Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Wahey! I managed to 'sneak' away for lunch for once and caught up with some friends in town, including my old workmates. They told me that Jarvis Cocker is at Granada today, filming for Celebrity Stars In Their Eyes. And guess who he is tonight Matthew? Rolf Harris! How brilliant. To give you an idea....:

Now that the weather is better ('in Manchester?' I hear you ask!) I've been walking to work. It takes me 30 minutes, exactly as long as the tram journey. Unfortunately the last 2/3 of the walk is through an industrial park and motorways, probably negating the exercise with car fumes. It's pretty grim - garbage and weeds everywhere, the odd pile of burning tires.... I keep expecting to see a body floating in the canal and having to call 999.

The view from my office, however, is much better. In fact on a warm summer day, it's just about the only perk of being here. Looking out across the office, I can see the mohawk of the Lowry and a burnished copper skyscraper across the quay. To the right, the unfortunate designer outlet which at least is nice architecturally. They've had the wit to design a tree-lined avenue along the mall, dotted with benches that are usually occupied by beer-belly builders having a snooze.

Today though, rain batters the windows and we have to lock the back entrance because otherwise the wind will rip the doors off. Totally depressing.

Sunday, April 28, 2002

My weekend so far:

9 PM, Friday. Knackered from insane day - week! - at work. One beer and one delicious Turkish Delight chicken sis later, I am looking forward to watching Father Ted and The Book Club. The telephone rings. This telephone call ruins the rest of my evening and part of Saturday morning as well.

Basically the producer we have at the moment (let's call her Adrenalin Junkie) informs me that it's only just occurred to her that the car I hired for her on *Wednesday* is not big enough. She wants me to phone Avis in the morning to arrange an exchange. If they can't provide the bigger car, she wants me to ring round all the other companies to get her a deal. Does she ask nicely or even apologize for ringing me so late and on the weekend? What do you think?

I, the big softie that I am, am extremely upset afterwards. I don't like this whole snap-my-fingers-and-you-jump stuff. The poor bf has to watch me while I wail "Idiot motherf*&ckers!" Even Father Ted can't console me and I don't sleep very well that night.

In the morning, I drag myself out of bed and start making calls. Of course it gets complicated instantly. Pissed off, I call my boss at home and leave a polite but firm message that her plan isn't going to fly. To his credit, he calls back and says that's fine; he's thought of a way to work around it. I call Adrenalin Junkie to tell her the deal and say I'll be round shortly to drop off some stuff for her trip (I don't mind this, as it was pre-arranged and she lives on the way into town anyhow. See? A little notice goes a long way!)

Her house is gorgeous. One of those huge rambling houses in a slightly dodgy area that you could have snapped up for £50,000 ten years ago and quadrupled your investment by now. Is she inside, enjoying her garden and having a Saturday morning coffee? No, she's on TWO mobiles at once, shouting frantically between both of them. She spies me and also starts shouting questions at me. I frantically inch away, mouthing "I'VE GOT TO GO" and make my escape.


Friday, April 26, 2002

Bleary eyed, crumpled heap on the sofa after work. That's been me this week. I even slept through my alarm this morning, something I never do. And the damage it does to your creative abilities is unbelieveable. Even if I had had the energy to blog, there wasn't anything up in the old noodle to divulge. Not a sausage, as they say around here.

I'm now sat at my desk, staring at a huge pile of papers. Where to start? I fantasize about someone snapping at me, giving me an excuse to storm out in a huff. Why am I here? Why am I working 10 hour days with no lunch and draining myself, all for a project I'm not particularly interested in? Why I am putting up snappy people asking me to do ridiculous things at the last minute all the time?

I don't have an answer. But I am glad it's Friday!

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

Blimey. Christopher Price of BBC Liquid News fame was found dead in his London flat yesterday, age 34. No news on the cause of death - the BBC segment this morning didn't even address the issue, while the Media Guardian only reports him to have been ill last week. Very sad. Nor will Eurovision coverage be the same without him.

Monday, April 22, 2002

OK, more on Jason Beck a.k.a. Chilly Gonazales...

Some of you may have read the article on him in the Guardian's TV guide two weeks ago. It mentioned his previous band, Son, as a prominent indie band in Toronto back in 1993. It's a sad but common story really, where Canadian bands get signed up pretty much as major label tax write-offs and are ignored and then dropped after the initial hoo-ha to get them on board.

