Tuesday, 29 June 2010

Ye Olde London Towne

My blog entries are becoming very erratic these days, as opposed to erotic, which is probably a bad thing!

Saturday arrived and off to London I went, on the hottest, stickiest weekend of the year so far.  For someone not good in the heat, this probably wasn't ideal but I couldn't miss the chance to catch up with the ladies.

First stop in Camden - Dr Strangebrew.  I love, love, love this place and if it was in Brighton, I'd be there all the time.  Although slightly off the beaten track (i.e. Camden Road!), this is one of my recommendations to anyone who likes their vintage, likes their coffee, and likes absinthe chocolate cake (if you're lucky!).  If they had a website, I'd put a link but instead you can find them on Facebook.

At the mention of 2-4-1 cocktails & 50s music, off we went to ZenSai in Inverness Street.  I'm not sure how long this place has been here but I'll be back, should I venture into Camden again - great cocktails and a lovely view of all the nutjobs of Norf Landan.
I can't remember what yummy cocktails I had but one was a peach martini I think - not a cocktail umbrella in sight either!  Loved the music in ZenSai and the fact that everyone was really dressed up.

Bored yet folks?  I've a bit of a way to go yet you know.  Am only half way through our Camden reunion evening!  Food next - and on to the Goodfare Restaurant.  I used to spend a lot of time in here, over a cheap plate of something italian & a frothy coffee.  Situated right opposite the old Food Records office - a great viewing post.  We saw Jude Law in there once I'll have you know - all young & pretty, with a tiny baby strapped to him.  Those were the days.  Sigh.

It wouldn't be a Camden night if we didn't go for a quick drink in our oldest haunt, The Good Mixer.  As I mentioned before, this place is just not the same anymore but it had to be done.  I didn't get that feeling of excitement in my stomach that I used to get nor was I surrounded by britpop stars but then I wasn't expecting to be.  There could well have been bright young things in there but all I noticed was the slight smell of vomit and the caged in area outside - no doubt to prevent alsorts of craziness happening on the pavement.  Blah.  Hawley Arms next.  I hadn't actually been here since my dreadlock days and beautiful Chris who lived in a squat on Eversholt Street (whatever happened to him?).  Apparently all the "cool kids" go to the Hawley, along with the likes of Amy Whitehouse and Kelly Osbourne.  To be honest, they'd be lucky if they could even fit into the Hawley - it was rammed to the rafters - and not a dreadlock in sight.  Final stop and not even worth a new paragraph, The Spread Eagle - another old haunt of ours.  I didn't even recognise the place - toilets that worked, food you could actually eat, and sofas. What the?  Put me right off it did!

Oh dear, today's blog seems to be just a selection of pub photos.  How very boring!

Sunday morning in Soho was lovely.  A complete contrast to mad old Camden.  Really peaceful and calm, and much more me than Camden is these days.  I could have spent all day in Bar Italia if time allowed & will definitely be checking out their selection of cakes - all of them, one by one, til I'm sick!  I love everything about Soho - Soho Square, Berwick Street, Frith Street, all of it.  I even love the sleaziness of the adult shops and live sex show venues.  It's what makes Soho and I wouldn't have it any other way.

So, that was my weekend, give or take the odd saveloy or cup of coffee.  Not the most exciting blog entry but such is life!

For faraway Mother - I saw Paul Nicholls.  He said he'd call you.

And to my favourite ladies - Dawn, Lee & Ulrika - love you lots xx

Tuesday, 22 June 2010

The Britpop Years

This coming weekend sees a bit of a reunion for me (although on a very small scale).  I'll be re-tracing my steps in my old stomping ground of Camden, with some good friends who I don't see nearly enough.

I was very lucky to have moved to London in the 90s, just as the britpop scene started to happen.  Having moved from dull as dishwater (at the time) Wiltshire to Tufnell Park (a stone's throw away from Camden), this was probably one of the most exciting times of my life. I would do it all again in a heartbeat, given half the chance.

It was a standing joke back then that we should give our monthly salary cheque to the barman at The Good Mixer as we spent it all in there anyway and it'd save time!  I think I pretty much went out every night of the week for around 4 years.....which is why I have a very good excuse to be a boring old bastard and stay in more often than not.  I seem to remember that Fridays were the big night out though.....meeting up at Camden tube station at 8 (on the dot) and starting off in The Good Mixer.

You really would have had to be part of it to understand what was going on in Camden then.  I am no longer phased by "famous types" as in those days, it was normal to see the likes of Jarvis, Oasis, the Blur boys etc. etc. everywhere you went.  I still have friends I made then, who would be classed as "famous" to some people but to me they're just guys I met up the pub.  So Friday nights.....the britpop & mod scene were very closely connected so everyone was well dressed and oh how we loved it!  After a few cider & blackcurrants and shouts of "Crazy Horses" to the poor guy out of Jesus Jones who used to dj there (and oh yes, he got it every week!), and laughing hysterically at the graffiti in the ladies loos (Ben Shoesmith knits his own underwear!)....we'd move on to The Spread Eagle or Dublin Castle.
Pub closing time (11.00 way back when I think) would take us down to The Monarch or HQs, or The Laurel Tree for the original Blow Up (my all time favourite club EVER)....or if we were drunk and nothing else was on.....goth night at the venue near the market that I've got a mental block on!  If we were feeling particular hardcore (which we mostly were), we'd end up in The Marathon Bar on Chalk Farm Road.....the most bizarre place.....a kebab shop that sold cans of lager til the early hours, to a weird mix of britpop musicians and mentals.

