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Monday, July 31, 2006

I'm Suz and I'm a cake addict.

I don't know what's happened to me, I really don't. I never used to be this bad. It wasn't unheard of for me to buy and not finish a single muffin. My excuse this time is that I wanted to use my new and deeply groovy muffin cases. See? How pretty!



And, voila! The finished cupcakes (coffee with a cream cheese frosting - I would've liked to top these with little coffee beans, but I didn't have any):

Me, Myself and I

Let's see. Now this kind of exercise I find inordinately difficult. I can blabber on for a thousand words about nothing in particular, but as soon as it comes to writing something about myself, I clam up. Yes, I know that says something about my psyche, but I didn’t stay in therapy long enough to find out.

I’ve been having a bit of a crap time recently, so I thought maybe writing this in some way might prove to be therapeutic.

Let’s start with some concrete facts - I’m 21. I’ve just finished three years of studying media at college. I have an older brother, mum, dad and wonderful sister-in-law to-be. I have many cousins, aunts, uncles and two grand-parents. I have a cat and a goldfish. I can ride a bike, but not drive a car. You see? This is what I do. None of this really says anything about me, Does it? Not really.

Right now, I feel in limbo. I haven’t got a job yet, and that is hugely frustrating. I don’t suit not having a focus, a purpose, a structure to my day. It’s drives me bananas. Hence this blog - some small focus. Things feel in flux for other reasons, too. Change has been very present, not only in my life, but in the lives of others I know. One of my closest friends, G, moved to Edinburgh last year and I don’t see nearly enough of her now. Phone calls, emails and texts just aren’t the same. For me, that is one of life’s greatest pleasures - sitting having a conversation with someone and really, really opening up. Talking about the stuff that scares you, the stuff that makes you happy. And, for me anyway, there are a very, very select few who I (can) do this with. On the flip side of this, it’s also fantastic to sit with a person who you can open to, but talking utter balls; things of no consequence at all. Relaxing and not worrying about how you look, or if you say something daft, because you know that if they laugh, it’s with you, not at you. These are highly underrated pleasures, I think. I don’t find it easy to trust people, you see. Really trust them. It takes a long time. I mean, we’re talking years, really. Anytime I’ve let things slip to people I haven’t known that long, I usually regret it. There’s more to all this, but not for me to write about now.

For me, people are life. I want my friends to know that I’m there for them. I want to know they’re there for me too. I’m not really into material goods or the like, for me happiness in life is about experiences and the people you share them with. That’s what I’ll look back on when I’m 90. Not the big-screen TV or iPod or anyone of that guff. I’ll think about the people I’ve met and how they’ve affected me.

While I’m busy sitting here feeling sorry for myself, I know that I will feel better. I’ve been down a lot further than this and lived to tell about it. I just have to stick with it, using the tricks I’ve learned to keep myself afloat. I think writing is one of them. I enjoy the process, anyway, and that’s what all this is about, I think - the journey, not the ending.

PS - Man, I wish I could think of better titles.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Mid-Year Goals

Inspired by Jen, I thought I'd do a list of my Mid-Year Goals as well. Here goes:
  1. To cook more varied dishes. I tend to eat similar things all the time, and now I feel I should break out a bit and try more exotic things, and different ingredients. Already made progress with this, with yesterdays beef yaki soba - I'd eaten, but never cooked with soba noodles before.
  2. To watch more films. I love watching movies, but it's something I rarely seem to do, which doesn't make much sense, I agree. So, first task is to watch the DVDs I've bought but haven't seen yet.
  3. Number three is to go to those places on my 'go to' list that I haven't found the time or energy to visit yet. There's a few (mostly food related!) such as Lim's Chinese Supermarket and IJ Mellis cheesemongers.
  4. Get more excerise. I've been shamed by my friend in the States, who gets up at 6.30am to go running. Now there's dedication for you.
  5. To get more organised. People seem to think I am, and in some ways that may be true. However, they would change their minds if they opened the wardrobe door.

There we go. Five - a nice number to be getting on with for now, I think!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

The Fringe, soba noodles and being star-struck

This is another post with various unrelated items. I tried to find a link, but alas, I couldn't.

I'm about to make a stunning confession: I have never been to the Edinburgh Fringe. Now considering I was a media student, enjoy all forms of art, have friends who are actors and writers, and live in Scotland, this has been an appalling oversight on my part. However, all that is set to change this year. I have a friend who is starring in a play which I shall be going to see. (And quite possibly terrorising the cast with my camera while I'm at it.) Not only that, but I should never have picked up the latest edition of the list. I just keep seeing more and more events I want to go to. I think I shall be very used to kipping on my friend's floor by the end of August.

Yesterday was spent having lunch, drinking copious amount of coffee and touring the delis with my mum. I could spend a fortune - a fortune - in these places. I don't know how I managed to restrain myself. All I bought were some very groovy retro-patterned muffin cases, garlic butter and a packet of soba noodles. I also had an author-spotting. Now, most people get excited about celeb-spotting - but not me. Give me a good author anyday. I saw Zoe Strachan (well, I'm fairly certain it was her. I've met her as well, so it will be doubley embarrassing if it wasn't) in one of the deli/restaurants we visited. I would've said hello, but being me I had a fear that she would get that look on her face - you know, the look that says, "I have no idea whatsoever who you are, but I'll smile and say hello to be polite and get rid of this weirdo." Either that or it wasn't her at all, and I really was a weirdo. When I met Bill Bryson at his book signing and he shook my hand, it made my week. I've spotted rock stars and movie stars, but I get giddier meeting an author I respect. I think that almost sums me up, actually. Oh dear - I really am a geek.

The aforementioned noodles were used this evening in a very delicious (if I do say so myself) beef yaki soba. No matter how knackered I am, I can always find the energy to cook. And todday, I am knackered. I spent my Saturday painting my brother's spare-bedroom "Toasted Almond". Well, painted most of it - I'm too much of a short arse to reach the top. Still, I shall be calling in the favour when I buy my own place. Mwahaha.

I think there was more I meant to write in this post, but I've forgotten.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Some things about me

So I realised that I'd never properly introduced myself on here. In an effort to rectify this, here are are few random facts about me. I may follow this up with some sort of mini-biography doodah later.

I'm not going to give a number - let's just see how I get on...

