Friday, April 20, 2007

Further seemingly arbitrary musings...

I have been intending to post a new blog for some time now...I am such a slow poke (and tend towards laziness if left to my own devices!). I haven't even told you all about the Dolly concert yet have I? Fear not, I shall get to that.

But where to start? Well, I think the thing that is most on my mind at the moment is that I am supposed to be going on holiday tomorrow...Krakow for 5 days. My 'travelling companion' is not well and cancelled on me yesterday, so that sucks majorly! I've had it booked since January and was really looking forward to a break away...but not really feeling brave enough to go on my own at the moment. Gutting eh? I was perked up slightly by getting tickets (and a compadre) for a day festival in May, at which Gossip will be playing...oh yay! I am already slightly moist with anticipation!

I've been aware of Gossip (or The Gossip, as they were then) for a number of years, through my penchant for the record label Kill Rock Stars, but they have never totally made their way under my radar and I had not really given them the attention they deserve until I couldn't avoid doing so, because suddenly they are everywhere! I heart Beth Ditto...she is currently number one on my wish list...given that is unlikely I'd love to get my hands on a copy of her spread (fnar) for On Our Backs in June-July 2003...seems impossible to get hold of, even on eBay! I'd also totally love a white razor blade necklace as designed for her by Onch...sadly my budget will not stretch to spending quite so much on just one item! That's why this is called a 'wish' list! The next item on my wish list is some kind of coffee table book of Izima Kaoru's Landscapes With A Corpse, but that doesn't seem to exist! I saw him featured on Jonathan Ross' Japanorama (great show) and his work is fascinating.
The title says it all really, but basically he asks fashion models how they would like to die and shoots them as a corpse in that environment...truly on the very line of crossover between fashion and art. Ooh, speaking of which, I wonder if I can persuade my pal to check out the Gilbert and George exhibition with me whilst we are down in the big smoke? Worth an ask...if either of us are even vaguely physically capable of it the day after a hectic festival!

I did start a new blog some time ago, but my computer shut down and wiped it (I tend to leave them unfinished for days on end!). That started with a link to The Northern Life on YouTube:

The rest of the episodes can be found through there as well (I tried to post this first one as part of my blog, but from the preview it doesn't look like it's having any of it). Thoroughly amusing...although I am rather slow and it took me truly ages to realise that it was a 'mockumentary' was still funny, I just initially thought it was about a real northern charva! It's all worth checking out, Buzzcocks' video diaries et al. Whilst on YouTube, I also found a video for Lily Allen's Smile in 'Simlish'...very clever, and clearly way better than the original! The 'Will It Blend' series is also pretty cool.

Whilst I'm merrily adding in links, I shall give one final plug to Aliens From the Planet Dave:

The guy's website is also worth having a look at...if purely for his use of the word 'twunt'! He's a cool little dude I reckon:

The Nick Bounty games 'The Goat in the Grey Fedora' and 'A Case of the Crabs' are also pretty good (gorgeous looking), as are Johnny Rocketfingers (especially Part 2)

and Arrival In Hell (took me ages to find the name of that one!). Ok, so my time off work hasn't been spent all that productively, but I've kept myself busy whilst being holed up in the house for days on end by myself...these sites really can take up hours of your life!

I have two major beefs for this blog. The first is, again, internet-related. What does all this 'Active-X control' crap I'm getting lately mean? All I understand is that it causes my computer to freeze and all of my open internet tabs to shut down...which is thoroughly annoying if I'm in the middle of something. The second rant is brief, yet important. It concerns smoothies. Y'know, the things you drink...if you are that way inclined. Particularly supermarket bottled ones...why is every flavour, no matter what it pretends it is, banana? All very annoying. Tenuously linked to that particular rant is what I was saying the other day about 'sodas' (read 'pop'!) in America...they are SO good! I want to be able to buy rootbeer and Snapple and grape soda...and any number of other wonderful things...from the corner shop! And I'd like England to have Jamba Juice stores too please...yum yum!