Anyway....I'm rambling....Camden these days is just not the same.....gone is The Laurel Tree, gone is George & Nickys, The Monarch has changed and The Mixer is full of nutjobs....I'm sure it always was but they got sidelined by Menswear.  We will have the best of times catching up and no doubt laughing at the graffiti in the Mixer (again) as if it were still 1995.  We might be 15 years older but we still know all the words to "He's got chops and he's alllllriighht" and god help the guy from Jesus Jones if we recognise him!

Finally.....just because:

Sunday, 13 June 2010

On the Buses

Another sunny day in Brighton which called for an early breakfast in St Ann's Wells Gardens. 

Nothing better than veggie breakfast in the sun.  I would recommend this lovely little place to anyone - great food & the most peaceful park that I know (apart from a few fluffy dogs and babies!).

Looking forward to Tapas Fridays that they have in the Summer.

I love this place so much it deserves a link:


My weekend and love of old things continued with the 75th anniversary of Brighton & Hove Buses.  Maybe not the best planning to have loads of new buses right at the start of Madeira Drive, as the likes of us nearly went home there & then.  Buses obviously have spotters like trains do.  Lots of strange types with their notepads, getting overly excited at the Number 27 bus to Hangleton.  We stuck with it like the troopers we are and luckily found the vintage ones further on.  Beautiful, beautiful buses that they should never have done away with.  How can anyone get excited over the current Number 7 when there was once this. To think that this would have been the bus I used to get home.  Blah to the new ones!

And just purely because I like them, here are some old signs on one of the buses.  I wonder what happened to Sylvia?

We took a bus ride on an old open-top bus up to Rottingdean and a lovely time was had by all.  The driver wasn't joking when he said we'd be passing under some VERY low tree branches and would all have to duck on the top deck!!!!!!  I managed to get there and back without losing an eye or having to pick lots of flies out of my hair! 

And finally, some random pics from our walk along the seafront this morning. 

Rockabilly Rebel

Fear not trusty blog followers, I have returned.  I can imagine how frantic you've been, wondering if I've ever recovered from Carnaby Street.  I have indeed but have had a stressful week hence my disappearance!

The weekend has been a real mix of old things which you know are my favourite things!!!!  Saturday was an afternoon of rockabilly loveliness in Gardner Street, organised by Mark of The Dorset.  Lots of pretty well-dressed things that unfortunately I didn't get pictures of but tattoos a plenty and lovely make-up on show.  If I wasn't afraid of pain and didn't look stupid in bright red lipstick, I'd be into that scene myself.  Instead, I'll stick with my 60s stuff and watch from the sidelines.

They had a 50s hairdresser cutting hair for free...and very nice it was too.  I realised that a good 50s haircut can do wonders for the men of Brighton & suggest lots of them get down to his salon like NOW!  I wonder what he could do for me with my unruly curly hair that either makes me look like Shirley Temple or Ken Dodd....neither of which is a good look!  Pity Brighton & Hove Council refused the let Hot Rods park up in Gardner Street (that'll be the Green Party for you no doubt!) but a very nice time was had by all & much vodka & pimms was consumed in the sun.  Sunburnt?  Moi?

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Never drinking again......

I seriously never learn.  Me, cider, heat & no lunch = ridiculous woman.  I wish I had a little helper constantly with me who at the point of 3 pints says "STOP NOW".  No such luck.  Anyway, I digress.....

After a lot of pfaffing about & changing my mind every 2 secs, I got my arse out the house yesterday and up to Carnaby Street for the badly named "Summer of Love".  Tis completely true what they say, Carnaby Street isn't like it used to be but it also wasn't as horrific as I remembered a few years ago....or maybe that was the cider blurring my judgement.

I'm embarrassed to say that I didn't really take any notice of anything much going on but the no doubt especially hired in go go dancers were ok, as were the bands.   I particularly liked the two crazies with wigs on dancing - class.  Who they were, and where they came from, nobody knows!

Oh darn it, I'd planned to write a long, interesting blog today but I'm flagging already.  Blah.  I'm actually wondering if I had lots of interesting things to write about and that's doubtful thinking about it so with that, I'll leave you with pics of dancing men with wigs on!

Thursday, 3 June 2010

Sunshine on a rainy day

It's been a beautiful sunny day in Brighton today.  The sea looked extra blue from my office window & the Pavilion Gardens were packed.  I've felt uneasy today though - from a mixture of having bad dreams last night, reading FB updates on June's funeral yesterday and hearing news of mass shootings in Cumbria.

