Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Stop Akmal Shaikh from being executed

Akmal Shaikh is facing imminent execution in China. Amnesty International reported that his execution has been scheduled for 29th December 2009.

Akmal, aged 53 and a father of five from North London, is believed to be mentally ill. He was sentenced to death for drug-smuggling on 29th October 2008 after an unfair trial.

Although he appears to have suffered for many years with mental instability and is likely to have bipolar disorder, the Chinese authorities have refused to allow him to be examined by a doctor. According to Article 18 of China's Criminal Law, a mental patient who commits a crime, and has not completely lost the ability to recognise or control his own conduct at the time, still has criminal responsibility but may be given a lighter punishment.

Please email Downing Street as a matter of urgency.

Amnesty International has more information on this.

Friday, 18 December 2009

Foray into Scotland

We started with an unnecessary bus journey, the first of a few faults during our foray into Scotland. Lovely Mark walked us to Bolton Bus Station, at the wrong side of 6am. Although, unless we are talking at least 4 hours after 6am, every side of 6am is wrong. Anyway, we waited for a bus in the cold northern air. Mark saw us safely onto said bus and took a photo of it as we left. (He has new camera excitement). Chorlton Street Coach Station, the home of National Express in Manchester, was located with ease. Upon checking the Information Board, we discovered with numbing horror, that our coach would take us to Bolton before journeying onwards towards Glasgow! So, we caught a bus to take us to Manchester and then boarded a coach that took us back from whence we came! Joyous.

It was a long coach journey. We enjoyed lots of conversation which meant that we didn't enjoy much sleep (and by god we needed some). Before moving on, I would like to mention my on coach toilet drama. Now, I try to avoid using toilets on coaches. There are many reasons for this, some of which, I won't get into (it's better that way). However, one of my reasons for coach toilet avoidance actually occurred during my delightful toilet visit. As I prepared to return my clothes to their preferred public display location, the coach began carrying out strange hand-break turn style maneuvers. Unusual for a coach on a vast expanse of straight motorway and extremely difficult to manage for a woman who was desperately trying to return her jeans and knickers to her bare arse. I clambered around a lot and hung onto the handrail for dear life. I left the toilet cubicle, fully clothed but rather flustered and extremely annoyed to discover that the coach had just pulled onto a Motorway Service Station! That explained the movement and yes, I could have used the toilets there. Genius. Some time after that debacle, we pulled onto Buccanan Street Coach Station and James, our host for a few Scottish clad days, was waiting for us. Plenty of weaving around and occasionally through happy Scottish shoppers, another bus ride and we landed in James' flat (I should point out that we disembarked and walked to James' flat, the bus, fortunately, didn't actually drive into the flat). There was some lengthy female getting ready processes, quick clothes change for James and rushed takeaway food consumption before we headed back, via bus, to the centre of Glasgow.

We entered the magical venue that is King Tuts and prepared, mostly through beer consumption, for Sucioperro to arrive on stage. Apart from catching up with James and experience of the venue that is King Tuts, Sucio were the reason for our visit to Glasgow. The supports at tuts were Make Sparks and Orko. We enjoyed both but Make Sparks erm sparkled. They were that good that I bought their EP at the Merch stand alongside Sucio's new EP (thanks Dave). (As an aside, I'm listening to Make Sparks as I type). I'm sure I speak for the audience at tuts when I say that Sucio were utterly marvelous. I've seen them play many times this year and I always enjoy it (hence the frequency with which I watch them) but tuts was far and above the best I've ever seen them play. Watching them amongst the home crowd provided a hefty helping of audience participation which included singalong, mosh pit, chanting and all the things that makes a gig an electric experience. For me, it was the best gig I've been to this year. We hung around for a short time after the gig to drink a little more, although tiredness and early starts the next day meant that we only managed one post-gig drink - lightweights.

We once again travelled to James' flat, this time via taxi - yay no buses! Tomorrow heralded our next installment in Sucio music fun, when we were scheduled to watch a free instore Sucio acoustic set at Avalanche Record Stores. Prior to this, James had to work, so we had to find our way into Glasgow without our trusty tour guide. However, impeccable directions and some geographical genius on the part of Sam and I meant that we found Avalanche without any difficulty. We hung around the shopping centre (how very American of us) and briefly met up with Sam's brother-in-law's brother (confusing) before entering Avalanche. Now Avalanche is small and that's probably part of it's charm but somehow we managed to squeeze into it, ready for the acoustic Sucio set. We waited whilst Sucio set up by erm sitting down with their guitars and the unplugged set began. Prior to the gig, I'd received exclusive (ahem) information that they would play The Ruins and they played it. I've never heard The Ruins live and it's one of my favourite songs. It was great to finally hear it. I really enjoyed a B side from their new single, a track called The Lonesome Tree. Great song. Sadly, James didn't make into Avalanche but we caught up with him afterwards. We chatted with Dave (aka Cyclops), Spider, Gus and JP and then wandered off to meet James in Waxys. Nice bar but not very cheap. After Waxys we visited another bar near to Avalanche (its name escapes me). Not sure that you'd describe it as nice but you would describe it as cheap. Alarmingly, you needed a key to access the ladies toilets. An actual key! I liked this pub though, even though it did smell slightly of wee.

This almost concludes my blog, however before I close, I would like to mention Matty Latty and Francoise Le Pooch. The first is a man that James used to work with, to be honest you really had to be there but much hilarity ensued around the antics of Matty Latty. He had a catchphrase and accompanying action that has, unbeknown to him, swept the nation. Francoise La Pooch is a ornamental dog owned by Dave / Clyclops. It's a dog that previously belonged to Robbie Burns! I may be wrong on this but suspect that Dave named him Francoise La Pooch. :-). Coincidently, I have a picture of Robbie Burns, taken when i saw him last, move down to see it.

In no particular order, some random pictures:

Stevie Wonder head movement and Les Dawson style piano playing. Nice

Toilet graffiti in King Tuts

Are you ready for you close-up James, judging by the surprised look, I'd say not

Sucio Avalanche instore. Spider where the heck are you?!

You look a tad grey Mr Burns, late night was it?

The drama, the atmosphere, have you done this before Sam? If you heard the tune created, you'd have to say no

He looks like an expert but appearances can be deceptive

Oh and....
Sucioperro Myspace
Make sparks Myspace
Orko Myspace


Thursday, 10 December 2009

What's in a name?

I was thinking today about people’s names. There are many words that we use to describe the person that we are, such as I and me but our name, the one we are given at birth and perhaps later change – seems to hold meaning for us.

My name is fairly rare. I have met perhaps two other people in my life that share my Christian name. For me, though I guess not for everyone, it’s something of a novelty to meet another Hazel and practically unheard of to meet another Hazel Leese. There are 3 Hazel Leese’s on Facebook, only three, out of millions of users. Two of them are me! (I have a work and a personal Facebook account). The other, and for the sake of ego, 3rd Hazel Leese (because I’m the original and the best, ahem), is, I recall, much younger than me (the cheek) and a fairly recent Facebook recruit. This I know because I searched when I joined and searched again quite recently. Yes, yes, I’m extremely sad for checking but everyone with a less than common name does it (don’t they?).

Moving on. How is it that we somehow feel that our name belongs to us? We acquire it at birth, given to us by our parent(s), we learn to respond to our name and over the course of time, it becomes a part of us. Or do we become a part of it? Do we inhabit our own name? By that I mean that our name, somehow sits at the very epicentre of our identity. We belong to it. Other aspects of ourselves are transient – our age, address, friendships, careers, appearance, national identity (British, European, English in my case). Our name is fairly static. When we marry we can take on our partners name, though we can also choose to keep our own surname or truncate two names together. Western tradition has stated that the woman, through marriage, changes her surname to that of her husband, though this is beginning to evolve (I shall blog on this practice at another time). We can all change our name by legal process. There are many ways to become known as someone else, name-wise. Yet, as people that have changed their name know, you have to attach yourself to your new name. It’s a process and a necessary one because it’s more than mere label. It’s a system of belonging. Imagine what it would be like to have no name – to be unable to describe yourself, to introduce yourself to others. When we meet people, one of the key questions they ask us is, what’s your name. Although different naming structures exist throughout the world, at worldwide level, we all need to be able to identity ourselves by name, it’s both relational and personal.

So what’s in a name? We are. Biologically we exist, name or no name but sociologically and perhaps psychologically we exist within our name and through our name.

Fear not, my philosophical wonderings / irrelevant bollu (delete as appropriate) has ceased. I’m off to spend some quality time with a cup of tea and a biscuit or erm two.


