Friday, 30 April 2010

obligatory library post

OH, look, it's everyone's favourite three words. It can't really come to this time of year (being two weeks before hand-in date and the end of my degree) without a post on the library. Last year there were at least two, and plenty more mentions. I dare say the Robinson Library is feeling a little neglected. This might be why the library computer:
a) initially opened THAT site about Jesus
b) refused to open
c) opened Bowlface but instantly closed it down, THREE TIMES.
d) wouldn't let me sign in.

So, after much technical jiggery pokery I've beaten the system, promised the library it would get its annual post and here we are. I do have some relatively exciting news, however. After three years of university education I have managed to get the locating and issuing of a book down to less that thirty seconds. This is how long it should take, but I'm normally confused by the numbers or too short or looking suspiciously at that other girl from my course lingering around the same section for that one elusive, incredibly popular book on Vikram Seth. Yes, I know what you're upto.

BUT, even more exciting, I've discovered a SECRET LIBRARY ROOM WITH PRIVATE COMPUTER JUST FOR ME. Which means I can blog and check my facebook and do all those other things you're not meant to do because people tut in lovely, peaceful privacy. Shame the keyboard's so bloody loud. Ironically, this is probably the first and last time I'll ever use it, but it's nice to know I've got the best out of my tuition fees.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Dinosaur noise distraction

Um, Avatar, yes?

Yes, I know the 'I've-got-so-much-work-to-do' blog theme is getting incredibly tired now. However, as, unfortunately, Bowlface is musings on everyday activity and having too much work is current everyday activity, it's not going to change for a couple weeks. Yawn.

I'm currently blogging because I'm too distracted by the over loud dinosaur noises emitting from the room next door. My flatmates must have purchased the newly released Avatar DVD and are celebrating. By playing it, rather than making dinosaur noises. Although, having never seen the film (bit like Diana Vickers' Once it sort of passed me by. I was getting excited about Tim Jonze's Where The Wild Things Are and couldn't take any mythical creatures that hadn't been made out of paper mache and fluff) I wouldn't be an expert.

Added to the fact I've sat outside Newcastle's finest independent cinema, The Tyneside, drinking tea with various different friends, all afternoon and that essay on identity and narrative myth is really not being written.

On the cinematic theme, however, VBS have released another Vice Guide To Film (those busy little beavers) and it's on North Korea! My dad travelled to South Korea a bit when I was a kid, and I always confused the two, only realising in the last decade how totally mental it was as a country. Scrap that, only in the last couple years, and only since watching this did I realise how small my knowledge was on the whole affair. My knowledge being that Kim Jong Il was its crazy president who my sister thought was cute after Camp America's recreation of him. He is also a film director though. You should probably watch his monster movie Pulgasari afterwards.

Monday, 26 April 2010

Diana Vickers has my Kigu

I know, right? NEWSFLASH. Regular readers may remember the Kigu fascination last month, and I'm still hungry to run around the house looking like a red panda.  It's taken me a little while to get onto this whole number one pop track thing because I've been boycotting Radio One during the hours of daylight for nigh on five months now. I just love the sound of James Naughtie of a morning, and every now and then I learn something about Darwin or bell ringing. It's great.

Thankfully, I was checking my facebook as a means of procrastination from dissertation editing (having failed to click the 'include footnotes' box I'm over the word count by 1,000 words. I was just going to lie on my form, but now I've cut 300 out I kind of have to get rid of 700 more. Yawn) and fantastically themed blog Video Is My Radio Star alerted me to the new Vickers' video, and amusing commentary.

Had I read the commentary before the video, the blow of Vickers in a Kigu would have been considerably less painful. But, being the reckless and crazy (ha) Literature student I am, I figured I should immerse myself in the 'primary text' before settling down to the 'secondary material'. I'm still recovering now.

Like pretty much everyone situated in the north, I too have a tenuous link to the Vickers. My ex-flatmate's little sister was her best mate. She was meant to come to his grand Lancastrian 21st party but she was too busy performing on X-Factor, so during the cake-cutting ceremony his mum paused the proceedings and asked us all to take out our mobile phones and vote for her. True story.

Anyway, after due warning, should you fancy seeing how Vickers makes a Kigu look 'cool' or 'sexy' or just rips it off to reveal a sequined ballgown, she's riiigghhhttt here (embed disabled. Maybe they realised the Kigu could potentially kill). Expect a fake version in a Primark near you soon, sigh.

Sunday, 25 April 2010

Patiotism fail.

So it was St. George's Day on Friday. Unlike last year, when I was made aware of our patron saint killing dragons by stumbling across a National Front protest underneath one of Newcastle's most prided landmarks, it was an M.I.T (Maternal Inbox Treat) that broke the news, and was, contextually, as unwelcome.

