I had another largely sleepless night again last night. I had a killer of a headache, and also a neighbour's cat kept coming into the house and I kept having to get out of bed to chase it away and/or chuck it out. At one point when I cornered it under a chair in the living room, it bit me on the little finger of my right hand and drew blood. Does anyone out there know how long your tetanus injections last for? I'm sure I had one a few years ago.
The weekend was largely uneventful. I seem to spend so much time in a daze these days. Nothing much to tell really, only Ghost came over on Saturday and brought a dodgy DVD with him called "Pervirella" which possibly makes Ed Wood's films look sophisticated. It was a very curious afair. I don't think I knew what the hell was going on, but I didn't worry about it.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 1:50 pm
Friday, November 26, 2004
Big catch-up post
The longer you leave it, the more difficult it is to write these blog catch-up posts. I've got to try to think of all that been going on over the last couple of weeks.
The neighbour situation has not been good, so I've been very tired and irritable for a lot of the time. However, they have actually been quiet for a few days now but I don't like to get complacent, because whenever I think they've got the message, they then get supremely noisy again and keep me up all night. Seriously, they want shooting.
Last week, I went to a couple of gigs. On the Wednesday (17th Nov) I went to the Wheatsheaf in Oxford when Ghost and his friend (who's name I can never remember), and we watched the wonderfully talented and entertaining Piney Gir who was once again backed by A Scholar and A Physician and their collection of low-tech electronica (I used to have one of those Casio PT30 keyboards, but I sold it in a car boot sale). Piney did a great selection of songs from her lovely CD "Peakahokahoo" (my fave album at the moment), but it wasn't the same selection as last time we saw her. She finished on a wonderfully deranged version of "Jezebel".
The next band on were seriously taking the piss. They were a drummer and a beardy guy wearing a sun visor and sitting at a Fender Rhodes piano with a laptop perched on top of it. Their songs were too long, and were made up of loops created on the laptop utilising the most unmusical discordant sounds imaginable. They were horrible, and they kept on going on. They seriously pissed me off, and I went downstairs to the main bar to sit down and have a double Jack Daniels to calm my nerves. Anyway, apparently this was an act called Brave Captain featuring a guy called Martin Carr who used to be in the Boo Radleys. One to avoid in the future.
The next band had guitars and were much better and were called something like Blue State (or was it States?). However, we didn't watch too much of their set as we had to go get the train back home.
The next night (18 November) I went to the Zodiac on Oxford's Cowley Road to see The Damned. That's the 4th time this year, I think. I lose track of how many times in total I've seen them. It must be over twenty times. I met various of the lovely people from The Damned message board and when we got into the venue I said Hi to Captain who was watching the first support band, a teenage trio of whom the bass player was apparently Damned keys player Monty's nephew. Captain invited me backstage, which was good because that meant I was able to skip putting up with 4 Ft Fingers (the 2nd support band) who I saw the last time The Damned played the Zodiac and was not much impressed on that occasion.
So, I had a natter with Cap backstage, had a go on his guitar, etc. (He'd been practising the guitar line for "These Hands" which apparently was a bit tricky to play). Monty made an appearance as did his parents. His Dad, who's a professor at Oxford, let slip Monty's real name (which is not known in Damned fan circles) but I'm sworn to secrecy!
I went back out into the main part of the venue for The Damned's set, and spotted Vicky and Sue at the front of the stage, so I sneaked in behind them and secured quite a good position. The Damned came on and played a brilliant set, with much of it being taken from the "Machine Gun Etiquette" album (seeing as it's the 25th Anniversary). They started on "Love Song" complete with the Albert Tatlock "Ladies and Gentlemen, how do" sample and the longer album intro. In fact they played all of the album, barr two songs ("Liar" and "Plan 9 Channel 7").