Keyboard enthusiasm

I feel an uncontrollable desire to put fingers to keyboard, a metaphorical pen to virtual paper. I’m experiencing an Angela Lansbury moment, where words come, you type at speed, the words are flowing, spilling out of you like erm……..vomit. I’m probably more Daisy Steiner ala Spaced than Angela Lansbury ala Murder she wrote. I’m an aspiring but profoundly unsuccessful writer. I do feel very productive though. Not necessarily productive towards anything noteworthy but I shall note it down anyway, just in case.

Anyway, I sit and I type at my parents steam-driven PC. No Internet connection, so this blog will be saved, transferred to laptop, then uploaded into cyberspace at some later stage. My parent’s PC runs on a Windows 98 Operating System. It was cutting edge in its day but sadly its day has long gone. The keys stick slightly as I try to type, not because of some fizzy pop spilling incident but because keyboards were once much clunkier in days gone by. I still have to work out how I will save this word- processed blog. My parent’s PC has no USB drive, my lap-top doesn’t take floppies and it seems something of a waste to burn to CD. So this blog may remain forever stored on my parent’s antique PC and never find its way into the big, wide world that is the Internet.

It’s interesting that I mention both Daisy Steiner and the Angela that is Lansbury because they can be seen on numerous occasions typing away on over-sized typewriters. It’s interesting because this PC is not far removed from the typewriter. I say again, a Windows 98 Operating System! I’m not taking the piss out of my parents, it was exciting and expensive when they bought it and since then the trusty PC has moved way down on their list of entertainment priorities. Preferring instead, to read, do the crossword, listen to the radio, potter in the garden and enjoy ballroom dancing.

You may wonder at the point to this blog and you will be unsurprised to discover that there is none. No point, just the rambling thoughts of a blonde, 30 something (god I hate that term, why I have just used it) woman with failing eyesight and worrying obsession with mmmmm chocolate. I can feel another blog coming on and this one may actually have a point....

Monday, 30 November 2009

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Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Happy birthday Reuben

Just want to say Happy Birthday to Mark's son Reuben.


Separated at birth?

JP Reid from Sucioperro, Marmaduke duke and actor Craig Kelly look remarkably alike. If that wasn’t uncanny enough, Craig’s mum is Scottish. JP Reid is Scottish. Not only that but Craig Kelly and Flavia Cacace recently danced for Strictly Come Dancing at The Tower Ballroom and their song choice was Easy Lover by Phil Collins. Sucioperro's new t.shirt design depicts a picture of Phil Collins! Strange connections.

Sadly, Craig Kelly was knocked out of the Strictly competition after appearing at The Tower Ballroom erm essentially because he erm wasn't very good. Bless him. I wonder if JP Reid could have done a better job. I have feeling that he probably could have done, even without the weeks of training and with his guitar in hand. Poor Craig, great actor though.

See below:

Click on the picture for closer inspection. JP Reid, for those that don't know, is stage right.

Click on the picture for closer inspection. JP Reid is stage...oh sorry my mistake this one is Craig Kelly. Ahem ;-). Look at those studs, has he been stapled to the fence? Painful.

Anyway, after that shocking and interesting revelation, I'm off to get a life!


Monday, 23 November 2009


I'm still trying to buy ethical as much as possible and thus far all my Xmas present and upcoming birthday gifts have been from charity shops except one gift for my nephew. I've commented to various friends, that it appears as though the fates are conspiring to help me obtain perfect gifts for the people I love. Each time I visit a charity shop, I leave not much lighter of pocket and laden with items that are ideal. You would, perhaps, assume that given the nature of charity shops, buying perfect gifts would not be so easy. I have entered a shop thinking I would like a biography for my mum, of someone she admires, I find a Judi Dench biography. I want some bath bombs for my sister and find some easily. My parents enjoy jigsaws, my dad has an interest in planes and I find a jigsaw of a cockpit. The list goes on. Incredible. So I'm working on a theory that the fates, karma or some other happy force are somehow placing these perfect gifts in my path to support and encourage continued ethical shopping. Perhaps I'm mad (there are those that would wholeheartedly confirm that I am) but I think that there may be something in it.

I suggest that anyone who reads my blog (which may not be anyone other than Mark and Sam but hey ho) goes out and tests my theory. Lets perpetuate this happiness.


Check out The Tetleys

Oh do check out The Tetleys, they are marvelous.



Sunday, 22 November 2009


Good news abound. Mark and I will be visiting Glasgow in December. We will be staying with my lovely friend James and meeting up with some friends of Mark’s. In addition to this plethora of excitement, we will be watching my favourite band, Sucioperro! Sucio will be playing at King Tuts, the venue of venues. I have wanted to see them there for some time now but as a non-Scottish person, this has posed something of a challenge. So I can finally say that my desire to see Sucioperro amongst the home crowd of Scottish fans will soon occur. Further excitement arrives in the form of an acoustic Sucioperro set at Avalanche records. This, for me, is especially lovely because I have been told that Sucio will be playing The Ruins, I repeat, Sucio will be playing be The Ruins! Oooooh. I have quite a list of favourites amongst the Sucio arsenal but The Ruins is up there. Tremendous.


Wednesday, 18 November 2009


I haven't had much time recently for blogging but I have listened to a few tunes over the last few days. In no particular order, these are:

Fleetwood mac - Everywhere
Fleetwood mac - Dreams
Sucioperro - Grace and out of me
Alison Moyet - The first ever I saw your face
Peggy Seeger - The first ever I saw your face
Joan Baez - Diamonds and rust
The Lightning Seeds - My best day
The Lightning Seeds - Lucky you
Sinead Lohan - No mermaid
Sugarbabes - Push the button
Sugarbabes - Too lost in you
All saints - Black coffee
All saints - Pure shores
Beethoven - Fur elise
Ennio morricone - Chi mai
Stereophonics - Handbags and gladrags
Allegri - Miserere
Pete Doherty - Broken love song
Ian Brown - Stellify
Jarvis Cocker - Further complications


Sunday, 8 November 2009

Free Biffy ticket!!!!

Free Biffy ticket!

I'm ill and have therefore got a Biffy Clyro ticket available for someone that is able to pick it up in Bolton. It's for tonight at Nottingham Rock City.

And yes I am gutted that I'm not able to go.

Sad face.

email me at:-

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

Dreams can come true

Last night I dreamt I was sorting through clothes, putting them into piles and hanging them up. My dream-life used to be exciting – I used to dream about other-worldly places, being on a stage, watching bands play, golden beaches, forests and other interesting things. Now I dream of washing, cleaning and tidying. How did it come to this? Perhaps dreaming of domesticity means something wonderful in relation to your waking life – according to the online dream dictionary, to dream of housework denotes: “that you are making changes in your lifestyle and the way you are living. You are doing away with your old ways and habits and starting anew. Alternatively, the dream may just be a reflection of the monotony of your daily life. Do something adventurous”.

The interpretation started off so well then slipped into utter crappiness with the second possibility! *The dream dictionary thinks* my life is monotonous (see below)! Looks like I better organise that Everest attempt asap. If you know me, you’ll know that was jest not intention. I have spent quite a large amount of time recently drowning in a sea of domestic activity. When you spend about 70% of the week in a house that hasn’t had a washing machine for months, the washing piles up to dramatic and terrifying proportions. This coupled with the fact that my lovely boyfriend appears to own more clothes than Imelda Marcos has shoes, has lead to something of a clotheswashathon, headed up by yours truly. Mark has done some washing too but sadly his forays into the washing pile have mainly been limited to adding more clothes to the pile rather than reducing said pile through washing machine usage. Although, in his defence, and like many men, he does wear dirty clothes in order to help with the washing, at least I think that’s the reason he wears dirty clothes. Hmmm. He has been doing more around the house though and is trying to invest time and effort into promoting his web design business so I can’t complain.

I find that I wish for a fine day – a bright, sunny but windy day – the kind of day that is custom-made for drying clothes on a line. Oh when did it come to this? When did I arrive at a time when I wish for fine weather so that I can dry clothes? I used to hear women talk about the weather, how they wanted the rain to stop so that they could get mountains of washing dry. I used to feel unattached from such thoughts, choosing instead to daydream about interesting things. I couldn’t have cared less about what type of weather we were experiencing. I pitied these women, I’m ashamed to say. Now I’m one of them. Sadly most of the men that I know still manage to avoid domestic routines, particularly those men with female partners, even when their partners work, have children and generally are bloody superwomen – outrageous but none-the-less fact. Back to the washing - you can dry indoors, you can use a dryer (horrible, energy-consuming machines but they do work), radiators can be covered with clothes or as in our case, every available surface that is vaguely suitable for clothes drying can be covered, constantly in clothes. If I could dry outside – the clothes would dry quickly, smell fresher and the house wouldn’t look like launderette. If it were possible to wish on a star, other than wishing to end poverty, war and generally make the world wonderful all over, for myself I would wish for clothes drying weather. Sad but true.

