Thursday, March 16, 2006

when commuters ATTACK

Soundtrack: Gorky's Zygotic Mynci - Barafundle

On the train this morning Giles - the Leach-Allott term for the Blackberry-wielding commuter genus - was not only shouting down his Blackberry, but also had his other mobile phone glued to his spare ear. He'd hang up the Blackberry, start on the mobile, and then scroll his Blackberry for the next number to call immediately after.

After 5stops the commuters started to attack.

While Giles was on the phone a lady opposite demanded that he keep it down. Smirks were exchanged around the carriage. Once Giles finished his call (other mobile fired up ready to go) a fraccas began:
'There are mobile free carriages you can use, you know'
'Everyone uses their mobile in there. Some of us want peace in the morning and you don't have to be so loud'
'I wasn't that loud'
At this point everyone else in the carriage, and I'm not exaggerating when I say everyone, started telling him what a prat he was and how he should keep it down. Now placed in my Top 10 Commuter Moments, post-kerfuffle Giles kept sheepishly holding his mobile/Blackberry to his ear, and then chickening out of using it.

Commuters can be so rude. I've mentioned before how amazed everyone seems to be at my DPN-crazy commuter knitting. The other day a lady got on the train, sat several seats in front of me, turned her whole body towards me and just sat there staring. After this incident I had vowed to put down my knitting and stare back, but when a lady pointed me out to a friend yesterday I just couldn't bring myself to be so rude back, and I just sat there blushing, sweating and making my needles sticky.

Still, the staring has been worthwhile as I have finished my first sock! I was so exhilerated by the process that I've already cast on for the next one (no Second Sock Syndrome for me!) and I've got a million different sock yarns on watch on ebay. This could be the end of me!

Monday, March 13, 2006

the first big weekend as a 27-year-old

Soundtrack: The Chiffons - One Fine Day

So that was quite a long weekend containing some fun but mainly illness. On my birthday Thom and I fled to Brighton for the day (the prevalent mist may or may not have exasperated my cold). The day was filled with sock knitting in the car, the Best. Lunch. Ever. at the Hop Poles, spending my record shopping budget down the Lanes and then crying when finding the most amazing psyche/acid folk record shop down the North Lanes but having no money left.

Whilst on North Lanes I walked past a shop and did a double-take - I had found a HABERDASHERY. I walked in. I gasped in horror. All the yarns were pastels or illuminous - not that I could even get near to the shelves with the boxes and bags on the floor. I was terrified and turned to go, whereupon the knitting shopkeeper (complete with beard) accosted me, looked me up and down, and with undertones of 'YOU're not loCAL' exclaimed 'Can I hELp you?'
'Err, I was just looking around, to see... err, sock yarn... err...'
'NO one knits SOCKS anymore!' [laughs maniacally]

Thom and I ran off in the vague direction of the sea. We found the Brighton coastline after an hour of running and looking over our shoulder (we didn't want to be special stuff). Despite Brighton Pier being shut, there was one place of refuge open for hot chocolate. It was a fun day, and well worth driving through torrential rain for.

On Thursday we drove into London to do some band recording. With 4hrs of driving and a 7hour session, I was armed with my sock knitting. Except - OH NO - I had lost the row counter. I was on row ? of knitting the foot of my sock. Where did I last have my knitting? Ah, in the front passenger seat.
'Dan, is my row counter in the glove compartment?'
'What does it look like?'
'A small blue cylinder with 2 numbers on'
'Nah, can't find it'.

And that was that. We drove around 900miles that weekend, and I was out of the house until Sunday. I was bitter all weekend, knowing I could probably have finished the bloody pair of socks by then, and smarting at the lost knitting time. Naturally, I found the row counter in the glove compartment on Monday night. Don't ever ask a man to look for lost knitting components.

The rest of the weekend was spent in Rochdale and Hertfordshire being very poorly. My dad took Thom and I out for a bracing walk along the Whitworth Moors on Friday morning; I was armed with earache and bogroll, but it was a lovely morning with some beautiful scenery. The walk obviously set me up nicely for the houseparty I went to on Saturday night - with a burning temperature I claimed my space on the floor in the corner of the room and went to bed at 9.30 whilst everyone else sang karaoke around me.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

as Stevie Wonder once said...

Happy birthday to me ya. Oh yes, 21 years young for the 7th time. What a wonderful age to be.

Thom woke me up with the Stevie Wonder soundtrack rather inexplicably at 6.30. I have a bloody day off - I don't even get up that early to go to work - and I didn't open my pressies til about 8, so I don't know what that's all about! I think he was more excited than me.

4 cards arrived in the post today showing a wonderful sense of timing, including a little bit o' something from my secret pal, not to mention the adorable e-card pictured. Bless you!

Anyway, no time to chat. My camera and sock knitting are packed - I'm off to Brighton for the day!


