Wednesday, 27 April 2011
To The Evening Standard Unit Sat Outside Highbury and Islington Station,
Back in September, when I was trussed up in my finest, desperately trying to attract the attention of a most beautiful elfin man; you decided (in your metal, littered ignorance), to stop me in my tracks.
It was awful, MMH was in creases laughing hysterically, a random boy looked on, just about ready to call in the straight-jackets and my bambi feet were caught in the ledge. Luckily and only luckily, beautiful elfin man remained (and as far as I know remains) oblivious to my blatant and tragic undoing. Not the kind of seamless seduction I had had in mind.
Well...the tables have turned, unit. I'm not the woman I used to be and, on Friday evening, after a frighteningly strong Rum and Coke in Soho, I snuck up on you, stilettoed and armed with determination to put an end to this war of ours.
I must admit, sliding upon your freezing surface with the ease of a gazelle, felt a little like conquering my biggest fear. There I was, atop your shimmering mountain, I had won!
So next time, when a man of such delicious beauty appears within five foot of us; and I am ready, wide-eyed and loose-tongued, to entice him further with my slippery antics, just work with me, for you will not get the better of me again!
Monday, 25 April 2011
Dear Mr Jon Richardson (Comedian Extraordinaire and Swindonia-Dweller),
Having watched your impeccably cute and hilarious self on Graham Norton recently; I can’t help but think that we might be a perfect match. I know you are incredibly hard to please, what with your OCD issues and all. I know you remain stringent in your beliefs that relationships, no matter how in love you are, will end in hideous, heartbreaking catastrophe. I even know you live alone in Swindon having spent the last seven years single (how?). But you see, I too, have a morbid fascination with the tragedies and woes of love and all that comes with it, albeit along with a more hopeful outlook. I too, have used my rather hilarious heartbreak stories for the literary entertainment of others, another common stepping stone on which we both totter; AND am burying myself in the dark and tragic novel I am currently author-ing, on which I believe you could be heavily influential.
I am meticulously clean and tidy (aside from my office – but that’s really a size issue - I say office, think cupboard), but not to the compulsive levels of your self-diagnosed disorder, therefore, balancing out a future heavenly homelife, complete with alphabeticalised and chronologicalised CDs and DVDs and labelled tins in perpendicular positioning.
There is also the small factor of you being extremely gorgeous, a little bit grumpy and Northern; all of which I have developed quite the penchant for. In fact, since first setting eyes on your slightly awkward frame and boyish locks Mr Richardson, on an episode of Have I Got News For You; I can oft be found fantasizing about our sweet, but spotless, Yorkshire cottage, in which I am fussing around you and your beer-belly of contentment, pinnied and trussed up in true pin-up housewife style. There will be your dogs, my cats, our creative and neurotic children, casseroles bubbling in the oven and book deals flying through the letterbox.
Sounds a little too good to be true, I know. So what say we stick the finger up at The Big Plan and other such neurosis, and try proving ourselves wrong by making each other happy?!
Let me know your thoughts, or your next available dates in Londinium. I look forward to hearing from you
And back to reality…
Am currently sat, in the sun-trap of my parent’s back garden, amidst the wafting smoke of the first BBQs of the season and the persistent leg-brushing of my ADHD-ridden cat – it’s 6pm, tea should be in the bowl, crunchy topping added by now. For me, there is a calmness around my life at the moment, a sort of enjoyable peace that comes with not being stressed at work and not worrying myself stupid over things that I simply cannot, for the moment at least, control. The book is happening, the holiday is much in discussion. And Kopparberg’s Strawberry and Lime cider is in existence. Life is good.
April is shaping up to be my favourite month of the year so far. Not only have I been in the presence of the Great Min (see last Blog); I’ve had the pleasure of working with Steffi, my wonderful new ASM for a full three weeks now, gave Lovemenot the bestest Birthday weekend known to man, made a decision to pursue a career as a Burlesque star AND been touched, literally, by the legend that is Thomas Peter Meighan…of Kasabian (best band ever) fame! It sure is tough being me…
We saw March out with a weekend of celebrations for Lovemenot’s big Two Four. Of course she was treated to only the finest champagne breakfast and homemade cupcakes, all lovingly put together by yours truly during the day, plus a leisurely jaunt around the hidden trinkets of Angel High Street. But a night out at Queen of Hoxton, followed by some impromptu salsa dancing at Drunken Monkey, after narrowly escaping a childish brawl between two teenagers in the street, pretty much fitted the bill for our Friday night. East London sure is fun when the bouncers get chucking.
