sprezzatura: (Filthy Look)
Today feels like Sunday. I suppose that is because I've had most of my weekend already.

It was all a bit last minute really, though it shouldn't have been. [livejournal.com profile] margotmetroland had got the tickets for last night's acoustic Oysterband gig at the Union Chapel a couple of months ago and I had planned to drive down in the morning, leave the car at Metroland, get the tube into town and wander around for a bit before going to meet Moz and [livejournal.com profile] drpete before the show. Then, earlier this week, my car developed a Suspicious Rattleā„¢ that, due to cancellations and rearrangements of various appointments, I did not have time to have dealt with, so the London plan was abandoned. It was only at about 11am yesterday morning that the train suddenly became a practical option, so I bought tickets, had a quick lunch with my mum on the way to the station and off I went.

[livejournal.com profile] drpete met me at Kings Cross and we made our way to Islington, discussing trad goth bands and Young Persons' Music while we waited for [livejournal.com profile] margotmetroland in the pub. She arrived in time for a quick glass of wine, and then we followed the growing trickle of people in Oysters T-shirts to the Union Chapel. The gig was all kinds of excellent: the venue, the support act ( Dan Mangan, who was a jolly nice chap) and obviously the Oysters themselves. This year, I did not cry over any crap Welsh seaside towns, which I'm sure came as a huge relief to Moz and Pete. After a traditional last chorus of Put Out The Lights, they, er, turned some of the lights back on and it was time to go home.

Unlike usual, Moz and I managed not to stay up for the entire night putting the world to rights and we went to bed at a relatively respectable 1.30am. Just as well, because in order to get a train that did not take three and a half hours to complete the two hour journey, I had to be at Kings Cross at 10am.

The journey home turned out to be an exercise in reminding of everything I hate about public transport. The train was packed leaving London, and although it looked like things were going to get more peaceful at the first stop, the man who sat down opposite me seemed utterly determined to engage me in conversation. I am rarely interested in making small talk with random strangers on trains, especially not when I would prefer to be asleep, and especially especially not when they are carrying copies of the Daily Fail. Things got even worse after the train stopped a second time, and filled up with race-goers in cheap suits and obnoxious perfume. I was very, very glad to get off the train half an hour later, and into Ed's car, where Tia greeted me as though I had been away for decades.

After we had collected K from my mum's, I finally got chance to watch last night's one off TV drama The Song of Lunch. In case you missed it, it was basically 50 minutes of Alan Rickman reading a poem on a voice-over, while acting it out alongside Emma Thompson. It was all lingering looks over Italian food and dwelling on past regrets. I can't imagine a more perfect piece of television, or at least, not one that could be shown on a mainstream channel before the watershed. Hopefully there will be news of a DVD release soon, or I will not get anything done at all this week as I will be forced to keep watching it until it is removed from iPlayer.

I had vague intentions of going to Darklands tonight but I'm tired and I'm saving my corsets for Whitby, so we're watching Doctor Who repeats instead. Not sure what the plan is for tomorrow but I suspect we may end up heading back to Swinsty Reservoir to give Tia another swimming lesson.
sprezzatura: (Default)
Suppose one of your favourite musicians, who because of his age is unlikely to be performing for too much longer, was not coming to your home country on his current tour. Suppose the closest he was going to get was a city in a neighbouring country, not too far away from the home of a very good friend of yours, and suppose the date of this particular show happened to coincide with your birthday. You'd pull out all the stops to go no matter what the cost, wouldn't you?

We did... )

Photos on Facebook.
sprezzatura: (Cherry Red Girl)
Cut for spoilers )

I'll shut up now.

Excellent bank holiday weekend involving visits to Bradford, the pub, the beach and my mum's house, and featuring various people I haven't seen in ages. Tomorrow K and I are going to see Seth Lakeman in Buxton. How were your weekends, viewers
sprezzatura: (Gabriel the Toad)
Bradford may not seem the obvious choice of destination for a day out, but in the company of some of my favourite ladies, I had an excellent time there on Saturday. The main purpose of our trip was a visit to Bombay Stores, where I bought fabric to turn into two dresses for various forthcoming weddings, and the others picked up various treasures in the form of make-up and sparkly things. In need of refreshment after a busy morning's shopping, we repaired to The Love Apple for lunch and gossip and cake. The nachos were as good as ever but I was a little disappointed by the chocolate and lemon tart and by the uncharacteristic absence of cheesecake from the menu. Saturday evening was spent in The Last Drop with various locals and one exile, thinking up new and inventive ways to annoy [personal profile] vin_petrol.