1) I’m an Aries.
2) I think horoscopes are a load of bull, but still read mine all the time.
3) I’m a born and bred Glaswegian.
4) One of the few good things about this city is the patter.
5) I have an irrational fear of butterflies. Damned fluttery things.
6) I hate milk with a passion...
7) …and peanuts as well. Even the smell. Although I’m not allergic.
8) I do seem to have developed an allergy to grass, in addition to the hayfever it already gives me.
9) I’m prone to ridiculously obvious crushes. You can tell if I'm in the midst of one, because I can't speak - I just stand there with my mouth gaping open, looking like a goldfish.
10) I can’t wear in-earphones - my ears are too small and they fall out.
11) I’ve never dyed my hair.
12) People seem to have a thing about my hair. In a good way, I think...I hope.
13) I watch Doctor Who purely for David Tennant. Tweed and Converse are perfect compliments to each other, I feel.
14) Sometimes I set my alarm even when I don’t have to get up, just to experience the joy of switching it off and going back to sleep.
15) People always think I’m really organised. I have no desire to quash this misguided belief.
16) I listen to cheesy music on the sly. Funkytown by Lipps Inc. anyone?
17) I’m obsessed with my camera and piss everyone off by taking constant photos.
18) I really do like to think of it as a service to my friends. Think of the wonderful (and, ahem, not quite so wonderful) events I’m documenting. And all the blackmail material I have now. Another benefit of being behind the camera, people.
19) Because of my aforementioned obsession, I am often to be found in the garden photographing various flora and fauna.
20) This caused one of my neighbours to ask if I was a botanist. I thought he was joking.
21) I love colour and pattern. I have, on several occasions, chosen paint colours that have been termed ‘dodgy’ by various family members. They were wrong. And I made them say it.
22) I’m a long vodka connoisseur. And bars, please don’t scrimp and use that cheapo lime cordial stuff. It’s so awful, it’s insulting.
23) I’ve had a haiku published (college book, but still!)
24) I've had two photos included in an online travel guide. My obsession pays off. (Figuratively, not literally, unfortunately.)
25) I enjoy the odd spot of DIY.
26) I love reading but, even so, I often buy books and don’t read them.
27) Even then, I still develop an unnatural attachment to them. I find people who read books once and then give them away one of the great mysteries of the universe.
28) I spent four years studying French and can barely speak a work of it.
29) This disappoints me mightily.
30) An Italian man was once very impressed with me because I knew the Italian for 'wonderful.'
31) It's meraviglioso, by the way.
32) I’ve also spent three years studying something I don’t like all that much.
33) I have no idea what I want to do with my life.
34) Let me rephrase that - I can think of plenty of things to do, but none of them make for terribly sensible career options.
35) I’m understanding to a fault.
36) I’m a perfectionist to a fault, too.
37) Which is why this is the tenth draft. But I got there eventually - and, as they say, it’s the journey that counts.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Sugar Rush

I don’t watch a lot of television. In fact, I usually see a few things that look good, ring them in the listings and then forget all about them. Such is my way.

However, there are a few programmes I do make a point of watching. I’m talking here about things that are currently being aired - I have a large DVD collection of now defunct shows like Frasier, but that’s a whole other post.

One show I’m enjoying in Sugar Rush. The show is about Kim, a young out lesbian living in Brighton, and is based on a much maligned novel by Julie Burchill. Now, I must admit here that I haven’t read it. A combination of bad reviews and the fact that I can’t stand Burchill at the best of times has meant I’ve steadfastly avoided it. One such review stated “Burchill claims to have written Sugar Rush in ten afternoons. You can tell.” Anyway, if I start a rant on Burchill and the furore surrounding her, I’ll be here all day. Oh, I suppose I really should read the book at some point, just to be able to make a comparison, but frankly, I don’t really want to.

It seems that Channel 4 picked up the option on Sugar Rush, then did the sensible thing - they took the rough premise and ditched everything else. Now, as I have admitted, I can’t compare the show to the book, but the characters within the show have more depth than the caricatures that apparently inhabit the novel. Praise must be given here for the actors involved. I can’t imagine the roles, in particular that of Kim, being easy to play. Olivia Hallinan has taken Kim from being a naïve, closeted girl to out and proud but still approachable over the course of the two series. The various supporting characters of Kim’s family also help to provide more light relief from any heavily emotional material provided by Kim’s relationships, in particular her parents Stella and Nathan and their attempts at fixing their marriage by joining in the local swinging scene.

This series also seems to be more humorous than series one. You may have to see it to find this funny, but the sight of Nathan looking anxious and saying to his wife, “maybe we shouldn’t have had sex with the neighbours” after finding his son experimenting with cross-dressing, unwittingly using a pair of the neighbour's pants, made me laugh.

Between series one and two, there has been an on-screen gap of 18 months, which has annoyed many viewers. This sort of time jump is tricky to pull off, but here it seems to have worked ok. Although I am curious as to how Kim managed to get over her obsession with Sugar, the show has such an unreal, stylised quality to it, the time gap doesn’t bother me. This lack of reality is part of the shows appeal for me. I have angst and emotional trauma in my own life, I don’t want to relax by watching it on the telly as well, thank you very much.

One of the other reasons I watch the show, and I doubt this will come as a surprise to anyone who has read my blog before, is the clothes. Sugar’s outfits are always…interesting in the extreme. Glittery, red knee high socks, anyone? Kim’s on the other hand are none too bad. Interesting colour combinations, various cute little pieces. And I could happily raid Saint’s (you can tell it’s not real life just from the character names, huh?) wardrobe too - loving that red beret.

The music deserves a mention, too. Any show that has Blondie’s One Way or Another as the theme tune is fine by me. Other artists featured on the sound track include Emiliana Torrini, Portishead and Goldfrapp. Actually, I must check out the soundtrack CD. Not something I ever buy, incidentally. Well, not since I bought the Clueless soundtrack, but I was 13 at the time, so that’s my excuse.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

In answer to your questions...

No posts for a day, then three come along at once. Well, Inspector Monkfish asked some very reasonable and sensible questions in a comment on this. Although, just because they are sensible and reasonable doesn't necessarily mean I can answer them. Here goes nothing...

Why did you decide to go to Uni next year rather than this year?
I decided to go to uni next year as opposed to this as I needed a break. I couldn't stand the thought of another year of essays and deadlines and no money and having to deal with lecturers. The thing with work is, it might knacker you, but you go home and can forget about it. All that plus I was just ready for a change. Was originally supposed to go to uni last year, but various factors - the late date I applied and got a place, money issues and so on meant I didn't. I was pretty disappointed at the time. I keep wondering how things would've panned out if I had gone. Lots of things would have turned out differently, I'm sure. I don't know how they would've been different, whether better or worse, so I can't comment.

