Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Oh and have a look here - *very* glam shots indeed of my lovely Actionette friends from their guest appearance at the BFT's screening of Smashing Time I mentioned the other week. Rita Tushingham at the top, and then it looks like lovely Alison on the first photo on the left (I did her hair at the last show!) and there's DJ Niamh looking oh-so styling in the middle - and the whole glittery gaggle at the bottom. Really wish I could have been there... *sticks lower lip out*

I never got into Friends Reunited (or rather, the north american version e.g. Classmates) - I hated high school and didn't stay in touch with anyone, although there's a small handful of people I would always be happy to run into. So when I was invited to join Friendster, I was pretty ho-hum - so much so that it's taken me until this week to start looking around properly. And now I'm obsessed! I only have three "official" friends, which gives me a six-degrees-of-separation pool of 48,670 people (!) and through that, I've come across lots of old friends from my indie days, one ex, various people from bands I used to know... The freakiest one was a message I got from a very old friend I'd met through a lodger my parents had in the late 80s. The only bummer is that if you don't stumble across someone in your pool, you're limited to searching for someone by their email address or their full name. And that might get you some results, but you can only see a tiny thumbnail of their photo, not the full profile - so I didn't send a message in case it was the wrong person.

Anyhow, a definite must to while away those office hours...

Friday, August 22, 2003

Because of my It's Friday Good Mood, I decided to be generous and pick up sandwiches for the other two people at my office. But what did I get for my good turn? On the way back, three chicken stingers from Merv's in hand, I got soaked with a water gun by a bunch of cackling Salfordian turds in a car stopped at a red light. Even crueller was that there was a police van that witnessed the whole thing and DROVE OFF.

I hope they get clamped.

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

I'm also participating in the "be interviewed by another blogger" meme - my first ever meme I think?? Anyhow, here are the rules - and if anyone wants me to ask them questions, go for it in the comments.

1. Leave a comment, saying you want to be interviewed.
2. I will respond; I'll ask you five questions.
3. You'll update your website with my five questions, and your five answers.
4. You'll include this explanation.
5. You'll ask other people five questions when they want to be interviewed.

My questions from the always lovely Troubled Diva:

1. You have been given your own stage (the I'm Hip To You Stage) at next year's Glastonbury, for Saturday only. What acts would you book, and in what order? (i.e. running through from lunchtime warm-up to late-night headliner)

Yikes! Now this one takes some thinking, and I don't think I would even bother singing because I'd want to watch all my dream acts! But here we go:

Lunch time warm-up would have to be Bent. It's not that I wouldn't want to save them for prime time, but...it's girls night!

1-2: Dot Allison DJing

2-3: Kenickie

3-4: Mira 'Tron DJing

4-5: Tommy February 6

5-6: Broadcast

6-7: Thee Headcoatees

7-8 (dusk): My friends Mick, Simon, Ian and Declan to DJ all their best girl group and girl soul.

8-9: Maxine Brown, because I know she still loves to perform and she could get the crowd going with some amazing soul.

9-10: I'd do a set with the Actionettes, and this time I'd know all the numbers so I could actually take part! (the only downside to living in Manchester...)

10-11: My friend Emma, who does the most amazing Dusty Springfield set - and all her other favourite 60s songs too.

11-12: Princess Superstar, definitely!

12-1: A set featuring Mari Wilson, Heart and Nu Shooz performing their greatest hits.

1-4: A free for all DJing session where everyone can play two of their current favourite records!

2. I've come to Manchester for the weekend, and you're my tour guide. Assuming that I've never been before, where would you take me?

First, I'd collect you from Piccadilly Station on Friday after work. Once we'd dropped off your bags and had a glass of wine, I think we'd start at Cord for a drink in one of their corduroy (natch!) booths. It can get kind of crazy later on because it's so small though, so we'd probably move on to Night and Day if there was a good night on (Soul Savers, for example) or a bit further afield to Big Hands near the uni for a few beers as you lounge on their vintage sofas.

On Saturday morning, I'd probably make you a proper north american breakfast (pancakes or waffled with sausages or bacon) and a round of americanos to give us energy for a day's record shopping. Luckily, most of Manchester's best shops are all within walking distance of each other. One one side of Oldham Street, you've got Vinyl Exchange for cheap used cds and vinyl - gets a bit push 'n shove on the weekends though. Next door is Fat City for all your hip hop, reggae and beats needs, and just a few doors down is Vox Pop housed in the Pop Boutique - good for 60s and 70s vinyl mainly. Across the road is Piccadilly Records of course, your one stop shop for anything from indie to house to elextronica to hip hop. Nip back around to Tib Street and there's Beatin' Rhythm where you can easily spend hours browsing through hundreds of 60s pop and soul 45s. If you need a pick up, we'd stop next door at Love Saves the Day for a cappuccino, but otherwise it's on to High Street to Pelicanneck for gorgeous electronica a la Ulrich Schnauss or Herrmann & Kleine. If we haven't had a coffee yet, we'll stay there as there's a lovely in-house cafe with pretty speckled formica counters that makes you feel extra swish as you sip your coffee.

