Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Awkward Things That Happen in Life: Part II

I wrote a thing about awkward things that happen in life. Here is part I.

The second installment - just as awkward, if not more so. This will be less listy. Because I got bored of making lists. If you would like to read the first one, click here (Ahem, I only just noticed I did not in fact link this).
Like when you accidentally make eye-contact on the tube. And again. And then again because you're trying to work out who was looking at who (he was definitely looking at me, I was looking back to check he wasn't looking still).
Oh, and when someone really weird gets on and starts muttering to themselves.You actually look around and make purposeful eye contact. And maybe even talk ('who does he think he is - we're united grumpy commuters for once)! And afterwards, you remember where you are and bury yourself in your Metro.
Another tricky one is bumping into someone you know and then saying bye, and seeing them again in every aisle - and doing the awkward, oop, it's you again (but you don't have anything else to say to them, so you just have to sort of smile apologetically, hold up your frozen pizza and shrug your shoulders... And then you promptly start walking the same way. God, the horror.
Also, let us just reflect on the pub - so many potential awkward situations. Like one person gets their phone out to check it in the middle of a conversation and suddenly everyone has the burning desire to check theirs - five-minute silence ensues.Why do we now have nothing to talk about? Oh, I know, let's 'check in' to this pub and comment on our mate's post. It happens, I've seen it with my own eyes. 
And lastly - forgetting someone's name after five minutes. You could still smile apologetically and admit you've forgotten their name, but you're desperately trying to remember it, and it gets more unacceptable to say it, and before you know it, it's the third time you've met them and every time you want to attract their attention, you just sort of have to prefix everything you say to them with 'um', and tap them on the shoulder. And it's sooo obvious to everyone what you're doing (yes, even them)... 

Thursday, August 25, 2011


I get it. It makes you feel closer to your favourite band, or TV series. You can wear your idol's face, or band name, or words he or she said to let the world know you're totally enamoured with them.

But what is man's seeming obsession with buying stuff that you will never even look at again ("but I'll look at it and think of the great times, someone might like, go in my room and get the obscure reference that the plastic piece of shit is something from an unaired star trek episode"). No, they won't. And even if they do, will you get one, five minutes satisfaction out of it? After that, you'll never look at it again and it will become a redundant piece of crap that you will look at every time you clear out your room once a year and think, 'I really don't want this any more and it's gathering dust, but paid five quid for it and it's got sentimental value." I mean, spend your money on something that you can at least (and will) use!

I am as guilty as any - in my university days, I built up a collection of about 30 shot glasses in the grand vision that I will one day have a wild party in which I will be able to use them and impress people with my world shot glass collection - but even if that day does come, they will probably be in my loft, gathering dust and I will have completely forgotten about them anyway.

Unfortunately, I seem to retain this sentimentality through not just shot glasses, but life: every holiday I go on, I will collect every ticket stub, postcards from every town I go to and every letter I’ve ever got. I seem to be really good at throwing away bank statements though. Funny that.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Office Tea-Making Politics (Yes, it's a Thing)

Ah, tea. Our saviour. The Briton's go-to in an emergency, a hangover and, well, when we just can't think of what to say (it's a conversation starter in itself - the sugar-milk conversation, which can go into a whole other conversation about biscuits, the weather... possibilities are endless).

It can be, however, problematic. Tea-making is a fine art - get it wrong, and there could be resentments for months. For example, the office. Ah, office tea-making politics. I mean, do you make everyone tea, or just your section? Just how many times is it OK to forget how many sugars (if any) your colleague has in their tea?

And it's different in every office - some of them it's every man for himself (but only sometimes - do I ask or not?). Most offices are pretty straightforward though, one person makes tea, that person asks everyone if they want tea. But there are still obstacles to overcome - if you are new, you're never quite sure if you're using someone's favourite mug (and you never find out 'til afterwards).

You might forget that they don't take sugar, or my worst fear, misjudge the amount of time in between cups of tea. It might seem silly, but an offer of a cup of tea too soon after the last one will be met with rejection (it somehow seems wrong to make one just for yourself); too late and someone else will make it. And you will have missed brownie points opportunities.

See? A veritable minefield.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Facebook Violation, or 'Fraping'

This weekend my Facebook was 'fraped', nay, violated, a total of four times by my little sister. For those reading who are a little older and don't know what it means (congratulations for finding my blog), fraping is well, Facebook rape. This regularly happens to me because I use someone else's computer and forget, or, more frequently, leave my phone lying around when I go to the loo when with friends, say (the cheek of it!) and to be honest, my Facebook friends are getting a little annoyed. Well, quite frankly, it's a lot more entertaining than many of the posts on my feed (what, you think your post about the soup you just made is more interesting? Okeeey).

There are several grades and types of frape, probably more common by boys (because it's like, well funny your mate is gay), but anyone can be a fraper (or frapee).