What sort of jobs are you looking for?
Preferably something in PR or thereabouts. Loosely related in some way to media - after all that's what I've spent years studying! Lots of competition for such jobs, though. I'm applying for various things however.

What would you want to do at Uni?
English or media, I think. Although I quite fancy the idea of going back to college and studying photography, but that's just in the hazy depths of my mind at the moment.

What sort of job do you actually want to do?
Tough question. I don't know. Can I just say something interesting and leave it at that for just now? Maybe something in publishing. Really haven't much of an idea.

Phew. Well, I don't know if that's helped, but at least I've answered all the questions!

Photos of the Day









Stop the world, I want to get off.

Well. I've been pretty good lately - positive thinking, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. All that jazz. But. But. Sometimes all that stuff wears a bit thin.

I'm still not about to spill my guts on here. I don't do that in general. I'm not someone who tells people everything. I'm always a bit shocked when I hear myself tell someone something private. There aren't many people that can draw these things out of me. Anyway, a thought has been bubbling away in my head recently, namely, "what the fuck am I doing?" (I apologise for the use of profanity - but believe me, it was necessary.) You know, just in life. It's a feeling I've had before, and I'm fairly certain it'll pass, but in the mean time it's a pain in the arse. The feeling that I'm bumbling along, not really heading anywhere. I know if I stand back and look at my life - I mean really look - I am making progress towards...wherever I'm heading, that there are good things aplenty. But it isn't going quick enough for my liking.

It's funny, in some ways I have lots of patience (too much on occasion) and in other ways I have none. Something to work on. Self-improvement's the name of the game.

All this plus the fact that I seem to stumble over people who simply aren't very nice with alarming frequency. Why are people not nicer to each other? Does it take any more effort than being unpleasant? I should focus on the good people I have in my life, for there are many. Some who are always at the end of the phone, and some who I don't see nearly enough.

As I've said on here before, I feel I have more to say about this. Right now, though, I don't know where to start.

You know, I was going to apologise for such a self-indulgent post, but who I am kidding? Surely a blog, by its very nature, is inherently self-indulgent? So. That's me done, I think. Everyone needs a good vent on occasion.

Right, that's out the way. Normal service should resume shortly.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Party!

Last night was DC's birthday party, and I'm pleased to announce I did wear my very high, very sexy heels. I even managed to dance in them. I don't know how well I danced in them, but, hell, I had fun. I'm surprised I did, actually - it usually takes a lot of coaxing and a fair amount of alcohol before I'll get up and strut my funky stuff in public.

However, I was slightly disturbed to see what a player my friend's little brother has become. I don't think there was in a single gal in the room whom he hadn't cut a rug (thrown a shape?) with. To me, he'll forever be twelve.

As usual, I took some photos. Didn't manage to get a good one of the happy couple, though. For DC and P are well and truly loved up. P's surprise birthday present was a trip to Paris. I don't know what anyone else got her, as she was saving her presents to open later. I must find out, actually, for I am incredibly nosy - I make no bones about the fact!

As for today, I'm knackered and have a choice between tidying up, filling out job applications and helping M and H decorate their new flat.

Who am I kidding? I'm gonna make some food and watch Almost Famous.

Blondie: One Way or Another

I watched the Blondie documentary that was on the other night - just how fabulous is that band? Debbie Harry had such a stunning look way back when and she still looks bloody fantastic now. I liked how her hair was so commented on - apparently it was so radical, so trend setting, so daring. Nope - she just couldn’t see the back to do it properly. That kinda tickles me. She had amazing stage presence and had that elusive natural ‘coolness’ that other performers spend their lives trying to recreate. Give me Deborah Harry over Madonna Ciccone any day.

You have to admire how they successfully tackled so many varying musical genres - disco (Heart of Glass) to rap (Rapture) to reggae (Tide is High) Not only that, but they’ve such a lasting effects on music acts of more recent times. Mind you, this isn’t always a good thing - remember Atomic Kitten’s mangled version of Tide is High? If you don’t, you’re lucky.

One thing I did learn from the documentary that I didn’t know was Chris Stein’s enthusiasm for photography. He’s produced some excellent portraits of Debbie Harry. Although this was no doubt helped by his subject - surely it would be pretty difficult to take a crap picture of her?

Anyway, it made me go and dig out all the various Blondie albums I’ve got floating about. It’s just too tempting to sing along though. My poor neighbours.

Friday, July 21, 2006

Tea Enthusing

I have lot of teas. I am in fact the doyenne of teas - both herbal tinctures and more traditional caffeinated beverages. I remember I brought someone into my house for a cup of tea and I asked what variety would they like. This meant I really would have to go through the list of what was available, so instead I just opened the cupboard. And he responded by looking rather horrified at the vast the choice. So I took the easy option and said “Earl Grey?” (I think he was relieved.) Which he proceeded to drink with milk in it. Philistine!

I always promise that I won’t add to my collection, but it’s an addiction. I just can’t help myself. Right now I’ve got my eye on a cheeky little number - Lime Blossom Herbal Infusion from Whittard. A steal at just £2.40 per 50g. Oh, I should never have looked at the website - Aniseed and Elderflowers is calling out to me as well, now.

I’m especially fond of Chai - hot, spicy, milky tea sweetened with honey. Delicious. This is my usual when I go to the coffee house/café/whatever your preferred name for it is. Although, just to be daring and throw caution to the wind (I’m that kinda gal) the other day I ordered - get this - an iced chai. Sometimes I marvel at my own audaciousness.

Of course all this is not to say that I’m not partial to a nice cup of coffee (I think I may have mentioned this before?) especially when eating cake. I’m still hankering after that stove-top moka.

Though right now I shall satisfy myself with a refreshing cup of fennel.

Oh, and I do believe whatever your beverage of choice is, it tastes better out of a nice cup. Strange, but true.

I am not having a good day.

Or should that be I'm not having a good week?

The other night I went out wearing a cute little pair of flat shoes. Shoes which I have worn many, many times. But for some deeply inexplicable, highly troubling reason, they decided they were done with being comfy. Maybe they thought "Hey, this chick has been tramping us around on pavements all over the city - let's show her who's boss!" So now I have feet that are mangled.

