Monday, 19 March 2012

My mum

 Just a quick post today, as I am bogged down at the moment in new work ventures. Sorry I have been a bit absent this past week, I have been split in about 4 different directions with work and Dave has been a bit poorly with his stomache (again!). Anyway, with it being Mother's Day here in the UK I thought I would write a little bit about my Mum. 
My whole life I have been a proper Daddy's girl - we like the same music, love the ocean, laugh at the same jokes and I even look loads like him. Growing up, I loved my Mum the same amount as my Dad but always felt we had nothing in common and man could we argue! As I have got older however, and moved away from home, I have started to notice how brilliant my mum actually is. She is the one who stays in touch (honestly I think if it was left up to Dad to call me we'd only hang out once a year at Christmas!). We talk more now too, about everything, and often her advice is the only person's that matters to me. Also, every single day I realise I am turning into her, which, when I was a teenager would have horrified me I think, but now, I am proud to be a chip off the old block. As I meet other people's mothers (and sad to say, my mother in law is a great example), it only reinforces the idea that my Mum is the best Mum in the world. She is hard as nails, not like she gets in pub brawls or does weights at the gym or anything, but she is emotionally tough. When my Nan (rest in peace) had her stroke a few years ago, and all Mum's siblings gathered round sobbing, Mum was off driving to a nearby town to collect essentials so that Nan could stay at home and not have to go into care. You can't fail to be impressed by these levels of practicality!!! 
She is also tough in other ways, and I realise these points may be a bit controversial but I will try to explain. My Mum struggles to comprehend certain illnesses, like if she denies they exist then they can never happen to her. In a way I realise this sounds impossible and ridiculous, however, I know and have always known that if I ever went to my Mum and said something like "Mum I have become an alcoholic", she wouldn't buy it because it isn't a thing in her head. She would lock me in my room for as long as it took for me to not be addicted anymore. And although there are probably human rights issues in that area, I can't disagree that sometimes tough love is the only answer. That is a very crude example and of course I am not suggesting that alcohol addiction is not a real problem (after all, I do work at probation!) but it is the best example I can come up with. But in Mum's head, that is how it is and if she doesn't buy into it then it is easy to fix! 
Another quality that I think I have of hers is trying to please people. I always try to do what I think other people need of me and I like that. I know that in some ways I can be a bit selfish (hey, who isn't?) but in this way I really take after my Mum and when deciding on something I always try to factor all parties into the mix. Sometimes Mum chastises me for this and says that I am getting used or people are walking all over me but she is exactly the same!
Anyway, enough drivel and I need some sleep now - sorry if this is a bit of an incoherent entry! Here are some of my favourite ever PostSecrets about Mums.

Yeah it is!
This used to be true - Still respect her but don't talk shit about her anymore

What are your Mum's best qualities that you would like to inherit?

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Last week

I can only apologise for being such a rubbish blogger last week and not posting at all. With my new job starting officially on Weds I have a lot to do at my old position and work a lot of hours last week. Added to that Dave not being very well I have just been manically busy. Started the mad week last Sunday at the Joan Baez gig I mentioned. Bridgewater Hall was a breathtaking location and she played a fabulous set. She even sang a Cohen song so of course I was over the moon.

Joan and her guitar

Then I have spent my working week doing a bit of training at Head Office for the new role, where they have taken to presenting you with a strange plastic toy to fiddle with whilst you learn. At first I thought the woman had gone mad but actually it is really fun to play with while you are working and it saved me biting my nails!

strange plastic toy, which I now want one of at home!
I have also spent quite a bit of time on ebay lately, both buying and selling and I had a bit of a lucky find this week when I was looking for something for Dave. I got some gorgeous DC high tops in TK Maxx after Christmas in a size 3, which is usually plenty big enough for me in trainers. They are really a thing of beauty in tartan with a leopard print tongue. But they were just so painful I couldn't get them on comfortably so they had sat in my lounge for the best part of 3 months as I could not let them go! Once I had found a replacement size 4 on ebay I felt safe to sell the other pair to my friend Louise. Unfortunately on Thursday we both wore them to work at the same time!

Beauties aren't they?
Anyway, I have just had a lovely weekend at the parentals so that has been nice and relxing after my hectic week. Mum had a lovely birthday made much better by the fact that not only did I buy her a soppy card for once (I usually go for the nice photo or funny caption) but Dad went wild and sent her a huge bouquet on the Saturday morning!

I have been back on hipstamatic this week too, the quality is a lot better than instagram but it just isnt as user friendly - what do you guys think?

Then we went to the greyhound racing in Birmingham, where we did absolutely appallingly!!! Had a super time though.

the traps at the start of a race
And as usual when we go to my parents my Dad had a spare room full of his ebay empire and postage bits and bobs. I wont go into detail but there is an abundance of watches in his life right now so dave and me got to take one home each.

Have anyone else's parents got any bonkers quirks like my Dad's watches? Has anyone had a busy week like me? Fingers crossed things will calm down a bit this week, though I am not so sure!

