Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Food Poisoning, Fevers, Flip Flops & Rain Drops and Final Philly Freak Outs!

After a fabulous weekend it was with great sadness that I found I had food poisoning. So did Mr B. We know where it came from, and all we will say is never order a Chinese from Garrett Lane. Spent the whole of Monday in bed (or on the loo) and felt royally crumby. I didn’t do any work, nothing, just finished off Darkman’s by Nicola Barker and felt very sorry for myself. Mind you I felt much, much more sorry for Mr B as he went to work whilst feeling seriously ill. So Monday was written off completely.

Tuesday was slightly more of the same and some fever which was lovely! Mind you I did manage to actually leave the house for the doctors to get some Valium, more of that later, and what is up with the weather? After getting some dollars and a bit of shopping from Sainsbury’s it started to bucket it down… I was wearing my thinnest pyjama jogging bottoms and flip flops. There is something disgusting and yet delightfully squelchy walking along in flips flops with the rain soaking your feet and almost slipping into the main road. It sums up my week ha, ha, ha.

Today I have been sorting out all the final things for Philadelphia. Most of you will know I cannot stand flying thanks to Mr Q. Before a one hour flight which hit an air pocket with someone who was petrified of flying from Scotland I was fine, now I am in the depths of despair. Thank goodness for Valium I say am hoping I will be very, very out of it. I also booked seats making sure I wasn’t on row 13, although I am flying at 1305 which is royally freaking me out! I have also made sure the books I am reading on the way in and out do not have 13 chapters in them, see we all have our little weirdnesses and this is mine! Oh and I cant see a window or a wing on the flight so that makes me happy.

So I must dash to bed now as I want to be tired but not disgustingly so on the plane, I have to meet a fellow journalist at the airport and need to be at least half alive. If I can will blog while am away, if not, speak when I come back! Eek, am so nervous!

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Young (And Old) Guns Go For It...

So the weekend that I have been waiting for and talking about for ages, no not the wedding, the 80’s fancy dress party for Caz & Phil’s 40th Birthday. We arrived in Matlock later than normal as I felt Mr B deserved a lie in. Mum came and picked us up from the station with Matt which was nice of her as her and my Step Dads outfits took quite some getting into. We were soon at Gran’s where she had everyone working like it was some small slavery. Seriously I kid you not, Matt was clearing plants, Cath was weeding, Mum had been mowing, Tim was polishing. Mr B and myself took the kids to play on the Tup as they appeared a little bored. What’s the Matlock Tup I hear you cry? It’s a piece of land near my Gran’s where they have some old bomb shelters and the kids like playing on. There were some other kids with two gorgeous Puppies. Mr B was in high favour Alfie just wanted to play football non stop in his Brazil football kit.

We had them back in time for Doctor Who (does anyone else think this new series is just nowhere near as good?) as for them to have missed out would have been shocking and I would never have been forgiven. We then headed to Caz’s to get ready and this is myself and Mr B as Wham…

Here are some more photos’ for your delight of the family, starting with the birthday boy and birthday girl Caz & Phil.

Alice (hiding her twin bump) and Patrick

Matt and Cath (or as I call her Frinny Frop Frey Froo)

And a very special photo of my mother (words fail me) and my step dad.

It was a brilliant party; the village hall had been turned into a proper 80’s hall. There were some very rude naked balloon figures of Caz and Phil as well as a naked cake. Sadly it was eaten before I got a photo! It was full of faces from the Savidge childhood and a lot of people who hadn’t seen me since I was 4, so that was quite odd. It was also a night of ex’s, not mine, both my mother and Alice dated Phil’s brother and then halfway through the night a revelation was announced. The DJ who I was calling Mr Cheese (he didn’t play ‘Into the Groove’ which I thought was just wrong) used to date my mother! Well I was shocked.

Midnight and we were all very drunk. Very, very, very drunk. You might be able to tell from the photo below I was quite sloshed!

The party wasn’t over however and we headed over to Caz’s once more with most of the 100 guests to drink more copious amounts of bubbly and get totally hammered. The birthday girl announced at 2am ‘everyone’s gone… that’s what happens when your bloody 40!’ 3am came and it was just Caz, Mr B and I. It was fabulous. It made me wish the 80’s were here again for real.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Hard Candy

Sorry but it can’t be helped you will have seen several reviews of ‘Hard Candy’ and now you are getting mine. Now I am not Music Journo so don’t expect too much though I did run PopSalvage many moons ago… that needs a revamp! I have had this on rotation for a few days now and could not help but give in and blog about the whole album (I was only allowed to say a little in Bent) and if it’s worse, better or as good as ‘Confessions…’ Mr Agius you have an email waiting and you started this lol!

