Sunday, 23 September 2012

My Week In Lists: Tattoo Ideas

Hubby & I had our 500th conversation today about how much we adore our new tattoos (I still need to take a decent photo of them to share), and how awesome they look. But it got me thinking that if you'd asked me, probably even just a year ago, I'd have said that whilst tattoos were nice and all, I probably wouldn't get one done. I was never against them, I just didn't ever expect it to be on the cards for me. I had my tongue pierced when I was 16, but a few years later I swallowed part of it (urgh, the worst), and I really started to go off it and ended up taking it out when I was about 18/19 - just before I met Hubby actually. But getting a tattoo had never really crossed my mind until earlier this year when it was just suddenly all I wanted.

Getting that first (and then that second), have only fueled that fire for me to get even more; when you hear people say they're addictive? Yeah, that is so true. With that in mind, I've got a list as long as my arm of more ideas I have for my next. Here are a few of them:

  • "Take Care" (from the Drake song, Take Care) on the back of my neck, or, alternatively, as a MASSIVE chest piece - not quite sure if I'm bold enough for that though!
  • Flying geese silhouettes (referencing The Geese of Beverly Road by The National) just under my collarbone - this will probably be my next one, possibly at this same time as...
  • "Fiction" (referencing the Lucksmiths song, Fiction) on my upper arm
  • "We're the heirs to the glimmering world" (also from The Geese of Bevererly Road)
  • "Lucky You"  (another National song... ok, I'm a little obsessed) along the inside my wedding ring finger
  • "Make a cup of tea, put a record on" (from Elastica's Waking Up), complete with a little cup of tea and a vinyl, maybe on my forearm

I also like the idea of getting a little heart on my elbow, a bit like this one that Katie from Skunkboy has (I love her style, a lot, but I think ripping off her tattoo like for like would be going a bit far). I'm sure there were more, but they've all flown out of my head right now. Basically, I've got major tattoo fever, and if I could afford it, I'd get a hundred tomorrow.

The only downside for me is not being able to give blood for 4 months afterwards and having to take a few weeks off from swimming each time, other than that, it is such a buzz. I couldn't recommend you taking the plunge and getting one enough - seriously, just go for it!

Do you know what I mean not being able to stop at one? Have you had one or are you holding on to an idea in your head? What are you waiting for?!

Monday, 17 September 2012

Just Do Something

It's not that often I get up on my soapbox - I personally feel very strongly about some things like not eating meat and not using cosmetics that have been tested on animals, but I get that other people feel differently, or care less, and so I try not to ram my beliefs down other people's throats - you're entitled to your opinions, even if I personally don't agree with them.

But yesterday I read a news story that has got me SO RILED, I'm literally taking to every social media platform I can to promote it's injustice and try to get more people aware of the issue and tackling it.

This article by the Guardian, Full-scale badger cull set to get government go ahead, covers the main points in great detail, in what I feel is a remarkably restrained unbiased way given that all the evidence of the independent decade long scientific trial shows that a cull is not an effective way to deal with the disease transmission.

The basic ideas are that bovine tb incidence, of which badgers are carriers, is incredibly high in certain areas of England (but not across the whole country which is where the cull is proposed to occur), but the research that has been done shows that killing the badgers doesn't really stop the spread of it, and can even increase it due to the disruption of the surviving badgers. So you would think it would be a no-brainer to consider some alternatives? Yeah, except the fact that the Conservative govenerment has cancelled 5 out of the 6 trials into the development of a vaccination (like what the Welsh government have decided to carry out, in place of a cull, yay Wales) that the last Labour government set up. So there is no real alternative at the moment, because they've done that.

The Environment Secretary, Owen Patterson, who may or may not actually be the devil (he's a climate change sceptic. Our environment secretary is a climate. Change. Sceptic. I weep, truely I weep), well, I don't really have words for him.

My favourite quote from the article?

