Thursday, August 28, 2003

Ohmygod… am eating the best sandwich ever. Pastrami on rye, with mustard, gherkins, lettuce and tomato… dripping everywhere and I don’t care.

Other news: was browsing Friendster this morning (yeah, while I was at work. So?), as a friend had sent me a link from Brice out of The Gossip, about this (quick plug). Friendster just made me depressed. All these very hip people showing how many mates they have and who they know. That makes me sound like I don’t want to join ’cos I’m afraid no one would be my friendster, and that’s kind of true! It’s fun being nosy, tho… even saw an ex of mine on there, and no, was not tempted to rekindle the flame.

Stephen is wearing a fine
t-shirt today. I thought it was a hummingbird on the front, but what do I know about our hollow-boned pals? Apparently it’s a tit. S used to be a bird-watcher when he was about 10 (aaaww! Cute!) and it’s never worn off.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Last night I dreamed that I was getting down with Richard Hell. We were on a beach, and the tide was coming in quite fast. There was an old bathtub full of dirty rainwater, leaves, etc. etc. (yeah, my fave place to do it, too…) and I pushed him in to the bath and leaped on top of him in what was, I thought, a pretty smooth move. Just as we were about to, I noticed that he had a disapproving, serious look on his face. I asked him if he wanted to have sex, and he said no. So we stopped, and in the dream I was all like thinking “Eh. He probably has paternity suits and kiss & tell stories to worry about. He can’t go around knocking boots with every willing girl.”

Friday, August 22, 2003

This entry looks super long, but the main bit is a feature I wrote for Mille Feuille, the webzine of The Bakery collective. As the site isn't up yet, you get to see it first...

Thought for the day: What's the most unnattractive thing a person can carry? Small dog-in-a-bag? Burger bought from a street vendor*? Nope, I'll tell you what really kills it for me: the latest Harry Potter. I saw a really cute girl walking in front of me yesterday: cream swishy skirt, white tank top, looking all summery and individual, but what was that tucked under her arm? A book? Ever nosy, I speeded up so I could take a peek. Yep, Harry five. Don't even get me started.

*(I know in America street food is an institution, and you see eating it in films all the time as a cool, young and carefree thing to do, but in London: JUST SAY NO)

Crafting in the workplace

Have you been on any of the fab craft sites which have sprung up in recent years? Get Crafty, She Made This, Thrift Deluxe? I am addicted to them. I print off interesting projects, I have a ring binder I keep them in, and I never make any of the stuff. Why? Oh, don’t get me wrong: I want to, it’s just that the outlay seems so huge, and even the simplest of projects seem to require basic carpentry/DIY skills which I do not possess. And how much of a steal is something if I had to buy a glue gun, rubber cement and an industrial stapler before I even begin? Then I hit upon something I could do, and, I am slightly ashamed to say, enjoyed doing: pinching stationary and discarded stuff (doesn’t count as theft, I suppose) from my workplace. The things people throw away! Perfectly good netting, bubble wrap, postcard-sized pieces of cardboard, look-books (I’m sure that’s not the proper name for ‘em: like a giant book filled with nothing but photos, which our Art dept get and can buy images from to use for book jackets), magazines. So I have decided to craft using office supplies. Here are some things you may be able to pillage from your place of employment:

Double sided tape (my new favourite thing)
Envelopes – brown, white, padded, small, large
Stapler and staples
Regular sellotape
The use of a b&w photocopier, and maybe even a colour copier (how the last two issues of my zine came to have full colour covers…)
Use of a printer
A4 and A3 paper
Coloured paper and card
Hole punch
Elastic bands
Ring binders
Cardboard boxes
Marker pens

As you can see, I could go on and on…and on. Anything that isn’t nailed down and can fit into my bag is fair game as far as I’m concerned. That doesn’t mean you can leg it with the boss’s laptop, but you get the picture. Cheap office supplies which non-crafters take for granted can be used to decorate your pad and to make pretty gifts for your pals. Anyway, enough of this speculative jibba-jabba: bring on the projects!