Because, rather than an electronic mail inbox treat, it was a more specific mobile phone inbox treat. The latter, foolishly, is never turned off and, during the hours of sleep, normally lives somewhere near my pillow. Sad admission, yes, but it's because it doubles up as an alarm clock, or something. Anyway, at exactly 10.50am on Friday morning I was re-awoken (double nap morning due to my inconvenient biological alarm clock and having walked into the house five hours previously) with a 'jolly' picture of red and white-clad schoolchildren and the announcement that Mummy Bowlface and her team of education monkeys 'had just made flags, dragons after play!' There is no crueler way to be reminded of the horrific things intoxicants do to your body than to be faced with the glowing energy of youth.

That was the patriotic moment of the whole day. Due to the early arrival of temporary summer yesterday a Blakean outside reading experience, doing my necessary university work whilst enjoying the sunshine, turned rapidly into sitting outside a cafe, with friends, staring feebly at the same book for numerous hours. Then came the I.B.P (Impromptu Barbecue Plan), which relieved work guilt as it was clearly a mission of near-military standards of organisation.

Within two hours we had located and cleaned a barbecue, bought necessary supplies, made a large panful of potato salad and even rallied enough troops to make the whole shindig worthwhile. An emergency late-night excursion for more charcoal briquettes even resulted in a new discovery/gatecrashing of Dexters Grosvenor Dance Centre, complete with ballroom dancing couples and an invitation to learn about lessons. It's not every day such an opportunity arises.

Today's not been much better on the work front. I have, however, caught up with last week's Glee, made chocolate butterfly buns and whipped up a risotto. Considering the dietary habits entailed in the last post, I think this is definitely a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, 21 April 2010

Eye bags

of the guilty kind. From staying up too late drinking. Then too late working because of staying up too late drinking. I know, poor little me.

Summer terms at University comprise of three weeks of poorly attended, half-hearted lectures, insanely repetitive conversations about dissertations/deadlines/stress/ and a simultaneous attempt to squish in as much student fundom before the maturity of graduation arrives. As a result, I'm averaging six hours of sleep a night and suffering. To go from the luxurious slumber and overeating of Shire existence to rolling in and out of bed , surviving on lunches of pick n' mix and greggs sausage rolls and dinners of pitta bread and gin, is a rough slide.

Furthermore, Newcastle is beautifully sunny but deceptively cold. I've been powercycling around just to keep warm after foolishly leaving the house without a coat.

As a result, this little nugget of niche fashion goodness on Vice Style caught my eye. The only similarity being that of the headline theme. However, sleeplessness has clearly been a good thing for Ruth Hogben - give it a couple of months of this fatigue-induced stupor and I'll be taking over the world.

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Dead Zoo

This actually happened.

Bizarrely enough, a whole four weeks has passed and tomorrow I'm back on the National Express to northern civilization. How better to celebrate one final Shire weekend for a while than walking up a ludicrously steep hill, eating a burger made out of deer and visiting a Dead Zoo (Natural History Museum, Tring branch), all of which accompanied by beautiful weather?

The aforementioned weather resulted in some jogging inspiration this morning, and I'm happy to say that it seems the sheep and I may have come to a treaty of peace. No fearful bleats (apart from a stranded lamb; not my fault), no evil stares, and definitely no charging. Score.

Tring's Natural History museum is King of Victorian taxidermy. The Rothschild Family pretty much ruled this area of the Shire, and Walter was a big fan of killing and stuffing animals. All in the name of science, natch - they are arranged in zoological categories and squished into gloomy glass cages. It's ace. On the walls there is evidence of what ol' Walty did with those he chose to keep alive; like attach them to carts, let them roam in his vast estate, or take them to university with him in Cambridge (Kiwis only).

So, after checking up on another of my deceased Kakapo friends, saying yo to his buddy Mr. Kea and then discovering a load of other cool animal stuff I never knew (Elephant Seals are terrifyingly large, there's a cute sea thing called a Topknot, tiny birds were given amazing names and 100-year old Dachsunds are relatively stoutd hunt badgers)I had an informal chat with a smart pin-striped chap who was poking a mangy camel. He did work there.

Apparently, the camel was a potential victim of carpet lice, which like eating dead stuffed creatures as much as they do carpets. The camel might have to go into a giant freezer. This caused a line of questioning about where a new stuffed camel would come from, and apparently underneath the proper Natural History Museum in London there's a sub-world of back-up dead stuffed stuff. Like the less fluffy or cute-faced ones. I bet they just sit there, waiting for the carpet lice to bite so they can have their moment of glory. Whatever, I want to go, it sounds amazing.

In other news, Great Horwood reached local TV news fame this week for an armed siege in the village. There were helicopters and everything. However, judging by the fact that three police cars arrived when someone nicked a bottle of moisturiser off the reduced shelf in Buckingham Tesco Express a while back this isn't wholly representative.

