Listening to: Land – Patti Smith


(Oh! I need to make another “Go Rimbaud!” T-shirt.)

It occurred to me yesterday that I have no current cultural obsessions, apart from maybe the Lucksmiths (okay, definitely the Lucksmiths, always the Lucksmiths – but the only other Lucksmiths fans I know are L & T). What TV shows am I watching/do I love? What movies do I like? What am I reading? I felt like a bit of a dick for not having had ready answers.

So okay. The reading one is actually easily answerable: on Friday I set myself up with a borrower record and finally kicked into “hey, I work in a library!” mode, picking up and taking home everything shiny that passed before me on the circulation desk. The real question is what aren’t I reading? So I have: a couple of things from the Nigerian authors display (Chinua Achebe and something else…it’s in my backpack and all I can remember about it is that it has a nice cover), a photocopied journal article about Mills & Boons, two CILIP-y library magazines, a Fair Trade cookbook (I haven’t actually cooked in ages! It’s just food porn) and Deborah Cameron’s The Myth of Mars and Venus, which I frigging love – it’s a debunking of all the John Gray/pop psychology/crap science/self-help bullshit about the “essential differences” between men and women. And of course I’m still plugging away at the Murakami. Oh, and Philosophy Now. And I have been skimming Anne Sexton‘s Complete Poems, but I’m not sure about her yet. She’s interesting but I guess I’m squeamish and they’re not pretty poems – of all of them, I like the ones from “The Divorce Papers” in 45 Mercy Street most.

Shortly before the Shepherd’s Bush household dissolved, B and I went through a massive Weeds phase (we watched the DVDs twice each – separately and together), but although I’ve downloaded/DVDed a lot of TV series since then, nothing’s grabbed me quite as much. True Blood was really good (and got better in the second season. How weird is it seeing Ryan Kwanten in this context, though?) and I’ve been through Gossip Girl (eh – it passes the time), Once and Again (which sounds naff [and often it was – it’s kind of a guilty pleasure], but it was actually occasionally brilliant – it was made by the same people as My So-Called Life. Evan Rachel Wood’s character’s eating disorder, for example, was handled perfectlyjust perfectly. It made me want to go back fifteen years and grab my mum and cry “This! This!”), United States of Tara (pretty good) and the first three seasons of Northern Exposure (still great but not as flat-out amazing as they seemed the first time around). I tried Mad Men because everyone seems to love it, but I got distracted halfway through the first episode and haven’t bothered to go back to it yet. Maybe I just miss having a real TV? I would quite like to watch The Bill occasionally. I kind of miss adverts. I download QI sometimes and get a bit excited about the voiceover over the end credits.

And oh, I miss the cinema! But I just can’t seem to get into it in London. I haven’t found my cinema yet (comfy, arthousey, cheap, good snacks – I will accept recommendations), which means I have seen exactly FOUR (four!) new releases in the past ten months (in crappy shopping centrey places), which is unacceptable. And because release schedules are different here (Whip It won’t come out until April!) and I remain slavishly devoted to David and Margaret, I never know what to see, anyway… So I’ve been watching stuff at home. I rewatched Look Both Ways last night (still good! I got quite nostalgic about the trains – I used to catch one of those to Salisbury – look at those seat covers, etc.!) and just bought (but haven’t yet watched) a documentary called Joan Baez: How Sweet the Sound. Oooooh – and as we speak, I am listening to Jarvis Cocker’s radio show on the iPlayer and he’s just mentioned the new Serge Gainsbourg biopic. Excellent!

Music-wise, I expanded my London vinyl collection slightly yesterday (bringing it to a total of 3!) and brought home my very own copy of Patti Smith’s Easter from Sister Ray Records:


It looks very nice next to Bringing it All Back Home and The Hissing of Summer Lawns. Of course, I can’t play it yet because I don’t have a turntable, but eh. Today’s featured iPod artist is, obviously, Patti Smith. Oh, watch me now…


In other news, my flatmate’s just announced her intention to move out in a month or so! So there’s the option to move into the bigger room…

Ugh, and I had to frog the red disco jumper because there was a twist in it – which I didn’t notice until I was 10 rows in. But it’s okay, I’m casting on again.


