Sunday, 16 December 2012

December doings....

I'm currently in deepest, darkest Wiltshire where I have consumed cheese straws for breakfast & chocolate eclairs for lunch. Yep, that's how I roll.  The Slimfast police are probably en route but I care not.

So...what's been happening? 

I took a trip back to the seaside.  Ah, Brighton, my home for over a decade.  Nothing much changes.  A few new things appear here & there - Tiger on North Street (I'm easily pleased) and Peter Andre's coffee shop (!!!!).....and a fairly new (for me) pub called The North Laine in Gloucester Place, previously The Gloucester.  Pretty impressive as far as space and music go - plenty of room and Northern Soul.  Maybe not quite so impressive as far as service goes - VERY slow and not great choice if I'm honest.  I'm a bit spoilt I guess but it was a nice enough lunch, and good to catch up with the Brighton ladies (and Andy)....and the mulled cider was a winner.  Too dreary to wander round the shops for long so we just had a quick trip to the Heart & Hand longer the pub that I used to be excited about visiting...but ok for old time's sake.  I'm old and fussy perhaps.

While you "cool kids" (a'hem) did other things that night, a few of us went to see Quadrophenia at the (now) Inner Sanctum Film Club (once Society Film Club at The Sanctum Hotel).  Yes, Yes, Yes.....we all know you've seen it a million times (so have I) and we all know there are blatantly obvious inconsistencies in the film but in my mind, it's a classic and admit it or not, it was the reason so many of us got into the mod scene in the first place.  Even if you think the film itself is a bit cheesy (and yes Leslie Ash makes a chronically bad mod girl and Sting is a rubbish dancer), you surely cannot fault the soundtrack.  I still get goose-bumps when it starts.

This month has somehow managed to whizz by at a rate of knotts.  Struggling to fit everything and everyone in.  I took a short trip to Newbury this week, where I was born all those years ago, and where my Mum still lives.  I obviously havn't been for a mighty long time - no more traffic in the town centre, La Tasca, and Peacocks - what on earth?????  Unfortunately I happened to visit on probably the wettest, windiest day ever known to man but I still managed to go to the majority of the hundreds of charity shops that are there - nothing to be found except a full length fake fur coat (for a mere £12!) that was too big, and a gorgeous pair of Clarks shoes that were too small.  Such is life.  I will return on a sunnier day where I will raid those charity shops within an inch of their lives!

and with that....I shall get back to Bargain Hunt and country life.

Sunday, 25 November 2012

Movember goings on.....

Greetings Frock Fans!

I havn't grown a moustache for Movember but well done to those that have.  I saw a particularly spiffing example at work the other day.  I would've taken a photo for the blog but thought it a tad rude!

This month seems to have flown by - with me working hard but then playing hard to make up for that.

Last Thursday saw another "Carnaby Street Discount Night".  Yes folks, you know the one - where everyone goes and spends their money on things they don't really need.  As I've mentioned before, if truth be known, everyone actually goes to see what they can get for free....well that's what we did anyway.  Champagne in the Levi Store, Beer in Ben Sherman, more champagne in the Levi Store, and red wine thanks to lovely Andy Lewis (old friend, musician, dj, and he of Paul Weller band fame).  We listened to some good music courtesy of said friend in the Pretty Green shop, tried to avoid the midget handing out sweets in a suspicious manner, and went into shops we wouldn't normally go in to get more free things! A trip to new favourite place, Trisha's, afterwards, where alsorts of interesting folk were out.....definite gangsters, definite prostitutes, and us.  Never a dull moment in Trishas.  Finishing up in Bar Italia for coffee & cake, a fun Thursday had been had.....and not a single penny spent.

A disappointing Saturday in Crouch End at a couple of "pop up markets".  I'm allowed to complain after having gone to vintage markets for many a moon and having earnt my "vintage stripes".  Firstly to a pop up craft market which consisted of 3 stalls.  This is not good Crouch End.  I've also noticed being back in North London that there is no sense of urgency by stall-holders at these markets - if something is meant to start at a certain time, everything should be ready at that time.....I can't be doing with late comers - things to do, people to see....and in the 15 mins you're late, you've lost out on my custom & my money.  Next to a vintage fair over the road, in a basement of a pub which was so dark that you couldn't see anything.  I found one dress that I could figure out was yellow (in the darkness), took it upstairs and found it was covered in stains.  This just isn't good enough guys.  Sort it out or people like me will be advertising your rubbish-ness on social media sites.