  • There's the aforementioned typical 'lad' style status - 'Ian Jones is Gay' - hhaha ur gay, omg hilarious. Ahem.
  • Or the slightly more creative 'let's change all their details: change sex, orientation, add some 'colourful' likes and such, which is great because it's usually not what the frapee would immediately look for.
  • There are those ones that are frankly disgusting, usually involving shit, golden showers, bums or bleeding of some sort, and always seem to be picked up by that family member you'd forgotten you had on your friends list...
  • The most effective, however, are the ones that would only be picked up as fake by only those who know you the best - phrases you would never use, cringey updates no-one would care about (this is my latest: "Ad a gr8 evenin with @___, @___ and da bruv! Deliverance and x factr. Perfect hehhee lol xxxx"). I'm still a little afraid that people who don't really know me think it might be true...

Monday, August 15, 2011

Islington Aventures

Continuing my London adventures, I went for dinner last week in Islington - from never having been there, I seem to be going there practically every week. Not that it's any hardship, as there's a lot going on.

We stopped for a drink at The King's Head Theatre Pub, which is huge and quite grand, but in a way that it looked really cool - I've heard from an (unreliable) source that it's Robert Pattinson's favourite London pub. Not a bad selection of beer and straight after work it wasn't too busy (but I can imagine it would fill up easily).

Onto eats, we went to Le Mercury and it was pretty good - reasonably priced food, with starters at only £3.95 (I had the duck for main course - it was good, a little fatty but then duck is), drink (we had the Pinot Grigio which was decent) and a decent ambience (though it would be better when it's not light outside and you can see the worn down candles in wine bottles (very French). And the crème brulee was pretty decent too!

Afterwards, to the Grand Union for a few more drinks. Seeing a long corridor leading into the pub, I was a tad dubious but it's a nice place. The music is good, current and cool, the drink is standard London prices, the decor is very cool, with floral wallpaper and lamps, plants and weird rugs on the floor (so kind of like your Auntie's house but with an American edge) and it's a pretty good atmosphere too, with an abundance of hipster kids congregating around the 10.00 mark (after dark is safe for them) but not detracting. Apparantly it's a restaurant, think American-style diner food (good-quality), with a total of 11 branches in London - maybe a return trip is in order.


Friday, August 12, 2011


If you haven't already had graze, you are missing out.

If you don't know what it is, it's a weekly (or bi-weekly, depending on how hungry you are), service for those who are fed up of snacking on junk food and paying a ridiculous amount for the pleasure.

Coming neatly packaged in a brown box, you get four little punnets of healthy snacks - olives, mini foccacia, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and now dippy things (I'm really excited).

And you get the first box free. I meant  to cancel my subscription after the first free box, but I didn't have the heart to after I got a dried version of summer pudding (sounds disgusting, looks... kind of disgusting, but it works). And the olives. Oh, the olives. The reason for this particular accolade is because I got the best box ever this week - you know with variety boxes, there's always one shit one, but this one was perfection in itself (all items pictured). 

I should do their PR. What's that, Graze, your don't need me because your products sell themselves? Worth a try...

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

London Riots

I just updated my facebook status (a rarity unless it's something offensive to someone) lending my sympathies to those affected by the London riots and was asked by my little sister if I was fraped. Well, that's the last time I reach out (it was weird). 

Anyway, the riots currently occuring in London are getting worse and worse, spreading from Tottenham to Peckham, Enfield, Brixton, Ealing and even Fulham amongst other places, as well as nationwide with rioters storming Liverpool, Bristol, Nottingham and Birmingham.

After Mark Duggan was shot dead by police in a taxi on Thursday after it is believed he started fire, people started protesting, non-violently. But soon the riots started and spread quickly around London, including Ealing Broadway which is only ten minutes away from where I live. Now 'protestors' and looters are claiming other excuses, such as 'Tory cuts', demanding taxes back and other. But these people don't need an excuse - shameless violence and greed are hid behind a thin veil of 'protesting for rights'. Indeed, some are not even making an excuse: starting fires, breaking into shops, mugging people and taking everything they can get. This image in the paper yesterday particularly shocked me:

Credit: Press Association

The riots are reported as being broadcast over social media such as Twitter, broadcast messages on BlackBerry Messenger and text and there have been talks of cutting off BBM for the time being.

There is already a clean-up act on the case, follow @Riotcleanup for news on what they're doing.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Awkward Things That Happen in Life: Part I

I don't know about you, but I delight in other people's awkward moments. I've had my fair share in life - I'm a little awkward on occasion. And the more you over-think it, the more awkward it gets, thus, the funnier it gets. Here are the first. But don't worry, it won't be like, you know, those 'hilarious' Facebook groups. Well, probably not.

1. A friend of a friend situ. You're with a friend and their friend who you don't know that well, and your friend goes to the loo, and you both know what's coming - and it would be fine, because you're already talking, but there's a momentary pause, that fatal pause, and suddenly, BAM! - it's awkward... ('I've just got to go to the kitchen, for er... something. ANYTHING.')

2. Silence at the dinner table. There's loads of you and you've all been getting on famously, but there's one tiny moment when one person stops talking and everyone is either drinking or chewing - shit, and you can hear the knives and forks scraping on the plates and every last gulp - the only option then is, 'terrible weather we've been having...'

