Archive for August 2011
I am temping at the moment, with some very lovely people who laugh and tell me how friendly I am every time I ask for more work. I’ve been here a week now and, quite frankly, I haven’t done much at all. Today however I was asked to minute the team meeting, the agenda was sent to me first thing and quite clearly stated “open with prayer”. Mild panic set in case it was I that was expected to launch into a free style prayer where I’d accidentally say “and thanks Lord for letting me temp in an office that doesn’t give me any work and has access to Twitter“.
The reveal here is that, once upon a time I went to a church school and attended mass every sunday with my *Dad. I can actually rattle off the Hail Mary still if push came to shove. Of course as a teenager I started to rebel against the Sunday ritual and eventually found the defiance and stubborn streak I needed to say “No more church Dad! I want to tape the top 40 and eat sardines on toast”.
My Dad trotted off to mass alone. On return I could hear him telling my Mum that he just couldn’t belive who was in church and it tapped into my curiosity (bear in mind at the time I lived in a small fishing town in Devon and not the sprawling pit of opportunities and celebrities that London is). Mick Hucknall that’s who. Apparently his Nan lived in our town and he was taking a break from the hectic promotion schedule around Stars. He got up and sang a beautiful rendition of All Things Bright And Beautiful.
Except of course he didn’t. This was my Dad making up what I now look back on as a quite beautiful, simple lie. It has the wow factor as well as being plausible. It’s one of those lies that’s OK for a parent to tell their kids in order to teach them a life lesson. In this case “If you don’t want to come to church anymore you’ll miss pop stars singing hymns”. ♥
*My mum is an atheist and on the occasions that she has been inside a church she has refused to kneel/stand when cued and steadfastly stated that if there was a God she’d have been burned for swearing in his house by now. I don’t disagree with her.
This weeks mixtape is being brought to you courtesy of Thom Vincent. I’m having a week off, and it’s come at a much-needed time seeing as I’ve not actually managed to get out of bed yet after a picnic that turned into dancing in The Stag until the early hours & me trying to smoke an acorn as it was shaped like a pipe.
Here’s the thing about Thom. I met him through mutual friends and was instantly at ease in his company. He is nerdy, intelligent, funny and kind. Now he is living down under I can’t help but feel I did not spend enough time taking advantage of his company. Blighty will surely miss him.
He’s chosen one song from each of the ten albums he’s managed to squeeze onto his iPod shuffle while he wanders around Sydney. Enjoy his choices, I am quite in awe of his mixtape & the fact someone I know out there still has a iPod shuffle. However I have to dispute his comments on Foo Fighters, it is always cool to listen to them rock out. All tracks he’s chosen have a few words about them from the clever man himself ♥
I visited the Museum Of Broken Relationships yesterday. For those of you not aware of what this entails it’s basically where the last embers of relationships go to die. Well, at least that’s how I viewed it. The range of items donated by the heartbroken beggars belief. A bad taste dragon cake topper from a wedding that ended in a swift divorce (I think the dragons are to blame for that separation) to a beautiful Pianoforte never to be played again by the intended recipient. There were some genuinely touching items/stories on display. The roll of undeveloped film and a ceramic rolling-pin that represented the loss of someone’s mother. Throughout the two sites that this exhibition spans the following three sentences were in constant rotation in my head;
- This is a bit sad
- Wow people can hold on to resentment a long long long time
- This is hysterical
My favourite moment was when an elderly gentleman (I mean Grandad, you can spot him in the photo below) came up to me and said “I don’t know what I’m doing here. I came for the theatre. It’s terribly sad isn’t it?”. He then went on to ask me if I’d ever felt any of the emotions catalogued & displayed lovingly. I didn’t have to think long. Yes, I’ve felt sadness before but never the bitterness that I felt was evident in the room. He told me he’d experienced great sadness in his life but “as for bitterness. No. You must never feel that”.
It made me think if I had anything to offer up to the museum. I haven’t kept trinkets of past relationships, I guess I’m just not the sort of person who keeps one toe dipped in the puddle of the past. But then I remembered the song.
