Monday, 28 September 2009

Those Pesky Elephants

Monday, 28 September 2009
It appears I am in the middle of one of those weeks. You know what it’s like, don’t you? When you have an absolute stinkin’ elephant of a day? When you feel like you’re wearing one flip-flop and one stiletto but you can’t quite figure out why you’re walking funny? And then Thursday’s smelly trunk grabs Friday’s hairy tail, and then and so on, and so on, until you’re hobbly-limping amongst a parade of pachyderms getting the occasional tusk in the arse but you can’t work out how to work it out?

Yeah. That’s me.

I’m in a bit of a funk at the moment, to be sure.

It’s a combination of a number of things: the rubbishey weather settling in for the long haul; the nights closing in (on this side of the Pond it’s dark at 3:30pm in the depths of winter); and my almost-5-year-old being an almost-5-year-old. Let me tell you: he’s good at it.

EVERYTHING* is an argument at the moment. It doesn’t matter if it’s:

“Brush you teeth, Ben, “ or...

“Eat your tea, Ben,” or...

“Pull up your underpants, Ben,” or...

Bedtime, Ben, “ or...

“Time to go to school, Ben,” or...

The-house-is-on-fire-we-need-to-flee-by-the-nearest-safe-exit-or-we’ll-burn-to-a-crisp, Ben,”...

...they’re all met with the same resounding, “NO!” closely followed by a million BUT’s to explain the reasons why THE WORLD WILL END if he doesn’t FINISH the UNDERGROUND WORLD in Super Mario3 RIGHT NOW and he can’t stop to go to the toilet because eventhoughhe’sdancingonthespothereallydoesn’tneedtogo...

That kid is unbendable! He is so determined, his resolve is made of STEEL. Or something stronger than steel! Kryptonite, even. His father and I are a bit frazzled with trying to keep up the old ‘Supernanny-positive-reinforcement’ stuff. BECAUSE OF ALL THE YELLING.

It’s my own fault – he’s EXACTLY like me.

I know it’s just a phase and I’m absolutely certain that there are other mothers who have had a professional almost-5-year-old in their households at some point in time (my own mother included), but I had been getting a little scritchy with it all. We all make connections between the behaviour of our children and our parenting abilities, don’t we? So needless to say there has been a lot of nostrilley-flarey breathing and counting to ten going on in the past week. Like a lot of my fellow Mammies/Mummies/Mommies out there, it is vitally important for me to ensure that there is no prolonged inequities in the delicate balance of all my ‘selfs’... Girl and Mother and Wife and Friend. Needless to say, those scales were a little wonky.

Then the other morning? I had one of those ‘Life’s Little Moments’ and I knew that everything was aaaaaaaaaaaall good, really. I dropped Ben off at school after a pretty trying morning (toothpaste and Weetabix everywhere; it wasn’t pretty...) and Jude and I went for a long walk to the shops to pick up a few bits and bobs.

When we were walking home, we were just passing the schoolyard as Ben’s class was coming out for their morning break. He came flying out of the classroom doors, all Tazmanian-devilish and giggly. He didn’t see me at first, standing at the fence. I watched him for a couple of minutes and then he saw me and zoomed, blurry-footed across the yard. “MAMMY!” he squealed, delighted in having a sneaky, unexpected visit from me in the middle of the school day.

I bent down to talk to him and he kissed me. Through the fence! And then ran off.

Balance restored.


Ben & Me - Bolam Lakes, 26 September 2009


*sorry about all the CAPS, they are making me bong-eyed, too.  Honestly.  Sorry. Rrrrrrrrreally, really mean it.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Snip Snip Cher-eeeeeeee

Friday, 25 September 2009


Nice one, Jase.  :-)

Monday, 21 September 2009

Not Hating Scarlett Johansson

Monday, 21 September 2009
Imported from Facebook Notes:  28 May 2008
So the other day I was reading a review of Scarlett Johansson's record... for those of you who don't know, she's recorded an album of Tom Waits covers.


I can't pretend to be a fan of Tom Waits -- actually, let me clarify; I'm not NOT a fan of Tom Waits either, I only know him as the loony guy in Dracula -- but I know that as a musician he has a healthy cult following, but that's about it. Not really my cup of tea, but then I can't say I've given him a fair chance either, if you know what I mean.