Back to music. In addition to my general excitement about being able to catch Gossip (having missed out on tickets to T in the Park), I am also off to see Patti Smith (legend!)...with my dad of all people! Following that we have a gig with both Joan As Police Woman and Bat For Lashes, which I reckon will be seriously worth checking out...and in July there's Nanci Griffith. All at the Sage incidentally. I do love mixing up the styles! The last gig was Camera Obscura (couldn't find anyone who fancied coming/could come along to see Polly Paulusma at the Cluny with me, so missed out on that one), who were really very good. And I liked the lead singer girl's outfit very much. One of their songs now features on a Florence and Fred at Tesco's all since I made them cool by going to see them y'know (never mind the back catalogue of about a squillion albums!)! (When I was in San Francisco last summer we were in this chi chi boutique in Cow Hollow...perusing their wares, which were ludicrously priced...and I was gushed over (not literally peeps!) by two of the shop assistants for my ever so stylish petrol blue handbag. It cost me £12 from Tesco...yay me! I so should've pretended that it was by some fab new British designer ("You mean you've never heard of F&F??")...instead I boasted about what a bargain it had been!).
Prior to that (Camera Obscura...keep with it!), we had Faithless and Dolly Parton within a couple of days of each other. Faithless was a really fun night (despite the ludicrous number of aggressive charvas), but was, of course, somewhat overshadowed by Queen Dolly herself. Oh my, she was A-MAZING! Seventy-two quid for a ticket, but I would have paid it again had you asked me there and then! It was like seeing Elvis or fact, there was a point at which Elvis did come on stage to duet with Dolly (ok, so I don't think it was the real Elvis like!). Her voice is still crystal clear, and she thoroughly impressed me with the number of instruments she turned her hand to...guitar, banjo, piano, some kind of recorder/flute/penny whistle job...all from a woman who's only really expected to be there to sing...and look sparkly and rhinestone-bedecked!

She also did covers of 'Me and Bobby McGee', 'Those Were the Days' and 'Turn, Turn, Turn' which, in my opinion, were canny choices and a nice surprise. She actually introduced one song by saying (I may be paraphrasing slightly) "I'm no Norah Jones, but..."! To be that huge (in a famous sense, before the tit gags come rolling in) and still so self-deprecating? Sadly, my camera ran out of battery before getting to take any photos of Dolly (no, I'm not one of those wankers who sits and watches the whole gig through a camera lens, thus preventing anyone behind them in the audience from doing anything but the same! Tsk...why not actually live life, rather than document something you haven't actually seen properly, because you've been too busy documenting it...where's the joy in living vicariously?! It was a huge, seated gig at the Arena, and I would've only taken a couple)...the view was great though, and I did get a couple of shots on my new, snazzy lomo camera. That is good old 35mm though, so we'll have to wait a couple more photos to see how they (or indeed any of the film, given it is my first roll with my new toy!) turn out. If anyone cares it is a Actionsampler Flash...and I love it! It's so much fun to play around with, and learn to use well (am I getting ahead of myself here?)'s also pleasingly shiny :o)

Oh sweet pumpernickel, I haven't even started on the notes in my phone yet buckle up and get sitting comfortably for the long-haul! Before we move on, I've just remembered something I missed from my American 'corner store' bit earlier on...what on earth is trans fat? It is labelled on crisps and such over there, yet doesn't seem to exist in England! I'm sure that's not true and that we just don't label it...if anyone knows, please tell me, because it's far too boring a thing to be hooving around the internet trying to find out and I'm not sure I care quite that much!

