The only link between that and the rest of today's waffle is that I have been shopping with said grandmother.
I was opining the other night, as per my most recent previous blog, about how sick I am of clothes...mine, and in general...so we decided to shop together today to see if it helped. We only had a couple of hours though, so the experience may well have to be repeated. I continued on my own (after she had to leave in time for school pick-up) until all the shops had shut and now I am absolutely cream-crackered! I rarely go into Newcastle shopping, so it made a change, but I'll have to remember to steel myself for the onslaught next time around!
I bought (in chronological order):
- A pair of shoes...baby pink canvas slip-on thingies with little pictures of headphones all over them. Very cute. I love Office. There were also a couple of other pairs I really liked, but they didn't have the others in my size (damn you mahoofmus plates of meat!). No good heels in at the moment either. I love wedge heels (though not cork ones...the heel has to match the rest of the shoe...I'm so picky! If I buy stilettoes I wear the heels down far too quickly...don't know if it's a fat lass thing?). Wedge heels are supposed to be in fashion...so why can't I find them anywhere? I like to wear wedge heels whether they're in fashion or not (sheep-like fashion is such rubbish!), but you generally can't get them; now they're all over the magazines, but still don't seem to have made it to the shops...not in Newcastle anyway!
- A black t-shirt, also with headphones (and a walkman type thing) on it, and a green t-shirt with leaves and butterflies and such. Not 100% sure on the latter, but it was only eight quid!
- Goodbye Lenin and Hard Candy on dvd...neither of which I have seen, but both of which sounded worth watching.
- A Ramones 2cd set for £6.00...what a bargain! The Machinist on dvd (I watched some of it on the box once, but couldn't keep me peepers open until the end...and it was only £3.00. Speaking of movies on tv, I watched Dogville (in two sittings, as I couldn't stay awake until the end of that either!) recently...thought that was really well made). Roseanne Series One dvd box set...no idea when I will watch that, but it was a fiver, so I couldn't bring myself to leave the shop without it! And Feist (which I shall talk more about later).
- A lightweight black summer jacket (not sure why, seeing as I don't even wear a coat in winter...I just liked it) from H&M (which I still, all these years later, can't get out of the habit of calling Hennes).
Shall we play that shopping game where you have to add to the list and remember it all? Hmmm...maybe wouldn't work quite so well when it's all written down in front of you!
The general crises about clothing are not helped by the fact that smock-style tops and dresses seem to be everywhere and, whilst they are often very pretty, they just really don't suit me. They simply don't flatter the 'fuller figured' lady, and the top part always looks quite ridiculous trying to rein in my rather ample busom (or mammoth jubblies!).
Primark was, as usual, a let down. People rave about that shop...and I want to be able to buy dresses for £4.00! But, no matter how many items I try on, nothing in there ever fits me right. I don't mean that it's necessarily too small, just that nothing fits quite right. Which is a shame, because there was some pretty stuff this time I looked (and it was less scratch-your-eyes-out-jumble-sale than previous visits)...but then I guess that £4.00 or so just doesn't buy particularly exquisite tailoring! Someone want to teach me how to sew and amend?
In addition to Feist, which I bought after hearing it playing in Virgin Megastores (oh corporate wiles!), I have also been listening to Romeo Void's 'Benefactor' and 'Warm, In Your Coat' (they sound, and indeed were, really 80s...but in a good way. Think Blondie/Duran Duran/Lost Boys soundtrack...lots of horns, but with a kind of punk attitude. Difficult to explain...they sound like all and none of these things...well, except for the horn section, that is a fact...as is the punky lead singer wifey!)...and my shopping trip was accompanied by various Le Tigre, at least until my iPod died...damned iPod batteries! I am actually currently (as in right right now) listening to Erase Errata, but with the longest song on a 15 track album coming in at 2 minutes and 55 seconds (and the shortest a mere 47 seconds!) it will be long over by the time I finish this blog!
