mercredi 17 décembre 2014

The greatest break-up song.

I've listened to this a lot over the past couple of months.  That is all.

jeudi 11 décembre 2014

Some Girls

Has anyone been watching 'Some Girls'?

It was recommended to me only recently and I am a little bit obsessed.

I love Viva.  And Saz (great fringe).  Rocky may be my current favourite.  I basically want to be Miss Bitchcock when I grow up...

Most of all, it's just really great/funny writing that manages not to fall into lazy stereotyping.  It is currently cheering up these winter evenings for me no end.

mardi 9 décembre 2014

An Irony...

Early this morning, I was on my way to the gym.  To be honest, this doesn't happen very often (at least not first thing in the bloody morning).  But for once I'd had an early night and woke up before my alarm - so I chucked on some leggings and ran out the door towards the beach.  I watched the sunrise over the sea and headed to the gym for a lovely swim and a sauna to warm up before I went to work.

Gold star me.  This rare little tale makes me sound far more wholesome than I really am, and I must admit I was feeling pretty Zen/smug.

Then, when I was nearly at the gym, I passed a branch of Pizza Hut.  I have lived in Brighton for eight years now (have I, or is it nine?) and I have never once been inside this branch of Pizza Hut.  In fact, I don't think I have been in *any* branch of Pizza Hut for far longer than that.

Now, I am not a food snob by any stretch of the imagination.  I love a burger when I am hungover; for this very reason, I'm afraid I have frequented the Burger King at Victoria station more times than I care to remember.  I also love a pizza.  We're lucky to have some really great pizza places in Brighton - not only do they do 'proper' pizza but they tend to be a lot cheaper than a Pizza Hut takeaway, so it doesn't really get a look-in these days.

However, just the sight of the Pizza Hut sign in this scenario made me (as they say) literally 'LOL'.  Because no matter how long it's been since I was last there, the Pizza Hut sign is part of my history.  And it used to be to get out of gym...

When I was in Sixth Form (bearing in mind I had stayed on at my small school rather than going to a less-archaic sixth form college), Wednesday afternoon was Games afternoon.  The sportier girls would play hockey or run cross-country.  At the time, I was definitely not one of them.  One of the options was to go to the local public gym for the afternoon instead.  My similarly non-athletic best friends and I worked out that this was the best option - because it wasn't highly monitored.  So, we could go to Pizza Hut for the afternoon instead.  In those days (the dim and distant late 90s), the all-you-can-eat lunchtime buffet was £4.99 (I was shocked to note this morning that it is now £6.99!  but pleased it still exists). More to the point, you could get a refillable Diet Coke and (shamefully) back then we used to take full advantage of the fact that you could still smoke in there, which seems unthinkable now!

For a second, I quite fancied a slice of pizza, even at that time of the morning - an impulse that never goes away?  But I carried on to the gym, weighing up the ratios of how things change and how they stay the same.

vendredi 5 décembre 2014

A nice idea.

When I was a small child, I was obsessed with the idea of a message in a bottle (not the Police song)...  This is even better...

I recently gave a beloved book to a girlfriend - and it occurred to me that it had originally been recommended to me by a girlfriend, who had been recommended by...  You get the picture.

So, we had the idea that - upon finishing the book - my friend should pass it onto someone else.  We wrote our names in the inside front cover, and she decided that next she would give it to her sister, with instructions about passing it on.

A chain letter book.  I love the idea.  I want to keep this going and make more of them!

lundi 1 décembre 2014


Sometimes I think that certain songs follow us around.  They are there for us when we need them.  Waiting.

I was in the pub on a Sunday afternoon, drinking red wine.  It had been a bad week.  But I was with a great girlfriend, sheltering from the rain and cold, drinking through my hangover; that morning I had been to a second-hand bookshop and bought copies of 'A Room with a View' and 'Brideshead Revisited'.

Then this came on.

"You look really, really happy," the barman said as I sang along with every word.

vendredi 28 novembre 2014


I'm not sure whether or not I'm late to the party on this one, but this website makes me laugh like nothing has for AGES!

Seriously.  It's bloody hilarious.

lundi 24 novembre 2014

Hey, stranger...

Are you out there?  Hello?  Is this thing on?

I may be being melodramatic, but it's been a little while.  I've been busy.  Stuff's been going on.

So...  I went to New York, which I haven't banged on about nearly enough.  So, I will say the following:

  • Picklebacks are surprisingly delicious.
  • Again, surprisingly, the pizza I had at the Staten Island Ferry terminal is the best I've ever had in my life - follow the neon sign that says 'Pizza and Margaritas'.  Clearly the recipe for happiness.
  • Going off by yourself and listening to Cat Power on the subway to Brooklyn can be a really nice moment.
  • Brussels sprouts seem to be really trendy in New York these days - weird.  But kind of great.  I love a Brussels sprout.
  • A lady walked alongside me in Hell's Kitchen, muttering under her breath 'gotta keep keeping on, just keep on keeping on, gotta keep...' ad infinitum.  I'm not sure whether she was talking to me or to herself but I listened and it made my day.
  • Catcalling somehow seems way more genteel if it's in an accent that is not your own, especially a very New York one.

Here's me with my sister, in a trendy New York restaurant, wearing a new jacket I just bought in New York.

jeudi 16 octobre 2014


I was 17 in 1998.  I always remember it as one of my best years.  It doesn't seem like very long ago to me.

When the film 'Sliding Doors' came out, I think I went to see it at the cinema with my best friend.  We were a bit obsessed with the cool short haircut that Gwyneth gets and I attempted to emulate it myself.  GOOP wasn't all that well known - I won a tenner in a bet with my mum that she wasn't really English (we weren't sure).  She even manages to say 'bollocks' really convincingly.

I was quite excited when, in the present day, I spotted it on Netflix (which, of course, didn't exist in 1998).  It was only when watching it that I realised how long ago 1998 really was.  (Not that far off 20 years, in fact.)

It looks so very old-fashioned - even retro - now.  There was smoking indoors.  And tape decks.  And drinking Grolsch was trendy.  As was wearing a poloneck (actually I still love a poloneck, but I used to wear them a lot more in 1998).  Films like 'Sliding Doors' saw fit to include Dodgy in their soundtrack...

But it's still a really good film.

vendredi 10 octobre 2014

You Said Something

'On a rooftop in Brooklyn, at one in the morning...
Watching the lights flash, in Manhattan...'

Not just a really lovely PJ Harvey song, but pretty much exactly what I was doing last week.  I was in New York - a brilliant trip, which I will probably bang on about in more detail at some point - specifically, on the roof terrace at the Wythe Hotel in Williamsburg.  Drinking a whisky cocktail and looking out across the water to the Empire State Building.

