Monday, 30 June 2008

Lovely things and a lovely weekend

Hi Bloggy readers,

It was a lovely weekend, including Spain winning a European football championship for the first time in ages, well, the times they are a changing. Watching the team celebrate at a lovely Spanish girl's flat over paella while she jumped up and down in front of the projector, I felt like things can always change for the better.

Also, Lilliput played me what he termed a "cheesy" song about me getting Vinegar in my eye on vacation six years ago, and I think the chorus will chase away any bad thoughts I have for the rest of always. If it's cheese, it's a parmesan from Italy that tastes great with everything.

I spent a wonderful time with my partner in crime and crime fighting and some lovely BBQ chez Charlie and Bling-Central. She took pictures- and I'm a basic need!

There were a lot of wonderful things going on this weekend that I missed out on due to having a cold on Friday and Saturday day - including work, the Southbank Freeze/Hide and Seek, which I bet was phenomenal, and my stupidly talented friend Ellie Buchan in Merchant of Venice. (Remember this name, because she really is destined for stardom.) But all in all, weekend Gods, (Also known as Charlie, Lucia, Bling Central, Lilliput, and my partner of always) I got to say Thank you.

Friday, 27 June 2008

How do I plead? Guilty with a cold.

I know, I know, I haven't written for the last two days. But I have a cold - meaning that I find everything very funny though slightly hazy. In keeping with this, allow me to share with you yesterday's highlight, a wonderful youtube whack the Tuckster shared with me via facebook yesterday.

Before you look at this link, allow me to explain the rules of Youtube Whack. It's very much like the popular Google Whack - you type two words into "search" on Youtube with friends, and see how many tries it takes to get you only one hit. Once you have the hit, you watch it, rate it at five stars, favourite it, and put up the most immature comment you possibly can in the comment box. To the best of my knowledge the Tuckster invented this game, but of course these zeitgeists are always hard to pin down. So here is the Youtube whack he recently shared with me. I'm guessing that the words typed in for this whack were "Unicorn Planet" and truly, I'll never feel the same about them when used in conjunction:

Since watching this genius video I have come up with a forlorn cover of the first few lyrics of the song to be played on Ukulele. In protest I've left out the lyrics about Tom Cruise and the Cadillac, but I may change this at some point. If you'd like to play it yourself at home, the chords go like this:

G .......... A .............F ..................Bminor
I'd like to wish for a planet full of unicorns

A planet full of Unicorns

A planet full of Unicorns


G............ D
Unicorn Planet!

You'll have to jig the melody somewhat and keep in mind that I learned to play from a little book called "ukulele for beginners" that is illustrated with cartoons of children wearing hawaiian flower necklaces singing "This land is my land. " If the publishers are reading, I recommend that the second edition include this new song.

Unicorn Power!

Tuesday, 24 June 2008

Rollercoaster Roars

Today was a bit of a rollercoaster ride, front and center from the Googly box I promised to ignore. It started with the ole Job Hunt, oh Gawd how I hate the job hunt. I am trying to convince myself that filling in application forms is actually flat hunting. I like my flat of course, but I also don't mind flat hunting. In fact, I have fun doing it. So I am trying to think of job hunting in the same way to soothe the anxiety. Even as I write,"Dear so and so, I am writing to enquire about blank job" I am pretending to write "Dear so and so, I am writing to enquire about blank flat." It's the same thing, in the end, isn't it? Putting yourself out there. But when you've got a very nice flat, the idea is much less scary. In keeping with the fact that the people who get good jobs usually already have good jobs.

Though I did do some work on the forestfringe blog that I was some proud of, in fact I enjoyed this work so much that it fed into my job hunt anxiety and suddenly I wondered about a bright future in graphic design. Graphic Design! There was a hilarious post on msn outlining the 50 coolest jobs and graphic designer was right there along with... of course... writer.

Also came up with a good idea for a film - but of course I can't tell you about that here.

