Monday, September 30, 2002

I think I've just accomplished the impossible - a tasteful press release!

Various people have suggested ideas for promoting Slow Fizz to the local press in Manchester, so it was time to try and put something together. The only problem: I *hate* press releases. I mean, when's the last time you read one that a) wasn't peppered with spelling mistakes b) wasn't a big pile o' cheese and c) made you actually want to listen/watch/attend? Most stuff we've ever gotten in the post is, well... who lets these people near a keyboard, anyhow?

So how do you sound enthusiastic yet dignified? Thorough without being trainspotter? (after all, a lot of the records we'll be playing aren't very well-known.)

But it's done, and it's pretty good. My favourite line? "You'll see bouffants next to beer bellies, and we think that's great!"

Now I just have to sleuth up on who to send it to so it doesn't land in the Big Recycling Bin in the Sky...

Friday, September 27, 2002

La la la la la! I'm in the office on my own! And it's Friday! And soon, I'll be going home to make a fantastic quiche for our social gathering, followed by a gorgeous gingersnap-crusted cheesecake I baked last night.

It doesn't really matter what I write here, of course - you lot will fill my comments box with random discussions about geological obsessions and aubergines. I *still* haven't had a single tip for Belgium, apart from K suggesting That Fountain which was already on the list. Sigh.

Thursday, September 26, 2002

Crud. I'm about to get a cold or flu - I can just *feel* it. Itchy eyes, swimmy head, constant sneezing. It's off someone at work, too - which is supremely unfair considering I'm only there 4 hours a day and there are 4 employees! You would have thought the odds would be on my side.

And of course, this makes me irritable. Which leads me to this: today is the result of the Best British Blog competition. I had fairly forgotten it until rumblings started up again last week, but having had a snoop round the results, it's all a bit... so what? For all the hype that surrounded the competition, they could have splashed out a bit more with the results. Text only pages send me to sleep! Although I do think it's nice that the winner, Scary Duck, is buying a new boiler with his winnings. What else? Having two news/politics-heavy blogs as the runners up strikes me as strange, but that's *definitely* just my own opinion since I tend to read personality driven blogs that are low on linkage. Which probably just goes to show that any blog competition is a bit pointless, considering how many different kinds there are...

Wednesday, September 25, 2002

Last night's programme on C4, The Showbiz Set, was surprisingly good. This episode, one of three in the series, explores the birth of television and its first stars and casualties. I'm always up for some pop culture history, although I hate to see wrinkled stars rolled out for quotes like "F*cking didn't start in 1963!" (thanks, Dennis Norden. But why 1963?) However, it's a great way for me to learn more about my adopted home. Names like Diana Dors meant little to me - she appeared to basically be the Jordan of the 60s, although cannier. Here she is:

I also love seeing old television channel promos, like the one for the BBC with dancers flouncing round while a woman sings:

"Three pounds isn't much to pay....for something new everyday!"

I forgot to explain that the above is an old TV license promo, but you probably guessed that already!

Next week's episode will be even better as they move onto the sixties... set your video! I hope they show lots of clips from Just For Fun, Ready Steady Go, Jukebox Jury and A Whole Scene Going. Well, a girl can dream!

If you're interested in old UK TV programmes, have a look round Sixties City for lots of information and photos.

Monday, September 23, 2002

My random referrals have been a bit boring lately, but here's a good one, for which I am inexplicably the #2 source:

picture of britney spears with trousers with flames on them

Now, is that as in flashy painted denims, or does someone just really, really hate ol' Brits? The backlash continues...

Friday, September 20, 2002

Today I am feeling very surreal. I didn't sleep very well, and even my rocket fuel latte didn't help.

So I was pretty freaked out when, on the bus journey into town, this woman screamed for the bus to wait so she could get on. And no, we're not talking shouting "Wait!". This was a non-verbal, bloodcurdling primal howl. And when she got on, she just smiled at the driver and took a seat.

I'm glad it's Friday.