Friday, February 24, 2006

G+T and me

Soundtrack: Led Zeppelin - House of the Holy

I feel like I'm wearing eau de Gordon's today. I went out last night, and I only had five G+Ts, yet today I feel like there's a kind of aura about me... Is five a lot? I don't think five is a lot. It was not too much that I had a restless nights' sleep dreaming about downing cartons of juice, but it was enough for me to feel like swallowing tooth-brushing remnants this morning to quench my thirst. I didn't, but it took a lot of willlpower not to.

I'm really into my gin at the moment. I'm not much of a drinker, and the amount of times I've drunk on my own I can count on one hand. But I got home last Friday frazzled after a busy week at work, and all I wanted was a G+T (I was tempted by the Victory Gin, but the best won out). My job interview on Wednesday went particularly badly (unsurprisingly I didn't get the job), and all I wanted when I got home was a G+T.

I think I'm making up for lost time. G+T was the first drink I ever got stupidly drunk on, and after a bad experience I was put off it for years. I have to be careful about making it my drink of choice, as too much of it makes me maudlin. But in moderation, and bearing in mind my content state of mind and need to be relaxed with my workload, then it seems like the right drink for me.

Enough alcoholic ramblings...

My wonderful SP7 sent another present right on cue. She has a great sense of timing, and it was there when I got home on Wednesday (along with the promise of gin and pizza). When I'm near my camera I'll take photographic evidence. :)

Saturday, February 18, 2006

it's about time

Soundtrack: Sunshine Pop radio via

I've been quiet on the knitting front as I've been beavering away with not much to report. But finally! I've finished the clapotis. Here it is pre-blocking on my bed right now.

Hopefully you can see how pretty the colourway is, and maybe appreciate how long it took me because it's so huge. And thankfully I'll be wearing it like a scarf, so you can't see the mistake. But bugger, I've mentioned the mistake now. I might as well show you what's been making me cry.


I was knitting away in France and noticed at one point that I had one extra stitch. I couldn't figure out where it started, but didn't think it mattered because as long as I do about a bit of strategic 'knit 2 together', everything will be fine. But I was wrong.


I've taken months on you, you swine. I've spent a fortune on you, you swine. I loved you. I will be tidying you up and sewing in a squillion ends because of the stupid number of balls you made me buy (6, grumble grumble). And now you do this to me. Swine.

Ah well, the way I'll wear it no one will notice. And I was spurred on by two extremely emphatic compliments about the piece, and the colours. It'll be fine.


In other knitting news, I'm still here knitting the SP7 secret knitalong. This last bit is taking me a bit of time because I haven't printed off the instructions, so knitting it depends on when Thom's not using the laptop. But here it is as it stands right now.

I'm not sure what it's going to be yet, and I can't get a very good picture of it for you to guess either, but it could make a nice front to the possible cushion I might knit with the yarn I got for Christmas.

It's amazing how much knitting I've managed to do this week. Interesting, if you consider that I have a job interview that I'm meant to be preparing for. Not that knitting is a tool for procrastination, of course. Oh no.

I have a job interview on Wednesday which ticks off one of my new year's resolutions (shoddy considering the only other resolved resolution is washing my jumpers. Oops). It's a scary interview that will take half a day and needs me to write a scary presentation. And it's an important interview because although it's not a progressive career move in terms of my grade, it is in terms of prospects, and a huge learning curve as I'll be doing something I only do a little bit of in my job. And as much as I enjoy my current job (when I'm busy), I have been doing it for nearly 6years and there's absolutely nowhere for me to go, and no room for promotion. Wish me luck!

Thursday, February 16, 2006

obligatory post about Valentine's Day

Soundtrack: Super Furry Animals - Love Kraft

On Valentine's Day I was going to post a little about how Thom and I don't do Valentine's Day, and how it doesn't matter blah blah. But Thom only went and surprised me with this magnificent gift from Lush. Well I won't say that I wasn't chuffed to bits! Bless him.

What I was going to write, but stupid work got in the way, was the story of how we got together. I feel like being soppy.

I first met Thom in December 2003 at a Belle & Sebastian gig. We both post on this website and we were having a bit of a B&S fan meet-up. We'd sent the odd personal message to each other, so it was good to meet him at last. He was weaing a cyberdog t-shirt with a dot matrix scrolling message on the front - like you get on tube platforms. During the gig Thom changed the text to say 'Sharon loves Stevie' (Jackson, B&S guitarist) as I have a bit of an infatuation. Thom kept holding it up during the gig and the band noticed and pointed it out. It turned me into a giggling teenager again! Thom had to leave early to get the last train home, and I went to the aftershow party where I actually ended up talking to Stevie Jackson about how fantastic Frankie Valli and ELO are. Stevie thought the scrolling sign was funny.

