Thursday, June 28, 2007

The Prodigal Blogger Returns!

Give thanks and praise and let joy be unconfined (might have got a couple of things mixed up there), for the lovely Pashmina is back!

*surreptitiously reinstates Pash on blogroll*

*whispers thanks to cello for the tip-off*

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


The rain and wind and freezing cold don't fool me; I know it's summer.

I know this because I have descended into my annual Summer Mood; a swirling purée of Melancholy Despair spiced up with a dash of Irrational Rage and peppered with Instances of Possibly Unwarranted Self-Loathing.

This year the Summer Mood has also been slathered with a thick coating of Anxiety, such that the other day I caught myself worrying that I've inherited my mum's habit of worrying endlessly about the most pointless things.

Traditionally at this time of year I quit jobs, end relationships, move abroad, sustain injuries and fret that I am the worst person on earth.

Maybe this year I'll just rearrange my books into colour order.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Song Of The Week!

And on the strength of just half a listen, too - six and a half utterly fabulous minutes of glorious psychedelic madness on the subject of elaborate millinery*. Stick with it, for it is awesome:

Pepe Deluxe
Ms Wilhelmina and Her Hat
(12MB file, but totally worth it)

[Buy from Amazon]

Ooh, I never want this song to end!

* Or possibly, having now listened to it about 80 times, elaborate millinery as an elaborate metaphor for something really quite rude. Still awesome, though.

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

Poke and Superpoke

The lovely Mr BC and I are playing on Facebook.

ME: I am going to poke you and see what happens.

Mr BC: Righto.

ME: Oooh! Ooh! Ooh!

Mr BC: What?

ME: It says 'You have poked James Henry'.

Mr BC: What does it mean?

ME: I don't know. I think it's for flirting.

Mr BC: Oh.


Mr BC: Ooh, that means I accidentally flirted with Danny Stack.


Mr BC: Still, I don't expect he minds.


Mr BC: Probably sees it as a great honour, actually.

A short while later...

Mr BC: Ooh! Richard has updated his profile picture!

It's going to be a long afternoon.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

Mmm, Colours

I may wear drab colours all the time ('they're earth tones, and she looks very nice,' said Mr BC gallantly, but my Granny didn't hear him), but that doesn't mean I don't like really bright colours.

If I had a car, for example, I would like a sky-blue Capri with pillar-box red leather seats.

Sky blue and pillar-box red is a very pleasing colour combination, and one that's employed to marvellous effect by the owner of this house:

That house is in a street near my flat, in a row of houses that are all painted different colours, creating an effect that at times is quite stunningly beautiful. I might take pictures of them all, over a period of time, and see if Elle Decoration wants to cover-mount them as a set of Top Trumps.

Here's another one so you can see the sort of thing, although these people were clearly a bit more conservative in choosing their door/wall paint colour combo:

Anyway, enough of that, the sun is shining, I'm wearing a drab-coloured dress, taupe-coloured trainers and a drab-coloured jacket, and I've got a train to catch to Truro...

Friday, June 15, 2007

You Wait All This Time For A New Blog

...and then three come along at once.

So in addition to The Blovel (now with new, laugh-out-loud instalment penned by Dick Headley) and Chumster, may I also direct your attention to Baby Lumps Reads, in which a small brown gorillure critiques some of the world's finest works of literature, and awards each one a score out of five bananures.

First up: Foocos Penderlum by Umberto Egg.

Go to it!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Time And Relative Thinger In Whatsit

The jet-set life of the IT copywriter is such that I never know which exotic locale I will be swanning off to next.

Yesterday, for example, I was summoned to Earls Court to do some glamorous live-action note-taking in front of a studio audience. At a public sector computing show.

(Really, sometimes I'm amazed no one has ever wanted to make a book of this blog.)

Anyway, I've been to Earls Court like a million times, but I swear I've never seen this before:

There was no sign of David Tennant, but his absence was as naught to me as I am the only female in Britain to remain steadfastly immune to his charms.

But enough of this drivel. I recommend that you depart these pages post-haste and go and check out these two new blogs:

1. The Blovel, where a bunch of talented bloggers are fashioning a gripping LA-based noir out of the primordial ooze of the blogosphere, orchestrated by GSE.

2. Chumster, where LC has assumed the role of blog post quality filter and is choosing one 'good' and/or 'funny' post a day from the blogosphere at large, and presenting it for your delectation.