Speaking of trans however, I watched a programme this evening called 'Mr Miss Pageant'. I have lots of things to say about this, mostly because I am confused about what I think of the main guy in it...apologies in advance if I am not over-pc in my thinkings...not out to offend anyone. Feel free to enlighten me if you feel it to be necessary. The main guy we were following, to a contest in Thailand, was from County Durham somewhere and lived full-time as a man, whereas generally the contestants were MTF living their lives as women. What was strange, or more confusing, I suppose, to me was that this man was too scared to go into shops to buy female clothing or shoes, yet said that the eroticism he felt from being dressed as a woman was...well, basically unlike anything else. He even said that he got more turned on by himself, when dressed as a woman, having sex with his girlfriend than he did by his girlfriend, and for this reason needed to be surrounded by mirrors. Is this just the sexualisation of the taboo?
I was confused over whether to think he was 'closeted' about who he was because he felt ashamed or whether he was just living his life as he wanted to, and wanted to keep this thing about himself as 'special' and, fuck everyone else, why do they need to know his business. I, sadly, think it was the former. Hopefully being brave enough to do this programme was a very liberating experience for him...a 'coming out'. By the end he told his's just a shame he felt he had to stew on it for 41 years before getting up the courage to tell her, spending time in London being a 'weekend tranny'. Incidentally, his mother was way cooler than he was! Tee hee.

His whole routine (or 'talent' slot, or whatever) was about being 'caught out' in changing from man to woman...clothes etc. wise, that is, not hormone or surgery-wise. I think it was rather misjudged given the audience this was for...and uncomfortably, even from safely in front of my tv screen, highlighted the problems he had accepting himself. Still, I suppose we've all had them at some time in our one extent or another. I would have liked to have learnt more about the cultural (and religious, if relevant) aspect of the woman from Egypt (who we also 'got to know' a little), who hadn't seen her family in 4 years and wasn't 'allowed' to attend her brother's wedding unless she went as a man. Still, at least it was told from the standpoints of a couple of the contestants, rather than just a 'ha ha, look at the silly trannies' rubbish-fest.

Think it's available for free on 4OD this week if anyone fancies having a squizz.

Well, as per my usual offerings, this blog entry has now been sitting here (written to this point) for two days! Suppose I should finish it really! Hmmm...I think I shall (re-) start with some bleating about my wardrobe...I am just so uninspired by my whole wardrobe at the moment...or rather the clothes in it...if my clothes, clean or otherwise, actually ever made it into a wardrobe! I used to really have an 'identity', and I miss that :o( Nothing (that I own, or that I can find in shops) feels like 'me' any more. Maybe I should learn to sew and create for myself some fashion masterpieces? But that would maybe take some sort of effort and I'm so not good at that right now!
I miss places from my Londinium days like Hyper Hyper in Kensington and the Bluebird Garage on the King's Road...sadly both now defunct. Although, saying that, they probably only did (relatively) skinny teenage girl sizes anyway, and I would just end up getting annoyed with there being a lack of offerings to fit my now rather womanly frame! I miss Camden Market and its glorious original (and cheap!) 70s clothes too...again that's kind of a teenage thing that you can never recapture with the same enthusiasm though eh? On a 'fashion' kind of tip though, I did succumb to buying a couple of pieces from Onch. Not quite as brillo-pads as the necklace I was talking about further up, but still rather smashing (and a helluva lot cheaper!). I await their arrival with baited breath...bless credit cards!

I am just back in (yes, I got sidetracked again!) from a jaunt to the beach; I love the beach I do! I was going seriously stir crazy being stuck in the house and, luckily, Sue was available to entertain me for several hours. We decided to just go for a drive and see where we ended up (not quite like the Edinburgh time with Lou and James...that's another, quite long, story, which I shall save for another time!). Where we ended up was Cambois (pronounced 'cammus', in case you think it's some classy French thing) about half nine at night in the freezing cold...oh yay, such fun! I have had to take my jeans off now (mmm...just to provide you with a lovely mental picture of me sat here in me pants, (currently) hairy legs n'all!) as they were wet right up to the knee from going paddling...not very effective rolling there eh Divinyl? Much fun...and I, to boot, came home with a gifted bottle of sloe gin. Thank you m'dear!