Then, last night, I was standing adjusting the blind, minding my own business, when the bloody thing fell of the wall on top of my head. Obviously it wanted me to flash my neighbours.

So now I have to attend a party on Saturday with mangled feet and a bump on my noggin. And I might not be able to wear the super-high, super-sexy heels I'd chosen for the occasion - what with the buggered-up feet and concussion.

Humph.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Little Earthquakes

I'm rubbish at those quizzes that make you pick your favourites - I don't have a favourite anything. Not a book, or a colour, or a food. How could I choose just one out of all the possibilities? I can do favourites plural, though. One of my favourites musicians is Tori Amos. I certainly wouldn't qualify myself as a member of EWF (Ears with Feet) for she herself kinda irritates the crap outa me, but man, that chick can play a piano. Oh, and a random piece of trivia for you readers - listen to 'Tear in my Hand' from Little Earthquakes for a reference to author Neil Gaiman.

So, brace yourself, because here’s the bit where I try to sound intelligent:

Amos is a contemporary female pop-rock singer/songwriter, and is noteworthy as one of the few popular musicians of recent times to utilise the piano as her main instrument.

Although at times lyrically opaque, her songs are intensely emotional, and tackle a vast breadth of subjects, including sexuality, patriarchy and the personal tragedies that have occurred in her life. The lyrics also often include religious symbolism and references, particularly pertaining to the patriarchal system of organised religion.

She is famed for her intensely emotional songs and the feminist stance she takes on the controversial issues which she routinely addresses in her work. Perhaps as a direct result of this, the majority of Amos’s fans are women. While she has enjoyed limited chart success, both in her adopted home of Britain and her native home of America, she has a large cult following. As a result of this, it appears that within popular culture, Amos and feminism seem to have become inextricably intertwined. Amos deals with many issues directly relating to her own sense of feminism within her work, including such issues as sexuality, patriarchy and sense of self as a woman.

Above all else, Amos’s gender is central to both the creation and interpretation of her work. These issues of gender impact heavily on the criticism of Amos’s music, as her carefully constructed performance persona could be viewed as an attempt to create a new image of female sexuality, and to craft a new and strong female voice for both men and women to respond to. It seems as though her intention for this new voice is to challenge the long established roles for women within what she regards as a patriarchal society, and also to be a voice with which her predominately female audience can identify.

Her stage presence is a carefully crafted blend of the seemingly intimate and spontaneous. Despite this, her performances also have an air of the operatic or theatrical to them, perhaps in part due to the various mix of elements, aside from the music, that help to shape her performances – the costumes, lighting and visual effects are all carefully selected by Amos to help her present an image and experience that the audience are going to partake of.

In all aspects of her work, lyrically and visually, Amos’s sexuality is ever-present. It is commented upon often with perhaps more vigour than her musical work is critiqued. While it is true that all women in the public eye have a sexual image to some degree, sex and sexuality appear to have become inextricably linked with Amos as a woman, as well as a performer. With regards to her on-stage performances, her sexuality is clearly displayed in acts of what could be termed as simulated masturbation, as she writhes on her bench while playing. These displays seem in part designed to be seen as an act of defiance of the well-established sexual roles for women within society. As well as this, their meaning is also perhaps to acknowledge the self-consciousness she feels of being subject to the audience’s stare.

Although there are the aforementioned scenes of apparent sexual defiance, it is important to note than Amos does not appear to use her sexuality as a tool for manipulating her audience in the same manner that other female performers, such Madonna or Britney Spears, appear to. While they use their sexuality to achieve their own ends, while perhaps sacrificing something of themselves along the way, Amos seems more keen for her sexuality to be acknowledged as an innate part of her a woman, not just a performer, in the same way as a man’s sexuality is currently regarded within our society.

Phew. This is a very heavily edited (also known as hacking the crap out of the original) version of an essay I wrote last year. Thinking I might go back and expand on the original once I’ve had a bit of distance from it.

Oh, and I would upload a track or two, but I haven't got round to figuring out all the technical dooley-bops necessary for that one.

Half-life

Ah, I am a gaming geek. In a fit of tidying out recently I re-discovered a computer game that both I and my brother (ok - just me. I'm just trying to share out the geekiness.) used to be obsessed with - Half-life. In the game, you play a character called Dr Gordon Freeman, who works in the Anomalous Materials department. After an experiment goes hideously wrong, and the Black Mesa research facility is invaded by alien beings, he must save the day in typical heroic stylee. Yes, yes, it's a load of mince narrative-wise, but it's a hell of a lot of fun. Glooping aliens with a variety of weapons is a fabulous way of getting rid of some aggression. And once you've saved the world once, you can progress on to Half-life BlueShift playing Barney and finally Half-life Opposing Force playing a military goon. Hours of good, honest fun.

Also rediscovering my inner hero will give me something to do when escaping from the heat outdoors. It is too hot. I can stand it during the day, but it's murder trying to sleep in it. And to think I stupidly chucked out my fan because it had stopped oscillating (fabulous word).

This evening I shall fling on something floaty and brave the heat to enjoy good-natured banter and iced-coffee. What else can you do, eh?

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Red sky at night


The Concretes

Have a lookie-see.

I *think* I'm quite liking them. They're summery and make me want to dress like a hippy (well, I have got the hair for it). Although, maybe I dress like a hippy already? I don't know.

My head seems to have lost the plot recently.

Blurgh.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Bits ‘n’ Pieces

I couldn't think of any way to link these disparate items, or stretch an entire post out of each so here they are:

How nice is this kettle? I don't need a kettle at all, but if I did, I would buy this one. Who knew kettles could be so stylish?

I kinda wish I'd seen this. Though given the choice, I'd want to see him perform his own work again. Hopefully he'll come back to Britain and do some more gigs soon. Oh, and this time he'd better not play the Armadillo.

And finally, I've thought of some more things to add to my previous post:
7. Fresh, crisp, new bedlinen.
8. The smell of conifers after the rain.
9. Opening a brand new book and cracking the spine.

Fashion! Turn to the left...