But I thought I had better check out her record, not because I particularly like her, or him, or not, or whatever, but because I read this review that said:

'Would someone tell Scarlett Johansson that The Jesus and Mary Chain want their distortion back?'

... and I like the Jesus and Mary Chain so I thought I would check out what all the fuss is about.

Which begs the question -- what IS all the fuss about? I've listened to only one of the songs, 'Falling Down' (link attached) and I think it's pretty good! The video is kinda lame, I couldn't really get to what it was trying to say, but the song is all right. Until you get to the end and there's some a cappella warbling where her voice is really flat and a bit grating. But there's the rub -- where is it written that just because she's master of one trade it should automatically follow that she should receive identical acclaim for another?

I wouldn't say her vocals are particularly strong on this track, even though I have heard her sing before and she's got a very sweet voice. But some of my favourite recording artists can't hold a tune to save their lives, and that's what makes them good. Jack White (hubbahubbahubba) isn't reputed for his vocal accuracies. Kylie Minogue is an excellent singer -- but it doesn't make her good. Courtney Love is a totally shit singer -- actually, wait a minute -- no... that doesn't make her good either. My train of thought is derailing!!!!

But my point is this: music is for listening to, isn't it? You don't need the video, you don't need the flashy MySpace page, you don't need the promotional paraphernalia, ringtone or t-shirt... you listen to something and you decide if you like it.

And I like this!

INVENTORY
Moody vocals: check.
Wall of noise distortion and atmosphere: check.
Maudlin haunting melody: check.

The fact that she's getting such stick for also being an actor -- no big deal. In isolation, the song should be a hidden gem for its own sake instead of Hollywood's.

Here's the link to it anyway -- YOU can make up your own mind as well.

http://new.music.yahoo.com/videos/--59655778

Sunday, 20 September 2009

Remembering Jonathan - Hoc Quoque Transibit

Sunday, 20 September 2009
As soon as I reach for the thermostat and jolt the radiators into life after their summer of rest, I know that Autumn is on its way and with it comes an unwelcome reminder of a time of year I would rather not remember at all, much less commemorate. Tomorrow marks 13 years since we lost my baby brother, Jonathan Corking. And in less than two weeks time (4th October) it will be what would have been his 31st birthday.



July 1996 - the only picture in which 
I can see our family resemblance.

We all acknowledge these anniversaries in different ways – across oceans and over the years. My parents feel it keenly; rattling around in that big old house, the emptiness of the rooms a cruel reminder of the absence of their son. Me? I’m different year on year. Some years Jonathan’s Anniversary has passed and I have barely noticed it amidst the chaos of formula milk and pooey nappies and ironing school uniforms and the minutiae of Mammy-ing. Some years I can tell Jason stories about him, recall fond memories with a smile, have a drink for him and keep it together. Some years I’m paralysed by my grief, crippled and bedridden with it, sentencing myself to a bitter purgatory of clockwatching – “What was I doing this time on that day? Where was he? What was he thinking? What was he feeling? What could I have done differently?” So it will always be.


hHead... remember them?  Supporting the Candian music scene... right on, kiddo.

But mine is a quiet and private mourning, for the most part. I have learned enough over the years that it is preferable for me to keep it to myself, as a preservation technique so as not to upset my Mum and Dad, really. People in grief are like pillars of a temple – you can’t adjust your position to lean on another lest the whole structure wobble and crumble. At least that’s how it works in our family. Don’t get me wrong ... that is not to say that we don’t stand close and frequently remember together what he was like, and how much we miss him. Because we SO do. The daily rigours of missing him is like a blurring of your peripheral vision; your view of the world is permanently altered and mocks you every time you open your eyes with a painful reminder of things not being quite as they should be.

But then I think – is it as it should be? Was Jonathan’s mortal coil predestined to be years and years shorter than the rest of ours? Did he shuffle off it before his time, or was he in our lives for exactly the amount of time he ever was supposed to be and not a second longer? If I’m honest, I take comfort in the latter. Because as much as I would have him back in a heartbeat, I can’t find any peace in imagining what his life would have been like if he hadn’t ended it when he did. Maybe he would have got better? Or worse. It really doesn’t bear thinking about.