I once dated a musician. I’ve learnt from that experience. However, about a year after my escape I received an MP3 of a song penned about me. I want to point out that I’m not trying to belittle this brave act. Because it is a brave thing to say “I wrote this about you”. I respect anyone with the balls or boobs to do that. It’s called The Bones Of Ya.
Not The Bones Of You.
It would be cruel of me to put someone’s art, their poetry into the museum wouldn’t it? Yes, you’re right. Putting in my blog however? Less cruel? ♥
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Friday night after drinks with a friend I found myself wandering around London with my camera. I was cold, a bit drunk, feeling run down, a bit bloody scared of the future as I’ve recently been made redundant, also slightly relieved as I was miserable at my last placement. Above all these emotions I felt a massive need to fall in love with London again.
All week I’d reminded myself how much I love it here, a drink alone in The Endurance, a walk around streets where the old buildings are allowed to co-exist with the new, inspiring drinks with my dearest friend, geeking out in Gosh! and surprise lunches from Lolita.
Unemployment scares the shit out of me frankly, I’ve never been out of work. This week the following panics have gone through my mind. What if I have to move to Milton Keynes? What if I start going loopy and try to grow my armpit hair? What if I have to work in Chicken Cottage? I don’t know why any of these thoughts have haunted me, but they have.
Where I’m lucky is that I’m really self-motivated and haven’t let this crush me (entirely) so I’ve been overly proactive on the job hunt. Where I’m even luckier is I have a lot of people who really believe in me, unconditionally and without question. They have kept me buoyed.
Music has played a massive part in keeping me positive as well. The songs that came on the jukebox at just the right time when I was sat alone and feeling down. Songs that have made me think anything is possible. Songs that keep me connected to all the things I adore in my life. You can listen to them by clicking anywhere on this post that says mixtape.
Last weeks mixtape was dedicated to strangers that inspired me. This weeks mixtape is for those that have been pretty awesome to me this week, putting up with the phone calls, the moodiness around the flat, the pints purchased and especially Lolita who has talked me out of my moments of Milton Keynes madness. ♥
- Moloko – Familiar Feelings
- Metronomy – The Look
- Arcade Fire – Sprawl II (Mountains Beyond Mountains)
- CSS – Music Is My Hot Sex
- John Otway & Wild Willy Barrett – Really Free
- Billy Bragg – A New England
- The Kinks – This Time Tomorrow
- Band Of Horses – Factory
- My Morning Jacket – The Day Is Coming
- Bon Iver – Holocene
I’ve had one experience of V Festival & it turned into a borderline urban myth, a warning about packing your own bags.
My cousin phoned me drunk on the morning of our departure “somewhere at the end of the Northern Line”, and unsure which end at that. I was in charge of picking up more drink for the journey and she would run home to collect the tent. We met at the flat, me clutching cans of lager & her clutching the tent. My parting words before we made a dash to Liverpool St was “Have you got everything we need?” & my response was a definite & defiant YES.
Fast forward to a rainy field in Essex and you will see one girl (me) frantically emptying out a suspiciously light tent bag questioning where all the tent pegs & poles were. The other girl (my cousin) alternating between scratching her head puzzled & laughing at our useless camp. There were no tent pegs & poles. The drunk northern line cousin did not, and to this day does not, know where the bones of our tent ended up. I’m not proud that we *borrowed* a couple of tent pegs from nearby tents and attempted to raise it off the ground but it just looked like a sleeping bag propped up by a matchstick.
The only sensible solution we could think of would be to drink and deal with it later. Drink we certainly did, dealing with it later we most certainly did not. By the time we returned to the tent it was torrential rain & any resurrection was impossible so we grabbed our sleeping bags and trotted off to find somewhere to sleep.We had the promise of a van in the car park which, as my sandaled feet sank into the mud seemed like a luxury hotel to me. My excitement rapidly left me however when it became evident our rescuer couldn’t remember which car park he had left the van in. Why this was a shock I don’t know, as an earlier conversation with my cousin went something like this;Cousin: I really want to see Ian Brown Rescuer: Is he the black singer? Cousin: No, that’s James Brown. Ian Brown sang with the Stone Roses Rescuer: Oh yeah! With Ronnie Wood & the boys?