But that wasn't even the best bit.

The best bit was that I was with a girlfriend who I hadn't seen for years.  A proper, close girlfriend - one I truly love, who I have been on holiday with twice and used to hang out with all the time.  This was possibly the first time in my 33 years that I had inadvertently lost touch with such a good friend.

I moved to Brighton; she moved to New York.  We tried to think of the last time we saw each other, and neither of us could for the life of us remember.  At least five years, maybe even closer to 10.  Who knew?  Now she even had a husband I had never met.

We'd exchanged the occasional email over the years, but drifted out of close contact.  Then I let her know that I was going to be in New York and we made vague plans to meet.

And here we were, drinking on a rooftop in Brooklyn, chatting like the old friends we were, like nothing had changed.  And it hadn't, not really.  We had greeted each other with genuine screams and hugs in the middle of the road.  We laughed at the fact that we both still looked so much the same that we could never have had trouble recognising each other.  We talked about new ideas just as much as we reminisced over old memories.  Conversation was easy and fun.  We emailed the next day; I can't wait to see her again in a couple of months.

Rather than being sad that we ended up skipping a few years together, it makes me feel pleasantly reassured about the world, friendship, the passage of time...  She dashed onto a bus with her lovely husband and I waved her off before I disappeared into the subway, safe in the knowledge that nothing can ever change who we really are, PJ Harvey on my headphones.

mardi 7 octobre 2014

Your devils and your deeds.

Of course – of course – I am a Joni Mitchell fan.  I was brought up on Blue, and A Case of You is one of my all-time favourite songs.

For some reason, I was thinking recently about one of its most famous lines: go to him, stay with him if you can, but be prepared to bleed.

When I was younger, a dramatic teenager with a stereotypical penchant for bad boys who didn’t actually like me all that much, this line made perfect sense to me.  I wasn’t only ‘prepared’ to bleed in the name of love – I kind of wanted to.  I thought it was a prerequisite.  I never even questioned it.

Then when I became a sensible twenty-something, I rejected that notion entirely – again, without thinking about it too much.  It was a stupid idea; I knew so much better now.  Metaphorical bleeding was not only undesirable but wholly unnecessary.  Anyone who thought like that was clearly a moron.

And when I think about it now?  I’m just not sure.  Maybe that’s what growing up really is: becoming less sure about some things just as you learn others.  I still agree with Joni about what love is: touching souls…and surely you touched mine, because a part of you comes out of me in these lines, from time to time.

And surely that's the only thing that matters in the end - which means that it's going to be OK either way.

jeudi 2 octobre 2014

Fictional Characters I Would Like To Be: Topaz Mortmain

'I Capture The Castle' is possibly my favourite book of all time.  Definitely top five.  It's the one I turn to when I feel sad, or a bit ill, or hungover - a comfort read, best enjoyed in a hot bath or from under a blanket.

Topaz isn't even the main character - but, to me, she is the dream.  I seriously want to be her.

The main character, and charming narrator, is the teenage Cassandra.  Topaz is her 29-year-old stepmother, a former artists' model and all-round bohemian beauty.  She likes to 'commune with nature', which means running around the garden with no clothes on.  She goes around in old moth-eaten tea dresses, or outfits she has fashioned herself from mouldy potato sacks.

She adores her husband, Mortmain (she insists upon calling him by his surname at all times, as she thinks it sounds glamorous) beyond all reasonable measure; she is convinced that he is a genius, even when everyone else is not.  She aspires to being a selfless muse type - making it a rule not to be jealous or ever to try to be controlling - but often (sweetly) fails, as she does with so many of her high-minded ideals.  I love that she has them at all.

Some of Cassandra's (very fond) observations of Topaz in her diary are truly hilarious.  Apparently talking about books with Topaz is pretty painful - she rhapsodises about 'War and Peace' and how its themes left such an impact on her that she tried to manifest her feelings on the text into a painting.  Then she can't remember what actually happened, or any of the characters' names.

But the best thing about Topaz is that she is surprisingly pragmatic and resourceful.  She is much more capable than she seems, as well as being truly kind-hearted.

That trumps having your picture hanging in the National Portrait Gallery (twice!) and looking like a strangely beautiful Greek goddess.  Although those things are pretty cool, too.

vendredi 26 septembre 2014

Jagged Little Pill

I love it when things come full circle.  There's something comforting about it.

When I was (I think) 14, 'Jagged Little Pill' by Alanis Morissette was released.  My friends and I were instantly obsessed with it.  It, like, spoke directly to us.  We were in love with Alanis and her silly lyrics and her long her and her leather trousers and her anger at boys.

Then we carried on getting  a little bit older and Alanis' stopped making such good songs and we lost interest.  Not only that, but the songs on 'Jagged Little Pill' - the ones we had loved so much - now seemed, well, embarrassing.  They were so of the moment, encapsulated a brief time so perfectly, that they dated very quickly.  We threw out our copies and were faintly ashamed to have been fans.  We moved on and didn't want to look back at our past selves.  So immature, so uncool.

Then, earlier this year, one of my girlfriends asked me when I last listened to 'Jagged Little Pill'.  It's actually really good, she said.  I didn't believe her.

Then we listened to the entire album together, sang along, found we still knew all the words and were filled with a peculiarly nostalgic sort of joy.  We have repeated this several times since.  The joy is still there every time, as are the songs.

I love it when things come full circle.

dimanche 21 septembre 2014

Happy 80th birthday, Leonard Cohen!

Because of course I couldn't let this occasion go unmarked.

Thanks, L. Cohen, for the truly great music and words; changing my life sometimes, inspiring me to go on various travels (and get the tattoo that may have saved me at a low ebb); lovely memories, directly and indirectly.

I still would.

jeudi 18 septembre 2014

Dancing in Silence

It's been doing the rounds on Facebook, but this video really made me laugh.

vendredi 12 septembre 2014

Clothes Clothes Clothes Music Music Music Boys Boys Boys

Isn't that the best title for a book you have ever heard in your life?  (It's Viv Albertine's [from The Slits] memoir, as you probably already know.)

It's also a great book - really enjoyable, funny, and quite moving.  Plus gets bonus points for Vincent Gallo content that I'd had no idea about.

The Slits were a really cool  band.

jeudi 4 septembre 2014

Lovely Liv

I've loved her since 'Empire Records' (haven't we all?) but lately I find myself slightly obsessed anew with Liv Tyler.

She's so insanely beautiful and I found this great article about her 'beauty secrets'.  Obviously I have copied all of them and am keeping my fingers crossed that soon I will wake up and actually be her.  I'll keep you posted on that.