Thursday, September 19, 2002

Sigh. Herrmann & Kleine are playing in Paris tonight at the Pompidou Centre as well as running an aftershow party. How much would I have loved to go? Sometimes I wish I could occasionally slip into a ridiculous jet-set lifestyle where I could just go to the airport after work and GO.

Some questions for you today...

1. We're going to Brussels for a long weekend next month. What should we not miss, apart from the Jacques Brel & comic book museums and the bric-a-brac antique market? We're going to take a day trip to Bruges as well - so tips for that too please!

2. I have 5 organic zucchinis (sorry, *courgettes*) in my fridge that need eating tonight. For some reason, I never get very inspired when it comes to cooking this poor veggie. I don't want to make fritters because of the deep frying, and before you suggest it, I don't like sauteed courgette in pasta or stews. Any ideas?

Tuesday, September 17, 2002

You may have noticed the brand new link on the left hand bar - it's for my new 60s club night, Slow Fizz! Yes, after 8 months of procrastinating, I've finally booked a venue and asked some fantastic people to DJ. It's on 9th November and do come along if it's your sort of thing!

I'll be playing stuff too - but there's the slight problem of not having DJ'd for about 4 years. I know it's not that hard when you're only cueing records up one after another, but I don't want to go in cold. Luckily our friend who owns some decks has invited us over to practice, although I don't think his Technics have ever been used to mix girl group records!

Monday, September 16, 2002

I'm having trouble narrowing down my top 10 favourite number one singles for Chig's project:

Searchers - Needles & Pins (1964)
Honeycombs - Have I the Right (1964)
Kinks - You really got me (1964)
Georgie Fame & the Blue Flames - Yeh Yeh (1965)
Jackie Trent - Where are you now (my love) (1965)
Sandie Shaw - Long live love (1965)
Walker Brothers - The Sun Ain't Gonna Shine Anymore (1966)
Foundations - Baby now that I've found you (1967)
Jane Birkin & Serge Gainsbourg - Je t'aime ... moi non plus (1969)
Bobbie Gentry - I'll never fall in love again (1969)
Archies - Sugar Sugar (1969)
Freda Payne - Band of Gold (1970)
Chicago - If you leave me now (1976)
Baccara - Yes sir, I can boogie (1977)
Fern Kinney - Together we are beautiful (1980)
Abba - The Winner takes it all (1980)
Kelly Marie - Feels like I'm in love (1980)
Specials - Ghost Town (1981)
Musical Youth - Pass the Dutchie (1982)
Duran Duran - The Reflex (1984)
Falco - Rock me Amadeus (1986)
Pet Shop Boys - Always on my mind (1987)
S'Express - Theme from S'Express (1988)
KLF - 3 AM Eternal (1991)
Whigfield - Saturday Night (1994)
White Town - Your woman (1997)
No Doubt - Don't speak (1997)
Olive - You're not alone (1997)
Run DMC vs. Jason Nevins - It's like that (1998)
Tamperer Feat. Maya - Feel it (1998)
Britney Spears - more time (1999)
Black Legend - You see the trouble with me (2000)
Aaliyah - More than a woman (2002)
Sugababes - Freak Like Me (2002)

And that list was just from a very quick skim - there's probably more. It's not easy as sometimes a favourite artist got to number one, but with a song I'm not keen on. And notice how little there is from the 1970s - definitely not my favourite era! To help me narrow it down, I'm more inclined to go with the choices from the 60s seeing as they've stood the test of time...but then when I think of the brilliance of the KLF or Baccara - what to do?

Sunday, September 15, 2002

Yesterday was a very productive day. From things that are really only personally satisfying (putting up that shelf in the kitchen at last and baking a gorgeous swiss chard tart) to those of a grander nature (finally getting a venue booked for my club - more on that soon!), it was one of those occasions where I felt like I truly used every minute wisely.

Later on in the evening, Oasis were playing at the Old Trafford Cricket Club (sorry! I mean the Lancashire Cricket Club, as per Oasis' rider demand...) It's quite near to our house, so we stood outside to listen for a bit. However, I'm not an Oasis fan so after a bit of "Live Forever" it was time to go in....