Ed and I had a rather different day out yesterday, making our way to the coast along with seemingly everyone else in the county. It was the first time in about a year that we've been inspired to go that way by the sunshine to find the sun still shining when we got there, as opposed to being cold and grey everywhere east of Fylingdales. We sat on the grass and watched the sea at Sandsend, having come to the mutual realisation that while it is very nice to be near the sea, beaches, at least in this part of the world, are almost always horrible. They would be so much nicer if they were not covered in sand, or at least, if they must have sand, if the sand were More Like It Is In The Brochure. It was still a very enjoyable afternoon though, and yesterday felt like the first day of summer. I love the way the night time smells at this time of year and insisted on going to sleep with the windows and the blind open, watching the sky change colour.

So far today we have been very useful and achieve-y, and between us have already cleaned most of the house, done two loads of washing and got them out onto the line. I even cleaned the windows in the kitchen for the first time I can remember, which is a little embarrassing seeing as I've lived here for almost four years! After lunch we are going to go through the bookshelves downstairs and take all the out of date atlases and IT books to the recycling centre. This evening we will reward ourselves by going to see Star Trek.

This week is half term for K but we're not going to be seeing much of her. She has been at her father's this weekend and is spending tonight with my mum so that she can meet up with a friend from her old school tomorrow. On Wednesday Ed's dad is coming to pick her up and take her down to London for a few days, where we will be joining her on Friday. Tomorrow night is pretty much the only time we will get to spend with her so we've just booked tickets to see Seth Lakeman at Buxton Opera House. I don't know how long this Liking Parents' Music thing will last: I wouldn't have been caught dead going to a concert with my parents when I was seven, although to be fair my dad's music of choice was usually military bands or opera while my mum favoured the likes of Cliff Richard! I shall make the most of it while it lasts anyway, and hope that by the time her inevitable rebellion happens, she will be old enough to go to gigs on her own so I'll never have to take her to The Pussycat Dolls or The Jonas Brothers or whatever it is children like these days.
sprezzatura: (Head)
Poor journal. How I have mistreated you these past few years. What was supposed to be an outlet for reviewing events, sharing opinions and keeping in touch with friends has become a vehicle for lame humour and attention whoring. Lack of time and feeling intimidated by others' superior talents have kept me from posting much besides disposable polls and trivial one-liners for too long. My LJ was never going to be a blogger's answer to The Ritz but that needn't have meant it descending to the level of some ghastly East End WMC where people trade scandal and swear words over their pork scratchings while some brassy, fat old barmaid flashes her stretch marks in a sagging market stall boob tube.

I wouldn't be seen dead in a boob tube, and I don't want to be that barmaid any more.

A comment [livejournal.com profile] kirstenlj made at lunch time on Saturday and, pretentiously enough, a play we went to see that evening made me think I was missing an opportunity, and that I should take more time to document thoughts, memories and photographs, not for the entertainment of other people but because they are important to me. The bad news we heard later that night made it all the more relevant. As I'm sure you've noticed, I'm not religious. For me, life is about experiencing as much as possible and gathering mental souvenirs, knowing people and being known, seeking immortality in the minds of friends and loved ones, not saving Nectar Points for Paradise. I know it sounds wanky and I wish I could think of a better way to express it, but the way we are remembered is our best chance to make a mark on the world. Just because, for most of us, it's more likely to be a gentle scratch rather than the deeply gouged initials we may all secretly hope for is no reason not to record our experiences. To that end, I am resolving to update this journal with proper content at least once a week from now on.

Self indulgent, you say? Yes, I suppose it is. I'm not asking you to read it. In fact, I'm more likely to ask you not to. I would like to reduce the size of my friends list, and I've gathered a number of people over the years on communities or friends' journals with whom I've turned out to have little in common and little to say to. I'm sure the feeling is mutual. If we never speak or see one another, you're here out of habit or politeness and you would like to unfriend me without fear of offense, then please go ahead and I will do the same. I'll probably have a bit of a trim in the next few days anyway.

