Sunday, 9 October 2016

Sunday Summary | I have a pen ... I have a' apple ...

Dear FOQ

Y'know when you've been super-busy yet you feel you have nothing to show for it but eye-bags and the need to hide in your hoodie for the majority of the day?


Recently it's been all I can do to get home and stay conscious for the evening. I don't know what it is: change in weather, daily stress about whether or not the chuffing trains will deign to run that day, work being constantly, constantly busy (albeit fabulous), trying to finish laying out and proofreading a history of the church, trying to organise (or delegate the organisation of) a 1960s-themed disco ... but I'm just TATT. (Tired All the Time.)

So, this is a fairly lite Summary, je regrette, but fear not, I'll have a lot more to report in a couple of weeks.


This fortnight, I have mostly been simu-reading:


which I finished on Thursday night with a resounding ... meh.

Oh, LG.

You could have done with a much, much better editor. One who acknowledged that you can't just peddle exquisitely detailed anecdotes on one hand, and skip entire periods of time on the other.


Green Wing

and giving The Book Group (2002) a chance even though Clare, the 'lead character', is unbelievably annoying.

So imagine my surprise/alarm/mild annoyance when I worked out that Hugely Annoying Clare

is the Hugely Annoying Dead/Vicodin Ghost Doctor Amber, aka Cutthroat Bitch, from House.


All4, though. Great for when you're temporarily divorced from Netflix, and legally verboten from watching the Beeb.

Also watching Plus One (from some eight years ago on Channel 4, and on DVD)

Natalie and I versed ourselves in the first three episodes on Friday night, and I have to say, I was greatly tickled. (The Archers I'd consumed prior to watching may well have helped but what's not to love about a series that involves Duncan from Blue parodying himself?)

The series focuses on Rob, whose girlfriend ditches him to run off and marry aforementioned Duncan from Blue, and is then invited to their wedding – hence the need to invite an impressive Plus One to bring along. Each episode focuses on a new, and often failed, attempt by Rob to find that Plus One.

Witness our hero busting some serious moves under instruction from another pop star of the moment mid-to-late 00s Jamelia:

(And pardon the language right at the beginning ...)


... to rid this song from my brain (but admittedly not very hard because it's annoyingly catchy):

Scroll down to enjoy a truly Special Tribute to this song later on in the post ...

Hanging Out with the Bestest

... and other reprobate activities.

Last Friday night this excellent person came over for one of our now renowned 'sleepovers':

As is our wont, we stocked up on the essentials (nachos, cocktail ingredients):

and then settled in for a civilised evening of entertainment.

Which, roughly translated, means we didn't even get as far as inside my flat after our little shopping excursion before the Malibu and Archers cocktails-in-a-can came out.

But if I don't post photos of us drinking cocktails like tramps on a bench outside Co-op then It Clearly Didn't Happen. You get me?

Fast forward to ...

{Check out that scar on my left arm. Ironing did that. Evil ironing.}

{Eclairs. This also happened.}
And after a cheeky can and a half of Malibu for her

and another Archers and lemonade for me, it seemed like The Best Idea in the World to pay tribute to the aforementioned catchy song, PPAP (Pen-Pineapple-Apple-Pen).

So (after a few takes and outtakes as we are nothing if not perfectionists)

here is the final edit for your enjoyment:

This was closely followed by what I can only describe as a performance de force par moi of Wrecking Ball (lip-synced, you'll be glad to hear).

But since the video is more indulgent than those eclairs you saw us scoffing earlier, it may never see the light of day.

Count yourselves lucky.

And then came dancing.

Including a particularly fervent interpretation of 'You Think You're a Man (but you're only a boy)'.

During which I managed to elbow Natalie rather squarely in the collarbone.

... Thus ended the dancing.

(Sorry, Natalie.)

The following morning, we woke (I had to peel myself from the floor after the airbed deflated underneath me), made ourselves purty and headed into town for our also now renowned post-sleepover Greasy Spoon Fry-Up.