Candy Shop – I personally don’t like this opening number however its Madonna’s favourite (I don’t understand why) and I suppose goes with the whole ‘Madonna goes R&B’ hype that has been going on. It’s not changed from the demo that leaked last year other than lyrically and that’s not a good thing. It’s like she’s trying to be 50 Cent. The only bit I love about the song I love is the trance middle where she repeats ‘sticky and sweet, my sugar is raw’ as I love Madonna when she’s being saucy. 2/5

4 Minutes – You all know this so am simply going to say a grower which I never expected to love as much as I do. 5/5

Give It 2 Me – This song really stand out as I don’t think it sounds like anything else in the charts (and I mean this in a good way). It has some really R&B horns bumping along in the back ground with a house/trance beat. I can imagine this being a huge hit in Vauxhall! The negative bit is when she does a break down over what sounds like Pharrel banging on some pans in his kitchen with a spatula as she says ‘get stupid’, ironic in an Alanis way! This could have been on ‘Confessions’ 4.5/5

Heartbeat – My favourite upbeat track from the album! I may have already created my own little dance routine… anyway. Produced by Pharrel its electro, pop and R&B all in one fabulous mesh! Nelly Furtado will be livid. “You know I feel it in my heart beat it may feel old to you but to me it feels new’. It’s all about dancing and how it sets you free and makes you feel amazing. I think she might also be referring to a crush and sex in a club but that wouldn’t be very Madonna would it? 6/5

Miles Away – The first ballad on the album and probably the most ‘typical’ in style. It sounds like a mash up of ‘Love Profusion’ – the guitars, ‘Nothing Fails’ – the sparseness and deeply felt vocals, and ‘Power of Goodbye’ – the synths and slight dance beat, almost William Orbit in part. Apparently this isn’t about Mrs & Mr Ritchie ‘you always love me more miles away, I hear it in your voice miles away’ and ‘when I’m gone you realise I’m the best thing to happen to you’. I have just realised this reminds me of Everything But The Girl in some weird way. 4/5

She’s Not Me – From the start of this song you can tell with the heavy base and shimmering synths that this is going to be a 70’s number. People are saying that this is her reply to Robbie’s ‘She’s Madonna’ – does she really give a monkeys about Robbie? This song does song like its ripped off ‘Bad Girls’ (just you wait for the Donna Summer album in May – amazing) and ‘Ring My Bell’ we allow this because its Madonna and means there are whistle and clap breaks for clubbing fun! ‘She might make you breakfast and love you in the shower, the feelings momentary ‘cos she don’t have what’s ours… she’s not me, she doesn’t have my name’ there’s nothing like Madonna being modest. This also does what Girls Aloud did with Biology of having three sounds in one. It starts seventies disco then 60’s clappy flower power, soul and blues and then deep house. 5/5

Incredible – This is the danger with calling a song something like ‘Astounding’ or ‘Incredible’ it might not live up to the name. This one doesn’t quite. The chorus is very pretty and catchy, in fact pretty is how you would describe the whole tune. It’s a piano lead mid tempo summer lounge meets house music if such a thing exists, well it does now. At six minutes it’s far too long, and sort of screams filler to me and what’s the ‘Evita’ dramatic bit halfway through? 2.8/5

Beat Goes On – Thankfully only sounding slightly like the demo of it that leaked, it does sadly miss the brilliant lyric ‘always the bridesmaid never the bride’ but its gained Kanye West who does a great rap on the track. Vocally she sounds great, it’s a sublime plinky kitsch disco number she even skits with Pharrel. I can’t think why this won’t be a single not the normal sort of stuff you would expect from Madge. 4.5/5

Dance 2Nite – ‘Hey Madonna, I’m taking you to the club’ Justin states before a heavy R&B dirty bass line comes in. Not an instant favourite but after a few listens this funky little number really grows on you. It’s about dancing as a twosome (think she might be insinuating sex with people half your age… maybe not) and being ‘just a boy and your just a girl’ homophobes lol. This is funky catchy and very Timbaland, not quite his finest hour though, quite Jacko! 3.6/5

Spanish Lesson – At first you think she has lots the plot, she is reciting Spanish and the meaning in English over Spanish guitars with a hard R&B beat. Somehow it works in its own odd way, this is unsurprisingly Mr B’s favourite number, partly as its Spanish and also as in its own crazy way it’s quite camp. “If you do your home work, maybe I will give you more’. 4/5

