Club One of my top five favourite places on Earth (and I don't make that claim lightly) has a web site. The Krazy House was for a long time the only Rock Club in the centre of Liverpool. The first time I visited was on my birthday getting on for five years ago - and there was a Halloween ball (yes - my birthday is the 31st October - and I've heard any jokes you may have). This was pre-Buffy - so the room was filled with girl with red horns and forks and old-style vampires. Oh and a curious looking Darth Vader. I fell for the place - stepping into there from Liverpool City Centre was literally like entering a new world.

Time and behaviour in this club is strangely at right-angles with the rest of reality. One night, one of the last times I went with my friend Chris, my drink addled mind had been in conversation with one of the regulars. From nowhere I asked her if she'd ever had her palm read. She says no - and that she has always wanted to see her future. So I take her hand...

[I should step out of this story for a moment and say I don't know anything about palm reading - nothing could be spookier could it]

...and realising my predicament, and realising I'll have to say something, the improvisational actor in me began to talk about the lines of the hand signifying this and that. I didn't actually say anything she might not have thought and now and then she'd ask me whether 'things would improve' and I just told, generally upbeat, positive things. Her usually sullen goth face for five minutes after was so cheerful I thought I'd ruined her.

Time passes. It's the following week. I'm there again, fighting at the bar for a drink and suddenly a hand is thrust in front of me. This time I'm not drunk and I'm in an episode of the old game 'Scruples' - do I tell the truth? Well no. So I told this second girl (friend of the first) the exact same things - she too goes away happy. Ten minutes later another hand (friend of the second). Then give it twenty and another. And this goes on all night. Each time I tell the same upbeat tale of a possible future - and at no point do they call me on it.

This tells me two things - there are some things girls don't talk to each other about, and that if you're going to do something like this at least have a reason. Believe be when I say that my inability to monopolise the situation I've makes me unremittingly nice, or unbelievably stupid. Or both.
Music Currently listening to Poe, whose standard female vocalism is interspersed with Portishead wierdness and tape recordings of her dead father. Worryingly mainstream in places - perhaps trying to tread just the wrong line. Bet she watched Teletubbies and wondered if the world was laughing at her...
Blog! Silvergull is evidently feeling listless enough to put a permanent link on the front page. Deeply flattered and slightly pressured to keep up whatever qualities I may be pervading here. What's with all the Pumpkins?
Tv I miss 'Friends'. Or rather the first season of 'Friends'. I miss the 'ugly naked guy'. I miss the deliberately strange Pheobe. I miss the unrelated Chandlerisms. I miss the Monica who was a mature woman living in the city. I miss Joey when he wasn't too stupid. I miss Ross when he was in love with Rachel. I miss the Rachel who was a waitress. I miss the times the characters would just sit around chatting about stuff without an impetous. I miss the time when even filler episodes were classics. Sitting down to watch an original episode is like greeting an episode of 'Fawlty Towers' - you've seen them so many times, yet you can't help but laugh (even 'The One with the Stoned Guy' makes me titter now, despite Jon Lovitz). Heck, I even miss Marcel - and the fact that this show was kooky enough to have a monkey as a semi-regular character. Over the years as new writers have come, we've moved from character to plot.

Watching the seventh series (still continuing a year behind on Channel 4) is an entirely missable prospect. It's difficult to put your finger on why it isn't as good. Perhaps it's that the details of the characters have been obliterated. Or that any semblance of a guest cast hardly get a look in - or if they do it's because they're stars from other shows. Is it Matthew Perry's now wayward performance? Or the fact we know that Lisa Kudrow is capable of some much more, especially having seen her work in 'The Opposite of Sex'. Or that Joey has become needlessly dumb in the face of looking for easy jokes. Or that Courtney Cox looks unremitingly bored. Or that The Schwimmer seems to be spending more time directing - and is of the opinion that shouting is a good substitute for comic timing. The only suspect to come out of any of this is Jennifer Aniston. I can quote whole lines of the first series:

"Gum would be perfection. Gum - would be perfection. Could've said gum would nice - could've said I'll have a stick. But ... no ... no... no ... for me - gum is perfection. I loath myself...."