Think I’m going to head over to http://www.god.com/ and put in my weather order in (see God blog for more on this).

*PS. I should point that the dream dictionary does not, in fact, think. Whoever wrote the dream dictionary in question is responsible for the thinking. The dream dictionary is not in itself capable of thinking unless we have strayed into the realms of AI, in which case, the dream dictionary was probably taking the piss.*


Buy ethical

Buy ethical, use charity shops. I just popped over to the local hospice shop and bought two hardback children’s books at a £1 each, 4 beautifully packaged flower candles at 80p for the 4 and a CD at just 30p! So that’s £3.10 spent, more Christmas presents for my nephew and my mum sorted. Wonderful stuff. I still have much Xmas shopping to get through but intend to do practically all of it through charity shops. It takes time and effort but it’s worth it. Why support capitalist giants when you can use shops that help people. Often items are new or in excellent condition. It’s just a mindset that stops some people from utilising charity shops. Get involved, it’s truly worthwhile.


Monday, 2 November 2009

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Love lots,


Sunday, 1 November 2009

Santa's foot

Many years ago, when I should have been wrapped up in the warmth of my duvet, I saw Santa's foot! On Christmas eve, my sister and I reluctantly went to bed, desperate for Christmas day to arrive. I lay in bed and waited for sleep to take hold but it failed to arrive. Sometime later, I heard a noise downstairs. Adulthood would have translated this sound into something sinister but childhood excitement and curiosity convinced me that I could hear Santa delivering our presents! I knew I shouldn't but I broke the long-established rule of staying in bed the night before Christmas (because seeing Santa was not allowed). I nervously climbed out of bed, crept to the top of the stairs and peered down. Just as I did so, I saw a big black booted foot! Before the foot owner appeared, I ran back to my bed and leapt into it, I pulled the duvet over my head and pretended to be asleep. I didn't want Santa to know that I'd seen his foot, just in case this meant that my presents were returned to Lapland. When Christmas day arrived, Hayley and I ran downstairs, then settled ourselves in front of our pile of presents. I don't know what presents I got that year but I do remember smiling at the memory of Santa's foot. Thank goodness that Santa didn't realise that I'd seen his foot.

This wonderful memory (which I now realise must have been a dream or one of my parents taking their role as Santa rather too seriously) really added to the magic of Christmas. So much so, that when school friends told me Santa wasn't real, I refused to believe them because I'd seen Santa's foot. I still retain some of that childlike sense of wonder about the world. You'll be relieved to know that I no longer believe in Father Christmas but I do believe in the magic of Christmas. Despite tragic things affecting me and people that I love, I believe the world is a magical place. It's just a question of noticing it.


Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Big day in the North

Since I last blogged about Sucioperro live action, I have been fortunate enough to watch them twice more. Once at Manchester Academy and once at The Leadmill in Sheffield. On both occasions they provided outstanding support to Nine Black Alps. Now I'm going to be honest, although Nine Black Alps were the headlining acts at these venues, my reasons for going were Sucio shaped. I enjoyed Nine Black Alps but for me, Sucio were the kings of the stage. They were the headlining act from my perspective and I'm sure my friend Sam would agree with me on this. Sam and I crashed at my house for the Manchester gig and hers for the Sheffield one. I’m pleased to report that Sam's house provided the most comfortable sofa in Yorkshire - and I've a tried a few, actually I haven't but anyway.

Lovely Sucio played for around half an hour at both venues. I believe that it should have been much longer. For the first attendance at Manchester, they played songs from their current album, Pain Agency. At the second attendance in Sheffield, we were pleased to hear something of a different set - songs from Random Acts of Intimacy, Pain Agency and three songs from Sucio's new EP. I was happy to hear Dirty Dirty, Sick Sick and I’m always excited by The Dissident Code. Blonde Parade would have been fab and not because of my hair colour but because it’s my favourite song on the new EP but you cant have everything. That bass - yay for Spider (Sucio's fantastic bass player)!

Manchester Academy is a good venue. Academy 3, the location for Sucio fun, is small enough yet big enough to feel like a venue whilst still retaining a sense of intimacy. We stood at the front for Sucioperro, we nodded, moved and sang to all the songs. We stood at the back for Nine Black Alps but watched their set with interest. Post-gig action consisted of meeting my b/f Mark and his mates at a bar. His mates were rather drunk, so that was interesting to watch. I don’t how he copes with drunken friends whilst retaining perpetual sobriety. They went to see The Bad Lieutenant, which, I’m told was very good. The quote of the evening was “it’s a good day in the North”, allegedly a line from a Black Grape track. Upon checking trusty Google, the quote should be “it's your big day in the north” but hey-ho. It was both a good and big day in the North – Sucioperro played and they played beautifully.

Moving further North to the second instalment on the Nine Black Alps / Sucioperro tour we arrive at The Leadmill. I've enjoyed many an indie / rock / alternative disco within its walls but amazingly Sucio / Nine Black Alps were my first gig experience there. It wasn’t a full as it should have been and the post-gig fun that was promised on the tickets didn’t take place. In truth I would have been too tired to do much dancing anyway. Old age must be taking hold of me! Of the two gigs, I feel Sucioperro were moderately better at The Leadmill, percentage-wise, we are talking small figures though. They were fab at both venues. Nine Black Alps, on the other hand, were better at The Academy. It was nice to meet Sam’s friend Darren of Kill Chaos fame. We stood at the front for our second instalment and we positioned ourselves nicely in front of Fergus (Sucio’s marvellous drummer). We noticed a couple of female Dragon fans just in front of us – they started sort of centre-front of stage and gradually moved nearer and nearer to JP Reid on stage right (audience perspective). They took a video of the entire gig with brief movement over Spider and Fergus, arriving at JP Reid aka Dragon and staying there for remainder of the gig. Whenever Sam and I glanced at the girls in question, they were resolutely videoing him. The camera holder must have acquired major hand-ache during the process and it must have been like watching an audience with a Dragon rather than enjoying a Sucioperro gig but as long as they enjoyed themselves, it’s all good I guess. After some coat locating drama, we left The Leadmill, secure in knowledge that we’d had fun.

So that’s it for live Sucio interaction this year. I’ve been to five Sucio gigs since April and sadly my limited funds won’t stretch to any more unless my b/f and I get an invite from friends in Glasgow and we decide to take in King Tuts. Hmm, food for thought…...

Love to all,


Tuesday, 27 October 2009

Books for sale

My boyfriend Mark has lots of books for sale, some are as new and all are in good condition. He is selling them to help towards the costs of his contact hearing to see his son. As I've commented previously on this blog, it is costing lots of money and every penny helps. There about about 58 books listed - crime, romance, text books, drama, craft books, biographies, music related books. At this time of year (yes Xmas is coming and will soon arrive) it could be a quick, cheap and most of all helpful way to get some Xmas gifts sorted out. Help Mark and help yourself at the same time.

Please visit his blog for more on this. You might want to listen to his music whilst there. http://shotokandisco.blogspot.com/2009/10/books-for-sale.html

Love to all,


Monday, 26 October 2009

Glam Wrexham

Do you live in Wrexham or somewhere near there? Do you plan on passing through soon? If not, you should and whilst there check out Glam, an exciting new funky and electro house night.

Go to the website: www.glam-wrexham.co.uk to find out more.

Good vibes.


Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Mistakes, mistakes

I do dislike spotting mistakes on my blog - be they grammar, spelling or other inaccuracies. I just casually stopped by to read my last blog post and spotted quite a few errors. That proof-reading course I went on was clearly totally useless.

Ah well.


Monday, 19 October 2009

Job and careers

I'm in the process of job searching at the moment, a time-consuming and stressful activity but necessary evil. I've been at my current place of employ for somewhere around 8 years. I planned to leave after 2 but somehow didn't follow that plan through to fruition. Not sure how that happened. I like many aspects of my work, not least because I only work for 2 days a week. The majority of my working life has been as a full-time cog in the machine of society so 2 days a week has been a joy. It has made life as a part-time student much easier and enabled me to maintain something of social-life! Marvelous! Sadly all good things must end and now it's to time find more hours. I also want to find work in Bolton or Manchester because my romantic life brings me here (by that I mean my b/f lives in Bolton because I have just realised that I have made it sound like I go on the pull up North)!!