I next met Thom in March 2004. That weekend was a whirlwind, as it was the weekend before my birthday, and there was a lot of drunkeness. Thom was there with his psycho girlfriend. I remember sitting down next to him, realising it was his girlfriend's seat and saying I'd move. 'Don't bother, I'd rather speak to you'. Hehe.

Things started picking up pace from there... emails started increasing in frequency, we started going out socially, relationships ended, surprise mix CDs were sent, dancing at HDIF and The Penelope Tree, going to see The Features, record shopping together, goodbye kisses on the cheek, and then onto profuse texting. Well you know what it means when you start texting all the time... I went home for the Spring Bank Holiday and we were at it all weekend. On my coach back to London Thom moaned that he had no one to go to the cinema with. I cheekily suggested that I could go with him if he didn't mind waiting. We arranged a 'date' for later that week. But two days before that, our friend Ed invited us to a barbecue in Maidenhead.

Thom spent the night drinking illuminous tropical cordial and I spent the night getting tipsy with nerves... We were outside in the garden, and everyone had headed inside... Nearly two years on from that night we haven't looked back. :)

Monday, February 13, 2006

things that make you go ewwww

Soundtrack: The Organ - Grab That Gun

Our shower/bath fills the length of the bathroom, and in each corner of the bath we have a standing unit which holds our shower gels and that.

I was in the shower last week and noticed that on Thom's side, the bottom had what looked like some badly pressed in putty to keep the unit standing in place. It was a discoloured white colour, the kind of colour putty turns when Southern water has been spraying on it for a long time. It was indented in the middle as if someone's thumb had tried to press it into place. It was such a botch job, i couldn't believe I hadn't noticed it in the 6months I'd been living there, but didn't think anything else about it.

Yesterday I cleaned the bathroom, and even had a try at bleaching the putty a little, but it wasn't changing. Last night Thom decided to have a bath. I was sat downstairs watching Corrie and eating a yoghurt, when Thom called out 'Sharon, you've got to see this. It's disgusting'. I didn't want to go and look at something disgusting whilst half-way through my yoghurt, but he was freaking out so much I thought I better.

It turns out that what I thought was putty was actually funghi. Worse than that, it was 2 fully-fledged MUSHROOMS! We had to scrape it out with a fish knife which I promptly threw away. I don't think this will do much in my campaign to convince Thom that mushrooms are yummy. In fact, I'm not sure I have the stomach for them anymore myself...

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

get rhythm when you get the blues

Soundtrack: Johnny Cash - American IV: Man Comes Around

You can't have failed to notice the recent Johnny Cash revival, mainly due to the release of the Walk the Line biopic last week. I was reading a lengthy article about the great man in Word Magazine this morning, and it got me thinking about my Johnny Cash-associated memories:

1. Going to a dodgy club in Shoreditch on the day he died. This club played a lot of 'electroclash' (remember that?) and choons of that ilk. And then in tribute to Cash they played Get Rhythm. The place erupted.

2. Having a bath while listening to Man Comes Around for the first time, and being moved to tears upon hearing his rendition of First time ever I saw your face.

3. Sat on a nightbus back to Tooting with my sister. A girl - a complete stranger - sat in front turned around and insisted I listened to the song she had on her Discman. It was 'I hung my head', again off Man Comes Around. She said she had never heard a song like it. She said she had had the song on repeat for the whole jouney, and she just had to share it with someone else.

4. I Walk the Line being played at my grandad's funeral.

Monday, February 06, 2006

it's oh so quiet

Bjork's Army of Me is on the radio right now. Which reminds me. Last night I had a dream that Bjork's latest 'incarnation' was that of a transexual.

In my dream she stepped over me (I was lying down for some reason) and I did a double-take. I sat up to find Bjork with a shaved number 3, looking quite androgynous in her thick-knit olive green farmer's jumper, and with a bum fluff moustache from the steroids she was evidently taking.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

Big Brother is watching you

Soundtrack: Mike Nesmith - Nevada Fighter

While I was on holiday I finished Orwell's 1984. The book had unbelievable foresight, but the thing that astounds me most is the linguistic effect it had on the world. In the last week alone I've heard the phrases Big Brother (can't escape that one), Room 101, false memories, doublethink, Thought Police... We claimed most things on holiday to be doubleplusgood, except eating out, which for me was very ungood.

I understand that it's France, and I understand that it's quite a carnivorous culture. But even in Benidorm with the intriguing veggie option of 'spring roll and chips', I didn't feel on the verge of tears like I did the one time we ate out in France.

We went to a restaurant called Le Bodega. They had a setmeal for 10EUR (bargain!), and although you had to have what was on it, Verna said it was usually vegetable soup to start, a side salad, and they could whip up an omelette no problem. Fine by me.

We wandered around the Lannemezan Farmer's Market before lunch, and oh my god, I've never seen a display of vegetables like it! Garlic the size of my head, tempting beetroot and various kinds of squash. I was quite optimistic about the lunch after seeing that the region loves its veg. Then off to lunch.

