It's been a shit of a year. I genuinely cannot remember very much of it - I can remember last Christmas much more clearly than the first half of 2003. No, having a nervous breakdown ain't much fun.
Neither is putting back all the weight lost following a fantastic dieting effort. Again, this was all due to my illness and generally not getting out and about. Someone suggested to me the other day that taking Seroxat may have played some part in my weight gain. Still, I'm determined to lose it all again, hence the workouts at the gym. You could say it's number 1 New Year's Resolution to keep up with the gym sessions and get my health and figure back. It's not going to be easy, but I need to do this for my own self-esteem.
The best thing about 2003 is that I forced myself to start going out - despite fear of experiencing panic attacks - and ended up going to see a phenomenal amount of fantastic bands. I can't remember all of them right now (the archives will be full of reviews), but included were: The Damned (5 times), Marilyn Manson, Sparks, Karl Bartos (of Kraftwerk - twice!), Super Furry Animals, Goldfrapp (my major discovery of the year - twice!), Blondie, Wreckless Eric (3 times, I think), and the ever lovely Teasing LuLu girls (at least six times).
Tonight I'm not going out; I'm staying in and watching more Most Haunted Live! and having a drink or two. The thought of going out on New Year's Eve brings back the panicky feelings, so I simply don't want to go there.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 6:19 pm
Last day at work today. Not for ever - worst luck - I'm back on the 31st December, but the good news is that I have a whole week off to enjoy now.
Somehow I managed to do a session at the gym tonight after work, which - considering how tired I've been after this last week's exertions - was quite good going. I think the gym is going to be shut over the Christmas / New Year period and I won't get a chance to go there again before 5th January, so you can see why I really had to get a session in today.
And, I think I'm beginning to notice the weight starting the drop off. It's still early days, and I know I have Christmas to get through first, but I'm committed to getting myself sorted health-wise. In fact, that's going to be my numero uno New Year's Resolution.
I'm off to Wales tomorrow morning. I'm sorry that my blogging has been sporadic recently, and my trip to Wales over the Christmas period will again mean no posts for a while. I'll try to write something at the end of the month when I get back home.
If you celebrate Christmas or some other such festival at this time of year, have yourselves a splendid one. If you don't partake of such fripperies, then good luck to you in avoiding it all.
The task before me was clear. I had to do three Damned gigs within the space of a week. Blinkin' flip! However would I manage it? And would I ever be able to grab a couple of hours kip? Read on, gentle reader, as the tale unfolds...
This was the gig I was supposed to be helping out the Teasing LuLu girls with the guitars, so I was asked to turn up for the soundcheck. I arranged to leave work early and somehow made it to the venue in Reading by 5 o'clock - just before the girls turned up, in fact.
What a grotty little dive the Fez CLub is. It was bleedin' freezing, the walls in the backstage areas were damp, and you do not want to know about the state of the toilets.
There was lots of hanging around waiting, and watching equipment being set up, etc. The first band on the bill were Anti-Product and they brought shed-loads of equipment with them - a crazy amount of gear. The Teasing LuLu girls had just brought a couple of guitars, and were going to borrow The Damned's amps and drums. I brought along a spare guitar for Lucy, in case of string breakage, but it turned out that the Danelectro 56'U2 that I'd brought would just not tune up properly. You could tune it up from low E to high E, and then go back to the low E and it was out of tune again. It was a real pain. I blame the temperature in that place. So, I'd lugged the guitar there all for nothing. Fortunately, Lucy also had the Firebird guitar in tow as a spare (although this has a tendency to squeal and feedback - part of the reason I brought a different guitar in the first place), but in the fianl event she didn't break any strings on her main guitar (an Epiphone Les Paul) anyway. So that was all right.
The Anti-Product set was good but the audience were totally indifferent to them, and the lead singer, trying to get the audience going leapt out into the crowd and tried to chivy them along a bit. In leaping out, though, he whacked his head on his mic, and afterwards backstage we saw him nursing this nasty-looking cut on his forehead.
Teasing LuLu were next on, and their mics and equipment had been set up so that Lucy was on the extreme stage left and Louisa was extreme stage right (Serena was at the back on the drums). There was a great big space between them, and a stupid great pillar right next to Louisa. This meant that their on-stage rapport with each other was compromised. This put them off a bit and the audience were still being apathetic.
