samedi 31 mars 2012

Brighton, in the morning

This is hardly a new observation - many people, including me, have made it before, but it never fails to make me smile.

I live in Brighton.  This morning, having a free Saturday, I pulled on my trainers and headed out for an 11-mile run at 07:45.

At that time of the morning, particularly on a weekend day, every single human being you see is guaranteed to fall into one of the following categories:
  1. Runners.
  2. People on their way home from last night.
  3. Cyclists.
  4. Dogwalkers.
  5. People doing community service litter-picking.
  6. Occasional metal-detector.
A note about each of these:
  1. Lots at the moment, as there are only two weeks to go until the Brighton Marathon - I got overtaken a lot more than usual.
  2. Usually sweetly bemused (a girl this morning, beautiful, teary, chewing her face off, luckily being cuddled by her boyfriend); occasionally aggressive in a 'you-think-you're-so-superior-don't-you' sort of way (this morning, a drunk and leery fat couple - for some reason, the man saw fit to walk in front of me and grab his lady companion's tits as I passed).
  3. Often friendlier than the runners (although there is a pretty excellent ratio of 'good morning' all round).  Also, some fabulous bikes on occasion - a man on a penny farthing, one who carries his ferrets in the basket, a lot of gorgeous Dutch bikes).
  4. Usually little poofy dogs, only very seldom a big one - I think this is due to a combination of general taste and that most of us here live in small flats.
  5. I'm so glad they exist - you should see the state of Brighton seafront at around 4am before they descend.  Such a symbiotic culture here.
  6. Always a joy.
Also joyous is the fact that, with around a mile to go on my way home for breakfast, I get to see this:

mardi 27 mars 2012

Mixtape - Sad, sad songs

I should clarify: these are sad songs for when you really want to stay sad.  I may post an alternative mix for when you are ready to Get Over It and Kick Arse.

But there's a  place for wallowing, for thinking that this is the worst thing in the world that has ever happened to anyone in the history of forever and your heart will never be mended.  This is where it lives.

Each of these is inextricably linked to a sad moment in my own life, and I may cry whilst writing them down.  Then listen to them all, and drink, heavily.

LEONARD COHEN: famous blue raincoat
PJ HARVEY: angelene*
JOHN PARISH & PJ HARVEY: that was my veil
CAROLE KING: so far away
JEFF BUCKLEY: lover, you should have come over
MARIANNE FAITHFULL: the mystery of love
CAT POWER: good woman
NICK CAVE: west country girl
TORI AMOS: little earthquakes
MARY-LOU LORD: camden town rain
NICO: these days
NIRVANA: penny royal tea (unplugged)
JEWEL**: you were meant for me
PLACEBO: without you i'm nothing
HOLE: northern star
HOLE: dying
NO DOUBT: don't speak***
PEARL JAM: nothing man****
BRIGHT EYES: it's cool we can still be friends
EVAN DANDO: if i could talk i'd tell you
LISA LOEB & NINE STORIES: stay (i missed you)
KYLIE MINOGUE: put yourself in my place*****

That is A LOT of songs - man, I'm a miserable bastard...

* actually, most of the album 'Is This Desire?' fits the bill nicely, as I discovered in spring 2003 ('2000 miles away/he walks upon the coast').
** she did some good songs, ok? (and some embarrassing crap.)
*** one simply cannot be cool when one is this broken-hearted.
**** yet another song I love by a band I actually hate.
***** this is not a joke.

lundi 26 mars 2012

More Caroline de Maigret

Oh!  And she has a tumblr!  Oh!  And it's amazing!

Covetous Much?

So, via one of my favourite blogs Tomboy Style, I have just discovered the great website The Coveteur and the amazingly cool lady Caroline de Maigret.

Style, looks and house of dreams!

I can feel a new obsession coming on.

So. Fricking. Perfectly.  Cool.

dimanche 25 mars 2012

Saturday afternoon

A flashback:

Saturday afternoon, right on the river, unseasonable sunshine.

Me, my boyfriend, his brother and pregnant girlfriend, some of my best friends in the world, acquaintances old and new, babies and dogs, my ex-boyfriend's mum and dad.

Cheesy chips and a pint of blackcurrant and soda.

Long walk in my sister's red plimsolls (ssh).

Talking about TOWIE and three-legged races and cooking.

Quite the nicest afternoon I've had in ages.

samedi 17 mars 2012

Our bodies our selves

We all know I love Emma Forrest (my tastes and obsessions are SO predictable by now).  I am currently particularly interested in this essay that she wrote for Elle magazine.

It's an interesting topic, and almost exactly echoes a conversation that Lou and I were having the other day.

I am convinced that something happens to women's bodies in their early 30s; it really is like a second adolescence (and I expect there are more of those still to come).  My body has always been prone to doing things at strange times - true fact: I didn't get boobs until I was 22, when they sprung up literally overnight - but since I turned 30 a few months ago it has undergone a subtle but massive metamorphosis.  Despite the fact that I am still about the same weight, obviously the same height and the exact same dress size, my body seems entirely different.  Similar to how Emma Forrest has described in herself, it's like everything has lengthened just a tiny bit and it's made this weirdly huge difference in perception.  Likewise, Lou has always been a classic (but skinny) apple shape, and she has now started going in and out a bit in new places.