I would love to find a job that pays well, gives me plenty of time for work to live activities, and gets my creative juices flowing. Any offers gratefully received?


Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Never ending overture and the Mozart effect

Have you ever noticed that much classical music struggles to end? Those final notes stretch onwards until you wonder whether you are caught in a never ending overture. I don't claim to be a classical connoisseur but I do enjoy Mozart, Beethoven, Bach and others. Yet I find that as the music draws to a close, notes are played that have an air of ending about them but the end does not occur then, it occurs later, sometimes quite a bit later. It's like an early warning system - this piece is ending, it's ending soon, no really it is, it's nearly ended, it's ended. Strange but true.

Anyway, onto an interesting piece of information, brought to my attention by my boyfriend Mark. Amongst the trials and tribulations of essays and end of course, examiner marked essays, Mark alerted me to something called the Mozart effect. The theory that his music enables students revising for exams and similar to achieve improved results. (Google the Mozart effect for more on this). We decided that it may help me to focus and improve my essay scores. So, I have listened to Mozart and other classical composers during the production of three end of course essays. The most recent of which was a 3000 word reflective account, sounds easy, it wasn't. I must admit that classical music, somehow, enables improved focus. Not opera though, that just distracts and annoys me (not a fan). Beautiful music without words like Walz of the flowers, Beethoven's 5th, Fur elise, Piano Concerto No. 21, Air from Suite No.3 (Air on a G String) and so on. Indeed, following a decision to stop essaying for the night, I stayed at my laptop to type more words, actual words that directly answered the essay question because Mozart's Piano Concerto 21 came on Accu Classical Radio! Moving on, I have to say that focus, when it comes to essays, is far from my strong suit. I suffer from a disease called procrastination. So profound is this disease, that Mark has named me Distracto girl! Sadly, life as Distracto girl, doesn't mean that I get to change into a lycra suit with cape, disguise myself wearing glasses or use my spidey sense. Yet, classical music appears to be an effective treatment for procrastination and enables me to become Focus girl! The last two classical music inspired essays have achieved fairy high marks. Not the highest ever but that's because I haven't put the work in rather than any fault of Mozart, Bach etc. It remains to be seen whether the most recent academic endeavour will prove successful.

Big thanks to Mark and Mozart.



I've just left message for my friend Sarben (Sarah) on her voicemail. It was the kind of message that proves that interaction is not needed in order for me to ramble on for an age. My voicemail messages are like my conversation: confusing, full of self interruption and lengthy.

So anyway, Sarben has been away for almost 2 years and 2 years ago was the last time I saw her. Prior to her travels, Sarben, Liz and my sister Hayley spent a lot of great times together. I was sad to see her leave but happy for her (such contradictions of emotions). She always wanted to travel, indeed you might say that was born to it. She has laid down some roots in NZ and met a man over there. Since she left both Liz and Hayley have had children, Toby (son of Liz and Ben), Aiden (son of Hayley and Gav, and my beautiful nephew). Life can change so much in 2 years. Although I'll cling onto my non-parent status for some time yet, my life has changed somewhat in the last 2. We all have lots of catching up to do. So roll on Saturday, when we will be heading off for lunch then continuing the festivities into the evening.

Miss you Sar,


Sunday, 4 October 2009

Help needed!

Mark aka Shotokan Disco is trying to gain access to his son through the courts. Sadly this is proving extremely costly for him. Furthermore, his ex partner is putting much effort into preventing him from seeing his child. If you have ever found yourself in a similar situation, you will know that sometimes people will put barriers between the male parent and child without just cause. The more barriers are created, the longer the court proceedings last, the more solicitors make (great for the solicitors) but not so great for the parent who wants to spend unsupervised time with his child. Children need to spend time with both parents where that is possible.

So here is the helped needed part……alongside his musical abilities, Mark is skilled in the ways of IT and Web Technology. If you need a website please visit Mark’s blog. He is also skilled in the ways of PC build, upgrade etc. If nothing else, visit his blog and it will give you the opportunity to hear his tracks. You may want to buy some at the tiny cost of 60+ MP3s for £5 only or 50 pence each.


Love and peace,


Monday, 28 September 2009

Last nights televisual feast

We watched Dirty Dancing last night, oh what a film. I’ve enjoyed many of Patrick Swayze's films, he was a great actor and it’s extremely sad that he has died. Although I’ve never really considered Patrick particularly attractive (his features are far too angular for me and he tended to be rather muscular for my preference) I do quite like his character in Dirty D. I can fully understand Baby’s attraction to him. From the moment she first notices him, she is hooked. Jennifer Grey plays the captivated 17 year old really well. Not surprisingly for fans of the film, I really enjoyed watching Dirty D for the umpteenth time. It was Mark’s suggestion, he said and I quote “shall we cuddle up on the chair and watch Dirty Dancing together”. You can imagine my response, it’s probably one of the most impressive things a women can hope to hear, only bettered perhaps by “I really love you, shall I buy some chocolate, celebrate when you get really fat, provide oral sex every night and stay faithful forever”.

After Dirty Dancing, we watched Sex: how to do everything, a programme that is aired late at night on the channel Fiver. If you’ve had the misfortune to miss this programme, change that now, it’s well worth it. It’s most amusing but I don’t really think it’s meant to be. It’s actually quite informative too. It focuses on committed couple relationships rather than casual sexual encounters and is safety centred. So it’s a socially responsible way to extend your sexual knowledge or indeed get your rocks off (there are some rather explicit scenes, think Lovers Guide rather than dodgy porno). There is no sexual subject off limits. Last nights focus was the anus. I won’t say anymore about it because really I’m quite shy but let’s just say that the programme was both alarming and interesting. I’ll be tuning in again soon.

Saturday, 26 September 2009

Ensure justice and accountability for war crimes

An independent fact finding mission has published its findings on the conflict in Gaza
and Southern Israel. The report concludes that both the Israeli forces and Palestinian armed groups have committed grave violations of international law including war crimes and, possibly, crimes against humanity. Amnesty International support the report and are asking for people to email David Miliband, the UK Foreign Secretary to ensure that war criminals don't get away with murder.

Please follow the link below and email David Milliband, it won't take long and will help to make a difference. http://www.amnesty.org.uk/actions_details.asp?ActionID=631


Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Saving money!

I wonder if any lovely people out there have ideas of how my boyfriend and I might locate free food and save money on other items needed in the comings and goings of daily life? We are trying to save money on bills, travel, food, clothes and pretty much anything and everything. Obviously we want try to stay within the realms of legal.

I recently picked blackberries from a hedgerow and made a lovely cheesecake with the findings. It was much nicer that those on offer from a supermarket but by the time we'd bought the other ingredients, even though many were on offer, it was still rather pricey. We buy items that are on offer (two for one, money off and so forth), even if that means buying things that you hadn't planned on or are not that keen on! We tend to focus on items from the basic range in shops, we turn our appliances off, never leave on standby, the heating won't go on for ages yet (and if Mark has anything to do with it, it never will!), we walk rather than catch buses, we don't use a car (in fact I don't drive but Mark does and chooses not to). Mark will shortly be having a Water Meter installed and uses cards for gas and electric. This forces you to keep greater control of your usage. We reuse packaging, in part for environmental reasons but also because it saves on purchases of tubs, bottles and the like. We shop at charity shops, this has an obvious ethical benefit too. Many of the things we do help to protect the environment as well as our fragile purse strings.

We probably sound like cheapskates and erm there is something in that but in the current economic climate, ever increasing bills to pay, cost of utilities etc etc it makes sense to save money where possible. So any ideas, outrageous or otherwise would be gratefully received.

If you read this blog, please comment on it with helpful suggestions. Spread the word, start your own blog on money saving ideas. Help yourself, live ethically and dodge capitalism wherever possible.

Here's to being frugal!

Love to all,


Monday, 21 September 2009

Bestival 2009 in some depth

I've threatened to write a more detailed blog on the bestivities on the Isle-of-Wight last weekend. It was no idle threat, I meant it so here goes and brace yourself because it's gonna be a large one!

