Masonic Boom

"Crazy" "Oversensitive" "Feminazi" "Bitch" bloggin' bout pop music, linguistics and mental health issues

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Location: South London, United Kingdom

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Well, That's All Over Now

God, I am such a freaking idiot.

Someone slap me if I ever even talk to a boy again.

A Brilliant Gig And A Bruised Angel

Oh, my head is all in a muddle, my moods are up and down like a whore's knickers, and I swing between ecstacy and agony. I must be in love. Or at least, deep crush. (I don't really know any other kind of "in love" - never experienced the requited kind.)

The gig last night was an unmitigated success. I cannot remember the last time I felt so... *golden* onstage. One of those gigs where it just... takes off, excitement and nerves explode into euphoria and brilliance.

Why? What was different? The bill was great, the promoters were friendly and fetched us drinks and food, the band were all in a bouncy mood... but it wasn't any of that that made it so fantastic.

It was looking out into the audience, and there, directly in my line of sight, was the Prettiest Boy In The World. All these songs that I've performed so many times that they've become just words and melodies - suddenly they *meant* something again.

I've been going through the motions, phoning it in for so long, fake orgasm after fake orgasm, that I was almost surprised by the *power*, emotionally and artistically, of a gig where I was "feeling it". Better than sex, better than love, better than anything, that wave of euphoria. And when I got offstage, I felt magical, marvellous, invincible.

And then that rush took over, and when D and PBW suggested going on to a late bar, I found myself caught up in it, even knowing I had to work in the morning. I talked, briefly, disjointedly, to PBW, though he seems standoffish with me in a way that he isn't with others. We have the same rootless, multi-continental background, and he told me stories about his Situation. And what a tale he told, of heartbreak and woe and a totally fucked-up experience. How can you hear a story like that and not ache? And yet it explains so much, the bruised look behind his angel eyes.

And me, emotional vampire that I am, all I want to do is write songs about him. Selfish cunt. But that's the muse, innit? I look at him and I hear music, it's as simple as that.

I mean, it's all projection, isn't it? The way he looks, his voice. This is why I don't want to date him, don't even want to sleep with him (really?) - because that kind of emotion cannot take the wear and tear of everyday life. Of course I fantasise, of course I *want* - to spend half our lives in the bedroom and half our lives in the studio/onstage like Emmylou and Gram. But that's unreal, isn't it? So Not Going To Happen. I refuse to want what I cannot have. But that doesn't stop the wanting, does it?

And instead, we go to later bar and meet up with the rest of the band, and he drinks and chats up a random Australian while I watch, helplessly "in love" but unable to do anything about it. He tells me it's absurd, that he's nothing like I think (I almost laugh at what he might thinks I think of him) and I don't know him. Maybe I don't want to know him, that would ruin everything. I tell him I just want him to my muse.

He goes home with the Australian. Rip out the page of her sketchbook that I drew for her. (Once upon a time, 10 years ago, I travelled round the world, getting strangers and pop stars to draw or write in my sketchbook.) It's nothing personal, it's just you've gone home with the boy I was trying to chat up all evening.

I can't blame him. If I were in his Situation, I'd be getting drunk and pulling strangers every night of the week. I certainly wouldn't touch something so weird and complicated as myself and what I offer with someone else's dick - even if it wasn't wrapped in a body like a sausage and a face like a pickled egg.

"It doesn't matter who you are, or what you do - all that matters is what you look like," I tell D. He tries to disagree with me, but misses the point. It's a double edged statement. It's not just a comparison between my plainness and the Australian's prettiness. It's an inditement of myself, too - I mean, I'm not in love with PBW for his scintillating personality or his accomplishments, am I? I'm in love with his eyelashes, with the pointiness of his nose, the way his cheeks dimple when he smiles, the bruised angel sadness behind his impossibly blue eyes. Because he *looks* like my lost muse.

