Wednesday, 28 October 2009


I've finally jumped on the Twitter bandwagon. Some would say six months too late, now it's been appropriated as a marketing tool a la MySpace, but it takes celebrity stalking to a whole new level (I discovered @snoopdoog by checking out who Liz Taylor was following) so better late than never!

If you tweet let me know who you are and I'll follow you, too.

Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Blood typing game

Dad sent me a link to this brilliant game on the Nobel Foundation website. You have to pick the correct blood transfusion for each patient, genius!

White Night festival in Brighton

James and Sarada took us to the White Night festival on Saturday night in the centre of Brighton. We wrapped the boys up warm and headed out into the dark, encountering pumpkins in the churchyard (you could carve them, or make chutney and lemon curd, and they had a good fire going), graffiti at a new venue on North Street (Logan and Stanley loved running round the rundown building) and music at the library (although it was a bit loud!).

Some of the smaller art projects going on in the streets were interesting - one couple were sending messages from one end of a street to the other with a giant torch, while at the Pavilion a penny slot machine was projected onto the wall.

My favourite event was the graffiti exhibition at the Old Music Library (a temporary gallery attached to Prescription). Not often you get to watch street artists at work!

There was a limit to the events we could experience with the boys in tow (the swimming pool was showing movies, and was open until 2am, and there was a choral recital by the West Pier at dawn) but it was still a great way to spend an evening.

A parade through the streets (they had attached clip bulbs to a bike and a lamp shade).

The boys head to the park

Monday, 26 October 2009

Pretty things for a Monday afternoon

I've been cruising Etsy this morning, looking for interesting Christmas gift ideas. Sarada inspired me to think about getting the sewing kit out (Stanley has some very cool sock monkeys that she made with her sister). I say think about, whether I actually get round to it is another matter! I haven't picked up my knitting needles since Logan was born, so we shall see.

Anyway, on my Etsy travels I came across some really interesting vintage-looking jewellery, similar to the pieces on the Eclectic Eccentricity site. This Alice in Wonderland-inspired necklace is an interesting idea, although I'm not sure about the length of the pendant, and I really like this Paris locket and this pendant made out of an old typewriter key.

I wonder where the jewellery makers get their pendants from?

Blogging tea shop

Metrodeco left a comment after I blogged them on Saturday with a link to their blog. So far they've written about Nick Griffin and THAT Stephen Gately article - I like them even more!

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Brighton's best tea shop

Sarada took me to Metrodeco in Kemp Town this morning, my new favourite place for tea and cake.

The choice of teas ranges from the normal (earl grey, lapsang or breakfast tea) to the exotic (we had green with chocolate and green with rose petals, both delicious), the cakes are inventive (chocolate with amaretto, toffee cupcakes, courgette and pistachio which was yummy) and it's furnished with a collection of antique 1920s chairs, tables and chandeliers, all available to buy.

More importantly though, the staff are lovely - happy to advise and not at all pretentious. I wish I lived closer!

Stanley and Logan hanging out by the sea

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Charlie Brooker goes up in my estimation, again

Luc pointed me to a riposte Charlie Brooker wrote to the Jan Moir article on Stephen Gately that got me so het up yesterday.

The man is a genius.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Jan Moir's Stephen Gately article

I have to admit, when I saw on the BBC last week that a Daily Mail article about Stephen Gately's death had become the latest victim of an internet complaints campaign, I was more than a little smug. The Mail has, in the past, been quick to condemn other news outlets when they have faced similar ire (the BBC's Ross-Brand scandal, the furore over Channel 4's showing of Jerry Springer: The Musical). It was satisfying to see that the bastion of middle England wasn't immune to orchestrated web campaigns.

Nevertheless, I was willing to give the writer a chance. It's all too easy to condemn without first considering the facts, and I didn't want to jump on the right-on bandwagon.

Having read it, I can only say well done to the 21,000 people who have complained so far. I will be joining your ranks shortly.

Yes, Stephen Gately suffered an unexpected and even an unusual death; Jan Moir is at least right in saying that "healthy and fit 33-year-old men do not just climb into their pyjamas and go to sleep on the sofa, never to wake up again". This is the only fair comment in an article which is short on fact and long on vitriol.

Some of the comments are just mean: Gately "could barely carry a tune in a Louis Vuitton trunk...a popular but largely decorous addition" to Boyzone. At the least Moir is guilty of petty journalism.

But what is more disturbing is that Moir seems determined to equate Gately's death with the fact that he was gay (because straight men have never fallen asleep drunk on the sofa? or smoked cannabis?), and that this tragic incident somehow highlights the sleaze that must lie behind same-sex marriages (because straight people don't cheat? or divorce?).

Moir issued a statement defending her article against an "orchestrated" attempt to criticise her by people who hadn't read the piece. I have read it, and I am disgusted by the bigoted opinions and sheer meanness displayed. I encourage you to read it too, then have your say to the PCC ( ). I've never been a fan of the Daily Mail but this poor attempt at journalism takes it to a new low.

Karaoke night

Team Linda finally made it to Lucky Voice for our karaoke session on Thursday night, and what a performance! Nick impressed by singing Ash without looking at the words (above), Linda and I worked our way through a succession of '80s classics, Catherine and Wayne did some beautiful duets and the best random song award went to Nick (and Nick) with Killing in the Name Of.

But the best performance of the evening has to go to Alex and Sonya, for their pefect rendition of Eminem and Dido's Stan (below). Brilliant.

Saturday, 17 October 2009

Marathon man

Mark presenting a cheque to the Southend Educational Trust at Roots Hall this afternoon. They'd printed his story in the match programme, too, alongside a pic of him and Logan. Fair to say he was a happy bunny! Especially when they won the game.

I snapped a pic of the mascots backstage, sans heads, but I can't publish it on pain of death (I don't want Sammy the Shrimp to be the last thing I see before I die).

Wednesday, 14 October 2009

Booker club

I wrote a piece for the Datablog last week on Booker prize winners and whether it boosts sales. In the process I came across a Guardian blog, the Booker club, in which Sam Jordison reads and reviews a different Booker winner each month.

Whenever a new 'top 100 books ever' type list comes out I promise myself I will read all of them, but never quite get beyond the first few. So the Booker winners list, standing at only 43 books so far, is much more achievable.

I've only read three or four of them in the past, which is shameful considering the list includes classics like Midnight's Children, The Remains of the Day, The God of Small Things and Possession.

I'm not sure how easy it will be to get hold of some of the early winners (The Elected Member, anyone?) but let's see how far I get this time! The Man Booker archive even stores the shortlists, too, which should keep me going a few years.

Monday, 12 October 2009

Jeff Bridges burrito

Watched one of the most disturbingly funny films I've ever seen last night - Tideland, directed by Terry Gilliam and starring Jeff Bridges, Janet McTeer, and the brilliant Jodelle Ferland.

The more I think about it the more I like it - a wonderful study of the innocence of childhood, the ability of children to adapt to difficult situations, and the necessity that imagination plays in dealing with said situations.

The plot veers from one shocker to the next; just when you think it can't get any more disturbing Gilliam throws another curveball at you. But it's beautifully shot, is genuinely touching and funny in places and, despite broaching numerous taboo subjects (human taxidermy, anyone?) it doesn't deserve the claims of paedophilia and child abuse levelled at it by Daily Mail types.

Definitely genius, definitely worth watching (and it led me to Jeff Bridges' excellent personal website, for which I am eternally grateful) but I'm not sure I could sit through it again.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Homeward bound

Logan loves riding the train.