Mark and I had some difficulty obtaining tickets and organising travel to get to Bestival. I stake no claim on these arrangements, Mark did all of it. Mark had always intended to go to Bestival, long before he met me. Indeed, he'd arranged to go with someone else but erm those plans fell through. Anyway, he managed to get our tickets via a forum for less than the ticket's face value and spent many hours trying to find the cheapest way to get to Bestival. He even created a Facebook group so that we could travel down by car with some other soon to be Bestival campers. We'd discussed attempting a full and freestyle hitch hike but I've never hitched before and Mark thought we should get to Bestival under more secure means. So, as I say, after much effort on Mark's part, tickets arrived and travel plans were made. In the end we took a National Express coach from Stoke and caught the ferry from Portsmouth. The journey was long but due to the great company I was keeping, it was fun and passed without much difficulty.

We arrived at the Isle-of-Wight sometime after 11 I think. We were tired and because we'd landed at a different Ferry port than intended, the coach to the festival we'd planned on was no longer an option. We instead got in a taxi with some other festival goers. Again organised by Mark who was confident enough to ask if we could join them. I would never be that forward. After arriving at the site, saying goodbye to our fellow taxi travellers, we began the long journey from the entrance to the camping field. We were laden with heavy rucksacks and Mark's was significantly heavier than mine. He had 6 litres of water, two chairs, two sleeping bags and a vast array of warm / cool clothing to carry. The heaviest items in my rucksack were my wellies (used once but not really needed) and some outdoor candles (not used at all, total waste of space).

We managed to find the camping field that Mark's friend was camping in. She had said that she would save us a space but our tiredness and need to get pitched meant that we pitched before locating the allocated space. However, we were only a stones throw away from her tent anyway so it turned out well. The lengthy journey and lateness of the hour meant that we didn't involve ourselves in Thursday evening pre-Bestival fun but we weren't worried, the festival started Friday morning so we were happy to save ourselves for that. The green camping field was right next to the arena and even though the festival hadn't officially started, the noise had definately begun. I didn't sleep much that night or come to think of it, throughout my time at Bestival!

Fairly bright and early on the Friday we got ready and headed into the arena for breakfast and festival entertainment. The first band we saw were Efterklang. Mark had caught them before at The Big Chill (I think) but it was a first time for me. We really enjoyed them. Fantastic musical talent and definately worth watching again. Indeed, just looking at their Myspace page, they are playing Manchester's Deaf Institute on 31st October so we may check them out. I particularly enjoyed the vocal harmonies. Now, I should say that although I was sober throughout the festival (yes really) and therefore have a clear head full of memories, my memory cells are not efficient enough to talk through each experience in ascending order so I may jump around a little as I think of things. Anyway, to continue.....there were a number of musical highlights at Bestival, most notably were Bat for Lashes. They played the Big Top and it was bloody packed, so packed in fact that we had to watch them on the big screen outside the Big Top. They were mesmerising, absolutely beautiful. Definitely the best of Bestival. Haunting melodies. I wrote a short note on my phone some time after watching them and used the word fairy-like. Watching Bat for Lashes was otherworldly for me. Quite surreal. I definitely want to see them again and will be investing some my hard earned cash in musical purchases. They'd been recommended to me by my friend Sam and Mark but I didn't expect to be as impressed as I was! I'd been looking forward to Soulwax. I saw 2 Many DJs some months ago and really enjoyed them. I've liked Soulwax and 2 Many DJs for a couple of years now and so was really excited about catching Soulwax at Bestival. They didn't disapoint. They were exciting to watch. I enjoyed E-talking, Part of the weekend never dies and NY excuse. I had hoped for a little more from Much against everyones advice era. That album is more indie / rock than electro. I enjoy all the vibes that Soulwax produce but definitely missed hearing Conversation intercom and Much against everyones advice but you can't have everything I suppose. For sleep deprivation reasons I actually missed 2 Many DJs, shocking but true. Am I ashamed to committ such a crime against against music, only slightly. If I hadn't caught 2 Many DJs at Manchester Academy already this year, I wouldn't have missed them at Bestival. Other musical enjoyment at Bestival included Coopers Rage. Our first experience of them and I'm sure I speak for Mark as much as myself when I say, it won't be our last. Great sound. Eat Static were really good. We'd heard quite a lot of dance orientated music by the time we saw Eat Static but somehow this vibe stood out. We started off sitting in Mark's lovely camping chairs but as the set moved on, we were up and bouncing. Great stuff. The sound quality for 65 Days of Static was a little disappointing, I doubt that was down to them and expect it was something to do with the sound system on the main stage. We'd noticed a few sound issues here and there. My belief is that 65 DOS suffered for it. Having said that, it probably much better if you were nearer the front. I'm definitely bouncing around time-wise here but Elbow were outstanding. I'd never seen them play before and rather wish I had. What an epic set. They really got the crowd involved. Doves were also most enjoyable. The Fleet Foxes are obviously very talented but I imagine that they grow on you rather than present themselves as an immediate like. I hadn't heard their stuff before (yes I know, where have I been) but want to hear them again. Their set was laid back and melodic. Beautiful but awkward somehow. We heard Lilly Allen in the distance. She looked good, as Bestival highlights on T4 clealy emphasised but I'm not a great fan of her music. I can take her or leave her so erm we headed elsewhere during her set. The elsewhere we headed to was the Band Stand. There was enjoyable music there but nothing that stood out for me as such. Whilst the mainstay of Bestival watched Kraftwerk, Mark and I headed into the Silent Disco to catch Coley, a mate of Mark's. The Silent Disco requires that you pay £10 deposit to don a pair of headphones and listen to music as if in private but in public. An odd idea but it works well, not least because the sound quality is very good. Coley played, as did another DJ. So you basically had a choice of set to hear. Mark picked the wrong one, no offense to the other DJ but obviously Mark was there to hear his mate. It took him a while to realise that he needed to change the channel. I, by happenstance, rather than by expertise, chose the right channel and therefore heard all of Coley's set. I really enjoyed it. It was a shame that he didnt play for longer. He played again later in the festival but we only caught the first one. Changing direction musically, we also caught most of Bjorn again. We'd both seen them before. Great fun to hear them again. I always enjoy Abba tracks and Bjorn again perform them brilliantly. It's like having Abba in the room (or in this case, the field) with you. We spent a little time watching Beardyman, who was really good, as anticipated. My colleague had mentioned him to me and Mark got some of his stuff up on You Tube for me to see before we knew he was playing Bestival. He is very charismatic and talented. Cool. Just looking at the Bestival website, there were many acts that we missed, some of which, we actually wanted to watch. I must have been in the toilet whilst these were on. ;-)

Speaking of festival toilets, I'm compelled to say more on this, as those that have been to festivals will know to their peril, festival toilets really are awful. Bestival's toilets were not the worst I've seen, not by a long way. They, perhaps were only moderately worse than the toilets at the Big Chill. (If you've been to Big Chill and lets say somewhere like Reading Leeds you'll know by comparison that Big Chill have great toilets). Of course, you can't blame the festivals coordinator's, it's the festival goers that make toilets what they become. I wonder why people choose the toilet rather than the bin to dispose of their rubbish, I wonder why so many people manage to miss the large hole which is designed for poo and wee, I wonder why some lovely ladies choose to throw their sanitary items onto the floor or basically anywhere in the cubicle except down the toilet, I wonder why people forget to flush the loo, wash their hands (or sanitise them using hand rub as is often the cleanage on offer at festivals. I do wonder. I try not wonder whilst I'm in the loo, I try to spend as little time as possible actually inside these smelly, unclean places. Yet by the time I've cleaned the seat, put loo roll down (or simply hung over the seat using power of legs), used the toilet, wiped the seat again, flushed the loo, wiped my hands, put clothes back to their original locations, much time has passed. Mark was always waiting for me when we headed off to the loo together, he must have spent much time, just waiting for me. Poor love.