However they played a good strong set, and as I turned around and watched a few of the people around me, I saw a fair few heads a-nodding along with the music.
For the song "Tasty Boy", Captain leapt onto the stage to share backing vocals with Louisa, distracting her somewhat in the process. I think he was just trying to help inject a little enthusiasm into the proceedings; as I said, the audience were quite difficult.
Then there was a long wait whilst the stage was readied for The Damned. The group were getting really impatient backstage. Captain drew a poster advertising the Punk Aid single and asked me to take it down and make sure it was taped to his guitar amp. I was glad to be of some use, actually, as my "guitar roadieing" for the girls had come to nothing.
When The Damned finally took to the stage, the place was packed. Because I'd been upstairs and was late making my way out into the audience there was no way I could secure a spot near the stage so I had to stand quite a way back where the view wasn't too good, and I could only really make out Dave Vanian and the Captain. Monty and Patricia were somewhere in the shadows behind the ghastly aforementioned pillar, and Pinch was way back on the drums.
Despite all this, the sound was great and The Damned were on top form, and seemed to be playing tighter than ever.
The set-list was something like this:
I Just Can't Be Happy Today
Wait For The Blackout
13th Floor Vendetta
Democracy (dedicated to Saddam Hussein, who's been down on his luck!)
See Her Tonight
History Of The World Pt 1
Neat Neat Neat
Happy Talk (Captain, assisted by Monty and a giant inflatable "Sanity Clause"! You had to be there really)
Smash It Up
Afterwards I saw Susie and Vicky (Psycho Cat and New Rosie from the Damned message board) and went over to say a few words, and they were saying how great it would be to get backstage, so I said "follow me" and smuggled them up to the dressing room, where we met Monty who was being very funny making silly noises, and Captain who was in good cheer and who treated us to another impromptu rendition on "Happy Talk". Someone also broke open a bottle of Absinthe, and glasses of this were being passed around. I stayed awhile, bade farewell to the Teasing LuLu girls when they had to leave, and pretty soon had to go catch my last train home too. A busy night and I was shattered when I got home.
Tuesday: Night off. Stayed in and watched telly. Still feeling tired and shagged out from the previous night.
Wednesday: Went to the gym, then felt knackered afterwards.
There was no rush to get out of work this time, as the gig was in Oxford which is where I work, and I had plenty of time to get there. I met Ghost in the pub beforehand and we had a couple of drinks before toddling off to the Zodiac.
We positioned ourselves right by the barrier at the front of the stage, and enjoyed a fantastically-played set from Teasing LuLu, who were much happier playing at Oxford than they were at Reading. They really gelled together well, and seemed to get a great reaction from the audience. Serena managed to break the skin on the snare on the second song - and they weren't even her drums! The set ended in a chaotic rock-n-roll climax when Louisa went and sat on Serena at the drums and they both fell to the floor, with drums being knocked left, right and centre. (Turns out that Louisa banged her head rather nastily doing this stunt, and had to visit A&E the next day. Ouch!).
I tried taking some photos of the girls, but one of the security guys came over and said photos weren't allowed. (I did manage to get three photos before I was stopped, and these are on the Teasing LuLu site now). I explained that I did the girls' website for them and wanted some pictures for the site, but the guy still wasn't having any of it. He seemed to be watching me throughout the night, but the funny thing was that loads of other people were taking pictures and none of them were challenged.
Next band up were 4ft Fingers who were good at getting the audience going, but whose music I didn't really care for. Some young pink-haired punkette came barging between me and Ghost and was going totally apeshit for this band like she was some kind of Rent-a-Groupie. I was more impressed by her pogoing in stilettos than I was in the band. Ghost seemed quite impressed in her too, but I think he was being more lecherous, shall we say?
The Damned came on and played the same set as at Reading, but this time I had a much much better view of the proceedings. Captain looked most fetching in his Police Sergeant's uniform. Once again, "Democracy" was dedicated to Saddam Hussein, and this time Captain dedicated "She" to Patricia, saying that she was amazing. And she is! Who else would be out touring and playing bass with a band whilst being 8 months' pregnant?
Once again, "Sanity Clause" made an appearance for "Happy Talk", and this was much more amusing close up.
As ever, they finished on "Smash It Up". I decided this was the moment to get the camera out again, and rattled off about seven or eight quick photos. I reckoned if they decided to get shirty and chuck me out, the gig was over anyway, so what did I have to lose?