I was the one in the dusky playsuit with deep purple lipstick and an aversion to old men with backpacks (Lovemenot was being too nice, what with it being her Birthday and all). You were the boy with the beautiful face and the oversized 8 Mile-inspired clothing, I envisaged a checked shirt and fitted jeans, but you had disappeared before I got a chance to Gok your wardrobe or, in fact, correct your friend on his sideglancing Jessie J comment. Shame!
The fun didn’t end there, despite a full weekend of work for me. As usual I managed to drag myself to work, after another 4.30am finish, only to Red Bull it up for another cosy pub night the following evening. Sunday, we were treated by our lovely friend, to tickets to the highly acclaimed Hurly Burly Burlesque Show. A contemporary burlesque romp starring the impeccable Miss Polly Rae and directed by William Baker (he’s best friends with Kylie, don’t you know) that, was not only thrilling to watch, but re-ignited my secret desire to learn and perform the art of burlesque under my already devised pseudonym. Lady Amelie Fatale…coming soon to a run down pub near you?
It was only the week later that on a random lunch break stroll, I got over excited at a Facebook post from Kasabian stating that living legend Tom Meighan was flying back from San Francisco to DJ, for one night only, at Proud 2 (Proud’s little sister venue neatly tucked away at the O2 complex). Not only that, but the first 25 people to email would get free VIP guestlist places. I didn’t think it was possible, considering the post was an hour old, that I would be one of the lucky 25, but chance overtook me and I emailed straight away. Only to get an immediate response confirming that I was on the list and could bring up to 15 friends with me. In the end there were not 15 of us, there was me and there was Lovemenot and a bunch of lame excuses from everyone else, so screw them, we were off to party with Tom.
After we had got over the architectural marvel that is Proud 2, in all its chandeliered, artistic walled glory; we hit the dance floor to vintage MJ and the likes. There were checked shirts left, right and centre and an excellent DJ set from Alex of Hot Chip fame. God he’s miserable.
There was a boy. He had all the usual trappings to send me off in a whirlwind of uncontrollable lust. Slightly short and elfin in appearance, he was slumped over the bar when Lovemenot and I left the dancefloor, and the empty stares of Alex from Hot Chip, to refuel with water. I should have seen it coming when he asked Lucy if he knew her – here we had a wasted little player, perhaps one to steer clear of. But no, he had to open his mouth and tell me I was ‘beautiful in a Pulp Fiction sort of way’…in a Northern accent. Cut to Lovemenot trying to drag me back on to the dancefloor in anticipation of Tom’s arrival. He was James, he was 23 and he was barely coherent. We kissed, he slurred, I was unsure what was going on but he was very very cute and I was very very keen to talk to him some more. Lovemenot was near enough tapping her feet, having been abandoned for a short while, so we had another cheeky kiss and went our separate ways, I was hopeful of spotting him again in the crowd.
Just a few minutes later…the crowd was surging (or perhaps Serge-ing!) forward, the lights were low and I spotted a familiar wasted face in the crowd…drunk James…he was back….and had no recollection of who I was WHATSOEVER. So much so, that he was chatting Lovemenot up right in front of me, and when she waived his advances, he immediately turned his attentions to the poor girl directly in front of us. One can only assume that under his poor Rowley-imitation looks, he had little to no personality and perhaps a psychological need to be wanted by everyone (short men often have this problem, I find). Another one smacked straight onto the Twat Pile.
Of course I couldn’t possibly finish this Blog without mentioning the arrival of Mr Meighan himself. The lights had dimmed, a random DJ man was building the crowd up and there were scores of screaming men and women. Then he appeared, beautiful as ever and probably on something. Having been front row at a Kasabian gig before, I was in full anticipation of Tom’s charismatic stage presence and unrivalled sex appeal. I was not disappointed as he Jaggered it up next to his DJ friend sending out heart shapes to the crowd and dancing like a mad man. Divinity derives from Leicester my friends.
Cut to nearly the end of the evening, the world literally slowed down as the delectable Mr Meighan, having nearly wrecked half the equipment, stepped out from the behind the decks. He was mincing towards the front of the stage, where I was swooning next to Lovemenot, hands outstretched. Lo and behold, as if in a dream, Meighan’s hands grabbed both of mine. In that moment, much like 2009 when general lyrics were thrown in my direction, we were connected. Sad as it seems, these moments all still mean a lot to me. Thank you Tom, thank you.