Devil Wouldn’t Recognise You – This HAS to be a single. I think this is her ‘Say It Right’ or ‘Cry Me A River’ it’s an epic electro R&B ballad. By epic I mean epic, the sound is huge and full, there’s a male chorus going on, it’s also one of the Timbaland highlights. I actually can’t describe how good this song is to be honest; I will have this on repeat for a good few weeks. 6/5

Voices – ‘Who is the Master & who is the slave?’ Justin starts this track. Well that’s none of your business frankly. Oh hang on this is one of her ‘deep’ songs, “are you walking the dog because that dog isn’t new, are you out of control is that dog walking you?’ This and ‘Devil’ see her doing something vocally that she doesn’t do very often and that sound more sultry and divine (not the best description). Weirdly this song remind me of some ballads from ABBA towards the end when they went a bit rogue (in a good way) it’s quite dramatic and has an Asian sounding hint to it. The album closes with the ring of a bell. Awesome. 5/5

Overall it’s great, no it’s not ‘Confessions’ but then Madonna wouldn’t bang out a second ‘Confessions’ it’s not her style. Some people have been really let down listening to this but Confessions was going to be a tough act to follow and I think ‘Hard Candy’ does this and surprised me with how good it was. I admit the ‘Madonna Goes R&B’ in my mind had ‘nightmare’ written all over it, but this is not an R&B album. Timbaland disappoints on this album (for me) and Pharrel shows just what a great writer he is. It’s a blend of pop, trance, electro and house with a thick R&B syrup coated over it… and it’s sweet! 5/5

Oh and here is an alternative cover someone has made which I saw today and made me smile!

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Today's Letter is F, the Number is 88

‘F’ for ‘Frustration’, ‘F**k’ and ‘Fury’, mainly just the ‘Frustration’ really. ‘88’ is for the numbers that I have said the second ‘f’ today, and I think ‘88’ is probably an understatement.

Do you ever have an idea that you know would work, people around you know would work and then the people who matter and could make it real think it doesn’t work? This is my main problem today. Tomorrow after some sleep on the matters maybe I will feel better about this and maybe they will have changed their mind though it’s unlikely.

The second ‘F’ has been said rather a lot today. Be it ‘for f-s sake’ or ‘f-it’ or ‘f-ing f-ing, f’ this is mainly as the words are not coming from my head through my chewed to buggery nails and onto my laptop and into the magic of Word. In fact Laptop and I are almost not on speaking terms. I simply cannot get my fingers to express what my ‘f-ing’ brain needs it to!

I have also been looking for more ‘Freelance’ and to say it’s jumping out for me and vice versa would be a serious lie. I have sent various ideas to various people and will keep persevering; I think its just one of those ‘f-ing’ days. Some might say I am in the ‘Depths of Despair’ as todays latter is ‘F’ I would say the Fortress of Fury.

A short and sweet blog today but I think if I spend another second with Laptop there may be tears… So one final ‘f’ for you all. Farewell!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pillow Talk

...Is one of my all time favourite films; however this is not a blog devoted to the Goddess Doris Day. No, this is devoted to the fact I am officially going crazy, mainly due to a lack of sleep.

Part of it is pre-wedding stress (33 days and counting), I mean the whole thing is 87% sorted but there is still quite a way to go. I am so sick of talking about my ‘blissful forthcoming day’ I wont say anything more. Apparently my body is not sick of this and I had a conversation, in my sleep, with Mr B at 4am about the colours of the table decorations and how I wasn’t keen. The mind boggles and clearly doesn’t sleep. I also need to say a big thanks to the life and sanity savers Muffintop and Mitch who spent 9 hours with me on Saturday and helped me organise some final things, best women are the way forward. I treated them to Stark Dallas Naked after which was a treat but we all agreed was false advertising, we didn’t see a single winkle! The other part is the mix up with those buggers the bailiffs over a mistaken identity which though now sorted has been bloody stressful. Part of it is the fact I am scared of flying and keep dreaming of all the things that could go wrong, going wrong on the way to Philadelphia (10 days and counting). Or it could be seeing my whole family in my home town this weekend dressed as Wham (4 days and counting). Phew!

