook that night. But I really can't bear the thought of turning into something whose highliights in life is the new improved bread and butter pudding recipe. I guess as long as I think of her I'll be safe. Please.

Sunday, April 17, 2005

internet curtains

Soundtrack: David Axelrod - Songs of Innocence

There was a time when I would spend, what, 15 hours a day on the internet. I'd be at work all day, come home, go on again - even eat my tea in front of it. At the weekend I'd neglect my chores as I'd spend all day posting on messageboards and talking on MSN.

Now, I just can't be chuffed with it all. I don't know whether there's a tide in my leisure time, and my love of the internet is ebbing away with the low tide. All I want to do now is knit, or read, play music, watch DVDs - even clean. I just can't bring myself to sit in front of a computer all day.

It's not that I find the internet unproductive, or a blight on my life. It's a lifesaver during quiet days at work. It's lethal when I feel like procrastinating. I've made countless friends through this bloody thing. But nowadays, I can stay off a computer for several days at a time. It makes me feel somewhat guilty.

Anyway, to prove my non-cyber productivity, here's an example of my recent knitting escapades. Here's the scarf I finished around a month ago, just in time for the summer!

Thursday, April 14, 2005

I'm the leader of the rubber band

* Reply to this message telling me which of these 30 artists you have also seen.
* Take the ones from my list that you have seen, and post them in your own blog.
* Add more until you have 30.

01. Belle & Sebastian
02. Divine Comedy
03. Elliott Smith
04. The Flaming Lips
05. Pulp
06. The Hidden Cameras
07. The Delgados
08. Super Furry Animals
09. Blur
10. Supergrass
11. Eels
12. Neil Young
13. Bob Dylan
14. Crosby and Nash
15. Low
16. Hot Hot Heat
17. The Features
18. De Novo Dahl
19. Brian Wilson
20. Mansun
21. Polyphonic Spree
22. Arcade Fire
23. Boney M
24. Fairport Convention
25. Electrelane
26. Laura Cantrell
27. Cat Power
28. Mirah
29. Jonathan Richman
30. Nick Cave

luvvie makes the world go 'round

Soundtrack: Electrelane - The Power Out

I've tried, but I just can't be a luvvie.

I had a recording session yesterday at a studio owned by an actor. I don't really use that studio because it's out in the sticks, but if that wasn't bad enough, this actor's mother seems to live there. And she's as mad as a hatter. She talks incessantly. She collared me yesterday when I went for a pissbreak, doing the whole 'oh I worked for X years and years ago.. do you know so and so? Did you see my son in his play? Oh me and Henry Kelly go way back... blah blah blah'. I finished my job, and went to leave, but not before I had to endure the whole 'Oh do come back and see us again, it would be lovely to work with you again, did I tell you my son can do this and that, blah blah blah'.

One of the actors I was using knew the owner of the studio, so they launched into the whole 'What do you have coming up? Oh I moved agencies and since then I've been in The Bill, Casualty... oh what are you working on... oh lovely, we must do drinks blah blah blah'.

It was quite an enjoyable job, I worked with some very versatile actors and enjoyed directing for once, but I just left with a throbbing head. Try as I might, I know I have no retorts, I know I have feigned interest, I know I have an uncomfortable sympathetic smile.

I just can't ham it up.

What does the verb 'to ham' mean anyway. Is it something to do with Hamlet, or gammon?

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

tum tum tum

Soundtrack: Belly - Feed the Trees

Belly came on 6music last night, and it reminded me of the first concert I went to.

rewind 10 years

July, 1995. Leeds Heineken Music Festival.

Pulp were headlining after their jubilant performance replacing the Stone Roses at Glastonbury. I won 4 tickets from the Melody Maker, and me, my sister, and my mum and dad headed off to sunny Leeds.

I was just getting into my music - pulp, blur and supergrass being my particular favourites. I'd yet to cotton on to the fashions of the times, so I probably just turned up in scraggy jeans, Nicks trainers and a cheap Mark One t-shirt.

We were queueing up to go in, and I was amazed by all these people the same age as me being at the festival on their own. And I could not believe their clothing. You know the type; velvet jackets, docs and flared cords. There was this one girl in the queue ahead of me who had some black docs and had grafittied them with tippex. She had drawn flowers and Belly's logo.

I thought it was the coolest thing I had ever seen.