Even the second soundtrack is messier and just not as cohesive as the first, 'Hootie' and 'REM' replaced by 'Robbie Williams' and an appalling mix of 'Smelly Cat' (which I also miss - when was the last time we saw Pheobes perform at Central Perk?). Thank God the eighth year will be the last. I'm mad as hell and I can't take it anymore....

(and it seems BBC Manchester feels the same way - next weeks 'I Love 1994' features a segment - anyone taking bets on them talking recent series down?)
Food Just a quick link to Jill's Gradely Scran - the most addictive food site I've ever visited. This works so well because the receipes are easy to follow yet far from simplistic. Mr. Hyperbole has now left the building...
Blog! Some blogs are interesting, some are artistic, but some are just plain hilarious. go you good thing or What's New Pussycat? is laugh-out-loud funny at times. Miss Shauny's timing is spectacular. This post made me fall out of my chair (almost) - and we see here why I'm being none too specific about where I work....
Music Leona Naess 'Comatised' feels like an album you've heard a hundred times. We have hints of Beth Orton, Pal Shazar and Bjork. No Alanis histrionics here, though. This album feels like a letter to and describing some nebulous lover: "He fills the room like champagne / into an empty glass / as they slighter to him like snakes / through the grass / his stance is quiet with grace/ before they throw him / into the rat race / and he turns to me to say / I'm a lonely buy / Even with the life, I asked for." This isn't a great album - only one or two tracks ('Lazy Days', 'Northern Star') stand out. But then I'm sitting still as I listen. I've a feeling as I squat behind that plastic table on the train to work tomorrow it's calming influence will make me positive for the day ahead. What is it with that title?
Life Talking to a commuter buddy today about her siblings, it occured to me I've never really faced up to being an only child. She was talking so candidly about her problems and all I could say was 'I don't really understand the dynamic' - which is true, no matter how artifical it sounds. When you're an only child you assume that your brothers and sisters would be your best friends - there when you need them, always someone to talk to. But over the years I've realised that actually there can be a lot of pain and heartache involved. You'd end up loving and hating them for the same reasons. It's easy perhaps to say that suchandsuch a friend is like a brother or sister to me, but I've found that no one can be that close - once the family front door is closed there isn't much you can say or do. This essay seems to have grasped most of the main points. I do feel like I have had to make more of an effort in social situations - I can be introverted and a bit of a loner if I need to be (and lately, well...) - and I have met only children who find social interactivity really difficult. But for me it's a default setting - I much prefer the company of others - you can learn more about the world from talking to someone than reading a book at times - which is exactly what happened today when I spoke to that commuter buddy. QED.
People According to The Celebrity Matchmaker I'm Drew Barrymore's kind of guy. Oh great - I'm Tom Green.
Blog! I think the young lady at The Umbrella Stand may be a frequent visitor... Hey!
Quote "What if you were in the queue and there was no one else there? [spoken by a work colleague]
Blog! As this is a listless-lite day, might I point you in the direction of vavatch orbital whose spectacular wordage should fulfill all your needs. Some things of not. I actually saw Mr. Vavatch at 'The Beatles' festival in his fruit costume. Very funny. I entirely agree about the hoards of kids who seem to fill Liverpool City Centre during the holidays. I fact it's deeply intimidating. And today's entry was the first thing to make me laugh out loud in hours...
Wish list So yes, I've done it. A wishlist. It seems no weblog should be without one - so as you glance to your left you'll see it nesting. Creating the list was strange feeling - as though even more than the weblog we have a straight to the point description of my interests. I'm not sure if this is 'a good thing'. Since every list seems to have a 'star prize' in there is 'The Stanley Kubrick Collection' if only because he looked a bit like my Dad.
Games Unlike, seemingly the whole entire rest of the country, my first computer was an Acorn Electron. No 'Mony On The Run' or 'Horace Goes Skiing' for me - my favourites were 'Chuckie Egg' and 'Snapper'. So I've gone positively cock-a-hoop over The Stairway To Hell, the site of an Electron emulator. There isn't anything better than watching my Pentium dissolve into the familiar black screen with Acorn sign. As well as images of every game imaginable, there is the option of plugging a tape deck into your sound card and loading games straight from cassette....not that Sphinx Adventure was ever worth that wait...
Blog! Meg's is cherishable for it's variety. In the past week alone, we've seen Armenian proverbs, the crystilisation of rudeness and the diversity of humanity. When I have the time I'll be reading her thesis of web culture and can't help but dip into her collaborative weblog (a kind of Mini-Mefi). Perhaps most devistating is the design - especially professional for a personal site.