Mainly it’s the bloody pillows. For most of my life I have been one of those people for who more is never enough. As I get older like a lot of things in life I find that less is more (just higher quality). We finally through out my shite ‘so thin they don’t exist’ Sainsbury’s basic ones (all 12 of them, only 4 were for Mr B) after coming back from the Spa break in Paris and me having had one of the best sleeps of my life with only two pillows, but these pillows were the fluffiest, bulging and delicious pillows I have slept on. I’m like Goldilocks… in so many ways, where can I find three lovely bears, ha ha!?

When we came back we bought the closest thing we could find and for the first few weeks it’s been fine. Now however I need to see a back and neck person (I have forgotten the term) as after sleeping on these new diving pillows I’ve gone and gotten a crick in my neck, lovely. Finally this morning at 7am I had the brain wave of ‘hang on I don’t have to use both I could just try one’ this is too soft and divine. How can that be? Well when you wake up three hours later after the deepest sleep and for 30 minutes are clueless if you are awake still in a dream or drugged and cannot shake that delicious sleepy state which is not conducive to writing and hitting deadlines, it can be an issue. So what do I do? I need help, and sleep!

Reading: A Thousand Splendid Suns – Khaled Hosseni
Watching: Sex & The City Season 1 – 6
Listening to: Hard Candy – Madonna (Heartbeat is amazing!)

Friday, April 18, 2008

Fagazine & April Meadows

I decided that I would have a day off today I am not sleeping due to stress and the idea of writing wasn’t high on the list of my agenda’s to be honest… at least that is how the day started.

I started off with cleaning the flat, a bit of domestic goddess-ness never hurts does it? I then decided that I would write the final lot of invites (I am refusing to look at the table plan) and so put Sex & the City on in the background. Within an hour randomly I had come up with a concept for a new gay magazine. One I am in my head calling Fagazine, I want it to be like Cosmopolitan, you know naked men and recipes, I think it could work I just need to work out how.

Working out how to do this depressed me so I watched The Apprentice and then randomly found a little gem… Belonging! It’s this welsh drama that is HUGE there and my ex (who is welsh) used to talk about all the time. I also had heard about it from Eve Myles – who stars in it – when I interviewed her. So I watched it and loved it, its funny, its real and it’s a bit naughty. I then checked out the website it has everything, family trees, the stories of every character past and present its great it makes the whole of the fictional town of Bryncoed seem so real it’s a treat.

So now I want to write a Soap Opera kind of thing too. Already in the space of an afternoon I have the Cul-de-Sac ‘April Meadows’ in my head, and have already thought up three families and some gay neighbours, delicious. So am gonna get cracking on that this evening! Not the day of leisure I had envisaged but a day of some good fun and some serious ideas. Oh and I left out myself and Disco Igor’s plans for Pop Stardom… maybe some other time!

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Deadlines, Diets & Devious Men

Deadline week has been upon me which is why I have been so quiet. As I am sure I have told you all before it’s when I suddenly get a mild panic that have forgotten something important or just forgotten something. Fortunately this month it doesn’t seem the case.

I have started a diet (which was slightly defeated when Mr B brought me muffins and cookies the other day, he doesn’t want me to be toned or thin apparently, the feeder) which involves no alcohol, minimal bread and pasta intake as advised by Mr Agius. I wasn’t drinking anyways; this may go down the pan next weekend when I am off up north for Cazzie’s 40th birthday party. Its an 80’s all out number and myself and Mt B are going as Wham. I am going to be George; I have the belly for it!

Devious men, there haven’t really been any but it’s from a song I love’ deadlines, diets and devious men’ so thought it would make a good blog title. Have had some good nights out with some fabulous men though. Wednesday was the launch night of ‘Electrosexual’ Paul Burston and Dom Agius’s new night at Freedom. It was a good laugh, like all first nights it started off quietly but a good crowd was in sadly Muffintop had a train to Paris (she’s so cosmopolitan) and I had a an interview with a Pop Diva early on Thursday so we couldn’t stay out past 11 and by then it was in full party swing. ‘Let’s Dance’ and ‘Freak Out’ made us stay on the floor and even saw us dancing in our bags and coats, next time we’ll be out in force am sure.

Tonight was ‘Euro Beats’ it’s the Eurovision Musical and I have not laughed or enjoyed myself that much in a long time. The perfect escapism from wedding plans which are just crazy at the moment. I was there with Best Man 1 (my little brother is also being my best man) Panders and we had a jolly old night though I think I might have chewed his ear off a little about weddings. Before I saw him I saw ‘the ex’ who works at Wimbledon Theatre to give him his invite, it suddenly seems much more real when you start handing the invites out. Scary.