Also, Nigel Farage, smarmy leader of UKIP who is challenging little speaker Bercow to Shire constituency came to our house. Daddy Bowlface refused to see him after Farage's nasty attack on the loveable President of the European Council 'Haiku Herman' Van Rompuy. Remember Nikki off Big Brother? He's pretty reminiscent of her in it.

Mummy Bowlface, however, quizzed him on how he was personally going to reduce her class sizes whilst telling him about her imaginary Polish friends. He didn't seem to understand that her village school is oversubscribed from inbreeds, rather than illegal immigrants. Arguably, if he had, he would have been wasting his breath. It's what isolation from Europe would result in eventually, after all.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Bowlday Sweat


Believe it or not, it's a year today since the first ever bowlpost. I know, gone fast, huh? No better way to celebrate, I thought, than reporting from the front line of post-run sweat. Mmmm. Birthday sweat for Bowlface, in honour of guilty pleasure song extreme Jeremih, 'Birthday Sex'. I think I'm pretty much the only person who's not fourteen and potentially 'gangsta' who wishes this was my ringtone, but hey, it's Bowlface's birthday and I can make it cry if I want to.

So, up-to-the-minute reportage on the Shire sheep front. I'd say unnervingly placid, but also present were a couple tractors and farmers. So maybe they were on good behaviour. Otherwise, there have been some lamb reshufflings, with new tiny baby lambs in field number three, and bleaty mcbleat lambs having mysteriously enlarged since Monday in field number six. The story continues.

Yesterday, however, saw my feelings to such livestock weaken as a gatecrashing of Stowe (stately home/mega public school) gardens resulted in some suitably posh lamb activity. They were fluffy, apparently innocent and did all the right kind of bleating, as in for their mums, rather than at me. Fortunately, when it came to scrambling over the Ha-Ha (if in doubt, there's an appropriate wiki entry here) there were no sheep nor official National Trust-looking types about to bleat, so a shred of dignity was maintained.

In a similar mode of 'days out', a.k.a, how best to avoid urgent deadlines in the name of family quality time, today the Bowlface family embarked upon Fulham Palace Gardens. Sad to say, no ancient wall activity was involved as it is entirely free and legal to enter the aforementioned, apart from perhaps those doing community service in the flowerbeds. Lambs replaced with small mini-Boden babies, and a fancy cup of tea in an oversized Georgian room later and I was all set for being Jane Austen in a breton top for the rest of the afternoon.

One last birthday treat for Bowlface regulars (because I'm guessing you can't get Jeremih's greatness out of your head) is another fantastically off-the-wall video launch from VBS's Vice Guide To Film.
Basically, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, Russia's film-makers went freedom crazy after 60 years of state-approved Socialist Realism. Now known as Parallel Cinema, VBS's Shane Smith travelled to Moscow to interview its founders. There's a lot of pretending to be animals (probably what I've been doing for the last week, judging by the high sheep content) and booze, and as well as being a nice way to pass the time you can impress film geeks in the pub with all your new found knowledge.

Sunday, 11 April 2010

Good News: no more groundhog day. Bad News: sheep will be my downfall

out. to. get. me.

So, it's almost a week on from when I feared my life had sunk into a inescapable cycle of repetition. I am glad to say that I don't think I will be stuck experiencing exactly the same situations over and over and over again. This also thankfully means that anyone reading this blog won't either. Phew.

Non-repetitive activities have involved American Apparel frequenting; slightly terrifying current affairs exams; trying to learn about current affairs for current affairs exams; hosting wild parent-free shire house shindigs; spending too much time standing up in Bicester Village and other more life affirming activities like first-time shopping for 'pants-magique' in a necessary Mother-Daughter ritual. With the exception of mentioning that QVC lies and that my podge did not disappear along with the capacity of my lungs, the less said about over sized, brutally lycrastic cycling shorts, the better.

Other evidence that my life has not turned into groundhog day comes in the changing forms of anxiety I cause amongst livestock during cross-country runs. For one, the aforementioned bleating has got considerably louder, to the extent it can be heard two fields away from the location of the sheep. But secondly, I seriously think they're onto me. On Tuesday there were six large ewes banked up in a wall of farmy fluff against the gate I had to move to get into the next field. After staring them out to no success I dived in amongst them. They reluctantly shuffled about, but they'll be plotting their next move, you wait. The lambs have started ganging up too. They may only be a foot and a half high but en masse I could be trampled to minor injury.

It is mainly this increasingly threatening behaviour that has resulted in me sitting here in 'sportswear' (next to the onesie, my second favourite house-confined outfit. Oh god, so comfy), listening to a running playlist, blogging, rather than actually taking to the fields. My reasoning being that darkness would fall by the time I returned, but that is clearly not going to happen, and it is evidently a beautiful evening. Secretly, however, I'm scared of what the sheep might be upto at night time. Evening-sleepy sheep are arguably more threatening than dozy morning sheep, they might have constructed a trap or something.