Walking across Trafalgar Square to the night bus, I look up at Nelson on his column and am struck with it all, the pain, the love, the flush of the gig, and my heart feels full to bursting. Maybe it hurts, but it is delicious pain - so sweet after the terrible NUMBNESS of the past few months.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Shimura Curves

Aw, yeah! AMPy made this:

Listology

So, I guess this is supposed to be, like "The Canon or something. I'm only going to count specific books I've read, rather than other titles by the same author.

2000s
24. Fingersmith – Sarah Waters
61. How the Dead Live – Will Self
63. The Blind Assassin – Margaret Atwood

1900s
85. Tipping the Velvet – Sarah Waters
86. The Poisonwood Bible – Barbara Kingsolver
87. Glamorama – Bret Easton Ellis
94. Great Apes – Will Self
102. Cocaine Nights – J.G. Ballard
109. Alias Grace – Margaret Atwood
111. Morvern Callar – Alan Warner
125. The Wind-Up Bird Chronicle – Haruki Murakami
129. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis de Bernieres
134. Trainspotting – Irvine Welsh
143. The Virgin Suicides – Jeffrey Eugenides
144. The House of Doctor Dee – Peter Ackroyd
145. The Robber Bride – Margaret Atwood
157. Smilla’s Sense of Snow – Peter Høeg
166. American Psycho – Bret Easton Ellis
167. Time’s Arrow – Martin Amis
171. Downriver – Iain Sinclair
183. Possession – A.S. Byatt
184. The Buddha of Suburbia – Hanif Kureishi
190. Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
197. London Fields – Martin Amis
199. Cat’s Eye – Margaret Atwood
200. Foucault’s Pendulum – Umberto Eco
218. The Bonfire of the Vanities – Tom Wolfe
240. Less Than Zero – Bret Easton Ellis
242. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
247. Hawksmoor – Peter Ackroyd
256. The Unbearable Lightness of Being – Milan Kundera
272. The Color Purple – Alice Walker
289. Rites of Passage – William Golding
291. Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
293. The Name of the Rose – Umberto Eco
301. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
303. The World According to Garp – John Irving
308. The Virgin in the Garden – A.S. Byatt
311. Delta of Venus – Anaïs Nin
312. The Shining – Stephen King
320. Interview With the Vampire – Anne Rice
345. Crash – J.G. Ballard
354. Surfacing – Margaret Atwood
358. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – Hunter S. Thompson
389. 2001: A Space Odyssey – Arthur C. Clarke
400. The Master and Margarita – Mikhail Bulgakov
408. In Cold Blood – Truman Capote
413. The Crying of Lot 49 – Thomas Pynchon
426. V. – Thomas Pynchon
427. Cat’s Cradle – Kurt Vonnegut
428. The Graduate – Charles Webb
433. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
437. A Clockwork Orange – Anthony Burgess
439. The Drowned World – J.G. Ballard
456. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
460. Billy Liar – Keith Waterhouse
461. Naked Lunch – William Burroughs
463. Absolute Beginners – Colin MacInnes
467. Breakfast at Tiffany’s – Truman Capote
477. The Once and Future King – T.H. White
484. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
487. The Wonderful “O” – James Thurber
494. The Lord of the Rings – J.R.R. Tolkien
506. The Story of O – Pauline Réage
508. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
515. Junkie – William Burroughs
518. Casino Royale – Ian Fleming
529. The Catcher in the Rye – J.D. Salinger
536. The 13 Clocks – James Thurber
537. Gormenghast – Mervyn Peake
547. Nineteen Eighty-Four – George Orwell
559. The Plague – Albert Camus
561. Titus Groan – Mervyn Peake
563. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
564. Animal Farm – George Orwell
574. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint-Exupéry
593. Finnegans Wake – James Joyce (phew!)
602. Nausea – Jean-Paul Sartre
605. Brighton Rock – Graham Greene
608. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
610. The Hobbit – J.R.R. Tolkien
617. Eyeless in Gaza – Aldous Huxley
620. Keep the Aspidistra Flying – George Orwell
637. A Handful of Dust – Evelyn Waugh
638. Tender is the Night – F. Scott Fitzgerald
649. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
650. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
659. Vile Bodies – Evelyn Waugh
667. All Quiet on the Western Front – Erich Maria Remarque
677. The Well of Loneliness – Radclyffe Hall
680. Decline and Fall – Evelyn Waugh
684. Steppenwolf – Herman Hesse
686. To The Lighthouse – Virginia Woolf
699. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
700. The Counterfeiters – André Gide
701. The Trial – Franz Kafka
708. A Passage to India – E.M. Forster
717. Siddhartha – Herman Hesse
725. Crome Yellow – Aldous Huxley
741. Of Human Bondage – William Somerset Maugham
750. Death in Venice – Thomas Mann
752. Ethan Frome – Edith Wharton
754. Howards End – E.M. Forster
758. Strait is the Gate – André Gide
761. A Room With a View – E.M. Forster
767. The Jungle – Upton Sinclair
772. Where Angels Fear to Tread – E.M. Forster
778. The Immoralist – André Gide