I was sorting out my wardrobe yesterday. OK, if I’m honest, I was sorting out my ironing basket, which is threatening to mutiny and take over the whole room. Anyway, I realised how many items I own with dots. I detest anyone who buys into a trend for no other reason than it’s popular, and I was suddenly struck with a terror that I was a *whisper it* fashion victim. However, I managed to talk myself down by saying that many of the pieces were in fact not polka-dot, but actually had a large circular pattern, and anyway I only buy things if I like them. I also take comfort in the fact that I haven’t bought into the current leggings obsession. It’s not impossible to look good in them, but lets face it, you need the figure of Kate Moss.

I love fashion with a zeal shared only by my love for food. I don’t have great confidence when it comes to actually wearing clothes, though - I either feel I haven’t made enough effort, or made too much and I look contrived. Well, I used to feel that way, recently I’ve felt more comfortable about the whole thing. Somewhere in my head the notion that fashion should be fun, and that maybe the fun shouldn’t stop as soon as I take the clothes off the hanger, finally clicked.

My friend R is a fashion design student, and, to me, has that indefinable quality that makes someone seem like the most interesting, stylish person in the place - she‘s ‘cool‘. Therefore, each time this happens I’m just as amazed as the first time - almost every time I see her, she demands to know where I got some item of clothing I’m wearing from. She has been known to ask if she can riffle through my wardrobe. The girl has even said ‘Suz, you’re always wearing such amazing things!’ This is definitely an ego boost, let me tell you.

Maybe all this sounds shallow, but it’s the truth - fashion is fun, and if any men reading this think women dress for them, they’re wrong. Well, occasionally we do - but only if you’re very nice to us. Or there is the prospect of you being very nice to us. Women dress for other women. Receiving a compliment from another women is one of life’s great pleasures.

I guess fashion appeals to the creative side of me - working with colour and pattern and shape. I will never understand how people such as Victoria Beckham gets lauded as a fashion icon - I have nothing against the woman, but she wears head-to-toe (or head-to-bum-cheek, recently) designer. Where’s the fun in that? It doesn’t take any imagination; it tells you nothing about their personality. I like rummaging through Primark, H&M, New Look (all the cheapie shops) and coming up with something. I know I wouldn’t get the same buzz paying £800 for a bag. In fact, I think it would make me baulk. I also know that vintage is all the rage, but I’ll admit to being a wee bit funny about wearing someone else’s clothes. Who knows where they’ve been? Maybe not terribly fashionista of me, but never mind - vintage is just another trend to follow or disregard.

I was taking about this recently with my friend, about what it is to be, or not be, a typical ‘girlie girl.’ I wouldn’t say that I am a typical girlie girl, if in fact there is such a thing. But I do love clothes, dressing-up, make-up - the whole shebang. I love being a woman.

Maybe I’m not talking about ‘fashion’ here - to me, that’s a different thing to loving clothes. I suppose I’m more talking about style. Besides, ’fashion’ is too big a debate to tackle here. What is fashion? Is high-fashion art? Is it worth the money? And so on. I feel I have more to write about this, but I’ll leave it here for just now.

Sunday, July 16, 2006

As it turns out...

it isn't my fault that I'm obssesed with cakes and such - my great-great-grandfather was a baker. So it's in the genes.

Before Sunset

Oh, dear. Since I watched my Before Sunrise/ Before Sunset double bill (well, because of Before Sunset, obviously) I've had this desperate yearning to go to Paris. To sit in a cafe, with someone I like, drinking coffee. But, it looks like that dream will have to be put on the back burner, for numerous reasons - primarily, I have no money, and neither does anyone else. I know I've made a whole big thing with myself recently about enjoying the small things in life, but sometimes my dreams and ambitions turn up and smack me round the head, and suddenly I'm engulfed in a horrible cloud of frustration. I suppose the aim is to enjoy the small pleasures without letting go of your dreams. Sounds easy, but it's a skill not many people master, I think.

Back to the movies. Well, I really need more time to digest them before I can write any sort of critique. One of my pet hates is when you come out of the cinema or theatre, or even a gig, and you're expected to have formed an opinion already. I mean, obviously I can say whether or not I hated something, or if it has given me pause for thought, but that would be about the sum total of my input into the conversation. At this point, I can say that Before Sunset is my favourite of the two.

Right, I must mention small pleasures. Well, yesterday I treated myself to a new silicon spatula. You know you're a cool, hip, chick with your finger on the pulse when you get excited about kitchen utensils. And, of course, I had to road test my new spatula, so I made chocolate cherry cupcakes. I'd like to say here that I don't personally consume all the sweet things I make - I'll have one or two, or a slice of whatever, and the rest gets shared around. I'm not that bad that I eat it all myself. Although I realised my enthusiasm was maybe getting a bit much when I found a blog dedicated to cupcakes and I squeaked with excitement.

Also, just to prove that I do make healthy (well, healthier) things now and again, I've included a photo of the very delicious salad I made for dinner last night.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Some things I did this week

- dropped a chocolate cupcake on the floor. Frosting side down.
- went out wearing two odd socks. Accidently, of course.
- had a film marathon.
- wrote letters, texts and emails to people in Uganda, America, Spain, London and New Zealand.
- drank way too much coffee.
- spent too long blethering on MSN.
- bought someone a bunch of flowers, just because.
- filled out many job application forms, and managed to stay awake.
- got laughed at because I'm rubbish at wheeling a pram about.
- ended up with sore muscles from wheeling said pram about.
- hung out in the Tinderbox.
- eavesdropped on manager cunducting interviews in the Tinderbox.
- worked out I had £24 in small change.

Random Photo of the Day

Friday, July 14, 2006

Some good things...

Life can be a bit hard at times, so here is a list of some good things:

1. I am so thankful for my friends - those girls keep me grounded, keep me sane and give me a bloody good laugh along the way. (You keep that big stick handy, N!)
2. And my family - they too keep me grounded, keep me sane, and give me a bloody good laugh as well. (M - I might take you up on your offer.)
3. C is back in the country - looking forward to meeting up!
4. Got a good hoolie coming up - now I just need to come up with an outfit...
5. I've done lots of walking this week - I do like to feel all virtuous.
6. The sun is out.