The real down came when I realized that I'd forgotten a friend's birthday, and was meant to be at a restaurant twenty minutes ago.

Maybe I shouldn't tell the blog such things, but oh man, it was not a good scene. On top of which my partner in crime and crime fighting was supposed to come, but he's sick, I just sneezed because he's gotten me sick, so the text sounded even worse when I wrote, "I'm sorry, I forgot AND I'm sick." Both of which are true, but in life you've got to pick one excuse and stick to it. It's a funny thing about fiction as well - nothing is ever allowed to be as complicated as it is in real life. If any character, for example, had as many exes or almost exes as real people have, you'd definitely think they were hella promiscuous. Maybe I'm going to start writing characters with pasts that are a little *less* tame. It is one reason I love Ramona Flowers' Seven evil ex boyfriends in the Scott Pilgrim series, though most of them she didn't even really date because it was in grade seven or something. Still, seven, that's like, a lot, yeah? (Is it, though? Is it?)

And then right back up when I saw some lovely pictures of my Canadian friends in Toronto wearing large underwater goggles indoors and generally looking great and pictures of the Brick Lane Sale. Nothing to save your day like getting back to these fine kooky Canadian roots. Case in point, the lovely lady who makes cookies on Brick Lane side by side with moi and the advice booth. Oh Canada! (She yells from her seat front and centre as the roller coaster swooshes back down and then levels out. Admit it, It's Fun.)

Tomorrow I will definitely go running.

Monday, 23 June 2008

It's Back and it's still Forest and it's still the Fringe and it's Better than Ever

The Forest Fringe returns, as promised, bigger and better, with more crazy stuff, more shenanigans, more planned and unplanned dances and games and plays and happenings and confusing wonderful strange and bewildering and absolutely sensical things. I can't effing wait. I wanted to give you guys a sneak preview of the logo, and the new blog - - check this thing out for excellent postings coming soon to a googly box near you.

You know I think the slow internet connection in my room is responsible for at least 8% of my lethargy. Definitely. At least 8%. I would say that not being sure which side a % sign goes on a number is presently responsible for at least %0.000005 of my hesitance in letting it all hang loose on the blog. Oh, but writing it down is now responsible for 92.3% of my enlightenment as to which side that pesky sign *really* goes on. Okay. Great. Excellent blog entry. At least 12% excellent. The other 88% has got to be blamed on the bad internet connection.

And so we come full circle.

Oh, one other thing, for all you burgeoning writers - try fitting this into a narrative... Walking home today I happened upon not one, not two, but three, or maybe even more than three, there were shards involved, broken English Language Records in my extremely multi cultural courtyard. I felt momentarily affronted, and then thought, Heck Ya! Hang the DJ - because the language he constantly plays says nothing to you about your life. I also started to secretly hope that whoever threw them from their window in an angered moment was seriously little and sweet - like the lovely old lady who nods hello to me in the hallway every morning. "No More English Language Records!" And she'd smile a smile that could stop time or skip a record. Good for you, lovely old lady. Good for you!

Sunday, 22 June 2008

Arresting Development

Today had many highlights, not least of which was that it turns out the day *after* summer solstice is secretly a far better summer solstice. You can't always expect the longest day of the year to be the nicest, but June 22nd kicked it well. It was a beautiful, breezy, summer day, and best of all it just kept going. We started with Columbia Road Market with some new and old friends. Sunday mornings on Columbia Road are one of the great East End anomalies. Definitely check it out - but go before 12 if you possibly can. Even if you're hung over, the music and sights and food laden court yards will soothe your worries away.
The day kept getting better at Bling-Central's Brick Lane Sale, which the Advice Booth made a little appearance at. A very nice man on a bike stood behind a chain link fence and gave his opinion on problems like some mysterious voice from heaven. I would type something like "the guy behind me on the bike thinks he really likes you" - it made the work easier, more hilarious and generally more wonderful. You can't write this stuff. Also, a lovely Montreal based girl was walking up and down Brick Lane selling cookies for £1. So of course I bartered some advice for a cookie and got some of that sweet baked goodness while she sang the "C is for Cookie" song. (My advice. If you're going to be Brick Lane wacky, go all the way. Or if you're going to ask a booth on the street for advice, expect that kind of advice.) The day was rounded off, of course, by my new favorite addiction - Arrested Development. This television show is genius and gets better the more you watch it. Current favorite character would have to be Buster. Blame it on my recent grad school panic attacks, brother.