So today, as I type this, I am sad. Tomorrow, I might be worse, I might not. But the shape of my sorrow, 13 years later looms aching with regret and disappointment as opposed to the sharp heartache of when our loss was fresh. I regret that he never met my husband. I grieve for the fact that my sons will never know their uncle. Ben isn’t even 5 yet – all he knows is that Uncle Jonathan has gone to be an angel, but beyond that we have never discussed him, save for passing references about how much Jonjo would have doted on his nephews. And dote he would: he’d have been their rough-and-tumble tag team wrestling partner, he’d have built the best Lego rockets and towers, he’d have taught them to play guitar, showed them how to skip stones on still water and make words rhyme. I’m sad that the only presence he has in their lives will be pictures in frames. Of course, there then follows the myriad of questions about the direction my life’s path took after Jonathan died – would I have met Jason, and consequently had my two beautiful boys, had Jonathan not gone when he did? Who knows.

"Hoc quoque transibit” – roughly translated from Latin; “this too shall pass.” Something I would have never believed in 1996, 1997, 1998 or 1999 when I was attempting to scramble my way upwards out of a dark well of grief and depression following Jonathan’s death. But it’s true – and to kill a cliché – Time Heals All Wounds. True, but it has taken its time scabbing them over and there are bruises and scars left as souvenirs of remembrance.



Part of Jonathan's ashes are here in England, in my grandparents' grave in Castleford.

Miss you, little brother. Love always.

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

The Reverse Piñata Uterus Incident

Tuesday, 15 September 2009
Inspired by the latest episode of Momversation, which is all about BIRTH CONTROL (“Condoms and Diaphragms and Vasectomies, Oh My!”) I thought I would capture a few words while we are, it appears, on the precipice of one of those moments that might just wind up being quite a significant chapter in the history of our little family.
Jude at 10 weeks:  Canuck Aboot Toon Junior!
How appropriate this has come up now (no pun intended) as Jude is only 10 weeks old, and already we're talking about The Big V. That's right... Jason is just about decided that he is going to get a vasectomy.

Hurrah! (and there was much rejoicing)

Let me set the scene for you a little. It is a topic that I have dared to broach more than just a few times over the course of our relationship. My Dad had one as did lots of other men in my Mum’s extended family, so I grew up sort of assuming that it was one of those things that husbands just did, as a matter of course, once you were through with all the baby-making malarkey. Not so, as I found out! Jason was quite adamant that he wouldn't ever consider getting one, despite regular protestations from me. He was unmoved.

You all know the story of my delivery with Jude, which resulted in a ruptured uterus. Which I have decided to dub henceforth (with genuine affection) “The Reverse Piñata Uterus Incident.” Jude made such a thorough job of bustin’ on outta there, that apparently my uterus is so gnarled up and punked out now that it couldn't withstand another pregnancy. Damn – that’s harsh.

Anyway – Jason’s thinking on the matter started to sway when I was in hospital, recovering from the birth. I’m totally not kidding when I tell you that honestly? Just about every single midwife/doctor/consultant that came to check me out post-op followed up their initial salutations with, "And what are you doing for contraception?”

We were not left in any doubt of the fact that if I were to get pregnant by accident (have you met my eldest son, Ben?) then we’d most likely be facing a termination. Double harsh. So what do we do?

The Pill turns me into an unreasonable raging hormonal basket-case plagued by monthly migraines: I become a 3-days-off-work-sick-can’t-stand-any-light-noise-skull-cracking monster, so that was quite out of the question. And condoms? Well, as Amanda recently commented on this very subject on one of my favourite blogs (Girls Gone Child):  “I hate condoms. They're just...ugh. Why put a balloon on your tongue when you eat cake?” Well said INDEED, girlfran.

So let me tell you this: a couple of weeks ago, after persevering with a mysterious pain in one side of his jaw, Jason decided to go to the doctor to get checked out. I was talking on the phone to my friend Lindsay at the time, and buoyed up with bravado at having one of my girlfriends ‘in the room’ (in a manner of speaking) just as he was heading out the door, I said to Lindsay, “Watch this,” and cheekily shouted downstairs, “ASK THE DOCTOR ABOUT GETTING THE SNIP!!”

My request was met with the sound of the front door shutting behind him.

But then! When he got back (just a toothache; nothing to worry about) he held in his hand... a piece of paper! But no, dear readers, not just your everyday generic boring old common-or-garden NHS prescription or anything, but a leaflet! About VASECTOMY!