Finally, on this week's social calendar - a nostalgic night out to see The Lambrettas and Secret Affair.  I think I must have been out when The Lambrettas were around in the mod revival years or else I've got a mental block on their records - I only remember two of them!  As anyone who knows me or reads this knows, Secret Affair were the first band I ever 1980 or so at Chippenham Gold-diggers....they were the start of my mod years.....thanks to them I donned ski-pants & anoraks for many a moon!!!!  Good to hear all the old stuff again, plus a few covers....have a dance & a cider or two.  The gig was ruined a bit however by old bald annoyances who insisted on pushing and shoving when "Time for Action" came on.  Dear old baldies - you are no longer 16 & if you knock me will require new testicles.  Consider this your warning.  Love Cath.  I can't be doing with all the "We are the Mods" stuff either but I knew it would happen.  Anyways, a good night and "Glory Boys" still sends shivers down my spine - memories of a time past.

Bye for now Frock Fans.  Only another 5 days of moustache growing and then you can shave it off again!


Sunday, 4 November 2012

Bye October....

Hello November....and hello long dark days, soggy shoes and crumpets.

It's been a while since I wrote my ramblings down.  Since the last time, the clocks have gone back an hour, I'm back on the Slimfast and I've gone orange on the hair front.  Orange it seems isn't as popular with black women or homeless men as red is....but I like it.

So....what's been going on that I can write about and not get into trouble for.....?

A surprise sudden visit from my Newcastle friends saw a lovely Wednesday in Soho.  Days like these are the reason I chose to go freelance (or one of them).  We went to the now refurbished Photographers Gallery where they had a couple of nice exhibitions on (particularly Tom Wood - Men & Women, and Shoot!) and a odd cat projection in the foyer called "For the LOL of cats".  Thank you Justin for the free entry!  The French House next for a very civilised glass of rose' or two.  I'm not a pub fan but I do like this place - it's quiet, drunk-free, with interesting clientele.  No wonder they chose to film some of "The King of Soho" in there....a proper old boozer at it's best - no pints & no mobile phones (although most people forget that rule!).  Bar Italia after - where we sat outside watching the world go by - one of my most favourite things to do in Soho on any day of the week.  An introduction to Trishas for my friends next.  As I've mentioned a few times, if you really want to experience vintage Soho, this is the place.  Finishing up at Pollo for cheap but cheerful pasta.  Job well done.

Another visiting friend - another trip to Soho, unfortunately this time in the pouring Autumn rain.  The plan was to check out the recently apparently extended Groupies exhibition on Beak Street but it seems hardly any exhibitions at all open on Mondays, much to our annoyance.  Over the road instead to the Penny Slinger exhibition.  A locked door and no sign but we made it past the very uninterested staff and down some craggy old wooden stairs.  Penny Slinger is apparently a surrealist artist.  I don't know what this really means.  I'd describe her work as bizarre or erotic probably.  Definitely not everyone's cup of tea but there were a couple of black & white collage-style 70s pictures I particularly liked.  I must read more about her.  Food consumption that day was thanks to my old favourite The Mediterranean Cafe' on Berwick Street (if you havn't been there yet, why not?) and Bar Italia.

Back to my old haunt of The Sanctum Hotel in Soho on Friday for a viewing of "The Performer", a Ragged Crow film about Robert Pereno  - a complex, fascinating individual.  Robert:  If you're reading this, I hope that description is to your liking!  Appearances from Gaz Mayall, Adam Ant & the lovely Eve Ferret.  The film explains a lot about Robert & his life....and I think I understand him a little bit more after it.  Roof top bar afterwards for a cheeky mojito and a catch up.  In connection with this little trip to the Sanctum, I'm ecstatic to report that the very missed film club is returning on 12 November.  Life just hasn't been the same since it!

