Wednesday, June 29, 2005

me shell, ma belle

So what is it with snails? Where do they come from? I only ever see them once it's rained so they either:

a) Fall from the sky;
b) Emerge from overflowing sewers; or
c) ...

...Well I don't know what c) might be. Where do they come from?!!

Tuesday, June 28, 2005

love the one you're with

Soundtrack: Orange Juice

I had a half day yesterday, and went to Brighton to see Crosby, Stills and Nash. It was a beautiful day, and I had an hour to kill once Thom's train got in. I've never been to Brighton before (except to see Crosby and Nash in Feb, and then I didn't get to see the place), so I was looking forward to exploring. But instead I walked down to the beach, sat on the pebbles and read my Murakami in the sun. I didn't need to do anything else.

The gig was great, but the build up was better. In between eavesdropping about 'Well I travelled from Devon'/'Well I have a holiday home in goa', Thom and I decided to create a 'CSN Fan I Spy' game:

1 point for a man with a walking stick
1 point for a balding man with a pony tail
1 point for a man in an 1980's period 'smart shirt'
1 point for a Nash lookalike (50 if combining all the above)
1 point for a Crosby lookalike (50 if combining all the above)
100 points for a Nash lookalike in a 40-year old Beatles shirt (the real Nash's usual stage attire)

I'm not entirely sure who won, as there were plenty of points accumulated, but I did find a female Nash lookalike, which must've been worth something. Now if only we had a points system for a Stills lookalike i.e. anyone looking like Bill Bailey. I would've won hands down.

Sunday, June 26, 2005

I used to think that this day would never come

Soundtrack: The Gresham Flyers

So Friday turned out to be brilliant.

The New Order ticket I managed to get hold off wasn't just free, it was VIP. I thought this would be nothing more than just a nice flushing toilet, but there was free ponchos (good for the non-stop rain) and a FREE BAR. So I was drinking Pimms and cocktails all afternoon, and getting rather giddy with it all. Despite the rain, there was a great atmosphere hanging out with my friends. Just a lovely afternoon.

I spent the whole afternoon sneezing though. The strangest thing - I think I'm developing hayfever. I've never had it before, but for the past couple of weeks I've been sneezing constantly, itchy eyes and nose, and sooooo tired. Can you develop hayfever? I'm obviously pre-disposed to some allergies, considering my reactions to insect-bites (I still have marks on my arms from Corfu). I really hope these symptoms don't continue.

Friday, June 24, 2005

doo de doo de dooooooo

Guess who's leaving work in half an hour to see New Order?


Thursday, June 23, 2005

an honest mistake

Soundtrack: The Bees - Free the Bees

I've just returned from lunch where I spent time sat on a patch of grass in Waterloo. And this is how pathetic I am - I don't think I've ever spent a lunchtime just sitting on the grass reading. Isn't that madness?!

It's glorious sunshine here, and I just really wanted that feeling that I had in Corfu. Warmth, escapism, relaxation and switching off. Why haven't I ever done this before?

Goodbye lunchtimes on the internet!


An amazing natural phenomenon happened last night.

Last night, due to the summer solstice, the earth being tilted a certain way, and really scientific stuff like that, the moon appeared a lot bigger and closer to the horizon than it usually is.

I remember walking home last night and Thom pointing it out. I was too drunk to even recollect it.


My sister accused me of being a music fascist this morning.

I might have the opportunity to see New Order tomorrow (finger's crossed). FOR FREE! They're playing in Hyde Park, and I held out on buying a ticket because I was hoping they'd tour the new album. No tour was announced, and the only chance I'd get to see them was at the 'Wireless Festival'. The name of the festuval (sponsored by O2!) just strikes fear into my heart.

I went to see Simon & Garfunkel in Hyde Park last year, and the sound was atrocious. I decided against spending £35 for a ticket. Particularly once I saw The Bravery were playing. I told my sister 'You'd have to pay me to endure that'.
'They're just so.... pointless. They're just such a zeitgeist band.'
'God Sharon, you're such a cynic. They write really good songs'
'Piss off, they used to be a ska punk band!'