My cousin tried to keep my sinking spirits, and sinking feet, buoyed. Momentarily, after what felt like hours of traipsing the van was found… with its window smashed, and the rescuers brother entertaining in what were our promised sleeping quarters. Enough was enough. As my cousin remonstrated with the party concerned I made a bold move.
I jumped on the bonnet of a car that was sensibly moving out of V festival, literally sprawling myself over the windscreen like a badly sketched cartoon. As the driver (thankfully) gently applied the brakes I screamed at my cousin to jump in the car. A slightly baffled man found himself car jacked by two muddy drunk girls but bore it with good grace when we asked him to drop us in Chelmsford. My cousin started to gently apply the pressure on our latest rescuer. We soon found out he lived in Chelmsford, and after we convinced him that we weren’t robbers (just car jackers) he agreed to let us stay the night as the mud on our bare legs slowly dried and flaked into his car.
Back at Chez Chelmsford he donated cans of lager & a spare bed for the two of us to share. I suppose we should have remembered parents warnings about strangers but he was harmless enough, except for a fumbling attempt at *accidentally* putting on a porn channel that was nipped in the bud sharp by my cousin snapping the remote from him and telling him “that’s enough of that”. At that he shuffled to bed and left us to the spare room, tucked into our rescued sleeping bags & listening to the pitter patter of the rain.
He was nowhere to be seen the following morning, a strange quiet surrounded the flat and the sun had finally come out. Having already stretched the concept of hospitality we both had showers and headed back to V. Both having slept well & smelling of Lynx Africa.
The experience put me off über corporate V and I’ve never returned. ♥
I can’t remember the last time a week traipsed & pulled me through such a wide range of emotions. Utterly exhausted but ultimately ending it on positive feelings. I hope this weeks mixtape echoes that emotion.
I’ve swept streets after the riots. Been made redundant so wondering what my next move will be & how much to panic. Shed tears over lives lost, shed tears over homes & businesses lost. I’ve felt overwhelming support from friends & loved ones. I’ve felt utter joy at bees on a rooftop, pollinating flowers on the Southbank with high-rise buildings looming grand behind them. I’ve had my first official review of a live event put up on a website that is not my own, Sound Revolution.
I started the week sitting in front of the news for hours watching London fall, it was literally heartbreaking. Then the madness spread to other places. Initially, for a split second, I thought I’d feel ashamed of a city I love so much, it made my stomach turn and left a bitter taste in my mouth. But instead, because of the selfless & amazing actions of others, I have never felt so much pride. Pride in communities, human nature, charitable actions & deeds. So many people played their part and if I could somehow throw you a party & shower you with good karma then I would. Instead this playlist is for you, the people who have inspired me this week, a lot of you strangers that I will never meet. Thankyou. ♥
- Marvin Gaye – What’s Going On
- Blur – Tender
- David Bowie – Heroes
- Julian Casablancas – 11th Dimension
- Two Door Cinema Club – Something Good Can Work
- Patrick Wolf – Together
- OK Go – All Is Not Lost
- Bill Withers – Lean On Me
- Paul Weller – Brand New Start
- Elbow – One Day Like This
On Monday night I was genuinely scared I’d wake up to Armageddon. I kept waking in the night and bursting in to tears after spending the night watching the horror unfold across London, the place I love unconditionally. I did wake to unrest, destruction, scars and cracks split open across the city. But I also woke to something else. Riot Clean Up
Thousands of tweets streaming from people all across London rolling up their sleeves and rushing to the aid of our communities. It felt like the most brilliant, sane, compassionate act of vigilantism I have ever witnessed and it made me feel so proud. It’s all thanks to Dan Thompson from artistsandmakers.com who started the idea and it soon spread like wildfire. And you know why it did? Because the vast majority of us are decent people who care for this city.
If I could have escaped from my desk I would have been there, and although I hope and pray there will be no call for it tomorrow I will be there if more help is needed. This is my attempt at spreading the messages I’ve seen on Twitter today, how we can all help rebuild and move on from these mindless atrocities. I know there is a lot of anger out there, but if we channel that angry energy in to helping just think how much we can all achieve.
Please, please if you know of any charitable groups, individuals or communities that are going above and beyond the call of duty email me at firstname.lastname@example.org so I can keep updating this blog post and keep momentum going within the volunteer community.
