Sunday 31 December 2017

In with the new...

(I'm getting a bit hooked on these weird Victorian cards)

It's been another mixed year (has it ever been anything else?) - a world in chaos, so much political madness and ineptitude, hate, corruption and violence beyond most people's comprehension but, as always, the positive flip side to it is  the responses of ordinary, decent folk just getting on and doing the right thing. As for my own 2017, well it was better than 2016 which was marked by loss and grief from the start, and actually not an awful lot has happened - which is pretty much a good thing!  

My edited highlights - I can't do favourites and lists! - would include falling utterly in love with Detectorists and being gripped by Line of Duty on TV,  having hedgehogs visiting the garden every night, seeing Blondie at Brixton Academy,  getting some top albums (particularly Saint Etienne 'Home Counties', the XX 'I See You' and Jane Weaver 'Modern Kosmology') finding a newt (simple pleasures!), a trip to the National Portrait Gallery, meeting up with lovely old friends, making new ones, being given the very special The The single 'We Can't Stop What's Coming' and all that it means, witnessing a pair of bluetits successfully using the nestbox again (was it four chicks or even five?), having fun illustrating for a notable toy company, buying a mad stripey coat...  I've probably forgotten loads because none of it is that important in the grand scheme of things, but at least nothing life-changing, nothing dramatic, just some sweetness in a fairly uneventful life for which I'm grateful.  I hope it's been the same, if not better, for you.

Saint Etienne: Sweet Arcadia

It's been brilliant escaping into Blogworld whenever I've had the time, enjoying everyone else's posts and comments - all the words, music, pictures and more, trying to keep up with writing and listening myself - and getting to know some fab new faces and places around this virtual wonderland too.  

So, thanks; here's to more.  Take care everyone and...

~ * ~  HAPPY NEW YEAR!  ~ * ~
"May the hinges of your friendships never rust"

Friday 29 December 2017

Good will to all, including the milk thief

This one really is a silly 'First World' dilemma.

Imagine you live in a rural area where there’s still, amazingly, a local milk round.  You’ve been using it for years – getting a couple of pints delivered three times a week; the milkman puts them inside your little plastic container on your doorstep early in the morning, no problem.  One day your two bottles of fresh milk get nicked.  The same thing happens a couple of weeks later.

Hmm, so what will you do if it happens again?!

1) Cancel the milkman

2) Put a note in the container that says FUCK OFF YOU THIEVING SCUMBAG  

3) Lie in wait for however long it takes to catch the offender red-handed and confront them

4) Fill up two empty milk bottles with white paint, replace the foil tops like new and put out for the taking....

5) Leave a packet of luxury biscuits alongside a note that reads, “Sorry you’re so desperate that you need to steal milk - have these on us and we’ll say no more about it”

6) Do nothing, if it happens again just let it go

Or something else...?

I'm on 6 at the moment (having merely fantasised about 4). The milk thief could be anyone, couldn't it? Someone struggling to get by on meagre benefits, unable to cope with their rent and bills, stooping that low. It's not like they stole our car.  Then again they might just be a selfish arsehole.  Who knows?

But at least it gives me a tenuous excuse to post a favourite song.  This was actually the track that first made me take notice of Saint Etienne some years ago, with huge thanks to a friend who was way ahead of me there; I was a bit late to the party.  But I’ve never looked back.

Sunday 24 December 2017

May your Christmas be wild... the nicest possible way, of course.

And what better, more fitting way could there be for me to send my festive wishes to you than to share some beautifully wacky and slightly macabre natural history themed Christmas cards from our Victorian ancestors...?

May Christmas be merry

May all jollity "LIGHTEN" your CHRISTMAS hours

A hearty welcome

To wish you The Compliments of the SEASON

A Happy Christmas to you!
Friendship is flavour best for wine
Take then, anew (?) with Christmas, mine!

A Loving Christmas Greeting

(Sorry about that one! It was traditional to show dead birds on Christmas cards
in the Victorian era, perhaps related to ancient good luck rituals
and as a symbol of the fleeting nature of life.)

A very Merry Christmas to all who come here and many thanks!

Tuesday 19 December 2017

All I want for Christmas (aged four and a half)

I've been so excited about meeting him all day and now I'm with Father Christmas he doesn't seem very nice.  We've had to wait ages and Mummy had to ask a lady but now we're in his special room, behind a curtain where everything is bright red in a very big shop with stairs and everything, and he has a very loud voice.

"Have you been a good little girl?" he asks.  I nod, my eyes wide.  "Because only very good children get presents," he says.  I nod again.

"Well then, as you've been good - tell me, what do you want for Christmas?"

I look over at Mummy who is sitting in the corner in her fuzzy brown coat with the big buttons.  She smiles and I feel a bit less shy.  I do know what I want for Christmas and so does Mummy.  "Go on," she urges softly.

All I want for Christmas is.... big breath....

"A clockwork train set," I say quietly.

And this is why Father Christmas isn't very nice because he doesn't smile back, or laugh, or do anything that makes me believe he really is the best and that he is magic and loves children.  Instead he frowns and makes a funny hmmphing sound and I can smell his beard as he leans towards me.  "But little girls don't have train sets!" he says in his too loud voice.  He's not like I thought he would be and I think he's telling me off.  "That's a very funny thing for you to want.  Little boys have train sets, not little girls," he adds, as he reaches for one of the wrapped presents on the shelf by his side that is full of boxes of all shapes and sizes, although none of them are very big.  No train sets.

When we get home Mummy says I can open the present because it's not the real one - the real one will be inside my pillowcase at the end of the bed on Christmas Day.  The present from Father Christmas with the smelly beard is a Snakes and Ladders board.  I like it very much but I really hope a different, better Father Christmas - the proper one who comes down through the roof and magically gets in by the gas fire - will bring me the thing I truly want.