3. When you just can't hear what someone's saying. You say pardon, and you've still got no idea, and then they say it with exactly the same intonation and garble and it's just easier to say 'yeah'...' or laugh. Everyone knows you just can't say pardon more than three times, it's the rules...

4. Seeing an acquaintance at the bus stop. Now, are you supposed to exchange pleasantries and then continue the conversation on the bus, or will they go to the opposite end of the bus and put their headphones in to avoid any more small-talk? If of the opposite sex, will they think I fancy them if I sit next to them on a bus that's less than full? Veritable minefield.

5. Making eye contact. Well, eye contact can be awkward in a number of ways, whether you're not having it, or you are. For some people, not me. Obviously. Like, when you look at someone in the street because you think they're someone you know, or a celebrity. And your face has the beginnings of the smile, and you're just about to open your mouth to say hi, and you realise that it's just a stranger looking at you weirdly because you've been staring at them for way too long.

Part II

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Dan Clark Review

On Wednesday I ventured out to East London to see Dan Clark. It was in a basement. Sweaty wasn't the word, but well, it was more... intimate that way, I suppose.

The warm-up act was billed as 'interpretative dance'. Oh, God, what had we let ourselves in for!? We were pleasantly surprised, however - he came out in mime costume and a German accent, with a brief 'serious introduction', then proceeded to act out such classics as Britney Spears 'Baby One More Time' (encouraging audience participation), totally unexpected but well-executed.

After a brief interval (enough to escape upstairs into non-sweaty air and get another pint), Dan Clark came on. He did How Not to Live Your Life, and was also Johnny Two-Hats.

As I wasn't really much of a fan of HNTLYL, I wasn't sure if I would enjoy this - but he puts on a fairly good show - he was at his best when talking to members of the audience - mostly brutally rebuffing hardcore fans being frankly, weird, and befriending a poor soul in the front row. Other highlights included little bits of human observation, like losing his virginity (touching and awkward) and putting kisses on the end of a text (why?). That aside, I did find him obnoxious and arrogant at times, to the point of insufferable, but it was good, and he will do well at Edinburgh festival (this was a warm-up gig), definitely if his hard-core fans follow him up there. 7/10.

Friday, August 5, 2011


I started listening to Reuben again and forgot how good and satisfying they were to listen to. Especially this song.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Y Not?

So, instead of making it the magic number of festivals this year (three), Hannah and I have decided to throw down the gauntlet and admit defeat (y? a combination of broke and can't be arsed, but mainly that we're broke) and miss Y Not. It would have been great, but, well, 2011, we had a good run. 

Glastonbury and 2000 Trees were both amazing enough and to be quite frank, the thought of having to wake up hungover and needing a piss in a tent under the scorching sun was a little too much to handle. That said, I will probably listen to Feeder wistfully and think about what I will be missing (well, maybe definitely not Feeder).

Perhaps next year, Y Not. Based in The Peak District, it looks like a really good festival - a few good bands (Dananananakroyd, Duke Spirit, You Slut, Dinosaur Pile-Up and Sonic Boom Six amongst others) - it was voted best small festival last year, I think.

Instead, I will be going back to sleepy Shropshire for homecooked meals, family and friends. 

Who said rock'n'roll was dead?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

2000 Trees Review

It's been a long time coming, but it is finally online. It's at Beat Review now. Read it here.

2000 Trees is a small festival for underground and new music which was a couple of weeks ago.  It’s full of all of the sort of music I like and people who like the music I like (and their hot fans).

It's a great festival, with a definite green and family vibe, great people, amazingly clean toilets (well, as amazing as portaloos can be) and lots of music you’ll love if you like post-hardcorey / rocky, underground, shouty, guitar-driven music (etc).

And everyone's just lovely. Also, the food was fantastic (put it this way: it was really hard to find a bacon sandwich in the morning). I'll definitely be going next year.

Monday, August 1, 2011

My Favourite Blogs

Of course you must come back here. But these are a few of the blogs I love and read regularly, because they're rather entertaining (not wordy blogs, mind. Always looking for those if you have any suggestions).

Bent Objects: A witty look at life using bent wire and everyday objects such as vegetables and corkscrews. A really talented photographer with a creative interpretation that's a little bit punny. Never fails to bring a smile to my face (some of the images are really sweet).

Picture by Terry Border, the genius behind this blog.

Failbook: A pretty impressive collection of Facebook fails - bad spelling, weird family laundry aired, bitch fights...

Regretsy: Always weird, sometimes grotesque and plain amazing. It does what it says on the tin: the worst stuff that Helen from Regretsy can find - whether it be ridiculous prices for "shit you'd find at a yard sale" or something I saw the other day - a painting crafted from someone's er... monthly present. Which I can no longer find (though the colleague I emailed it to was distinctly unimpressed, so perhaps it's for the best).

Passive Agressive Notes: One of my favourites - I don't know what it is about me that just loves revelling in other people's awkwardness and conflict. Hmm. This is some great toddler passive-agressiveness (it's never too early to start), there's also a great one where the note-writer actually framed the note (as did the replier, subsequently).


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