Sunday, 29 July 2012

UNdane Sunday: Polaroid Love

After a sad, Polaroid-vacant gap of 3 years, I dug out my old Polaroid P last week, bought some Impossible PX-680 Cool Version Colour Shade film, crossed my fingers and hoped it would be the same as it used to be (it's not like the old days...)

Turns out I have a lot to re-learn...

(I took these Polaroids of the beautiful cottage I live in, exactly 2 years after I moved in)

...and I'll keep practising.

Wednesday, 25 July 2012

Tuesday's Tattoo (On a Wednesday) (Henceforth to be called 'Tattoo Stories") - Gemma's Tattoo Story.

"It was when I was at University. And I moved away from home and I left all my best friends behind, and I left my boyfriend behind, split up with my boyfriend. And it was about a year in, and I was really really really really miserable, and unhappy. And I started to think a little bit more about things, think a bit more about life, and look into my family history, that kind of thing. I found out that my Dad was actually Italian. And obviously, he wasn't I just wanted to have a little something to remember him by. And so every day I could look at it and think that actually, it doesn't matter how much I miss everybody, everybody's with me, including him. And that everything is going to be okay. And that life is good. And that actually, I'd have part of him with me every day, even just there, so that I'd wake up and see it every day. And I'd be happy.

I had it done in Cambridge at a tiny tiny little tattooists that was down by the river. And it was really quaint. Nothing particularly special about it, I don't even remember the name."

July 2012 

Monday, 23 July 2012

UNdane Monday/Postcardiology

The Olympic Torch travelled through my hometown today. In the spirit of London 2012, here are some London themed postcards I collected from a shop in Covent Garden (Gallery One) a couple of weeks ago whilst on a day out with my friend Catriona, who loves London and lives far too far away from it.

Photographs by James Domine
Gallery One, London

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Tuesday's Tattoo (On a Wednesday): Darren's Tattoo

The quest to collect tattoos and the stories behind them continues...

"Why the national trust? If I was to give you the short answer, I'd tell you it was for nostalgic reasons. People may look at it and think I might have had it done as some kooky ironic attempt at having something unique.

However the reasoning is more close to my heart and my upbringing. Being brought up by a single parent, my grandparents were a big part of looking after me and when the school holidays came around, it was their task of entertaining me. The return to school after the holidays would be met with children discussing trips to chessington world of adventures or a family trip to America, these places seemed alien to me. So different from my own experiences. I didnt envy these children. Log flumes and junk food seemed less romantic than playing Pooh sticks and eating a cream scone at Ashdown Forest. Children would proudly show off their gadgets and branded shirts, but did they have a ruler with all of the kings and queens of Great Britain written on it?


I really enjoyed history as a child. Whats not to love about learning a story about kings and queens in a castle and then actually visiting that castle? Getting lost in a maze. Gift shops with treasures that you wouldnt find in your local everyday shop. Rubbers, oversized pencils, leather bookmarks with gold font amidst the smell of pot pourri. You probably think I'm over romanticizing my childhood like most of us do when looking back. But I see nothing wrong with that. Isn't something that isn't real the definition of magic?"

July 2012

Sunday, 15 July 2012

UNdane SUNDAY:- St Swithin's Day AKA Is It Ever Going to Stop Raining?

...Actually, I hope it doesn't stop raining. I like the rain. Although I understand how annoying it is for anyone who has just hung their washing out/lives in a valley.

So, St Swithin was a Saxon Bishop of Winchester (a city I love a LOT - I went to University there. Also, it's beautiful. And situated in a valley.) who wanted to be buried outside so people could tread on him and things. And so it would rain on him. His wishes were followed for 9 years and then he was moved indoors, whereupon it rained heavily in protest. And so the legend goes that if it rains on St Swithin's Day, it will subsequently rain for 40 days.

Also, apparently, his name is considered to mean 'pig man'. Could it get more romantic than this?