Incidentally, Into The Gloss turns out to be a really great beauty site..  I find myself spending a lot of time there.  You're welcome/sorry (it might end up taking up quite a bit of time and costing you money in new beauty products).

vendredi 29 août 2014


Today my little sister turns 30!  I can hardly believe it.

She is a beauty, a comedy genius and the best sister ever.  Sisters are the best.

Happy birthday, Katy Wood - you brilliant human!  I'm very lucky you are my sister.  And I'm sorry about that time I tried to make you eat your own poo.

mercredi 20 août 2014

I Don't Care

My sister and I were pretty obsessed with Shakespears Sister as children.  I bought their album 'Hormonally Yours' on cassette and we would sing along for hours on end.

I still think this is a perfect pop song (it has a kind of Victorian rap!) and a great look.  I still listen to it all the time.

jeudi 14 août 2014

Billy Liar

We did Billy Liar as part of Drama GCSE.  It was one of my favourites.

I was never very good at drama, but I loved the idea of it.  Plus, in my all-girls school, drama was the only subject that had boys (bussed in from the ‘brother school’ twice a week for lessons).  It helped that said group of boys included my disproportionately-adored on/off teenage boyfriend.  I looked forward to drama all week and applied insane amounts of lip gloss accordingly.

My drama teacher – who I am still friends with and is wonderful – was incredibly kind to me.  She knew the extent of my out-of-control schoolgirl crush and, although she would occasionally take me aside for bemused head-shaking ‘he’s really not worth it’ little chats, she would often take pity on me and pair me up with the object of my affection for duologues and the like.

When Billy Liar came along, this kind of completed the circle.  It seems now even more apt than it was at the time, and I could kind of see it even then.

He was such a Billy Liar back then, and I desperately wanted to be Liz.  I had forgotten how much until I happened to read this great piece this morning.

I don’t know exactly what happened to that boy – we’re not in touch beyond the occasional Facebook comment.  But I know he’s not a Billy any more; at least, I don’t think so.  He got away, lives on the other side of the world and still does all the things he loved doing back then.  Same for me, really.

I’m so happy we both turned out to be a couple of Lizzes, in the end.

samedi 9 août 2014


BTW, did you see that I updated my 'photographs' page.  Yep, I'm assuming you want to look at pictures of my weird/wonky face - right?!

Well, weird face aside, my genius photographer friend Alexis took some really cool photos of me.  Look!

Musical Grammar

It’s no secret that I love Brian Molko of Placebo, the goth-lite band that I adored beyond all reasonable measure from approximately the age of 14 onwards.  It’s also even less of a secret that I am a total grammar geek.

Make of these what you will, but the two facts unexpectedly collided in the Venn diagram that is my heart recently.  I was listening to Julien (a song I have heard so many times before), and as Brian miaowed: ‘Julien – find a friend, in whom you can confide’ and my heart did a little jump, it occurred to me that grammar may be one of the reasons why I have always loved Brian.

He’s a surprisingly literary pop star, and surely this had some effect upon my sensibilities at an impressionable age.  It was thanks to a Placebo song (Our Lady of the Flowers) that I ordered a copy of Jean Genet’s novel from my local bookshop when I was 15.  I also looked up several Placebo-favourite words in the dictionary so that I could use them myself: attrition, benediction.  And so on – Molko loves to load on the rhyming couplets.

But as soon as I noticed it, I realised that appropriately using ‘whom’ inspired a whole new level of love.  It’s like that time I went on a date with someone I didn’t really fancy because he used a semi-colon in a text message.  HOT.

Similarly, my own personal god Leonard Cohen likes the occasional use of an Olde English affectation, of which I thoroughly approve.  ‘Thee’ is always a nice moment.

So, bands, if you want teenage girls to be obsessed with you, the key is clearly in knowing ‘who’ from ‘whom’.  Right?

jeudi 24 juillet 2014

Word Crimes

I love this so much!  'Weird Al' is my fave.  If you haven't seen it, look up 'Amish Paradise' next...

dimanche 20 juillet 2014


A quick note to say that I am working on a new little project I am really excited about.  It is Sunday and I have been out to a pub by the sea for lunch (practically in the countryside, past Saltdean!).  I am now lying on my sofa with my laptop propped in my lap, listening to Tom Waits and writing furiously.  The windows are open.

A quick break.  Back to it.  Words can be so much fun.

All is right with the world.  Perfect Sunday?

mercredi 16 juillet 2014

Story Songs

As previously noted, I love any song that tells a story.

The sillier the better.  So, obviously, this one is my absolute, all-time favourite.

vendredi 11 juillet 2014

Holiday on Hydra

Here are a few snaps from Hydra (yes, the Leonard Cohen island).  As much a nice little reminder for me by this point as a visual companion to my various rambling LC ephemera.

lundi 7 juillet 2014

Final short notes on Cohen

Bird on a Wire: My least-favourite LC song, but I *did* see his house in Hydra, and there *was* an actual bird on the actual wire outside.

Who By Fire: Never fails to delight my boyfriend every time, as it sounds like LC is saying 'and who shall I say is Colin?', to which he can legitimately shout out 'my brother!'.

Leaving Greensleeves: In my opinion, the worst song he ever did.  In fact, I kind of think of the whole of 'NSFTOC' (although it has a few highlights that I love) as 'the drunk album'.  It's the only word I can think of to describe most of it.  It just sounds really, really drunk.

Old Ideas: Similarly, I think this album can mostly be summed up with his own one line "I know you have to hate me, baby/But could you hate me a little less?".

Joan of Arc: I just want to point out that possibly my favourite LC fact is that every time he sings about Joan of Arc, it's code for Nico.  I have much love for all parties involved therewith.

lundi 30 juin 2014

Notes on Cohen #8: I'm Your Man

Like so many things, I inherited my love of Leonard directly from my mother.  Like my big teeth, my fondness for seafood, my expertise in taking things the wrong way and my nicely-shaped breasts.  None of these things was originally mine.

My mum and I are in perfect agreement that this is the sexiest song ever written.  I'm not sure whether or not this is just an obvious assumption.

Recently, I was in a car with a man, listening to music.  We were listening to the male version of a torch song, all the old tropes, all about ownership and blame, idolatry and objectification.  I duly scoffed.

"It's just all a bit... creepy, isn't it?"

He argued with me.  "Is that just because he's male, and older?"  He is also both male, and older.  "Wouldn't you possibly think it romantic otherwise?"

He may well have been right.  He did, after all, point out that I don't find 'This Is Love' by PJ Harvey - full of ownership and objectification - in the least bit objectionable.