Thursday, July 13, 2006

The Little Things in Life

Today I was musing on the nice things in life - some of the more underappreciated pleasures. Here are a few of mine:

1. That smell you get when you walk past a fruit shop.
2. People watching. I love sitting in a café, just watching everyone. My friends and I particularly enjoy spying couples obviously on their first date - it’s surprisingly easy. It’s also pretty easy to tell when it’s going well and when it’s going tits up.
3. Coffee. Really good quality coffee. Must be black.
4. Chocolate, to go with the coffee. Really dark, bitter stuff. The higher percentage of cocoa solids, the better. None of this sickly Galaxy pap.
5. Laughing. I love that state where I’m laughing so hard that I’ve gone silent - just tears streaming down my face and my shoulders shaking. Of course, seeing me like this usually makes everyone else laugh as well.
6. Dawn. Favourite time of the day, no question. It’s tranquil before everyone else gets up and starts making noise. The light is always so beautiful, I love that delicate pink the sky often is. (Obviously I’m talking about the summer here, though clear autumn/winter days are good too.)
7. Making a ritual of the wee things. For example, reading a magazine. First you need to set the scene: a freshly brewed cup of coffee - or chai - a slice of some delectably gooey cake. Then you need to flick through without pausing to read anything fully. Then going back through, reading articles in order of interest.

These are the ones that spring to mind, though I know there are many more.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

In London Town

I really want to go and see this exhibition, but as usual I'm...what's the word? Skint? Potless? Financially challenged?

I wonder if I could sweet talk R into letting me kip on her floor...

Edited to alter link - thanks IM.

Tea for Two

Today I met L for lunch. I also got a nasty surprise, in that it was my turn to pay for both our lunches. I'd rather forgotten she paid last time. Bugger.

We went to three places before finally settling on Brel. I hummed and hawed, looking at the menu, ignoring the most interesting main courses, instead focusing on the sandwiches. (Solely because they were cheaper. Oh, the joys of being unemployed.) In the end, I went for the 'beef and mustard sandwich with crispy onions on rye.' I must admit, when it arrived, I was rather disappointed. The salad and dressing were pleasant, the bread fresh - but I tell ya, hardly any onions were killed in the making of that sandwich. And they weren't crispy either. The mustard was also ladled on rather too enthusiastically. But hey-ho, I suppose the company is more important than the food. And L is always good for salacious gossip and juicy tales. In other words, a perfect dining companion.

Tonight, I plan on tidying up a bit, catch up with some correspondence and then settle down with a cup of Brewhaha Rose Tea (this stuff is delicious, and the packaging is nicely retro chic - see photo.) and watching a Before Sunrise/Before Sunset double bill.

Also, if someone could slap me every time I hit the 'Publish Post' button when I mean to press the 'Save as Draft' button, I'd be very grateful.

Oh, and if that person could also stop me going to fancy-pants delis, spending too much money and ordering the six cup stove-top moka I've seen on Amazon I'd be even more grateful.

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Way To Go

*sigh*

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. I feel the need to be specific, here - I wouldn’t want anyone thinking I watch that abomination starring David Caruso. He has one stance and expression that he wheels out to cover absolutely any emotion - stand with hands on hips, clench jaw and stare into the middle distance. Oh, actually, I take it back - if it’s a particularly heart-rending scene, he’ll take his sunglasses off. The original cast of CSI were pissed off when this came on the air. Man, you can see why.

Anyway, I digress. It was the season finale of CSI tonight, and I am not a happy bunny. What will I watch now? The television schedules are a no-mans land of mind-numbing daytime telly (presented by unnaturally tanned people), and reality TV (starring, well, unnaturally tanned people).

Now, I’m not going to pretend for a second that CSI is a classic, a benchmark in terms of modern art - I mean, the thing is full of holes. For example, why do they never wear overalls? And why do the women totter around in high heels with their hair flying about all over the place? Surely that must contravene some H & S rules? But the show is entertaining, with interesting stories and an unfeasibly attractive cast, and that is pretty much all I care about at 9pm on a Tuesday night.

You know, thinking about it, I don’t know why I’m so bothered - after all, Five will probably show repeats of CSI on a loop till the new series begins. As long as I’m still able to get my Grissom fix, that’s all I’m worried about.

School's out for summer

...school’s out for ever. Well, not for ever, probably. I still intend to go to university next year. But school (college) is most definitely out for a while, and has been for a month or so. Only now I am starting to get my around it.

I’d been going to the same college for three years (I was the only person who lasted from the first class right through all three years), working towards a qualification I’m still not sure I’ve got (slight issues with the department lecturers on that one), with my life revolving around essays, projects and assessments. Even now, I find myself having an ‘I’ve got so much to do’ panic before I realise that, actually, I don’t. Three years of my life in one place - it’s gonna take a big adjustment to not be there anymore. Though, funnily enough, the only thing I miss about the place so far is those Caribbean chicken corn snack things they had in the canteen. And you can get them anywhere.

Something I’ve noticed, and I’m not going to try and pass this off as a hugely original thought, is that studying something can really bugger up your enthusiasm for it. However, with a little bit of distance, there are some projects I undertook as coursework I’d like to return to, work a bit more on. Although, in contrast to this, college introduced me to or helped to foster things I now have a passion for - writing for one. So you can blame them for this blog.

Aside from the work, I never made great friends there to miss. The class was cliquey in the extreme. There were the loaners, always on the periphery and never really participating, the Barbie crew, and the group I got lumped with. Not sure quite what you’d call them, to be honest. They were a tight knit bunch and they just seemed to put up with me. We never really had anything in common, which I’ll admit I found both disappointing and slightly surprising. I would have thought, given the nature and subject of the course that we would have had something in common to talk about - films, music, books. But there didn't seem to be anything - we had different interests.

As easy as it would be to spew venom about some of the people I met, I’m going to try and be stoical. We were different, that’s all. I suppose, for me, what truly and deeply…annoyed me? disappointed me? at the time was their inability to see beyond themselves. Nothing and no-one remotely different could escape without seething criticism or utter bafflement. That isn’t how my mind works - I try hard to foster the exact opposite attitude. I can judge too, but it’s not a quality I find attractive, and so I try and curb it. I try and be more understanding, less judgmental, more open-minded. Sometimes I might succeed, other times I might fail, but at least I try. I can remember we were all sitting in the canteen one lunchtime, and we ended up talking about foreign food. I said ‘oh, I like sushi,’ which was met with a squint and a wrinkling of the nose, and A saying ‘yeah - you look like the type of person that would like sushi.’ I wasn’t sure how to interpret that. Did she mean I looked Japanese? Doubtful, what with the red hair. Either way, I don’t think it was a compliment. In fact a lot of things I said were met with that expression. So in the end, I stopped saying anything.