A little tour round the shopping centre later (and can we please just have a moment for this work of art ... next to this painting?)

before Natalie had to head home to resume responsibilities as an adult. Albeit with a sore collarbone after some flailing idiot with pointy elbows maimed her in an ill-thought-out dance move ... oh.

(Love oo.)

Pinterest Pins of the Fortnight

Well, in spite of having painfully little time to Pin these days, and the time I have spent Pinning has also been spent informing the Powers that Be Pinterest that I JUST DON'T LIKE ADS SO STOP FREAKIN' SHOWING ME ADS ... I've just exceeded my 7k pin quota.

Not sure if that's indicative of something good, or just a bit sad. Anyway. Here are this fortnight's Pick of the Pins:

One verbal ♦ One visual

Fortnightly Web Finds

Just a couple as I haven't got the energy to curate all my saved links this week (I'm sure you're secretly cheering):

And finally ...
  • Flamingo does Flashdance | on Vine

'Fraid you will have to wait a little longer than the allotted fortnight for the next missive as I am orff for a much-needed 'oliday (ideally off-grid ...) but at least I shall have more blogfodder to share upon my return!

But before I sign orff, may I wish my loverly loverly Ma QB a very happy boifday for tomorrow! HAPPY BOIFDAY, MA QB! xxxxx

And Charlie, all the very best for tomorrow. You will be amazing. Natch. xxxx

qb xx

Sunday, 25 September 2016

Sunday Summary | I'm losing control of my emotions ... you've got this hold on my heart ...

Dear FOQ

... I think it's safe to remove the summer playlist from my iPod now, right?


This fortnight, I have mostly been ...


{Gretel and the Dark | Eliza Granville}
which is interesting; not going in the direction I'd expect which is ... I'm not even sure where.

Also, and I should probably explain the geek-out I've had here, in reading these here memoirs:

{I Said Yes to Everything | Lee Grant}

primarily because Lee Grant is the mother of one of my all-time cinema/TV idols:

no, not Richard Mulligan – this lass here:

Dinah Manoff, with whom I was borderline obsessed in the 90s and 00s to the point whereby if you were a friend of mine and had access to Sky or Swedish television (Andrew ... Caroline ...) you probably found yourself being coerced into taping some truly obscure film or series she was in. (Sorry about that. Aren't you glad YouTube exists now so I can get my weird idolatry kicks elsewhere?)


If that wasn't weird enough ... I will say that it is really, really bizarre to read about your idols as children.


{The Sixth Sense}

Icy dead people all the time.

I have a lot of questions about the legitimacy of some of the occurrences in this film. Setting aside the 'I see dead people' premise, natch. Do we think enough time has passed to allow me to dispense with a SPOILER ALERT?

Since Haley Joel Osment is now 28 and about 28 stone heavier I'd say so but I suppose I'd best include it to be polite ...

... OK, so, here's my dilemma: if Dr Crowe (Bruce Willis) is ... y'know, dead, how can he write notes about his patients, and listen to old recordings of his appointments?

Riddle me that.

{"Whoa. That totally doesn't make sense, does it."}
Also ...

Just started rewatching Green Wing (thanks to workmate Emma for reminding me of its genius).

Mark Heap is just a little bit wondrous, isn't he.



Cast your mind back two weeks through the heady mists of time ...

{Yeah, I'm pretty sure you could have imagined this for yourself but hey.}

... to that moment whereby I predicted what I thought I'd have accomplished in the following two weeks. Quoth I:

Join me in two weeks when I shall – SPOILER ALERT – mostly have partied with the birthday girl (hopefully), sung for an former Archbishop (hopefully), got my hair did (hopefully) and will be buzzing from seeing one of my musical icons in concert (again, hopefully).


I did indeed party with the birthday girl in a very nice pub in Crowborough with a lovely bunch of Natalie's friends, some velly tasty Kir Royale and a honking great plate of calamari with chips.