Finally, Wills Moody Rock & Roll Jumble Sale has returned too.  No longer called that but instead Jumble Sale at the Lexington.  Who cares what it's called - it's back, there's jumble and bargains, and this makes me happy!

Oh...and finally, thinking of lovely Jonnah this week.  4 years since she took her life in such an awful way and at such a young age.  Miss you Jonnah - RIP sweetie.

Back to my diet of Slimfast and dust....

Sunday, 21 October 2012

A once a year visitor....

Dawn came to visit last weekend.  Dawn, now the proud owner of a Green Card and not likely to opt for London over NY again for the foreseeable future.  I remember writing my blog last year when she visited - the same comments apply this year.  The years pass by way too quickly but it always feels like she was here yesterday.

So......what did we do?  Wahaca on Saturday night.  My second visit and even more impressed with this one than the first.  We did discover that every veggie option practically involved courgette and cactus....but forget about that, it's amazing food overall.  Hybiscus Mojito to start with....a large one at that.  Slow roasted pork burrito to follow, and salty chocolate ice-cream to finish.  If you're looking for a nice, quiet (or romantic) meal, Wahaca is not for you!  It's crazy busy but the organisation is so good that you won't be waiting long for a table.  Cheap, cheerful but tasty.  I don't ask for much more really.  If you're courgette-hating veggie, check out the menu before you go perhaps!  Off to Trishas in Greek Street afterwards which was also, strangely, busy.  Love this place with a capital L...always great music and a nice atmosphere.  Probably the most vintage bar you are likely to find in Central London these days but as before, I'm not telling you how to find took me long enough!!!!

Sunday saw shopping in Oxford Street.  Not enjoyable on a Sunday or any other day probably.  My rule about Oxford Street (when visitors aren't here) is generally get there, get in shop you need to go in, shop FAST, get home FASTER.  If you can do this without becoming violent towards other shoppers, all well and good.   Strange state of affairs when the nicest things I saw were in BHS....obviously gone are the days when you'd avoid that shop like the plague due to it's naffness!

Plans for Greenwich and Mr O'Toole's vintage shop were replaced by Camden on Monday....due to the trek and various forms of transport required to get to South East London.  An early lunch in My Village on Chalk Farm Road, followed by a look round Camden Market.  Lesson for a Monday....all the good shops are shut.....and what DID happen to my favourite vintage shop that was once there?  If it's still there, I couldn't find it.  Also gone seem to be the two nice vintage shops on Chalk Farm Road, unless I was having a blonde moment and missed them too.  Camden Market must be heaven for teenage tourists.  I didn't hate it this time round (although I might say differently on a weekend) but there's not too much to tempt me to spend my money.  Not keen on joss sticks nor having my feet eaten by fish in public.

Bye Bye Dawn.  Hello Dear Catastrophe Waitress 90s Special.  Thanks to my lovely mod friends for trekking to North London especially.  A packed bar - unfortunately not always with punters we would like.  Anyone have any good tips on how to get townies to go elsewhere?  Still...a fun night with nice music and a couple of cheeky vodka & cranberries.

Finished off the week with a scrummy Sunday Roast and Eton Mess down the road.  This coming week brings some work, some meetings, and more importantly, a new hair colour for me.

Bye for now Frock Fans x

Sunday, 7 October 2012

I'm just another Glory Boy.....

The title of today's ramblings obviously relates to Secret Affair.  I'm not a Glory Boy...whatever one of those might be.  The song though actually means a lot and takes me back to a time a long time ago, in a different place in the world than I am now.  Surely every teenager into the mod scene, stuck in the countryside with no means of escape, must have related to it.

Wednesday saw the launch night for Gary Bushell's "Time for Action" book, the title of which pretty much tells you what it's about - the Mod Revival.  I wish I could tell you how great (or otherwise) it is but I'm cheap and didn't buy a copy.  Lots of mod revival band folk in attendance although I wouldn't recognise too many of them these days.  I'll ramble about the mod revival instead......