And listen to Lucky Pierre's new album Hypnogogia. Now, when the bf bought it in town yesterday, I was highly dubious. A solo project from Aidan of Arab Strap? No thanks. Arab Strap have always left me a bit cold, with the exception of "Hayfever" and a couple of remixes - otherwise I found them overly dark, with not enough melody to keep things bittersweet.

But I shouldn't be such a sceptic, because it's fantastic! If you, like me, are pining away waiting for a new Bent record, then this is for you. I'm crap at trying to describe all I'll say is that I was seriously stopped in my tracks at how gorgeous it is.

Thursday, September 12, 2002

This afternoon, I was searching eBay Germany for vintage clothing, when I found some Super sexy Hosenanzug Lurex. Do have a look!

Have I mentioned how much I love hitting the charity shops? But today honey, I was on FIRE!

First stop: Oxfam. I'd spotted a cool cream & red enamel 1950s coffee pot the night before and swung by to snap it up. Price, a cool £1.29. Onwards!

The PDSA. Sometimes I think the same handful local grannies cart their stuff in here because the puppies and kittens staring from the window send subliminal messages. Today, I found a 50s Eames silver plated ashtray with atomic etchings (design centre tag still attached), 29p. 1950s flower arrangement helpers (still in their cool box!), 29p. And some 7" singles - normally plowing through mountains of tattered Elaine Paige singles is too much for me, but I was drawn to some unusual picture sleeves propped in a corner. One single was by I Corvi, who appeared to be a 1960s italian beat band with snappy suits and shaggy haircuts. Another single "Be young, be foolish, be happy" by The Tams looked interesting so I bought them both at 29 p each.

Back home, my Record Collector bible told me that the Tams single is worth £10, and I found the I Corvi single selling on eBay for $15 - without a picture sleeve! I might keep the Tams single since it's quite an upbeat soul dancer, but I can make a bit of money off the Italian single. But we're not done yet!

Help The Aged. There, on the crockery shelf, is a 1930s 1 pint Sadler Kleen Ware storage jar. Price: 74p! I've been wanting one for ages but since they often go for over £30 on eBay... Sure, there's a chip in the lid but at that price, it's a great start to a collection. But there's more!

RSPCA. There, on the wall, are a gorgeous pair of 1960s plimsolls - white, with little red bows and tiny red stripes around the base. In absolute virginal condition. How cute are these going to look with a 60s sweater and white capri trousers? They're exactly my size, and they're only £1. I practically hyperventilate my way to the till...

So yes, I *am* feeling rather pleased with myself today!

Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Out of bed at eight am
Out my head by half past ten
Out with mates and dates and friends
That's what I do at weekends
I can't talk and I can't walk
But I know where I'm going to go
I'm going watch my money go
At the Locarno, no

When my feet go through the door
I know what my right arm is for
Buy a drink and pull a chair
Up to the edge of the dance floor
Bouncers bouncing through the night
Trying to stop or start a fight
I sit and watch the flashing lights
Moving legs in footless tights

I go out on Friday night and I come home on Saturday morning
I go out on Friday night and I come home on Saturday morning

I like to venture into town
I like to get a few drinks down
The floor gets packed the bar gets full
I don't like life when things get dull
The hen party have saved the night
And freed themselves from drunken stags
Having fun and dancing in
A circle round their leather bags

I go out on Friday night and I come home on Saturday morning
I go out on Friday night and I come home on Saturday morning

But two o'clock has come again
It's time to leave this paradise
Hope the chip shop isn't closed
Cos' their pies are really nice
I'll eat in the taxi queue
Standing in someone else's spew
Wish I had lipstick on my shirt
Instead of piss stains on my shoes

I go out on Friday night and I come home on Saturday morning
I go out on Friday night and I come home on Saturday morning
I go out on Friday night and I come home on Saturday morning
I go out on Friday night and I come home on Saturday morning

I really like this song. And it seems appropriate for today - melancholy and somehow wishing for better days gone by. I won't go into the whole "where were you" thing, but it was a very low point for me. I would just sit there watching the news, crying my eyes out, thinking about those last moments of terror for so many people. It was a relief to discover that all my NYC friends were safe, but their stories, straight from the source, made it hit home all the more. The possible consequences of kneejerk vengence scared me even more. I was swallowed up in grief and worry, and it took me about two months to come to terms with it enough not to let it affect my daily work.