So there are two Father Christmases it seems.  There's the one who lives inside a shop and makes me feel like I must've been naughty because I asked for a train.  And there's the other one who I never see who fills the stripey pillowcase on Christmas Eve with presents which I don't know how he gets because the pretty tags on them say they are from Mummy and Daddy and my sister and Nanny and Granddad and other people too.  But I suppose he is like a postman really.  And this Father Christmas brings me the best Christmas present ever.  Much better than Snakes and Ladders.  It's clockwork with a big key in the side which twirls round and it has lots of wheels and carriages, some with little windows and a wagon for carrying coal, also Lego, and it goes round and round on a track that you clip together.

When I grow up I'll look back and realise that meeting Father Christmas was probably the start of my feminist tendencies.  A bloody sexist Santa!

Wednesday 6 December 2017

Mystery lovechild - the DNA results are in!

It's that Jeremy Kyle moment, the DNA* test results....

Thanks so much to everyone for joining in with the Mystery Lovechild post; I really had no idea how easy or hard the identification process would be.

If I were going to allocate points for every correct answer, which I'm not, then everyone would get some and Rol would get the most, closely followed by Gram Lynch, whilst CC, Alyson, Marie, Chris and Darcy all guessed some of the suspects too.  And that's everyone who tried, so well done to all!

Here are the answers and the 'proof'...

Adele and Ozzy

I hate to say this, but I keep thinking it's just Katy Perry gone wrong.  I love the fact that CC suggested it might be Ozzy and Sharon Osbourne - just don't tell Kelly!  But it was Alyson who correctly identified that Ozzy's 'other half' here was 'someone like you'.

Joni and Johnny

It seemed an obvious match to me. This coupling's 'daughter' has actually inherited all of John's features, and only has Joni Mitchell's hair and bone structure.  I was kind and shaved off that bumfluff moustache too. There was some speculation about paternity at first, though.  Mrs CC reckoned on Tom Petty, Rol thought Jackson Browne but, as Gram commented, Joni's studmuffin was indeed John Lydon/Johnny Rotten.  Chris could see that one too.

Diana and Jimi

The inspiration for that Supremes song perhaps?  This lovechild might still be wearing her Dad's shirt and haircut, but she's definitely got her Mum's eyes and lips.  Jimi Hendrix's huge hand could've been a bit of a giveaway too.  Marie came straight in here with the correct answer for this, no messing about!

Debbie and Dave

No, not the child of John Travolta and Olivia Newton John as Rol thought, quite understandably.  Gram was quick to identify Debbie Harry, but getting Dave Vanian took a few more attempts (and some damned neat clues) and then only Darcy saw that one.

Madonna and Elvis

I had to do a bit of hair removal and eyebrow reshaping on this, a tricky mix, and the shadows were troublesome.  But is it so wrong that I find myself rather strangely attracted to the result? - you know, that quiffy hair, that smouldering expression, those pretty eyes.  Oh I'm so confused.  So was Rol, it seems, when he first suggested that Elvis might've fathered a child with Marc Almond, though his second guess at Madonna was indeed correct.

Susannah and Brett

This one proved difficult and I think it was only after some heavy-handed clues that Alyson correctly spotted Susannah Hoff's sultry features, as it seems that even cutting a hole in a piece of paper to look through and blank out the distracting parts didn't help in this instance. You never know when it may come in handy again, though, Alyson....   Now, for some reason I got the impression from reading several blogs for a few years that Susannah has an awful lot of fans so, to be honest, I'd expected a quicker response.  It just goes to show what a difference a rugged jawline and a radical haircut can make to even the prettiest of faces. Having an Adam's Apple and flat chest probably doesn't help, I grant you.  Anyway, Rol latched onto Brett Anderson, and I'm sure Darcy knows who he is now!

Barbra and Evan

Let's be honest, it is really quite hard to tell these two apart when you see them side by side.  Their young progeny appears to have inherited Barbra Streisand's distinctive nose and mouth though, and a little bit of her fringe.  Rol correctly identified both Babs and Evan Dando.

Annie and Paul

Look, just because your 59-year old (secret) Dad had a new baby this year with his 30-year old wife, you don't have to look so bloody cross! You've got your (secret) Mum's lovely luscious lips, good hair and sharp suit after all.  Then again, if it's up for question whether your biological father is Eminem as suggested by Rol, or "the boy from Divine Comedy" (I'm sure Neil Hannon will be flattered, CC!) then it might be a bit irksome.  Gram was spot on re. both 'parents' though: it's Annie Lennox and Paul Weller, of course.

So, that's the lot.   Thanks again for playing along with this most peculiar of genetic experiments, I was really impressed by the quick detective work too.   I might even manage some more one day - it got kind of addictive....

*Digital Nerdy Art

Saturday 2 December 2017

Who is the mystery lovechild?

I've often wondered about these things.   What would that secret lovechild who was born to a famous but unlikely set of parents look like? Say, ones in the music business like, oh I don't know, perhaps Miley Cyrus and Cliff Richard.  Would they have Miley's ears and Cliff's teeth?  Or Cliff''s eyebrows and Miley's nose?

Well, I wonder about these things a bit too much really, so something had to be done, which involved a lot of fiddly cutting and pasting and cloning and stitching in the SDS laboratory after the hours of darkness. (There's probably an App somewhere that does it instantly but where's the fun in that?!)

There were so many options to choose from.  I mean, who (allegedly) had the covert couplings that could have possibly resulted in these strangely androgynous offspring?

I'd love to know who you suspect.  The DNA results will be in next week.









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