You must, must, must go and see Euro Beat if you get the chance though it is truly an experience and night you will never forget, and vote Estonia I have not seen a more camp and hilarious performance since… well since… Jordan tried to get in Eurovision herself. There is even some pink lame thrown in, it’s a treat. Right, back to the writing board, am doing all the invites by hand and it’s taking forever! Fortunately with Sex and The City on back to back in the background it doesn’t seem such a chore!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Confessions in Confetti

…So wedding plans are a go-go. The venue is sorted, the meal is sorted now I just need to twist the arm of some people I know and hopefully the party will be sorted. I am beginning to think that the idea of having everything in one place is so much easier. Oh no, then I remember in London to get that dream you have to pay into the tens of thousands almost.

Sunday saw me have what I am calling a mild marital panic attack. We were in Confetti, which if you are getting married or not should be experienced, on Tottenham Court Road. If you married, you can mill around and gloat that you don’t have this to worry about. If you aren’t planning on getting married go to see the looks of mild panic etc on the faces of those who are. Also listen to the conversations people have, I didn’t know people could debate over a bride and groom to go on top of their cake for ten minutes before choosing two bath ducks kitted out in wedding regale.

At first it was fine, we wanted invitations and my thought was; ready made possibly printed and not to expensive. Well anything not being too expensive in a wedding shop is irony in itself… of the Alanis kind. I expected there to be maybe ten to choose from, not the whole 100+. I started to sweat. After a record three minutes they were chosen, only once I opened them at home did I realise that I was going to have to hand write them myself. ‘You have lovely handwriting’ said Mr B. ‘So we know who is doing that then I thought’. Having gotten weigh laid with the massive selection of Jelly Belly (why is it there?) I didn’t notice Mr B looking at table decorations. Table decorations? Table decorations? I hadn’t even thought of that. I felt a little weak.

I don’t know what it was that set me off, maybe the 50 different colour disposable cameras, the coated almonds in various pastel shades (vile both as a gift and in colour) or maybe the ‘oh my god its soon-ness’ but I sort of fell, well my legs gave way and I had to leave. I remember mumbling something that sounded like ‘too much’ and ‘my life is ending’ and then I was sat on the street with a Starbucks and fanning myself with one of the invites. I felt better but announced that we would have to not go back there until Monday when we were coming back into town to sort the dinner out.

So Monday saw us back there and this time it was much better, however I did have a slight wobble when I heard some woman banging on about how if Great Aunty Mavis didn’t get an invite for the whole day it would be tragic. Her partner replied ‘but she smells of cats’ - you couldnt make it up! I then reached into the depths of my man bag (for those of you who haven’t seen it, it gives Mary Poppins a run for her money) and realised we had left the guest list at home. Buggeration!

We get to the dinner venue, it was free that day – massive sighs of relief all round – and they were happy to give us an area that seated forty. I was so pleased I almost fainted again from relief. Well, not fainted, collapsed.
That was until I got home and counted my immediate family. There are 26 of them (not including the twins but they aren’t due until September) so that leaves me with space for 14 more people. Oh and that’s if me and Mr B don’t attend. So the decisions of which friends will come to the meal and how to word it to those who won’t has opened up a whole new tin of wedding worms. I mean people are going to be offended, right? Do I do a private family lunch with best women, grooms maids etc? It’s a bloody nightmare; I think I need to lie down.

Friday, April 11, 2008

One Mean Old Philly

One of the great things about my job is that you get offered some really great opportunities (such as interviewing AJ from the Backstreet Boys today and finding out which member has the best member) the one that has finally been booked is a travel feature… in Philadelphia. I know my jaw hit the floor on Tuesday when I got the call. Then the dates came in and it got a bit awkward.

Its from the 28th of April until the 6th of May for a forum (which I will be talking at – eek) and for a celebration of the City as an American Gay City Holiday Spot, so bars and the works. Sadly however it is Bong’s ashes weekend that weekend also which would be his birthday weekend if he was alive too. Bong helped to bring me up and was the closest thing I had to a Dad and when he died last year it was possibly the hardest few months of my life. I spent almost all the 7 of his last weeks (he had liver cancer and died 7 weeks after his diagnosis aged 68) up there and tried to be around as much as I could (whilst having an operation as they thought I may have cancer) but I am feeling guilty as I have chosen Philadelphia.

My reasons? I asked myself (after my mother told me to) what would Bong want me to do and have chosen Philadelphia. When someone dies you realise how short life is, you realise you should take any chance that comes to you. Yes I know I will be the only one of the family who isn’t there, and I do feel bad about it; however I will remember him in my own way on his birthday. So why do I still feel so mean?