Here's the set list for those who are interested (which is probably just me, but never mind...):
Machine Gun Etiquette/Second Time Around
I Just Can't Be Happy Today
Anti Pope (Dave dedicated this to the Cambridge vicar who was moaning about the band switching on the Christmas lights in Cambridge)
History of the World Part 1
Looking At You
Would You Be So Hot (If You Didn't Have A Convector Heater, according to Captain)
Magic Potion (a track from Jordan Tarlow's 'ToneBender' CD, on which Dave sings)
Eloise (introduced by Dave as Happy Talk)
Neat Neat Neat (/Break on Through)
Jet Boy Jet Girl (Captain on vocals, Dave and Steve from Wisconsin on backing vocals)
Noise Noise Noise
Smash It Up
I had to run to get my train, but it occured to me that I'd left my umbrella backstage (it had been pissing it down all day, and I didn't want to get wet), so I asked Steve from Wisconsin to get me backstage again, where I encountered The Damned - all of them - Dave, Stuart, Pinch, Monty and Captain, whereupon they started teasing me. "You didn't get dressed up... I did!" taunted Captain who was still in his schoolgirl's uniform that he'd worn for the encore. I explained that I had to go to the gig straight from work and that they didn't tend to like me getting "dressed up" at work. "Have you ever dressed up at work?" I was asked. "Errr... No." I had to respond. Anyway, I grabbed my brolly, bade them all farewell, and and was greeted with taunts as I left - them all calling out my real name - I didn't realise they knew it, so I was quite impressed actually.
And after that, I'm afraid, this post kinda fizzles out. I don't think much else exciting has happened since then, unless you count being stranded at Oxford station last night, because the whole of Didcot was hit by a power failure following an electrical fault at the Didcot Christmas street fair. Fun it wasn't.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 3:42 pm
Tuesday, November 23, 2004
Blow away the tumbleweeds
I've not been posting because of depression, tiredness, extreme exhaustion, feeling like poo, and from bloody Blogger not letting me post when I have tried in a mad moment.
We've got so much to catch up on too. Last week I went to see Piney Gir on Wednesday (and a new contender for the worst band ever in the form of Brave Captain), and on Thursday I went to see my old favourites The Damned.
But I'll tell you all about these things later. This post is to let you all know I'm still alive.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 7:49 pm
Thursday, November 18, 2004
And if you thought the Church's reaction to the Damned switching on the Christmas light's in Cambridge was bad, then this -
'Cross-Dressing' Out, Camouflage In - demonstrates the sick and diseased minds of right-wing Christian groups in America.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 3:15 pm
...for going all quiet and not posting for days on end once again. I've been very stressed out. Work's been busy but the main cause of the stress is the bastard neighbours again. When you haven't slept for more nights than you care to remember there is absolutely nothing to laugh about. Sunday night - well the early hours of Monday morning really - I had been pushed to the limit and very nearly lost it altogether when I had a right go at them. Monday itself I contacted the council again. They are writing to the neighbours to say there's been a complaint, and they're going to send me "noise diary" sheets. Fat lot of use that will be.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 1:30 pm
Friday, November 05, 2004
It's the 5th November, there've been fireworks going off since 5pm, and the cat has very sensibly made himself comfortable for the night halfway up the stairs, in the middle of the house and away from all windows.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 6:08 pm
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
That girl hasn't given up on me, after all. Or perhaps I mean, if I offended her last week when turning down her Bingo invitation then she's got over it already, for on Monday night's train home after work she sat opposite with me and yapped away like a trooper. It's getting a bit embarrassing now because when she's not around several of the other passengers have asked me who my noisy friend is, and can't she speak any quieter?
On Monday however, there she was yapping away, and this woman gets up and hands her a note, which she read, then carefully folded up and put in her purse. Apparently the note suggested that not everyone on the train wants to hear her life story (or something along those lines). That made her go quiet, but I bet the next time she will have forgotten about it again. I just hope that I don't get cast as guilty by association.
I wonder what she'd think if I revealed to her that I was a tranny? (Perhaps she wouldn't be so interested in me). Thing is, she's so loud that the whole train would soon know my personal business.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 1:12 pm
I've been trying to make a list of all the bands and musical acts that I've seen live, good and bad, big and small, main acts and support bands alike. Now there must be loads who I've forgotten for one reason or another, or perhaps in the case of support acts I never knew their names in the first place. Anyway, here's the list as it currently stands. I've quite surprised as I would have thought it'd be longer. Numbers in brackets indicate how many times I've seen certain bands. Oh, and just because I've seen a particular band, doesn't mean I particularly like them or endorse their product! I mean, I've had to endure both Queen Adreena and Chas'n'Dave twice in my lifetime, which is something no sane person should have to suffer.