Book The Cambridge Companion to Shakespeare on Film is a string of essays describing the problems involved in adapting what is essentially a thearical form to cinema. It's an academic work and so the writing is quite dry at times and because we have essays we have repetition - how many times you can write about Olivier's 'Richard III'. There are three essays of note. 'Videos and its paradoxes' looks at the use of video as a study aid, and how the prouctions on show can colour the student's view of the play - so Anthony Hopkins characterisation of Othello in the BBC production is wildly different to Lawrence Fishburne's in the recent film - neither is necessarily correct, but the student might not make that connection. 'Filming Shakespeare;s history: three films of Richard III' offers the best and most honest review of Paccino's 'Looking for Richard' I've read, treating the film on it's own merrits and not as a version of the actual play. Finally, 'Flambiyant realist: Kenneth Branagh' again tries to re-dress the critical mauling his films have been subjected to - there really isn't anything like the four hour 'Hamlet'. The one disappointment is 'Shakespeare's cinematic offshoots' which looks at adaptations which are re-imaginings of the text. It's cursary, anodine and misses out 'In The Bleak Midwinter' and 'Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead'. Why?
People My paradoxical personality is wrapping itself around the Kate Winslet story. I'm in a spin because I hate celebrity gossip - most of it lies or statistics. But here is someone I genuinely like as an actress and a person - and it's hard to see someone go through this kind of thing in the glare of the media. Rather like Minnie Driver, Winslet is an actress first - anything else is a by-product. We have a girl who has appeared in one of the biggest (although not greatest) films of all time. Yet decided not to even try and build on the position (realising a once in a lifetime moment) and made a string of quite personal small films of greater quality and depth which in the stretch of a career she is more likely to be remembered for (something co-star Leo would do well to remember). I mean you've got love the fact that after Titanic one of the only TV shows she 'did' was 'Ready Steady Cook'. Libby Brooks insightful article in 'The Guardian' today uses slightly longer words to make the same point: "Kate Winslet has always stood apart from the celebrity panoply of talents, teases and tragic heroines. A redoubtable actor, she radiates a fearless emotional honesty in person as well as in performance. Intelligent, immoderate and inconsistent, she calls a spade a bloody shovel."
Blog! girlrepair ...for the design...
feeling listless classics I watched this Metafilter thread develop in real time. I was amazed to find this page anywhere. The gentleman involved has decided that widescreen films actually censor the picture. Not a serious point, but he goes at it hammer and nails. So I could not post it to Mefi - and found out actually how many people visit the blue screen heaven. When I initially found the page, the counter (now sadly broken) read 41 hits. By the time the Mefiers had been at it - well you can see... I'd keep popping back every so often after the thread was long gone, and it eventually reached over 5000 - before mysteriously returning to zero...
Commuter Life The most striking person I know lives around the corner from me. I know not her name or where she is from. I've heard her speak but once. She is a girl out of time. She's modelled herself on the paintings of Rossetti, her red hair tied up in a bun, her skin a milky white. She wears flowery dresses, blue cardigans and a velvet coat of emeralde. She carries a croched shopping bag. She's breathtaking as she weaves about the modern world, amongst the business suits and tracksuits, seemingly unconcerned by polution and concrete. I saw her on the train the other day and it seemed incongruous that she would be travelling anywhere. To me she always just seems to be just there - and that's where I hope she'll stay.
Liverpool life I thought I'd leave you today with something I've always noticed but which is never referred to. One of the great pubs in Liverpool is 'The Pilgrim', close to the Anglican Cathedral. An old style drinking hole, it's only concessions to modern life are adverts for Red Bull all over the walls and a massive new Jukebox graced with recent chart hits. Patrons sit in booths at tables covered in mosaics and they cook one of the greatest English Breakfasts known to man. The brick walls are broken up by giant mirrors. At some time other other an artist, possibly at the local art college, has been commissioned to draw giant pencil drawing of 'The Beatles' at various moments of their career and these have been glued to the mirrors with clear fablon. So we have the Lonely Hearts Club Band; John and Yoko; Paul and Linda; and at the centre, the four on 'The Ed Sullivan Show' - only actually, when you take closer look - it's John, Ringo, George and for some unaccountable reason, the Shakepearean actor Derek Jacobi in a Beatles wig. Take a look next time you're in there and wonder if that artist was watching re-runs of 'I Claudius' at the time...
