Sunday, 20 September 2009

Not quite a gas-sacre, but still a (Griffin) lark

Believe it or not I used to be a huge football fan. In fact, if you ask me a 96/97/98 football-related trivia question my knowledge may astound amuse you (especially if that question relates to the Euro 96 England squad, Bristol Rovers or, in particular, Marcus Browning). But after I left Bristol for uni my interest in the beautiful game sadly ebbed away. I still like to go to a match now and again, but the last time I was on the terraces must have been about this time last year when I went to see AFC Wimbledon.

So when I discovered that The Gas were playing Brentford this weekend - just a mere hour away - I decided to go along to Griffin Park to see how my team is faring in League One. To kick us off, here are a few pointless observations:
  • The Bristol Rovers away strip is way too similar to Norwich's home strip. On the other hand it is also rather reminiscent of Brazil's, adding a modicum of realism to the chant 'It's just like watching Brazil...'
  • Before kick off, the two teams now line up in front of the dugouts as if waiting for their respective national anthems to play, then go and shake each others' hands. FOR GOODNESS SAKE THIS IS LEAGUE ONE NOT AN INTERNATIONAL FIXTURE (apparently this has been going on for quite a while without my awareness)
  • For some reason, there were about seven ballboys on one side of the pitch, and none whatsoever on the other
  • Before the match the stewards confiscated my body spray, but were quite happy for me to take in my can of 7UP
  • Griffin Park pasty rating: poor (microwaved Pukkas) but hot and edible
In terms of the actual match (sorry fellas, I am a mere girl after all) it was a brilliant game. Rovers were 3-0 up by half-time, courtesy of two goals from new striker Chris Dickson on his debut (he's on loan from fellow League One-ers Charlton Athletic. What were they thinking?! As a result of yesterday's victory we're now hot on their heels near the top of the table - woop!) and one from Jolean Lescott's sibling, Aaron. The second half was somewhat tense in comparison, with Brentford pulling one back, but despite their dominance they couldn't get another breakthrough, so we were victorious! Championship here we come...

Tuesday, 15 September 2009

For my chewing pleasure

Operation Good Guys was on the telly when I returned home this evening. Ok, so it wasn't actually on the telly, my brother was watching our never-been-opened boxset of the show, which he bought for me a couple of years ago but I've never got around to watching. This was obviously a huge error on my part, as it's bloomin hilarious! Who remembers it? Basically, it was The Office before The Office (first shown in 1997, whereas The Office was first broadcast four years later). It's a mockumentary about an undercover police squad who are supposedly being filmed by a BBC crew for a fly-on-the-wall look at the detectives in action as they attempt to snare the crime lord 'Smiler McCarthy'.

Predictably, the whole bunch of them are incompetent, but the real dig is at the fact that they're allowed to get away with their shoddiness, and - in one episode - even showcase their idiocy by coordinating an 'undercover squad open day'. But instead of demonstrating their detecting and policing skills, they instead decide to turn it into a cabaret show under the guidance of (the actual) Christopher Biggins.
There are loads more celebrity cameos, my personal favourite being an appearance by David Seaman.

The first series is classic. From what I remember it seemed to go downhill in the second series. Indeed, having just read the Wikipedia entry, I
remember now that they stupidly decided to introduce canned laughter in the second and third series, completely spoiling the documentary feel, but it's still worth watching to see where The Office may have got some of its inspiration from.

Speaking of small-screen hilarity, I am (of-course) addicted to the latest Masterchef incarnation, which is rather inappropriately called Masterchef: The Professionals. C'mon guys, even I know that you don't make sauce in a griddle pan!

From what I gather so far, this competition is open to people who make a living out of any profession which is - however vaguely - related to cookery. So they could be a catering lecturer in a college, or work in the kitchen of a local pub. I'm guessing these people wouldn't be eligible for standard Masterchef, and certainly not for the 'celebrity' version, so this show caters (see what I did there?!) for everyone in between. And everyone in between appears to be a white chap in their mid-twenties. Nope, the BBC certainly aren't ticking any equality and diversity boxes with this programme. Still, it's as entertaining as ever.

Highlights from the first two shows have been the guy who aimed to make ravioli from scratch, but ended up serving an omelette on top of spaghetti, and Jamie from Wiltshire, who is a walking, taking, real-life thesaurus. Jamie's through to the next round, so I'm looking forward to hearing many more variations on the word 'chuffed' from him in the near future / very soon / shortly.

Monday, 14 September 2009

Dear blog: you're cool, but I love my dear diaries

Ever since I was 13 I've kept a diary. It's not the kind of diary where I pour out my heart and soul on to the pages, I simply write about what I did each day and keep a note of the funny things that might have happened.

As a teenager I used to write this on a daily basis, religiously. At uni I updated it every two or three days. But now I'm lucky if I update it once a week. It's getting to the stage where I can't actually remember what I did on certain days, and I will geekily admit that I sometimes have to trawl through my Twitter archive to remind me about what I was doing on a particular day so I can record these details in my week-to-view diary.

My diaries - and there are 14 of them so far - are my most treasured possessions in the world; certainly the first thing I would save if my flat was on fire. And here's why:

On this day...