1800s
794. Dracula – Bram Stoker
797. The Time Machine – H.G. Wells
800. The Real Charlotte – Somerville and Ross
801. The Yellow Wallpaper – Charlotte Perkins Gilman
808. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
809. The Picture of Dorian Gray – Oscar Wilde
821. The Mayor of Casterbridge – Thomas Hardy
835. Ben-Hur – Lew Wallace
839. Return of the Native – Thomas Hardy
846. Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
854. Through the Looking Glass, and What Alice Found There – Lewis Carroll
858. Sentimental Education – Gustave Flaubert
860. Maldoror – Comte de Lautréaumont
866. Journey to the Centre of the Earth – Jules Verne
867. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky
868. Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
871. Notes from the Underground – Fyodor Dostoevsky
876. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
879. The Mill on the Floss – George Eliot
886. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
893. Uncle Tom’s Cabin; or, Life Among the Lonely – Harriet Beecher Stowe
895. The House of the Seven Gables – Nathaniel Hawthorne
896. Moby-Dick – Herman Melville
897. The Scarlet Letter – Nathaniel Hawthorne
902. Wuthering Heights – Emily Brontë
904. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Brontë
905. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
911. The Pit and the Pendulum – Edgar Allan Poe
913. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
916. The Fall of the House of Usher – Edgar Allan Poe
930. Ivanhoe – Sir Walter Scott
931. Frankenstein – Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley
932. Northanger Abbey – Jane Austen
933. Persuasion – Jane Austen
936. Emma – Jane Austen
937. Mansfield Park – Jane Austen
938. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
940. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen

1700s
951. Justine – Marquis de Sade
970. Candide – Voltaire
982. A Modest Proposal – Jonathan Swift
983. Gulliver’s Travels – Jonathan Swift
987. Robinson Crusoe – Daniel Defoe

Pre-1700s
991. The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan

152 out of 1001 - that's what, 15%?

Well, as far as Dead White Males go, it's not a bad list. I thought the worst omission was Dodie Smith - I Capture The Castle. And the pre-Modern omissions were inexcusable. No Mallory? No Shakespeare? No Chaucer?

Still, not a bad waste of a morning.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Dream A Little Dream



After the enormously long Docklands Walk (documented well enough on Ed's Flickr for me not to have to explain I went to bed about 9.30 last night, due to sheer exhaustion, not to mention tea withdrawl.

Odd dreams. About space alien conspiracy theories. Kinda like that episode of Star Trek, TNG, there were these evil aliens who had come to earth and were trying to subvert society by getting everyone hooked to High Energy Drinks and their videogames. Somehow they were feeding off the energy people were exerting on both, like emotional vampires.

The only people who were not falling for it were me and my Jungian shadow/boyfriend, Kurt Cobain. (It's strange, how, in dreams, you can be with someone, and *be* someone at the same time. The Companion/Shadow figure in dreams.) I was concerned, reading reports about the perilous world economy crises the aliens were precipitating in financial papers; Kurt was too depressed to do anything but lie around in bed strumming our guitars.