Phew! By now you're probably starving, so I'd suggest either the cheap, cheerful but very tasty tex mex menu at Night & Day or for something a bit more posh, a late lunch at Grinch - the special fried chicken is sooo nice, and they make giant cosmos that send you flying in no time. If we had time, I'd insist we pop over to the town hall because as long as you sign in, you can walk around inside and admire the virtually unchanged Victorian architechture.

For the evening, I'd probably cook a splashy meal for everyone but if I wasn't up to it, there are lots of great places to choose from such as the lovely Market Restaurant. It's a bit expensive, but the menu is delectably hand picked and they have damson vodka and a huge Belgian beer list. It's quirky (vintage crockery, Singer sewing tables for sitting at) and they have a pudding society that I want to join! Or if you fancy something totally different, Koreana (behind Kendals) is a sweet family run place with authentic Korean cuisine - even down to the beer and the K-pop on the stereo.

For the evening, it really depends what's on - we'd have to check for flyers at all the records shops or City Life, but there's all kinds of nights. For something more Canal Street-ish minus the hen nights, I'd suggest a few quiet drinks at Gaia on Sackville Street, carrying on to Tribeca next door when we feel a bit more lively and in the mood to dance to the best of chart pop. Then it's time for late night cheese on toast chez moi!

On Sunday, we might feel a bit worn out but if you had a car, I'd suggest driving up to the Deli King in Prestwich to stock up on bagels, cheesecake and latkes for brunch - the only neighbourhood in town to get that sort of thing as far as I know! After brunch, if it was a nice day I'd suggest a walk around the town centre so you could admire our new parks by Urbis and Piccadilly Gardens, and Exchange Square where there's Harvey Nicks, Selfridges and the Triangle shopping centre. If you were hungry before heading home, I'd suggest a quick bite at Nando's in the Printworks next door - it might be a chain, but I think it's mighty good actually!

3. Aside from friends & family, what aspect of life in Toronto do you miss the most? Your answer may be as trivial or as profound as you wish.

I miss going out around Queen West or the Annex, drinking lots of Sleemans Cream Ale and getting a late night veggie hot dog from the street vendors afterwards. I miss taking the subway home at 2 am. I miss the $2 tequila shots at the Dance Cave above Lee's Palace. I miss eating a quarter chicken dinner with coconut cream pie for dessert at Swiss Chalet. I miss shopping at Loblaws for President's Choice line of products. I miss the Soul Clan northern soul nights at the Duke of Gloucester, my favourite brit-style pub just south on Yonge near Bloor. I miss walking through the leafy streets lined with graceful old brick houses that is my parents' neighbourhood, walking to Bloor West Village for some pierogies at Future Bakery. I miss taking the ferry across to the Toronto islands for a day out. I miss going for Polish food or to the revue cinema around Roncevalles. I miss going to the Dairy Belle diner at Annette & Jane with my mom on Saturday mornings. I miss the coffee at Second Cup. I miss late night shopping. I miss Kraft Dinner, Jello Pudding and Nestle Tollhouse semi-sweet chocolate chips.

4. Whose pictures were on your bedroom wall as a teenager?

So many! Most things were cut out from the NME or Melody Maker. I was a big indie shoegazer, so you'd have found Lush, Slowdive, Ride, Chapterhouse and Moose. Lots of photos of friends such as Sheila and daft shots of me when I got to meet bands - there was one of me with Neil from Slowdive that I featured in an earlier post. I had big glossy posters for Sloan, the Pixies, the Smiths and Saint Etienne, and 8x10 photos of Audrey Hepburn as Holly Golightly that I'd picked up in a film shop on Cavendish Street. I'm sure I had some Bikini Kill and Bratmobile photos up during my riot grrrrl phase, too.

5. What was your worst fashion mistake?

So many! But one of the worst would have to be the delightful chartreuse and black swirly harem trousers I would pair with a chartreuse off the shoulder top and some big white plastic earrings, circa 1988.

Sorry, been a bit... distracted.

I'm busy with work and adjusting too. I'm full time as of September (hooray) but things will still be tight for a while. This means still no proper long holiday, and not only do I need one desperately, but I've got 3 weeks to take before the end of the year and I can't carry it over. Hrm. If anyone knows of a flight to Toronto for about £50 or has a cottage I can borrow, let me know... otherwise it might be a week or two of sitting around my flat!

A bit of news - turns out a show that I did development research for was finally commissioned (by Channel 5, oh well!) It's called The Plastic Surgery Story (I know, lame title) and it's on at 9:15 pm on bank holiday Monday. Initially it was supposed to be about how the field grew out of reconstructive surgery for soliders from WW1, and the insane lack of regulation leading to disasters from the 1920s onwards, but I have no idea what's left of the original premise. Frankly I had lost all hope in it ever getting picked up at the time, and pretty much forgot about it when I quit the job in May of last year. So I was pretty shocked to get some promo flyers for it in the post from the producer. I won't get a credit of course, but at least they remembered to tell me...

