Monday, September 08, 2008

Ghost Hunting With Michelle & Simon

Now sometimes I get myself into some unusual situations with work but I never anticipated that I would end up going ghost hunting least of all with Phil Whyman (who now runs who used to be on one of my favourite shows Most Haunted. However with a big Halloween piece for Bents October issue lead me through the rainy countryside this Saturday gone with Michelle all the way to Peterborough and to its Museum, once a Tudor mansion of which the cellars still exist, and then became another manor before it was then a hospital, school and now is the museum. A building steeped in history and hopefully full of ghosts.

The start of the evening involved a tour of the whole museum, with just torches and a few lights here and there. I was mainly fine but on one particular staircase I felt really sick, one that isn’t open to the general public. The other place that Michelle and I both felt funny was the cellar. Both of us just didn’t want to end up in that area of the building and yet when we first were split into groups and put on different levels of the building, where were we sent first? Yes of course, we were sent to the cellar. Once in there we also found it was the hospitals morgue which made us feel absolutely no better than before, followed by the next room which we did a stint in which was the original autopsy room and where they now stored mannequins and their spare parts some of which they use for Halloween so you can imagine what that was like. Bar some orbs and some strange rapping’s we didn’t really get anything.

After a break some snacks and a tea or two (they throw you a lovely buffet) we then headed to the top floor and being brave Michelle and I headed for the operating theatre to spend some time with whatever may be lurking there and sadly not a lot was, we did go around with an EMF meter (as Dead Haunted supply you with Planchets, EMF readers, scrying mirrors and any other ghostly equipment that you should need) and felt like proper paranormal investigators. One of the museums rooms on that floor made me feel odd, maybe because as you entered you were greeted by a coffin, here we asked out and had very little response… or did we?

It was the third investigation of the first floor that things started to happen and funnily enough this was after midnight. The second floor featured a shop which had been built to replicate one from the past with mannequins (which is always nice and not at all scary) and here we used the planchet to get them to write something using our energy. Though nothing was written Michelle and I felt like something was blowing on our hands (prior to this someone had done the loudest fart in the next room which wasn’t spiritual) and they had dropped in heat from the rest of the room by 10 degrees.

Then the weirdest thing of the night happened, we did a séance in one room where a girl appears. We were all asking out surrounded by dinosaurs in display cases, suddenly it sounded like something was running along the tops of them which actually made them shake really hard. The other teams were contacted and no one else in the building was moving, it honestly felt like and earthquake and no one else had heard it! Then a few minutes later we all heard someone walking loudly down the corridor and some of us saw a huge shadow, no one was there.

After a fairly quite time on the ground floor with Michelle, Phil and some others in a torture chamber (with more mannequins) we were allowed to go off on our own, after a nothing on the stairwell that made me feel sick we went back to the little girls room, as we did I saw a huge shadow move along the corridor above and nearly pooped myself as we knew no one was there. Michelle had a ‘tired/scared’ grump after this and before we knew it the night was over.
Am I more of a believer now? Ask me after I have stayed in the London Tombs in November! I will say that though odd things happened that can’t be explained I wasn’t scared and I wasn’t screaming ‘it’s a ghost’ instantly. I am more of a believer but more sceptical all at once, which is a bit odd and confusing frankly. I would recommend that everyone gives this a go. Try going with Dead Haunted as we did as they made us feel so welcome and had a laugh in what could be a seriously scary time… like it was for the woman who got a rusty nail thrown at her head in the cellar.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Joan Rivers, Electroqueer and Getting Touched Up Thrice

Another night another preview, ha if only my entire life could be like this, last night was the press preview of the fabulous Joan Rivers show ‘A Work in Progress, By A Life in Progress’. I love Joan Rivers and for some reason I always think of Bong when she is mentioned as he used to think she was hilarious, I also do the same with Nigella Lawson by that’s by the by. Joan is a woman who embodies everything that I think is fabulous, she loves the ‘c’ word, she isn’t scared to talk about anything least of all her sex life and private parts, but despite the plastic surgery she has something innately real about her.

She has struggled in life she was dropped by Fox, alienated by Jonny Carlson, and her husband killed himself (in the Four Seasons Hotel I stayed at in Philadelphia) leaving her to look after her daughter who at 16 also became her business partner. In spite of all of this tragedy she has an amazing sense of humour, tonight’s show however also showed another side to her. This show not only has you laughing in the aisles as you hear her tell her journey on stage but also lays her bare and sees her at her most raw. I was entranced; the audience was silent and totally mesmerized. I simply cannot wait to interview her next week now. Afterwards she joined everyone for some drinks and nibbles and was genuinely charming, no airs and graces which you would expect with someone of that star quality. This drinks and nibbles was where I got groped for the first time in the evening! Cannot wait to interview her next week!