And so, I could quote the old St Swithin's proverb, which goes on about what happens when it dost rain etc, but instead, here is a poem I saw on the London Underground recently:-

The Thunderbolt's Training Manual

Choose a soporific afternoonAs sunbathers Enjoy sound. A long peal doze, saturday papers abandoned. a blast of cathedral bells. Crash. Smell suntan oil among rhododendrons. Enjoy light flashed on dark. Drone of bee and walkman. Newspapers speared on the rose bush. Circle a breeze about marshy thighs. Relish the sunbathers’ scatter. Cloud the sky. Start far off. Slowly. Listen to dogs bark and bark and bark. Observe how sheep know better Send a drop of rain. set their rumps to the wind. Send a canyon of rain.

- Danielle Hope (2003)

Monday, 9 July 2012

UNdane Monday:- Band T-shirts Part II

The question I have most frequently been asked over the last week is 'but...why are you wearing a band T-shirt every day for 30 days?' accompanied by a confused and worried expression. Because I can, is the answer. Is there a better answer? And perhaps because I'm trying to recapture my youth? And because it seemed like a fun distraction for the month of July. I have, however, learned several things:-

1.) I feel frumpy wearing band T-shirts. My style choices are different now. I no longer wish to wear a Fruit of the Loom T-shirt made of fuzzy material with a slogan roughly ironed over the front, that doesn't fit properly. However, it's sort of fun trying to make the band T-shirts fit in with the things I'd normally wear.

2.) I don't have enough band T-shirts for 30 days. This links to my last blog post, in which I lamented the loss of all the band T-shirts I owned as a younger version of myself. However...

3.) ...people have been very forthcoming once they learned of the idea. Many have offered me the old band T-shirts they keep in their bottom drawers, or that they wear in bed. Which leads on to...

4.) It turns out that I am not the only person who has put my band T-shirt loving, gig-going self away in favour of something more sedate in my old age. This is proven by the fact that everyone keeps their old band T-shirts in their bottom drawers, or wears them in bed.

So here's a round up of the last 7 days in band T-shirts:-

Day 1: Hundred Reasons:-

I bought this in February 2002. I was 17 years old. I went to watch them support Ash at the London Astoria (RIP). I crowdsurfed for the first and only time in my life, and went home from the gig feeling like I could conquer the world. Later that month I bought two goldfish and named them Colin and Larry after members of the band. This T-shirt is not the shade of navy blue it once was. The gold star in the middle has held up fairly well given the amount of ironing it has been subjected to over the last 10 years. There is a hair dye stain on the right shoulder. The fish died within a month because I cleaned their bowl with Fairy Liquid, but I hope the T-shirt will survive for many years to come.

Day 2: The Ramones:-

I bought this T-shirt in October 2011 in the kids section at H&M. Tip for you if you're a relatively slim girl: Hennes do quite a good selection of retro band T-shirts and the age 10-12 ones will likely fit you, and they only cost about £5. I realise that, in terms of band T-shirts, this is cheating. Because I was not around to see The Ramones. Although I wish I had been. I bought this because I was going to see my friends band in a small pub in Tunbridge Wells and I wanted to dress like a punk. I don't think a real punk would have worn a child's replica Ramones T-shirt from Hennes, but the punk spirit is there in the bargain price and the squeezing of my bits into a T-shirt not made for an adult. Or something.

Day 3:- Elvis Presley

I went to visit Graceland earlier this year, on the 35th anniversary of Elvis's death. This was a coincedence. But I bought an Elvis T-shirt in Memphis, on Beale Street. And I think that counts as rock n roll.

Day 4:- AC/DC

Another £5 Hennes Kids bargain. This one has little diamante bits on it. It's quite glam rock and also, again, a bit of a cheat. But it gets better, promise.