I decided that Hither Green was where I wanted to buy a flat

Living in London, I went out for birthday drinks with a colleague and watched some rugby

I was living and working in Portsmouth and loads of roads were flooded

14/9/2005: I went to a legs, bums and tums class...then had pizza for tea
I was working as a receptionist at a newspaper in Southampton, and was happy to discover that my (now-ex) boyfriend had actually done some cleaning

Watched the Grand Prix and went to a pub in Hamble, Hampshire

I was hungover and applying for graduate job schemes

On summer holiday between my first and second years at uni. Went for an Italian meal with my family in Bristol

Went clubbing with mates in Bristol before we all went our separate ways to various unis

Me and my school friends watched the video I made of our Newquay holiday and I got invited to a party with my college friends (!!!)

I played hangman with Tim during my free period and had an argument with my dad and brother later on

I went to Lauren's rabbit's funeral, then had a big stress about what to wear to the cinema. We watched 'Romy and Michele's High School Reunion'

I went to Chessington World of Adventures, and went on the pirate ship twice and the Vampire ride four times!!! Rovers lost 1-0 (first defeat of the season)

Wow, that was really freaky reading through some of my older ones. My life has changed so much in the last five years or so. All for the better.

I think the reason I wanted to write this particular post was to spur me on to update my diary more often, as it's getting a bit ridiculous. I truly believe that keeping a permanent, hard-copy record of events is so valuable, and helps you to remember who you used to be, and how you got to where you are today.

Writing this blog and updating Twitter is all very well, but being able to flick through the pages of the last 15 or so years of my life is so precious to me, and it would be so sad to lose that. So, from now on, I WILL write my diary on a more regular basis. I promise.

Each year, when I get a new diary in my Christmas stocking (thanks mum!) I write a note or two to myself on random future dates. I saw one of those notes today and it made me smile, and inspired me to write this. Well done, me, you're alright I guess :)

Saturday, 12 September 2009

gIRL about town

Weeks don't get much busier than this. Well, not for me, anyway. I have calculated that I spent about 15 hours of it networking and mingling with people I don't know all that well, and this is why:

I went to my first ever Writing Salon at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden. I'm not a member of the club, but a friend of mine kindly took me along. The format of the evening was to discuss two pieces of creative writing, but what I stupidly failed to realise is that the authors of the pieces were members of the group and sat around the table! Fortunately I cottoned on pretty quickly, and had only positive things to say anyway, but it looks like that if I want to continue going (fantastic surroundings, good discussion; why wouldn't I?!) then I'm going to have to submit my own short story for the group to critique. Scary stuff, but I like challenging myself to do new things, so watch this space for my fictional debut.


The London Bloggers Meet-ups seem to get bigger (and sweatier!) every month, and September's gathering was no exception. This time we hung out in the basement bar at Ember in Farringdon, and the event was sponsored by eBay who told us all about their new Daily Deals feature. I ended up being the lucky winner of a netbook, which was t
he main prize of eBay's raffle. I will put my hands up and admit now that I won another netbook a couple of months ago, so my brother is going to have the new one and donate a nice chunk of cash to St Peter's Hospice, so thanks eBay! Here's a marvellous write-up of the event - and some amazingly geeky graphs - from fellow blogger (and Witness To The Beard fan) Chris Gilmour.


I attended the beautiful RSA building just off the Strand for the judging lunch of the Guardian Public Services Awards 2009. These awards do a fantastic job of rewarding people and services that might not normally receive such recognition, and it was a privilege to learn about the fantastic work so many people are doing around the country as the judges were debating who should make the shortlist (which will be announced at the end of this month).


TWESTIVAL. Having met some Twitter people 'IRL' the previous w
eekend, luckily I didn't have to turn up to this gathering of the London Twitterati on my lonesome. But once I got there, it was incredible how many people I bumped into; people I already knew in person, but many who I'd only ever interacted with on Twitter. For those who don't know, Twestifals are charity events for Twitterers which take place all over the world, so they can meet up in person and raise lots of £££s. I met loads of new people and fully took advantage of free drinks, and a good night was had by all.


It was the infamous office beauty sale, where the squillions of free samples that get sent to the editorial department get sold to us minions for a tiny fraction of their high street value, with all money raised going to charity. I'd heard rumours that getting to the good stuff involves the use of elbows and excessive shoving, but I can quite happily report that I actually found it quite civilised. Or maybe that's because I was the first in the queue....Anyway, I was extremely happy with my purchases as I managed to get about £300 worth of stuff for about a tenth of the price! Just realised that my fun week also resulted in about £100 going to various charities - bonus!


I commissioned a piece of art last weekend and I collected it today. It's by John Lynch, who you can find in Greenwich Market every weekend. Look how lovely it is (poor quality photo but best I can do for now):

And finally...a shameless plug
My next gig with Witness To the Beard is on Friday 25th September in Stockwell. PLEASE COME!

Sunday, 6 September 2009

Design gufflaw

As part of a humongous walk around London yesterday with my brother and our 17-year-old cousin, we walked past the Design Council on Bow Street. In the window they were showcasing an example of what they deem to be 'good design'. In this instance, a lightweight, uber-ergonomic horse saddle. As I walked up to the window to take a closer look, I stubbed my foot on an awkward step up to the window. "Now that's poor design," I said. I then proceeded to shamelessly laugh at my own quip for about ten minutes. Just wanted to share my joke with the world...