Meanwhile, in the spirit of good intentions, this is What I Did at the Weekend. )


Apr. 30th, 2008 10:40 am
sprezzatura: (Default)
Ugh. This is the worst case of Post Whitby Disorder I have had in a long time. It was a curious weekend, managing to recall the Spirit of Whitby Past while remaining relatively grown-up and civilised. It seems to have renewed a lot of people's enthusiasm - mine included - for the weekend in general and in particular for the "official" part in the Spa. I loved being able to get a ticket just for one night and I hope this is something Top Mum will continue to offer in the future.

Other highlights included: )

I'm not going to post a corresponding list of lowlights, because there weren't really any that affected me personally and I had a wonderful time, but one situation in particular did cast a shadow over an otherwise relaxed and drama-free weekend. Quite rightly, what with the dedication of the bench and the impending sentencing of her killers, Sophie Lancaster was a name that kept coming up over the weekend. Like several of our friends, Ed and I bought wristbands in support of the S.O.P.H.I.E (Stamp Out Prejudice, Hatred and Intolerance Everywhere) campaign, which is a message I know is close to many people's hearts and one which most of Whitby and the goth community in general seems to have got right behind. In the light of this I find it particularly depressing to discover homophobia and bigotry alive and well in Whitby, not from outsiders (with the exception of the ones who accosted [livejournal.com profile] jozafeen) but from amongst the goths themselves.

I mentioned that our flat had been a refuge for assorted couch surfers, and these included the now-legendary Homeless Lesbians of Sunday Night. Many of you will know who I am talking about and the ladies in question are welcome to identify themselves if they wish, but I would like to stress that the view of events I am posting here is entirely my own and although I checked first with them whether they minded me mentioning it, neither they, nor anyone else has in any way encouraged me to do so or attempted to influence what I am about to say. In other words, if anyone is going to lose friends over this, let it be me and not them - they have been through enough. This may not be my fight as such, but frankly, I'm not sure I want anyone who would defend or excuse such prejudice as a friend, so I make no apologies for taking up the cause.

A good friend of mine approached me in the run up to the weekend in search of emergency accommodation after the 80s night, as she and her partner were unwelcome as a couple in the cottage in which she was due to stay for the first few nights of the event before her girlfriend arrived in Whitby on Sunday. One of their party apparently objected to their sharing a room on religious grounds. This seemed to be rather a hypocritical and inconsistent standpoint given other sharing arrangements within the cottage but I don't know the full story so I won't speculate further. Having run it by my flatmates, we were able to offer them a bit of floor (which turned into a bed when [livejournal.com profile] gothgrr arranged to stay with [livejournal.com profile] foxy76 for the night) for Sunday and they booked into a B&B for Monday. They dropped off their things while we were at [livejournal.com profile] cookwitch's, and we arranged to see them in Laughtons.

Not long after we arrived, we were told by a mutual friend that when the second half of the couple turned up at the original cottage that afternoon, the ladies were asked to stop being affectionate or leave. Obviously we were all pretty shocked by this, especially when it was confirmed by the couple themselves who told me that the exact words used had been "If you're going to do that, get out!" Understandably they found this rather upsetting. I don't know if anyone else was there, but if so I must admit I am surprised that no-one stood up for them. Due to various other events of the late afternoon and early evening I was on a hair-trigger, and perhaps my reaction at the time was not as mature as it would have been if I had been sober, but I am one hundred percent ready to defend the spirit of my actions nonetheless. I am very glad to say that the couple had the universal support of everyone who heard about what had happened, and glad that they were able to enjoy the evening in the same way as the rest of us - having a drink and dancing together without interference.

They talked a little more about the situation when we got back to the flat, and I believe the word "squick" was mentioned, which brings me to the crux of my argument. I am sick to death of people using their religious views to justify narrow mindedness and bigotry. I am not, and never have been a believer myself but over the years it has been my privilege to know a number of Christians who have been open-minded, thoughtful and tolerant, both within the Goth community and beyond. Knee-jerk homophobia and medieval attitudes from certain individuals are giving them a bad name. If you have a problem with something, have the cajones to admit it and stop using your faith as an excuse. I find it both disappointing and depressing that on a weekend where tolerance for "alternative" lifestyles was in the forefront of everyone's minds that there were people prepared to support such pathetic and outmoded prejudice.

Anonymous comments enabled purely to offer right of reply to those involved who do not have LJs. Unsigned or irrelevant comments will be deleted.

*Gin + cherry brandy + lemonade. I have no idea how to make a proper Singapore Sling.
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