Also got some great advice from Mademoiselle Bling (who incidentally took the picture accompanying this blog) - for the first time I sat on the other side of the booth and let some friends dish out some of the good stuff. I've gotten advice at the booth a couple of other times, but usually with my partner in crime and we'd ask jokey questions. This time my bling central lady dished out the real deal stuff, and it was great. Her top tip - swim early in the morning or go running. And apply for jobs at Rough Trade or somewhere out of the house. Get away from my beloved Googly Box. Change the rhythms of life. Less R and B, more Rock Steady. Anyway, thank you sunshine, it was a beautiful day. And thanks to Bling Central. It was a great sale.

Side note: My partner in crime and crime fighting was sick today so could not advise with me. I missed the socks off of him. Literally. I got home and he was all like, "Where are my socks?" And I was all like, "I missed you."

Saturday, 21 June 2008

Zombie chops

True to form, here is the third day in a row that I keep my possibly unreasonable promise to write every day. Now I want to clarify for a moment - this was not a *promise*, (ignore the first sentence then) more of an attempt. A good ole college try. But I'm still good ole college trying. So here we are, day three, what goes on in this brain.

Okay, well for one, I've been working at Toynbee Studios as an usher this week, and truly the live art that is put on there at the moment Must have been engineered by the Negaverse. (If you got the reference we are equally nerdy, and therefore I need not feel any embarassment whatsoever. Huzaa!)

Picture this - a screen which occasionally flashed an existential German Film, some people dancing behind the screen, and a sound like being in the middle of an engine tank or a crazy person's brain that just keeps droning and droning and droning, interrupted by an occasional person dressed all in black singing a disturbingly off key version of "I'm beginning to see the Light!" with black soot in his mouth, or the entire company doing a squatting dance with large black holes sewn onto their pants right about where their anuses should be. Did I just write Anus in the blog? Yes I did. This is the kind of show that merits writing Anus. Anus Anus Anus. Gawd if I weren't being paid to steward I would steadily be losing two and a half hours of my life for watching the thing, but luckily I am being paid, so tonight I'll bring an ipod and put it all the way up, then lay back and listen to Paul Simon or someone equally pleasant while the dancers continue to do their zombie like movements and their anus inspired squatting dance.

I want you to think of a general London Malaise - think of the worst possible feeling that being on the tube in rush hour unemployed could possibly give you, amplify that by ten and then turn it into a performance and you would be me last night. Looking around a filthy and dark auditorium (popcorn and coke cans on the floor are part of the show) at all of the other people watching, while outside there were the occasional sounds of sirens and people screaming, the other people in the dark kept watching, they just kept watching, like the whole city had to be dead inside. This was like some odd nightmare to which I never want to return. I had a dream about fighting zombies last night the show had effected me so fiercely. I'd rather fight zombies than watch this show again. Anyway, was trying to be impartial since I am being paid to usher the thing, but sometimes performance is an obstrusively bad thing.


Sorry. The ringing hasn't stopped yet.

Friday, 20 June 2008

Have I already told you that the Imagination is a dying animal?

If you live in Shoreditch this video is surely the greatest.

Thursday, 19 June 2008

The hard core Toronto miss on

So as my friend at Bling-Central has pushed me to do, I am going to try posting on this thing a lot more often. Even daily. Yes. Maybe. That might be overly ambitious. Though I actually thought starting a blog at all was probably overly ambitious and it's still happening - so let's not write this "every day" thing off immediately. This also means blog readers will be exposed to my day to day preoccupations - today's entry being about my hard-core-Toronto-Miss-On.

