Tuesday, August 29, 2006

Kell's Bell's! Recommendations: Part Four

This stuff is delishhhh-ious (Homer Simpson shudder): Rachel's Organic greek-style yoghurt with coconut

This album almost lives up to the (literally) smokin' performance we caught at the Cambridge Folk Festival: Seth Lakeman - Freedom Fields

For all those Pedro Almodovar fans out there: his latest was a little.. shall we say.. over-hyped? Sorry, Pedro, ordinarily your passionate, dramatic, colourful films make me swoon.

Tuesday, August 22, 2006

Good times

Things have been going very well lately. I have been sleeping, for a start. Last night I got woken up by a text message coming through and I went straight back to sleep. Naturally, being the Harbinger of Doom that I am, I am starting to get a little edgy about when exactly this harmonious period in my life is going to start fraying around the edges, before stumbling and finally exploding into a ball of flame.

I can't quite bring myself to believe that things are this good right now, and I am equally amazed that "good" equals "calm" at this point in my life. For me, not waking up hyperventilating in the wee hours and freaking out every other minute about my status as an unmarried, childless woman approaching 30, is a very good thing.

Dear God that I'm not sure I believe in, please make this charmed spell last.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Land of the great white weirdo

Everyday on my way to work, from the top deck of the double-decker bus, I see a man jogging around the City. Not so unusual, you may be thinking, except that this guy jogs backwards, occassionaly turning around to give a few high-leg karate kicks at his invisible enemies. No, seriously, he jogs backwards, turning his head now and again to check that he is on course for wherever the hell he is going.

This is even weirder for the fact that his chosen stomping ground is smack bang in the middle of the City, literally in the Square Mile, amongst the most corporate crowd in the UK (and possibly the world). It is a veritable sea of grey suits and knee-length skirts with sensible heels, and everyone has the grim, pinched look of a person who would all too happily trample right over you if you got in their way.

It is only middle-class fear that keeps me from stopping him and quizzing him. I would love to shout him over and ask him, first off, why are you running backwards? And secondly, where are you going? And have you ever considered that it might be faster/safer/more normal to run facing forwards? But obviously a man like this doesn't care about things like "normality". Reality is for us uptight, workaday losers.

Tuesday, August 15, 2006

When the Sceptic met the Chinese Needle Man

My first boyfriend, eons ago in High School, was a member of the Australian Sceptic's Society. I didn't give a second thought to this at the time (he was also into D&D gaming and fractals, so on the nerd-o-meter, the ASS membership didn't register) - but fast forward 10 years or so to the current moment, and my latest boyfriend couldn't be more different. He is very (ahem) open-minded when it comes to all things New Age, or even Ancient Chinese. I can't really complain about this because 1. I have seen with my own eyes that acupuncture alleviates his back pain almost immediately and 2. a fortune teller told him he would end up with an a girl from a country with a dollar denomination (probably Australia), whose name began with K, J or L (close enough).

So, that's how this dyed-in-the-wool sceptic found herself lying on a table in North London with tiny needles sticking out of various body parts (including my head). I couldn't help giggling at the irony of my paying to be stuck with needles, while just outside the clinic, on the streets of Kentish Town, the illicit drug trade was just starting to creep out from the shadows as the light faded.

I also got rail-roaded into buying some seriously strange looking "herbal remedies" (note heavily ironic use of quotation marks), plus some further appointments for more acupuncture sessions. I am hoping it may help with my on-off insomnia and anxiety issues. I hope I have the right balance of being open to a new, possibly helpful remedy, whilst maintaining a critical distance due to my natural, inherited scepticism (thanks, Dad!).

Just for the record, I didn't sleep particularly well last night, disappointingly. More reports to follow...

Thursday, August 10, 2006

When the creative well runs dry

Yeesh. Some days it is so hard to be creative - I can practically feel my brain shutting down as a result of having to come up with too many creative concepts in the last week. The downside of this job (besides the pay, the insane deadlines, the restrictive clients and the unpaid overtime) is that sometimes, your inner-creative-dude doesn't want to play ball. I have been doing this long enough to realise that this is a temporary state, but it still gives me the heebie-jeebies.

It seems kind of unfair that I am expected to be creative, on demand, on a daily basis. I imagine writers/fashion designers/web developers get at least a few days of day-dreaming and high-end distraction to break up the days of frenetic activity. I guess it is the nature of the beast that is graphic design, which is why it tends to attract neurotic types such as myself (did I say neurotic? I meant hard-working perfectionist who pays attention to detail).

I strongly believe that the downtime is as important as the time you spend busting a gut in this job - it is always during lunch, or when you are out for a walk getting some much-needed sunshine, or staring out of the window that the best ideas come to you. All the more reason to down tools, take a long coffee break and go across the road for a rainbow freddo (do it now!).

Tuesday, August 01, 2006

A Nation of Bill Oddie's

I think I have been living here long enough now (3 years, 5 months) to make some friendly but bewildered observations about the brits.

Odd things about the British (there are many, but they are subtle):

They pronounce yoghurt, "YOGG-it", as opposed to the Aussie "YO-gert".

Speaking of which, they haven't discovered the joys of frozen yoghurt over here.

They carpet their bathrooms.

Their roundabouts are painted on - so you can drive straight over them if you so wish (brilliant).

They are the worlds most patient people. Which is a good thing, because they have to be.

Garage is pronounced "GA-rudge".

They don't use curtains in their windows - and the windows are never more than a few metres from the footpath/road. The only concession to a bit of "PRIV-acy" is a small but dense hedge.

A new book will come out with one cover, then a few months later be re-released with a completely different cover. This cycle continues, I guess, until they hit a "peak" design which sells the most copies. Odd.

A UK postcode is specific to the actual road, so that all you need to address an envelope is the house number and postcode - eg. 89 N19 3BG.

"Ya alright?" is a common form of greeting, not an expression of concern.

The British are deeply sceptical about cars which are not made in the EU.

You can tell all about a British persons birthplace, family background, moral codes, dietary preferences, criminal intent and educational standard just by listening to their accent.

The British truly celebrate and venerate eccentricity. Have you ever wondered, why couldn't we just take an ice-cream cone - and motorise it? Because I know your wrist is tired from the strain of that constant turning. Well, whoa there buddy, because somebody already thought of it. And you guessed it, he was one of the inhabitants of this crazy island.
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