However, I knew he wasn't right, because of this song.  It's utterly objectionable, probably, but I have never heard anything sexier in my entire life.  You may remember it being used to perfect effect in the film 'Secretary', which I happen to think is nothing but a sweet, beautiful romance story.

Whatever your overarching viewpoint, whether like me you are the staunchest of feminists, surely we all want someone to...

...crawl to you, baby, and fall at your feet.
And I'll howl at your beauty like a dog in heat.
And I'll claw at your heart, I'll tear at the sheet,
I'll say please.
I'm your man.

You know, whether that's Leonard Cohen, or James Spader, or someone else entirely.

lundi 23 juin 2014

Notes on Cohen #7: Take This Longing

The second time I went to see Courtney Love live, she played a cover of this song - dressed in petticoats, surrounded by roses, her voice cracked; she was some kind of thin gypsy queen.  the first time I saw her, she was triumphant, brilliant, greater than I had dared to hope, at the culmination of years of waiting on my part.  Magnificent.  Vindicated, as she occasionally is.

But this was the second time.  The time I wished I hadn't gone at all.  The time I had to look away.  Because she was too broken.  And I couldn't stand to watch it and, worse, I couldn't stand the crowd, who were willing it to happen.  Who had paid for a show and wanted a story.

I don't know what Mr Cohen thinks of Ms Love - or, for that matter, her husband's afterworld - but, that night, this song was perfect for her.

It reminds me of secret assignations of my own, too.  Things I don't want to - shouldn't - think about.  It's the saddest refrain I can think of - "like you would do, for one you loved" - because the inference is always the same: it will never, ever be you.

lundi 16 juin 2014

Notes on Cohen #6: Going Home

Habitually, I am a fan of mid-period Leonard.  It may not be cool, but I kind of love 80s/90s production values - blame my age.  It's probably why I also love Pop Tarts.  I even have a tattoo of the cover of 'The Future' - Cohen's much-neglected 1992 album, which is my personal favourite.  Listen to it - it's nihilistic, cheesy and very, very funny.  It's great.

But for some reason, mid-period Cohen doesn't fit here in Hydra.  I haven't listened to any of it in my perpetual self-referential soundtrack.  Of course, I have been listening to the old songs, 'the classics', the ones he wrote here.  Even though they are not always my first preference at home.

More surprisingly, some of his newest songs (or, here, 'Old Ideas') fit in perfectly here, too.  Not to be too morbid about it - although I'm sure the great man himself would be proud - they sound like a bookend.

They have the benefit of an extra 50 years or so of self-awareness, recrimination and humour.  If they sound elegiac, then just remember that a lot of them always did.

Like most sane-thinking people, I am fundamentally against referring to oneself in the third person.  It's a sign of psychosis (or total dickheadness), right?  However, if there's one instance in which such a thing could be forgiven, it's surely here:

I love to speak with Leonard.
He's a sportsman, and a shepherd.
He's a lazy bastard living in a suit.

But he does say what I tell him,
Even when it isn't welcome.
He just doesn't have the freedom to refuse.

At the risk of descending into total dickheadness myself at this point, I believe that Leonard has just summed up the writer's life sentence, right there.

lundi 9 juin 2014

Notes on Cohen #5: A Singer Must Die

This takes me right back, to the back seat of my parents' car when I was a very tiny child.  To be fair, so do certain songs by Dire Straits and The Bangles.

We are a family of Cohen fans all, but his is not really appropriate driving music.  That's not a drive I want to go on, anyway.  So in the car, we used to listen to 'Famous Blue Raincoat: Jenny Sings Lenny', an album of covers sung by Jennifer Warnes.  They were made with the blessing and collaboration of 'Lenny' and it sounds like they had a lot of fun (although of course - of course - there is sadness there) and he even illustrated the inside sleeve.

It's so much slicker and full of 80s production, but it still has a different kind of soul, and it's no less for that.  This one would come on towards the end of the album and - particularly on a late-night drive home from somewhere - the opening chords were sinister enough to make me shiver every time.  Even the title scared me a little bit.

Here in our little Hydra house, one of the few records in the cabinet (along with Prince's 'Diamonds and Pearls' and, bizarrely, something by Boyz II Men) is, probably by virtue of tourist tokenism, 'New Skin for the Old Ceremony'.  The original version once again.  The more interesting one, in this case.

He sounds impassioned, rather than louche, for once.  I know I am prone to A Lot of Feelings when it comes to Leonard, but something very primal crashes up from my when he gets to:

It's their ways to detain,
Their ways to disgrace.
It's their knee in your balls,
It's their fist in your face.

And now when he sings "and all the ladies go moist", these days I find it much funnier than I did when I was a wholly oblivious child.

lundi 2 juin 2014

Notes on Cohen #4: Hey, That's No Way To Say Goodbye

I have always loved this song, just as I have loved them all.  However, I had viewed it as yet another charming-helpless-villain cop-out break-up song by the ever-blameless Casanova Cohen.  Look at me, I'm being self-aware enough that it must render me blameless!  "Let's not talk of love and chains" - let's be modern and cool; stop holding me back with your boring old feminine traditions.  Clearly you're the one with the problem, not me.  All told to a deceptively beautiful passive-aggressive tune.

Yeah.  Thanks a lot, Ernest Hemingway.  Thanks a lot.

And yet...

Don't judge me, but in my current consciousness - however no-brow you may think it - I find it impossible to listen to this song without thinking of the recent reports that Peaches Geldof's husband sang it at her funeral.  It doesn't matter a bit what you think of her, or her family's situation.  It's like when I heard that Carole King's 'So Far Away' was played at Amy Winehouse's funeral - a long-beloved song was rendered temporarily unbearable by someone I never even knew.  I still give a thought to that girl I never knew whenever I hear it, amongst other things of my own.  Sometimes they're impossible to untangle, like cheap necklaces jumbled in a really old jewellery box.

I never thought this was a song about death.  Listening to it now, how can it not be?

My love goes with you,
As your love stays with me.
It's just the way it changes,
Like the shoreline and the sea.

It's probably still just a crap break-up song, though.

lundi 26 mai 2014

Notes on Cohen #3: The Partisan

There's such a thing as stretching a metaphor too far, particularly in song.  Conceptual, role-playing songs have rarely been a success, at least to my limited knowledge.  Not so for Field Commander Cohen.  Given the shady facts of his life, this extended metaphor seems apt.  "The frontiers are my prison."

Interestingly, it's one of many references here that LC makes to changing his name - a common theme, maybe a fantasy.  Here, rather touchingly:

I have changed my name so often,
I have lost my wife and children.
But I've many friends.

