Monday, January 26, 2004

"It should have been £55 but then went down to £27.50, then it was halved again and then put on the 50% off rack and I took it to the counter and it went through at £6.85! Wow!"
Have just tried to look up events information via Google for “the Brutish Library.” I cancelled my misspelled search before anything came up and now I’m in a quiet patch in my morning, I’m burning with curiosity to put it through again and see what online delights appear.

Speaking of events, a certain few have occurred since I last wrote here: Chinese New Year celebrations with my family and Taxloss last Thursday went very well, with the Girl Toddler wreaking cutesy mayhem through the flat in an embroidered, padded silk outfit while the grown ups went bass fishing (via the Dreamcast) and ate lots and drank lots and were noisy and lively as New Year celebrations should be. Year of the Monkey is my year and it only rolls around every 12 years so we shall see what happens between now and January next year.

Friday, I had a day of intense sales shopping and treating myself which included getting my haircut, two pairs of brand new shoes (one pair bright red and shiny and very pointy! IlovethemIlovethemIlovethemIlovethem), a faintly utilitarian / Oriental looking silk jacket, new trousers and a comedy knitting kit with sparkly knitting needles and enough wool and directions for a pair of stripy legwarmers. I’m aiming to have them finished before the weather turns so I get a chance to wear my handcrafted woollen gear or else face a summer of innovative and faintly ridiculous 101 Other Uses for Your Legwarmers. I would wear them to my dance course but as it is a fairly serious, grown-up dance centre, I don’t think I should go prancing in, high-kicking and shouting “Let’s do the show right here!” as I slide about energetically on the bonnet of a parked taxi. Um. No.

Saturday was spent mincing about the market and libraries, breaking in my lovely new shoes and the evening saw me and Taxloss in our local having a very quiet drink, going over some brochures for evening courses (we’re like that, sorry) when suddenly it became distinctly less quiet with the arrival of a quite dishevelled and worse for wear couple, followed swiftly by a group of policepersons who swooped upon them after the bar staff found them paying with cards obviously not their own. The lady of the couple had scarpered by then and the man was left behind to be searched, claiming loudly that his lady friend was a prostitute and actually someone he had never met before coming to this pub together and he didn’t know her name or address at all. Hmmm. Lots of holes in that story, lots.

Speaking of holes, I started and finished Holes this weekend and highly recommend it: coincidences, curses, serendipity and the effects of the past on the present crop up and occur delightfully in this deceptively simple and understated kids’ book. The twists and turns and revelations (of which there are many) aren’t trumpeted and heralded by glaring signs shouting “This is a twist / turn / cunning and unexpected revelation!” as done so often in other kids’ books but instead allowed to come through the action, with every piece of the puzzle falling into place almost without the reader noticing, which makes the whole (hole) experience so much more enjoyable. Read it: it’ll take you the length of a train journey or an afternoon in bed with the sniffles.

Sunday saw my Bro visiting for lunch and much food was consumed, DVDs were watched and a few rounds of soul-destroying Pop Idol were played on the PS2. I never thought Britney could be done worse than by Britney herself but witnessing Taxloss maul her already heinous “music” to the point of making bats cry and block their ears to the accompaniment of truly awful and inappropriate cockernee knees-up 4/4 piano… well. It’s not nice. I am doubtful that Bro will be chasing us for return of this thing.

While I’ve been oozing my vapid mind-drool about shoes, Holes, holes, legwarmers and Pop Idol, Taxloss has been discussing politics and personal choice. I recommend a close read: he’s terribly clever, and so is the Conservative American he is currently in dialogue with, which makes very interesting blog tennis.

Off to the theatre this evening and have just committed myself to an evening of jazz for Wednesday – in my recent thinking on revamping this blog, perhaps I could start running an arts review diary and keep my hand in with the critical / analytical work I did before I became a worker drone. Readers: whaddya think?