Sunday, 4 March 2012

I love to speak with Leonard

First of all I have scheduled this post to be published while I am at a gig in Manchester seeing one of my all-time folk heroes, Joan Baez. I realise folk music probably doesn't appeal to everyone and it can be a bit of an acquired taste, but growing up listening to my Dad's Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen music, and spending hours in my friend's parents' car listening to Joan herself and learning all the words have left me with a love of vocal guitar-y type stuff. So  I will do a review of the gig itself one night at a later date but for now I would like to talk about Leonard Cohen and his new album as I am a huge fan. I got into Cohen a lot later than all the other more "upbeat" stuff to be honest, but I love it more now than ever and I listen to a little bit of Cohen probably every single day (is that strange?). I don't  think it is as depressing as the critics say and I often find it uplifting, particularly when he duets with a female singer. Cohen himself once said that people call him a pessimist but this is wrong because "I don't consider myself a pessimist. I think of a pessimist as someone who is waiting for it to rain. And I feel soaked to the skin." I really like this. In 2008 I was lucky enough not only to see him in concert twice in some amazing settings, but also to meet him in a car park in Bournemouth and have a chat and a photo - Best. Moment. Ever.

I stalked him for a little bit afterwards and got this shot of him looking out to sea

Me, LC and Dave (usually when I show this photo, I chop Dave's mad arm off!)

So that was that, I never thought I would get to see him in concert as he is 77 years old or something and hadn't toured in ages so to meet him as well was a double shock. I suppose we have his manager to thank for that after they made off with all of his earnings whilst he was living in a Buddhist monastery in California a few years ago. I also never thought he would bring out any new material at this late stage but yet again I was thankfully proved wrong when he released his album "Old Ideas" a few weeks ago. Since I bought the album I literally cannot stop listening to it. For me this is a great opportunity because in the past I only listened to his songs in "Greatest Hits" type compilations, having missed most of his album releases by, oh I don't know, my whole life! It is nice having an album and listening to it in the way the artist intended. There is one song on it called "Going Home" with which I have become utterly obsessed and I wanted to share it with you here. 

Hope you all enjoy watching. Are there any other Cohen fans out there? What do you think of "Old Ideas"?

Friday, 2 March 2012

A very memorable mixtape

This is an article I wrote for this months requests on Lomography - thought it might make you all laugh!
I have never been one to shy away from telling the world embarrassing things I have done because, well those things are what make me who I am. And I like to make people laugh. This makes me simultaneously laugh and blush every time I think about it. When I was 16 I made a mixtape for a boy and the front cover looked something like this:-
There is no great story behind it, just the usual really – girl meets boy, girl falls madly in love with boy, boy likes girl’s friend for ages, girl is sad, boy eventually changes his mind (outwardly, though I suspect not inwardly), girl is happy, girl and boy start a relationship (a first for the both of them) which lasts a year, boy then changes his mind back to the aforementioned friend on and off and ends up dumping girl not once, not twice but THREE TIMES! After the third dumping girl makes the above tape and gives it to boy in a last ditch attempt to win over boy. Attempt fails. Track listing from the tape continues to make girl laugh for the rest of her days! I am that girl and here is that track listing.
1. Cheaptrick – The Flame
Not particularly a special song for the couple but if anyone knew the lyrics then they would totally get this.
2. Joni Mitchell – Big Yellow Taxi
Somehow I managed to use this political environmental protest song as a soppy love story simply because of the line “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”.
3. LeAnn Rimes – How do I live without you?
This one does seem fairly self-explanatory.
4. Lonestar – Amazed
This is not really a song about splitting up, but it was “our song” from our first date, right up to the end. I couldn’t listen to it again until I was about 22 – fact.
5. Elaine Page – I Know Him So Well
Perhaps most embarrassingly I whacked this classic show tune from the musical “Chess” onto the tape. We had never seen this, I just liked the song and listened to it a lot post break-up.
6. Dido – Thank You
I put this on because I wanted to thank him for the best time of my life. I was wrong about this however as my life has just got better and better ever since.
7. Dire Straits – Romeo and Juliet
This song is not really about splitting up but it does feature the lyrics “I can’t do anything except be in love with you” and “all I do is miss you and the way we used to be”. Plus I am a huge DS fan.
8. Janet Jackson – Got ‘til It’s Gone
Referring back to track 2, this is perhaps the most hilarious song on the tape. It samples the line “You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone” which Janet sings, and then a male rapper raps the line “Joni Mitchell never lies”! I remember choosing this and track 2 to remind him that he might have lost more than he realises!! Haha!
9. Gabrielle – Out of Reach
I had been watching a lot of Bridget Jones Diary around this time and I felt like this song summed up how I felt perfectly!!
10. On My Own
Again another show tune from a musical I have never seen – Les Miserables. I chose this for the line “in the darkness, I feel his arms around me”.
And that is all the embarrassment I can share because I unfortunately no longer have the tape. I compiled these tracks using a combination of reading my journal from the time, my own embarrassing memory and texting my friends who advised me not to give him the tape in the first place! Perhaps the worst part of this whole situation is that I couldn’t get even 10 tracks from the tape, so the other night I decided to Facebook message said boy and ask him if he remembered it! He did, and he remembered tracks 6 and 7 which I had forgotten. Maybe he still listens to the tape, and when he hears the lines “you don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone”, his eyes glaze over and he realises you really don’t. Just maybe.