Although you suspect in reality this state may be more self-induced than he's prepared to let on.

Pure speculation on my part, but I think this song sums up how he saw himself at this stage in life - a mixture of the cowardly and the heroic.  "I took my gun and vanished."

Cohen wasn't an old man when he wrote this, but there's a line in here that feels prescient to me - how I imagine I might feel when I'm my grandmother's age (if I'm that lucky) and pretty much the age the great man is now.

There were three of us this morning.
I'm the only one this evening.
But I must go on.

I can all too easily imagine a night when writing lines like "oh, the wind, the wind is blowing/Through the graves the wind is blowing/Freedom soon will come" seems like a good - the only - idea.  Even when that metaphor is stretched out to breaking point.

I believe LC himself even says he still likes to listen to this one.  Only to look forward to the bit when the kids start singing.

lundi 19 mai 2014

Notes on Cohen #2: So Long, Marianne

This song makes perfect sense here in Hydra.  I am such a dreadful cliche but I have been listening to it on repeat up here on the roof terrace, with its views of the port, mountains and Leonard's house.  I've also been reading, writing, drinking lots of coffee and wine at various times of day, doing a bit of yoga - of course.  Now I've seen this island, I'm not sure it could have been written anywhere else.  I'm writing on the roof terrace now.

Still, I once listened to a Radio 4 documentary about Leonard and Marianne, and it depressed me terribly.  she spoke of him as the love of her life; she felt honoured by the songs, by association.  He just made some amusing but slightly insulting comment about how he'd always accidentally mixed up friendship and sex.

This morning before breakfast, I really did climb the mountainside.  It even rained, a tiny bit.  It's sunny again now.

The jaunty beat of this is cleverly crafted to distract us from the fact that he is the baddy.  It works - of course.

lundi 12 mai 2014

Notes on Cohen #1: Famous Blue Raincoat

I have always loved a story.  I'm aware that this probably doesn't make me a special little budding-novelist snowflake.  Still, it did mean that as a small child I was fascinated by this song.  Lest that makes me sound like too much of a hipster kid at the age of seven, I should also note here that I felt similarly about 'Hazard' by Richard Marx.  "I swear I left her by the river/I swear I left her safe and sound."  BUT MUMMY, DID HE KILL HER?  IS HE LYING OR NOT?!  I REALLY NEED TO KNOW!

I think at expressly epistolary form is pretty rare in popular songs.  I mean, there are probably loads out there but I can't think of any offhand.  Let me know if there are any good ones.

The story still fascinates me.  Who is Jane?  And 'my brother, my killer'?  Why did he disappear deep in the desert, living for nothing now?

I now have my theories, but this is still an opaque song, for all its straightforward format.  All I know for sure is the same as what I knew back then.  Something terribly bad has happened.  Lives were ruined, friendships lost.  Maybe it's all his fault.  He wants you to know that your enemy's sleeping and his woman is free, but I'm not sure the addressee will see it like that, ever.

"Sincerely, L. Cohen" - there's a finality to it.  I don't think there will be a reply to this letter.  Maybe it will never even be sent.  It marks the end of something.

dimanche 11 mai 2014


I have just returned from a week on the beautiful island of Hydra.

I confess I first heard of it because it was where Leonard Cohen used to live and still owns a house (I have form when it comes to Cohen-related travels - I've visited the monastery where  he lived in California and my Chelsea Hotel pilgrimage was obviously inspired in part by him).  However, although this was what piqued my interest, I was also keen to visit because it's a beautiful island with no cars and many donkeys.  So, thanks to Leonard for sparking off the research in the first place.

I had a really beautiful time on Hydra.  I stayed in a gorgeous little house with a roof terrace; drank a lot of coffee, which I don't usually like; did a bit of writing; went on a lot of long mountainous walks; slept unusually well.

Of course, I also listened to a lot of Leonard Cohen songs.  I also wrote some pretentious mini essays about them, while I was there.  I'm going to type them up and schedule them in here: one a week, on a Monday for the next little while.  You may have no interest in Leonard Cohen or my thoughts on his works, but I enjoyed writing them.  t's probably pretty tragic that this is my idea of holiday fun.

mardi 6 mai 2014

Cry me a river?

This video came on recently while I was in the gym.

As happens from time to time when you are nearly 33 years old (!), I was struck by how times and fashions have changed.

This song, if I remember correctly, heralded Justin Timberlake's (I refuse to make a lame 'trousersnake' joke here) arrival as proper pop star pin up sexy boy type thing.  Even I liked this song, and I was most definitely not into Timberlake kind of stuff.  I'm pretty sure we all thought this video was sort of sexy.


mercredi 30 avril 2014


Those who know me are probably aware that my spirit animal is a grey horse.  It is something that delights me, I must admit.

Well, according to my shaman recently - along with my horse - I also have a bat hanging around at the moment.  This has completed my perfect picture.  I love my Zoe Karssen bat T-shirt, obv, and am keen on Bat for Lashes.

My horse is still my favourite but I love my bat!

dimanche 27 avril 2014

How Should A Person Be?

I am currently reading the above-titled book, by Sheila Heti.  At time of writing, I haven't finished it yet, but it is utterly intriguing, honest, beautiful and weird.

I only discovered her writing through Miranda July's 'We Think Alone' email project.  I liked the sound of her and I am now slightly obsessed (as is my wont, of course).

Highly recommended chez ECW.

lundi 21 avril 2014

Travelling (wo)man

This probably sounds like an annoying thing to say - I'm so Pollyanna-ish these days, it must be driving my friends bonkers - but my new job is the nicest I have ever had.  I'm really enjoying going to work at the moment.

Everyone says that work travel isn't fun, but I really love it.  One of my favourite things about the work I'm currently doing is that I get to do a lot of running around.  Apparently work travel isn't 'glamorous', and in literal terms this is probably true in my case, but I find travel inherently glamorous.  Even when it's the 7am Easyjet flight to Newcastle.

I'm crap at doing 'proper' reading or writing on trains, no matter how good my intentions.  So I have taken to carting my ancient paperback copy of Dolce Vita by Iseult Teran with me.  It's an old favourite and perfect for dipping into whilst in transit.  Top travel tip from ECW, there.  (Ha!)

I recently had a lovely day out in Glasgow - one of my favourite UK cities - and had a bit of free time.  I got to go to GOMA (The Glasgow Gallery of Modern Art) and see some cool stuff -

There was an exhibition by Sue Tompkins, which I found really fun and kind of intriguing (although opinion was definitely split).  She was in the band Life Without Buildings - I distinctly remember hearing them on John Peel when I was a student and writing their name in my notebook.  I love such little circular moments.

mardi 15 avril 2014

You and your secret life.