The rest of the group went on to do flaming sambucas after I'd had to leave. It was that sort of night.

{Somebody needed to be propped up by this point ...}

... That moment when your best friend sends you a photo of yourself ... and it comes through with this tagline:

Heehee! Oh, and Natalie? If you hack my phone and fill it with selfies when I'm at the bar buying you a drink, you deserve to get an entire gif made of your face, mmmkay? ;-)

You're welcome.

Big-ups due to the party posse: Natalie (natch!), Emma, Craig, Gareth, Anna, Dave, Tereska and Tom.

And an honorary big-up to Natalie's lovely mum Linda *waves*!


I was lucky enough to have another audience with my lovely bestie on Wednesday evening – we met up in ASK in Tunbridge Wells for a lovely evening of more catching-up. The definition of quality time.

With a couple of selfies thrown in for good measure.

Singing for the former Archbishop of Canterbury

Last Sunday we were privileged to have Dr Rowan Williams preside over our 10am parish mass, as part of the church's 150th anniversary celebrations; and he delivered a rather wonderful and apposite sermon on our feelings of obligation and indebtedness, with absolutely no notes at all. Just off the bat, delivered from the altar steps rather than the pulpit so it felt like a proper, intimate address to us.

... We in the choir absolutely sang our socks off and did ourselves proud.

Getting ma hair did

... big-time

Again with the nostalgia because I'm in that sort of mood today!

If you knew me in 1995 (and again, I apologise), you may remember that I had this haircut:

{... and this face, and those glasses, let us not forget ...
I do not regret the statement earring choices I made, however.
| Photo by Russell D'Eath | 1995}

While it seemed like a good idea at the time to transition from this look:

{Maine, USA, April 1995}
to the totally hot one in the first shot (!) the new shorter do made me look ...

... frumpy.

{Halloween 1995 ...}
Aged 17.

You can imagine how magnetic my allure was, back then.

So it was with some understandable apprehension that I entrusted my beloved barnet unto my hairdresser, the excellent Miss Freya @ DTail in Caterham, briefing her only to do something magical – and short – with it as I'd just had enough of Big Hair.

Et voila!

It's not frumpy, it still bears an Essence of the Bob Haircut, and looks decent even when I've just woken up.

I'm a little bit thrilled with this.

Now, where did I put my collection of statement earrings ... ?

Seeing one of my musical icons in concert

Notice the "again, hopefully" proviso I tacked onto the end of the original mention.

I should have known that getting back home from work with time to a) eat, b) beautify and c) tip up at the theatre looking all Friday-night resplendent wasn't on the agenda as long as I was depending on Southern. Freaking. Rail to get me back from Tonbridge.

I won't go into the full details because chances are I made you follow the whole epic journey in real time via Facebook complete with "SCREW THEM. SCREW THEM ALL"s tacked on for good, vitriolic measure. (Sorry about those.)

Here is a summary of my night in train fails:

1749 >> Cancelled due to a fault on the train
1823 >> Cancelled due to lack of train staff (even though the train came in, driven, I assume, by a human staff member, was duly tacked onto the defunct 1749 and then dragged into the sidings, when logic would dictate that it could, I dunno, TAKE PAYING CUSTOMERS TO THEIR DESTINATION INSTEAD)
1851 >> Cancelled due to a reason that nobody actually declared so I'm calling INEPTITUDE
1913 >> Cancelled due to no tosses given by Southern for their PAYING CUSTOMERS

"Oh, Southern?"
"Eh, what?"
"C'm'ere. I have a little something to whisper in your ear."
"Yeah, what?"



(I like big buts and I cannot lie.)

For want of any co-operation or in fact accountability by Southern, Southeastern very kindly, and very capably, organised taxis and buses to get us home.

After ambling round the platform for some time, we were told to go up to the booking hall and await further instructions. A small fleet of taxis then tipped up and I really rather quite brazenly made a (queue-)beeline for a six-seater, rather than opt for the stopping-service coach that rocked up at the same time.