Anyhow! 1993 is when my own band A Tuesday Weld was around, so I was curious if we ever crossed paths. My trusty Lexis Nexis told me we didn't - the earliest Son article I could dig out was from 1996, and we broke up in 1994 (I think?) - although I'm sure they were slogging it out like we were at around the same time. All the articles are, of course, written in that annoying Canuck journo style. However, here are some interesting facts:

1. Son once played a gig that included a marathon version of "Purple Rain" featuring the very annoying Tyler Stewart of Barenaked Ladies on drums. Then Son actually *toured* with Barenaked Ladies. Sweet jesus. I hope he's lost *his* number.

2. Peaches was then billed as one Merrill Nisker, who also had a project called The Shit - Chilly played drums for her.

3. In a Billboard article, Chilly snarls about Son having to open for "jangly Canadian 'don't talk' rock bands". :-)

4. A review of Son's album 'Thriller' in the Ottawa Citizen draws comparisons to Nine Inch Nails. Eeeep!

Let us all give thanks that they escaped to Germany to become cool and real. Because as Peaches was later quoted, "you have to leave Canada to become somebody." Amen.

Saturday, April 20, 2002

Who is the worst MC?

Ah, Gonzales. Chilly, I need someone like you in my life. Who else will entertain me with phat beats, rapping about Salieri (Mozart's arch rival), chest hair, a safari hat and a firecracker cigar?

Yes, we went to see him last night and it was bloody brilliant apart from the wankers who turned up - a handful of whitey homeboys and bearded crusties who express themselves by flailing around, spilling lager and shouting at Chilly's stagemate Feist to get her kit off. (Yawn.) They're always too tall, too.

But anyhow, it was a proud moment for me. Canada and music haven't always been friends, but over time the list of good music grows. Of course in his case he moved to Berlin - but he's still big on letting you know about the Canuck Connection.

My favourite moment was when Feist started to insult Chilly, accusing him of being "Mr. Toronto goes off to Berlin I-don't-know-what-my Canadian-identity-is..."

As for the rest of my week, the less said the better. I've been so busy that I dreamt about work last night, leaving me as tired as ever. The only high point was my course in London - all about clearing copyrighted items for television programmes. Yes, it was useful, but I also made a cool discovery - Sister Wendy! The earnesty, the passion for art, the nun's habit and the lisp - what's not to love? She's now given up the glamorous world of BBC TV for a life of seclusion on the grounds of a Carmelite monastary.

Back to chilling out...

Tuesday, April 16, 2002

I didn't have one spare moment to blog today, and frankly I resent that! Now here I am having to *post* at *night* from my house while the bf watches Ghost World.

My lack of posting hasn't affected visitors - I'm a bit shocked to see my daily hits rocket from 25 to 60+. Mind you, a lot of those are disappointed Gareth Gates fan, although apparently someone in France wants to see Nick Frost naked (sorry Nick, I love you but your butt ain't so perky!)

Tomorrow evening, I am off to London for a course, so it may well be quiet for a bit longer. It's not as bad as a windswept portakabin, but there won't be time for shopping unless you count the Paperchase at Euston. Sigh. Oh well, at least I blagged an off-peak first class ticket. Say yes to free beer en route!

I'll be back on Friday. Be good.

Monday, April 15, 2002

Well, I've met my very first blogger!

On Sunday, Mike troubled diva invited us over to see his cottage, meet K and do the pub lunch thing. My first thought was - 'I get to see their AGA!' :-)

But seriously, I doubt there are many people more courteous, sweet, stylish and chatty than these two. I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon of being pampered with lattes, earl grey, red wine and fabulous conversation.

We left very content, and brimming with fresh ideas for the Move To The Country which will happen someday!

And of course, we're keen to reciprocate - although Manchester seems so unglamourous in comparison now!

Mike wrote a very sweet post about our day out too, which you can read here.

Thursday, April 11, 2002

We all remember how Googlebombing fizzled out into a big pile of nada...but I'm starting to get hits based on the phrases I posted ages ago, with some high results in the search list too!

Gareth Gates Naked (Mike TD is #3 and I am #6!)

Gareth Gates porn (I'm #9)

Britney and Justin break-up (#9 again!)

Of course people don't even get to see the original post when they come to my site, because Google doesn't cache according to my archive. Not sure if there's a solution?

Text messages gone wrong...




Fed up, I text the person back - U HAVE THE WRONG NUMBER! Then I get this reply:


Great. I'm being stalked by a 15 year old girl....

