I am currently re-reading Dorian Gray. Happy 65th Birthday to a man with a portrait of his own hidden away in the attic.
+ The iconic performance of Rock'n'Roll Suicide at Hammersmith Apollo, 1973
+ Five Years performed on the Old Grey Whistle Test 1972
+ I adore Slow Burn, such an underrated song from Heathen. Live 2002.
+ And "Heroes" always did sound better in the German version.
Visual poetry: a poetry form in which the shape of the poem is as important as the words themselves. The Scottish poet and gardener Ian Hamilton Smith combined gardening, sculptures and poetry to great effect. The woods around Bennachie yield beautiful surprises as you walk around in them: words carved in stone, sentences arranged amongst branches and trunks. I live far from Bennachie, but I live very close to The Glasgow Arboretum (you can almost see my home in the photo) where you can also find fragments of poetry scattered among the trees.
My winter mitts? A fairly quick, uncomplicated knit. I used a pattern I found in The Knitting Book and yarn given to me by my mother. I have tiny hands, so went down a few needle sizes and I also added thumbs. The yarn matches a cowl and a hat I made earlier, so I'm all set for winter now. Bring it on.
I am spending today swatching for a future project/design. I played around with charts in Excel earlier and now I'm trying to figure out which texture I like best. It is always fun trying to strike a balance between my personal aesthetics, an imagined level of difficulty, and the actual purpose of the pattern.
I had a quick Twitter exchange with a few people after I came up with a true lace chart (i.e. lace knitted on both sides). I loved the idea of the pattern, but when I started to work it up in 4ply I knew it did not work in such a relatively heavy yarn. Twitterati consensus was that true lace is scary. I don't think this is necessarily true, but I know that this is what many people feel. Honestly, this project is not one for 'scary' lace so that chart was shelved alongside many other charts. Hopefully I will find the right project for it at some point.
Meanwhile I have come up with another chart - or, rather, four different versions of the same chart. I am busy swatching trying to figure out which version works best. I'm using some leftover Old Maiden Aunt merino/silk for the swatches. I need more of this yarn, I really do. It's beautiful to work with on my new Addi bamboo needles.
Finally, the soundtrack for work: I rediscovered this album this morning. The light is pale and thin. Like you. Has it really been 19 years?
I enjoy listening to Desert Island Discs on my iPod as I make my way to work. The people you think will be interesting rarely are; the people I don't know or feel indifferent towards end up my favourites. Lady Caroline Cranbrook's episode was an absolute joy, for instance.
And so for my own pleasure (and indulgence), I decided to make my own Desert Island Disc iPod playlist. I added far more than eight records to my playlist, of course, but for your listening pleasure I shall stick to eight records (one per entry) and even add a few words.
I grew up in a very large family filled with people obsessed with (mostly American) pop culture circa 1940-1965. This recent Guardian article on so-called superfans rattled me because I had no idea that this sort of behaviour was in any way unusual. I grew up surrounded by pop culture memorabilia: big murals of Sinatra et al on the walls, concert tickets carefully curated, mountains of carefully sourced vinyls, autographs, signed photos, VHS tapes of 1940s musicals, and handwritten databases detailing when this or that song was recorded. What do you mean your childhood wasn't like that?
Over dinner my uncles would toss out the first names of stars, as though they knew them personally: Frank, Dean, Bing .. Occasionally they did know the people they gossiped about. My dotty aunt T. briefly dated Gustav. My other dotty aunt A. semi-stalked Otto for four decades. Looking back, I can see that this approved pop culture was predominantly white pop culture. It was also two or three decades out of sync with contemporary pop culture.
My gran has always loved Fats Domino. I remember her playing Blueberry Hill, Ain't That A Shame and I Hear You Knocking whenever my uncles weren't around ("Fats is okay, but he's no Frank, if you know what I mean" - oh, I can hear them). And for me Fats Domino is about happiness, about feeling loved and about a tiny glimpse of freedom: there is a world beyond my large, chaotic family and so many things to discover.
I am the product of my family, of course. I had a phase of obsessively hoarding bootlegs, travelling to foreign countries for concerts, subscribing to mailing lists and knowing the name of certain musicians' dogs - but unlike my uncles it did not turn into a lifestyle. To this day, I have a thing for 1940s MGM musicals and I'm still on a first-name basis with Frank - but it is Fats Domino that I keep coming back to.
"Not since Bowie before him had anyone been as responsible for raising awkward questions between parents and their sons as Brett Anderson." Suede is back in fashion here in the UK - so the media say. Suede fell hard from grace when fey, lithe men wearing girls' shirts were displaced by laddish beer lout music (i.e. Oasis). I particularly liked the quote: "Apparently it wasn't just me who'd been sat at home in 1995 doused in glitter and eyeliner watching Performance on repeat" .. oh no, dear journalist, oh no.
North Star isn't just the name of my favourite neighbourhood café, it is also one of my favourite albums from the now long-lost 1990s. In the last couple of days I have rediscovered the album - and it is peculiarly, decidedly Glaswegian. And I obviously had no idea that I would one day end up here when I fell in love with Roddy Frame's album. Hmm.
This song has been in my head all day. A short, simple song and all the better for it.