Apart from the obvious musical entertainment, there was other fun at Bestival. Just being there with Mark was fun (yes, yes, I'm a soppy git). Watching the world go by was good. Sometimes it's fun to be cramped in a tent, I'll say no more on that though. ;-). We had fun commenting on the various fancy dress on display. Bestival had a space theme this year and many people really put major effort into their outfits. We saw robots, aliens, rockets, lots of silver people, glitter, astronauts.....the list goes on. Our last minute festival arrangements meant that we didn't participate. :-(. We saw a very large robot which appeared to be real but was most probably a person dressed up in some sort of impressive cybernetic suit. The robots voice was electronic, it moved like a robot but the standard of technology seemed too good to be true so I assume that it was. The festival site was also dressed up in a space age theme. Rockets galore could be found at every turn. There was a definitely a sense that Rob da bank and team had made a real effort with the look of the festival site. Festival food was good overall, expensive but enjoyable. There was one unfortunate half a wasp incident. In that I found half a wasp in my vege paella. It wouldn't have been so bad if I'd asked for paella of the meat variety but I did not. KIDDING. Obviously finding half a wasp and I repeat half wasp in your food is yucky by most people's standards. I do wonder what happened to the other half. I hope the other half didn't find its way into my stomach because eating wasps is not good, not good at all. I'll never know and actually I don't want to. Due to a general lack of money, I didn't drink much from Thursday to Monday (when we left). I've been cutting down anyway so it was easy not to drink much. All told I had 2 cans of Fosters, one pint of local beer, a lovely Rose spritzer and half a lager at the pub on the Monday afternoon. For a festival and indeed for any weekend that's some achievement. Mark doesn't drink and hasn't done so for over 5 years so obviously he didn't drink! Children notwithstanding, we were probably some of the most sober people on the site! I have a feeling that beer would have helped with the sleep deprivation thing, so much easier to crash into your tent in a state of beer induced stupor, then collapse, rather than clamber into your tent stone-cold sober and attempt natural sleep amongst shouting, screaming, music and general excitement. I met a few of Mark's mates - Katy (and her son Calon, apologies if I've spelt that incorrectly), Ben, Tom and Sonya. We spent quite a bit of time with Ben. A great guy and a talented musician. http://www.myspace.com/mankymusic. We also met up with Grant, who had offered us a lift to Bestival via Mark's Facebook group. We didn't accept the lift because he wasn't traveling until the Friday. We watched some of Doves and most of Elbow with him. Nice guy.

Leaving Bestival was significantly more difficult than arriving. There was much queuing and I do mean much. Mark (self-described Northern monkey) carried out an array of freestyle methods to enable us to leave to site as quickly as possible. Bless him. We took a short-cut to relinquish ourselves from the first queue which involved a Lara Croft style jump over a vast ravine, okay okay so I exaggerate somewhat. I had to jump over a sort of gap between hills of grass, not a large gap but big enough to make me think twice before attempting! We spent a little time in the coach queue before moving into the taxi queue. After much time in the taxi queue, Mark loudly stated that we had a taxi booked and therefore needed to move forward in the queue. We didn't have a taxi booked. After some queue jumping (but not much really). We then moved back into the coach queue and boarded a coach. I felt bad about it but as Mark explained, we needed to leave, it wasn't the time for politeness. Others were doing similar things I think. After coach, ferry, coach again and lift off my dad, we arrived back at my parent's house. We were somewhat tired, smelly perhaps and severely disheveled but happy after an enjoyable time at Bestival 2009.

There is probably more that I could say but my fingers ache and I really should do something other than blogging today. Thanks again to Mark who was bloody brilliant throughout the Bestival experience.

Love and peace,


Bye bye Bebo

I just closed down my Bebo account. I'd been meaning to do it for a while. I only had about 12 friends on there and about three of those were people that I'd never met, hadn't heard of and only accepted to be polite. My reasons for joining Bebo were pretty much Sucioperro related, they were on there so I joined. An odd reason to create an Bebo profile but hey I pride myself on oddness. I'm sticking with Facebook and occassionally pop onto Twitter. Blogspot will remain a part of my life for as long as I can access the Internet! Blogging, it's the way forward!


Sunday, 20 September 2009

Bestival 09



And again

Big mad tulip, they grow large on the Isle-of-wight

Random dancer type, wait no, it's Mark

Tree carving


Random Russian guy, no incorrect, Mark again

Scenic sparkles - Bestival at night

Mr Dixon again

Close up, great camera action

It was cold in the tent

Beardy man, nope he was on stage, Mark again with major beardage

Devil dude aka Mark, very worrying demonic likeness

Mmmm nice, Mark posing from the chest down

Albino Pixie aka me

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Thanks to Shotokan D

I will shortly be writing a rather lengthy blog on my experience of Bestival 2009 but for now, I just want to say a huge thank you to Mark who put the best in Bestival! Cheesy but true. He was a fab festival partner. I look forward to further festival action with him when the season hits again.


Do do do come on and do the Demon

Further thoughts on Demon, a diamond track from Marmaduke duke, a track that I have mentioned on numerous occasions in this very blog. Anyway, when I hear this track, I find myself wondering whether Dragon and Atmos (pseudonyms of JP Reid and Simon Neil respectively) were listening Black Lace's Do the Conga prior to Demon's creation. The first few notes of Demon appear to be a replica of the do do do part of Do the Conga. Shotokan Disco aka Mark Dixon planted the correlation in my minds ear and ever since the connection was made, I instigate an imaginary Conga in my minds eye, at every listen of Demon. Fortunately the link between the tracks is brief, it just occurs during the first few notes. Probably not the kind of correlation that Marmaduke duke would hope for but given some of Dragon's more surprising musical likes, you just never know!

Wednesday, 9 September 2009


Say what you like, laugh if you want, I don't care - sometimes you just have to dance about to Kylie. I'm not talking modern Kylie either, oh no, I'm talking Better the devil you know, I should be so lucky etc etc. Oh yes. I dance around the kitchen and look like a prize tit but nobody knows this except me and erm anyone that happens to read my blog, ahem.

Some say that Kylie is only good for her neatly packed, tiny arse and innocent sex appeal but I say that she has sung some belting songs. Cheesy though they may be, they are also bloody good for dancing to. Get your dancing shoes on and sing out "I should be so lucky, lucky, lucky, lucky".....


York and Sucio

I was fortunate enough to see the wonderful Sucioperro again on Saturday 5th September. It was my 3rd experience and probably not final one this year. My friend Sam and I arrived in York on Saturday afternoon – we located the hotel, the centre of York, somewhere to eat and the venue fairly swiftly. Sam had been to York the previous weekend so had a heads-up on the venue’s location. Finding things so easily was an impressive achievement for us, given that we are both geographically challenged. We even managed to take the shortest journey into town after getting ready for the gig – genius!

We ate an enjoyable meal at an Italian restaurant some time around lunch time. I could find the restaurant again but its name escapes me. Our plans for sight-seeing failed somewhat, once we got chatting, the time disappeared and the gig start time fast approached. Gig preparation was fairly efficient. I model myself on the so-called typical female approach to getting ready to go out, in other words, I take ages. On this occasion I was efficient, start to finish in about an hour - award winning stuff.

Following a precursory drink at a bar near the venue, we headed off to the venue which would host some Sucio fun for the evening. It was aptly named The Basement Bar (located as it was, in the basement of a cinema). Tickets ripped, hands smiley stamped, drinks purchase and we were in position to watch one our favourite bands. We said hello to Fergus (drums, vocals) and Spider (bass), Dragon (guitar, vocals) was nowhere to be seen until a little later. We caught the end of the first support act, all of the second and third acts. I was impressed with the second supports enthusiasm but didn’t really fall for them musically. The third support was pretty good, quite heavy and a good stage presence. The main event, as you would expect, was the highlight. Sam positioned herself where she could see the stage and I bounced from her location (the stairs) to the front at intervals. I was excited and this came across in my singing, bouncing and occasional pointing / shaking (see http://1974haze.blogspot.com/2009/05/pointing-and-shaking.html). They played: The Dissident Code, The Drop, The Crushing of the Little People, I have reached my limit, No. 23, Hate Filters, Conception Territory, Mums bad punk music, I don’t hate it, I accept it. They also played a new song which, if my memory serves me correctly is the new single, due out on the 19th October. Sadly, due to a language barrier (the lads speak Scottish), I haven’t a clue what this track is called. I’ll be buying it though. I have buy everything policy with Sucioperro plus the track was bloody good (no change there then)! A technical hick-up occurred in the form of bass guitar string breakage. Dragon serenaded us with Abba’s Take a chance on me whilst Spider attended to his bass. Take a chance on me was unexpected but most enjoyable. I have fondness for Abba so it was rather nice to hear Dragon’s acapella rendition of it. The Sucioperro experience was, perhaps unsurprisingly for those that have seen them, marvellous. They have an arsenal of amazing songs and could play for many hours without ever having to draw on a weak one. In other words, they are weak song free. They played with lots of energy and unless my ears lied to me didn’t put a note or beat wrong. I was pleased to hear my favourite Pain Agency track; I have reached my limit, and my second favourite, Dissident Code. At one stage Dragon invited a request from the audience – unbeknown to me, he listed two options. I shouted for them to play The Ruins, not, as it turned out, one of the options but one of my most favourite Sucio songs. I was met with an anticipated refusal, in fact, Sam my gig going chum, informed me that my request was in fact met with a rather negative “yeah, like that’s gonna happen” from Dragon! Will I ever get to hear The Ruins live, doesn’t look like it, unless I learn to play it myself (yeah, like that’s gonna happen) ;-). I would have liked to hear a few more Random Acts of Intimacy songs but didn’t expect to. I always hope for B sides, non-album tracks but thus far my hopes have been dashed. Having said that, ideally, I’d want to hear all material at a very, very long gig! It’s nice to live in the unreal world! The gig passed by very quickly and soon the bar was closing for the evening. They may have even put big light on (insert Peter Kay humour here). Sam and I got ready to leave and had a brief chat with Spider on the way out.