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Mooching Monday, Poetic Polari, Workaholic Wednesday and Trapped Thursday

It’s been an odd week this week. Monday was spent spending money, such a hard life, as after some debate Mr B gave me money to get myself some belated birthday presents. I had a good old mooch down Oxford Street and the area. Mr B technically got me some very good presents;
- Stardust DVD
- Enchanted DVD
- ‘The Battle for Gullywith’ Susan Hill’s latest book
- Red Converse boots
- Lovely new jumper with button up shoulders
- Ticket to see ‘Funny Games’ which was a nasty little film.
- A copy of the new Mariah Carey album (if you know where to shop)
From that list you could never tell that I was gay could you ha, ha, ha.

Tuesday saw me interviewing Take That… sort of. It was the boys from ‘Never Forget’ for my ‘West End Special’ for Bent Magazine. The West End Special that’s going a bit wonky but shush we won’t say that. Am waiting on some interviews and it’s a bit of a nightmare but it’ll get there.

The evening saw Muffintop and I meeting for this months instalment of Polari, I personally have called this ‘Poetic Polari’ Frances Bingham was reading some poems from a collection she has put together of Valentine Ackland and her lover Sylvia. I didn’t know anything about Valentine but would now like to know a lot more. I admit poetry is not my favourite foray into literature but this was superb, very deep and emotional, and Frances was a perfect reader both explaining the background stories of the poems, Valentines life and also some very comic timing particularly the comment on the poem she has read on Women’s Hour, it was very racy. Paul and Dom were as usual the perfect hosts, am really looking forward to the new night next Tuesday ‘Electrosexual’ at Freedom Bar.

Wednesday I worked like a bugger. It’s coming up to deadline week which usually entails sudden extra work and me running around like a blue arsed fly going into a mild panic. Fortunately most of the stuff has come up tops. I am now slightly ahead, though my internet then crashed and I couldn’t send anything to my editor.

Big Sis came for an early dinner (Mr B did his lethal Paella) and finally came to meet Mr B himself – she approves whole heartedly. We then went to Wimbledon to see ‘Never Forget: The Musical’, I can hand on heart say its brilliant. The story line is a little ropey but that’s always the way in this new genre of musicals. The audience were screaming, dancing and singing – no not me – and really getting into it. Plus as The Ex is the Manager it was free entry, drinks and treats all round, you can’t get a better night. Am off to see the Eurovision Musical next week ‘Eurobeat’ I will report back to you on it in due course, everyone says its cheesy, camp and fabulous… sounds promising.

Today has been bloody horrid. I have been trapped at home with a migraine. I get them every so often and they are bloody horrid, cant open the curtains, cant read as can't concentrate. One thing that did help in my low state was Desperate Housewives, have now watched up to episode 10. I loved Series One; hated Series Two, missed Series Three but this series is excellent. Have also received the review series DVD of ‘Pushing Daisies’, which is out this week, and everyone seems to be going hype crazy over in America and now here too. May watch that tomorrow when I can so may also report on that. I do love Anna Friel.

Oh speaking of America just read a brilliant book by the American author Anne Tyler. Her novel ‘Digging to America’ is wonderful. It’s about two families who adopt two girls from Korea and is really a kind of social study on American family life, very funny, sad, and moving, you’ve got it all. Am undecided what to read next. Any good reads people can recommend? Not that I am technically allowed to buy books at the moment.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

Bowled Over

I am knackered after a day of severely bowling my ass off, yes after seeing Lars & The Real Girl myself and Mr B have spent the day in Queensway eating, bowling, catching a movie and then bowling severely. He won more than me and yet I got more strikes, how is that possible. Well I am a bit of a rogue bowler and it appears I can get strikes as often as I can hit nothing at all ‘gutter ball’ style which is weirdly 50/50. So in my exhaustive state here is a list of all I have and haven’t been doing in the last few days.

- I have had to wait in for 6 hours for a call from EDF after they threatened to drill my locks (mistaken identity and wrong details) they never called. Its fine now I have checked.
- I have used the word wedding to the point of boredom, worst scenario ever today, two gay couples getting married and comparing stories, designs and ideas… no, no, no.

- I have forgotten I am intolerant to Guava and thrown up. Thanks for those Brazilian treats Robert ha, ha, ha. He didn’t know what hit him, it was my projectile vomiting.