As I sit finishing off this rather rambling entry, the sunshine is still streaming through the clouds, prompting a need to be lying, outstretched in a park, probably dodging footballs whilst listening to acoustic Nirvana. So it seems, for now, that Summer is well and truly upon us. Which can mean only one thing; the ongoing emotional battle between me and the lower half of my body increases to panicking, epic new levels,
Top Half: ‘Why can’t you just look half decent in a bikini or a pair of shorts fair arse of mine?’
Bottom Half: ‘Because we love the finer things in life like mochas…and cheesecake…and wine. Plus you lie about going running.’
Top Half: ‘Don’t start with that, I was told this was down to genetics.’
Bottom Half: ‘People lie, a bit like you about the running. White mocha for the journey is it? Best make it skinny.’
All this inner turmoil, whilst trying elegantly to prise half of my maxi dress away from my handbag straps which are, currently, trapping so much fabric and leaving half my bra exposed. It is not easy trying to look flawless in the summer. Actually.
I am a fan of Summer, Mojito-soaked evenings in beer gardens in particular. What I am not a fan of, however, is elongated journeys spent on London public transport plus heat. Everyone gets hot and bothered, the seats get sweaty and sticky with I-don’t-even-want-to-know-what, prompting rather hilarious en-route arguments between people who, in another life, would probably either completely ignore each other or smile quaintly in the streets of an afternoon. One example of this exhaustive behaviour, on a Number 30 last Thursday eve, was enough to put me off ever bearing and raising children in London.
Having already negotiated my way round a lanky schoolchild trying to push in front of me in the bus queue, I was sat, watching a young couple struggle onto the partially filled bus with a pram; the young Dad of the couple having alighted the bus to courteously ask three old ladies (probably tipsy on sherry and high on gardening tips) to move from the designated buggy area. Of course, with it being hot and everyone being irritable, the young Dad’s politeness didn’t quite have the desired effect as the couple were eyeballed by the Geriatric Loose Women as they nestled their new-born into place for the journey. Yes that’s right, Mrs Hip Replacement, there are other, more important people, than you and your ‘Ladies that Lunch Bunch’ despite what people might say about the youth of today etc. If you can’t handle it, cram into a taxi and be on your merry way. I swore, from that point on, I would never be eyeballed whilst alighting a bus in sweaty Londinium with a Baby Musing staring helplessly out of a Cath Kidston pram. Never.
Well that’s about it from me. With all this Bank Holiday sun - and a disappointing Easter Sunday at work – Lovemenot and I are off to explore Brick Lane, drink mojitos and chase ginger beards in the dazzling sunshine!
Enjoy the Royal Wedding!
Friday, 15 April 2011
If I don’t accomplish anything else this year, I can be safe in the knowledge that I have made one, very overdue, life-long achievement a reality. I have finally seen the wonder that is Kylie Minogue live on her Aphrodite Les Folies tour…
The thing with Kylie, is that she is an absolute icon…love her or hate her. I personally love her. On reflection she has, in some way, always been an integral part of my life. I loved her as a four year old, watching her finally walk down the aisle with Scott Robinson on lunch time Neighbours episodes. I loved her early Scott, Aitken and Waterman years and would oft be found dancing around to ‘I Should Be So Lucky’ in my living room. I loved her Indie-fuelled lost paradise years. I love that ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ was an anthem during my first year at Uni. I even love that my first tooth fell out, aged six and munching on a pink iced bun, whilst enviously watching The Great Min teach two lucky children The Loco-Motion dance on Jim’ll Fix It. She means a lot to me, and a lot to my best buddy Kitty, which is why we always promised we would book tickets to see her perform, it was Never Too Late….(more Min puns to follow, stay with me)!
Alas…back in October, whilst I was basking in my holiday tan and writing about embarrassing incidents with Evening Standard Units, I received a text from Kitty Dearest…Aphrodite Les Folies tour was opening another night, there were tickets left…should we go for it? Without hesitation, I put my shopping bags down and simply typed YES back to her. The moment had arrived. The Great Min was coming back to London, and we were going to be there to Step Back In Time!
Cut to a day of April showers and misty windows; I was practically pacing the floor (when I wasn’t hoovering it) in anticipation of Kitty and our friend Liz’s arrival and of what our evening with Australia’s finest female export would bring. I had Min Music from all the eras blasting out and three playsuits lined up to choose from. I had purposefully not read anything about the tour, for fear it would ruin some trick Min had up her sleeve. Even Mummy Musing knew about her entrance, not a Kylie fan herself, she was inflicted with it when I was a young child…but then I was inflicted with Michael Bolton as a youngster, and some people would call that musical abuse.