As for Feist...as per my usual form of taking several days to do pretty much anything, I am still making my way through last Sunday's Observer (and that's even after immediately tossing aside the sport section!). Had I read it before my shopping expedition, I would already have heard of Feist. They liked it. Here is the review:
'On her third album, Nova Scotia-born Leslie Feist has refined the sound of her hectic career thus far into 13 sparkling musical gems. She has cavorted in Berlin with Peaches and toured with vast Toronto alt-rock outfit Broken Social Scene [both of whom I also like - Divinyl], but now, with The Reminder, the 31-year-old has come brilliantly into her own. A quiet confidence fills slower numbers such as 'Limit To My Love', produced by long-time collaborator Gonzales, while the summery verve of '1234' and 'I Feel It All' provides an upbeat counterbalance, Feist's delicate voice, which she damaged as a punk-screaming teenager, beguiles throughout. Wonderful.' Killian [what kind of a name is that??] Fox
Briefly, whilst we are on the subject of music, I am looking forward to getting the chance to check out Datarock (http://www.myspace.com/datarock) at the Freevolution festival on the quayside (should that have a capital 'Q'?). There is, however, no-one playing this year (certainly not that I am familiar with to date) that excites me quite so much as having the chance to see Holly Golightly (for free folks...and she was ace) last year. The previous year I was all revved up for Kristin Hersh, but then she pulled out. MySpace music-wise, I am also quite liking Candypants (http://www.myspace.com/candypants), particularly the song 'Nerdy Boys'; however there is no 'add' (to profile) function against the songs, so they won't be something people will be able to hear me sporting. Think the next profile tune will be 'Power Lunch' by Har Mar Superstar (featuring the ever marvellous Ms Ditto! Grrr!)...really like that at the mo. And I also recently discovered Scream Club (http://www.myspace.com/screamclub), again due to Beth Ditto singing on one of their songs, 'If You Want It'...that's not up on their MySpace page I'm afraid though. I'm also liking what I have heard so far of Remi Nicole...although it may be that it gets a bit annoyingly Lily Allen-esque after repeated listens...not sure yet. Perhaps not something I could do with hearing on continuous play on the radio. 'New Old Days' was fun to hear though...for the referencing...if anyone is of a similar age to me (maybe slightly younger...I don't remember the tv programme 'Woof', as opposed to the book, playing quite such a big part in my upbringing! Maybe 'T Bag and T Shirt'...now you're talking!) you'll probably smile fondly through at least one listen.
Ok, back to the Observer...
(Oh dear, it's actually Sunday now...well, Monday morning in fact! I am SO rubbish!)
The first comment-worthy thing is the article on the Iranian music scene...really interesting reading. In summary, it was about how many types of music are banned...particularly Western music or music that is too heavily influenced by the west. And of course certain themes that do not 'fit' with strict Muslim beliefs also. All homegrown music, in order to have a chance of ever being heard, has to be passed via a strict governing body called something like The Ministry of Culture, a la 1984! Bands have to practice in secret, sound-proofed basements and concerts/gigs are extrememly rare, so the only outlet is often the internet. Even in the occasional concert that is allowed by the authorities, dancing is forbidden (in public in general), and therefore people must remain seated...the band having to stop to remind them if they get too excited. Whilst women are allowed (now) to perform alongside men, they are not allowed to sing solo and may only perform backing, not lead, vocals.
It's amazing to contrast that to the freedoms we are allowed in the world we know...how fortunate we are! Even with an America as seemingly dictated to (think how the media tries to 'scare' people...US news is even worse than in the UK...and far more 'we are the only country worth knowing about in the world') as it is, people still have the freedom to express themselves (almost) however they choose to...lyrically etc. And in terms of what they themselves are able to listen to. An eye-opening article indeed.
The other Observer thing I want to talk about (although there has been a whole new issue since this!) is the Book of Genius. The first thing was their horoscopes bit...what it means to be Taurean (as I am):
"Ruling the neck and voice in the 'heavenly body', Taurus is the sign of the orator"
Oh dear, they've summarised me so succinctly! Apparently:
"A genius was once described as someone with an IQ of over 130, which is also, give or take a point or two, the cut-off point for getting into MENSA. Only 1 in 50 people will qualify."