Then the aliens decided that they were going to do a massive interweb broadcast of reclusive Kurt's first comeback performance in years, in order to get him "on side". I/he went to do the broadcast, and it was all quite Dr. Who, half technology, half telepathy, and me/him standing there in our pyjamas.

Started to perform, and there was a MASSIVE surge of energy - *negative* energy, that kind of depressive heartbreak/hatred/self loathing that fuels songwriting (and performance) when you know it's good. Look down, and the aliens are writhing on the floor in agony, they have absorbed all the negative mental energy/depression and it's killing them.

But at the same time, I feel free, I feel my spirits lifted, I feel *HAPPY*... the depression, the Black Dog is just *gone*. I've saved the world by killing the evil aliens, and also lifted the mental illness that has been the bane of my entire adult life. The end.

Friday, November 24, 2006

The Mill On The Floss

Now, normally I like my detailed, painted on fine bits of ivory lugubrious Victorian novels, but I'm finding George Eliot hard going. It's taken 2/3 of the novel to finally get to the good bit. I like my Victorian prose to feel like I'm swimming through treacle; this is so slow-moving and ponderous I feel like I'm being drowned under a sea of potatoes.

But still... this chapter has caught the dilemma of my current life:

"But I can't give up wishing, said Philip, impatiently. "It seems to me we can never give up longing and wishing while we are thoroughly alive. There are certain things we feel to be beautiful and good, and we *must* hunger after them. How can we ever be satisfied without them until our feelings are deadened? I delight in fine pictures - I long to be able to paint such. I strive and strive, and can't produce what I want. That is pain to me, and always *will* be pain, until my faculties lose their keenness, like aged eyes. Then, there are many other things that I long for" - here Philip hesitated a little, and then said - "things that other men have, and that will always be denied me. My life will have nothing great or beautiful in it - I would rather not have lived."

(Philip, the cripled son of the lawyer that ruined Maggie's family, is clearly in love with Maggie, and the pain of longing for her is all mixed up with the pain of striving to create a work of art as perfect as his imagination. I suspect he rather sees her as his Muse. He later tries to give Maggie a romantic novel, to distract her from her straitened condition, but she espouses the self denial that she has taught herself to keep her from losing her mind.)

"No thank you," said Maggie, putting the book aside with her hand and walking on. "It would make me in love with this world again, as I used to be; it would make me long to see and know many things - it would make me long for a full life."

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Photo Phear

It's a weird thing, looking at Flickr. How people represent their lives, display their friends and establish their online identities in snapshots and art prints. I read too much into it, maybe, when I complain that some of my friends never seem to disply pictures of *me*. Is that reading too much? I don't know. One person, when I commented, just said flat out "it's not about equal representation, it's just about making *me* and *my life* look as glamourous as possible." So it's hard not to read that as my being not quite glamourous to make the cut.

Though I guess the other half is that I don't like having my picture taken. Then again, who does? Everyone thinks they're ugly when confronted with a camera.

Or is that it? I don't necessarily think so. I was trying to explain to someone why I am so dreadling our upcoming photo shoot. It's not really that I believe I'm ugly - though I say that I do. It's that I've got a very definite mental picture of myself in my head - a tall, blonde guitar goddess - and she looks *nothing* like the fat, scowling, jowly, middle aged woman that turns up in the camera's lense.

So when people don't like having their photos taken, it's not that they think they're ugly. It's that the camera reveals that they are not as attractive in the flesh as they are in their own minds.

Monday, November 20, 2006

The Prettiest Boy In The World

I walk in, and I can't help but stare. You're looking at me like you're trying to figure out where you know me from. I'm just staring, because you're that kind of beautiful I can't take my eyes off of.

If it's a crush, it's the purest form of crush. I know you're out of my league. I can't imagine what it would be like to kiss you, let alone fantasise about sex. I just want to look at you, an experience of pure aesthetic joy, like listening to a beautiful piece of music or watching a well-crafted film, or looking at a favourite painting.