The starter soup is brought out: chicken noodle. More for Thom then.
Can they replace the chicken main course, and rustle up a plain omelette instead? Completely out of the question. Oh, ok. I'll have some sautee potatoes then (cooked in animal fat by the taste of them).
I'll try some salad from the buffet... Half the salads had meat in them. The vegetarian salads (mushrooms, eggs, cous cous) had all run out. Will you be bringing more out? No. So it's all the veg smothered in mayonnaise then. I really am not a fussy eater, but if there's one thing I can't stand in life, it's mayonnaise. It's the gloopiness and slimy texture. Urgh. So there I was, filling my plate with beetroot, cucumber, celeriac and carrot, all doused in mayonnaise. I sat down so downhearted, I was on the verge of tears. In my 5years of being veggie, I've never felt so embarassed, so fussy, and such a hindrance as I did at that meal.

Still, the creme caramel was to die for.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

welcome home

I've come home to what appears to be a parallel universe.

The Arctic Monkeys are number one all over the shop and The Flaming Monkeys have a huge article in the Telegraph. The Flaming Monkeys are half responsible for the most ridiculous gig we've ever played; the landlord banned them from playing in her pub because they were underage (by 5years) and we ended up winging an 'Another Brick in the Wall' singalong with the scallies of West Kensington. In the meantime The Flaming Monkeys go on to support Kaiser Chiefs...

Rock'n'roll, eh? Watch out for The Gresham Flyers being re-christened The Gresham Monkeys in the near future.

I'm back from France, but considering buggering off back over there now. I'm about to head off to tonight's gig at The Pleasure Unit (COME!!) and I will update about knitting and lugeing tomorrow.


Friday, January 13, 2006

you're my pride and joy etc

Soundtrack: The Tubes - White Punks on Dope

I'm not doing well. I've ruined one of my resolutions already. It looks like we're not moving to Ealing now. There's as many reasons to do it as there are to not do it, and unfortunately common sense has prevailed and made us realise we can't really get what we want for our budget. I'm very sad about it, as Ealing seemed lovely, if only because it had two waffle shops. I'm sure it's not forever, it's just not do-able right right now. :(

So I remain in Datchet, which is nearer to Windsor than Slough, and not in Slough, honest. I like Datchet (and Windsor, and Slough), so I'm not particularly sad. But it will be hard getting used to the fact that I'm staying in a sleepy village whose last train from London is at 11, compared to the bustling life Ealing had to offer.

I was just checking the blog stats, and was amused to see that someone came here when seaching for 'Please bomb Slough'. Please don't. At least wait until I've bid it adieu.

Monday, January 09, 2006

god only knows

Soundtrack: The Beach Boys 25 Years Together

I'm off work sick today. I was going to the hospital for a follow-up, but normal, check-up. I called the hospital on Friday to ask a simple question and was told I would have to have minor surgery. Thankfully, they decided not to give me surgery today on account of me being a wimp, so now I have to make another appointment (no doubt waiting another 3months) and they're going to do it under general anaesthetic instead. I still had done what I originally went in for, so I'm sat here on the sofa under a duvet. Thom took the day off to look after me, and has treated me to Krispy Kreme(s) (we went when the light was on so got 2 free!), pizza and "The Beach Boys 25 Years Together" on DVD. Really, there is no better way to recuperate than this DVD.

The gig, filmed in Waikiki, was to celebrate The Beach Boys' 25th Anniversary. Filmed in Waikiki, because it's home of the surf, innit? This is regardless of the fact that Dennis 'the dead one' Wilson was the only surfer in the band, but anyway. Do you like tenuous links? Then this is the DVD for you.

Ah, but I can tell you're not convinced... I don't know about you, but when I buy a live DVD, I want:

Topless middle-aged men with only a lei to cover their modesty: Check
'Beautiful' 80s babes in illuminous bikinis: check
Poodle perms (men and women): check
Audience members with a parrot on their arm: check
Such luminaries as Gloria Loring, Jeffrey Osbourne, Three Dog Night (well, two of 'em), Patrick Duffy and the hilarious Joe Piscopo doing a Bruce Springsteen impression: check
Belinda Carlisle, described by Thom as 'wrapped in a snail': check
Proof that cameltoes existed in the 80s: you got it

FACT: There were no beautiful girls in the 80s

Yes, this DVD really was the best medicine. And if all that wasn't enough, you had the onstage rapport. The Beach Boys took turns, line by line, to interact with the audience. The fact that you could see Brian's eyes move from side to side doesn't mean he was reading an autocue, does it? Give over, it was all said with feeling. I particularly liked Brian's tribute to his dear brother Dennis: "We love you man, and we. Want you to know. That you'll be with us wherever. We go."