A couple of weeks has passed and we haven’t really discussed it, save for the subject coming up again when I received this Facebook message...


...which Jason just LAUGHED OFF. And that’s that. I think he’s going to do it. I am constantly in awe of this incredible man. I mean, I’m still trying to wrap my head around the fact that someone has wanted to hang out with me this long, much less marry me? And give him babies? And now he wants to end all our birth control woes once and for all by getting A NEEDLE IN THE NUTS? My hero.

When my son is old enough to realize the ins and outs of the whole thing (damn, I'm on birth-control-pun FIRE today!) I will shake his hand for his reverse-pinata move, and tell him thanks for helping to influence The Most Difficult Husband/Wife Recurrent Dispute In Our House of 2008-2009.

So what about you?  Does your other half go green at the thought of a needle in his unmentionables?  How do you cope with the prospect of accidental pregnancies?

Thursday, 10 September 2009

Big School!

Thursday, 10 September 2009
Ben and Scarlett:  Foundation Stage 2
YEAH, BOY!
FREEDOM. And.........exhale. I’ve not long been back in the house after dropping Ben off at school. His first day of being in school ALL DAY.

Am I a rotten mother for being glad that he’s there? I have to admit, I have struggled with Ben over the summer holiday. He’s not the type of kid who will play quietly by himself... he needs constantly to be entertained and occupied and interacted-with; someone needs to be dedicated to giving a stream of feedback and praise and answering the inevitable plethora of questions that he has about whatever it is he’s doing -- he needs that element of interaction and recognition otherwise he questions the point of the activity and gets bored. So I hold up my hands (not without a little bit of shame) and admit freely that I have had to resort to The Electronic Babysitters (aka the TV and the Nintendo) more than a few times in recent weeks when I just couldn’t give him the attention and stimulation that he needed during these rainier-than-usual summer months, especially those days when I couldn’t even brush my teeth for having Jude permanently attached to either one of my gazongas.

So – he’s in Big School. Where I know he will respond really well to the structure of the activities of the school week, and has no end of little friends to chase and giggle with. He (with his friend Scarlett) RAN to school this morning, such was their eagerness to see all their little pals from nursery again.

"STOP RUNNING WHEN MAMMY SAYS STOP!"

I know some mothers get emotional at the school gates and some kids get separation anxiety and there are tears, but WHA-HOO that is SO not a picture of this Mama and Boy. Ben is fiercely independent – on occasion, detrimentally so as it leads him to mischief – but recognising this and encouraging him to do things for himself and be a ‘big boy’ is what made him march into that classroom this morning, head tall, brandishing his Wall-E lunchbox, stocked full of his first ever packed lunch.

I wish there was a Classroom-Cam or something where I could spy on him today, to see him being all grown up and on his own.

I’m so proud.

Tuesday, 8 September 2009

HA HA HADORABLE

Tuesday, 8 September 2009
OMG.

In a conversation with Ben just now, I said, "No honey, Daddy was just pretending, "

"No, Mammy, " he replies, "He wasn't pretending, he was REALing."

Labour Story, Part 3

My Handsome Jude-o aka Joodles Noodles Doodles

So, no more babies. Should I be more freaked out by this? I mean, I know how lucky I am, both in terms of the fact that I have two kids and in how much of a lucky escape we had in terms of the whole ruptured uterus scenario. But now I’m one of those women who can’t have any more kids. My body no longer is capable of performing the thing that it was designed to perform. I suppose if I only had one child, this would be really devastating news for me. But I’m not too bothered, if I’m honest. It just sometimes feels a bit surreal being really rather unaffected by circumstances which are, at face value, really quite enormous.  I know there are millions of sister-wives around the world who can't have babies... I feel a bit fraudlent claiming to join their ranks, especially as I type this with two babies safe under this roof, but my heart goes out to them with some slight sense of recognition anyway.

The day after Jude was born I was very tired and didn’t have a lot of energy. I felt like a ghost of myself – a tremendously elated ghost of myself. Very strange! I’d suffered quite a substantial blood loss during the Caesarean, according to my midwives. 2.5 litres, if you please.

Two point five?

SRSLY, people.

That’s like... one of those big bottles of Diet Coke plus a glass. Ouch!