A Scholar and A Physician
Ed Alleyne-Johnson (numerous occasions, busking in Oxford)
Karl Bartos (2)
The Blockheads (3)
The Boomtown Rats (2)
The Carbon Plan
Chas 'n' Dave (2)
Julian Cope (2)
The Damned (at least 20 times, various line-ups)
Die So Fluid (15?)
Do Me Bad Things
Doctor and the Medics
Doctor Didg (2)
Eddie and the Hot Rods
The Fish Brothers
Goldie Lookin' Chain
Jools Holland's Rhythm and Blues Orchestra (2)
Hot Sahara Nights
Huge Baby (2)
The Icarus Line
Brian James Gang / Longpig
The Jesus and Mary Chain
Piney Gir (2)
Last Man Standing
Little Steven and the Disciples of Soul
Living With Eating Disorders
Love Junkies (3)
Phil Lynott's Grand Slam
Q-Tips (Paul Young)
Queen Adreena (2)
Michael J Sheehy
The Soundtrack of Our Lives
Super Furry Animals (3)
Teasing LuLu (7)
Thin Lizzy (2)
Trans Global Underground featuring Natacha Atlas
The Vincent Razorbacks
Wreckless Eric (approx 8 times)
Not all these acts I've seen have performed entire sets - for a couple of them (e.g. Robbie Williams, Kirsty Macoll) I've only witnessed them play one or two songs - but the point is I have seen them perform live on stage.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 2:19 pm
Bill Nelson and the Lost Satellites, 31 October 2004
What a business it was trying to get to the Bill Nelson gig at the UCL Bloomsbury Theatre in London on Sunday. Knowing what the trains are like I deliberately took an earlier train, only to have it run perfectly on time. So, I got to Paddington with an hour and a half to spare before the gig was scheduled to begin, so, I decided I'd pop into the pub to get a drink and something to eat.
I must have waited about 50 minutes for my food, before asking for a refund! They'd plain forgotton about me, the bastards! They offered me a free drink but as I explained I was now in a hurry and needed to get moving.
I walked a ran some of the way, then caught a bus the rest of the distance (the Bloomsbury being in the Euston area), and somehow managed to get to the theatre and into my seat in the third row just as Bill Nelson was coming out onto the stage. By the skin of my teeth!
Dressed in an overlarge-looking suit and a pork pie hat, he began by playing about 5 instrumental pieces on the guitar (with some occasional marimba) over a backing track. I'd not heard any of the tunes before, but they all sounded unmistakably like Bill Nelson. He played EBow guitar on a couple of the songs, and I was intrigued to notice that he used it backwards. (I've been playing EBow guitar myself for over 20 years and I've always held it round the other way!)
Part two of the evening's entertainments consisted of a short film originally shot by Nelson himself on 8mm cine film of Be Bop Deluxe in the south of France during the recording sessions for the Drastic Plastic album. The film was accompanied by more of Nelson's instrumental music.
Then for the third part of the performance Bill Nelson returned (now with a flat cap on - I kept wondering if he had any hair beneath) to the stage with his whole band - a saxophone player (his brother Ian), second guitarist, bassist, drummer, and two keyboard players. They launched straight into one of my very favourite Bill Nelson songs, "The October Man" from "The Love That Whirls" album. They played a whole bunch of stuff, and I have to confess that I did not know a lot of it because I was more familiar with his solo material from the mid to late 1980s, and in this show they were playing Be Bop Deluxe and Red Noise songs and one or two more recent tracks. It was a really good mix though and the playing was excellent throughout.
I was astounded by Nelson's virtuosity on the guitar. He'd always been one of my favourite players, but I hadn't realised that he was THAT good. He's the only guy I've seen who can play a solo and harmonize with himself. He also used a good selection of his own guitar collection - I counted a whole TEN different guitars that he played that night, so it was interesting for us guitar anoraks in the audience!
I'm trying to think of some more titles of songs that were performed, but they are just not coming to me at the moment other than "Do You Dream in Colour" and "Slumberlite" (for some reason).
The whole performance was very relaxed somehow, but the musicianship was quite intense throughout. The sound quality was absolutely perfect (although to be honest I would have liked it a little louder). Nelson should get out and do gigs more often as he's really quite good at it, but apparently this was the last show in the tour so who knows when he'll play on stage again.