I was only 14 or so when bands like The Chords, Secret Affair and the like appeared.  I was introduced to them by parka-wearing folk who went to school with me.  Through them, I started to go to "discos' at a very young age in my nearest little town - discos that were pretty much made for us - all two tone, mod revival & motown.  Older mods came from miles away and we had a nice little scene going for us.  I started buying up clothes from jumble sales & charity shops and was the only person in my village in ski-pants and anoraks!  I remember one time in particular when I had to get a lift home from a jumble sale as I had so many rubbish sacks full of suede coats, dresses etc.  Oh for those days again!  As I've mentioned many a time I'm sure, I went to see Secret Affair in Chippenham Golddiggers of all places and I guess the rest was history.....I progressed to "proper" mod clubs, bought a Lambretta, blah blah blah. 

For nostalgic reasons, I'm going to relive my teenage years again in November when Secret Affair and The Lambrettas play in town.  Concerned about the crowd and too much of "We are the Mods" but I'll sing along to every song, guaranteed.

Another nostalgia trip last night when we had a local night out and went to see Jaime Harding do an acoustic set in Muswell Hill.  Sigh - Jaime Harding - the once beautiful lead singer of Marion.  Drug problems and near death obviously take their toll but the voice is still there.  By the time he'd decided to do his set, we'd pretty much lost interest so didn't catch it all.  Good to see that he's getting better and doing gigs again.  I doubt Marion will ever reform but at least he's getting there.

Interested to see if my European readers will check in this weekend.  One day I'll write something they may be interested in......*wink*.  In the meantime, I'm off to give the Jeremy Kyle show a call.

Sunday, 30 September 2012

It's grim 'up North....

Whoever came up with that saying is talking rubbish as it isn't.  It's grim in Milton Keynes - perhaps that's what they meant.

In lieu of working on my birthday, I took a trip (a very long overdue trip I might add) to Newcastle to visit friends, stroke cats, eat food, and meet babies that were born since the last time I visited!

As I'm living on a budget these days, I had to rely on coaches to get me there and back again.  National Express uphill.....some kind of leg room, a plug for my phone charger, a 15 stop to use ancient toilets in Leeds Bus Depot, and an annoyance of a woman in front of me who reported back to her friend every 10 mins as to where she was on the motorway.  To said woman - we NEVER were on the A63 and it's GATESHEAD not Gatishead love!  Megabus downhill - an unfortunate name for a form of transport that so isn't mega.  Sitting in soaking clothes for 8 hours in a freezing bus next to a woman who ate cold noodles with a spoon, no leg room, flooded toilet the size of a matchbox.  Blah.  Train £86.  Total coach journey £18.

Day 1 in the Toon House:  Dinner at the Sky Apple Veggie Cafe' in Heaton.  Halloumi salad, Cuban Casserole, Plum & Gingerbread Cake, take your own wine.  Lovely place and great food.  Good company from a soon-to-be-married of which I swear was in the queue for the Brighton Rock castings all those years ago.

Day 2 in the Toon House:  I'm lucky to have friends who get up early so we went off to an interesting little antiques centre/flea market on a trading estate (unfortunately the name of which I can't remember).  Full of interesting things and wolf-whistling birds.  I imagine you'd only know about this place through word or mouth or by seeing a small ad in the local paper.  Off to Whitley Bay in lovely Autumn sunshine next.  Aah...Whitley Bay - a seaside town lost in time.  Beautiful sandy clean beaches, "proper" fish & chip shops, amusement arcades.....ruined at night (as every other seaside town is) by stag & hen nights.  Horlicks in a time-warp cafe' on the front called The Rendezvous....all banana splits & peach melbas, then a look round the shops.  Two interesting shops next to each other - a vintage furniture/bric a brac shop called Mods & Rockers, and vintage clothing at Dregs of Society.  Some nice hand-picked items at pretty good prices.  

Back into Newcastle for lunch at Ernest.  Another winner.  Big chunky potato wedges, and a Posh Dog (which I think was chorizo, veg etc. in a ciabatta), followed by some dessert or other I'm sure!  Newcastle certainly isn't short of nice places to eat at the moment.  I remember the days of Pizza Express as that's all there was.  Had a look in the Ouseburn Farm next....where they had fluffy bunnies we wanted to steal called Miffy and Dirk (Dirk????).  Yes, this is what I do these days!!!!  A long walk along the canal and the Quayside next, where we came across an infamous terrible busker whose wailing you could hear from miles away.  We googled him we came back and he's a YouTube star you know!  Went to a few pubs later.   I've realised I no longer like pubs at night these days - they're full of annoying, drunk people and I would rather not be around them.