Following the encore, there wasn't really much time to hang about as we had to catch the last train back to Didcot. Managed to get a taxi to take us to the station, and ripped my thumbnail off trying to to the seatbelt on.(OUCH!!!!... and it still bleeding hurts now.)
Friday: Work Christmas do. No rest for the wicked. I so badly needed my bed after this.
I went to this one with Tamsin and Sherri, and - shock horror - actually wore some make-up for once. That must be the first time since my birthday at the beginning of the year. I didn't go the whole hog though, it was just my Eddie Izzard "guy in make-up" look (although nowadays he's doing interviews wearing bustieres and false boobs which looks very odd).
First band on this time were The Vincent Razorbacks who are a sort of voodoo rockabilly trio led by Vince Ray, a guy who is better known as an artist, the very same that was responsible for The Damned's "Grave Disorder" cover. I really enjoyed their set, so much so that I bought their 5 song CD (charmingly entiled "Fuck Off") from the merchandise stall.
I somehow managed to push my way back through the crowd in time for The Damned' set. Once again, they were on absolute tip-top form, with Captain again in his police uniform (before stripping down to a "Stop Bush" t-shirt). The audience were much much rougher this time around, and lots of violent pogoing and "moshing" was going on. Tamsin got involved at a couple of points, which I though was rather brave. Poor old Sherri didn't fare so well when someone bounced on her leg and injured it, so she went off and sat at the back somewhere.
The set list was the same as at Reading and Oxford, with the addition of "Looking at You" inserted before "Eloise" in the encore, and with Captain and "friends" performing (miming?) the Punk Aid Christmas record "'Ere's Your Xmas". One of the "friends" was page three girl Jo Guest. "Get yer tits out," shouted a guy next to me; "Oh... you already have," he added.
Afterwards we hung around by the stage with various other people (mainly from the Damned message board) and then were invited backstage. The backstage area was weird. Basically, it was like we were in some breeze-block cell, or corridor or something. There were loads of message boarders there - Miche and Andy, Master T, Nitegrrl, Steve F, Damned Fairy, Green Fairy (and yes, they were dressed appropriately), Love Policeman, Mistress of Disorder, Damnedlad, LoveSong, PsychoCat and New Rosie...
The Basil Brush t-shirt I was wearing went down very well (to briefly explain, "Basil Brush" has been appearing on the Damned message board recently, for reasons that are too complicated to go into here, but let's say it was a good-natured wind-up against one of the boarders). Damned Fairy in particular seemed to think it was hilarious, and kept saying to me that I had to marry her now!
Captain came out and chatted with us and I took loads of photos. Dave also made an appearance and we grabbed him for some photos with the message board girls. I was quite impressed that he seemed to remember me, "Anyway, how are you?" he said, shaking my hand. He didn't even seem to see me back at the Reading gig. Perhaps he remembered me this time because I was in make-up again?
Incidentally, at least three people complimented me on the make-up and said I looked great and should do it more often. So there. Unfortunately, the photo that Sherri took of me and Captain made me look like some kind of sweaty troll, so that one has been consigned to the great Recycle Bin In The Sky, I'm afraid.
Captain was playing with a reindeer glove puppet, and I had to ask him why it spoke with the voice of Zippy from Rainbow. "It's the only voice I can do," he replied. Which is fair enough!
At aroung 1 am we bade our farewells and went to find a taxi back to Tamsin's, then we stayed up and watched stuff on telly until all hours, when we finally were so knackered we had to go find beds to sleep in.
And that has been my week... absolutely non-stop. I can't tell you how much I am looking forward to the Christmas holidays - for one thing, I need the rest. However, I have to get down to Wales first! Eeeeeks!
posted by Gina Snowdoll 1:31 pm
Saturday, December 20, 2003
Not posted all week
Sorry, but things have been very hectic and I just haven't found the time. But in case anyone was wondering, I'm fine. I've just very very tired, that's all.
I'll try to do a really long post tomorrow to make up. Off to London very soon to catch up with Shel and Tamsin and go see The Damned (again! That'll be the third time this week!).
posted by Gina Snowdoll 12:32 pm
Monday, December 15, 2003
Sorry, I've had no time to post over the weekend as it was quite a busy one. Friday night I went to the gym, then tried sorting my computer out (defragging and scan-disking all bloody night - must do that more frequently in future).