Go to it!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Can I Just Say This

I know the entire glossy women's media and associated advertising industry wants me to find fault with my own body, but I'm afraid I genuinely like it.

Actually, I more than like my own body. I *really* like it. I really like my legs and my arse and my breasts and my tummy and my arms and my back and my neck and my feet and all the rest of it. I like my wrinkles and my scars and my stretch marks and my moles. There isn't anything about my body I would change.

(Except maybe I could be a bit taller, but only so I could kiss the lovely Mr BC without having to stand on tiptoes.)

So I'm afraid I'm not going to buy your anti-ageing creams or go to your gyms or frequent your cosmetic surgeons or subject myself to your diets. And while we're at it, I'm not going to buy any of your stupid clothes that you designed for tall skeletal women, or your handbags that cost more than a month's rent.

When there's a glossy women's magazine about Pictish archaeology, steampunk literature and American indie-pop, then I'll buy it.

All right?

(Can you tell I've been reading Observer Woman Makes Me Spit?)

UPDATE: It's not just me, either: Clair feels the same, and so does Belle de Jure. I love the Observer, but the whole point of OWM completely eludes me. Does the paper realise that it's insulting its female readers to the extent that a fair few seem to have stopped buying it on the days the OWM comes out? If it's going to insist on foisting the vacuous trash that is OWM upon its female readers, why doesn't it go all the way and bring out a monthly Observer Lads supplement, full of lager ads and cars and scantily clad birds? Grrr.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Scotland Revisited

I must have spent too much time in London, because I couldn't get over how green everything was in Scotland this weekend.

Everything seemed massively verdant and fecund and abundant, from the rockpools on Nairn beach: the tiny village beneath the Iron Age hill fort, where I lived till I was 10 (in the house with the dormer windows, not the fort): the garden of my Granny's house:

...and the driveway to the hotel:

If you've ever thought of the far north of Scotland as being all heathery and barren and that, I would encourage you to visit Nairnshire in early summer. It gives England's green and pleasant land a very good run for its money.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

And Lo The Timeless Saga Continues

While idly skimming through my grandmother's copy of today's paper, I noticed I was quoted in an article about how socialising on the internet isn't at all geeky, oh no, it is what all the well-dressed people are doing these days.

(I don't really count myself among the nation's well dressed. One clue to my lack of sartorial elegance was when my colleagues at my former place of employment elected to enter me for What Not To Wear, and another surfaced just this morning, when my grandmother looked me up and down for a long time and finally said, 'do you *always* wear such drab colours, dear?')

But the best thing about today's meeja outing is that I was reunited on the printed page once more with my old sparring partner, Dr Mark Griffiths of Nottingham Trent University.

Dr Griffiths and I have been locked in philosophical battle on the printed page almost since before this blog began. We've clashed in the Guardian over whether girls are any good at computer games (I said yes; he said no), and we've clashed in Essentials magazine about whether blogging is good for you (I said yes, although bizarrely the magazine quoted me as saying it wasn't; he said blogging was for saddo no-lifers), and today we were reunited to debate whether online social networking is a good thing. I said yes, and he said...yes.

I reckon that makes it Patroclus 2, Dr Mark Griffiths 0, on aggregate.

Until next time, Dr G.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Identify The Melody In Question By Indicating Its Correct Nomenclature

I am very much enjoying this thread on the QI forum, as started by Hamilton's Brain, and I think you will too.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Desperate Plea For Help

Hm, this is something of a long shot, but would any of you regular blog-readers be interested in flat and cat-sitting for me from the 16th to 23rd June?

It is a lovely spacious flat in London's swinging Shepherd's Bush, and the cat is quite lovely too, as you can see from the photo two posts down.

Luxury refreshments will be provided, also high quality DVDs, CDs etc. for your delectation.

Burglars take note: if there are no takers, I won't be going away, so don't be getting any ideas about making off with my priceless collection of Spoon albums while I'm in Cornwall.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

More Things I Love About My Flat

As I've said before, I grew up in the middle of a flat expanse of fields in the north of Scotland.

There were vast fields of barley on two sides of our farmhouse, and serried plantations of pine trees on the other two. Occasionally, the Inverness to Aberdeen train would chug past in the distance, and more frequently, Nimrods and Tornadoes would take off over the house from the nearby air force base.

All this openness meant that when I first moved into a house in a town, as a student in Exeter in 1990, I was bowled over by the higgledy-piggledy clutter of streets of terraced houses. I had a room at the back of a terraced house in Culverland Road, on the top floor. I used to love sitting at the window just staring out at the backs of the houses in the next street, and all the different back gardens.