Now THIS piece of information freaks me out a little. I’m funny about blood... I don’t like injections or withdrawals of any description, and I’ll never be a blood donator. This latter fact will make me sound a bit assholy in light of what I’m about to tell you, but something in my silly little head says that the stuff that’s inside my body is obviously there for a reason, and should remain in there because... like... I NEED IT, okay? But, the ghosty me was faltering, so the Doctor came to recommend that I should have a blood transfusion. “Well, of course you don’t have to have one, you are well within your rights to refuse, “ she began, “So you could try iron tablets for three weeks or you could have a transfusion and get the same results instantly.” I opted for the transfusion. The doctor recommended it as the best course of action, in light of the fact that in the weeks to come my body would not only be breastfeeding but also trying to mend a substantial C-section belly scar. So, here I am typing this with SOMEONE ELSE’S BLOOD SWIRLING AROUND INSIDE ME.

Peculiar, indeed. Someone, somewhere, lay on a sun lounger in one of those blood-donation sessions and gave some blood so I could have it dripped into my left arm over the course of an hour so I could have a bit of colour back in my cheeks and have a good shot at feeding my baby. Thanks, Anonymous Person-Less-Selfish-Than-Me. Really, totally mean that.

I was spoiled rotten by the night-time midwives during my convalescence; because I was Very Serious Terrible Delivery Girl, I had a lot of help (and consequently, a lot of sleep!) during those first few nights. Jude was quite mucousy, and I couldn’t close my eyes for fear of him choking and gagging on little globs of snot/throat-gunge, etc., during the night. Poor little bugger really suffered with it, but my tummy was really sore and I couldn’t get myself in an upright position quick enough to pick him up so he wouldn’t choke. So the midwives looked after him through the night for me. Oh, love the lovely midwives! Lovely Lynnette’s Ashington sister-midwives are a bunch worth their weight in gold. We were both discharged on the Friday afternoon (after a stern talking-to about CONTRACEPTION by a very matronly nurse... but that’s a separate blog entry in itself, watch this space).

A few days later, the Lovely Lynnette came to remove the staples in my belly and here I am 8 weeks post delivery and I feel a million bucks. Belly totally healed, everything back to normal. I am even in my pre-Jude jeans. Wha-hoo!

Lashings of apologies, dear Internet, for taking 8 weeks to finish my labour story, but it really has been a whirlwind “summer”. I say “summer” because it has been distinctly autumnal for the majority, but that’s the way things are on this side of The Pond. But I hope you have enjoyed reading How I Fell In Love Again in July of 2009, as I have enjoyed recalling and reliving it all to write it down.

So I guess this is officially the last pregnancy-related post I will write! What began as my online pregnancy journal has morphed into an official blog – you’ll notice I changed the URL – but I hope you will continue to visit my little corner of the web to read about how we are all doing here on Canterbury Avenue in the coming months. Thanks for reading.

xoxox

Saturday, 5 September 2009

Blog Transfer Post 4

Saturday, 5 September 2009
Blood Red Shoes, 20 October 2008
Carling Academy 2, Newcastle upon Tyne


So, as promised... a few thoughts about Blood Red Shoes.I was sooooo excited to see this band; couldn't get either of their albums out of the car stereo for months, and they're still there. I first heard them on Zane Lowe's BBC1 radio show at the beginning of this summer... they were on his show and I caught the tail end of his interview with them. I remember him being really impressed and flirting his gorgeous arse off with Laura Mary Carter, saying, 'You know you're going to wind up on the cover of Guitarist magazine, you know you want to -- admit it!'

Immediate interest piqued -- I do pay attention to girl guitartists; being one myself it's a useful yardstick. But a yardstick isn't enough for this girl -- the sounds this fabulous woman is producing is the stuff of dreams, she's a total legend. It's just her and Steven Ansell (drums) and for just a two piece --what a wall of noise! It's danceable-to, punky, punchy, melodic, hard-hitting, louder-louder-louder stuff and I'm aaaaaaalllllllllll over it.

So off we go to Carling Academy. From start to finish I totally loved the show (apart from support; see previous note) they covered most of the material from their EP and full length albums and just had such infectious energy it made for really good watching. I was half dead with flu, so stood at the side up the steps for most of it which made for some good photos and video, but rest assured I would have been right up front bopping away if my ailments would have permitted -- which says something... I'm old now, and usually stand at the back (who'd a thunk that?!) but I would have been right up there.