Monday, January 19, 2004

"Now the Swedish housewife need not walk to the Congo everyday in her own kitchen! Northern Italy will do."
I highly recommend Kitchen Stories, a charming and totally bonkers Swedish film about… kitchens. And how people use them. And what happens when a neutral observer of domestic life is himself observed and where that neutrality goes once both parties’ basic humanity is acknowledged. I saw this film yesterday with Taxloss and we both thoroughly enjoyed this gentle, charming and mad film. It’s got the same look and feel of Fargo – lonely, snowy landscapes, the sense of isolation and solitariness, but with the tender, heart-warming loopiness of Amelie (if you can imagine it). A very simple, basic, satisfying film that shows how simple, basic and satisfying human interaction can be. Perfect for a quiet Sunday evening or rainy Saturday afternoon, if you’re feeling a bit lonely or have lost faith in the niceness of people.

Warning: this film will make you want black bread and tar-like coffee. And boiled eggs. And a big smelly pipe to smoke in a battered wooden chair while looking grim. And slices of mysteriously squishy pastel pink sausages. And lashings and lashings of pickled herrings. Oooh. Herrings. Yeah.

In other news, it is Chinese New Year this weekend! Kick off on Thursday and it's red envelopes, massive, noisy meals, fire crackers, burning incense and lots of new… things until the novelty wears off. Catch this if you can, tonight and every night until Thursday – certainly very interesting and I’m not saying that just because I know the two blokes, especially the taller one, you know, the one who looks like a Chinese Elvis.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

"So there I am, back of the cab, both of them got their laughing gear round my old single barrel pump action yoghurt rifle."
In bed, Taxloss turns to me and tells me he took the "Which Character from The Office are You?" and discovered he is Finchy. It's so wrong, I am still speechless. Finchy?

FINCHY?

In the way these sort of TV-based personality tests lead you to thinking really deeply and analytically about yourself and friends, I thought about who I would be. Since my unpleasant experience at the Office of Doom, I am prone to thinking that I am Dawn but would like to be Jennifer, the no-nonsense boss of the unpleasant David Brent. I immediately went online and took the test this morning and was surprised by the result. Hmmm.

Tell me who YOU are in The Office.

In other news, I'm off to a new dance course and will be going in at a higher skill level. I am apprehensive but itching to jump around and fling myself about again. Woo, I say - with a faint quiver of nervous tension. Ice packs, bandages and paracetamol on standby.

Tuesday, January 13, 2004

"..."
Observation:
I was on the Tube this morning and I spotted two boys having an apparently very animated conversation further down the carriage. They were late teens, in baggy jeans with a chain on the beltloop, big hoodies with the hood drawn up over baseball caps and waving their hands about in what looked like traditional gangsta rapper hand signals. I listened out for their voices, expecting some sort of glottal, South London incoherence but couldn't hear anything. Then I realised they were talking in sign language and were struggling a bit as neither had a hand free to hold on to something while the train moved.

Thought it was worth a comment: easy to make assumptions, eh?

Short Description on How I Am Feeling, Interpreted by Kittens
I am feeling a bit low and blue at the moment and have been bad-tempered and grumpy since the New Year. Can't really say why, though January and February often have this affect on me. I have no strict resolutions for 2004 and perhaps I should have set some for myself then I might have avoided this period of vague and unformed dissatisfaction with myself and what I do. Down as I am, I'm trying very hard to remind myself that this can't last forever, and that I must turn to my loved and loving ones instead of turning on them.

In the meantime, I must try not to eat to cheer myself or turn to drink or let my thoughts sink to doing something silly. :: Sigh :: I can't wait for January and February to pass and for hte days to get longer and brighter so that I might return to being my usual harmless, fluffy and lovable self, inquisitive, alert and a little less hard on myself.

I suppose, for now, I just need to chill out and relax, which is notoriously difficult for me to do as I am prone to being highly-strung.

Oh well... things like this restore a little faith in the good of the world.