- I have finished the nightmare novel ‘A Quiet Belief in Angels’ and started a delicious novel ‘Digging To America’ by Anne Tyler, brilliant book.

- I haven’t drunken any alcohol but felt drunk on two occasions – odd.

- I have put Hoyden on a strict ‘biscuit’ diet, she knows why and keeps looking at me as if to say ‘I know you must do this, however I hate you a little and may poo on your clothes sometime’.

- I have loved the chick flick that is ’27 Dresses’ and am completely unashamed to say so, so there.

- I have found some old records that are genius (Vanessa Paradis and Naomi Campbells albums) the first so motown and camp it’s fantastic, the second so trashy and camp it’s fantastic. Both very wrong, but so right!

- I have written none of it was what I should have been writing.

- I have had coffee on my own in Wimbledon Village (how posh) and made some notes for the novel and then spent a little too much on rich peoples cast offs in the charity shops up there.

- I haven’t been sleeping very well, boo hoo.

- I have cried over the end of Torchwood Series 2, no really, I cried. I also rejoiced at the start of the new Doctor Who series. Catherine Tate is much less shouty and therefore better than last time. Why is Rose back? I need to know!

- I have tried some new Brazilian food in Bayswater Market, I haven’t bought a whole ‘anything’ yet, instead heading for the Burger King.

- I have been addicted to bowling.

- I have thrown away my favourite boots after they cut the back of my heel off, it was a delight as I am sure you can imagine. It still hurt to let them go.

- I have eaten far too many ‘children’s’ puddings. Kids have it so bloody good these days. I name two flavoured two toned Fromage Frais for a start from Much Bunch!

Wow that seems like quite a lot. Am sure something is missing.

Friday, April 04, 2008

I Vow Not To Laugh

Mr B and I have received a lovely parcel in the post, it is the DVD from Mr B’s dads second wedding, and this would be the wedding that Mr B refused to go to last year. I couldn’t wait; I am currently full of the joys of weddings with it possibly being one of my favourite and most current words in my vocabulary at present.

We also received a brilliant phone call which changed the time of the wedding… sorry partnership, from 10am to 4pm so I am very much relieved. It also had attached the options of vows for the ceremony. We have practised reading them all aloud to see which ones I like and which ones we will use in our own special vows we are creating. This had had surprising effects, Mr B cannot stop crying every time he tries to do them (I am hoping this is emotional rather than scared and thinking ‘what am I doing?’ tears) and I get the uncontrollable giggles, seriously I start laughing proper belly laughs by the end. How on earth do I combat this?

One thing that didn’t look a barrel of laughs was Mr B’s Dad’s matrimonial ceremony. They didn’t really look each other in the eye as instead they spoke into a microphone for the camera saying their vows and barely smiled. Odd, apparently it was nerves. They also had one of the most expensive (in a ‘we have lots and lots of millions of pounds but sadly no taste’ kind of way – I know I am evil, Mr B agreed however) and the highlight for me was a wall sized, I kid you not, picture of the two of them that they posed against. It was one of those soft focus all pastels number, I was laughing so much I cried tears.

I have since decided that I am not having our ‘do’ filmed. I definitely want photos, video not on your nelly, no way. I don’t want to watch myself talking and saying the vows and all that, mind you I might change my mind in the future and then we wont have anything because I didn’t want it at the time, oh no what do I do. This whole thing is so, so, so vexing.

Right, back to the grindstone of writing, both vows and work. Mr B has decided that vows are my job ‘you are a writer after all Baby’. What a cop out!

Thursday, April 03, 2008

One For The Road

Tonight was a book group night and we were meeting in The Dollar Grill in Farringdon to discuss ‘The Road’ by Cormac McCarthy. This novel split us with three of us loving it, though one of us was scared by it and couldn’t read it at night, one of us who thought it was good but ‘apocalypse can be done so much better’ and one who thought it was one of the most depressing books that they had ever read. I personally was one of the people who loved it. I thought the writing was sparse and epic (like the setting and story) without being full of pretentious wording and all of that gubbins. The subject matter is harsh, no one likes thoughts of the world ending, I loved the ideas and the questions that McCarthy evoked, what would you do if you knew you were headed for nowhere other than death, suicide as some do or would you carry on and try to fight even if you knew death was inevitable?