You must must must download their records; they're so young and fresh and doing things the likes of which I haven't heard done so well in a long time -- I hope for their sake they take over the world, but for mine that they don't so they'll play little teeny venues like Carling Academy 2 for ever and ever. When they come back next year I'll be the first in the queue.Enjoy the links below:

This is Not for You (video): http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=7Z8nnZuRvrg&feature=related

It's Getting Boring By the Sea (video): http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=9j7aGkZMGIo&feature=channel

I Wish I Was Someone Better (video): http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=lQ3HV0lRMOo&feature=channel

Friday, 4 September 2009

Blog Transfer Post 3

Friday, 4 September 2009
Friday 7th November, 2008: Rolo Tomassi - Bad, bad, bad music


I went to see Blood Red Shoes on 20th October 2008... what follows started to be a review of the whole show, but I'll post again later with the Blood Red Shoes portion of it. I couldn't resist (actually, I felt it more of a vocational duty) to tell you all about their crap opening band -- Rolo Tamassi. So -- here you go:

I’ve been waiting to see Blood Red Shoes for ages and ages… and after getting the tickets waaaaaay in advance and waiting ages and ages for 20th October to roll around, my body decides to go down with the flu that day.

But come hell or high water (or should that read annoying persistent chesty coughing and bottles of NyQuill/Night Nurse) I went to the show with my friend Ian from work. Good thing it was loud; I could cough and not really be heard.

It was at Carling Academy 2; the little tiny room above the regular Carling Academy in Newcastle – nice and intimate, very loud and just the right size to see a small band with a couple hundred other people. On our way in, the doorman looked at our tickets and said, ‘”Once the gig starts, there’s no re-entry, just so you know – once you’re in, you’re in to stay.”So… what did I think? 1984 were a band from France (enough said) which were okay but didn’t really grab me. The only thing that I thought wasn’t mediocre was this cool light/shadow thing that they had behind them for effects.

Not realising there were two support acts, I was a bit surprised when the roadies started setting up the stage for another band… I was feeling so crap I was just desperate to go home to my bed! So I was already bitter about having to stand there… little did I know, my day was about to get a whole lot worse.Enter Rolo Tamassi. I don’t know if I’m spelling that right, nor do I care. Let me start of with a blanket statement: I have never, not once throughout the duration of my lengthy, distinguished career as an enthusiastic concert-goer – heard a band as BAD as this. It wasn't music, it was just noise. Barfing, bad noise.

Now -- let me clarify -- I am not ignorant of the possibility that I may have reached this conclusion because I am old and set in my ways, and though no one could dispute that I am a bone fide down-to-the-marrow music fan, there are things I like, and things I don’t like. For instance… I do have a bit of a tendency toward closed-mindedness when it comes to new music. A band has to have that ‘certain something’ for me to really take notice and listen, and even more to buy it. Because I inevitably and always compare them to something else from the past… I’m sure there are a lot of you who would agree there are a lot of signed acts out there that are just regurgitating something that’s already been done.

Interesting segueway – regurgitation. Because I’m certain that’s what the lead singer of Rolo Tamassi was trying to do throughout the entire duration of her ‘performance’. I’m not joking, or being sarcastic in any way, when I say that her ‘singing’ consisted solely (and exclusively!) of her trying to be sick into a heavily-effected microphone. I couldn’t understand any of the lyrics, so I can’t comment on her level of, say, sharpened perception on world events, her depth of angst as a wronged teenager in love, etc. To me, it sounded like she was repeatedly shouting, “FOIE GRAS! FOIE GRAS!” occasionally punctuated by the f-word, and varied only by elongation of syllable, or repetition of words as follows:

Variation 1: FOIE GRAS! FOIE GRAS! F********************K FOIE GRAS!

Variation 2: FOIE FOIE FOIE! GRAS GRAS GRAS! F**K F**K F**K!!

Variation 3: FOOOOOOOOOOOOIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIE FOOOOOOOOOOOOIIIIIIIIE GRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAS! FOIIIIIIIIIIIEEEEEEE FOIIIIIIIIIE GRRRRRRRRAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

For those of you who don’t know, fois gras is the enlarged liver of a force-fed goose, originating from the Dordogne region of France. I guess this chick just really hates French cuisine, she sure was angry about it.