Friday, January 09, 2004

"One day, a kind neighbour bought me eight magnificent mackerel she had just caught straight from the sea. They were the freshest I had ever seen, their bellies iridescent in sky blue and pink: there was even lemon yellow amongst the tiger stripes on top. This was exactly what I wanted."
This is rather late but I wanted to leave the link-gathering for a time when all involved have become more accustomed to the idea that Glynn is no longer with us. It was a shock as I'd not really seen much of my old school pal Lucifer during 2003, it being the year of rather large events for both him and me, and the last distinguishable contact I had had with his parents was at his father's self-penned panto "Jack and the Beansprout" almost exactly two years ago (there'd been some contact since then but this is most distinct at time of writing...).

Before Lucifer took off to travel the world autumn 2003, we had a long catching-up chat during which he informed me his father's leaukaemia was still much as it was and I gave not much more thought to it until I got the news while at work from my sister. And Lucifer was back in the country within hours and the mourning began; a tremendously sad time.

I've seen good old Lucifer since the funeral and was immensely pleased to see he had lost none of his enthusiasm and optimism and lust for living life to the full. He reminded me of his father's passion for colour and music and food and wine and company and basically making the most of every moment we have in this endlessly fascinating, interesting and dazzling world we live in - and fabulously, he'll be back travelling again in the Spring. My thoughts go to him and his family at this sad time and to the future too, where there'll be the legacy of Glynn's art and music to fill the space he has left and the brightness and colour to keep us all smiling.

Obituaries

The Guardian

The Times

The Telegraph (edited)

Glynn's blurb for his last exhibition (at the Curwen Gallery)

Thursday, January 08, 2004

"Is it just me, or does this really look like a limb hacked from a particularly ripe corpse?"
It is lunchtime and I am contemplating lunch. However, after surfing the net for food inspiration, I really don't want to put anything in my mouth. I like cooking, I love cooking and will happily flick through cook books for hours at a time considering what culinary delights to whip up next. But I have never ever ever ever considered cooking with crisps, suet, marmite or making jam a main ingredient in any meal.

In all my gourmandising adventures, I have never come across the hideous, stomach-turning "innovation" such as cooking with Dr. Pepper, embedding everything and anything in gelatin (good god no...) or lard. Pure lard.

But at least my loss of appertite can help me on my New Year's resolution to lose some weight! [Note: not real resolution] I'll mosey on over to Weight Watchers shall I and get some cooking inspiration. Oh, hang on - maybe I'll just be so repulsed I'll puke until I'm slim. Weight Watchers - it didn't mean to make people bulimic, but it couldn't be stopped.

And finally, even in my student days, even when I had no joy for standing over a hot stove, slaving over a meal for myself and my loved ones, even before I got over my three-year degree / hangover when i was incapable of preparing anything more complex than a tin of soup and a cigarette, even then... I never stooped as low as these. These submitted recipes actually made me want to cry. The woman who adds slices of cheese to her morning coffee then eats the melted cheese after she has drained the coffee really, really, really deserves a hefty slap.

Ugh. I'm moving to France.

Wednesday, January 07, 2004

"Monkey!"
It's been a busy time and I've not written anything here due to Christmas preoccupations - BUT! A monster update to come, with careful editing to weed out all the boring bits about lying in front of the TV and drooling into the cushions. And then once that is over, I am contemplating a re-vamp of the Avenue, but I'm not sure in what cyber-Changing Rooms direction I want to take it. Sheets of MDF painted lime green stuck together with Blu-tack and Pritt-Stick aint really my thing, though for the sake of change, I may be tempted...

Hello to all my fellow bloggers - Prandial, back in the northern hemisphere, darling Devukha, back in the saddle, Taz, back in academia and of course, my darling, fuzzy, sleepy Ginger Spice. Schnoogles all, and semi-schnoogles to you non-blogging readers. You're going to be electronic lepers soon if you're not careful.

But of course I'll still love you, I'll just have to shun you and wash my hands after every time you cross my path, you effing Luddite scum, you.

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