Saturday morning, Shel came over just after 10 o'clock, then after a coffee we went down to the station and caught the train into Oxford, met Gillian and went for lunch at Gino's (easily the best Italian in Oxford!!!). As well as a starter and a main course each we also polished off two bottles of Frascati, and ended up feeling very very tipsy for ages afterwards. After a brief shopping expedition during which I nearly but not quite demolished a display in Allders, Shel and I went back home. In the evening I let Shel loose in the kitchen (well, she did offer!) and then we watched Eddie Izzard's "Sexie" DVD which was amusing enough, but in no way a classic as his earlier videos were.
Sunday, Shel helped resurrect the guitar I thought I'd destroyed a week or so ago in an attempt to repair it. Shel left at about 2 in the afternoon, which gave me two hours in which to go to the gym again before they shut. (I'm not going to be able to get many more sessions in this week and next).
posted by Gina Snowdoll 2:50 pm
Friday, December 12, 2003
Wot, no posts?
Whoops! I'm still trying to get over this flu thing. I think I'm over the worst now. Still very tired though.
I have been trying to keep up with the gym malarkey. I went on Wednesday, and the plan is to go tonight after work. Actually, I think it helps me in getting over the flu. I went last Sunday also, and the place was practically empty. Seems like that might be a good time to go.
Not sure what's happening this weekend. Shel was going to come over, but I've not heard a dickie bird from her since Monday lunchtime and can't get through to her either. Oi, Shel!!!!
Monday night, I'm going to The Damned gig at Reading, but need to get there early for soundcheck as I'm helping out Teasing LuLu (the support) with guitars. If I wanted to sound pretentious I'd say I was being guitar roadie for them, but that sounds a bit naff, doesn't it? I'll be taking a guitar as a spare for Lucy - I'll take my resurrected Danelectro 56-U2 - that's got a great sound.
Thursday next week I was going to see The Damned (and Teasing LuLu) again at the Zodiac in Oxford, but now that Ghost has said he can't make it, I think I might have to pull out too because I won't be able to afford the taxi fare home on my own. Grrrrr, eh? Still, I've sent some feelers out on The Damned board, so perhaps someone will take pity on me and offer a lift.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 11:53 am
Wednesday, December 10, 2003
I'm still feeling not so good. I went back to work yesterday, as I just knew there would be all sorts of updates to do on the schedules on the website. (And there was).
Felt even worse when I got home, and spent most of the evening lying on the sofa watching Most Haunted and Jane Goldman: Investigates on LivingTV, snuggled up beneath a duvet and with fire on in the fireplace, and the cat sitting on the back of the sofa.
My headache was so bad that it was making me feel nauseous. I used my divining crystal pendulum and that seemed to make most of the pain subside. (Could do with that now).
I'm back at work again today. It's a horrible day - really grey and foggy outside. I'm not really in the mood for anything, but I really ought to go to the gym after work. We'll see...
I've been off work again today. Still feeling under the weather. Have been reading on the sofa with a duvet thrown over me for most of the day. I think I fell asleep at one point too.
Sorry, I've got nothing more exciting than that to say today.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 8:39 pm
Thursday, December 04, 2003
Morphing Spiders and Godzilla!
Today I didn't go into work as I haven't been feeling very well - headaches, chesty cold, etc. It was difficult getting a lie-in though because the little mare next door started playing her nasty kiddie music (and what on earth is that awful song she keeps playing? Some so-called R'n'B song with female vocals and this weird "wobbleboard" effect every now and again? BTW, I say "so-called" R'n'B because real R'n'B is the old Rhythm 'n' Blues music and nothing to do with this modern dance music with lyrics that has hijacked the name).
Anyway, I jammed a pair of earplugs in the ol' shell-likes and managed to get a bit of extra kip, although I had some very weird dreams and dreams within dreams. I also dreamt about a spider that metamorphosized into a rat, and then changed into a woodlouse! What was that all about?
This afternoon I watched an old black and white Godzilla movie on DVD, but had trouble following it, not because the plot was complex (as if) but because I kept drifting off to sleep.
Tonight I had a go at repairing a guitar that needed some attention, but I think I've well and truly fucked it up now. Ooops!
posted by Gina Snowdoll 8:52 pm
Wednesday, December 03, 2003
Help with Dancing Bears needed!
