Wednesday, 30 September 2009
Wednesday, 23 September 2009
Essentially, what with one thing and another, I've spent the last four days in Newcastle not actually ticking off anything on my to-do list because I keep bumping into people. Which is really nice, but after spending half an hour trying to get from the Union building to where Joan, my bike, was locked up 200 yards away I'm starting to worry about doing any kind of academic work at all...
On the plus side, the other thing I'd forgotten about Newcastle was quite how brilliantly Geordie it is. Sounds stupid, I know, but three months in the south clearly has some impact. I had to slowly wheel Joan down Northumberland Street it was so blimmin' busy. Mainly because there were a group of "cheerleaders" grinding, quite ironically I thought, to dance music containing the lyrics 'I don't mean to be disrespectful'. When you'd got past those there were the Greggs queues, the old lady trolleys and buggies and Primark bags and buskers and the rest. How I'd underestimated the lunch rush I've no idea.
Anyway, onto the market and even before I'd got in a guy came out of his white van to tell me I'd locked Joan up wrongly, as "you'd just have to loop it o'er tha seat, pet, and you'd be haway, like". He was, of course, quite right. However it was most disconcerting to find my independence vanishing before my eyes as he watched me chain her up, only to give his approval from the van afterwards. See, things like that just don't happen in the south. Not in cities, anyway.
This was followed by people taking great interest in my bike basket as a shopping receptacle - the grocery guy packing it for me, whilst saying 'whey aye', a lady half my size apologising as I strode around the market with it, and a few comments on how pretty it was. Joan was touched.
Thus, I cycled home, sweaty after a three month cycling break, in the September sunshine, full of that yummy feeling of Geordie acceptance. Everyone should be as nice.
Monday, 21 September 2009
Sunday, 20 September 2009
Mrs Sloss was one of those iconic teachers that everyone pretends to dislike and yet finds themselves talking fondly of in their spare time. Classics like balancing everything on her bust during demonstrations, to the time she discussed her breast reduction operation (no more balancing), when she compared her daughter's afro hair to that of lambswool, telling me constantly that I needed to grow boobs, making up facts about silk worms, chastising my friend who is now a Central St Martins' womenswear student, announcing loudly at how tight/short/ugly the garment you'd lovingly made was, along with telling me off for taking my mum to see her on parents evening, "oh, she's only sitting here for praise" - mean that a big screen version is totally, totally brilliant. Especially when you'd be as equally shocked, and yet understanding, when they announced a tube of pasta was "as hot as a hard cock".
Wednesday, 16 September 2009
Anyway, there's this really boss quarterly magazine called Ballad Of and despite only just being into its second issue you can buy it at Selfridges and all sorts.
I managed to take over their minds for a couple hours and they hired me as a style columnist. If you like reading about ugly things that amazing people wear, then you can check out September's offering at: http://balladof.blogspot.com/.
Monday, 14 September 2009
The other night in the pub I remember explaining to someone who was propping up the bar that, no, despite my middle-England-middle-class accent and Shire come-from, I have never been skiing in my life and I certainly am not enamored with horses in any way, shape or form. Stinky, foot-treading, constantly-aroused creatures.
Instead of taking up reigns as a pony person, I spent my youth struggling with musical instruments, going to Brownies, eating cake mixture (as previously discussed), drawing incessantly and, as I said to this bloke, "playing with my Dad's cars".
This isn't as rebellious as it sounds. Daddy Bowlface has always had a vintage car in the garage. My siblings and I have always been driven about in them, had naps in the back of them, burnt the back of our thighs on hot leather seats during the summer and distracted DB when he's working on them. Indeed, with one particular model it became more of a game of "how many children can we chuck in the back of this thing?"
The garage has always had that inexplicable smell of car. Which is an amalgamation of oil, leather, hot metal and man-in-overall and is always lovely.
Anyway, since becoming only a temporary Shire resident, there have been fewer vintage car rides, what with one thing and another. I had forgotten quite what an impact a 1936 Frazer Nash would have in our local town.
So, donning several large cardigans and scarves, I squidged into the car and off we went. Getting the odd look from a white van man at a roundabout is pretty much obligatory with these things, so I didn't take much notice.
