samedi 9 septembre 2017

Chazzing.

It's ages since I did a good chazzing mission.  Today I went to George Street in Hove and bought the following:

Bright yellow Adidas Gazelle high-tops (for £7!)

Songs of Leonard Cohen on vinyl (amazingly, I did not previously own this)

Heart of Stone by Cher (contains If I Could Turn Back Time - such a great addition to the kitchen disco collection!)

The Head on the Door by the Cure

Best of The Bangles


Then I came home and made a tuna sandwich and a cup of tea. Pleasing.

Current mood: back-to-school autumn vibes strong. New school shoes, healthy and productive mode. Dreams of Sunday lunch parties with lots of red wine and log fires.

I was trying hard to think of good autumnal songs.  My favourite is 'Autumn Teen Sound' by the Slingbacks, from their album 'All Pop, No Star'. That whole album sounds to me like teenage nostalgia.  I felt like that even when I was 20; I think I was more nostalgic then than I am now, even. I can't find any links to their songs, but that album seems to be available in nearly every charity shop in the country, funnily enough. I originally found it in the chazza, and bought it just because I liked the cover.

I remember bicycles overturned on summer lawns
Came so far, we rode so hard
Past the veils of chainlink to your back yard

I remember you and me in that autumn teen sound
Sing along to prove that you've been listening

Being stranded all alone
Between the Partridge Family and the Rolling Stones
I was walking down your street, undressing in my head

I remember you and me in that Autumn Teen Sound
Kiss me once before your sunburn fades

Years turn to sighs, scattered hopes lie dead
And realise how yellow and red autumn really is

Why do I romanticise an innocence we never had?
Was I ugly? Were you boring? We struggled to make sense

I imagine you and me in that Autumn Teen Sound
Kiss me once before your summer fades
I remember you and me in that Autumn Teen Sound...




dimanche 27 août 2017

Plus ca change...

Yesterday, 5:30pm, in a cab:
Preston Park to *pub* in Kemptown, please.
Going all the way across town in a cab, just for a drink! Doing anything special?
Actually, I'm meeting my ex-boyfriend, to give him back some of his records. That's what this box of stuff is.
Oh. Sorry.
It's OK. It's not recent. I've just had this box of records for a long time.
How long?
Nearly two years. It's still going to be weird, though.
Well, throw them at him!
Nah, it's not really like that. It's OK. Thanks, though.
Your fault then, was it? That's the thing with women: when they change their mind, they change their mind for good.
I'm not sure that's particularly women. Maybe just humans?
Maybe. My ex-girlfriend, though...
Oh dear, are you OK?
Yeah, I don't care. I'm over it. Tried to get her back, she wasn't having it. Have a good evening, sweetheart.

Approximately two hours later:
Ooh, look at you two and your coordinating outfits. Adorable.
Haha, thanks.
Are you two a couple? You must be, you look great together.
Actually, we're not.
We used to be. We're not any more.
Oh... That's awkward. Well, you obviously still have a beautiful connection. The outfits and everything. It's nice you can still go out for a drink together. You look like a couple.
She was just giving me my records back.
Yeah, we hate each other.
I can't tell if you're joking. Have a nice night, you two!

vendredi 11 août 2017

Courtly Love

Courtney's right.  This IS a really sick song.  We all know that.  It's actually always really annoyed me how people in the crowd cheer when she says it.  It's not cool.  Sick is not cool.  However, I *do* like - a lot - how dirgy Eric makes the guitar on this.  It's much more fitting than a girl-group sheen, although that obviously has its place.

I've been listening to this and other obscure Hole gems this week (I'm genuinely not trying to be obscure when I say 'My Body The Hand Grenade' is my favourite Hole album).  Thinking about it, Hole are really good on cover versions.  My faves are (look 'em up; they're worth getting hold of):

  • The Void (Raincoats; this cover was a B-side to the original Doll Parts CD single)
  • Hungry Like The Wolf (Duran Duran; another B-side, can't remember which)
  • Gold Dust Woman (Fleetwood Mac; from 'The Crow: City of Angels', which IMHO is one of the most beautifully shot yet thoroughly awful films ever made, but bizarrely has a properly great soundtrack)
  • Take This Longing (Leonard Cohen; I don't know if a recording of this exists, but I saw her sing it live - with billowing sleeves, strewing roses across the stage - and it made me cry and cry and cry)


I'm trying to channel a lotta Courtney lately, basically.