Day 5:- Blondie

Here's where my brilliant friends start to swoop in to save the day, because I am running out of band T-shirts, and part of the point of this is to get everyone remembering their own band and band T-shirt experiences. This one belongs to my friend Becky. I love Blondie, and so it makes me happy. I wore it to work and my friend Gemma exclaimed 'I love Blondie! Blondie's my favourite! I've seen Blondie twice! Once I went with my mum! She loved it! We went to see Motley Crue too!'

So the T-shirt's are working. Memories are starting to spring up from the depths of the backs of our minds. And some of them involve Motley Crue. Anyway, Gemma thinks she might have an old Motley Crue hoodie somewhere. If she finds it she will bring it in and it will become part of the 30 Days project. Stay tuned.

Day 6:- Muse

This is another one belonging to Becky. Becky has loved Muse ever since she was a whippersnapper. I loved Muse until they stopped releasing exciting albums, which happened right after Origin of Symmetry (2001). I saw them play Reading Festival in 2002 and it absolutely hammered with rain and it was incredibly dramatic. This T-shirt is awesome, and goes very well with my 1950's Freddie of Pinewood jeans. As I wear it, I resolve to dig Origin of Symmetry out of my cupboard and listen to it start to finish with no skips.

Day 7:- Slipknot

Another of Becky's. Because I know little of Slipknot (though I saw them play a gig once and it was really bloody good, and I really tried to like their early albums but I just wasnt...metal enough. Now that I'm Well Old Innit, I actually like them more, not less.) Becky told me the story of this T-shirt, which she made herself. The picture is from an early limited edition EP that was released before their debut album, eons ago. The ghost-like, blurry man on the front is Joey Jordison without his mask on. Naked.

And because it's already Day 8...

Day 8:- The Prodigy

This T-shirt belongs to my friend Chris, and he informs me he wants it back, which is sad, because I really love it. Even though it's a man's size and therefore too big for me, it seems to hang really well, and goes great over shorts or a denim skirt. The motif on the front is also awesome. And it has holes in it which suggests it has seen enough of life to be an authentic Old Band T-shirt. I want to keep it. Let's see if Chris notices.

I am reliably informed that there are more band T-shirts coming in from all corners of the country, nay, the world. Let's see what the postman brings.

Thursday, 5 July 2012

UNdane Postcardiology: - Misc.

Another sample of my now absolutely enormous picture postcard collection. Have I become prematurely old? Is it time to retire and go to postcard conventions, to which I can take an anorak and home made scones? Actually, that would be awesome. Here are some post cards added to my collection quite at random this week, including one I found under the bed, one sent to me from America (thanks Jody!) and one bought at Wimbledon during the tennis tournament, for approximately £87.50...

1: - Synergy at Spoke Art, San Francisco CA
2:- Wimbledon Lawn Tennis Museum
3:- Across Gorgoroth by Ted Nasmith 1994 (Harpercollins)
4:- Still Burning, Sally Spinks 2009, Tenderpixel London
5:- You're Not My Friend by Magda Archer, 2009, Tenderpixel London

Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Tuesday's Tattoo: Jess's Tattoo Story.

"My tattoo is of an atom, and technically, if those stars are supposed to represent electrons (which they are) then its a helium atom because there are 2 of them. This makes it all the more excellent because really, who doesn't love helium?

Why did I choose to get an atom tattooed on me in the first place though? I had been working hard for 4 years to get my PhD and I had promised myself that I would commemorate that by getting a science based tattoo if I ever passed the viva and finally got ushered into doctordom. But then, I slogged at writing that thesis and when I submitted it I decided it didn't MATTER if I passed or not. Yes, it would certainly be helpful in the grand scheme of things, but for me the tattoo was to celebrate surviving the process of writing the thesis, of getting through those 4 years and working really hard at something that was just for me, that I had done on my own. When I started my PhD I was nervous and unsure of myself, I had very little confidence and I knew even less. By the time I had submitted my thesis I still knew very little and I still don't think I'm as good as all the proper scientists but I felt ok about it! I felt confident about my complete lack of confidence, so whether I got to be a Dr at the end of it or not, I had certainly succeeded at something. I was definitely more of a scientist then I was before, so I deserved my science tattoo.