Mounted art for free

Why pay through the nose for mount board and professional enlargements (heh heh) when you can use stiff (heh) cardboard and the copier for free? I spent an hour or so at home a few days ago, making A5-ish pictures for my kitchen. Here’s how:
1) Get some nice photos: I used old family photos from the 70s and 80s, cos my parents look really cool in them. As I didn’t want to fuck about with the precious originals, I blew the photos up by about 20% on a colour copier, and used bits of discarded 5.5” x 4.5” cardboard (probably packaging) I found in the paper bin on my floor at work.
2) Trim the pictures to the size of the cardboard. Or, and this looks really good, trim them so that about ½ an inch of the pic overlaps the card. Using double-sided tape (again, courtesy of my employer) stick the pics on the cardboard. If you’re doing the trendy overlap thing, stick the tape right to the very edges of the picture (not the card) and then wrap the picture over the card, making sure the edges are taut and the back is smooth. You can prop these ‘mounted photos’ on the mantle, on a ledge or shelf, or stick them to the wall in a row (use more for a bigger impact) using blu tac (again, don’t bother paying for it).

Labels, gift tags and anything texty

Well, this is fairly obvious. A printer of one’s own is a joy to behold. The possibilities are endless: make some old-school THIS INSULTS WOMEN stickers and plaster them all over the sexist advertising in your town (my personal bugbear is those postcards of breasts made up to look like cats. What the fuck?); make cool flyers for your zine, gig, etc. etc.; make a sheet of To: From: gift tags which you can stick on a piece of coloured card or piece of cut-up photo (there are a few in every roll of pictures which aren’t nice enough to keep, but who can bear to throw away a photo? When cut up they’re strangely beautiful). Thread through on a length of ribbon or embroidery thread and they look right purty. Hmmm. What else?

Wednesday, August 20, 2003

Spent the weekend in Southwold, on the coast. There’s no train station there, so it’s pretty inaccessible, except for the hordes of Gap-clone rich families who drive down in their Mercs. Still, it was lovely. Our two days and nights went something like this:

Arrive, eat lunch. Check in to B&B with sea view and giant window. Walk on beach. Drink local beer, which is very fine. Big stodgy dinner. Sleep (waking frequently to pee, as the sound of crashing waves, lovely though it is, has permeated my subconscious and my bladder needs to be emptied every few hours). Eat giant fry-up. Swim (ok, stand chest-high in the water and jump and scream every time a wave hits me) in the North Sea. Drink more local beer. Eat giant ploughman’s lunch. Sleep (even though it is daytime! Oh the joy of holidays!). Eat fish & chips. Drink increasingly lovely beer. Hire a rowboat and have giant fight in the middle of the lake over which of you is the worst rower and is causing the boat to run aground, when it’s not spinning in lazy circles, that is. Make up.

I caught the sun a little on my pasty London face, which sees daylight for about one hour out of every 24, and my forehead and nose are a bit red. My hair is a bit lighter, too; basically, I look like Boris Becker.

Back at work and it’s hell. Got a set of page proofs from an author who has decided, at this late stage, to rewrite great chunks of her book. Complete paragraphs have been crossed out and inserts attached. Got so frustrated that I wanted to either scream, cry, or walk out. Instead took a page of the proofs in my teeth and had Steve tear it out, leaving a jagged, wet, crescent-shaped space. It actually made me feel a lot better.

Thursday, August 14, 2003

You can’t live on shoes

Want to bet? In the last week I’ve bought two pairs, both absolutely necessary. First pair is pale pink suede, high heel, round toe, for Therese’s wedding. Second pair are black patent leather with pink trim, the most blatant (and therefore best) Marc Jacobs’ knock-off I’ve seen. Wanted to go to a photo booth today and take a picture of my feet in them, but have you seen the size of those things? Don’t think I could get my leg level with my face in a space that size (not that I can ever get my leg level with my face, but whatever).

Last night was the Sleater-Kinney gig, and we put on an after show party for them. Carrie announced it from the stage, we flyered like crazy, but despite all our best efforts we just about broke even. The venue for the party was just off Oxford Street, and sadly I think that on non-event nights, it’s a major pikey watering hole. By midnight I was very glad there were bouncers on the door: a trio of trouble-seeking folk paid their money and despite being told that it was a party for a band, took their chances. It seemed easier to let them in than turn them away, I guess, even though they asked one of our door staff if there were any ‘gays in there’. Within ten minutes Mr Homophobe was being escorted from the premises, wife and friend in tow. He claimed a young girl with a quiff had tried to kick/glass him. So the bouncers had to go find her, and she was brought, tearful and confused, upstairs. I think they let her go when they realised that the guy was just looking for a scapegoat, but he still stood and argued with the bouncer for a good ten minutes. A choice snippet I overheard was ‘you’d take the word of a bunch of lesbians over mine, a man, with a wife!’.

