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.


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. 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 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.


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