Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Stop Me If You Think That You've Heard This One Before..

Back in the day, Mark Ronson was a bit of a heart-breaker, wasn't he? Easily the best-dressed male celebrity around, he always accessorised his fantastic suits with co-ordinating tie and a coy facial expression. Swoon. He soon caught the eye of the lovely Daisy Lowe, and they became possibly the most attractive couple to be featured in pages of the daily newspapers' trashy pages. Like most girls I know, I had quite the soft spot for Mr. Ronson. Allow us to observe his wonderful sartorial choices for a moment;

Yep, it's a winning formula. An immaculately turned out young man, he could do no wrong. Oh, but wait a minute -

Bleached blonde quiff? Long velvet coat? This picture makes me want to weep a little bit.He is starting to look dangerously like Duckie nowadays. But at least he still has other talents still, eh? Wonderful stuff.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

Between Love & Hate

As of lately, I am a very confused young lady. Fear not, I'm not going through some quarterly-life crisis, but I have become sort of musical schizophrenic. You see, there's several songs that I've recently heard, kind of hated, but then felt the strange compulsion to download them and listen to them lots anyway. So actually, make that a musical masochist. I blame this sudden bout of crazy on my recent discovery of this little gem of a website. Since it is far too good to be true, I have been frantically  downloading all the songs I may ever want to listen to in my life, before it is inevitably shut down. If you haven't already, get on it - it will improve your life, or at the very least your iTunes. Anyhoo, here are the songs that make me feel unclean after listening to, and, in a perverse kind of way, enjoying them. 

Sleigh Bells - Tell 'Em

My first thoughts were my god, this is fucking awful. The obnoxious opening sounds like a terrible cross between a 90's video game and the kind of 'Hair Metal' my dad likes. And yet I cannot turn it off.

Everything Everything - Photoshop Handsome

Hmm. It's definitely infectious - but is it in a good way like laughter, or bad in the same way Swine flu was? It's a toughie. Part of me thinks it's maybe actually quite good, but then the other part thinks it sounds like it could be by The Automatic? I just don't know any more.


I do love a bit of M.I.A. If the last 5 years of my life were to have a soundtrack, I would reckon that her first two albums would feature heavily. However, her latest offering... not a fan. This song however I strangely quite like, even though it's a wee bit terrible. The lyrics are littered with technology references ('You're tweeting me like tweety bird on your iPhone') that make me die a little bit inside. And please observe the video - she's just chilling out with some swans and glittery tigers, accompanied by some truly hideous MySpace-y graphics. How about that.

However! To my immense relief, there is at least one song I was instantly smitten with. Love at first hearing, you could say. I love everything about it - the jangly little Superbad-esque tune, the lyrics, his outfit (chinos and Hawaiian shirt? Oh yes.) I'm certain about this one, and I'm ready to commit to full-on adoration a song. Thank god for this beauty....

Thursday, 2 December 2010

Never Let Me Go.

I love me a good book recommendation, so when my darling sis waxed lyrical about Kazuo Ishiguro's 'Never Let Me Go', I decided to invest my sweet time in it. She warned me in advance two things - firstly that it was a slow-burner, and that it would make me cry like a little girl. And oh my days, was she right....

The book tells the tale about three youngsters - Kathy, Ruth and Tommy - who have a seemingly idyllic life attending an English boarding school named Hailsham. However, it soon becomes clear that these are no ordinary kids - they are, in fact, clones bred purely to donate their vital organs in later life. Hailsham students don't study or learn social graces, as they will never grow to need them, instead they are kept at peak health in order to maximise their use once they begin to 'donate'. Once a student has donated four of their vital organs, they 'complete'... and I'm sure you can imagine what this is a euphemism for. Despite having thoughts, feelings and ambitions, they are constantly reminded of their fate and they unquestioningly accept it.... until they inevitably find themselves in a rather complicated love triangle. 

The book is written in a deliberately flat and simplistic tone, and the first part reads like an almost Enid Blyton-esque account of school life. The way the narrator, Kathy, so passively accepts her horrific fate somehow makes it all the more devastating. For the last forty or so pages, I had a steady supply of tears trickling down my cheeks, and I am pretty heartless - the only books thus far that have managed to get any crying out of me are Harry Potter books! So you can imagine my astonishment when, upon finishing the book, I found that my cheeks, hair and pillow were soaked. If it managed to prise some emotion out of me, that's got to say something about the quality of this wonderful story. 