"In an interview with the Farmers Guardian on Friday, Patterson appeared to cast the 

proposed cull as being of benefit to badgers: "I find the attitude of those who want these 

wonderful animals to die of this disgusting disease [bovine TB] completely 


Oh yeah, my bad, I'm clearly the monster here for not wanting innocent, healthy animals to die unnecessarily. *insert expletives*

Don't get me wrong, I don't want any animals to die unnecessarily under any situation, and if a small scale cull was scientifically proven to be the best way of handling this, then I wouldn't like it, but I would understand why it was being done. This, this I can't understand. This, even more so than the piecemeal auction of our beloved NHS, the under taxed rich, and all the other hairbrained schemes the government have done to throw our country to the dogs, this is the thing that really makes me despair for humanity. I don't believe in God, but if I did, this is when I would start praying for their souls because my god if these bastards aren't going to hell then I don't know who is.

Please consider signing the petition to stop the cull, joining or donating to The Badger Trust, or even just tweeting about it to let more people know, you don't know what difference it might make. Thank you for listening to my rant,

Friday, 14 September 2012

Friday Fiction - it's back!

Friday Fiction disappeared for a little while there, partially because I haven't been blogging very much, and partially because I wasn't reading very much - not of note anyway. I don't really see the point of writing up a review of a book I kind of enjoyed in parts but didn't think was that great; some recent 3 star reads include And So It Begins by Jon McGregor, All Teachers Great and Small by Andy Seed, Cheerful Weather for the Wedding by Julia Strachey, The Rehersal by Eleanor Catton and The Green Dwarf by Charlotte Bronte, which actually was really enjoyable by the end, but when a book is only 100 pages long and 35 of those are just a nothing-y waffle, it drags the whole book down.

That said, in the midst of all of those I read a book which stood out a little more from the crowd. It wasn't a firecracker, and it didn't exactly blow my mind, by A Single Man by Christopher Isherwood is an exceptionally well written novel.

As with Haruki Murakami's novels (which I adore), it's not so much what the story is as how it is told. Nothing much really happens (which, if you've seen it, makes for a bit of a weird film - but again, it's beautifully shot and all the drama is in the nuances), the book, set in 1960s California spans a day in the life of an English, gay (but of course, it's Isherwood darling) college professor, George, dealing with day-to-day life after the death of Jim, his partner, exploring his feelings of grief and isolation, and his brief interactions with friends, students and neighbours. It's hauntingly beautiful at times and incredibly moving, and well worth a read if you value style over content. 8/10.

Colin Firth is really rather good as poor, introspective George in the film too, which also features a mildly surprising, but very noteworthy, appearance from the incredibly British Nicholas Holt as a glowing (literally, he's quite orange) Californian lost soul.

Have a wonderful weekend,

P.S. A Single Man is available to watch on the BBC iPlayer, but only until 11.49pm tomorrow (the 15th) evening, so you'll have to get in quick if you want to catch it!

Friday, 7 September 2012

Shut Up and Play The Hits: the final days of LCD Soundsystem

I don't know about you, but I bloody love(d) LCD Soundsystem. From dancing around my bedroom to Tribulations and Daft Punk... as a teenager in to electro pop, maturing into Sound of Silver (and dancing in my uni halls constantly to All My Friends), right up to sitting in the car in Stonehaven on my honeymoon, eating chips and listening to This Is Happening as the rain poured down around us (and dancing all the while... Can you spot a theme here?), they are the kind of band that I never fully appreciated until they were gone - as is always the way it seems.

Whilst the world quietly mourned their spectacular demise on April 3rd, James Murphy et al got busy making what quite frankly will probably become one of my favourite films of all time, the aptly named Shut Up and Play The Hits. The name comes from a heckle from a backing singer during the final epic show at Madison Square Gardens, who's only y'know, Win from Arcade Fire, pulling out some cracking dance moves along the way. Here's the trailer.

Basically it's spectacular. That's all you need to know really, full on mind-blowingly spectacular. It's surprisingly emotional (or perhaps unsurprisingly, I'm not quite sure), even if you have no connection to the band or their music (not sure how that's possible but I'm willing to consider the notion), I fail to see how anyone could not be moved by James Murphy standing in a storage room full of the LCD kit for the last time before it's all sold off, wiping away a tear or the fans full on weeping at the end of the concert - they're tender, beautifully sad moments and it's incredible to be able to share them.

There are scenes in the film that might well strike you as mundane; watching Murphy have a full shave in real time, whilst an interview plays over the top, and the moments he shares in bed with his dog before his day begins, but for me, these were the most beautiful, treasured moments, captured so stunningly it made the ordinary extraordinary.

