are the stars out tonight?

life and stuff

easy pickings

52 book challenge #6 - what's a girl gotta do by sparkle hayter

sometimes all you want is an easy read, particularly if you're ploughing your way through jonathan strange and mr norell (which i'm not convinced of at the moment). this was the thinking behind my picking up what's a girl gotta do in oxfam.

and it was an easy read. a rather flimsy, but occasionally funny detective story about a bumbling television reporter who seems (initially at least) to have been framed for the murder of a man who is blackmailing her. robin hudson, the reporter is a self-confessed 'dame', and the novel plays on the tropes of yer dashiell hammetts and raymond chandlers, giving them a girly (and rather slapstick) twist.

bright and pop culture-heavy, this novel is fun, if not particularly thrilling (as thrillers go). it's the first of a series of novels, all featuring the spunky robin hudson - she's really the kind of girl that phrase was invented for - and if i ever go on holiday again (it's looking unlikely at the moment) i'll be packing the next one.

dry humour

52 book challenge #5 - dry - augusten burroughs

i really enjoyed running with scissors, burroughs' memoir of his somewhat (ahem) messed-up childhood (in which his mother sends him to live with her psychiatrist, a man to whom the phrase 'physician heal theyself' could not be more appropriate). burroughs deals with the subject matter with a certain amount of self-pity, but with plenty of humour.

and so it is with dry, wherein burroughs describes his experience of going into rehab for alcoholism, and with the soberity (?) that follows. the book has the rubber-necking quality of a car accident: the reader is a casual bystander observing one car skidding into another, powerless to stop anything and hoping everyone is going to be alright.

the appeal of these kinds of books to readers is a kind of schadenfreudian(?) desire to look at other people's misfortune. and unlike the dave pelzers of this world, burroughs tends to look at his own life through a similar lense. like a human version of the axiom "one day you'll look back and laugh", even as terrible things are happening to him, he can look back and find something funny.

(incidentally laura also read this one.)

oh blimey

i got memed by quin last week, and i've only just twigged, apparently i "Officially [have] Good Taste" (but with capitals). i was wondering how long this one would take to get around to me, so i've mostly got my answers planned. huzzah.

1. What is the total amount of music files on your computer?
8.34gb apparently, that's 2492 songs, 5 days, 23 hours and 58 minutes worth of music... ooh this is an exciting bit of blogging (but it's better than when she's going on about books the whole time)

2. The CD you last bought is:
it was poses by rufus wainwright, because i'm completely addicted to his want one at the moment. i bought a ticket to see him live today. another gig ticket priced over £20. i'm appalled. but it's nice to be seeing gigs that aren't at the place i work.

3. What is the song you last listened to before reading this message?
so here's the thing... i have a playlist called 'never before heard', which is my attempt to listen to all the songs i have on my computer at least once. i'm listening to it at the moment. thus the last song i heard was columbia by oasis. it's a good song though. really. just not really representative of my music taste. well, at least it wasn't girls aloud. not that it would be, since i've listened to them loads.

4. Write down 5 songs you often listen to or that mean a lot to you.
this is hard.
mint royale - don't falter
belle and sebastian - seeing other people
blur - this is a low
camera obscura - eighties fan
beach boys - wouldn't it be nice

5. Who are you going to pass this stick to? (3 persons) and why?
ooh, like quin, i'm not sure anyone i would pass the baton onto would actually pay any attention, but nonetheless, i'm going to give it a go.
stuart - because he also likes good music.
vicki - because livejournals are all about the memes... and i want to see how much manics goes in there. those are the only two i can think who might actually be interested. if anyone wants to volunteer... do so in the comments. first come, first served. wow, that phrase is quite innuendo-tastic. or maybe i'm just tired.

something every day

some things i have learnt in the last week or so

  • in person lauren laverne is so incredibly pale that she looks like she could be albino. this makes me love her even more than i ever did.

  • pete (of pete'n'kate fame) used to be a delivery boy for sasha and did a pizza express ad. we want pictures of the ad. dammit. (via no rock)

  • riding on city buses for a hobby is actually really fun - that's how i spent my day off, on friday. i rode the 11 from chelsea to covent garden just to find cybercandy, but was disappointed when they didn't stock hint mints or, indeed, andes mints. so instead i bought a delightfully retro box of good & plenty. licourice-y goodness.

  • i am a sucker for the manics. despite being told that my security guard friend thought he could sneak me into their apollo gig, i have purchased myself a ticket for the second night. because they said they'd play some old stuff.... i mean, how could i resist? alright, i prolly knew that already, but what i did not know was that my love for the manics is so incredibly strong that i will spend more than £30 (!!) to see them live in a venue that is not an aircraft hangar. previously i thought my upper limit for gig tickets was £20.

  • peppermint tea is impossibly delicious. i have pretty much been living on it during the last, rather difficult, week.

  • my mother and i are practically psychic. on friday we both phoned each other separately from different marks and spencers offering to buy each other the same cardigan. as in, she phoned me i didn't pick up, and she didn't leave a message, then i phoned her and she did pick up. so i got it in pink for her and she got it in green for me. weird.

  • i learnt struan's theory on how ghosts walk through walls "Imagine a drop of water falling through the air. The drop can pass through the air unhindered because it is more dense than the surrounding gas. Likewise, a stone will pass through water easily because the stone is denser than the medium of the water. A ghost passes through 'solid' objects because it is in fact denser than the 'solid' medium! Not wispy and 'airlike', like we might imagine!"
the 52 book challenge will resume later today. i promise. i actually read a book this week.

all apologies

i have been shamed. now it seems laura is also doing the 52 book challenge, and she has a whole separate blog for it. well, a reluctant music/coffee shop girl is never going to beat the bookstore girl herself at this game. and also... a confession... i only read one book last week and it was for my book group (which was ace by the way), and it was a re-read, and thus didn't count anyway.

i'll try to do better, but maybe not this week, my copy of jonathan strange and mr norell arrived on saturday, so i will probably be reading that for the rest of my life.

in other news, i went out with karen and her rugby team on friday. and i totally pulled. twice. i know. i was as shocked as you are. only one was a rugby player.

then on sunday, at work, i was playing a particularly advanced form of the pronoun game (cf chasing amy) with my colleague (who reacted slightly strangely to jess' saying she was gay), which basically involved avoiding all pronouns at all. "totally pulled on sunday. was a pretty nice person. wouldn't mind hearing from again." why am i still doing this? gah.