Day 3 in the Toon House:  A broken down car, a bus replacement service, Tynemouth.  Stopped off at a little indoor market where we discovered a great vintage shop called Boys like Dolls.  I'd heard this name before but not sure where.  Tynemouth Market next which seems to get bigger every time I go.  Managed to avoid buying anything other than a muffin (a darn good muffin I might add).  Still fascinated & a little bit shocked to see stalls full of war memorabilia which includes nazi helmets & other nazi paraphanalia.   Sad to say that I can't remember the name of the restaurant we ate lunch in but once again, it was great!  Amazingly cheap prices - if I could have eaten dessert, I certainly would have - 3 courses for £12.50 (practically the price of a roast dinner in Crouch End).  Had a 20 mile hike along the sea front with a friend and her beautiful little boy after lunch, past rock-pools and places I would have ran to get to as a child.

Thank you Newcastle - I had a blast.  Now off to watch two tv chefs going to Rotherhithe...*cough*.

Sunday, 16 September 2012

When your boobs head South....

It's my birthday this week.  I'll be 46.  This is a scary thought.  46 is closer to 50 than 40, and that is well and truly middle-age.  Age is just a number I tell myself but I'd prefer that number to be 30 if truth be known!  Looking forward to hot flushes, Tena Lady and a free bus pass but in the meantime.......

Dear Catastrophe Waitress continues.  September meant Scandi Music special and an excuse to basically resurrect  Sweden Made Me for one night only.  Grateful to the Scandi Kitchen girlies for coming along and dancing lots.  You know it's all going to be ok when drunk swedish girls turn up.  Next month: 90s special.  I will be knotting up my hair, getting out that oversized "slippy shoulder" stripy jumper and re-piercing my nose in celebration. 

Thursday saw my pre-birthday day out with Mum.  Mum who seems to know London better than her daughter I might add!  We had lunch on a "party" boat at Embankment - The Tattershall Castle.  Cheap & cheerful on a beautiful sunny day.  Not so much fun at any other time I suspect.  I felt a bit seasick and it was moored!  Visions of what goes on at night after several pints are not pleasant.

Off to Tate Britain after a goats cheese baguette.

I'd wanted to get to the "Another London" photo exhibition for weeks and we managed to sneak in just before it closed any time now.  Really enjoyed the photos which are of 1930s to 1980s London.  Particularly love the photo of the perhaps homeless boyish-looking teenage girl holding a kitten and a sleeping bag, which has been used as the face of the exhibition.  We hoped she knew she was famous for a few weeks because of this and wondered what her story was. 

Went for a nice touristy walk after the Tate - past Parliament, Westminster Abbey and Horseguards Parade.  When you live in London, you only do the tourist thing when people visit.  I'm thinking I should do it more.  I'm secretly impressed with my photo on the right.  Only taken on my mobile phone, it's come out well.  Finishing off with ice-cream in Trafalgar Square, tourist pre-birthday day was done.

Yesterday was a sunny Saturday in Soho sort of a day.  Thank you Miss Warren for a fab-tastic lunch in my favourite "cheap as chips" cafe' in Berwick Street, the Mediterranean.  Rose', Spicy Sausage Salad, Cheese Borek, Banoffee Pie & Cappucino - Job well done!  The French House next.  I have yet to see any of these famous folk that apparently frequent it but I live in hope!  Finishing off at The Ship where we did a ton of catching up and putting the world to rights, and a bit of people watching.  Every Saturday should consist of these things.

Blog done.  I'm heading 'up North to the Toon next weekend.  Hopefully I will have some tales to tell upon my return.

Think of me on Wednesday when I hit 46 folks.  My boobs will never be the same again.....

Monday, 27 August 2012

"I hope I die before I get old"

Apologies in advance to all my mod friends......