After the fabulous time Muffintop and I had there we went on for ‘one drink’ as I had promised I would attend the second night of Electroqueer at Barcode. I didn’t know what to expect even though I am quite a fan of and have a similar taste (I was dancing my pants of to Lady Gaga later on in the proceedings – my favourite album of the entire year) in music to the host and DJ. There were live acts, one was pants, one was just bizarre (very electro Kate Bush meets Lily Allen gone askew) and Electrovamp who were just bloody fabulous!

One drink turned into several and while I was at the bar I was handed a piece of paper from a man whose friend had given him to pass onto me. It was his facebook profile… since when did phone numbers go out of fashion? This person shall remain nameless as he has a boyfriend and he proceeded to be the second person to grope me during the evening. About five drinks later I was trollied and Polly had to head home as she had work the next day so off I trundled to catch the night bus, this was to be where I would get my third grope of the evening in shocking fashion.

I was trying drunkenly to finish off Wuthering Heights on the bus and was doing quite successfully until we got to Clapham North where I started to feel slightly sickly so I stopped. At Clapham Common a young man I have seen about before who is quite hot (if I was single) got onto the bus clocked me and sat behind me. I was next to the window and had someone with a bloody loud mp3 player sat next to me, the guy moved opposite him. As Mr Mp3 got off, this chap then sat next to me at about Balham… by Tooting Bec he was feeling me up! He got off at Tooting Broadway and hovered, I got off outside my flat a few stops on and scurried home. That has never (well on a bus) happened to me before. I have given my number out on a bus back in my hey day but never has someone been so over zealous. I thought cruising to that extent was a bit ‘out’ or a bit old school, I am obviously so not with it!

Thursday, September 04, 2008

The Agius Exhibition

Last night was the preview of Crime & Punishment the new photography and arty exhibition at 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning which is near Herne Hill not Stockwell as I found when it took me ages to walk there, plus from Stockwell its not very well sign posted and one road leads to the road its on which meant I got lost for about 30 minutes and thought I might miss the whole event.

Now it’s very unlike me to go to the opening of an art exhibition as while I love art and photography I tend to not fit in with the crowds that attend the previews, and also its something I like to do solo so I can go and take in the art in my own time and in my own way.

However tonight was also my gorgeous friend Dom Agius’ preview, for he had several fabulous photos on show in the exhibition. One particular one of some curtains blowing in what looks like a fabulous manor really strikes a chord with me. (If ever I am allowed to write what is awaiting a certain author’s estates yes or no then I would love to use this as a cover for the work in question.) Wine was flowing and Dom was fabulously showing people around and I knew I would know people in the crowd who had come for the opening.

Paul Burston and Arun were there, so it felt like some of the Polari family were around, I also got to meet some fabulous new people. Two of whom were Chris and Biddy whose album launch I shall now be attending. They were both fabulous, both you couldn’t make up in a novel and both I want to get to know better, Biddy had me in stitches with some of his tales and demanded I tell him my life history ‘but only in 3 minutes for we must chase a cab’ the night ended in the one of the campest most fabulous journeys I have ever had.

Here’s a photo of Dom and I in front of his works (we’re pulling out ABBA/Mitford pose)…
If you can do go and check the Crime and Punishment Exhibition, its on at 198 Contemporary Arts & Learning, 198 Railton Road, Brixton (but its next to Herne Hill), London, SE24 0JT until the 11th of October.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Simon Savidge… Tomb Raider (and Screamer)!

Not content with going to see Most Haunted get the pants scared of them at the London Tombs on Friday night, I decided that a big scary spooky piece was much needed in next months issue of Bent, it is Halloween after all. So not only have I organised a proper night in a haunted museum that was once a hospital, cant wait to be shut in the cellar, morgue or operating theatre, the fun. I digress; yesterday I also got to go to London Tombs myself.

On arrival at London Bridge you can see the signs of London Tombs everywhere; there are bloody spectres and figures all over the shop handing out leaflets. However where you think the entrance is it isn’t, we were led around the corner and under a bridge with some fabulous modern lights that I have been through many times and never noticed the buildings (the Tombs and a pub opposite) when I have gone through. In the shop we met James the Manager who told us that rather than just go on both The London Bridge Experience and enter The London Tombs, we would also be taking a torch lit tour of the venue. Weirdly knowing the history of the site I then started to feel rather scared.
The London Tombs is a new attraction in London which has royally annoyed the London Dungeons. However unlike the Dungeons which were actually just warehouses and shops in its past, the London Tombs is a proper set of vaults which when being sorted for the new attraction found to have catacombs, a plague pit and tonnes of bones that were sticking out of the wall that backs onto Southwark Church and its cemetery. Some of these were simply skulls, and the skulls had wholes in the top, these are thought to be the skulls of beheaded traitors that were then attached to the Bridge for all to see. Builders have left the site and never come back, and some of the staff have almost done the same. Now you can see why I might have felt slightly edgy.
Funnily enough as James led us through these very vaults with just a torch and into several rather grisly settings which are part of the ‘experience’ as he did this he also told us of all the experiences that he has had and several of the staff have had, actually getting some of the actors to tell their tales to us. Its quite odd having someone dressed as a medieval beheader telling you of the dark figure he has seen. I would divulge more to you but you’ll have to read next months Bent Magazine. I would seriously advise that you head down and give the attraction a go as after the pitch black tour upstairs we went down to try out the Tombs I can honestly say I haven’t jumped and been scared that much in a long while… mind you, I haven’t lived the joys of Saturday night and some time in a haunted operating theatre and cellar yet, but more of that after the weekend.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Building Site = Bomb Site