Somewhere between a Rennaisance angel and a louche choirboy, a shock of blond hair, pointed nose, eyes like the sky and a smile like the dawn. The whole world lights up when you grin insouciantly, depression and badness fall away, replaced by wonder and hope, and the idea that any world that has that smile in in cannot be too bad a place.

Friday, November 17, 2006

A Cure For Melancholy?

Temporary at least...

I went down to Brighton on a business trip yesterday. Yes, I'm such an adult now, I do proper Business Trips, just like my dad. (Except I remember to come home from mine.)

It's kind of nice to be in an unfamiliar office, without distractions, as no one knew where to find me except the people I was meeting with. You can buckle down and get to business. Plus, there are long-haired hipster boys in the Brighton office, which we certainly don't get here, in an office full of clean cut City Boys.

After dinner with Archel, I decided to walk down to the seafront, even though it was dark. It just doesn't seem complete, a visit to Brighton, without going to the beach and at least looking at the water. (The colleague I went down with returned to London as soon as her meetings were done, and told me that she'd never actually visited the beach. So wrong!)

So I stood at the base of the pier, watching the waves crash against the beach on that little spit of land between the pier and the old chain pier. It's my favourite bit of the whole seafront, more due to the sound than its looks. The crash of the surf, then the crackly hiss of the pebbles being dragged back by the receding water. And then the whoosh as the retreating wave gets caught up in the undertow of the next one. It's mesmerising.

There's something so soothing about it, the sound, the cyclical nature of it, the way that the waves advance, and keep on advancing, a relentless cycle, sand through the hourglass like the days of our lives... Counting waves to see if the Ninth Wave really is the deepest, like Tennyson and Kate Bush told us. (They do ebb and flow, but it's not as regular as 9 or 7 or whatever, it can be as few as 4 and as many as 10 before the next combined wave-crest tosses water higher up on the beach.)

It's very hard to be sad when watching waves. Maybe I should make like all aging hipster and move down to the sea.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Zone Of Pain

Ouch.

Time and Place

Well, there comes a point when even blogging seems pointless. How many different ways are there to write "I'm sad and lonely, and very depressed" before I start to bore myself?

I finished reading some book that AMP lent me. A bit of fluff called "Sex and Blood and Rock'n'Roll" which was about a punk rock Dominatrix from the East Village turned Serial Killer. Blah blah blah. I didn't find the sex that erotic, or the violence that shocking - am I that blase, or was I just unable to get past the utterly terrible writing style, the unoriginal story or the tediously obvious psychological "backstory"?

And worst of all, it was set in NYC Punk Bohemia of the early to mid 90s, just exactly around the time that I was there.

And it just got it all so pathetically... wrong. I found it too distracting, laughing at the "cool" culture references - Coney Island High, The Bank, The Pyramid Club, Don Hills - because by that point in time, they just *weren't* "cool" any more. Imagine trying to read a novel set in "cool" London of 2006 and finding the action all set in Camden.

This was, and this wasn't the NYC of my 20s. It was all the stuff I'd outgrown, or simply sneered at, gutterpunks and bridge and tunnel kids ran away from the suburbs who still hung out on St. Marks Place with their ker-azy punk hairdos. While the real hipper-than-thou "cool" action in 1995 was happening on Ludlow Street, the Lower East Side, down under the Brooklyn Bridge, and more specifically Williamsburg, which was, still genuinely edgy and subversive then, and hadn't yet turned into the Hipster Wonderland it is today.

That's the problem with trying to write a subculture novel that is set very much in time and place. If you get it wrong, that willing suspension of disbelief just snaps.

I've read books about that time and place that get it right - f*ck, I've forgotten the name of that book - about a woman whose relationship was disintergrating as she started drumming in indie bands of the East Village. And that book was so accurate it made me cry, even missing the smell of Tasty Fish Studios and the Luna Lounge and cups of peppermint tea at the Pink Pony.

Then again, maybe that's the thing about NYC. It's such a patchwork of villages, two people can live in the city at the same time, on the edges of the scenes, same place and same time, and live in a completely different world.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Micr0s0ft Joke

Q: How many Bill Gates does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: Dark is the new Industry Standard!