Wednesday, April 10, 2002

Well, the info for Access to Music arrived yesterday. I feel excited but sick with anxiety all at once. Should I apply? I really need a crash course in Cubase and stuff like that, as I haven't used it in ages. There is an audition, and I have to provide a sample of my music. I think it's time to call in a few favours from my friends who own keyboards, and finally teach myself how to use the Hellraiser Audio programme I was given! If all I have to do is bring in a CDR and have a chat, I think I can manage that... DJ skills are encouraged as well, although it's not a requirement. Cue laughter. I am hopeless - but in my defence I've never practiced beforehand so I freeze when I get in front of the decks.

My friends are back from their travels in Japan and Hong Kong. Tonight, we're going round to see their pictures and be presented with amazing Japanese gifts. Cute stuff overload, I can't wait! R CJ says she's bought the new Morning Musume album too - J-POP wa kawaii desu!

Tuesday, April 09, 2002

I took the tram to the gym last night. As usual, loads of call-centre hacks piled on at the stop after mine. I've always thought them a strange bunch, but none so gross as the guy who sat next to me. He composed text messages non-stop, his knuckle joints cracking all the while. I felt seriously ill when I got off.

Monday telly, mostly crap as usual. Can anyone explain why the incredibly vile Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps got recommissioned? I can't. Canned laughter, cheap sets, cheap jokes, Bev Callard (aka Liz "Stop it Jeeem!" McDonald)... It's a shame, because I really expect more from Ralf Little (Anthony from the Royle Family), Sheridan Smith (Emma from the Royle Family) and even Natalie Casey (MTV VJ brat, but some absolution for her work on Big Brother, Little Brother last summer alongside yummy Dermot O'Leary.)

In a quality contrast, Jessica Stevenson was on Room 101. For those who don't know the show, the star guest is asked to provide a list of things they hate. With host Paul Merton's assistance, they decide which ones get chucked into the bin. Jess chose free love, British winters, marzipan, long distance running, and Anne Robinson. Everything was banished apart from free love, strangely! The bf was upset about the anti-marzipan campaign, but we have to allow Jess a few faults.

Monday, April 08, 2002

Thank goodness for fellow ex-pats who bring you junk food from back home. Kraft Dinner and Hershey's choc with almonds. A little bit of heaven in a thoughtful post-trip parcel sent from London. Thank you Miss P from the Pines!

Work today.

Me: "Hello, I'm calling to check on your tape stock prices - 15 min. and 30 min. ones."

Shop hack: "Sure. 85 p per 15 min, 52 p per 30 min."

Me: "Oh really? I have a spring 2000 rate card here and it says 48 p per 15 min. So you're telling me that your prices have almost doubled since then?"

Silence. Then:

Shop hack: "Umm, yeah. It's 48 p per 15 min tape."

Sometimes I surprise myself with my bargaining ways!

Friday, April 05, 2002

Are you feeling generous? I really, *really* want one of these...sigh... (click on the enlarge button to see it properly.)

Today is a quiet day, with lots of time for pottering around the net and listening to my new cd of freshly burned mp3s. Speaking of which I had a bit of a problem this morning when I was trying to burn the disc using Roxio. For some reason two of my mp3s just would not burn - yet I can play them on Windows Media Player (I know, crappy...). I downloaded them off Audiogalaxy. Can anyone think of what the problem is? I.e. can people put weird protecting codes on songs? Anyhow, this disc is full of goodies - the aforementioned Saint Etienne "shower scene" (umm, hope they realise there's already a Felix da Housecat song called that!) which is actually remixed by King of Woolworths I think... two new Dot Allison songs, and perhaps only of interest to me, the original version of Sunglasses at Night by Corey Hart currently revived by Tiga and whatshisname from the electroclash 'scene'. The bf hates it - he says it starts off well enough but descends into howling guitars and rockin' vocals. I dunno, he was just a Canadian teen heart-throb when I was 10!

Here he is, on a cover of a mag I myself used to buy when I was young...

Good morning to you...(though it might be afternoon by the time I can publish because Blogger is down...)

News for Spaced fans - Nick Frost, better known as gun and TA obsessed Mike, will be hosting a new game show on Channel 5 (yes, that's right) called Danger 50,000 Volts. It's an Endemol project (Big Brother etc.) and is part of the channel's overhaul in an attempt to be the new Channel 4 and lose the soft porn and cheap programming image. No other advance info is available yet but I can't wait to see what the format is!

Thursday, April 04, 2002

Totally mental! God I love Japan.

Sorry, couldn't speak much today as I was much too devastated at having missed the end of an eBay auction for a gorgeous Bakelite Teasmade that was going for cheap...but here's a mish mash of things.

I like checking out the Blogdex top stories/links of the moment. But why on earth is the Google Technology site so popular? I had one look and went cross-eyed from the complicatedness of it all.

