Sunday, December 30, 2007

I have a dream...

...of Jack White and Shirley Manson, hopefully both on tour next year: Jack White and those Cherry Lips

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Chatterboxes and Control Freaks

Right brain versus left brain? Personality inhibiting output? Oh, just somewhat today, tonight and forever. My head hurts, my back hurts and the inexorable deadlines creep ever closer. So why the title? Well, the inimitable Ms Roselle Angwin is supposed to be providing the muse today via her tome ‘Creative Novel Writing’. In particular I have been reading chapter five, Right Brain Writing. Good god, learning the craft is tedious. No wonder I get sidetracked with thoughts of Richard Armitage half naked, or the tenth Doctor fully clothed (funny how that works, but my cerebral side pines for a fully dressed doctor when my more lecherous visual side has already seen what Mr Armitage hides under all that leather. MEOW!).

Anyway she witters on a little about Jung and journeys into the spiritual, arriving at a physical destination without quite knowing how you got there. Could this be the reason I can’t drive, I ask myself? See, when I drive my imagination takes flight. I imagine the accident before it begins, the twisted sheets of metal that pierce through my skin – and that’s if I’m lucky. If I’m unlucky it’s a scene from the Towering Inferno (substitute car for tower block – its hard but it is possible). Likewise my fear of flying which manifests itself by my being able to visualise the drop between myself 30,000 foot up and the earth below. Tuck your head between your knees they say. Yeah, right – just so my body doesn’t shatter on impact and become impossible to identify. You just want me to keep it whole for your convenience.

Who am I talking to? Does it matter? All I know is I’m tired, I’m bored and I’m easily distracted by unimportant things like idiots who write gushing reviews about crap books on Amazon.

Gratuitous Richard Armitage Picture Alert! My, don't I just like the brooding dark ones with big noses?

What have I learned today then? Well, the right brain is the creative heartland of my soul. It is the unconscious side of me, the ‘nourishment for all that we are, including the world of the ego, the conscious mind.’

…words fail me…well, maybe they don’t but I don’t find the words I wish to find. So! Of chatterboxes and control freakery. There is apparently ‘monkeymind’ and ‘tidy mind’. Monkeymind is incessantly busy, and apparently ‘slavers over absolutely everything soaking up info like a sponge…much of it is trivial’ (that’s me then). Tidy mind is the critic (and hence left brain real world dweller). Apparently this is the voice of my mother telling me I’m pants and will never write anything of substance. I should bin this mind, and unlock my monkey mind. Oh woe is me.

PS. in case you’re wondering why we bother with left brain at all, its because it is apparently THE creator. Skating very close to theological issues here, Miss Angelle is. Or maybe she is really Yoda.

Today I am: drinking red wine to dull the pain despite a post Christmas IBS flare up, listening to The Arrow on me swanky new DAB radio, reading Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and wondering why I never noticed before it was a pre-cursor to Wikipedia, nursing a sick, elderly dog who had a funny turn last night but is milking the tea and sympathy as much as possible, bless her stinky little socks.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

On Reflection...

It's the time of year for award shows and talent show finals. Normally I would produce a shiny top ten love / hate list or some such for the year, but whilst musing on this I realised that whilst on a personal level things have moved and changed significantly I haven't broadened my cultural horizons very much at all this year. In fact I have stagnated a little in the music and books I've been reading which I think is very much a comfort thing. Therefore a general statement on 2007 is probably more appropriate.

Thank god it wasn't: 2006. In no way shape or form was this year as dreadful as last year. Yes I had issues with the Chicken Factory earlier in the year and I was totally exhausted by April but thankfully due to a sympathetic doctor, some extremely good and wonderful friends and a chance opportunity for the part time job of my dreams that particular issue has been ironed out flat. Yes, I am imminently unemployed (April 08) but that's a minor issue for next year! I've been able to spend the latter half of 2007 resting, recovering and meeting some fabulous people through university and work, reflecting on how I got here, which leads me to...

New music revolution? Passed me by entirely. I've spent the majority of this year wallowing in the music of my youth. The majority of cds I've purchased have reflected this - Fat Lady Sings, Cocteau Twins, Tori Amos, Garbage. I haven't bough anything remotely recent other than the Greatest Hits of Girls Aloud, which some would say is a shooting offence! I don't care. I'm finally beginning to be happy in the fact I'm getting old and its ok to think that the tortured vocals of Kate Nash are crap and I don't have to like her just to be hip. The old guard such as the Foo Fighters, Marilyn Manson and Red Hot Chilli Peppers have produced music of total mediocrity. There are two exceptions to this: Queens of the Stone Age's Sick, Sick, Sick (someone bring me Josh Homme on a platter, now PLEASE) and the wonderfully barmy singalong chants of Reverend and the Makers who I surprised myself by liking very much indeed.

I've been listening to: Well, the top 25 on the Ipod would testify to the strange nature of my listening habits this year, with Muse's Super Massive Black Hole still reigning at the top of the pile, closely followed by Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots Part 1 by the Flaming Lips and All These Things That I have Done by the Killers. Plus a smattering of perfection from the Raconteurs (easily this year's best live performance). Then storming up on the outside is the pop tarts - Oops I did it again (Britney), Biology and Love Machine (Girls Aloud), Hole in the Head and In The Middle (Sugarbabes). Hmmm....2007: The Year of Dumming Down. And did I mention I have tickets to see Kylie and Girls Aloud (five rows from the front!) next year?