One of the interesting topics brought up was, is there such a thing as a bad book? What are the criteria of a bad book or books? One of the previous books we have read came up in conversation ‘London Fields’ by Martin Amis which all of us bar one hated. My thoughts were that the characters were vile, the prose was stagnant and the blurb on the back was misleading. We will come back to blurbs shortly. The person who chose the book said ‘you can’t say it’s a bad book’. I can and I have, the whole point of fiction is that its different, different genres, topics, characters, prose etc. If everyone liked the same book there would be no variety out there. ‘But its one of the modern classics so it can’t be bad’ was the reply. I used Jane Austen as an example, some people myself included think her prose is stunning, some think that its trash, in fact in its day it was seen to be so by certain parties. People have differing ideas. Some people love Shakespeare, I am not one of them, and he’s classic that doesn’t mean he is liked by everyone or accessible. Look at ‘Ulysses’ by Joyce. I will try and read that one day. It became the second heated debate of the meal. The previous one was ‘neuro linguistic programming’ I am so not even going there, suffice to say I know it can be done but I think its bollocks.

Blurbs are a major factor though. I judge books on their covers and am not ashamed to say so; I also judge them on the blurb. We went to the bookshop after; we always do this to buy the next book (in this case I already have ‘A Thousand Splendid Suns’ by Khaled Hosseni) and to grab a coffee. I was meandering and looking at blurbs and covers, I didn’t buy anything am on a ‘no book buying order’ by Mr B. I have recently decided (and been reminded by the London Fields discussion) that blurbs are designed to sell a book not to necessarily tell you exactly what you are getting, though they should. For example…

Joseph Vaughan's life has been dogged by tragedy. Growing up in the 1950s, he was at the centre of series of killings of young girls in his small rural community. The girls were taken, assaulted and left horribly mutilated. Barely a teenager himself, Joseph becomes determined to try to protect his community and classmates from the predations of the killer. Despite banding together with his friends as ' The Guardians', he was powerless to prevent more murders - and no one was ever caught. Only after a full ten years did the nightmare end when the one of his neighbours is found hanging from a rope, with articles from the dead girls around him. Thankfully, the killings finally ceased. But the past won't stay buried - for it seems that the real murderer still lives and is killing again. And the secret of his identity lies in Joseph's own history...

Now this sounds like a thrilling thriller and a ‘me’ book. Having gotten half way through it and completely being bored, depressed and uninspired by it I am thinking that blurbs can lie. The book is R. J. Ellroy’s ‘A Quiet Belief in Angels’ and I thought I would love it, I hate to say on the whole Richard and Judy books are actually really good, I have not loved this book at all. I’m in the middle and its going nowhere, slowly. I also think that R. J. Ellroy thinks he is Steinbeck… I mean come on!

We couldn’t have a coffee in Borders it was shutting; we couldn’t have a coffee in Tinderbox for the same reason, however in the Tinderbox they were giving away free copies of Dan Rhodes’ ‘Gold’ which from the blurb and quotes sounds fabulous. I wanted to take one – I’m not allowed to buy but free ones are different – as I wasn’t getting a coffee I didn’t feel I could. The guys at the counter said ‘go for it, take one for the road’ well who am I to refuse such an offer?

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Spring Cleaning & Dirty Laundry

I have spent the last few days sorting the flat out ready for the forthcoming move in June. It was time to go through my boxes (still unpacked from December 2006 I haven’t bought any shelves still, I know where everything is the boxes are labelled) and sort out what stuff I really need and don’t. The main thing on the hit list was books. Oh how that has pained me, the charity shops in Tooting are now much more nicely stocked. Typically I went into one and gave them lots of books and left with some new ones. I MUST STOP BUYING BOOKS, I just can’t. I got vouchers for my birthday too, shame.

Today I have been routing through dirty secrets, not mine, I have just found that some of the characters in ‘the book’ are unleashing some dark secrets here and there which I am really enjoying. I was discussing this with Jeremy when he came round for lunch and brainstorming on our project. (The project is going really well, though I admit I had done less homework that a certain swat tut!) He is also writing a novel and we both thought that when people say ‘the characters write themselves’ it was a load of pretentious twaddle, we have however both found this is quite the opposite. We are both being led on by our characters in ways we wouldn’t have thought. One place that I have been taken by the characters is the laundry of the ‘home’ and that’s not pretty.

Speaking of dirty laundry I love the new series of The Apprentice already. We are only two weeks in and I am hooked already. I have also found my latest villain of the series and who I want to win; can you guess who they are? On that note now I have a lovely clean and sparkling junk free flat so I think I better have a lovely clean me in it too. It’s time for a long hot soak with number four of ‘The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency’ series.