Of course, it wasn’t just the other students - I had various lecturers to deal with. I must say, you’d be hard pushed to find a more diverse, colourful selection of characters elsewhere. That department offered a wealth of fabulous writing material. Not that I’ll be utilising it, you understand. For all the anonymity of a blog (I suppose if you analyse it, it may not be as anonymous as you’d think at first sight) I’m reluctant to talk too much about the people I met there. I have my own private thoughts about each and every one of them - some good and some bad - but I don’t necessarily think they are for public consumption. I can't share my innermost thoughts and feelings here.

What I will say is that some of the people I met had a lasting effect on me, and how I view the world. Who I am and my view of the world has changed so much over the last few years, due to many factors and not just college. I’m interested to see where I’ll go next.

Monday, July 10, 2006

Hey, Cupcake...


I’ve been at it again - more baked goods. This time in the form of some very prettily decorated (if I do say so myself) cupcakes. Yesterday, I had a sudden urge to make something involving disgusting amounts of frosting and little sugar flowers. The frosting ended up yellow, but in fact I had a wanted a delicate shade of pistachio green, with little pink sugar flowers - in my head a sort of a retro ‘50s theme. But Tesco, amazingly, didn’t stock pistachio green food colouring. Honestly. I mean, isn’t everyone as concerned with the colour of their frosting?

Anyway, visions of American roadside diners floated through my head. Me, coffee pot clutched permanently in hand, wearing a cute little uniform - maybe a full skirt, a little apron - name tag stating ‘Patty.’ A beehive hairdo and frosted pink finger nails. A trucker called Earl demanding coffee, me responding in a deep, honeyed tones, “just a minute, hon…” while I busy myself with wedges of apple pie and eggs over-easy…

*cough*

Anyway.

Tesco didn’t want to play and didn’t have the green food colouring. So instead, I went for a jaunty pale yellow shade. As Nigella so beautifully sums it up, ‘pastel shades work best here, whatever your everyday aesthetic.’

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Musicology

I have this habit that people seem to find a bit strange. Well, actually it's two things, now that I think about it.

One: it takes me ages to get into an album. I mean, seriously, we're talking months here. I've got a couple of albums, some I bought, and some copies that I got given last year by friends, and I still haven't gotten into them properly yet. In fact, some of them I haven't listened to the whole way through. (I would apologise for being a shite friend here, but it's the way I am - sorry.) I’ve only just got round to saving Beth Gibbons and Rustin’ Man to the hard rive and I bought that about six months ago. A few others will go on tonight. Perhaps it's because I listen to a lot of music on the computer, so I tend to skip through tracks, not listening to some, listening to others a few times, so I never tend to listen to an album right the way through. I guess I'm sticking two fingers up to the artists and their record companies who slave away over a hot track list to decide the order they appear on the album, but never mind. It takes me an age to discover each track individually and learn to love it. So, if any of you anonymous lot out there have ever given me an album, bear with me - I shall get back to you with my opinion by next Christmas. Ish.

Two: I can be insanely obsessed with someone’s music, and not like them, or even find them downright irritating, as a person. A good example of this would Tori Amos. I love, love, love her music (well, the older stuff anyway), but listening to her being interviewed is, for me, akin to Chinese water torture. Or being made to listen to Agadoo on repeat. But I can still feel an affinity with their lyrics even if I don’t like them. Strange, I admit. So, it is important for me to know what they are singing. Foreign languages are out. I don’t want to fall in love with a song only to find out they’re singing their shopping list.

On a separate, though related, topic, can I just say how much I detest this new breed of female singer-songwriters. Or should that be "singer-songwriters"? Corinne Bailey-Rae, Lily Allen, Sandi Thom and so on. I'm trying to think how to articulate my feelings about them without resorting to wailing 'they're crap!', but I'm not sure it can be done. They seem to fit into two distinct categories: sugary sweet chill-out pap or faux-angst piffle. I'm not sure which annoys me more. Can't they attempt to come up with at least a semi-original topic? ‘The world is a big bad place and a man has screwed me over.’ Well, join the club honey. Sing about your breakfast, or your postman, or the dust-bunnies under your bed. Anything original would do.

I don’t know if the current pop-culture climate has been deluged with a higher than normal level of material that is the musical equivalent of tapioca, or whether it’s always been like this, but, to use a technical term, it’s doing my nut in and I wish they would all go away.

At this stage I would like to clarify that I am in no way a musical snob (see my post entitled, er, ‘Untitled’ for proof) but I just can’t stand that people seem to be taken in by the music industry ‘this-is-the-next-big-thing’ tripe. I love some musical cheese, but even then I would rather it was by someone who had more personality than an amoeba. Or at least a decent tune and lyrics that don’t make me snort with derision.

Phew. I feel much better now.

Think think think.

Halfway down the stairs
Halfway down the stairs
Is a stair where I sit:
There isn't any other stair quite like it.
I'm not at the bottom, I'm not at the top:
So this is the stair where I always stop.

Halfway up the stairs
Isn't up, and isn't down.
It isn't in the nursery, it isn't in the town:
And all sorts of funny thoughts Run round my head:
"It isn't really anywhere! It's somewhere else instead!"

(A A Milne)

I was reminded of this poem this afternoon, when I was walking downstairs. This is what I used to do when I was a kid - I'd plonk myself on one of the stairs and just sit there. It was where I did my thinking. I found it a good place to think - it wasn't in any of the rooms, it wasn't really anywhere, and there wasn't usually anyone else hanging around to distract me. Sitting in the middle of the stairs was comforting. Hey, I didn't have a security blanket, so I had to have something.

In my old house, there was quite a grand looking staircase, and I found the optimal step for thinking was the half-landing. But I've since moved house and the new staircase isn't nearly as well suited to this. Which is a shame, because that's what I seem to be doing a lot of at the moment. And, since I'm not five anymore, I might attract some strange looks.

I'll just have to find somewhere else. Any suggestions?

Saturday, July 08, 2006

A rose by any other name...

I’ve had my PC for a few weeks now, and I’m still discovering software I didn’t even know it had. Today, I stumbled across Windows Movie Maker and had hours of fun. The wee movie I’ve got here isn’t likely to win any Oscars (and the name is utter pish and totally unoriginal), but I had a lot of fun making it. And, I must admit, I surprised myself at how easy it was - it seems that the three years I spent at college studying media aren’t totally without merit. God, and there was me thinking that Video Production had been a waste of time!