Finally after over a year of having a leak that comes regularly through my bathroom roof my delightful landlords and agents (Time2Move – I don’t recommend them at the moment if your moving in south London) decided to send the builders round to sort it out. Shame the builders couldn’t be sorting out all the other 22 problems we had someone come and check a few months ago, but that’s just me having a good old moan.

So the builders arrived, now I don’t mean to be picky but of course they were late. Also why do builders never look like they do in porn films? I was expecting a pair of buff greasy twenty eight year olds maybe with skinheads in dungarees. I sadly got two fifty year olds (I have nothing against the age) but they weren’t the finest specimen of men. Porn is frankly just unfair advertising that will lead you into false beliefs.

It’s amazing how they also expect tea, on two occasions when I was happily beavering away doing my work at my desk and I heard ‘if you’re making a brew…’ I almost on the second occasion said ‘do I look like I am near a kettle?’ They also managed to go out and have ten minute breaks between ripping the ceiling down and then ripping some more stuff down and then running upstairs having tea up there and then plastering with breaks again.

What I loved was the fact that when they arrived they trampled mud in, they then did more through the roof terrace door, didn’t clean any up of course, and then I came home from the shops and was greeted by no builders but dust and general crap everywhere oh and this is how my bathroom now looks...Some might call it modern art on my ceiling I suppose, I wouldn’t be one of them mind.

Monday, September 01, 2008

My London Mini Break

After having worked pretty solidly for over two weeks including working weekends and a Bank Holiday weekend plus after a seriously long night at Most Haunted Live and the fact some of my family were coming down on Monday I decided that I should take a few days off and have a break, a sort of Simon Bank Holiday if you will. So rather than go anywhere gallivanting I decided that I would simply have a holiday in my home city of London with a slight detour to the Yorkshire Moors but more on them in due course.

Saturday saw Michelle and myself get into bed at almost 5am after out Most Haunted jaunt, so we decided that we would have a lovely lunch (sorry am I on a diet) of a massive platter in the pub, a Mills & Boon hunt, a new skirt for Michelle hunt (due to the hear and for Most Haunted she’d dressed for coldness) and then a lovely stroll in the National Trust Park that’s fifteen minutes from my house but I frequently forget about.
It might have involved some horses and stables a big favourite of Michelle’s. Look at that dress sense…
It might also have involved some ice-cream, but I am on a diet but there is no proof… oh damnation.
Sunday was so rubbish weather wise I ended up spending the day in the local spa (my flat) lazing around and reading Wuthering Heights, am unsure of Catherine (spoilt petulant bint) and Heathcliff (uncouth rogue), time will tell!

Monday was like a massive tourist trail of London and made me realise just how blinking lucky I am that to live here. I met my aunty Caz (who in age and in relationship is much more like my big sister) and my cousins Florence and Alfie for a day out seeing all the sites. Though Florence has done the London holiday thing quite a lot for a seven year old this was actually Alfie’s first proper visit as he came for the wedding but didn’t get to do the tourist thing! So we decamped at their hotel and swiftly made our way to the river and for a long gorgeous boat ride which took in the sites.
We then went to Big Ben, the Houses of Parliament, and Westminster Abbey before going onto my favourite park which is St James’ Park. Its small full of bizarre ducks and Pelican’s a hermit house like pub, fabulous views of Buckingham Palace and it seems more hidden than the other parks and less sparse. Plus it was in one of my favourite children’s books ‘Dr Jekyll and Mr Hollins’, random fact. We met the hubbies in St James and Green Park had some coffees caught a double decker and ended up in China Town for the kids first proper Chinese, Alfie loved it... and so did I, well how could I be rude and diet when a) am on holiday and b) am having a family meal, it would be rude wouldnt it?
Now those are the reasons why people should visit London, speaking of which has anyone else noticed how pointless the adverts for Visit London are on the Metro, London Paper, buses and tubes… when you’re already in London glad money is spent wisely! I do take London for granted sometimes and I need little breaks like these to relax and help me remember that.