Listening to: That Joke Isn’t Funny Anymore – The Smiths

Oh my god, oh my god, this is the greatest thing ever: Christina Aguilera and Le Tigre to collaborate. How genius is that? I knew Christina Aguilera was cool. I’m so excited!

Also, this is not exactly the greatest thing ever, but some of that laughter you hear might be mine – my housemate B and I were at this taping last week!:




It was so much fun to go to! I hate Johnny Vegas – cannot stand him – but they seem to have cut most of his stuff out anyway, because it was utter incoherent nonsense. Jimmy Carr seemed to find him as irritating as I did and did lots of quiet huffing and pointed ignoring. (I’ve been listening to Jimmy Carr’s Writers’ Room podcast lately, and I have a new appreciation for him. He’s quite funny and surprisingly interesting.) The team captains didn’t have as much to say as the edit makes it seem – Sean Lock pretty much stared into space for much of the last hour or so of taping (everyone was a bit tired, and he apparently has a new baby at home). But there was a lot of really funny stuff, and it was interesting to watch it all happen. Also, the BBC employs some very attractive camera crew people.

P.S. Also from The Guardian new Lemonheads album!


Koko Taylor died. She was brilliant. Check her out.



Listening to: Never Be Lonely Again – Slow Down Tallahassee

Two blogs I am obsessed with at the moment:

  • Skatterbrain (found via Cat and Girl) – for all your twee pop needs. I have discovered so much good music here already (my only other sources these days are Mojo and Bitch reviews, so this is important), and I like people who like the Lucksmiths.
  • The Summer! mix from June last year is particularly awesome.

  • Baking Bites (found via the Craftzine blog) – what it says on the tin, basically. I like the writing and its vegan-friendliness (fostering good relations between vegans and omnivores the world over), and look at these recipes: lemon torte, peanut butter rice krispie bars (finally, a use for my vegan marshmallows – I’m sick of hot chocolate. Also, I’ve always been curious about American rice krispie treats), vampire cookies and vegan molasses apple tart!
  • Also, even though I obviously won’t be trying it myself, I am intrigued by this apple pie coffee cake with cheddar cheese recipe.

    Listening to: Samantha Secret Agent – The All-Girl Summer Fun Band

    My new favourite thing is the BBC Pronunciation Unit’s brief but fabulous blog, and the BBC Editors’ blogs in general.

    Also, three Guardian articles I have read today:

  • Antony and the Johnsons light up 2009I am a Bird Now didn’t set my world on fire, but I thought Antony’s performance of If It Be Your Will in I’m Your Man was incredibly beautiful. I like him.
  • The woman with a tiny carbon footprint – The Joan Pick article mentioned by Antony Hegarty above. I like her, too.
  • ‘What happens in war happens’ – Emma Brockes’s interview with Lynndie England. Not such a big fan of hers, but it’s an interesting article nonetheless. Who is this person?
  • I am having a lovely day, hanging out washing, sitting in the backyard reading Kate Lopresti’s Constant Rider zine, eating bits and pieces from the garden (our blueberry bush is producing a handful of fruit or so every day, and our nectarines are almost ripe and earlier I had a cherry tomato), popping inside to skip a song on the iPod and read something on the internet. It’s very relaxing.

    My uncle and his partner were staying here for the past week or so, and I actually quite enjoyed their being here for the most part, but it’s nice to have the house to myself again. (My mum came back from Bali and went straight to Tasmania for a week.)

    Listening to: NaCl (Sodium Chloride)– Kate & Anna McGarrigle

    I have only this to offer:

    Rufus and Martha Wainwright’s McGarrigle Sisters tribute


    It’s funny!

    Listening to: Hot Topic – Le Tigre

    It was a good weekend for movies! I also saw the excellent Itty Bitty Titty Committee:


    Once you’ve all seen it, let’s open a dance club that plays Bikini Kill and Sleater-Kinney and pledge to write more political graffiti. (Has anyone noticed the dearth of graffiti in general lately? I used to have an on-going conversation with someone on the back of a toilet door about the legitimacy of using “slut” as an insult, but now everything seems to get painted over almost immediately. Plus, no one seems to have anything interesting to say, anyway – it’s all tags and A.B. + C.D. 4eva.)

    Does anyone have any other recommendations for good feminist films?

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