However, once we'd got into the 'historic centre' of town - i.e, where Woolworths used to be, and general hang out of the elderly - a whole new experience happened. Suddenly, an old man with a flat cap raised his walking stick at us and said "good morning". We didn't know who he was, but clearly the car was a justification for happy greetings.
Then, a herd of trolley-pushers paused, as if struggling to comprehend what the hell was going on when my Dad was parking the beast. It was as if they'd literally never seen something as old as them still working before.
Thus, looks and stares continued, along with cries of "what a lovely old car!" which is quite nice, I suppose. Clearly we brought something into their day, and, on a more sinister note, stunned them to the extent that I could have technically mugged them all by the time the handbrake was up.
I mentioned this to DB when we got home. He seemed most blase about it, "oh yes," he said, "most of them think it's an MG".
Saturday, 12 September 2009
First is the fun game of 'Spot the Politician'. Grandpa Bowlface and I had a good chuckle over this during the sacred meal that is the hour-long, three-course breakfast in his house. I put on at least the equivalent weight of an average pack of lard during my stay with him last week, but found myself easily adapting to sheets, blankets, and 1950s cuisine; hello, boiled onions.
Anyway, here's the fun part: Spot the Politician!
I think Kila Kela may even take him on as his percussionist, chaknow?
Monday, 7 September 2009
That's some serious ribbon-cutting action right there.
There were about 300 people there, at 10.30am on a Sunday, which pretty much sums up the priorities of Shire folk. People hadn't come so much to buy overpriced offal as to gawp at all the other locals, have a gossip, take numerous increasingly-trodden-on dogs out and, the wee 5% that were left, to get some celebrity chef action.
She was literally one of the cutest things I've ever seen. My mum liked her jacket, but a tiny 5'1'' vision in pink was only slightly disappointing in comparisons to my hoping she would have baked her own clothes. After holding a clearly nerve wracking speech about EC funding (to great cheers of 'hear hear' - I can't believe that even happens outside of costume dramas) and pigs etc, we got down to the nitty gritty and pounced on that cake lady.
I'm not that kid with the eyepatch, by the way. She was my competition.It was amazing. She congratulated my mum on covering her cookbooks in plastic, signed them with 'best wishes' (although not 'love', which someone else got...we'll gloss over that), and left a whole lot of joy in my heart that even cake can't reach.
Thursday, 3 September 2009
Wednesday, 2 September 2009
Hell, it's on Twitter, Facebook and everything else.
Tuesday, 1 September 2009
Most people don't like to work on Bank Holidays. In fact, working on Bank Holidays normally comes within those lists of things people hate. Granted, if you work in some large corporate company selling disposable fashion items work in some large corporate company selling disposable fashion items you normally get double pay or something to ease the pain of serving everyone enjoying one massive paid day off. However, it's still pretty painful.
That is, unless, you've not yet reached the gruelling schedule of a nine to fiver, Dolly Parton's epic workplace tune presents a distant, quaint-sounding situation and you don't live for the weekends. For those people, like me, Bank Holidays are just when every road, service and public transport facility is at breaking point in desperate attempt to aid people's optimistic plans for the day.
Therefore, when I was offered to make some cash by working in a sweet shop on the Bank Holiday, I was pretty keen. In fact, that's an understatement. I made sure I'd picked exactly the right kind of vintage floral dress for the occasion, to make the living of the sweet lady dream even, well, sweeter.
Things got even better when it became apparent that, as temporary staff, I had no boring responsibilities such as restocking, cleaning, visual merchandising etc and was literally told to 'make myself sick' on as many free sweets as possible. That, and the nice wad of cash I got shoved before being told to 'close when it gets quiet'. Best negligent boss ever.
So, the afternoon passed fairly quickly, dishing out a few hundred grams of fizzy strawberries here, some white mice there, trying to persuade a small spaniel that flying saucers are much better than they smell, and other such sweet lady duties, all in an increasingly dizzy haze brought on by incessantly inhaling sugar.
Thus, at a slightly premature end to the day - it did get quiet - I headed home with a fairly bad case of post-kid's-party syndrome, caused solely by the combination of too many edible chemicals, and that slightly furry metallic taste which is what your mouth makes when it craves salt. Both were a small price to pay for basically being Mr. Ben for the day. It doesn't stop there, I'm living the dream at NME's offices this week - my inner sixteen year old is LOVING IT.