Tuesday, April 12, 2005

holly rude

Soundtrack: Bob Dylan - Nashville Skyline

I've just spent a very long weekend in Glasgow with Thom and Rick. It was lovely, but I swear I'm getting old; I just don't seem to have the stamina anymore. And I only had 3 alcoholic drinks all weekend! It's not just Glasgow, I just don't seem to have energy full stop these days. I never seem to be in the mood for dancing anymore (I don't like the sound of that) and I often think it will be nicer to just stay home and be in bed for 10. Hopefully the impending summer will sort that out.

Anyway, Glasgow was fun, and tiring, and bloody freezing. We arrived on Thursday - me in my thin red summer jacket - to the news that it was 8 degrees celsius. And it got colder. Friday was spent battling the fierce winds of Edinburgh. It was a shame, because I just wanted to stay indoors drinking hot chocolate rather than see the city. Arthur's Seat - which offers the best views of the city - was out of the question. I still had fun though. Along with finding a white label of pulp's razzmatazz, Kristin and Chris took us on a tour of the Holyrood Scottish Parliament building (where they both work). So while tour groups were being shown the public entrance and the cafeteria, the natives were showing us around all the little conference rooms and places no one else gets to see. It was strangely fascinating, and amazing to think that people actually work there everyday!

That night wasn't too good though. I found out that my uncle is seriously ill. They think it might be cancer of the liver, but they're still doing tests. I got pretty upset about it, and I haven't quite recovered. I found myself wishing I was at home for the rest of the weekend, just wanting Thom to give me reassuring hugs, just wanting a bit of space to think. I felt bad for Rick, because I think I put a bit of a dampner on the last days of his holiday, but I just couldn't snap out of it. :(

And now Rick's gone home. He's so great, and has been such a rock to me for the past few years. I was just pondering yesterday how sad it is that some of the people I feel closest to live the furthest away. Don't get me wrong, I have Thom, and I have friends in London that I'm getting even closer too. But two of the people I relied on moved to America last year. Sometimes I love my global friendship networks - I love how the world seems to be getting smaller communications-wise - but you don't get the smiles or the hugs.

Anyway, my life enrichment has almost begun. I chose to enrol on the German beginners course. Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 06, 2005


Soundtrack: The Doors - The Soft Parade

I do feel embarassed about the fact that I can only speak one language. In this day and age I really should be more multi-lingual. Thom can speak near fluent German and French, yet all I have to my name is GCSE French.

I was stopped outside Waterloo station once by a petrified French woman who couldn't speak English and needed to find a certain street. In that time of pressure I seemed to give her directions that made sense, but when I think about it, my French is very limited.

Anyway, they're doing language courses at work. Half paid for by work, and lessons at lunch make it a very tempting offer indeed. I'm wondering whether I should brush up my French or learn German. I've tried to learn German twice now; firstly at school who then made me choose between French and German at GCSE, and then I attempted an intermediate course at Southwark College which was far too advanced for me, so I dropped out. Yet I've visited Germany more recently than France. Should I go for it?


In other lifestyle changes I'm considering giving up drinking again. I gave up from Jan-March this year. I didn't feel any different from it, I guess I just wanted to prove that I could.

Since I started drinking again (on my birthday) I still didn't drink much, but this last week has more than made up for that. I've been drinking every day Fri-Tues and I'm bloody knackered. I haven't even been overdoing it, well ok, I had two all-day drinking sessions in that, but I've been getting stomach cramps and absolute exhaustion from it. And it does cost a fortune. Thom's also tee-total, so it is easier to give up when someone else has. Maybe I should just restrict myself to club nights only, as that's when I most miss drinking.

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

bad cover version

Soundtrack: Neil Young - Harvest Moon

The Gresham Flyers had a scary band practice yesterday - we had a special guest.

Rick - my North American houseguest this week - came along because he evidently didn't have anything better to do on his holiday. I was was pretty nervous at the thought of performing in front of someone new - not to mention a New Order fan who would have to endure our warm-up cover of Dreams Never End, but he seemed to enjoy it. Of course, he would say that wouldn't he? The again, he could have just said 'yeah, that was good', but his opinion had more substance than that.

The poor love though, we hadn't practiced for two weeks, so we weren't at our best. Thankfully we have another practice on Sunday. We're going to have to get a lot more in too, if we're playing our first gig in May (as it seems we will be).

We also recorded ourselves yesterday, seeing as we need to find out if we're actually any good. Waz took the tapes home, so I've yet to hear them, but he said of my singing voice "You have a lot more "gravitas" than I'd expected. Which is good. You kind of sound like a female Scott Walker. And I love the way you jig about when you play glockenspiel.".


Rick said I was a 'Candida in the making', which is possibly the highest compliment it's possible to pay me. All is going well. I just need to knuckle down with the website now.