It's that time of year again.  August Bank Holiday.  The annual mod weekender in Brighton.  A chance to wear the best of your wardrobe & forget about everything for a couple of days.  Isn't it?

I've been going to mod & scooter rallies for many a moon.....from my first ever scooter run to Torquay in 1983 (all greens, jeans and scary men), much classier affairs in Hayling Island (the Solent Club, the one chippy and running away from casuals), Isle of Wight (back in the days when it was more mods than scooterists and they'd turn you away from a venue if you had trainers on) in the 90s Brighton these days.

I'd get so excited months before the weekends came around....from planning my outfits meticulously, making sure I hadn't worn the same thing for some time incase anyone noticed (they never did!) to packing up my little tartan suitcase and duffel bag.  Living in the sticks, it was sometimes a rare chance to see everyone you didn't see often......Sheri & Nicky from Bedford, Sue from Watford etc. etc.  It really was the best of times back then.

I still get excited about the Brighton weekend now....but perhaps not for the same reasons.  I love to see my friends down there but I think the thrill of waiting to see what everyone is wearing & taking photos of the scooters etc. has gone.  What the outside world must think when they see 60 year old men with Paul Weller haircuts, donning parkas with target patches and "Mods" written on the back in tippex, god only knows.  If you're one of the said 60 year old men, no apologies from me.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with being a mod when you're 60 but the term "growing old gracefully" comes to mind.

This year in Brighton, I found there were a huge amount of people in what I term "fancy dress" outfits - white boots, inappropriate mini dresses and false eyelashes.  No wonder people laugh about the mod scene and bring up Austin Power at any opportunity.  It was tragic that so many women had so obviously been "dressed up for the night" by their friends or partners.  To the girls who wore dark glasses all night at Modesty, to the chavs with potty mouths in colour block M&S dresses & to the white wedge boot brigade, I'm talking about you.  Be yourselves, don't try and be all mod or 60s just to fit's ridiculous.  And to the sweaty, overweight, bald speed-taking, letcherous 55 year olds....don't.  That is all.

Rant over.  I will always love Brighton and I will probably always end up going down over the August Bank Holiday....but I'm praying the fancy dress shops will be shut next year.  By the way...this is how it should be done.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

Sport & Me.....

It's official, I'm a changed woman.  I've enjoyed the Olympics and I've enjoyed sport!  Who'd have thunk it?  I can't blame sunstroke or the menopause so I can only think that I really have changed over the past fortnight or so. 

I mostly hated sport at school - from being dragged off to the local swimming pool in primary school to being made to run in the snow across muddy old fields in Sixth Form.  I hated the school showers, I hated the "picking of teams", I hated pretty much all of it.  I did like badminton & I was good at hurdling, but that was the limit of it, and to be honest, I was even a bit half-hearted about those sports!  So when London won the 2012 Olympic bid, I sighed a long sigh and dreaded the day it finally arrived.

Back then, I didn't know I'd be living in London again but now that it's all over, I'm glad I have been.  I've come out the other end of the Olympics being very proud of the city I live in, proud of how we've done such an amazing job when everyone was sure we'd make the world's biggest cock-up and proud of how we made such a good impression on the world that was watching, waiting for us to cock-up.  I've silently cheered on the runners, the cyclists & the swimmers, and enjoyed an Opening Ceremony that I was sure I'd hate!  I've seen friends who would normally be doing other things throw themselves into the free olympic events and love every minute of it.  And quoting Mr Raison "I'm packing my Olympic case with a tear in my eye. Thank you Great Britain for the best holiday romance ever".  

I can't guarantee I'll be watching much sport at anytime soon but I've enjoyed it all and was sad to see the flame go out on London.  Thank you 2012 Olympics!

In other news......