Oh yeah, spotted yesterday coming out of Boutique in the City on Tib Street - Sissy from Big Bro 4! She had lots of shopping bags and walked past me quickly with her friend, keeping her head down.

Wednesday, August 13, 2003

I must be very sad - I've just gotten the biggest buzz from having a personal sort out day - y'know, finally checking your bank balance (gulp), sorting out all your bills by online banking, actually thinking about monthly budgeting (erp!), updating Tesco and Boots with my new address - that kind of thing. It all started when I got the details of my company's (very generous contributory) pension plan yesterday. So after I was done, even though it's still life-sappingly muggy, I had the urge to be little miss organised around the office and actually cleared every "to do" off my desk.

This leaves me with a leisurely aftertoon so I can pop out and run office errands - I'm still savouring the fact that I work somewhere that you can actually do that? In previous (evil telly) jobs, you'd usually be expected to run any office errands before or after work and there was a good chance of being interrogated if you were away from your desk for more than 5 minutes. Lunch was fairly sacred at the first place, although bitch boss from hell did used to insist that I deposit cheques in her personal account during MY lunch, but not at the last place. I used to get harrassed on my mobile by my boss when I dared to go out. "Where are you? You usually eat at your desk!" was his usual comment. I never did understand how emergencies always suddenly appeared in the 45 minutes I was unavailable...

Tuesday, August 12, 2003

By the way, if your blog has disappeared from my list - that's me being hopeless at html, and not because I don't read you anymore! I haven't got web access at my new flat yet, although I'm working on it - and that means no ftp or transferring updated templates until then.

It also means I can't reply to the backlog of emails I'd already downloaded yet, unless you send me a new one which I can check via webmail at work. So again, if you're reading this and I owe you an email from like waaaay back, I'm really sorry - I'll get to it as soon as possible, but until then please bear with me and don't drop me off the christmas card list!

You know when you've had a long day, and you're due to do something after work but you don't have time to go home to change or freshen up - so you buy extras of things you already have at home, like deodorant or a clean t-shirt, just so you don't feel like a hag from hell? Well, anyhow - whenever this happens to me, the most annoying thing is finding a decent public ladies room to sort myself out if I can't do it at work (hint: avoid the Arndale stinky loos and go for the lovely ones at the Royal Exchange Theatre or the Triangle shopping centre - Molton Brown soap ooooh!) Basically, there is no way I'm going to do anything in public - I don't even like to retouch makeup without some privacy.

But not everyone is as picky as me. Because this morning I saw a girl standing on Cross Street in front of a bank, full array of beauty products around her, bent over massaging huge handfuls of mousse into her wet hair. What was she going to do - blow dry by plugging in at the HSBC?

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

And the heatwave continues, although it's not quite as bad as yesterday. I was so uncomfortable at work yesterday that I bought some Avene Eau Thermale at Boots on the way in today. Yeah, it's just spring water in a can, but it really does pick me up. So there I was, misting away when a visiting doctor popped into my office just now for coffee and asked what it was. Then he told me that it probably just makes me sweat more. Hrmph.

Tuesday, August 05, 2003

Shattering the myth

"The inside smelled like a dumpster... There was food wrapping and garbage everywhere and the driver was also cooking his lunch in a crock pot and tossing a salad."

Just one of 800 retarded Canadian drivers (oh, and one Swiss!) charged with road offences during the past civic holiday weekend...

This heatwave is leaving me quite listless and tired today, although there are other reasons, too... some of them work related. I'm waiting to hear today if I get full time hours. Pretty please!

Had a nice weekend which included catching up with my friend Esther both at lunch and for a last orders drink on Saturday at a very rammed Cord. The usual assortment of strange drunken Mancunians was out in full force, probably because of the weather! My favourite was the girl in white platform boots, swaying outside a pub to UB40 and swigging an alcopop who gave me a menacing look as I walked past. I'll be glad when they bring in the no drink in the streets zoning rule later this year... even if it's only because of the new Manchester City stadium, and not because the council actually feels sorry for us residents!

Friday, August 01, 2003

How. Jealous. Am. I? My lovely Actionettes are going to pose for photos at the BFT's screening of Smashing Time tonight, as part of their season of Mod Cinema. Not only that, but Rita Tushingham herself will be hosting a Q&A afterwards! I think I'm going to cry...

They're showing some plonk like The Ghost Goes Gear (although I did buy the dvd, purely for the Satin Bells songs!) but there are some real treats, like Up the Junction - how I'd love to see that on a big screen! And Privilege, a completely mad satire of pop idolism taken to the extreme. But where is Here We Go Round the Mulberry Bush?