As for the rest of the musicians… there were 4 other kids on the stage with the girl – a drummer, a guitarist, a bass guitarist and a computer nerd guy, who also provided some vocals. But they were the musical equivalent of a 300-car pile up on an 8-lane motorway (and I don’t mean that to be complimentary!!). They were all, undoubtedly, proficient at their chosen instruments… but it was like they were all having a contest to see who could play the loudest, fastest, weirdest with no respect or second thought for the poor suckers forced to listen to the results -- locked in ‘poor suckers’ I hasten to add! Now I know why we were warned we shouldn’t leave! They wanted to trap us in!! Torture.

Excessive, excessive time signature changes… brain batteringly frustrating lack of respect for anything resembling melody, weird sound effects – imagine Ross on Friends, when he was playing keyboard.

Imagine Ross on Friends, on crack, multiplied by a thousand, in Dante’s 9th circle of Hell and you wouldn’t even come close. Again – I don’t mean this as a compliment, Rolo Tamassi!

It was like the guitarist was saying, “Hey – what key are you playing in?” to the bass player, and he replies, “I have no idea! What about you?” and the keyboard guy chips in, “I can mash the keys all down with all my fingers like THIS really fast!!!!!” while the drummer goes, “Synco-pa badadadadadadadadadadadadad TIME CHANGE #85….AND GO!!”

It was a freakin' nightmare. Honestly. I’ve been more aurally satisfied watching New Kids On the Block – and that means something.

Finally it ended. The last “chord”’ struck (intentional inverted commas there… I couldn’t be sure if it could technically be so called) and I was almost relieved when the resident DJ played a Hole track while the roadies tore the gear down. (Not a big Courtney Love fan either – Hole were better when Kurt Cobain was writing their songs). I almost went out to the lobby to buy one of Rolo Tamassi’s CD’s, just so I could smash it up and rest in the knowledge that there would be one less of them out there in the world. Totally mismatched genre for the kind of gig I was expecting to go to. Had I not been so desperate to see Blood Red Shoes I would have left, such was the painfulness I had to endure. Ugh. I feel nauseous just thinking about it.

I urge you to look at You Tube… see if you can find them and tell me – is she, or is she not, shouting FOIE GRAS repeatedly? I challenge you, reader, to prove me wrong.

I am unreservedly unapologetic to any of my friends who happen to like this band -- I know there may be a couple -- but man, they sucked. Don't go and see them -- you'll never get that time of your life back again. You could be filling in your tax return instead! Getting a root canal! Ripping off your own toenails with a rusty pair of needle-nose pliers! ALL of these things IMMEASUREABLY prefereable to going to see this band.

Anyway – all of this crapness should not overshadow how effing BRILLIANT Blood Red Shoes were… I was in heaven, it was absolutely fantastic from start to finish. I was really glad I went, and I took loads of pictures and video to remember the show by. But I don’t think it’s necessarily fair on Blood Red Shoes to take up what was meant to be a review of their show when I’ve ranted and raved about how shit their support act was, so I will do a new note, give them proper justice. Watch this space.

Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Blog Transfer Post 2

Tuesday, 1 September 2009
Saturday 15th September 2007: No Son of Mine!

So this morning we tried to contribute to Ben's learning, by trying to divert his attention away from these new-stylee cartoons all the kids are watching.

Picture the scene: Ben sitting on the potty watching TV (so what?), Jason eating muesli and me, cup of tea in hand and the Saturday morning newspaper covering the better part of my person and the sofa, the sunshine streaming through the living room window.

We tried: we failed.

For Jason and me, every nostalgic bone in our respective bodies gave an almighty shudder when we heard the unmistakable opening bars of one of the best kids TV shows of our formative years:

Dance your cares away / worries for another day / let the music play / down at FRAGGLE ROCK!

Too cool! Jason says just like we grew up instinctively loving and knowing all the Beatles lyrics, so should our offspring have inherent appreciation of all things Henson. And then it all came crashing down -- having switched the telly over from 'Roary the Racing Car' or 'Engie Benjy' or similar to catch a glimpse of this old classic, our nostalgic idyll was irrevocably shattered by the bloodcurdling screech that came out of our toddler: DADDY! SWITCH IT OFF! SWITCH! IT! OOOOOOOOOOOOFFF!

I NOT LIKE THE FLAGGLES!

A shame on the Proctor household!

A coincidence that at that very moment, a huge grey cloud moved in front of the sun?

I think not.