I know the bad dreams probably came from the Cumbria news.  It brought back very bad memories of the Hungerford massacre in 1987.  I lived and worked very close to that pretty little town and had driven through that very same high street on my scooter just a day before.  I was at work when it happened and news came through from a colleague's wife who was trapped in her house just a stone's throw away from Michael Ryan who was going mental with a shotgun.  That day was one of the scariest ever, knowing that had he turned right instead of left out of Savernake Forest, Marlborough would have been in the news for all all the wrong reasons and not Hungerford, and things could have been very different for me and everyone I knew back then.  I did actually know someone who got shot but luckily survived - I imagine his bad dreams are a million times worse than mine.

On a much nicer, happier note - I met up with Kristin for lunch at The Dorset.  I forgot about dieting again and scoffed on nachos with chorizo - a million calories and fat content through the roof but I needed it today perhaps.  Lovely to catch up with Kristin regarding important things such as Manchester nightlife and the fact that the male species up there are just about as useless as they are down here.

Thanks to Facebook, I saw this lovely afternoon advertised today.  I'd like to see what someone could do with my curly mass of hair in the way of a 1950s style!  A definite must and a chance to take lots of lovely photos of no doubt lots of lovely people!

and finally.......the teenage skanky squatters have gone - removed it would seem as all their badly handmade banners have gone and the beer bottles binned.  Maybe they've found a better establishment - we'll never know!

Wednesday, 2 June 2010

June - better than May?

May wasn't a good month at all for so many people I know - deaths, suicides, break-ups & general upset all round.  I know I'm not the only one who is hoping that June is going to be better - it couldn't be any worse I'm sure.  Jonathan Cainer is the man who knows and he said it is - for me at least.  I'll be going round his house with a big stick if he's lying.

So for today's blog and in an attempt to make my social life sound interesting, I'm just rambling incessantly about things that are on during June.

Firstly, tomorrow I'm meeting up with a friend I met originally on Friendster (remember that?) or MySpace many moons ago.  She moved from San Francisco to Berlin to study for a while and I had a great time out there visiting her.  She's been in Manchester for months now and we havn't had a chance to meet up but tomorrow it's lunch in Brighton for us.  Hurrah!  Kristin:  Hope you don't mind me putting your pic on my blog - don't worry, no-one reads it anyway!!!!!

Saturday is a possible trip up to Carnaby Street for it's 50th anniversary, unfortunately named Summer of Love.  Normally I'd avoid Carnaby Street like the plague as it's not like it use to be - cliche' I know but it's true.  I started going up there in my mid teens as a little mod girl, looking for cheap vinyl in an upstairs flea market type place, and buying boating blazers.  Twas here that I spent so much time - later progressing to visits to Charlies tailors for hipster trousers that stopped fitting me all too long ago.  So back to 2010 - this weekend sees bands playing, no doubt go go dancers in shop windows and probably the odd scooter or two.  Obvious worries concerning Carnaby Street this weekend but I'm hoping common sense prevails and I'll get there.  The Universal, Connett & The Small Fakers (Small Faces tribute band) are playing amongst others:

Also this weekend is the lovely Frock Me vintage fair in Brighton on Sunday.  Not sure whether I should actually go this time round as money is a bit tight in June but no doubt I will and be sorry afterwards.

Now this might surprise some people but I like old things!!!!!  So I'm going to be going along to 75th Anniversary Bus Rally on 13 June, with camera in hand.  I always miss the old vehicle days on Madeira Drive but not this time.

Blimey, June is looking particularly interesting - weather hold out please!  On to 18 June now and two things happening that night, Modesty at The Dorset and The Hush Club at Northern Lights.  Will try to get to both of them - both free & both excellent music:

Finally (phew!) this brings me to the last weekend in June, by which time all my hard earned cash will have practically run out unfortunately but roll on next payday!  26/27 is a weekend in London as one of my best friends is over from NY and we'll be frequenting our old haunts in Camden and the like.  No doubt it'll feel like we've never been gone and much gossiping will be done.  See you soon Dawn!

Over & out.

Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Diets and the problem with them

I'm getting larger by the week and this is not good - not good at all.  Clothes are hard enough to find as it is and I really do not want to be going into the 'larger lady' category.  I know my friends mean well but if they truly admit it, I've put on weight and a lot of it.

Slimfast has worked for me in the past but I'm not in the mood for liquids and pasta that tastes like anything but pasta.  And salads are great but don't fill me up and I constantly think about what to eat next.

This is the problem I'm facing - a kitchen full of biscuits, just calling out to me.  I'm not even a sweet type of a girl - more savoury - but I can't get to the good stuff for the cookies in the way!

I should add that the kitchen in question is at work not at home.  I did a healthy shop at the weekend I'll have you know and never buy this sort of stuff.

We do have some healthy stuff at work - fruit for instance - but it's just not interesting me at the moment. 

I need a diet that consists of things I like and things that fill me up - so yogurts and chai lattes it is then.  Can I live on that?  I actually noticed that spiced chai lattes have a fairly large fat & calorie content for a cup so I've even got to cut down on those.  This is not good.

If I don't lose weight this month, drastic measures will have to be taken.  Body wrap anyone?