Reading hell / heaven: hell is Trainspotting. Easily the grubbiest book I have ever been forced to read (university sucks occasionally). I hated it all. Heaven is in the re-reads. I'm rediscovering Thomas Hardy (Jude the Obscure is peerless). Still loving Jacqueline Carey (disposable, well written and slightly debauched fantasy) and the beautifully constructed worlds of Tad Williams on the fantasy sci-fi side. Another old love refound is Terry Pratchett, whose Wintersmith was effortlessly charming. It is absolutely heartbreaking that he's just been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, but true to form he's facing it with a smile and good heart. However, this is also a year of growing dissatisfaction where new fantasy is concerned. There is so much dreadfully written trash out there being marketed as 'exciting, vivid new voice on the scene'. Absolute toss. In particular Trudi Canavan and her appalling, one dimensional tat. Closely followed by Fiona McIntosh. By all means write for teenagers but at least attempt to make it well constructed, lucid prose. And don't get me started on the schizo viewpoint...

Film / TV: again, I go backwards. Buffy is still without rival for my affections. I do adore Bones mind you, and its developing in the third series into a much more well rounded character study of the crew but with enough gore, nerds and sinew to keep me entertained. Also loving Gray's Anatomy, even P finds it funny though he tries desperately hard to hide it. UK TV? Redeemed from mediocrity by one thing only: The Doctor and a peerless episode called 'Blink'. Freaked me out in the best possible way. Film wise I loved Running with Scissors and not much else (except Pan's Labyrinth which I think was 2006).

My Newcastle Love Affair: I still love cupcakes, in particular the cakes from Sencha are to die for, although their website doesn't do them any justice at all. The local paper does it more favours and it is a fabulous people watching spot just across from the old Grainger Market which sports some interesting pond life indeed. It also house Scorpio (seen here in the background with a giant red boot on the roof) which has both the cutest shoes and goth boots in town, and by far the most effortlessly charming and gorgeous boy staff. Yummy.

Good grief that was exhausting...

Today I am mostly: nursing a cold, awaiting the arrival of the Saturday papers, listening to 'Oh Brother Where Art Thou?', doing the Christmas pre-clean, inappropriate dancing and slightly high on an assorted mix of cleaning fluids.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

When did Christmas become a chore?

When it comes to present wrapping, card writing and special post issues. I hate wrapping gifts. I am so cack handed that I often think people would prefer it if I just left them naked instead of struggling with shiny paper and long streamers of silver ribbon. Still, t'is all done now and I can give a gusty sigh of relief and slob down again with a pot of herbal tea.

I found some of it entertaining. My Secret Santa pressie for work was for the lovely Big Jim, outwardly austere and forbidding, inwardly of an impish viewpoint and wicked sense of humour. I purchased a PostSceret book for him (he's also a bibliophile) and then set about making my own secret to leave inside:

Following this I then compiled the annual 'Little Box of Crap' for my best friend, Heather. This year it is an alternative relaxation kit, complete with salacious heroin memoir from an ex Motley Crue member (her heroes), a Hello Kitty craft book and fridge magnet, lots of jelly beans, a mini VW Camper van complete with 'pull back and go action', a mini fondue kit and - my favorite - a large pink hammock. Its so bad it's beautiful. And a personalised mix CD of tunes from yesteryear, complete with this delightful picture taken in the now cruelly demolished and desecrated Mayfair Rock Club:

Of course, now I made it I can't stop listening to it. All the tunes are personal, starting with Aerosmith's Love in an Elevator and topped of with two crowning glories - Bonnie Tyler's Total Eclipse of the Heart and Meatloaf's Paradise by the Dashboard Lights - possibly the greatest necking song ever written. OK, so its pure hair metal. Apart from Temple of Love (Sister of Mercy) where we get to do gothic hands!

Today's rereading of Jane's Diary circa 1988, we discovered the day we popped our cherry (it is so cringe worthily embarrassing I can barely read it...I seemed a bit ambiguous at the time, mind you and didn't go near another bloke for three years - obviously a highlight!). The top night in April appeared to be a Wednesday night student stalking in Newcastle. Yes, we would pay our ten pee bus fare (twenty cents) and wander the streets in our rolled up jeans following students covertly. We were so desperate to go to university, so desperate to be cool, hence Judith always toted Chairman Mao's Little Red Book (before she became capitalist queen of Gateshead (and her gothic hands are special. Really special) she was an avowed commie) and I would be trailing whichever tome of Thomas Hardy I was swooning over at that particular point in my life. Probably Jude the Obscure, which looked good even if I only understood one paragraph in ten. Jude, aged 16:

Today I am mostly listening to Anthems for Dim Youth (the aforementioned mix tape), reading Grimm's Fairy Tales, thinking I should be reading the Bible (not that I need saving, just I need to refresh myself with the bloodiness and calamity of the old testament) and eating bloody marvellous home made omelettes. My cooking skills are just exceptional...NOT!