4pm came and off I trotted to meet Kitty and Liz at Victoria station. Note to self: when picking people up from said coach station, one should be advised that it is likely you will get lost, allow plenty of time for this sort of kerfuffle! A quick catch up and a decision on the playsuit (dusty pink with waistband – I thought Min would appreciate something girly), we were off to the O2, stopping off for something to eat whilst watching the sunset over Canary Wharf. Of course I couldn’t throw my Yaki Soba down my neck fast enough at the overpriced Wagamama’s situated directly opposite the Dome, sunset schmunset.
As a rule, the O2 is not my favourite venue. This is mostly due to an incident on my Birthday a few years ago, at a Duran Duran concert, during which I discovered the extent of Mummy Musing’s fear of heights. Luckily she made it through the evening, and managed to stay standing for half of it. The truth is it’s not the most homely of venues; having been designed as its own little all-you-could-ever-need universe within the snug Dome environment. It’s amazing just how many eateries, clubs and people dressed as Angels offering directions (?!) they can cram into one place. Having said all that, it really is highly unlikely that someone of Kylie’s status would be rocking up to The Garage to play in intimate surroundings, to an audience of 6 drinking warm beer, so obviously I just needed to get over myself and dive into the crowd of, what seemed like, 97% gay couples in homemade Greek headdress.
I’ll skim over the support act, The Ultragirls, simply because the name says it all and as soon as I saw one wearing bunny ears, I had to hold back an extreme urge to hurl the contents of my water bottle on stage. As far as I see, support acts for huge stars are never there to be enjoyed, unless you are at Kasabian and the guitarist is ridiculously hot….sorry, just slipped off there a little. Still, good luck to them! Nonetheless, I used the time waiting for Kylie with total efficiency - to test out the many picture/lighting options on my camera as the 9 p.m start time drew ever closer.
The lights dimmed, the screens were lit, near-naked male dancers were depicted swimming about underwater to a soundtrack of plinky fairy-tale magic, before the familiar voice of Min filled the room and the beat of Aphrodite’s title track started thumping. One elaborate clam shell opening later, there she was, resplendent, in Greek-style costume looking all smiley and extremely small. I shed a small tear at the sight of the pint-sized Goddess, unable to believe that my years of adoration had brought me to this point, I felt just like that envious 6 year old, with one iced bun and one less tooth, all over again.
Cue two hours of performance perfection. There were flying horses, flying angels, acrobats on ropes, more near-naked male dancers than I could shake a Stickels at, and an extended platform on which The Great Min rode her chariot of glory meaning that, at one point, she was less than ten metres away from me. There was a rocked-up ‘Can’t Get You…’, a dressed-down ‘Slow’, a Brazilian carnival of colour and a sincere thank you from the lady herself as she confessed to having ‘the best view in the house as we all looked amazing’. Thanks Min, you don’t look so bad yourself in your D&G get up. In truth, even as a severely heterosexual woman, one cannot help but gaze at THE BUM. 42 years old and it is the very model of a perfect posterior…how does she do it?
Two hours and 15 minutes seemed to fly by and, just when we thought all was over, Kylie reappeared in a vintage swimsuit-inspired outfit for an encore, beginning with ‘On A Night Like This’ and ending with ‘All The Lovers’. As if we needed any more choreographic fantasy to feast our eyes on, fountains of water began spraying out along the extended platform, leading to the show’s climax of Kylie, suspended above two tiers of dancers, creating a ‘human fountain’ formation. Not only that, but at each chorus, four ropes each with two dancers hanging from it, were suspended above the formation for yet more acrobatics. It’s a wonder I didn’t wake up with horrendous neck ache the following morning.
In short, Aphrodite Les Folies, was as much about fashion and style as it was music and performance. It was innovative, fun and pure magic, a complete triumph. Never in my life, have I been so awestruck by a stage set or by endless magical costume design. Every twist and turn was so perfectly portrayed, every song so brilliantly executed (and all live, of course) and even the impromptu a capella Loco Motion was note perfect.
So here I am now, enjoying taking some time back and completely unable to stop listening to my vast Kylie collection on the Ipod. It’s funny how her simple lyrics always seem to resonate though – it’s like every song from ‘Can’t Get You Out Of My Head’ to ‘Got To Be Certain’ right through to my latest favourite ‘Cupid Boy’ draws from a personal feeling or memory. I think that’s part of her appeal though, underneath the glamour and fame she’s just like the rest of us. Rihanna may have the thighs, Beyonce may have voice and Lady Gaga may have the controversy…but there will never be anyone quite like our Kylie – a fierce, fighting, timeless, beautiful Aphrodite.