Oyster Impass

Bloody Oyster cards.

Yesterday morning, I came in from Ramsgate on a "London Terminals" ticket to Charing Cross. Walked to work, as it was only just up the hill.

However, when I finished work, and walked to Farringdon, hoping to take the Thameslink First Capital Connect home, I realised that I'd neglected to buy my usual Zones 1-3 weekly travelcard as usual on Monday morning. I tried to purchase one at Farringdon, but without even asking, the man pulled out an Oyster Card, and started ringing up my travelcard - WITH an unwanted £3 deposit.

"No, no Oyster" I told him.

"Sorry, we don't do paper tickets" he told me.

"I'm going to Streatham - they neither accept nor top up Oysters."

The machine didn't issue weekly travelcards, either - in fact, they didn't even do Zones 1-3, only 1-2 and 1-4. So I had to purchase a single to Streatham. And then bought my travelcard on paper as usual - on Tuesday morning, screwing up my weekly shop.

Bloody absurd. I hate Oysters, I hate the London Transport Is Watching You aspect of them. (No wonder they had that utterly creepy "secure beneath the watchful eyes" poster a few years back.) I hate the interest free loan of that bloody deposit. I was actually quite proud that Thameslink First Capital Discontent were the last hold-out against the things.

Monday, November 13, 2006

There Is No Point

"There is no point to life
There is no point to death
There is no point in continuing our meetings
There is no point in not continuing our meetings
There is no point is going out
There is no point in staying in
No point in gaining weight
And no point in keeping trim
There is no point in answering the phone or opening the mail
There is no point in getting drunk or doing drugs
And there is no point in staying sober
There is no point in needing someone and no point in being alone
There is no point in doing nothing and no point in not doing nothing
These are all good points, yet none of them lead anywhere
None of them are points at all
There are no points
There is no point"
-King Missile

Friday, November 10, 2006

Bendy Ben

Better than Yoga, maybe?



Or just another distraction, just another lie, just another diversion. What else do I have?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Always Crashing In The Same Car

I've not been very well lately. Physically, even moreso than mentally, for a change. Spent the past day in bed, sipping warm milk and brandy (no lemsip in the house) and finishing all 700 pages of Vanity Fair. I've grown to love Thackeray, as the bitchy, negative, pesimisstic Shadow of Austen, where every ending is not happy.

But all that warm milk gave me bad dreams, again. I've been having the run of stress dreams lately - last week I dreamed the Emma knocked out all my teeth by accident. Last night in my sleep, I had illicit sex with a friend with whom sex would be highly inappropriate, and then found myself driving a car, of which the brakes had been cut, careening through my old neighbourhood in Upstate NY. I managed to get through the devilish intersetion of the 87 and 90 (which sent many houseguests spiralling off down towards NYC by mistake) then found myself circling a parking lot, unable to stop, looking for my mother's car (which had gone).

I spent much of yesterday writing in my diary, an activity which brings me much peace of mind lately, since it is the only place where I can be completely free and honest and unguarded. I was thinking a great deal about the article in The Guardian this past weekend, about Web 2.0 (what a silly name - as if we're not on Web 4 or 5 by this point, since its humble beginnings). Quite typically, an older man grumbling about "not quite getting it".

Flickr: I mean, what on earth is the point of that? He ruminated. Why would anyone want to share their private snaps with the world, and why indeed, would anyone want to look at pictures of strangers? Why indeed? Why put photos in your newspaper at all, Mr. Guardian? Not even mentioning the strong point of Web 2.0 which is the social networking aspect, which allows you to filter for your friends' snapshots!

And yet, this august personnage, who does not like blogs or MySpace because they "feel intrusive" (despite being made for show) has no compunction whatsoever about eavedropping on the private (presumably emailed or instant messaged) online conversations of people sitting next to him in a web care.