Incidentally, we flew back to Toronto four days after it all happened. It was stressful, but weirdly positive - for once, airline crew and passengers were all on the same side. So even though I had to arrive at the airport at 4:30 AM for a flight that didn't go out until noon, somehow we all passed the time without getting irritated.

Monday, September 09, 2002

Yes sir, I can suck your blood...

I'm not planning on watching much of Popstars: The Rivals, but how brilliant were those Transylvanian twins, Monica & Gabriella? They are *so* the next Baccara. Actually, the bf thinks they should have a massive electroclash hit with Felix Da Housecat or something.

In other news, I've just been formally accepted to start my volunteer advice work!

Sunday, September 08, 2002

Aaaaargh! Sometimes I wonder why I bother with selling on eBay. Every once in a while I get a real BEE-YOTCH who makes my blood boil. Take this one lady, for example. She snaps up a book I'm selling for a song - £3. It's practically new and cost me a lot more at the time. One day after the auction finishes, I send her an email with the total including postage, and ask for a cheque to be sent to my address.

Well! If I don't get a snippy email back telling me that £3 for postage seems excessive for an item that costs £3, and that she's sent a Billpoint reminder because she doesn't want to pay by cheque - so she can have the book quicker. Excuse me, but "Would it be ok if I paid by Billpoint, because I'm really keen to get the book" would go a long way. And I'm not Amazon - I don't get corporate postage rates!

I've written back to tell her why it's £3 (it's heavy and will actually cost that!) but there was so much more I was dying to say... like *cheapskate* or *impatient cow* perhaps? I'm just going to get her out of my hair and not leave her any feedback.

And I definitely didn't need this on a morning when I'm feeling a little fragile after a San Miguel and record listening marathon with the bf last night...

Friday, September 06, 2002

Hooray! Broadcast have confirmed they are opening for Saint Etienne - and the Manchester show is at the Ritz on October 6th! Other dates from the Warp website...

Wednesday, September 04, 2002

My stats were pretty pathetic today - that made me feel strangely sad. Am I boring everyone? Hmm.

Anyhow, I haven't really said much about my new job yet. This is partly because I specifically chose a fairly straightforward, low-stress place so I can pursue my volunteer training with minimum fuss. That said, it's a weird place in its own right. Down the hall from me is a Flavour and Fragrances lab, and when I arrived this afternoon the whole building smelled like mint, but in a horrible disinfectant way. It made my eyes itch and I felt a bit nauseated. A few hours later, the smell changed to boiled cauliflower. Now that was *really* gross. Those who have read my About Me page know how cauliflower makes me gag to the max. People, it smells like old socks!! The weird thing is, the guy who works in the F & F lab all day listens to Aretha Franklin while he concocts Eau de Cauliflower and Essence of Minty Domestos. Is that what he thought he would end up doing when he was at uni?

Tuesday, September 03, 2002

Can anyone loan me £1,800 for this?

Sigh. eBay is such a cruel temptress.

Monday, September 02, 2002

Rolled back into town late last night to find some digital snaps from the 'do on Saturday in my inbox. Here's a few of my favourites...

Backstage with a couple of bewigged Actionettes...

God, I really was grinning like an idiot that night...

2 minutes and 53 seconds of fame, Ronettes style...

A special hello to Anna, who met up with us beforehand for a nice meal in Islington. She has the distinction of being only the second blogger I've ever met, and was as lovely and chatty in person as she is in writing.

And so the trips to London come to an end, for now. Although a chilled Sunday roast at a lovely pub in Highgate went a long way to calm the mind before setting out, the drive really does take a lot out of you - and I wasn't even at the wheel, so imagine how burned out the poor bf must be!