I don't know what my IQ is (and certainly don't claim to be a genius! Although that could bring us back around to the whole autistic spectrum debate again!), but online tests I have taken in the past (oh, many hours of boredom!) have put me around 130-140 something...between about 136 and 142 I think...it definitely wasn't an odd number. Personally, with a little knowledge of the subject, as someone who has studied psychology, I think the measurement of IQ is pretty bollocks, as it relies on so many other things...learning opportunities, culture, age (although it technically shouldn't) etc. This book on genius also cites The Great Gatsby as such. Am I missing something? I thought it was pretty dull and it left me rather cold. Maybe it takes one to know one eh? Genius that is.
The 'How To Become A Genius' section sees me entirely fooked...1. Get 8 hours sleep per night, 2. Eat breakfast, 3. Practice short-term memory, 4. Exercise, 5. Join a nunnery. None of which I do...or plan to do any time soon! And seeing as I only got 9/20 on the MENSA example test (it was 3.30am people!), I don't think it's something I have to be troubling myself over too much! Although, apparently, that means I'm in "pretty good shape"! It's the maths ones that stump me...it's automatic brain switch-off and shut-down! I object to having to spend the time trying to work them out when I don't enjoy it, so I give up fairly quickly. I also don't know how many yards are in a mile as I am a metric child (see...it's the learning opportunities argument again). This 'do it quickly or don't bother trying at all' ethos is very typical of me. It explains why I never stuck at gymnastics, the guitar, or anything else I wasn't very swiftly good at. A recent analogy is the addiction to online room escape, or point and click, games...I almost always do them with a walkthrough (therefore there's not much point I suppose, other than keeping me busy for a short while), rather than arse about trying to work them out for myself. Same with the mess and general lack of work on my house...it's a 'live in the now' thing...or more something of an inability to consider the future and longer-term consequences.
By the bye (I use the word 'incidentally' far too much!), did you know that Sir Jim'll Saville (who was Bababa...as is "you and you and..."?) is a MENSA member? And a freak?!! Genius, in this case, came in the form of a Louis Therous interview...instant classic! The programme that Mr Theroux had on the box a few weeks back about 'The most hated family in America' was also worth a watch. Apparently all US citizens (apart from the 'cult' themselves, obviously!) are doomed as the country is tolerant of gay people (not that tolerant eh Mr Bush? Mr Schwarzenegger?). So these people picket the funerals of soldiers killed in Iraq as they are fighting for a country that contains, or 'allows', gay people...that was the basic premise as far as I could understand it!
It's available to watch at http://video.google.com/videoplay?docid=-4413388146858417528 if you fancy watching it for yourself...it's well worth a look. In my opinion, their best banner read 'Fags eat poop'...it's a "fact" apparently!
Speaking (ooh, this is tenuous!) of religion...I had a chuckle to myself on the bus on the way back from the aforementioned shopping trip. There was a sign outside a local church which read 'The best vitamin for a Christian is B1'...seriously, who thought that up?
The second half of OM magazine still remains to be read. I had taken it into the bath with me, but it got thoroughly drenched and may no longer be readable! The story is this...there had been a massive wasp in my bathroom for several days (at that point it was last seen nestling inside the neck of a carelessly discarded Kill Rock Stars t-shirt) and I was too scared of it to do anything to move it on other than leaving the window open on the off-chance! Whilst I was taking a bath a fly flew past me and I panicked so much I nearly caused a tsunami and there was water all over the bathroom floor...and OM. I'm sure you wanted to know that. So scared was I that I even looked up the lifespan of a wasp on t'internet...40 days in case you care. Thankfully this one must already have been rather senior and has now expired...phew!
Ok, my last words for now will...not even be my own! It's a quote, again from the Observer Book of Genius, of Leo Tolstoy...on listening to music:
"some strange, delightful feeling fills my soul to such an extent that I lose consciousness of my existence".