Dear Catastrophe Waitress #2 was a big success with happy, drunk folk dancing til we closed.  Dancing = a good night so we'll be having more.  Next one on 7 September will be a scandinavian music special and if Crouch End isn't bored with us then, a 90s indie special following that.  Think Neds, think Poppies, think Menswear!

and finally....on a steaming hot day yesterday, I ventured to the Tate Modern for the Edvard Munch exhibition.  Huge amounts to look at but no sign of the obvious "Scream".  My very basic review of the exhibition:  I liked some, I didn't like others!  An acquired taste for sure but for Munch fans, you'll love it.  We headed off to Camden Town afterwards for lunch at an old favourite, The Goodfare on Parkway - no longer cheap as chips but still excellent food for under a tenner.  When in Camden, it'd be rude not to finish off with cocktails and, as luck had it, Zen Sai had a Happy Hour from mid-day til 8 (practically all day then!) so some lychee gin concoctions & strawberry margharitas were consumed before heading home.

Off now Frock Fans as "House Gift" is in Crouch End and the like and I don't want to miss any more.

Sunday, 29 July 2012

Never trust a man with egg on his face.....

I'm writing this weeks' blog from deepest, darkest Wiltshire, where the only life outside is ramblers with umbrellas, who have most probably got lost.

Last weekend saw a trip out East - East London that is, not Essex.  I'm not THAT brave.  I don't know Hackney well but from what I've seen, I like it.  My only past experience of that area is being stuck in Murder Mile at silly o'clock, trying to find a bus driver that would accept a £10 note.

Whilst waiting for folk, I had a coffee in a particularly nice cafe' called This Bright Field in Cambridge Heath Road (  Such scrumminess on the menu included sourdough bread, avocado & banana on black rye, and Brixham whole mackerel.  Just my cup of tea - mental note to return.

Over the road next to the Viktor Wynd gallery (or The Last Tuesday Society as it's otherwise known) for the Sebastian Horsley exhibition.  Only £2 to visit this bizarre but fascinating place on a Saturday and well worth the money, if only to laugh at the totally random books they have on show.  One room was dedicated to Sebastian Horsley and a word of warning, it's not for the fainthearted.  Luckily I was expecting the worst and loved it.   Sebastian Horsley, famous for carrying out his own crucifixion in the name of art, was a fascinating character, who died way too young.  The exhibition, as well as showing explicit images of his "art", includes personal effects (his door keys, diary etc.) giving a real insight into his life.  We'll probably never really understand exactly how his mind worked - he was indeed a one-off.  RIP sir.

From one dandy to another....Thursday saw another trip to see Adam Ant, this time in the unlikely setting of The Wyvern Theatre in Swindon.  I can only think Mr Goddard stuck a pin in a map and it landed on Swindon by mistake.  Having said that, out of all the gigs I've been to over the last year or so, I think this last one was by far the best.  By chance, we got seats really close to the front so even my short friend had a good view.  A fantastic first set including Plastic Surgery, Beat my Guest and Never Trust a Man (hence the title of todays blog) followed by an equally great encore.  Mr Ant, you are most certainly worth the ticket money.  As the overly excited dancing man in front of us said after the gig "Now THAT's how you do it".  To top off the Swindon Ant experience, I coincidentally saw the man himself the next morning, having a sneaky fag outside his hotel - now what are the chances of that?

Back to the silence of the countryside now but before I leave you, here are two totally random pictures, because I felt like posting them - Mr Goddard (my restraining order will be taken off soon, honestly!!!) and a book that made me smile in Viktor Wynd.  That is all.......

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Back in the Summer of 69.....

it was probably a darn sight better Summer than it is in 2012!  You can blame my lack of blog updates on the weather...still.  My flowery mac has become my best friend and I've spent more time in the flat than is healthy. 

On one of the very few dry days we had, myself and a visiting swedish friend went on a "Back in the Day" Walk.  These are walks around different areas of London, which concentrate on music, culture etc. in Soho, Brixton or Lambeth.  We chose the "Soho - Roots of the Swinging 60s" walk (strangely enough!).  Barrie Evans who runs the walks was a teenager in Soho in the 60s, frequented the "hip" clubs back then and met his now wife (if I remember rightly) at The Flamingo Club in Wardour Street.  The walk takes in sites of once great clubs, coffee bars, comedy venues....along streets you'll know well but down others you might not even know Ham Yard, behind a dodgy restaurant!  It was a great afternoon and I'd recommend spending a couple of hours with Barrie and his stories.