I came away from the show with a signed programme (it was in the ticket price for those of us with priority tickets in the first three rows) and a CD (which I've yet to listen to - not had the time yet), and looking at the time on my mobile phone I saw that it was 11:45. My last train home was at 00:20 so I decided I'd better make haste. Somehow I got to Paddington in about twenty minutes only to realise that it was an hour earlier than I thought, because I hadn't changed the clock on my mobile after the clocks went back on Sunday night. (And didn't the exact same thing happen to me last year after going to see Julian Cope in Hammersmith?) How I laughed. The good thing was that I had time to buy a couple of sandwiches, because remember I hadn't eaten, and I was able to catch the 11:30 train home which wouldn't get me back too late.
And when I did get to bed - I slept well, as I was well knackered. I turned my alarm off because I thought if I oversleep and am late to work, then so be it. However, what happened was the cat decided to be an alarm clock for me and woke me up at my usual time asking for food. What I want to know is how did HE adjust so quickly to the clocks going back?
posted by Gina Snowdoll 1:52 pm
Monday, November 01, 2004
So... what's new?
Well, here we are in November now, and I've not even properly accounted for the end part of October on this jolly ol' blog of mine. (WHY is posting so difficult right now?)
So, here's my latest news in brief:
I think the girl who asked me out (to the bingo! No, she's not an old granny before you ask) has been avoiding me since that incident. She was on the train the next day but was keeping a very low profile hidden away down the end of the carriage. Oh dear, I hope I didn't upset her. I just didn't fancy going to Bingo. Not my scene. If she'd wanted to go for a drink, I may have said yes. It's nice making friends and all that (I wouldn't be interested in any more than that though - she's not my type).
Thursday I had my fitness test at the gym. I've been going there over a year now. I've also been given a new set of exercises with completely different pieces of equipment. Which makes a change, but one or two of them are real killers, it has to be said.
Saturday I went back to the gym to get my fitness test results, but apparently they had been computed all wrong so they were going to have to analyse them again. I was told that, despite that, I have definitely improved and that they were pleased that I'm been putting the hours in over the last year.
The last couple of weeks I seem to be have been spending a disturbing amount of time at the post office. It's all these parcels of shoes that I've been sending off, you see. The Snowdoll Shoe Sale on eBay went really well, and fetched well over £200, which is certainly not to be sniffed at seeing as they were all shoes that were either a bit too small for me or else I figured I'd never wear them again. Better to make some money out of them rather than have them lying about the place taking up space.
I need to get some guitars put up for sale on eBay soon too. I have five that I want rid off. Again, like with all the excess shoes, they take up far too much room. I figured I'd get rid of some of the cheapies, and guitars that I'd bolted together myself from parts... get rid of them and get in another quality guitar instead. Seeing as I'm going to get rid of some Stratocaster style guitars, I decided to get a real Fender Stratocaster again. I've been finding that I was missing my old paisley pink Strat that I had to sell a couple of years ago. So, I found this beauty on eBay and it was despactched to me all the way from Germany:
It's a limited edition Antigua-finish 1970s style Fender Stratocaster. Apart from the finish, it's almost identical to my old paisley pink Strat and it feels very much like an old friend. It's also a lot easier to play in a sitting position than my other fave guitar, the Gibson Flying V. I spent a lot of time playing it using various amps, effects, etc, and on Sunday I was playing Elvis songs from guitar tab that I'd looked up on the internet.
A very naughty someone (who I won't name - you shouldn't have!!!) bought me a fab present, "An Animated Life", a book by the special effects master Ray Harryhausen (you know the guy and his work - think of the Sinbad films, The Mysterious Island, Clash of the Titans, etc). It's a great hefty book - like a tombstone - filled with wonderful pictures from the movies that Harryhausen worked on. It arrived in the post first thing Saturday, and I spent most of the morning leafing through it. I'm going to have to read it properly as there's lots of text too. It looks to be an absolutely fascinating read. I'm looking forward to getting stuck into it. Thanks!
Other news? Well, last night I went to see Bill Nelson at the Bloomsbury Theatre in London, but I think that deserves a separate post which I WILL write a little later.
posted by Gina Snowdoll 1:35 pm