- Follow Dan Thompson and Riotcleanup who have been tirelessly organising volunteers. If you’re needed you’ll know from them first. Also, a lot of local council’s have also been keeping people up to date with details so find your borough on Twitter
Donations for those made homeless by the riots are being taken at Tottenham Green Leisure Centre by Haringey residents. Updated list from them as of August 12th is on their website for what items they need. If you’ve been hording your Boots Advantage points now could be a good time to trade them in for people more in need of essentials? They are open 9am – 8pm and the number to call if you want to contact them is 02084895308. Again it may be worth checking with your local councils in areas badly hit if they are arranging drop off points closer to home.
- Collection points have also been arranged by some fantastic people on Twitter (Katie Khan, Kate Nash, Emmy The Great, Knitnhealthy, Milla Traylen & Sonny Malhotra ). Future pick ups listed below
Thursday 11th. 9am-11am Elgin Avenue/Portebello Road. Follow Emmy for details Thursday 11th. 11am-2pm. Majestic Wines in Camden. Follow Knitnhealthy for updates on Twitter Thursday 11th. 11am-2.30pm. Hoxton Square. Outside White Cube Gallery. Follow Sonny & Kate for details Thursday 11th. 6am-2pm. Enfield Chase Station. Follow MycoffestopUK for details Thursday 11th. 6pm Paddington Library, Porchester Road. Follow Emmy for details Friday 12th. 6am-2pm. Enfield Chase Station. Follow MycoffestopUK for details Friday 12th. 3pm-7pm. Clapham Common (near the tube station) Look out for Nennie Pops sign Saturday 13th. 11am-2pm. Hoxton Square for the items in this link ONLY. Follow Sonny & Alex for details
- Monday 15th. 6am-2pm. Enfield Chase Station. Follow MyCoffestopUK for details
Shop local to help get the businesses in your communities back on their feet. Commerce is so important in recovery. A Facebook group has been set up for Thank Turk It’s Saturday as a great example of this. Shop local this Saturday and show some love for an East London community who stood tall during the rioting.
- To get your name on the clen up list for Croydon please call 02087266000 and choose option 7. They will keep you updated
- If anyone knows places that are taking in furniture for those left homeless from the riots can you please get in contact with me urgently? I have had tons of emails today from people wanting to donate.
- A donation page has been set up for Ashraf Haziq who was robbed as he lay bledding in the street. You can donate on the fund raising page set up for him here
- A donation page for Aaron Biber has been set up by interns at BBH as they were so moved by his story. You can read details in The Telgraph and make donations here
- Sonny is a photographer and has offered his services free of charge to those that lost everything in the fires. How many of us say the first thing we’d rescue from our homes if it was on fire say our photo albums? Spread the word if you know people affected. Click on his name for details
- A donation page for Siva Kandiah, a local shopkeeper in Hackney, has been set up for donations. Help him get his local business back on it’s feet. You can donate here
- Citizens Advice Bureau have some practical information/advice on their website for if you were affected by the riots. Click here to be directed to the page
- Another fund raising page for Nick who lost his home in Clapham and needs some help getting back on his feet. This page was set up by his best friend who lives the other side of the world and wanted to help still. People are still finding ways of helping from across the globe! You can donate here
- There is huge support for Pias who lost their stock in the Sony Distribution Centre fire. You can follow Pias or RecordLabeLove on Twitter to find ways to support an independent, much loved label. Jarvis Cocker has also put together a compilation of his favourite Pias label songs available to buy as a way of donating AND getting some amazing music. Win – Win
- A website has been set up to help bring positivity back to Peckham. Their wall of messages alone made my heart skip. So many wonderful people out there
- Red Cross are collecting for 400 people made homeless in Croydon. Parchmore Methodist Church in Thornton Heath. Donate generously
- Those that want to donate to the Tottenham Fund can do so on Haringeys website
- Riot Rebuild has been set up to help mobilise the UK construction industry to help with the repairs. You can also follow them on Twitter
Stay Safe and to everyone that has helped, whether it’s sweeping shards of glass or donating the bin bags to put the debris in, you are hero’s!!!! ♥ ♥ ♥