And a warm post-Tate-induced-cold welcome back to Anna Kookymojo. She was silent for whole week and in that way you only can when people blog every day, I was getting worried!

Also, if you like Dot Allison, get yourself over to Audiogalaxy - some of the tracks off her new album are floating around! We're Only Science is very cool...

God I hate my co-workers. They're singing "California Dreamin" ironically right now, and just finished shouting crap chat-up lines across the office. Why why why?

Wednesday, April 03, 2002

Poor David Swishy. He's down in the dumps about work - and seeing as I am too, it's sort of comforting to be miserable in numbers.

I've been thinking about this a lot today. Am I being unreasonable? When I first moved to the UK, I was happy to temp just about anywhere to get started. As luck had it, I ended up temping at a TV station and the rest is history. However, I've mentioned before that I had a boss from hell and, after nearly two years of misery, finally quit. This has made me less than tolerant of less than ideal working situations, hence my itchy feet at the moment.

Maybe it's an age thing, too. When I was 21, it was easier to put up with things when you thought you had bags of time to get where you wanted to be. I'd like to be in a happy situation by the time I'm thirty, which gives me about two and three-quarter years. (eeep!)

But being broke is no fun either. I don't feel like I can go back to being a student, living off Starbucks wages...but then again maybe I have to make myself. I've been looking into this Music Through Technology course - the fees are cheap, and although it's full-time I could swing a part-time job on the side and get a grant to see me through. It sounds really cool...full of practical courses and projects. I've just hit my three-year mark as a resident so lots of doors are opening in terms of qualifying for stuff. Red tape, ack!

Anyhow, that's my rant for today.

Umm. Belle & Sebastian last night - to our uninitiated friends, it was "Dexys meets Nick Drake". No new songs really, apart from an ill-advised mariachi-style song sung by Stevie. Happily, lots of old material, and the usual fun covers (Suspicious Minds and a finale medley of Legal Man meets I Am the Resurrection!) Scarily, as we left the bf heard two younger concert-goers puzzle over who originally did the last song...

Isobel was ridiculous as usual, sitting on the floor staring at her jeans hemline when her services weren't required. Stuart danced like Shakin' Stevens, but he made a funny crack about most of the crowd being students. Still, I really wonder where they're headed. Umm.

Tuesday, April 02, 2002

Ooooh! Simon Pegg has posted to the Spaced forum to say that the little acorns of Spaced Series 3 have been sown. And another rumour going round (partially confirmed by the Peggster) is that there will be a one-off Spaced special to bridge the gap between the new series.

I haven't posted yet on the forum, btw. Not that it's unfriendly, but everyone seems about 15 years old. Where are all the demographic 19-34 people?

Oh yeah, we're going to see Belle & Sebastian tonight at the Apollo. My love affair with them has pretty much burned out, and I can't stand Isobel's songs. But we're going in a gang of seven which is fun, and I'll enjoy the show for what it is. It's just that... I tend to get my hackles up when I see the contingent of fans of the overly trendy-indie-darling variety. Needless to say we won't be going to the aftershow party. Ugh.

Funny google search for the day: I hate going to the dentist.

Well, back at work which also means back to that stomach-in-knots-tight-chest-feeling. I *so* should not be here...

But on a happy note, Harrogate was ace. I was a bit overloaded on teahouses and charming shambles by the end, but these were the highlights:

Betty's: the quintessential tea room of Yorkshire, their flagship store is in Harrogate. The queues are off-putting (we must have waited about half a hour) but trust me, it's worth it. Once you're sat down, you are attentively waited upon and the food is gorgeous.

The AGA store. I know there are several of these around Yorkshire, but this was the first time I'd ever gone to one. I swear to god I could have spent all afternoon drooling over the gorgeous colours and fantasising about my dream kitchen, but I had to make do with a pair of groovy oven mitts. One day, I will have the spare £4,500 and get one of my own.

Not so hot:

The antiques shopping. I expected Harrogate to be a treasure trove, but most of the shops stocked expensive, poncy antiques. I did scour up a few things, including a fabulous 50s decorative bowl from a funny place called the Curiosity Shop in nearby village, but most of it was far too stuffy for my tastes. Slowly but surely I'm realising how brilliant Bygone Times is...

York. Don't get me wrong - it's charming, it's pretty...but it's also packed with tourists. I'm still amazed at how saturated places get in the UK - just going to prove the population density here! However, a juice bar on the Shambles helped restore our spirits - hooray for the apple ginger and celery combo!