I am still totally obsessed with Cat Power's record Sun.  It has barely been out of my ears since it came out absolutely aaaages ago now.

I've been listening constantly of late to Manhattan.  The perfect springtime soundtrack for my work to work.  It makes me feel awesome.  Also, I am already excited about going to New York again in October!

mercredi 9 avril 2014

Hot 90s dudes.

I don’t want to bang on and try to over-publicise my new website The Cocktail Hour TOO much on here.

However, I can’t resist posting a link to Susan’s list of ‘Dudes I wanted to french circa 1996’ on here, which we recently published.  Because it’s properly great.

samedi 5 avril 2014

Alan Partridge

When I was a teenager, this was one of the popular things to quote at school.  (‘You mentalist’, ‘a-ha!’, etc.)

However, I had forgotten how bloody funny it is.  I’ve been rewatching the lot on Netflix, and LOL-ing all over myself.

Steve Coogan is a genius.  I can totally understand what Courtney Love saw in him.

mardi 1 avril 2014

Fun readings.

I’ve been having a teen-book fest lately.  It’s been lovely.  Here are my current favourites.

Soulmates by Holly Bourne
I just finished this and it was really fun.  I loved the characters and the ending had me on the edge of my seat.

Amy and Matthew by Cammie McGovern
I read this in a single Sunday and I physically could not put it down.  It’s beautiful and it swept me away; I never wanted it to end.

What’s Up With Jody Barton? by Hayley Long
More than meets the eye with this one – it’s fun and it has some serious issues that it doesn’t bash you over the head with.  Bonus points for extra River Phoenix.

jeudi 27 mars 2014


I don’t mind admitting it.  I’m obsessed.  I can no longer go out on a Friday night.

I know it sounds completely rubbish – a television programme that consists of watching other people watch television.  I’m almost embarrassed to explain it.

However, it is properly hilarious.  My favourites are the Brighton family and Sandra and Sandy in Brixton – but I love them all.

As well as being funny and entertaining viewing, I honestly believe that it is doing a real public service.

It’s a great leveller.  It proves that we are all pretty much the same (or at least all start going ‘da-da-da-da-da’ if ever we hear the Match of the Day theme tune).

If you were someone with an insular life, who – say – didn’t know any black people, or white people, or gay people, or posh people, or a vicar, Gogglebox would show you that it doesn’t make any difference.  We all watch TV and say the same things.

Also, it is really, really funny.  If you haven’t watched it, I suggest you do so immediately.

vendredi 21 mars 2014

A cup of coffee.

This is not the most exciting revelation.  But it is an unusual thing you may not know about me.

I don't like coffee.  I wish I did.  I have tried to.  I would love to sit about in French cafes drinking tiny cups of chic  hot caffeiney blackness.

I like a cup of tea.  I drink a lot of them.  Better than that, I really like a hot chocolate, or a chocolate milk, or a nice fizzy orange.

Yes, I am a child.  In this and oh-so-many ways.

lundi 17 mars 2014

Nobody is entitled.

Everyone on Twitter recently seemed to be going bonkers about this article.  The comments were all 'woe is me', 'it's so hard these days', 'boo hoo, we deserve so much more'.  Etcetera.

It made me so cross that I had to abandon Twitter and go and bake a cake, which hardly ever happens.

People seem to have such a sense of entitlement.  This strikes me as being most rife amongst people who seem desperate to call themselves 'writers' without doing much work or, you know, writing.

I can assure you that, historically, there are writers far greater than you who had to have a day job.  It used to be the norm.  People didn't expect to live a nice, middle-class lifestyle solely from writing books that not many people want to read.

You are not special.  You are not entitled.  Just get on with it and forget all those 80s big-bucks publishing myths.

Yes, it's harder to get published these days.  So what?  It is what it is.  As I am always telling myself - yes, the bar is high; that just means you have to  try harder to get over the bar.  This is no bad thing.  Everything worth doing is hard.

No, there is not as much money about in publishing any more.  There is not as much money around any more, full stop.  Again: so what?  Do your thing, and stop feeling so bloody entitled.

jeudi 13 mars 2014

The Cocktail Hour

I've currently been busy launching a new website!  We are called The Cocktail Hour, and we are aiming to bring the world brilliant writing, chat, glamour and culture..

We are currently looking for submissions - and obviously readers are always welcome!

Check it out here.

Hope you love it and want to get involved in some capacity.  It's gonna be fun!

lundi 10 mars 2014

The Cardigans

I always kind of forget that The Cardigans were actually a really good band.

jeudi 6 mars 2014

Top Lips

A very frivolous observation that might not be remotely interesting to any of you.


Newsflash: Topshop make-up is really good.

Really, really good, you guys!

I am currently wearing their lipsticks pretty much constantly.  Yep, I am having a temporary break from tasteful Chanel in favour of garish Topshop - sometimes a bright lipstick seems like a necessity, to me at least.

I am a big fan of 'Infrared', which is actually more like a bright orange.  I have also recently acquired a good dark/brick red called 'Hazard'.  I like that the names sound a bit dangerous.

A cream blusher called 'Head Over Heels' (less dangerous) is currently perking up my sad winter face, which generally turns a fetching yellow tone during these grim, cold months.  But it's the lipsticks that are really exciting me.

They are a perfect consistency - so much so that you can practically put them on without a mirror, even the strong colours.  Also importantly, they come in a hardy little metal tube that can withstand a lot of jumbling around at the bottom of the hell that is my handbag.

Also, duh, they are cheaper than Chanel.  Or Mac.

Public service announcement: over.

lundi 3 mars 2014


In the past week, I have:

 - missed my stop on the train.
 - shivered in a cold bath.
 - fallen asleep in bed reading, dribbling and still fully dressed.

This is because I have just finished 'Dr Sleep', which (as you know) is Stephen King's new sequel to 'The Shining'.  Danny Torrance is grown up, still shining, trying not to be like his dad...

It is magnificent.  I could not put it down.  I think it is scarier than 'The Shining'.

I love Stephen King so much.  He draws characters so well that you actually feel frightened for them.  The man is a genius.

'The Stand' is possibly in my top five favourite books of all time, and I re-read it about once every two years.  'It' scared the shit out of me as a child (serves me right for reading it secretly when I shouldn't have), and still does.  'On Writing' quite probably changed my life (or at least improved my writing).

I'm now (of course) re-reading 'The Shining'.  I had almost forgotten how good it was.  I am then planning on a binge re-read: primarily of 'Pet Sematary' (of which my memories are foggy, but I mostly remember as being very, very sad), and then an overdue revisiting of 'The Stand', which I believe is a truly great masterpiece.