I looked at lots of designs. I thought about something much more literally related to my project, but I just couldn't find anything beautiful. I looked at DNA helices, but it just wasn't me. At that point I had 3 other tattoos, all of which had a star in them somewhere. Then I saw a design of an atom and I thought about changing the protons and electrons to stars, and it just seemed right. Once I had chosen my design I took it to a lovely man named Jay who owns a tattoo shop called Cardiff Ink that I walked past everyday on my way to university, which seemed appropriate.

This was the first tattoo that I had in a very visible place and that was a bit scary but I love it and have no regrets. And in the end I DID get my PhD and I am, at the moment, the only tattooed Dr in the department!"

June 2012

Monday, 2 July 2012

UNdane Monday:- Band T-shirts

Recently, two things happened.

1.) Hundred Reasons, a band I loved when I was 18, announced a UK show, and

2.) Rocksound published their list of 101 Modern Classic albums between 1997 and 2012.

And these things made me sad. Because I realised that, at 28, my prime gig going days may be over, and all the bands I feel passionately about are a memory rather than a current and ongoing obsession.

But mainly I was sad because over the years, I threw away all my band t-shirts. Some of which were rare and which I will never see again. I wonder where they all are now.

There was my Ash Envy t-shirt, black with green Envy eyes on the front, that I bought at Reading Festival 2002, just after they released Envy as a standalone single, and that I wore to death at University.

There was the red Hiding with Girls T-shirt that I bought at a tiny gig at a tiny venue in Croydon, having missed most of their set due to being, erm, otherwise engaged. Then I wore that to death too, ran into the lead singer at a festival and failed to recognise him when he commented on the shirt. He seemed offended.

...And the black and red Gratitude t-shirt I bought at their London Barfly show in September 2005 and wore until it lost it's shape, then THREW IT AWAY. What was I thinking?

...And the Muse t-shirt I bought off a street vendor for a fiver after they played the Bournemouth BIC in late 2003. It was the colour of sick but I wore it all the time for months and months and months.

...The black Funeral for a Friend t-shirt that had the words 'I'm nothing more than a line in your book' on the back in spidery white script that they sold on their summer 2003 tour. I bought it at Reading Festival, along with several hundred other people who were in on the fact that back then, they were AWESOME. They played the smallest stage in the earliest slot on the Saturday and the tent was packed.

The light blue Jimmy Eat World fitted t-shirt with wings on the back and lyrics from Hear You Me that they sold on their summer 2002 UK tour. I wanted to get the wings tattooed on me when I was 19. I'm glad I didn't. But I wish I still had the T-shirt.

I still own band t-shirts. But most of them were bought as fashion statements much more recently. A jewelled AC/DC fitted t-shirt I bought for £4 in the kid's section at Hennes. The Iron Maiden T-shirt that belonged to my brother when he was overweight, years and years ago. I wear it as a dress.

The only true, authentic, real, original bought-at-a-gig, comes-from-back-in-the-day T-shirt I own now is my much beloved and much battered Hundred Reasons Ideas Above Our Station t-shirt that I bought in February 2002. I still wear it, as a tribute to every other band t-shirt I loved and lost over the years.

And missing all these T-shirts got me to thinking: maybe it's time to resurrect the old days of wearing band tees every single day of the week no matter what the occassion. Just for a month.

And so, starting today, I'm wearing a band T-shirt a Day for 30 days. To prove it, there will be photographs. And it's going to be hard, as I only own about 5 band shirts now. So I'm calling in t-shirts from wherever I can find them. My friends bottom drawers, where they've stashed all the shirts from the gigs of the bands they loved when they were 19 and 20 but can't bring themselves to throw away. The furthest reaches of the Internet. Let's see what turns up...