I don't like being accused of being a fascist, I think it's more the fact that I'm passionate about music. I can't help getting riled by a band that's so obviously opportunist and in it for every buck they can make.

But yeah, anyway. Keep your finger's crossed for me!

Sunday, June 19, 2005

the lovely bones

Soundtrack: The Byrds - Renaissance Fair

I've just finished reading The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. I had to look past the over-sentimentality that isn't my usual cup of tea, but I found it quite an interesting novel.

I'm not sure I really go for the concept of deceased loved ones looking down from Heaven, but that aside, I found the novel reassuring with everything that's happened in my life recently. Tragic circumstances can bring families more together.

This weekend I sent my Auntie Carole a 60s mix CD. I made it for the bowlie mix swap that I take part in, but the theme was inspired by my Uncle Alan. I started making it while he was in hospital, and the aim had been to send it to him, a CD full of The Byrds, The Doors, Incredible String Band - all the music he and Carole had loved and grown up to together. I wanted to show him that although I was a niece that lived 300miles away, it didn't stop me understanding what made him tick. That I understood everything that made his life.

He died before I completed the mix, but I sent it to my Aunt this week. She received it yesterday - the same day as she received my Uncle's ashes. She sat in her bedroom with his urn and the music I compiled for her and Alan. She text me:

"Oh Sharon you do not know how happy you have made me today listening to our beloved 60s music. Tears flowing it is such a release. You understand me and my music."

I guess it's the simplest gesture that speaks volumes.

Monday, June 13, 2005

time flies

Soundtrack: Beach Boys - Friends

I forgot to return with an update on the rest of my 2 weeks absence. Oops.

Well, the weekend I went back to Rochdale I set back early on Sunday as I had to make a band practice in Windsor that night. I only went and bumped into Dan (Gresham Flyer) and Kristin at Paddington. Bless Dan for looking after Kristin. There were plans for exciting London bank holiday action - my friend Ashley was visiting from Nashville, and Kristin thought a bank holiday was a good enough reason to spend a long weekend in London. I felt terrible having to go back to Rochdale, like I'd really left Kristin in the lurch. She was meant to be stopping at mine all weekend, and then obviously I wasn't there. To add insult to injury, her early flight was delayed by 4hours, so I'm surprised she didn't just turn back and stay in Edinburgh in a huff. Thankfully Thom was able to pick her up and chaperone. Thom, Kristin and Dan bunked at my house Saturday night (a bit bizarre without my sister or I being there!) and then Dan looked after K when she finally emerged from her pit on Sunday morning afternoon. Hehe.

Kristin sat in on our band practice. We were waz-less, and it had been a couple of weeks, so we were nowhere near decent. K seemed pleasantly surprised though. I finally managed to make it up to her on Monday morning when we went for a lovely long walk up to Windsor castle, just catching up and taking it easy.

On Monday night I finally managed to get together with Ashley (although I should have been packing for Corfu), and I got stupidly drunk. Flying with a hangover is never a good idea. I blame the lemon cello that was forced upon me. And probably the box of red wine. I don't remember much of that night, except the words 'Professor Phallus' and an attempted brain growing.

31st May saw Thom and I fly out to Corfu. 12hours, and a treachorously narrow hillside coach drive later, we arrived in Kalami. The resort was just magnificent. The hotel was cut into a tree-lined hill (but bigger than you imagine a hill to be). Every day saw us walk up and down a 45degree incline, and I now have legs of steel. We wanted quiet and we got it. By the 2nd day I had this overwhelming feeling of peace and bliss. I don't remember the last time I felt like that. It was just lovely not going by any set time, waking when we wanted, sleeping constantly and just reading and reading. The resort was tiny, with only 3 tavernas for entertainment, but perfect for what we wanted. A lovely way to spend our anniversary!

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

all things must pass

Soundtrack: Louden Wainwright III - Album III

It's been a while. I've been through a bit of a turbulent time over the past couple of weeks, and been without internet access, so you'll have to forgive me.