This post is also brought to you by: migraine medication, watching 'Nocturnal Animals' while bombed on migraine medication (emphatically NOT recommended under any circumstances), not getting enough writing done and eating a lot of leftover macaroni cheese.

Bon weekend...


vendredi 4 août 2017

The Brighton Fanzine Tea Party!

I am extremely excited to announce that - following our wildly brilliant mini-workshop at YALC - Harriet Reuter Hapgood and I are hosting our very own BRIGHTON FANZINE TEA PARTY.

If you'd like to come, you can buy a ticket here!

Here's the deets:

I AM NOT ASHAMED zine (by YA authors Harriet Reuter Hapgood and Eleanor Wood) presents THE BRIGHTON FANZINE TEA PARTY. Come and spend a cosy afternoon with us, making zines and celebrating DIY culture – with cake and music and glitter. Teens welcome!
  • Make your own zine
  • Chill in the zine library
  • Buy personalised zines and books
  • Browse the jumble sale
  • Drink tea and eat cake
What you get:
  • Everything you need to go home with a master copy of your own fanzine
  • Zine-making tutorial, advice and all craft materials (much glitter)
  • Chat to authors about your book/zine/writing
  • Tea and coffee and homemade cake
  • Hang out with friendly creative people in a lovely cosy place
  • Exclusive I AM NOT ASHAMED party bag



mercredi 2 août 2017

The modern world.

Exciting news, I have made myself a Proper Official Author website!

You can look at it here.  It's very fledgling, so feel free to let me know if you have any comments or suggestions (you can use the handy contact page!), but please be kind.  Technology is not my strongest suit, and neither is self-promotion.  However, I have lots of events and things coming up (more to be announced!) and thought an actual website would be useful for such matters.

I will definitely still be spouting my random thoughts and feelings on things that don't really matter here, in my usual ramshackle and sporadic fashion.  Nil desperandum, obvs.  But please do have a look at my website proper for news, events and official things.

Over and out, more soon.

mardi 1 août 2017

Cowboy Mouth

I was a big fan of Sam Shepard.  His writing, his acting, his face.  Mostly his writing.  Mostly his face.

He was a man made of dreams.  ‘He was just everything one could want,’ said Patti Smith of their first meeting.  A cowboy, a writer, a rock n roll energy, a classic face.  A crescent moon tattoo in the crook of a hand, of course.

He’s the sort of hero one would conjure up.  A cowboy and an American literary genius.  Is there any word sexier than the word ‘playwright’ (and even then they so seldom look like Sam Shepard)?  A man of letters and the outdoors.  He was Cowboy Mouth perfect.

Last night, I spent a lot of time flicking through his Seven Plays.  Just reading odd pages and lines, the rhythm of it all.  The set-up to La Turista, talk of whisky under the sofa…

“This isn't champagne anymore. We went through the champagne a long time ago. This is serious stuff. The days of champagne are long gone.”

Later in the evening, and all I wanted in the world was to watch Paris, Texas.  (Shepard wrote the screenplay.)  It’s a film I haven’t watched in a long time, but which haunts my memory like I suspect it does all those who have ever seen it.  The loneliest film I have ever seen.  Nastassja Kinski in her pink sweater.  I watched it as a teenager, around the same time I first saw Betty Blue, and I still conflate the two in my mind.  Photogenic desert ennui, doomed love.  Something to aspire to – they probably had too much of an effect on me at too young an age.