Truffle Torte


I made this the other day. Now, the recipe said to chill it over night - like that was going to happen. I turned it out the tin after a few hours. Well, as it transpires (though I had a sneaky suspicion this was true beforehand), there is a reason recipes say things - it was more like a chocolate mousse, so back into the fridge it went. Now it's the right texture and consistancy, but the presentation's crap. Thank God these things don't affect the flavour.

It had also been my plan for people to eat a few slices and I would freeze the rest. Can you see where this is going? Yup, the slice in the photo is in fact the last slice altogether. Whoops.

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Photography.

I’ve been taking so many pictures recently, that I hadn’t actually stopped to consider photography itself - not as a medium, or form of expression, in artistic terms, but more why I do it. It’s a bit a puzzler in some ways, and totally clear in others. I’ve started taking photos almost religiously, documenting the lives of my friends and family and life in general. The thing is, I don’t generally have photographs on display. Sure, I have a few of my favourites on the pin board above the PC, but I don’t have many, if any, around of my friends or family.

I get great pleasure out of a beautiful image, or perhaps to be clearer, what I consider to be a beautiful image. Form, colour, light - all these things appeal to me, but in a way there is something I dislike about photographs of people I know being on display. I admit this does slightly contradict my enjoyment of taking portrait shots, but there you go. Perhaps it’s the notion of a person I know and love being reduced to a two dimensional image. I think it’s very, very rare that a portrait actually gives you a sense of the subject as a person - and I have great admiration for any artist, whatever their medium, that manage to achieve it.

There is an exception to this, however. There are some photos from my childhood that I cherish. Photographs of my Grandmother always stir some emotion in me, but then I didn’t really know her in real life, as she passed away when I was I three. Even so, I have some things that belonged to her and I can find a greater connection with her through these than looking at her image.

Maybe the reason I take all these photos isn’t because they enable me to feel a connection with their subject, but simply to help keep memories alive or to remind me of forgotten events. We experience so much through life, but looking back at photos from seemingly trivial events of the past often remind me of things that I had completely forgotten, because they simply weren’t that important at the time - and if they produce an emotional reaction in me, it tends to be more of amusement than sadness or fondness.

Having said all this, my latest project seems to have become documenting the life of my friend’s first child. There is something fascinating about watching a baby develop into a fully rounded person right in front of you, and it seems this development becomes clearer and more evident when put down on paper. It’s a cliché, but it passes by so quickly that it’s easy to take it for granted.

After all that, I suppose that the one thing that I hang onto is the principle that a photographic image captures a second in time that is never to be repeated. And that I do find value in.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Oh dear.



.

I have really got to do something about this photography obsession. Anyway, seeing as it was a nice day and I was going to be outside anyway, I decided to take some pictures. Nothing outstanding, but I think this was my favourite of the day.

Everyone's leaving me...

...For foreign climes and adventures! A, R, AF and G are all away or going away shortly. But, on the plus side, C is coming back from New Zealand, and I can't wait! We'll have a drink (or maybe five or six) and catch up, for it has been far, far too long. I shall hear of many exotic adventures, both good and bad, and I can share mine too. Not that mine are exotic in the strictest sense of the word, though.

There isn't really a point to this post, simply that I shall miss my lovely friends while they are away and I am excited at the prosect of seeing those that I haven't seen for too long. I find there are few things more comforting or exciting than meeting up with old friends, and sharing our respective journeys - both where we've been and where we are going. Although, at this point, it seems that neither C nor I have any clue as to where that might be. Maybe we can help each other figure that out.

Sunday, July 02, 2006

"Blessed are they...



...who see beautiful things in humble places where other people see nothing."

I saw this quote by French Impressionist painter Camille Pissarro in the art gallery yesterday, and it instantly appealed. This is a notion that has been swirling round my head for a few weeks now - really since I got into the photography, which has changed the way I see things. Or perhaps more accurately, I see things now when I didn't before. I know that I can be prone to glass half-empty thinking, which is something I'm trying doggedly to get away from. I'm trying to look for the beauty in everyday, mundane things; and so far, it seems to be working. It is amazing the capacity we human beings have for wandering through life with our eyes focused on the pavement. Maybe we're all just waiting (or looking?) for something to trip us up. But so what if it does? At least it'll make a funny photo for someone else.

Sneaky Peeky


Aha! It still smells the same. Seriously, I was worried. I had a little sneaky preview of the newly refurbished and deeply swanky Kelvingrove Art Gallery yesterday. You see, I was concerned that with all its new bangles and baubles, it would have lost that smell. The slightly indefinable musty smell, that museum smell. But all is well - it's still there.

Both the interior and exterior of the building are looking good - all buffed and polished and gleaming like new. I was particularly taken with the new light-fittings they have in the two halls of to either side of the main foyer. I'm not sure who designed them, or if they are indeed new, but I found them rather lovely and slightly reminiscent of Lalique.

Oh, I suppose I should mention the art itself, too. Well, the museum appears, both in the displays and the decor, to be eclectic, but from what I could gather (having to peer around lots of milling people) it seems to work. For example, next to the aforementioned light-fittings, there are an array of 'floating' heads, each with a different facial expression, which, in my humble opinion, juxtapose each other nicely. These I liked very much. Quirky, unusual and ever so slightly deranged. My kinda art. I was also extremely tickled to see the much loved Elvis statue hadn't been ditched to make way for some new fangled exhibit - although it was still wearing its protective, and I'm sure very snuggly, bubble wrap coat.

While it was exciting to get a glimpse at the museum, even with its unfinished air, it will be even nicer to be able to wander around at a more relaxed pace, without crowds gathered in every corner and fighting for the last toasted teacake in the cafe. Because, for me, that was always the joy of the museum - the peace and solitude. Disappearing inside its solid stone walls to a world of stuffed mammoths and Victorian jewellery, pre-Raphaelite paintings and Japanese swords, far removed from the noise and pollution outside. It'll be nice to have the museum back with us.

So, after my day of cultured sophistication, I went out for an evening of deeply uncultured drinking. Nikki and I went for a mini pub-crawl (one drink in each - the west end is so expensive) and a good blether. The atmosphere was good, no doubt due in equal parts to the sunny weather and the football. And it just goes to show what a cosmopolitan city Glasgow really is - there was a troop of Portuguese guys wandering down Byres Road singing merrily after their success in the quarter-finals. It would have been more pleasant to behold if only they had been singing in tune.