We checked out a restaurant that I'd heard about but not eaten in after we'd walked round Soho that afternoon - the mexican Wahaca on Wardour Street -  This could well be one of my "new favourite places to eat".  Really interesting food, huge portions, and good prices.  I had a burrito filled with feta, courgette and cactus, followed by caramel salted ice-cream.  It's a huge place so you shouldn't have any problem getting a table.  Aside from the food - the toilets are bizarre!  Just check them out and you'll see what I mean.  I'll be back for Mojitos next time.

Today, another rare sunny day in London, we went to Soho Festival.  As last year, a strange but fun afternoon consisting of jugs of Pimms, a spaghetti eating competition, puppet shows and random Soho characters.  Proceeds help Soho's elderly residents apparently.  One day, perhaps I'll be an elderly Soho resident but without the stories that probably come with being one.  The French House followed where we watched the world go by over a bottle of Meteor white beer, and finishing off at Pollo for way too much food that is sensible for ladies trying to watch their weight.

So lovely Frock Fans...unfortunately that's the best I can muster up until the weather improves.  Next weekend - the Sebastian Horsley exhibition a Viktor Wynd, and a barbecue.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Dear Catastrophe Waitress and things like that......

Another few weeks without writing a blog....the weather having played a big part in this again.  Today I should have been writing about East Finchley Festival but as it got cancelled due to a water-logged site, I won't be! 

Friday saw the first night of an occasional club of mine, "Dear Catastrophe Waitress" (named after the Belle & Sebastian song for those who didn't know).  I no longer want to go out to clubs at 11pm and have to put up with night buses full of drunk annoyances so, for purely selfish reasons, I put Dear Catastrophe Waitress on in a favourite bar of mine in Crouch End - Kiss the Sky.  DJs for the night were local lad, Bob Stanley (he of St Etienne and muso fame) and Darren Beach.  I decided on a "no obscure tracks" rule for the club - just good indiepop, indie, 60s, britpop, punk etc.  (Perhaps some swedish tracks for another time - not sure if Crouch End is ready for that quite yet).  Thanks to Darren for playing Swing out doesn't really fit into any category other than one I've made up called "Random bands that Cath likes".  The bar was full, cocktails were consumed, the crowd looked happy and there was even some dancing, so I think for a first night, it was a success.  Am considering some themed nights for another time - perhaps 90s indie (Neds, Poppies etc) or punk.  We will see.

Those of you that know me well will know I've put clubs on for a very long time now.  I don't generally go very long without doing something. 

Seeing old pics go up on Facebook yesterday reminded me what a great club Sweden Made Me was.  3 of us put the club on in a little upstairs room in a pub in Brighton every month for something like 4 years & practically every one of those nights during the first few years was packed out.  The DJs only played tracks by swedish bands/artists (hence the name of the club) and it proved EXTREMELY popular with Brightons' swedish students particularly.  They came, they drank Kopparbergs, they danced to Broder Daniel - and so did we.  Maybe it'll be resurrected sometime soon but it will never be quite the same as it was in the mid 2000s.

Another Sunny Day was another one of my club nights - in Stockholm originally.  I lived there for a few months (not nearly long enough) and put my club on every Monday night in a bar/restaurant called The Sugar Bar.  For someone who planned the club from England and didn't even see the venue until I moved there, I didn't do too badly.  Every Monday, I put an indiepop band on and had some djs.  Some great, great swedish bands played and I made good friends.  I also learnt how to use a cash register, deal with swedish ID, and get by with pigeon swedish if needs be.  Another Sunny Day still exists, in Brighton, with friends now looking after it....and looking after it well!!!

Pop Klubb has been another huge success, started originally with friends in Newcastle.  The club was (and still is) held in a little old social club which, during the day, is full of old men drinking pints and playing dominos (probably!).  Our first night all those years ago was just a handful of people watching my friends' band Your Favourite Question.  Now, years down the line (and no longer my baby), Pop Klubb is hugely popular, packed out every time with an amazing reputation, not only in the Toon.  Guys, I'm proud of you.

There have been other nights here and there.....good nights, rubbish nights....etc.etc....and there will probably be more.