So if you are feeling particularly brave, indulgent or in the mood to contemplate your own mortality, I highly recommend you give this book a whirl. Just make sure you are not in public when you near the end.

You Know You're Gold

Just gonna throw it out there, I absoloutely adore this song. Victoria Legrand has the loveliest voice known to mankind, surely? Despite the summery connotations it holds (Beach house, as in where I'd ideally spend all of my summers, Zebra, a somewhat tropical animal...) I reckon it's got a distinctly wintery feel to it. The perfect soundtrack for marching through snow, in fact. 

Wednesday, 1 December 2010

So Swoon, Baby, Starry Nights!

As the worst-kept Christmas present ever, I was blessed with the glorious gift of going to see Interpol. Not only that, but in my sister's adopted hometown of Edinburgh, which looks exactly like Hogwarts, but real. I became an ardent fan of Interpol back when I were a wee lass of 14, but have only been able see them at Leeds festival a few years ago. So I was overjoyed when the opportunity to see them properly arose. Supporting them were the rather lovely Surfer Blood, but sadly our thirst for a stiff drink overwhelmed our desire to watch them. But I will say, from the faint echoes drifting into the bar area, they sounded pretty wonderful. 

Drinks in hand, we subtly elbowed our way through the crowd to a satisfactory spot, where there were not too many overwhelmingly tall people and/or dickheads. All of a sudden, there was blue lights and dry ice, and out strutted five of the suavest men you ever shall see. They played a very lovely, very long set and maintained their mystery throughout - staying silhouetted against the lights, and only speaking to the crowd for the occasional 'Thank you, that's so nice!' in response to the crowd's rapturous applause. All in all, a night much enjoyed!

As is the case when you've just seen a truly wonderful band, I honestly can't stop listening to them now. So I may as well be productive and compile a top 5 songs, yes? Yes. 

5. Not Even Jail

4. The Heinrich Maneuver

3. Untitled

2. Rest My Chemistry

1. Obstacle 1

Honorable mentions: Public Pervert, C'mere, Pioneer To The Falls, Say Hello To The Angels, Evil, Stella Was A Diver and She Was Always Down. 

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

Here Comes Your Man.

Despite wearing dresses 90% of the time, I am something of a keen voyeur of male fashion. When I see a nicely dressed man - whether it's an attractive young whippersnapper or an elderly man in his Sunday best - it never fails to makes me smile. So imagine my delight when I stumbled across the website Nerd Boyfriend - not, as you may immediately assume, some bizarre dating website, but a style blog of sorts. The premise is simple; it shows the wonderful musicians/ actors/ artists/ writers of yesteryear looking suave, then helpfully shows you where you can buy the modern equivalent garments. It also rings home the best thing about menfolk's clothing - if done well, clothes worn 50 years ago could just as easily be spied on the streets today! Without further ado, feast your eyes on these sartorial greats.

Admittedly, not a great fan of this outfit, but... puppy in pocket?! That's surely accessorizing at it's greatest.

Saturday, 16 October 2010


I love this guy; not only does he make wonderful music, but he has the most ridiculously strong French accent and is in possession of a great 70's Dad-beard. He also spouts some wise words, my favourites being:

  • 'Everybody in France thinks that The Beach Boys are just silly guys with funny closies (!) but, in fact, they are big genius of music!'
  • 'You know, the first feeling of love, when you are on the beach, and for the very first time you are almost naked in front of everybody, and you can see the girls almost naked, with the hot sun, and I love this kind of ambience... It's a song about that!'
  • 'The message is, if you want to be a great lover, you have to be a good person.'

...Not to mention his spot-on impression of Serge Gainsbourg. Wonderful Sebastien!

Thursday, 14 October 2010

Books Galore!

I have a little rule that if I ever spy a classic book in a charity shop, I must snap it up immediately, even if I have no intention of reading it for a good ten years or so. So, as you can imagine, my bookshelves are groaning with well-thumbed copies of Penguin classics, but sometimes you need a little light relief - books that make you chuckle, or consist of nothing but pretty pictures. Here are a few books I wouldn't mind waking up and finding magically placed on my bookshelf. Father Christmas, you listening? 

'Dear Diary' by Lesley Arfin

Having kept a diary since I was on the cusp of my teenage years, I sometimes like to have a little read of the truly old ones, just for lols. Well this young lady enjoyed reading hers so much that she decided to publish them! And believe me, they are rather excruciating. I first became aware of Arfin after obsessively reading her 'Ask Barf' column on Street Carnage; I strongly advise you take a peek, as they are sometimes valid yet always amusing.
p.s. It also features a foreword by Chloe Sevigny, nice!

