Sunday, December 31, 2006

Clever girl, think you are but you think too much...

Soundtrack: various cut-up mp3s (especially the Kylie/Who one)

Well that's all over with for another year then.

The Christmas period was successful, as far as it can be sucessful. There were a couple of tense moments, but on the whole it was OK. I received some nice gifts from JJ including Fear of Music by Garry Mulholland (a follow-up to the superlative This is Uncool) - it's made me hanker after some albums I haven't broken out of the record boxes in a while. Maybe over the next few weeks I'll get a chance to do this.
The Saint Etienne party alluded to in the entry below was enormous fun. The centrepiece of evening was a performance of some jazz songs that appeared in the Charlie Brown cartoons, one song in particular was a highlight ('Linus and Lucy' - go Google it yourself). Look Around You's Peter Serafinovich and Robert Popper were there to introduce the worst TV show ever made - 'Star Quality', featuring Gyles Brandreth. Mr Serafinovich has been a big favourite of mine since his appearances in Spaced. So joy of joys - it couldn't get any better for me when he joined Saint Etienne onstage to reproduce the bit of 'I was born on Christmas Day' that Tim Burgess usually sings...(badly)...swoon...

So anyway - on Christmas Eve I began to feel ill. As soon as the time off kicks in my body shuts down, and so for a week now I've been dealing with all sorts of grim ailments (hacking coughs, stomach cramps and worse). We are supposed to be going back out to the RFH to the Guilty Pleasures NYE Party this evening, yet neither of us is in any fit shape for celebrating anything.

On that note, I'm going to leave this here for now and resume this another day. I have me some top lists to write in response to Merv's, and it takes brainpower to formulate this sort of thing. Happy New Year everyone.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

We gotta go now

A few finishing-up bits and bobs.

My birthday was quiet - we went to see the exhibition which this book accompanies at RIBA, which was pretty good. We live on a Span estate and our flats featured heavily, being one of their first major projects. There are downsides of living there: the high service charge, the rotting window frames, the bizarre residents society meetings...but in the main, it's a practical and beautiful space [if a little small for the accumulated junk of two people in their mid-30s].

On Sunday evening we went out to Knickers Knackers Christmas, a do that Mr Hall, Mr Powell and Mr Bentley organised. Musical highlights were Louie Louie, Do the Messaround and Mr Hall's set (which was interspersed with talky bits from Brass Eye). It was great to see Ms Robinson as well as Ms Robinson the younger.

The rest of this week? - I'm off to this on Thursday night. Giz a shout if you're going. Then to Devon. See you again after Xmas.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Round and round and round and round

Soundtrack: Life's too Long by Earl Brutus

I've crammed a lot into the last few days.

Last Friday morning we set off to The Nightmare Before Christmas, curated by Thurston Moore at Butlins in Minehead. In the chalet were me, JJ, Too Cool for School, Copenhagen Paul, Ms Robinson and her betrothed, Mr Hall. When we were there we met up with various folk we knew including Mr Weaver, Nige, Kes, Ms Karen and Mr Justin Spear.

We went to the thing primarily for the attraction of the headline act, the mighty Iggy and the Stooges. There were plenty of other acts on, mostly of the noodly nonsense variety (too many to list here, but honourable mentions for My Cat is an Alien and Dead Machines).

I was impressed by Gang of Four, the MC5 and Sonic Youth. Iggy was marvellous, predictably.

One thing that struck me was just how blokey the whole thing was. There weren't many girls on the bill. While I'm not saying that some women would have necessarily improved it, it might have made the whole thing a bit less chest-beating. On the second night we had to defend ourselves against a drunken/indignant Scottish man, and then against a thick-set chap who thought he would have a go at mauling all three of us ladies - no mean feat. His forehead was so low it was practically dragging on the floor. Apart from these incidents, everyone we met was unfailingly polite and friendly.

There were numerous problems on the weekend with queues for bands and people failing to see what they wanted to. I sincerely hope the organisers can get this straightened out before their next events.

So to this week. We returned from the festival in fairly poor shape (a steady diet of loud music, beer, pizza, curry, crisps and no sleep does that for you). Following my return to work I went out for my work Xmas lunch almost immediately, this was a pleasant few hours (and included the best ever secret santa gift, which was given to a very sweet and naive girl - a g-string made of candy). From there onto Shuttleworths, my local from my theatre days.

Last night was our work Xmas party. Following recent events, there was a mixture of belligerence, hysteria and sadness in the air. The company had outdone themselves on the cheapness of the venue. We had to pay for the cloakroom for the first time ever, which appalled us. We had spent the best part of the afternoon making 'At risk of redundancy' badges for all of those who are set to lose their jobs in various styles...this was done primarily to amuse ourselves, but also to make the management and out HR department feel uncomfortable. I then drank A LOT of beer.

In a week's time it'll be my last day until 2007. Feels great.

Monday, December 04, 2006

We'd fight and never lose

Soundtrack: Kiki and Herb

The weekend was spent largely contemplating my forthcoming redundancy - letting the reality of this sink in, and thinking about what's next. usual, I have no idea what's next. This is a source of a bit of worry. I've never really known what I wanted to do with my life (aside from the obvious sit about/do nothing thing). I hope to gawd I can sort this small matter out over the next few months.

I went out to the boozer with Mrs West, Ms Chamberlain and Llamaboy on Saturday night. We had a pleasant time in the pub drinking and chatting, then the three of us ladies went on to a club at the Islington Academy.

Perhaps I should start by saying that I loathe the Academy. It's a toilet in the middle of a shopping complex and is stupidy badly-designed for live music/clubbing. [The venue's early days were associated with the king of the arses David Stewart, and this could explain why it is generally useless.]

We were due to go to a club called Feeling Gloomy, which has received a bucketload of good press over the last few months. However, having received rather an amusing e-flyer for a night called Club de Fromage from the same people, we decided to get ourselves on the guest list and give it a try.

How pleased am I that we didn't pay for the pleasure of going to the club? It was fucking awful. As far as I can tell it was a half-arsed hybrid of School Disco and Guilty Pleasures: but with none of the charm or fun of either. The musical highlights were few (Funky cold medina, 24 hour party people). Just after midnight, the bloke who used to be Pete Beale in Eastenders was dragged onstage to an uncomprehending crowd. In fact, I found myself wondering where the barrel was, so we could scrape it some more.

Sunday was spent recovering from the booze and the late night, and musing on running a club night of my own does does the exact opposite of what I experienced on Saturday.

ATP this week - at last! The perfect antidote to redundancy, my impending birthday and Xmas.

Friday, December 01, 2006

Where's your head at?

Soundtrack: As heard on Radio Soulwax Part 9 by 2ManyDJs

The long story is too long to relate here, so I'm going to give you the short one, in Q&A style.

Q. What's happened?
A. I'm being made redundant.

Q. What?!
A. Yes, you did hear that right. Or, in the immortal words of Marcoose, I have finally achieved redundo.

Q. How are you feeling about this?
A: Alright thanks! In fact I'm quite pleased. My length of service means my financial settlement will be worth having. Plus, as you know, I've been trying to leave my job all year.

However, lots of people I work with are very cut up: some of them have ridiculously specialised areas of expertise, and others have been with the company for a short period of time.

Q. How long before you leave your job proper?
A: Quite a while yet - I predict I'll be here until the summer helping move the department to other bits of the business.

Q: What next for you in the meantime?
A: Well, I'm going to enjoy myself at ATP and over the Xmas break and postpone thinking about what the hell I'm going to do with my life until the New Year. Sounds good, eh?!

In other news - the family feud has been resolved in time for Christmas, which is good news all round.