For anyone who knows me and reads this blog, you will also know that I am a Londoner by circumstance, but a Torontonian by birth, and Gawd today the Toronto miss on is so strong. Lately it's been strong en generale. I've just started asking myself what it means to be Canadian - how I think of my cultural identity as an extension of my personality and my insecurities - well, it's easy to be from a rich culturally marginalized country and feel "indie." That's what kind of country Canada is. A forgotten country. If you like indie music and write oddball stuff and generally identify with unmarketable things but feel too bourgeois to openly complain about it then it's just about perfect - because Canada is an unmarketable and unfashionably wealthy country. Any time we kick up a fuss on the international scene about being forgotten, out comes a quintet of the world's tiniest American violins.

Case in point - oh and I hope this is true - Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World starring Michael Cera will be the first mainstream possibly marketable movie ever set in Toronto. (I seem to remember that the beginning of Flirting with Disaster was set in Toronto, but it's very possible that I just made that up out of sheer necessity to remember my city as a place that is occasionally acknowledged on the silver screen.) I'm so excited about this that I've been telling everyone I know who is a) Canadian or b) totally uninterested - and everyone I know fits into one of those two categories - so that basically means everyone. If they reset the story in Detroit I truly will torch a Cineplex. Okay, won't torch a cineplex. But will be really, really mad. And since I'm Canadian that may only come out as an occasional twitch that I'll have to go to therapy over years later. But basically, Scott Pilgrim, I'm asking that you don't let me down.

**** Yes, this is a truly ridiculous thing to be upset about. Not having your city recognized by Hollywood, in fact, the very idea that something like that bothers me opens up a whole can of worms about identity and film and culture that I'd rather not go into. Let's just say, I'll restrict my complaints about being marginalized to the blog. Anyway, I probably like being marginalized. Toronto is like that great band that nobody else has started listening to yet. Perish the thought that my city should become like Juno or Wes Anderson or Arcade Fire - a victim of its own no longer indie success *****

Anyway in honour of my non marginalization as a Torontonian, here are my top ten (In no particular order) of favourite things to do in the T dot. If any of you should be so lucky as to go there, do them for me and send me a postcard.

1. Sitting on the patio at the Press Club on Dundas. Stealing a pear from the pear tree.

2. Vegan almond pudding at this Vego restaurant upstairs in China Town. Eating vegan things in Toronto is so fun and comes sans the British "are you in a cult" judgement.

3. Going to the big Cineplex at Richmond to watch something cheesy and riding the very very tall escalator.

4. Watching "The Log Driver's Waltz" across the street for free at one of the National Film Board portals.

5. Fried Tofu or Crispy Chow Mein at Java House on Queen Street.

6. Brunch/Breakfast at Saving Grace on Dundas. Packed French Toast is everywhere in that city! In London if you talk about Packing French Toast people look at you like you're having an aneurism.

7. Getting a three course Sushi meal at lunch time at Sushi Time on Bloor Street for 5.50. Followed by dairy free ice cream at that awesome ice cream stand next door.

8. The food court at Yorkdale. Why should I like this? PUre nostalgia. It's actually only fun if you're under 17 and spend most of your time in North York. Ditto for Belly Buster's Bacon Combo on Yonge Street. And the Bistro on Avenue Road.

9. The photo booth at the Drake Hotel. Come up with a concept. The wankier the better.

10. Beers with a friend on a front stoop at any time of day. This is best if you or they drop by unexpected. And truly wonderful if it's summer and there's a barbecue nearby.

I could go on. Portuguese Custard Tarts, Susur Lee, Rodney's Oyster Bar, 401 Richmond, the music, oh man, the music, Soundscapes, Kensington Market, all the video stores, I really could go on. Toronto I Miss you. Don't change.

*Hey Toronto Comment Posters - Post some of your own favourites. Let's compile a list before it's uncool to do so*