'Moomins Cookbook' by Sami Mamila & Tove Jansson

Moomins are adorable and Finnish cuisine looks delicious, so a perfect recipe (oho!) for a cookbook it does make. Thanks to this gem I could learn how to make all the delicious treats prepared by Moomin Mamma in real life. With categories such as 'At The Garden Party' and recipes such as 'Laundry-Day Soup', how could anyone resist? Get in my life, please. 

'What Shall I Wear Today?' by Fifi Lapin

Sure, it's written by a fictional bunny-rabbit, but just you wait until you look inside... Despite having 'long ears, a flat chest and a generously padded tushe', this lady (sorry, bunny) can dress! This sweet little book stems from the blog of the same name, and features interviews with wonderful visionaries such as Charles Anastase, Erin Fetherston and Viktor & Rolfe! Sweeeet.

'Luella's Guide To English Style' by Luella Bartley

It looks like a 1950's school book, it's the perfect shade of 70's brown and there's a bloody fox on the cover! Oh, and it's written by Luella Bartley, one of the loveliest designers of the decade. Can't wait to wrap my sticky little mitts around this one. 

Sunday, 3 October 2010


Because I am kind, I present to you this lovely video featuring the very suave Aaron Johnson, brooding around in the style of a 5o's matinee idol. As well as his face, I'm a little bit in love with these amazing outfits and his more than impressive quiff. Courtesy of 'Man About Town' magazine, a publication which smells as divine as it looks. 

Sunday, 12 September 2010

Geek Alphabet

I enjoy this a lot! (Only recognised about half though, must try harder.)

Friday, 10 September 2010

Give Me Your Eyes, I Need Sunshine

....So, last night, I had the great fortune to hear one of my top ten all-time favourite songs performed live, by the truly marvellous Wolf Parade!

Accompanied by some of the finest folk I know, we trotted off to a tiny working men's club in the student area of Leeds to see everyone's favourite Canadian foursome. Despite some serious heating issues, they put on an absolutely wonderful performance and had us all bopping away and singing along with gusto. A quality of theirs that I've always admired is the way they sound constantly on the cusp of tears as they sing, and I was pleased to note that this rings true in real life. My only gripe was that they did not play 'Grounds For Divorce' (sob, sniff), but with such an extensive back catalogue, personal favourites are bound to be missed out.

 In my mind, I always imagine them to be middle aged, a little bit chubbs and impressively bearded, but in reality they're rather young, reasonably attractive and only one of them in possession of good-quality facial hair. How about that! Despite me bringing along my camera, I took approximately zero photos of them, as I was far too buy enjoying myself/ trying to maintain a decent body temperature. My apologies. I did, however, visually capture this lol-tastic moment in time for your viewing pleasure...

Saturday, 28 August 2010

Daydream Believer

I'm currently a little bit obsessed with this here song, by the always-wonderful Animal Collective and Vashti Bunyan, a lovely folk singer from the 60's with a voice a bit like a pan-pipe. Always a good thing, I reckon. This song is ideal for the moment you open your eyes in the morning and as you close them at night.... and every moment in between, really. 

Friday, 27 August 2010

Absoloute Dream Brownies

Our humble batch of brownies may not look much, but they sure as hell tasted amazing. One rainy Thursday, my two dearest chums and I set our hands at making the most ridiculously unhealthy baked goods around. And after more than one thumbs up for this particular recipe, we decided it would be rude not to give it a whirl. I strongly advise you to follow suit!

1. Break up 185g of dark chocolate, all the while exercising extreme self-control and not eating it (save for the odd rogue square). We plumped for Co-operative own Fairtrade confection, at the grand old sum of 90p, and I can tell you - it ain't half bad. 

2. Weigh out 185g of unsalted butter and - for want of a nicer word - mash it into the chocolate. As you can see it looks really quite unattractive, but have patience my friend. Pop it into a microwave for 2 minutes until it's transformed into a tasty chocolately sauce. Forget all about it for a while. 

3. Now is the time to put the oven on at 160 c and line a baking tray with foil. Weigh out 85g and 40g of flour and cocoa powder, respectively. Sieve it like nobodies business, as skillfully demonstrated by an excitable Jess. 