Since then I've always liked views of the backs of houses. While the fronts of houses in a terraced street are generally quite uniform, the backs are where all the idiosyncratic architectural and horticultural action is.

I do like a nice carnival of idiosyncratic architectural and horticultural action, which is why I really love the view from my kitchen:

I love all the jumble of stuff on different levels; it makes my bit of London feel like a medieval hill village or a Tolkienesque fantasy town. And there's odd stuff, too - earlier I was leaning out of my bathroom window, which I've never done before, and I noticed this plaque nailed to the wall between my house and the one next door:

It says 'Ancient Lights'. It's nailed on to the back of a terraced house, two floors up, where no one can see it unless they lean right out of a bathroom window. I can't even begin to imagine who put it there, or why. And that's what makes it completely brilliant.

Next Week: Picturesque Views Of My Navel.

UPDATE: Well done to Sylvia and Valerie for solving the 'Ancient Lights' mystery in the comments, and thanks also to chuffy! for finding this great post about it on the BLDG BLOG. I love that bit about a notional 'ghost architecture'. Fantastic. You lot are great.

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Saturday, June 02, 2007

At Home With The Bloggers, Again

I really, really love my bedroom. Here it is looking particularly fine, mainly because you can't see very much because I haven't learned how to use my new camera yet.

Some things you might be able to discern in the half-light:

1. Some flowery bedlinen, daringly teamed with some stripy pillow cases. Apparently this is a 'hot' trend this season, according to the latest Living Etc. Of course I've had this look for at least a month already, which I'm choosing to take as a sign of my amazing fashion-forwardness, rather than a sign of the fact that I only had enough money for two new pillow cases last time I was in Habitat.

2. A picture of two chairs in front of some clocks, which I artfully cut out of a magazine and put in a frame. I'm terribly creative.

3. Fairy lights. I love fairy lights, they are god's own lighting system. Everything looks sexy if it's festooned with fairy lights. Just like parsnips, fairy lights should very much not be restricted to the Christmas season.

4. Books. They are: The Undercover Economist by Tim Harford, North Face of Soho by Clive James, The Cold War by John Lewis Gaddis, The Picts and the Scots by Lloyd and Jennifer Laing (warning: shocking typos throughout), The Lunar Men by Jenny Uglow, The System of the World by Neal Stephenson, 1599: A Year in the Life of William Shakespeare by James Shapiro, Shaggy Blog Stories compiled by Mike Atkinson, Welcome to The Machine by Tim Footman, Reload: Rethinking Women and Cyberculture by Mary Flanagan and Austin Booth, and something called Scion Hero, which doesn't seem to be a book so much as a set of instructions for a role-playing game.

5. Magazines. The Economist, Elle Decoration, Living Etc and Wired.

6. A brochure for the Nairn Book & Arts Festival, where my Dad will be signing copies of his book next Tuesday 12th June.

7. A lamp from M&S. It broke once, but I put in a new 3 amp fuse and it worked again. I'm terribly resourceful.

8. Two red, pink and gold 'Matryoshka' boxes from Habitat. The less said about these the better, since - as Marsha Klein rightly notes - they are the most expensive cardboard boxes ever conceived by man. Not just any man, mind. Marcel Wanders, apparently. I don't know who he is, but he has no qualms about charging £85 for six cardboard boxes. What idiot would pay that sort of money for six cardboard boxes? Oh.

9. A pair of beaded flip-flops.

10. The window.

11. Some fluff.

Not shown: An overweight cat, some Tea Tree Oil Mattifying Moisture Gel, the Eiffel Tower, Benjamin Franklin inventing the lightning rod, weevils, Superman.

An overweight cat, not in Patroclus's bedroom, yesterday.

Friday, June 01, 2007

It's Modish Indiefolktronica Time!

Pull on your Converse, dust down your cute monsters t-shirts* and shoulder your record bags, for it is modish indiefolktronica festival time!

Tomorrow the lovely Mr BC and I will be attending this, where we will be enjoying her, and him, and - if the 'secret gig' rumours prove to be true - also him, in these dignified and commodious surroundings.

There are tickets left, apparently. Go to it!

* Which I first saw on Vic's super-stylish blog.

UPDATE: Erm...make that *would have* attended this event - if I hadn't foolishly completely lost the tickets. Doh!