We headed off to a nearby bar, the one we’d inhabited earlier in the evening. The bar was now packed with drinkers (how odd – jest). York, like many cities, attracts large numbers of hens and stags and we were unfortunate enough to share our night with lots of them (insert sexy traffic wardens, Vikings - well we were in York and other strange clothing here). During our post-gig analysis chat, we attracted the attention of some enthusiastic stag dooers, enthusiastic and at the stereotypical level of wastedness. One stag doo member offered us a pack of dares to choose from - we chose but didn’t carry out the dares in question. Another stag doo member stroked Sam’s hair and made comment on the type of baby’s they could have. I believe he said “bald and ginger”. You’ll be pleased to discover that he was the bald contribution. Nice line, ahem. Fortunately enough, the mainstay of their number wanted more beer at another bar so we didn’t have to be rude to get rid of them. Shorty after that interjection of fun (insert sarcasm here), we left and made for our hotel. We caught up with the Sucio lads on the way hotelwards. We had a very enjoyable chat with Fergus, who was about the drive the Sucio van all the way back to Ayr, Scotland. Long drive would have made for a very sleepy Fergus (particularly after all that drumming). I only hope one of his fellow travellers was staying awake for occasional poke in the ribs duty. We spotted the tour bus a few times during our journey back to the hotel. At a guess they were trapped in York’s system of confusing roads. They must have escaped eventually because they stopped driving past us. Sam and I arrived back at the hotel - after adorning sleep wear and further chats, sleep took hold. For my part, sleep took hold into between chats, I’m not known for my ability to stay awake when in bed (erm depending on the activity taking place obviously!). I have a vague recollection of talking total bollu at her, although some would say that total bollu leaves my lips in moments of wakefulness too but anyway.

All in all, the visit to York was fab and Sucioperro were as wonderful as they’ve been each time I’ve seen them. I look forward to seeing them again soon.


Monday, 31 August 2009


A snack of yummyness, absolute yummyness:

Cookies - cheap shop's own brand will do nicely
Peanut butter - again cheap shop's own is fine
Spread peanut butter on cookie, place cookie in mouth and chew. Voila, a snack of dreams. Obviously, if you don't like cookies and / or peanut butter, then erm avoid this snack.



Please sign this petition

Please sign the petition by following the link below. Help the women of Iran to obtain the equality that every human deserves.




Friday, 28 August 2009

Life trains

I spend much of my time on trains. A hefty percentage of my life at present seems to be the journey to and from. Of course, life itself is a journey. We start at point A and end at point B. We hope that point B will be old age without too much pain. We hope that we will have achieved much joy and greatness between points A and B. We hope that when point B finally arrives, that we will have had the time to look all the way back towards point A and say ‘my life was good’. We hope that the distance between point A and B will be large.

I currently live out of a bag. That’s not to say that I live through a bag. I just tend to carry a large bag with me about 80% of the time. The bag holds belongings that I need to negotiate daily living. I’m fortunate enough to sleep in houses. Currently the choice of house tends to focus around a main 3, which is steadily decreasing to a focus on a main 2. I’m in the process of slowly moving material items from one house to another house and when complete, I will have successfully reduced my houses to 2. I may give the impression that I am rich and own many homes. I do not and am not. I’m just in that transitional period, when part of your life ends and a new chapter begins.

I suppose where a person lives, in real terms, is irrelevant. At a basic level, we want to be warm, sheltered, clothed, watered and fed. I recently had a clothes downsize, in that I filled bags with clothes to sell (too big, too small, never worn etc), clothes for the charity shop, clothes for recycling. I have now found that my wardrobe is so empty that I could actually move into it. I’m soon to have shoe downsize. I’m trying - through recent Buddhist discussions and the early stages of reading Robert Thurman’s ‘Inner Revolution’ - to move my thoughts away from materials wants, away from possessions. I’m trying to de-clutter my life and my mind. It’s slow process but the journey has begun. I wonder if shoes will one day hold no value for me other than foot protection. I wonder if I will ever forget about the desire for beautiful home interiors and simply surround myself with items that enable me to survive. It’s hard to imagine. Yet, I want move in that direction.

I’ve been something of an eco-warrior for some time now. Though, when a friend once described me as such, I said really I’m more back-room staff than warrior. I didn’t really see myself as someone fighting for a new and better way of life. I was just making small changes and trying to encourage others to do the same. Yet in truth, if we all make small changes, if we all strive to be a better person, all those small changes have a big impact when combined. We could all make our life’s journey a wonderful and wise one. We could make our journey through point A to point B really make a difference. A path carved, is a path remembered.


Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Man in the mirror

Mark played 'Man in the mirror' by Michael Jackson today and I listened to it with new ears (try not to think shopping trip, new ear purchases here). I really heard it for the first time. I have liked much of Jackson's earlier music but have tended to be rather disparaging about the more recent stuff. I really enjoyed 'Man in the mirror' today. Not just musically but lyrically. The song has a good vibe. There is an element of happy-clappy in there, in other words, you could argue that it's a little sugar-coated but actually if you really listen to the words, there is a great message. Everyone would benefit from really looking at themselves and trying to be a better person.

I also enjoyed seeing Mark half dance on his chair whilst typing away on his lap-top. He sang the lyrics at the top of his voice and waited impatiently for the obligatory SHAMONE! I thought it was very cute.


Tuesday, 25 August 2009

Mmmm chocolate

I LOVE CHOCOLATE, this statement needs capitalisation. So great is my love for chocolate, that I have to exercise iron-will to prevent myself from eating it many, many times a day. I have brief periods of chocolate absence, these usually occur when I notice that my waistline has grown beyond acceptable levels. I love the way it melts in your mouth, the way it smells, the shiny wrappers, the sweetness oooh the sweetness. I particular love the way it prevents me during times of PMT from hiring a gun and shooting anyone that bumps into me, talks too loudly, walks too slowly in front of me etc etc. Chocolate is my weapon during these PMT'd moments. Yet it does very little to help me towards a body of slimness. Why haven't special scientist type people come up with calorie, fat free chocolate? That would be wonderful. I would be prepared to accept some loss of flavour for the greater health good. I write this whilst eating chocolate. Well, I nibble in between keyboard clicking. I say again, mmmm chocolate. I sound like Homer and indeed will start to look like him soon (not the yellow, constant stuble element). I need to find a way to reduce my chocolate intake. Any suggestions? Going cold turkey is not a favourable option.


Shotokan podcast

Mark aka Shotokan Disco was chosen to be part of a podcast, after being played on Tom Robinson's BBC 6 show. The link to his blog is below:



Free Tibet

Join this facebook group and try to help with this cause, in any way you can.


Freedom should not be a luxury that some of us enjoy, it's a basic human right.


Save money!

Telephone numbers that are preceded with 0870, 0845 and the like are expensive to call from mobile phones, avoid them and save yourself money!

This website lists alternative landline numbers: http://www.saynoto0870.com/search.php

Mark Dixon's blog on an expensive rail enquiry call: http://shotokandisco.blogspot.com/2009/08/rail-enquiries.html


New words

New words for your consideration.....

As far as my chum Gemma and I were concerned, we invented the words Minterooney and Turnerooney. Minterooney is an extension of the word Mint (when Mint means that's very good rather than the Mint with a hole for example) and Turnerooney is an extension of the word Turn. I have found one reference to Minterooney on Google, written in May 2007 so sadly we can't take credit for its invention, god damn it. Turnerooney was first uttered when my friend Gemma needed to do a U-turn because I had failed to direct her appropriately. I exclaimed, you need to do a Turnerooney here. We laughed for quite some time. Though some would say, we laugh easily. All credit to us, I would say.