Maybe it's because I LOLled at roadkill earlier. It was, naturally, a pheasant. However, unlike most, which have mangled wings and blood etc etc, this one was lying dead straight (ha) looking skywards. Like he was sunbathing. He totally died for laughs.

In the meantime, I'm going to make like a gothy Sue Sylvester. (All my 'sportswear' is black so I can pretend I'm a ninja). Tomorrow, sheep, just you wait.

Also, anybody noticed something new? Hell yeah! The Shire has been officially located on Bowlface. Within the happy vagueness of a 'Vale' however - don't want any cyber-savvy woolly things to start uniting forces.

Monday, 5 April 2010

groundhog day

I reckon that if an artistic psychologist (ironically what I thought I was aged 17 - really should've done a project on that instead of making Kirchner-inspired lino prints of my face) was to do a diagram of my brain there would be a considerable section marked 'stuff I'd never have believed if you told me a year ago'. I had one of these moments today. Except, rather than being all 'wow, such amazing and unexpected progress!' it was 'ohemmgeez, I can't believe this sense of deja-vu is so horribly real'. Unfortunately, this is normally the case. However, today took it to a whole new level.

Because, bowlfans, this moment of deja vu is ACTUALLY RECORDED IN THE FIRST EVER BOWLPOST. Right here. I actually wouldn't advise you to read it, it's quite average. However, it is a Bank Holiday monday. The weather is distinctly average, and, although no family walk around the village perimeters is on the horizon - thank God - very little has changed. Sure, I've got more hair now, but I'm pretty sure I'm wearing the same cardigan and feeling similarly lardy from too much Shire food.

It gets wierder, though. After feeling smug at having finished my first dissertation draft only six words over the limit, and only one dissertation-related facebook status update, I decide to trot downstairs only to witness a blast from the past. It's also recorded in an early bowlpost. Clearly, a familial de-gunking of the water feature in the garden has become an annual tradition. I even braved the ludicriously unseasonal winds to ask if they knew this was exactly what they did last Easter Monday and they knew and seemed pretty chuffed about it. Maybe I'm odd for getting a bit weirded out about it.

After all, is this the start of a neverending groundhog day? Am I going to find myself encountering the same situations, blogging on the same things, coming out with yet another cringey-mcgee statement that I wished had passed through my brain before my vocal chords? I mean, a year ago today I was totally obsessed with the visiting cat. Today I had to repeatly ignore facebook friendship requests from a considerably inferior cat. Maybe I'm just in an episode of the Truman show. It's bringing a whole new philosophy to light.

In other news, the attentive of you will have noticed a smart new 'graphic' (?) at the top of the blog. Oh Herrow. It's me, with a bowl on my face, drawn by a chum who's tumblr is way more entertaining than this. It's got a better name too (whokilledcockrobin), check it out here. I spent two hours this morning battling with hmtl to get it as a dominating background. Once I'd achieved this I realised that its greatness far outweighed the blog content and so went for something a bit more subtle. Like, right at the top where you can't possibly avoid it.

Saturday, 3 April 2010

Online relief for Bank Holiday boredom

Oh my, a whole week in the Shire and so little blogging. The activities have been multitudinous, too. I mean, even if being encountered by a field of terrifying P.E teacher-esque (and not the fun Sue Sylvester type) sheep baa-ing at me during a run; being the most outspoken person in a room full of women-only Oxbridge college alumni and having the insides of someone's mouth flicked at me with a cotton bud whilst serving them behind a till weren't enough, I've also done some quite credibly cool stuff too.

But enough of that. That's not what Bowlface is for. If this blog actually showcased all the fun flea markets and male model-stalking and literary festival and top knot discovering I'd been doing to give me a load of cool points then the apparent charm of these vanity-inspired splurgings would disappear, right?

As a result of the above, temping in various high-end retail outfitters all week, and, more to the point, a load of really distractingly awesome stuff going on with the Vice site, Bowlface has been neglected. The Noam Chomsky interview was pretty brutal to the pile of real work I had to do, but this chappy really has caused some problems. It's mainly because I'm part-boy that this ticks boxes, as I'm not really one for the bulging muscles, but '>VBS meets...David Haye is like BBC2's Who Do You Think You Are but with a boxer and Senegal and it's much more interesting than working in retail.

For the rest of me, which is part-girl, Vice has launched a new style-dedicated site, which is ace, even if I didn't so love torturing myself by looking at pictures of beautiful people I will never be. So, any of you who still keep claiming it's sexist/producing porn for scene kids can eat your hats. Or buy better ones, after having a look at it... (although there still are a load of tits on show).

Get excited for a full Bank Holiday Shire report, Bowlfans!