Review! The Brit-com Coupling's second series begins tonight. Unfairly referred to as a rip-off of 'Friends' (mostly by me) the first series went from a shaky start to a must see programme. More likely to take risks than the American show (and at times much funnier), other than the premise of three men & three women talking about sex, the writer Steven Moffat takes the format in another direction. The episode everyone talks about features a mis-understanding regarding the advances or not of a girl who speaks Hebrew. As Mark Lawson writes in The Guardian: "The point about Moffat is that, unusually among television sitcom writers, he works in the genre of farce. Critics have often suggested that farce is impossible to write in a contemporary setting because the plot motor of the form - the need to lie to prevent loss of face or exposure - is implausible in a society which has ever less sense of shame." This was a stumbling block Moffat encountered with the great lost sit-com of the Eighties, 'Joking Apart' - which at one point played out the classic plotline of having three different lovers in different rooms - something Oscar Wilde was a dab hand at. Let's hope this new series gets the airing it deserves...
Update! Just saw the first episode - gives a whole new meaning to 'I'd give an arm and a leg...'
Blog! And so to Texas. Julie's accidental feels like something one of the characters in the film 'Go' might produce. Her writing recently described the September start of school and her new job in a store. She confirms something we shift workers always end up realising - no matter how perfect you try to be, mistakes happen, which just have to live with. question for you: Do you prefer a man to say 'Gazuntide' or 'Bless you' when you sneeze? [via the film Singles]
Time A bit previous with this - but it's September. Already. In the year 2001. I remember as anyone whose left full time education will, what a milestone this month was. Never mind your birthday, as you entered your school or college you were one year older and you felt it. The signs were obvious. Each year you were drifting further backwards in the assembly hall (until, if you went to my school, you were on a balcony, hidden from view). You'd look out across the school yard and see even more people younger than you. Suddenly you found that the subjects you were follow would eventually have some bearing on the rest of your life. At college the work would become progressively harder, and there would be more of it. Then after over a decade and a half - it stopped - and September became just another month. Until this time. This time I realised I'm going to be twenty-seven in two months. I'll officially be old. Or what I thought was an old person when I was eight.
Work I offended someone in work yesterday. I told her I had a weblog - and she was offended when I asked if she knew what one was. I'm so used to people not knowing - I don't tend to meet people who are that Net Literate. So I thought I'd better take the Nerd test. Turns out I'm a nerd-wannabe. I can live with that... [via Sore Eyes, via BBspot]
Blog! Bryan J Busch - there is someone who has the same email experiences as me. The word for Byran's blog is enigmatic. You'll think one moment he's following the standard format then there will be a comment like this which speaks more volumes than the reams some bloggers fly out of their fingers.
Sculpture The Henry Moore Institute in Leeds is an exhibition and study venue dedicated to three dimensional art objects. For me, it's one of those places I'll have a connection to, not just because I worked there, not just because this was the place which cemented my interest in art, but also what it represented for some of the time at university. If my first year was messy, the second was even worse - the house I lived in was from hell, full of people I didn't get along with at all (stories to come you can assume). But when I knew I couldn't go home, I knew there was one place I could go which was a place of calm - away from them, away from study, away from the world. Even on the days I wasn't working there I knew I could drop in, see my friends, and feel the world fall away. This was the place where art first made me cry and where I went to my first private view.

One of the strengths of the gallery is the connection to artists. I've always been more interested in the production of art, rather than the subject itself, so I was always impressed by the fact the institute could get world renouned sculptors to visit to talk about their work. At the end of this month, their new exhibition 'Close Encounters: The Sculptor's Studio in the Age Of The Camera' looks at photographic representations of the artist's studio. Such pictures can be earth shattering - to see what are probably some of the most famous works of art in one space together before they disappeared to the four corners - some of them before ink has dried on the sketches or the varnish has dried on the carvings. If ever there was a show to get me back to Leeds this is it...[via The Henry Moore Institute Newsletter]