It's not bad - in fact, we were both blowing our own trumpets and confiding that we both feel hotter than ever before - but it is weird and takes some getting used to.

I think this is because - rightly or wrongly - we all DO build up our personalities, just a bit, around our body type.  We all have our 'thing', right?

Lou's the slim girl with the disproportionate boobs.  I'm all about the waist and the ribcage - although it's not the done thing now, there was barely a weekend day that went by between 1996 and 2002 when I wasn't showing my midriff.  Ali's all about the legs.  Katy has the world's most amazing bum (official).

It's weird when any of that changes, but it does, and that's a good thing.  Emma Forrest explains it better than I do.

mardi 13 mars 2012

Mixtape #2

This is a playlist exclusively made up of songs that remind me of boys.  They don't all have romantic connotations and I'm not saying who.  Some people might guess.  Does everyone have certain artists, as well as songs, that remind them of certain people?  Hence the repetitions.

OASIS: slide away
OASIS: cast no shadow
JONI MITCHELL: court and spark
KELIS: caught out there
LEONARD COHEN: the sisters of mercy
PLACEBO: without you i'm nothing
HARRY: so real
PJ HARVEY: victory
PJ HARVEY: good fortune

samedi 10 mars 2012

Recent teen reads

I've been reading avidly of new YA releases at the moment.  You know, it's one of those things that I call 'research' like it's not fun.

There have been some really good 'uns of late.

Night School by C. J. Daugherty

This is an intriguing little read that I enjoyed - the first part in a trilogy, and I will definitely read the next installment.  It's about a girl called Allie, who keeps getting herself into trouble at her South London school, and so is sent to a mysterious boarding school in the country.  You know how I love a good school-set yarn, and I liked this one because it was spooky without veering into classic 'supernatural' territory and is genuinely twisty.  I would also like to add that it is being billed as 'The Secret History' for teens; which is cool but 'The Secret History came out when I was a teen - if memory serves, I think I was about 16, 17? - and I read it avidly and thoroughly enjoyed it.  So, I would really recommend 'The Secret History' whether you are a teen or not.

Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Another trilogy, and you may remember me enthusing all over the place about the first part, Delirium.  This is number two, following the feisty heroine Lena into 'the wilds' and beyond.  I'm certainly not the only one saying it but Lauren Oliver is a bit of a star - this is more original and well-written than any of its competition.  Highly recommended.

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Another trilogy and another first parter.  I expect you know all about this one already - I was a bit late to the party but really wanted to read this before the film comes out.  I wasn't disappointed - it was a page-turner and I'll be reading the next two books pronto - but I would highly recommend reading the original book of Battle Royale, or watching the film (both of which were made about a decade earlier...).

jeudi 8 mars 2012

Actual mixtape #1

I love mixtapes, as you can probably tell from the title of this little weblog.

I used to make a ton of them, and the best one I ever got changed my life (and introduced me to Cat Power).

So, I thought I should actually practise what I preach and include some mistape action on here.  So, here begins a 'regular feature'* where I give you a themed playlist and you can either ignore it or look stuff up and make an actual mixtape of your own.

First up, here's one I made earlier**.  It's a little mix I made withe the intention of running to it, before I discovered that I'm the only person in the world who doesn't like running to music, so now I listen to it when I just fancy a dance around the kitchen.  It's all old-ish by now, although it was (in part) current-ish when I made it - it's still pretty good.

Mixtape #1: Raise up the magic

LADYHAWKE: love don't live here
FLORENCE AND THE MACHINE*: rabbit heart (raise it up)
THE KILLS: last day of magic
YEAH YEAH YEAHS: heads will roll
CAT POWER: he war
DAVID BOWIE: magic dance
JEFFERSON AIRPLANE: somebody to love
KATE BUSH: running up that hill (a deal with god)
LADY GAGA: bad romance
PJ HARVEY: shame
MARIANNE FAITHFULL: these friends of mine

* Ha! Get me, talking like I've actually told anyone about this yet and like I have readers and stuff!
** OK, it's an iPod playlist but same diff, right?
*** I know my Feelings On Flo have been well documented, but this is the one song of hers that I love and I LOVE it - sorry, Neil

dimanche 4 mars 2012


I've had a really productive weekend.  Yesterday I did the parkrun with my friend Camilla; I've done lots of reading and film watching; I made some excellent breakfast burritos today AND yesterday; today, I've done a ton of work on my manuscript.

Now, I am feeling pleased with myself and a shepherds pie is being made for me.

One thing I have also done a lot of is look at Rookie.  I expect you know all about Rookie and Tavi and all the rest of it, but if you don't then I implore you to get yourself over there now.  It's like the perfect balance between a girl-friendly glossy magazine like Bust and an actual scrapbooky fanzine from the mid-90s.  Which is to say it speaks to me on all levels, basically.

And as my manuscript is a YA project, I can tell myself it's all for 'research' and part of the hard work.