You may recall merely a couple of months back I posted about my uncle Alan being diagnosed with cancer. Well on 25th May he died suddenly. I called my dad the night before and got through to his answerphone. 'Hiya dad, just a quick call to say goodbye before I go on my holidays. Speak to you soon.' He calls me straight back. He'd just that second got off the phone to my uncle Dave. Alan collapsed again. He's suffering internal bleeding. He's come down with pneumonia. They've asked Carole for her permission to put him on morphine. Sharon, I want you to be ready. When your nan died it was the end when they put her on morphine. They want the last few days to be as comfortable as possible. He could die tonight, he could die next week.

Well that was a tough night. I knew that was it. He was ill, yes. But he was diagnosed less than 2months ago. And then before we know it, he's on morphine. He hasn't even been treated for this cancer. I was on the phone to my mum and dad all night. I was choking myself to sleep on my tears.

I had the next day off, and was on the train into town to get my haircut. I decide to send a text to my aunt. 9am. 'Hi Carole, I just wanted to tell you that I love you both very much. I'm here if you need me.' Message sent. 9.01am. Incoming call: dad. My stomach lurched. I knew what it was. Alan died just an hour earlier - just 54 years old. I felt like I'd just sent the most insensitive text in the world. I broke down on the train.

My poor sister didn't even know any of this was happening; she was doing her finals and it was her last exam the day after. We had to make the worst choice in the world and decide not to tell her until after her exams. We felt absolutely horrible, but this was the culmination of her Masters and we couldn't let 2 years of hard work go to waste. Thankfully she understood in the end.

And then the funeral arrangements were announced: 2 days after I was due to go on holiday. It was too late to cancel the holiday and get a refund. It was too late to transfer the date. A single flight after the funeral would cost me £400 - more than the holiday itself. And I'd be letting Thom down if I didn't go, as the holiday was to celebrate our anniversary.

I had the most horrible time trying to decide what to do for the best. Everyone told me I should still go away. My mum said that Corfu was the first place that Carole and Alan visited abroad, and they loved it so much they kept going back. Aargh.

I ended up going back to Rochdale that weekend to see Carole. I wanted to suss out what to do for the best. My mum, dad and I went to Carole's on Saturday night. We thought it was going to be a hard night on Carole - Carole and Alan loved their Saturday nights. They'd go out for a meal, come back and drink into the wee hours listening to Bob Harris on Radio 2. This was to be her first Saturday night without him.

And you know what, it ended up being a great night. Tearful, absolutely. Reminiscent, of course. We spent the night looking at photos I'd never seen; Carole and Alan married when Carole was only 16 and it was great to see photos of them in their hippy days. Alan with his long curly hair (vastly different to the number 1 shave he'd sported for the last 15years). We listened to the Drive-By Truckers - the only music Alan wanted to listen to while he was ill. Around a month ago they were in session on Bob Harris Country and my dad text in a dedication - the whole band wished Alan well, and Alan heard this while he was in hospital. They meant a lot to him. We got so carried away we forgot to turn on Bob Harris - about 22.50 Dave called to ask if we were listening as Bob Harris actually said his condolences on air. Apparently when Dave called Radio 2 the producer said quite a few people had contacted the show requesting this, and they knew Alan as he and Carole contacted the show all the time. We missed it. Carole was beside herself. I called my dear friend waz, and thankfully he was able to record the archived streaming of the internet, so I'll send that to Carole when I receive it on Friday.

The upshot of that night was Carole told me to go on holiday. 'Life has to go on. Chase your dreams, Sharon'. I'm going to accompany her when she scatters some of Alan's ashes at Glastonbury Tor (a place they used to frequent). I obviously felt horrible for not being able to go - especially as it sounded like I was going to miss a bloody good send off! Alan was buried in his Doors t-shirt (he was a hude Doors fan), and Carole made some beautiful music choices for Alan's cremation (The Doors and Jeff Buckley). There was to be a party at his favourite pub afterwards, and he's having half his ashes scattered in Paris (Alan went to Jim Morrison's grave there every year) and half at Glastonbury. So thankfully I will still get to say goodbye in my own way.