Ok, onto my customary televisual observations...

I finished my Northern Exposure Series 5 box set some time ago...the 6th is not out until June and is the final one...cripes, I don't ever want to it end! It's something I only caught sporadically when it was on tv, which caused me to buy the first season on dvd, and from there I was hooked! As with my previous ranting about how Neighbours provides one with a sense of security...Northern Exposure has exactly the same effect...only with better surrealisms! For example: Fleischman, the doctor who has been posted there from New York somewhat against his will, talking to his rabbi (from the Big Apple) inside the belly of some Alaskan take on the Loch Ness monster. And I totally cried when Shelley gave birth. I wish they'd made twelvety series! I don't like that blacksmith man who pops up at the end of the dvd though...he scares me and totally shatters the sense of security that has been built up...when they do the close up of his eye? Well, personally, I think that's way scarier than Sadako! Tee hee. As a brief aside...why has Twin Peaks Series Two never been released on dvd? Very odd.

Mostly unrelated, but vaguely televisual...did you know that a film crew includes a dolly grip and a swing gang? I shall have to start watching the credits more intently for further amusing job titles!

Advert-wise, I am mostly being offended by the one with the 'token' BME child telling us about the aroma of his excrement. Unnecessary! Who on earth were the advertising execs responsible for that? And who comprised the focus group?! Paedophilic scattists? Sorry...that was maybe a bit sick even for me.

BBC3 (do you remember when Roland Rat used to talk about BBC3 and it was funny because it didn't exist? I loved Roland Rat...I even had the stuffed toy and 'The Cassette of the Album' on vinyl...happy days!) seems to have trumped even itself this time. Whilst perusing the schedules t'other day, I noticed that they were showing a programme called 'My Man Boobs and Me' ('daddaries', as I like to call them). I didn't watch that one...although I do love the word 'gynaecomastia'...not for the meaning like. I guess it's part of their recent strain of body-related programmes...I quite enjoyed 'F*%k Off! I'm A Hairy Woman', but Lucy the teen transsexual (another prog entirely!) was just very annoying...male or female, you just need to stop whining!

I was going to write something relatively high brow about the book 'The Interpretation of Murder' (for which I had to keep a dictionary by me, as there were so many words that, even though I could figure out their sense within the context, I didn't know the meaning of and therefore, pedant that I am, had to be looked up...I love learning (and also making up) new words), but it seems such a long time ago that I read it now. The only comment that I shall make is that one generally cannot improve upon Shakespeare (there was lots to do with Hamlet in the novel):

"I wished my too-solid body might break up and disperse into the dirt of the street" (Jed Rubenfeld)

is really no comparison to:

"Oh that this too too solid flesh would melt, / Thaw, and resolve itself into a dew".

Not really worth even trying!

Things I have been addicted to this month include: Hanjie (love it...can keep me busy for hours! It's a Japanese colouring book/logic puzzle), Dairylea Strip Cheese, Gossip (the band)...erm, that's about all for now I think folks (of the addictions at least!).

Currently listening to...
I was listening to Leonard Cohen's 'I'm Your Man', after watching Secretary on the box a couple of weeks back (wanted to have it as my MySpace choon, but it doesn't seem to be available, so we're currently back to good ole Kathleen Hanna) and, following that, my iTunes took me to The Levellers. I haven't listened to them for years!! Totally that teenage-ly familiar's making me smile because it seems like such a long time ago! Incidentally (I seem to be using that word a lot), whilst looking up Leonard Cohen on there, I noticed that one of the pages classed him as 'death metal'...genius!

One final link...a site which I found quite by accident the other day:

Smashing or what?? (Ooh, in re-reading this, I just realised there's a 'geddit?' in Smashing Pumpkins! Completely unintentional!).

Toodle pip me sweets. xxx

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