And he concludes, with the infinite wisdom of people who have never experienced the bustle of internet social life, that people who communicate through the web are somehow more "alone" for this experience. So does this also invalidate phone conversations? Are those interactions less "real" for the technology involved? And think about these online communication he derrides of the lonely people of the web - what would their alternative be, "In Real Life"? The IRL situations of Prostitution and Meat Market Pick-Up Bars are just as sad and tawdry then internet relationships.

For me, as explained below, the internet is a supplement to my IRL experiences and relationships. But there have indeed been times, when, trapped in isolation, it was my lifeline. Yes, that's sad. But people like the author have this rosey eyed view that somehow the alternative is this rich and wholesome life awaiting them off the web. And what if you aren't blessed with that? In such times as I've been there, thanks, I'd still rather have the internet than nothing at all.

And eventually, he concludes that the cleverest thing about MySpace is its name, that it's nothing but Me, Me, Me. And this misses the point most clearly of all - Web 2.0 isn't about Me, Me, Me - it's about Me and Me and Me becoming Us.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Smug Marrieds

I suppose the MySpace teenage term is "friends cull" - I suspect I've been going through one recently. More in terms of giving up on people who are not responding to the effort that you put in, rather than actually snubbing anyone. But, you know, there's only so many times that you can try to make plans, invite people out for dinner, etc. etc. and have them blow you off, or ignore the invitation or simply whinge that they don't have the money, before you just stop asking.

It's coupled-up women that seem to be the worst at this. My single friends are usually up for going out to a gig, a dinner, a movie, if they don't have plans already. And yet it's the smug marrieds, who, after telling you about how they've gone on holiday with their partner, or out to dinner with another smug married, that they are "too broke" to find £5 to go have a burrito with you. After the third or fourth time of asking, you just start to go "OK, I get it!" and stop asking.

I don't know, maybe it comes down to a difference in the way that we use the interweb. I don't have the interweb at home (for the same reason I don't have a telly - worst time-waster in the world) so I've got to do all my emailing from work. Emailing stops being about those long, intimate heart-to-hearts, and starts being simply there to make plans for the stuff you do after work. If I need quick entertainment for work down-time, that's what ILX and my Blog and MySpace are for. I just don't have the *time* (or indeed the inclination) for those massive, long "this is everything going on in my life right now" emails. It's false intimacy. Real, quality friend time is what happens over a pint in a pub, a cup of tea in your kitchen, a meal, a walk.

So maybe it's me that's changed, as much as them. I don't have the time any more for those rambling "entertain me, I'm bored at work" type emails. They don't have the time to meet me for a pint on the way home. So I'm going to spend my limited internet time sorting out meet-ups with people who do.

And yeah, this weekend was full of that. And more fun for it, with fireworks and rambling pub conversations and barn dancing and all.

Friday, November 03, 2006

Every time I see you falling...



l to r: K8, Honey Pimms, Lisa, Marianna, AMP

Great gig last night. Despite turning up early (I got out of work at 6) only to be shouted at by the soundman because the promoter had told us to be there "between 6 and 8" yet the venue had had him there since 4:30... Bah! And he's shouting at me because I don't know where the rest of the band are - but despite knowing since I got there that we had four vocalists, he didn't even bother setting up the mics until we were all standing around waiting for *him*. Anyway, it all worked out in the end, despite us not finding out the running order until about 10 minutes before the whole thing started... argh!

First up was Miss Honey Pimms, and if you're not In The Know about these shennanigans, well, you should be. Her song was actually brilliant and dead catchy, as she played with "is she or isn't she miming?" hilarity.

Then there was some identikit Libertines/Razorlight band, so I went and got a bagel.

Argh! We're on! The girls came on in raincoats, which they then stripped off by the second song, to reveal sexy dresses and stockings. Bit of a rocky start, as even though I'd put my pedals off to the side so the settings wouldn't get messed up, of course, all the settings got messed up. But... as we warmed up and got into it, we pulled together and actually gave a good performance. AMP on keyboards was a stroke of brilliance, and the Two Blondes out front just *looked* (and sounded) fantastic.