Another new word is Bollu. Looking at Google, Bollu is a surname for some but for others it's a typing error, when you mean to write the word bollocks. Written by my friend Sam some months ago on Facebook and laughed at by her brother Kieron and I. Sam's a writer and I do think that she should find a way to use Bollu in her new book.

So Bollu, Minterooney, Turnerooney - use these words, they are Minterooney!


Monday, 24 August 2009

Bob Cartman

I wasn't aware until quite recently that Bob Dylan presented a Radio 6 show. Where have I been, you may ask. I often wonder the same thing. Anyway, Bob Dylan is a lyrical genius. Poetic achievements abound. Yet, and I say this with huge admiration for the man, he sounds remarkably like Eric Cartman, the rotund character from South Park. If you are unfamiliar with Dylan's voice, tune into his show on BBC Radio 6 and you'll see what I mean. In fact, tune in anyway, it's a good show. If you're unfamiliar with Cartman's voice then erm this blog is probably lost on you (I'm assuming audience here). :-))

Tom Robinson (of Tom Robinson Band fame) occupies the same radio station as Mr Dylan, as does Bruce Dickinson (of Iron Maiden fame). Do try to catch Tom Robinson's show, he plays some great new music including the lovely Shotokan Disco. Another b/f plug! Well he's good and I would definately plug him, even if I wasn't going out with him.

Love to Bob, love to Cartman, love to Bruce, love to Tom,


Sunday, 23 August 2009

On air

Mark aka Shotoan Disco will be played on BBC radio 6 music at approximately 2.30am on Monday morning (24th August). The track to be played is Astronaut.

For more on this go to: http://shotokandisco.blogspot.com/2009/08/bbc-radio-6-music-airplay.html

Bloody fantastic!


Saturday, 22 August 2009

Theme tunes

I had a bit of a listen to Barry White today. 'Your the first, the last, my everything' and his cover of Billy Joel's 'Just the way you are'. Good times, good tunes.

'Just the way you are' is my theme tune. If you've ever watched Ally Mcbeal, you'll be familiar with the idea of having a theme tune. However, if you're unfamiliar, I'll enlighten you (ahem) ;-). When Ally was in therapy, she was told by the character played (strangely enough) by Tracy Ullman to get herself a theme tune. A song that Ally would hear in her mind whenever she needed a boost (which, for the neurotic, elfin-like lawyer, was pretty often!). The song picked by Ally was 'I know something about love'. Good choice. Yet, probably the more familiar theme tune was the tune belonging to the character John Cage - Barry White's 'Your the first, the last, my everything'. Indeed, Barry White featured heavily in the series. A motivational muse for John Cage. It probably sounds a little strange that I have a theme tune, although if you know me, it probably sounds completely 'normal'. It's actually very helpful to sing an uplifting song in your minds voice or out loud (as appropriate). My theme tune serves to remind me that I should be happy with the person I am.

Get yourself a theme tune. It will be one of the most emotionally motivational decisions you'll ever make!

You know it makes sense, cushty.


Wednesday, 19 August 2009

Yellow and purple pictures

The pictures below were taken whilst on holiday in Wales, at a place called Plas Cadnant in Anglesey (although I believe that people say 'on Anglesey'). It was one of the most peaceful and beautiful places Ive ever been to. I felt very spiritual there. A magical place.

Our cottage had a sort of conservatory area - my friends and I called it the Fairy Grotto. We decorated it with candles, solar lights, beer cans and ash trays. We played music into the small hours and looked out into the dark garden area.

The cottage had a real fire and was decorated in a traditional style. I have a preference for the contemporary - clean lines, nothing fancy but in this case I felt completely at home behind patterned curtains. I found myself feeling quietly contemplative when listening to the sound of old style clocks.

I hope to go back one day.


Monday, 17 August 2009

Siesta Project - Shotokan Disco

100 blogs

I have nothing of note to say (quite possibly no change there then) but felt inclined to increase my blogs to a nice round figure of 100! 100 blogs and I only started towards the end of April this year. If only my essay writing was this prolific.


Renegade explanations

I would just like to point out that I'm not really a fairy. I just pretend to be one. I know, I know, it's horribly disapointing but I don't really have wings and spread glitter wherever I go. Actually, I do occasionally spread glitter, as troubled boyfriends past, present and future will testify to. Girlie glitter gets bloody everywhere.

Anyway, I decided to call myself a Renegade Glitter Fairy for the following reasons:
- I'm slightly odd
- I recently spilt glitter all over my keyboard at work whilst applying makeup (my working day had finished so I wasn't taking the piss out of my employers)
- I like to think of myself as something of an anarchist
- I enjoy the idea of fairies and think they may exist in another dimension (they are the only logical explanation for disapearing socks following a wash cycle)
- Renegade Glitter Fairy is a much better alternative name than Hazel Nut, the imaginative label often given to me at school (who said children have no imagination - ahem)



Random singing

That post-ill sicky feeling still hasn't really left me. It has, no doubt, been heightened by the chocolate bar I half-ate earlier before realising that it was past its best before date (see earlier blog). As a result of sickness and a general weak feeling, I decided that I needed more recovery-from-illness-sleep. I climbed into Mark's bed and waited for the sicky feeling to diminish. Sleep did arrive eventually but not before a long, long, long and unexpected serenade from Mark's neighbour. His neighbour decided to enjoy some seriously loud singing at the same time that I decided I needed sleep. At one point I deemed that she must have been singing into the wall with a loud hailer. Sadly, I can only assume that the walls here are very thin which worries me somewhat for reasons that I won't go into. She actually has a very beautiful voice. I enjoyed it but it's very difficult to sleep when someone is belting out the R & B. However, the singing did end and I fell into a short but helpful sleep. I still feel slightly off but I'm improving all the time.

Now where is that good luck I'm due.....

Bad luck

I'm not so much having a run of bad luck as a marathon of bad luck. Bad things, I believe, are meant to happen in threes, not multiples of threes. I must have done some pretty shitty things in a past life because I try really hard to be lovely in this one and yet the bad luck keeps on coming. Like (to quote Biffy Clyro) I'm caught in a shit tide.

It all started when I discovered that some horrid person had taken just over 300 quid from my bank account. A bank account that was already overdrawn and made more so by this person, whoever they may be. My card wasn't stolen so my card details must have been accessed in some other way. I'm still waiting for my bank to credit my account with this money. I chased them up early last week and they sugested I wait a little longer! Yeah don't worry about me, it's just my money that's been stolen from your bank. I'd be better off stuffing it in mattress and paying for everything by cash.

The next piece of bad luck was receiving a phone bill of just over 500 quid. Yes you read that correctly! My mobile phone contract is with orange but they can rest assured that when this contract ends, I will be moving elsewhere. Upon checking my orange phone bill, all calls belonged to me (oh bum). I'd been using my phone quite a bit to ring my boyfriend Mark, my mate Gemma and a guy I briefly spent some time with prior to Mark. There were some long phone calls to other networks but surely their calls charges are excessive. I should have been vigilant, should have monitored my call usage but even so! Initially I queried the charges and requested a direct debit indemnity with the bank. The bank agreed. I have since discovered, following numerous phone calls to the bank and orange that the direct debit indemnity did not go through. The upshot of this is that orange still have the money. They tell me that a cheque has been raised for my bank but there is a problem with their cheque signing machine, so the cheque hasnt yet been sent (do you smell bullshit because I sure as hell do). Orange still want me to pay this phone bill, even though they already have the money! The icing on the shit cake is that my orange phone has stopped working. The sim wont register in my phone. So I have two phone bills of astronomical proportions for a phone that I can't use.

Another item to add to the bad luck list is swine flu. I had it or rather was deemed to have had it a few weeks ago. I wasn't swabbed but my symptoms matched the list. I was prescribed tamiflu and quarantined. It wasn't fun but I can honestly say that it wasn't a bad as media would have you believe. I thought that it was only possible to get a particular flu once. Yet for the last two days I have had almost exactly the same symptoms as I had before. Perhaps slightly milder and not quite for as long but otherwise the same. I was even sick a few times yesterday (at my boyfriends house again but this time I made it to the bathroom). Today, I felt somewhat better. My appetite returned and I thought mmmm treat myself to a nice fairtrade chocolate bar. About two pieces in, I thought this tastes odd. I checked the best before date - 7 months beyond it! So now I feel sick again. Wonderful.

About half way through writing this blog, my laptop crashed. No reason, fully charged, just a random switch off. Luckily blogger autosaves quite frequently. To what extent I can call that good luck, amongst all the bad luck, I'm unsure but never mind.

I must be due a truck load of good luck. Watch this space.....


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