February 10th, 2005


Thank blog it's Thursday

Whew, nearly the end of the week. And since I have a half-day's holiday tomorrow and a day off on Monday, it's even nearlier the end of the week than it would otherwise be.

It occurs to me that the diary function of this journal has rather gone to the wall recently: I managed not to write anything about verlaine's farewell au revoir party last Friday, star-studded though it was was with the crème de la crème of the blogerati in a heady cocktail of mixed metaphor; nor indeed about the preceding weekend's Tube Walk -- which for addedentry and me was something of a misnomer, as we managed to miss the "Tube" part and the "Walk" part, and only turn up for the later parts (involving pizza and some interesting new non-ABSP-approved rules for Scrabble). If I'd mentioned all of that, I'd have probably namechecked a host of interesting usernames to which I can now match a host of attractive faces. Take it as read.

Oh, I might have also linked to the caption competition photo of the week. Before you ask: I have no idea.

I don't do reviews, but I really should mention seeing The Dears at the Electric Ballroom in Camden. It's a well known fact, pop-pickers, that the Dears are the new Smiths; that they sing heartbreaking songs about unrequited love, their perfectly crafted lyrics wrapped in lushly beautiful music. Not only that, they're Canadian. What could possibly go wrong? Well, for a start, the Electric Ballroom could be a godawful sticky-floored smoke-pit that charges over a quid for a water-cooler-cup full of warm, flat Coke -- of course, that's my own silly fault for not wanting to drink Bacardi Breezers; but more importantly, all those supposedly glorious lyrics could be completely obliterated by a wall of noise that sounds like Elbow and Low having a fight in a blender. Underwater. So in place of the review I'd planned, weaving my reaction to the music in and out of a handful of well-chosen words, I can tell you the following: I think one of the songs included the word "believe"; I'm sure I picked out "love" in another; and I'm pretty sure the chorus of the last song before the encore said "Tell me". There was a discernable bassline in that one, too.

Spotted at the gig was the ubiquitous simon_price, who wrote the evening up far more enthusiastically. I know this not because I diligently follow the music reviews, but because addedentry and I found the Arts section of the Independent on the DLR. We also found a sealed box of Fox's biscuits, and a box of Feaster bars (like Tracker, but with a different name, and more cranberries). What would you have done? It's less than 5 years since I was a student, for heaven's sake, and old habits die hard.

While I'm not doing reviews, I should also mention barrysarll's excellent new club night, "Love Your Enemies", at The Pleasure Unit on Bethnall Green Road, which we were on our way to when we acquired our ill-gotten biscuits. The Pleasure Unit is essentially a pub with a dancefloor; for those of us who are still sixteen, clumsy and shy at heart, this works exceedingly well, as it makes it possible to hover tentatively at the side of the dancefloor area -- at first just talking, then tapping our feet, then shuffling slightly more enthusiastically, until before we know it we're dancing without having ever had to step out onto the dancefloor. The three DJs offered fairly distinct (and distinctive) sets, which worked fine for me; I'm sorry that we missed the first half of barrysarll's rather fine set, and The Vichy Government's Jamie Manners might have overdone it a bit on the 60s girl groups (you can have too much of a good thing!), and owing to the vagaries of Sunday transport we had to leave before the end of what was shaping up to be a good set for dancing ... but overall it was a good night. simon_price's hairpiece was in evidence there, too, though he left even earlier than us.

I can't review events I don't attend, but I'm hearing good things from friends about Wetmarsh College, which is on at the ADC until Saturday. I'd go and see it myself except that I'll be busy in Cambridge tonight, busier still in London on Friday, and gloriously relaxed in Paris on Saturday. It's a hard life!


And finally... never let it be said that I don't pay attention to the news. I'm sufficiently down with the kids to know that Robbie Williams' "Angels" is now officially Teh Best Song Evah and that condoms (not cocaine) are the truly indispensable new fashion accessory; but these are frivolous issues, and I wouldn't want you to think I was unaware of the major players on the world stage. So, ladies and gentlemen, may I present to you: the hottest woman in politics.

Why don't they have ecstasy aunts as well?

It's happened quite frequently lately that I seem to have ended up accidentally trying to offer people advice. I should point out to anybody who might find themself in the situation of asking for (or receiving unsolicited) advice from me that I'm really not very good at giving advice. I try to say useful things because I care, but more often than not I think I just put my foot in it.

I was going to write a long essay on the giving and taking of advice, but right now I'm just feeling too sad about seeing things go wrong for lovely people. Sometimes I just want to hug the world and make everybody a cup of tea, but that really doesn't sit well with a fashionably and ironically cynical image, does it? So it's just as well I don't really have such an image.