The crowning glory however was ALWAYS going to be 'the hits', the footage of the concert so glorious I spent most of the film/probably the rest of my life with an ache so powerful it physically hurt to not have been there, and to never have the possibility of seeing them again. My one and only complaint was not enough. It will never be enough. But my hope and vague understanding is that when the DVD is released, which I will be ordering post-haste (like, yesterday), it will come with a straight beginning to end concert disk as well. 4 hours of unadulterated BLISS. (Edit: I checked, it does). And then you're all welcome round mine for a dance party (seriously, it took all I had not to start one in the cinema, mid-film).

In short, Shut Up and Play The Hits IS AMAZING. And beautiful and emotional and just generally stupendous, I really couldn't have ask for more (except well, more). Most of the screenings were simultaneously shown on Tuesday but there are a couple of ones this weekend (check the website) but if you can't make it to those, you really need to buy the DVD ok? And the LCD Soundsystem backcatalogue for sure. Just trust me, you do. (you're welcome)

Has anyone else seen it? I hope you loved it too. I read a review that gave it 2/5 stars and thought, did we even watch the same film?! I give it 5*, without a shadow of a doubt - definitely worth missing Great British Bake Off for (don't worry, we're all caught up with James and his wonderful jumpers, er, I mean, the lovely baking...). Basically I want to watch it again already, so yeah, it honestly truly is that good.

P.S. On closer inspection of the website, it appears the DVD is being released in a fancy way, for more details check out this site, I'm a little torn because I want IT ALL. I love, love, LOVE the poster, am desperate for a T-Shirt, and quite frankly, wouldn't say no to a photobook... Anyone got a few hundred quid going spare?

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Never On A Sunday

Yesterday Hubby and I very uncharacteristically did something with our weekend day (don't worry, we played Lego Batman, watched the F1 qualifying and were home in time for Doctor Who, we haven't completely lost our heads). Usually we're content to laze around at home all weekend, with the odd trip to the market or the library, and stick on a good DVD box set - we got through all 4 series of Being Human in about er, a week, recently. I'm sure some people can think of nothing worse than being stuck inside all weekend, but we're real homebodies, so it suits us to a T mostly.

But yesterday was a lovely warm day, so we decided to make the most of it with a walk around a local RSPB reserve, Fairburn Ings. We picked the Riverbank Trail, which was sold to us as 'a bit of a walk', two hours later we arrived back at our car, thoroughly exhausted! We didn't manage to spot any of the promised Kingfishers, but we saw lots of other lovely ducks, swans, smaller birds, butterflies and even a dragonfly that followed us around for a bit. I would hardly class myself as a twitcher, but it was a really lovely way to spend an afternoon

I'm a little bit in love with my new yellow shoes. 
(My skirt blew up just after taking this and I flashed my knickers to some ducks and possibly some men with binoculars, oops, stay classy guys)

Did you do anything nice this weekend?

P.S. What did you think of Doctor Who? I was pleasantly surprised by how good it was, but then I didn't have very high expectations going in. Eleven/Pond is by far my least favourite paring of the modern series, I know I'm in the minority, but my god am I looking forward to the end of Amy. I'm interested (and a little excited) to see how they manage to bring Oswin back - she seemed much more my cup of gin tea.

Saturday, 1 September 2012

We're all going on a summer holiday

This feels a bit belated given the recent colder weather, and how autumn is clearly upon us now, but I still have a few snaps I'd like to share from the jolly little holiday by the sea that Hubby and I took well, last month now.

We got the train into Edinburgh for a lot of the days we were up; getting tatted up, buying out half of Avalanche records, sampling the wares at Brewdog (delicious, except for the 40+% ale which was ridiculous), seeing friends and catching shows - Josie Long, Dylan Moran, some awful guy who claimed 'musical racism' was acceptable (we walked out), Michael Legge & Phil Jupitus as Porky the Poet. But on the other days we just took it easy in North Berwick, having lots of romantic strolls along the beach and the coastal walks, climbing the Law and eating chips.

  (bolting, naturally)

It was a pretty good holiday really.

P.S. Did anyone make it the the festival themselves? Did you managed to snag tickets for Coalition? If so, I'm dead jealous, it sounded amazing by all accounts but was totally sold out for our entire stay, gutted!
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