I also came upon this documentary, which I very much enjoyed:

jeudi 27 février 2014

Stay creative

OK, this is kind of cheesy and I don't agree with all of them.  But it is in fact potentially quite useful and I just liked it.

lundi 24 février 2014

Making Wishes

It was a little while ago now, but in case you missed it (ha!), I wrote a little guest blog post on the topic of Making Wishes - one that is very close to my silly, childish, superstitious heart.

I love the Tea Party Princess blog and particularly enjoyed writing this one - plus, the introduction is very kind and generous,and made my day.

You can have a read here, if you would like.

jeudi 20 février 2014

So cool.

So, my boyfriend came back unexpectedly early from band practice.  Obviously he found me:

A) Wearing pyjamas.
B) Rubbing vaseline into my feet.
C) Watching 'Supersize versus Superskinny'.
D) Eating yoghurt.

Yep.  That's what I like to do with a free evening to myself.  So cool.

lundi 17 février 2014

Where'd You Go, Bernadette?

I loved this book so much.  I love Bernadette (and Bee) so much it's ridiculous.   There are characters and scenes in this that will stay with me forever.  I love a modern take on an epistolary novel, it must be said.

I only found out after I had read the book, that the author was also a writer on Arrested Development.  Suddenly, in retrospect, this made perfect sense.  They are very different things, but they have something intangible in common - something I really liked.

I came to Arrested Development really, really late.  Especially shocking as I have a bit of a crush (predictably) on Michael Cera.  A girlfriend lent me the lot on DVD and I watched them practically in one go.

I can obviously see why it became such a huge cult hit (if this isn't a contradiction in terms) - well, um, it's hilarious, clever and weirdly touching.  Where'd You Go, Bernadette? is kind of the same.

jeudi 13 février 2014

Total Garbage

Garbage are one of those bands that I always feel mildly embarrassed about liking back in the day.  They were never my favourite, but I *really* liked them.  Seeing them at Reading festival (1997? 1998?) was one of my highlights that year.  When I was rushed to hospital and had emergency surgery when I was 17, I remember being particularly stressed about only one thing: missing out on seeing a Garbage gig that I had tickets to.

At the time, I thought Shirley Manson was very cool.  However, I think the main problem with Garbage was that they were always one of those bands that seemed more like a corporation than a gang.  Which is not cool at all.

However, having dismissed them as a throwaway mistake of my youth, I found myself listening to some of their old songs.  And, amazingly, they hold up.  There are some good pop songs mixed in there.  (There is also some crap, but the 90s were a funny old decade.)

Their first two albums are pretty good.  Even the third has a couple of decent moments.  I wouldn't know about anything beyond that, as I have never heard any of it.  (How many albums did they actually make?)

Anyway, Garbage weren't totally shit.  Nobody was more surprised than I.

lundi 10 février 2014

Londoner eggs

One of my girlfriends is really good at finding great blogs and then telling me about them - all the coolest and most aspirational ones.

We are currently into The Londoner, a Chelsea gal who is preternaturally beautiful and glamorous, but also seems like a jolly nice person.  We like her, even though we should probably just be filled with envy-induced rage.

Somewhat predictably, rather than being drawn to her posts about high-end fashion and London nightlife, I have become obsessed with her recipe for eggs.  I cannot stop eating it for dinner.  Although mine tends to be a slightly lesser version cobbled together with the random contents of my fridge.  There's probably a very telling metaphor in there somewhere.

Oh, the glamour...

jeudi 6 février 2014

Great Things

Actually, I've been listening to this quite a lot lately.  My boyfriend re-bought an Echobelly LP at a record fair a while ago, and it's surprisingly good.  Unexpectedly, it holds up.

I love this Top of the Pops appearance.  Oh, I miss Top of the Pops.

Look out for Dale Winton at the end!

lundi 3 février 2014


I was very much on the edges of Britpop, at the age of about 14.  I was a die-hard Nirvana fan, and then more into things like PJ Harvey and Bjork, but there were some really fun bands and I bought a lot of the singles mentioned.  I bought Wonderwall, of course.  I (obviously) liked a lot of the girlier bands such as Kenickie and Echobelly.

My boyfriend has a great theory about how you can gauge the strength of a  musical era - by its minor, B-list bands rather than the big players.  If you use this theory, it means that I was lucky enough to be in my early teens at a time when Echobelly were not even my favourite band.  If they were around now, I would be all over them - they'd be the best thing on the scene.  There were loads of great throwaway bands in the mid-90s: Supergrass, Sleeper, Lush, Garbage, Elastica.  Um, Menswear?

This documentary is a bit overblown and hyperbolic, but that's quite fitting, and I really enjoyed it.  Worth a watch.

jeudi 30 janvier 2014

Travelling woman.

It's super cheesy, but I keep hearing/using/liking the phrase recently that 'travel is the only thing you can buy that makes you richer'.

I'm not sure this is entirely accurate.  I can kind of apply the same logic to great food, items that make my living environment more productive, etc.

However, I really like the ethos of it.  I also believe that one of the keys to everyday happiness in the humdrum routine is to have things to look forward to, whether large or small.

I happen to have a couple of quite large things on the horizon, lucky me.  I made a sort-of resolution to make travel a priority this year, and so far I am succeeding in this with flying colours.

For the first half of this year, I have already booked two trips that I am really excited about.

The first is to Marrakech, and I'm off in less than a fortnight's!  I can barely put into words how happy this makes me.  It's a place I've fancied for a long time and the timing is perfect.

Until then, I will mostly be listening to Marrakech Express and reading Hideous Kinky.

lundi 27 janvier 2014

Small things.

What with all the big plans and new year's resolutions and whatnot, at this time of year (January being the grimmest month; thank goodness it's nearly over) it's easy to get carried away.

It sometimes feels like I have to spend every single minute doing something really worthwhile.  Working on a novel or writing away at a million projects.  Running running running.  Travelling as much as I can.  Seeing my friends as much as possible and doing as many fun activities as we can fit in.  Reading ALL the books.  Watching films with subtitles.  Meditating.  Making lists of all the things I should be doing.

These are all excellent things.  Very worthwhile.

However, amid all my frequent proclamations of wisdoms such as 'fortune favours the brave', 'live adventurously', 'you only have one life so live it accordingly', 'don't look back and feel you wasted this time' etc etc etc - sometimes it's good to take a step back.

Do you know what?  I really love watching shit TV programmes in bed.  I will probably look back as fondly on all those evenings spent in bed with my boyfriend, watching 'Gladiators' and eating pasta, as much as I do holidays and gigs and professional successes.