The day before, the worst sort of Sunday, I had woken up in a half-dream panic: I could not remember the number of the house where my ex-boyfriend and I fell in love.  It was over a decade now, and yet this struck me as all wrong.  It was a significant house, even though it didn’t look like one.  I looked the road up on a map and I discovered the very same house was currently for sale.  The breath was knocked out of me as I scrolled through photographs.  An ugly sofa where there used to be a drum kit.  A baby's room where we used to sit on the floor and watch subtitled films with the curtains drawn, for days on end.  I knew those rooms; I walked those floors.  I used to live alone before I knew you.

The same desert feeling of sadness.

I was convinced I owned a copy of Paris, Texas.  Maybe once I did.  Turns out now I don’t.  I couldn’t find it anywhere.  I thought it had to be on Netflix; it wasn’t.  The closest matches that came up were Paris is Burning (a favourite that I have watched and watched into the ground) and Last Tango in Paris.

I had never seen Last Tango in Paris all the way through.  I vividly remember seeing part of it.  Drunk-ish, late at night, in bed with a boy called Rich, who was not my boyfriend.  He was an old friend, though; he was a sweet soul.  I was 21, before all of it.  Marlon Brando on a tiny TV propped in the corner of the room before we passed out.

Last night, I watched the whole film.  I hated it.  It was the worst thing to watch.  I thought I’d like that early 70s mood, the Paris apartment, the coats.  I love a good coat.  I hated Last Tango in Paris.  Did I mention I hated it?

It’s like when I read The Story of O and expected it to be much like Anais Nin, who is my favourite.  Safe to say, it was not, and I still pretty much take that book as a personal insult.

I suppose it doesn’t help that I do not find Marlon Brando remotely attractive.  Not at any stage in his career.  I do not care for his face.  I would like it to be known that I do not find angry men attractive.  I do not.  Give me the good ones.  Give me the Cowboy Mouth playwrights, please.  Or just a man with a truck in the desert, who writes books no-one will ever read.


It was number 26, by the way.  I don’t think I’ll ever forget it again.

vendredi 21 juillet 2017

Oh, how you do reflect the sun...

I am a Courtney Love apologist and I don't care who knows it.  I have a picture of her on my bedroom wall, which is in my eyeline when I wake up every morning (a greater honour than even Patti Smith, over on the other side of the room, has).  It's in black and white, when she had a chubby face and her original nose.  I have spent many, many hours of my life arguing with a certain type of boy over Courtney Love.  Too many to mention.

As such, it is probably not a surprise to know that I think her first solo album - America's Sweetheart - is criminally underrated.  But IT IS.  Even retro of-the-moment early-00s digs like 'But Julian I'm a Little Bit Older Than You' are still hilarious and poignant.  Even the lady herself calls it 'that coked up piece of shit I made in the south of France when I needed the money'.  However, most of all, it has some of her most affecting songs.

I am, of course, also a great proponent of the iPod iChing.  Yesterday, on a train, I flicked onto shuffle and asked the universe for a sign (it's been that kind of a week, dear reader)...

This is what I got.  Oh, sigh - baby, you were almost golden..

It took me way back to the year this album came out.  I was 23 years old, working a boring temp job and trying to be A Writer, without quite knowing how, living in a sweet little cottage with a girlfriend - where we barely slept for the entire year we lived there, and a boy once pissed on our sofa.  I used to listen to this album non-stop.  Once, literally, all night.  That was when I wasn't listening to What Would The Community Think? by Cat Power and crying my eyeliner off, TBH.  It was a time of total extremes, for which this was the perfect (half) soundtrack.

We would spend days on end in the pub, have post-gig parties with all the bands back at our place.  On Sundays I could be found at Camden Market, helping out my new boyfriend with his art stall.    I still played bass sometimes, then.  Sometimes we had people round for spaghetti bolognese and felt grown up.  I spent a lot of time in my bedroom, with its wooden floorboards and a huge mirror, taking big-haired panda-eyed pale-faced selfies for my MySpace profile.  We used to watch The Dreamers repeatedly, while drinking wine in the afternoons.  We were still young enough that skipping dinner and drinking cheap fizz on a schoolnight felt impossibly glamorous.  It was the house where we saw a ghost.