4. Now, chop up 50g each of milk and white chocolate into precise little squares. Alternatively, you could always just snap them in half if you're feeling lazy.. that's what we did, and it turned out just dandy. 

5. Crack three eggs into a mixing bowl, making sure to fish out any inevitable chunks of shell. That would be something of an unwelcome addition to your debut bite of brownie. 

6. Throw in 275g of caster sugar with your eggs, and set an electric whisk to the mixture until it's thick 'n' creamy, much like a milkshake. Make sure you keep swapping hands or have someone else to burden with the task, because it takes forever (well... about 8 minutes). 

7. By now, your chocolate and butter mix will have cooled down sufficiently, so you can begin the arduous process of 'folding' it into the eggs and sugar. The aim of the game is to slowly blend it together without getting too much air in the mixture. As you can see, it starts to looking pretty delicious round about now. 

8. Once it's all thoroughly mixed, it's time to add in your previously sieved flour and cocoa. Actually, you may as well sieve it again, for good measure. Fold this in the same way, until it looks pleasingly like actual cake mixture. 

9. Sprinkle in the chopped chocolate chunks, rejoicing in the fact that you may now eat the remaining chocolate, at long last! Stir furiously, then spatula the mixture into the lined baking tray. Pop it into the eagerly awaiting oven. 

10. Now you must face the longest 25 minutes of your life. Read trashy magazines, do a bit of Facebook noseying, whatever you like - anything to distract you from the chocolatey fumes wafting in from the kitchen. 

11. When those agonizing 25 minutes are up, it's time to seize it from the oven. Give it a little jiggle, because if the centre wobbles, it needs a few more minutes (sorry). If it stays firm like Beyonce's thighs, you're good to go. Well, almost, there's still the small matter of letting it cool down until it's not at a mouth-burning degree. Oh, and it should also be covered, curiously,  with what seems to be delicious brown paper. Give it 15 minutes and it's all yours...

Monday, 23 August 2010

Sweet Darlin'

Sweetest advert ever...?

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Maude Loves Harold.

Until a few months ago, I had somehow got through life without seeing the truly wonderful 'Harold & Maude'. Immediately after my first viewing, I decided it was now one of my favourite films, even making it into my elusive top five. It's that good. For you unfortunate souls who haven't seen it, allow me to tell you a little about it. Nineteen year old Harold is a funny little creature morbidly obsessed with death, and his greatest pleasure in life is attending strangers funerals, driving his hearse and staging elaborate faux-suicides. His hilarious aristocratic mother decides it is time for Harold to get married (!) and so signs him up to a dating agency, with rather amusing consequences. 

Meanwhile, a familiar face keeps popping up at Harold's beloved funerals - the tiny, free-spirited and, frankly, genius Maude. The two soon become great pals, and before long, romance blossoms. There is only one teeny, tiny lil' problem - Maude is almost eighty years of age. This minor issue doesn't stop the two gradually falling in love, bringing joy to Harold for the first time in his short life. 

Of course, outsiders are thoroughly repulsed by the scenario at hand, with the local priest telling Harold: 'I would be remiss in my duty, if I did not tell you, that the idea of... intercourse - your firm, young... body... commingling with... withered flesh... sagging breasts... flabby b-b-buttocks... makes me want... to vomit.' And yes, they do eventually express their feelings in a physical fashion, but instead of actually showing them do the deed, we just see Maude blissfully sleeping whilst Harold casually blows some post-coital bubbles. It's more or less the best thing I've ever seen.

As ever, I shan't say too much for fear of ruining this delightful film for you. As well as being oh-so-interesting, it is a wonderfully comic film. Some of the subtle details are the funniest - for example, Harold's knowing look at the camera after successfully scaring off his first arranged date. Wes Anderson has named this film as both one of his favourites and most influential, and it shows - if you find his films wonderful, you'll like this, and vice versa. 

On a closing note, I need this poster in my room and my life. To any loved ones reading... treat me?

Sunday, 15 August 2010

These Days.

... Just because I can't get this song out my head today. Truly lovely. 

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Apricot & Almond Flapjack

T'other day, I baked up a storm with this rather delicious variety of flapjack. It was made using my previously mentioned recipe, merely substituting the crystalised ginger with a handful of dried apricots and almonds. Tasty! 

p.s. If you enjoy this combination of flavours, I urge you to try this - peel apart a dried apricot and pop in as many almonds as you can fit. Looks disgusting; tastes amazing.