Whenever I see my niece and nephew they thrust this white teddy bear into my hands and ask that I make him dance. Of course I oblige; the bears legs are easily manipulated from behind so that you can make him do a bear's version of Russian cossack dancing.
Recently my sister asked me if I could help them design a electronic Christmas card. I had a photo of the little white bear and have animated him doing the dance. I was thinking I could put him in front of a Christmas tree. Or something.
But, despite all my knowledge of HTML, making webpages, etc, I have absolutely no idea how to go about making an HTML email. How can I put all my images and formatting into an email? (Believe it or not, I've never had the occasion to do it, and normally prefer to use plain text in emails). I made a few attempts today and failed miserably. There must be an easy way of doing it - you see these kind of things all the time.
Also, I'd like to embed some music - an MP3 or WAV or whatever. I'm not quite decided what song I'd like, although I am veering towards the choice of "A Merry Jingle" by The Greedies (from 1979 - the band consisted of members of Thin Lizzy and the Sex Pistols). Does anyone have an MP3 of this song, or would anyone be able to convert this for me?
Oh, and apparently the bear's name is Whitey Brown! Well, that's kids for you.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 9:41 pm
Tuesday, December 02, 2003
Punk Aid single launch party, 1 December 2003
Unfortunately I don't think I can tell you a lot about this because we probably ended up missing most of this. Through the wonders of modern mobile phone technology, somehow Sherri and I met up in Fulham near enough to the King's Head venue, and made our way inside.
"Get there early" the Punk Aide website had advised. Well, we were early and there was sod all happening. So, we just had to go sit at the bar and have a beverage or two. Presently the place began to fill up in dribs and drabs. At one point I thought I heard Lucy's voice and so I poked my head around the door into the room where the bands play and Teasing LuLu were there doing a soundcheck. After a while the girls came through to the bar and we exchanged a few pleasantries. Serena, the drummer, who has heardly said more than two words to me in the past, came over and started waffling on about her trip to France. I've never heard her talk so much - it was quite funny.
Captain appeared and the three of us had a chat (it's a long time since he saw Sherri), and he bought us some drinks, the socialable fellow that he is.
Lots of other vaguely famous people were there too, e.g. Jo Guest was sitting next to Sherri at one point - Shel said she used to be a page 3 model; I knew the name but had no idea who she was. Also the BIG guy from the first series of Pop Idol was there - Rik Waller - and he most certainly is BIG. I hadn't realised he was so tall! And then there were old punks TV Smith and Gaye Advert... Oh and dear ol' Sophie Ellis Bextor's dad who made the video for the single. He said Hello to me... I wonder if he thought I was someone else?
As I said, so much for the early start. Teasing LuLu were the first band, and they didn't start playing until 9:30. They played a great set, although Louisa insisted afterwards that she had been making mistakes all over the place (I never noticed). I took the now obligatory photos for their website. Some of which you can see here (i.e. the first eight pics in the 2nd row).
After that some guy came on the stage and directed us all to a telly at the back of the room upon which they were showing the Punk Aid "Ere's Your Xmas" video, which had apparently only been completed at 2 a.m. that morning. We tried to get a look, but there were so many people gathered around such a small telly that we hardly saw a thing. But what we did see looked good.
And at about 10:30, part way through the second band's set (The Mispelt), it was time to be making a move... trains to catch home and all that malarkey. So goodness knows what happened after that. Did Captain do a DJ set? Did Rik Waller finally get talked into going up on stage? Did they actually play the record that the whole event was about? I don't know!
Still, it was great to see the girls again - I do enjoy their gigs - and nice to catch up with Captain. Will see them again later this month at Reading as I'm going to be helping out with the guitars when Teasing LuLu support The Damned. Which should be fun!
posted by Gina Snowdoll 5:53 pm
Monday, December 01, 2003
Blimey! Is it Monday already? And December to boot? Streuth! And what happened to the weekend?
Saturday I just went to the gym and watched a few DVDs, etc. Nothing much to report really.
Sunday I finished off the painting in the living room. Thank goodness for that. Now all the walls are the same colour!
Tonight I'm off to the PunkAid Xmas single launch party. More about that later!
posted by Gina Snowdoll 1:42 pm