That's OK.

vendredi 24 janvier 2014

Beautiful Ruins

I loved this book.  Absolutely loved it.

It's the first book by Jess Walter that I have read (I confess that before I read the book, I presumed that he was a woman).  I will now be reading his entire back catalogue.

I particularly recommend it if you like any of the following: Italy, film, 1960s, writing, Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Sub Pop, Cleopatra, sprawling sagas.

lundi 20 janvier 2014

Overheard on the train.

GIRL 1: Elliott says his family's in the mafia.

BOY: But he's not Italian.

GIRL 2: Isn't he, like, Jewish?

BOY: Lisa could be in the mafia.  She's well hairy.

vendredi 17 janvier 2014

RIP Baxter

When my mum asked me what I wanted for Christmas a while ago, my answer was easy.  A pair of Baxters in a new colour - any colour.

Baxters are Topshop's 'relaxed' skinny jean and they fit me perfectly.  I currently have them in classic denim, bright blue and olive green.  While I am not always a fan of Topshop, their jeans are lovely and I can't see the point in buying anything else - comfy, good fit, not too expensive.  Many of my friends are devotees to the 'Leigh' style - a shade skinnier than Baxter - and have tried to convert me.  But I have too chunky a leg for Leigh, more's the pity.  I have a pair of the high-waisted 'Kristen' and the super high-waisted 'Joni', both of which I love when the occasion is right - but for everyday, it's always Baxter.  I wear them for work, for Saturdays running around town - all that kind of stuff.

A while ago I decided maybe I should have a go with a pair of 'proper' grown up jeans.  I tried on Acne, Sevens, MIH.  None of them fit me quite perfectly, and I baulked at the idea of spending that much money on jeans, only to have to have them altered.  I ended up buying two pairs of Baxters instead.

So, it was with a heavy heart that my mum reported back that the Baxter has been discontinued.  Why?  Oh, why?  We are currently trying to stockpile every pair that is left, but supplies seem to be dwindling.

Please, Topshop - bring back Baxter!

mardi 14 janvier 2014

10 albums

So, this has been doing the rounds on Facebook and the like.  Ten albums, off the top of your head - not necessarily the 'best' ones and certainly not the coolest, but the ones that have stayed with you, which you know and love like an old friend.

Here are mine (although I've since been angst-ing about all the things I forgot, obviously).  The point is: don't judge.  OK?

Leonard Cohen - The Future 
Prince - Diamonds and Pearls 
Cat Power - You Are Free
Nick Cave - The Boatman's Call
Hole - My Body The Hand Grenade
Sonic Youth - Goo 
Joni Mitchell - Blue
PJ Harvey - Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea
Marianne Faithfull - Broken English
Shakespears Sister - Hormonally Yours 

vendredi 10 janvier 2014

Oh how time flies with crystal clear eyes

I was speaking to an old friend today, who has just got married.  She is a particularly dear one, a beautiful girl who I have known for a long time.  Weirdly, I have many friends who I did not get on with at first - she was one.  We met because my teenage boyfriend cheated on me, with her.  By this point, that somehow makes us all the fonder of each other.

We figured out, accidentally, that this time exactly ten years ago, we were away skiing together.  We were 22; five of us a sharing a four-person apartment with bunk beds.  I saw in that new year tobogganing down a mountain in a red evening dress and snow boots.

A few months later, I met the boyfriend who I still live with.  A year and a bit later, I moved to Brighton.  So much was still to happen.

It's nice to be able to remember things like that, when you are both happy now.

lundi 6 janvier 2014

But don't they call it a Snickers these days?

So, I'm running a marathon.  It's official.

Specifically, the Brighton marathon, which takes place at the beginning of April.

This isn't going to become a running blog.  That's not what any of us signed up for.  However, I'm going to be spending more time than usual pounding the pavement/cliff paths/parks over the next three-ish months.  So I thought I might do a little monthly update or similar on how it's all going.  Actually, that's not very many months at all, is it?


Well, as you may know, I've been running for a good few years and I kind of love it.  But I am a total hippie when it comes to running, and so I have never done an 'official' event or race, except for my local Parkrun.  The opportunity came up to run for the perfect charity (more on that later as well, I expect) - and what could be more perfect than a seaside marathon in my adopted hometown?

The longest runs I have ever done before have been roughly half marathon length - so I have quite a good foundation, but it will still be a mega challenge.  I must admit that the thought has been crossing my mind for some years now, only fleetingly - 'could I..?'.  So, it's time to have a good go at it and answer that question once and for all.

I always claim to run for the joy rather than any kind of challenge - and that's true.  It just feels good to be outside and moving.  However, a bit of challenge is good.  I remember the feeling when I first started running, and built up slowly to running a 5K and then a 10K non-stop.  It was a lovely achievement and made me feel great.  It's ages since I've experienced anything like that - I know I can run a decent distance without stopping, so I just plod along aimlessly and enjoy the scenery or the weather, or whatever.  Which is nice, but a different thing altogether.  I have my regular routes now, and for the last couple of years, that's all I've been doing.  Once again by necessity, now I'm going to rediscover that feeling of challenging myself, this time more than ever before - so I will find out if I enjoy it on this new level.

I'm determined to do it - so the worst that might happen is that I don't enjoy it and don't do one ever again.  Fine.  Then I can go back to my hippie running non-schedule and at least I will know.


P.S. Whilst I'll be trying not to bang on about it too much here, I have decided to keep a little diary of my training endeavours - if you are interested, you can read it here.

jeudi 2 janvier 2014

The Year of the Super

So, the grand total of two days in, and my newly invigorated fitness regime has been going pretty well.

I brought the new year in with aching muscles.  I traditionally like to do an extra long run on New Year's Eve, to round things off with that special feeling of smugness.  This year, rather than go for mega distance, I decided to get a head start on another resolution - more hill running.  I can plod along for miles on the flat, but hills pretty much finish me off.  This must stop.

So, I decided to go for a 10-mile loop from my house, incorporating as many hills as possible.  The greatest of these was to venture up Bear Road (in Brighton, look it up on Streetview and please be impressed!).  I got through it by pretending I was on the travelator in Gladiators.

I duly spent the entire evening scuttling sideways up and down the stairs like a crab.  Still, I'm not sure that this can be entirely blamed on Bear Road.  The day before, I did the Cindy Crawford workout video - the same one I used to do as a kid for fun in the 90s.  Cindy is magnificent, and unfathomably keen on a lunge.

I really do think that, so many years on, Cindy Crawford's 'Next Challenge' workout has got to be one of the best.  I'm planning to keep at it, and to try to dig out some other 'super' workout videos.