For a long time, I'd been quite unhappy with the band, because it didn't *feel* like a band - it felt like me making all the music, doing the huge bulk of the word, and them just turning up and putting their dresses on. For the first time, we actually felt like *A BAND* - like we were all in it together, a gang that all of us were part of.

And I think the music was better for it. Oh, and we even dragged Honey Pimms onstage with us for a banging finale of "Bizarre Love Triangle". There had been some concern that we were biting off more than we could chew, doing such a well-loved song. But the trick with a cover, is to take it to pieces, reduce it down to its essential components (and in BLT's case, it's that big "clapping with your hands over your head" beat, and that "DUN-DAH-DUN-DUN-DA-DUH-DUH-DUN" keyboard riff) and then build it back up with what makes you *you* (in our case, shimmering sounds, chime samples and girly 4-part harmonies). If both things are good and *right* together, then it cannot help but work.

Since we weren't allowed drinks onstage, Ken C acted as our butler, carrying around our trademark bottle of pink wine, but unfortunately this got him thrown out, so I had to go and rescue him, sitting drinking in a doorstep like a tramp, and inform the girl on the door that it was "our rider" and instructing her to "talk to our manager" if she had a problem. We then absconded into the loo to finish it.

God, I just wish I wasn't so hungover today.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Little Devil

Behold, the cutest little debbil in the WORLD:

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Nice To Know

The Waiting Is The Hardest Part

So it's MonthEnd today, and right now is my least favourite bit of MonthEnd, which is sitting around waiting for all the users to get off the system, so I can start the downloads. Start it too early, and the data moves out from under you. But start it too late, and I can't finish before the last train. And I don't want to be out too late, as we have a gig tomorrow.

Funny; I used to drive myself sick with anticipation for gigs. Now I've just got a kind of a "meh, here we go again" sense about them. OK, this one might be a bit different, as it's Lisa's debut, and also our first "proper muso" guitar *and* keyboard live lineup. But the sense of anticipation comes as much from other people's excitement as from mine own. And I'm not getting that right now. Will anyone even come? I fear our ILX following walked out the door with The Situation. (But that's another kettle of fish.)

In other things I am looking forward to, I have An Date on Saturday. For the first time in... well, I don't know and I don't want to think about how long.

It's not been doing a lot of wonders for my ego, being on a dating site. But as my bandmates have said, what else are you going to do? You just have to put yourself out there. I've had bites of interest from only three men - but then again, this site does seem to be predominantly female, and I never seem to turn up in searches that I (or my mates) run.

But quantity doesn't matter, does it? In dating, it's about quality. In fact, I'd rather have one good date with someone who comes across as interesting and articulate than a dozen dates with boring, interchangeable Normos (I like sport! And keeping fit! And I love television - I'm a bit of a movie buff! I've seen every Jerry Bruckheimer film ever! etc. etc.).

And then there's Teh F34r!!! - why would anyone actually want to go on a date with *me*? What's *wrong* with him? Then again, who knows, it depends on how you define "wrong" - I know *exactly* what is wrong with me, but then maybe, just for once, someone might be able to put up with my imperfections because they think the other things about me are interesting enough. So maybe, just maybe, it's the same way with him? That his imperfections might be the very things *I'd* like. Well, that's me being optimistic.

Our email conversations have been great, but you can never judge chemistry by interweb interactions. And who knows, he might have dodgy views on religion or politics or Class that might make all the intellectual stuff null and valid. (I cannot quite figure out if this is shallow or not. But those things - religion, politics, Class - are, in the UK, the things that comprise one's Culture. Cross cultural relationships are always difficult, they require more understanding and acceptance than I may actually have. Then again, I've been a Resident Alien for so long, who knows if *anyone* shares my particular Culture.)

Oh, the fear, the fear. But he's intelligent, he's quick, he shows the requisite amounts of curiosity and love-of-debate, and, well, he seems quite... *decent*. Like he knows how to treat a person with respect and consideration. That's worth a lot.

Anyway, we shall see, on all these things.