And boy am I glad I did. Our driver did some magic. Legal magic, I'm sure. But we moved. Fast. Fast enough, anyway.

We rocked up at our little hamlet at 7.50pm.

I ran home.

I mean, I ran home.

{... albeit faster, and in slightly more clothing}

Dropped my bags in the ground-floor hallway.

Ran/staggered/ran up the stairs and into the flat.

Grabbed my ticket.

Ran out again to the theatre (passing a man who'd been in the back of the same taxi as me and was walking home ...).

Was in my seat by ... 7.58.

 "And all this for whom?" I hear you ask (probably).

"Well, let me reinflate my lungs, Friends of Quirky, and I shall tell you!"

Beverley Craven, that's whom.

I saw her maybe ... nine years ago at the same venue (when she wasn't long out of recovery from breast cancer, it transpires) and she's had a lot of drama in her life since then including losing one of her sisters to cancer.

But, as she told us, music is her therapy – and she plays with the kind of intensity and passion, in every single song, that a lot of by-the-numbers pop stars can only aspire to.

And her voice is just wonderful.

And she's funny. Slightly quietly, drily so, but very funny.

"Let me introduce you to the band." Gestures to the only other person on stage, her accompanist, Frank, who is toting a saxophone. "This is Frank. I'm only using him for sax."

"Couples come up to me and say, 'Oh, 'Promise Me' is our song.' ... It's not, though, is it.

It's mine."

Bless her heart, she came out at both the interval and at the end of the show.

And, well, this happened:

closely followed by this:

I'd say, "excuse my demented, squinty grin-face" but I'd then refer you to the drama that got me to the venue in the first place.


The following night, I was out raving again, with young Amanda, but this time with more lung capacity, a layer of slap on the visage and far tidier hair.

AJ and I started out at the Venture, where we patiently waited out the end of the Arsenal v Chelsea game (epoch-defining, if you're an Arsenal fan; dull as chuff if you're anyone else) and patiently tolerated the conversational attempts of the gents sitting at the other end of the table. (Actually, the chap on my side was quiet and fairly normal; the one on AJ's side tried to guess our ages, with varied results, and invited us to a Spanish speed-dating night that may or may not have actually just been a Spanish conversation class in the style of speed-dating... We will never know.)

Finally, after a few technical hitches, the band we'd come to see, our friends Stephanie Davies and the Super Dynamics, came on and rocked the house. Which was much too quiet a house for a Saturday night; they deserved a much bigger audience.

AJ and I stayed for the first half, then, being hip young things in search of the buzz about town, we headed off to the Red Cross for the second half of Permageddon's set (you may remember Permageddon from this post, last year, although, looking at the photo, the line-up has changed a little bit since November last. As have so many things.).

And we rocked out.

Then chased up our evening with cheesy chips.

Today, my friends, I ache.

And I do believe that is just about it for this fortnight, doing-wise.


Pinterest Pins of the Fortnight

One verbal ♦ One visual

Fortnightly Web Finds

  • Massive thanks to Jill for bringing this clip to my attention. Y'know sometimes when music, and the people making that music, just cut to your core a little bit, and then the crying happens? That, with this.

    Derek Paravicini, blind, savant pianist, with Ashleigh Turley (age 13), also blind and with autism, and Ben Holder.
  • Oh and also, Pentatonix perform 'Jolene' with Dolly Parton. Just ... wonderful.


  • These videos of the Bee Gees' Misheard Lyrics (by a chap called Stevie Riks) are just ... brilliant. (And a bit rude. But brilliant.) 

Thanks to cuz Richard for the tipoff. You can find more of these Bee Gees parodies here. Also check out the Bowie Ashes to Ashes Misheard Lyrics tribute...


Aaaaand that's all I got.

Tune in next fortnight for, well, probably more of the same.

qb xx