After a further kerfuffle with a quartet of trendy, coked up fashion PRs, who spent two minutes at the party and then demanded their money back, shaking their Vuitton bags at Margarita with rage, I left. Well, I guess we learned what not to do.

Monday, August 11, 2003

It has come to my attention (ok, Tim told me) that lots of people think this is a very angry blog. Where does this accusation spring from? Why, just last week I wrote a cheery entry on sandwiches! If I sound angry it’s cos I always write from work, and it’s pretty much guaranteed that if I’m at work, I’m pissed off.

Enough about that sad stuff. The weekend was H.O.T.T and it was really too horrible to do just about anything except draw a deep, cold bath and lie in it reading this and nodding in bitter recognition. The book is actually not very well written: the boyfriend character is like a textbook definition of ‘nice boyfriend’: brings you a picnic to your house after a hard day at work; is understanding of your many needy needs blah blah blah. I read a proof copy, but lordy, at that stage a book has seen a copy-editor. Yet this was riddled with missing words, main characters’ names spelled wrong, timing that didn’t add up (um, how do we get from Thanksgiving to March in three months?) and a hot designer called Mark Jacobs… please.

So that was a nice part of the weekend: despite the eye-snagging errors, it’s a great book if you’ve ever suffered under the boss from hell. More time was spent eating outdoors (you know how hot it was outside? Well my flat was about ten degrees hotter than that), sitting outdoors in the shade and wandering around the Imperial War Museum, cos it is air-conditioned. The ICA, however, despite being a top arts venue and epicentre of London cool, does not have air conditioning.

Thursday, August 07, 2003

Things on my mind today

Finding a way to prove to the Student Loans Company that my little sister really is in Iraq with the ISM, and is not working as a copywriter, snorting fields of cocaine and earning over £1,750 a month. If you ever met my sister you’d know that she’d sooner eat her own underwear than work for The Man.

Calling my local hospital, where I am scheduled to have an operation on my eye, to either cancel this or beg/demand it be performed under general anaesthetic and not piddly I-can-see-someone-cutting-open-my-lower-eyelid-and-attacking-it-with-a-sundae-spoon-OH-MY-GOD local anaesthetic.

Something bugging me today

People who have no concept of personal space. Along with drivers who don’t indicate before they turn, this is one of my major bugbears. You know the type: a short person walking down Oxford Street with a golf umbrella (admittedly, this has been me in the past), someone waving their cigarette around at a crowded gig, doofy businessmen striding around Covent Garden this lunchtime swinging their arms to prove how powerful and manly they are, and hitting me as I walk past them.

Also, the boy and I took it in turns to ignore the alarm this morning, so we overslept by about an hour. So I am wearing no make up, have dirty hair, and now know what I will look like on a bad day in 20 years’ time.

Things I am looking forward to today

Corporate whore that I am, this afternoon is being planned around a stealthy trip to McDonald’s* where I will purchase a cold, creamy McFlurry. Against the strongly-worded advice of the boy.

Going home, drinking cold wine, reading magazines in bed.

Taking a lukewarm, verging on chilly, shower when I get home.

This list has a running theme, that theme being ‘cold’. It’s nearly 100 degrees here, and the UK falls to pieces when confronted with extreme weather. Best thing about my 9-5 office job is that I spend at least seven hours a day in air conditioning.

*Guess I’m not entirely brainwashed. Can’t remember if it’s spelled Macdonald’s, Mcdonald’s or what.

Wednesday, August 06, 2003

One of the best things about England is her sandwiches. You’d think that America, land of convenience, would have seen the market for ready-made, gourmet sarnies, and tapped it, but no. Getting a sandwich in the USA still generally entails standing in line and having it made in front of you. And it usually costs at least $4. The reason I am musing over the Sandwich Question is cos I am sitting at my desk scoffing a Pret A Manger chicken and avocado, handmade this morning, £2.50 giant sandwich. It could be improved with the addition of bacon, but that’s true of most things. (Is there a Bacon Council? If so, listen up, here’s your new slogan: “It’s better with bacon”. What’s better with bacon? Well, off the top of my head: eggs, pancakes, sausages, coffee, life. You’re welcome.)

Realise I have been a very, very bad blogger of late. When do people find the time to do it? I guess they have computers at home. Since I gave my pc to my boyfriend a few months ago (there's no room for it at my flat), I have been dependent on my work machine. So, anyway, sorry. It won't happen again.