Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Fit for a dog

I was a very hungry (or rather greedy) little girl, who used to sneak flapjacks out of the heart-covered tin in the kitchen when no one was looking and stuff them up my jumper so I could steal back to my room and eat them in peace. I used to eat whole tins of cream and condensed milk by removing the lid with a tin-opener and sticking in a spoon (as a result, even now the simple act of opening a tin, even a tin of beans, is freighted with the promise of delight), and even tried eating dried dogfood in furtive handfuls. It will surprise no one that I was somewhat tubby as a child.

Now, a million miles and years away (although still, arguably, somewhat tubby), I have the same breakfast every morning, from the ubiquitous Pret a Manger, which consists of the following: a skimmed latte, a banana, and an apple & raspberry yogurt pot. Once I get to the office I pour some dried muesli in to the top of the pot to make it seem healthy. The muesli looks, and tastes, exactly like the dog food I once tried to eat, which my mum still, rather cruelly, feeds to her cat.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Oh music come and light my heart's dark places

An article in yesterday's Guardian music blog bemoans the lack of exciting, wonderful records this year (the comments are worth reading if only for the extraordinary litany of names of obscure bands that their defenders are championing). I wrote a comment about Maximo Park, of course, who inexplicably hadn't been mentioned except in a faintly derogatory context, but then I began to wonder whether I was really entitled to comment. I don't mean that in a macro sense, but more in the context of my age and experience (as wizened and hoary as I am). Maybe the only people who can really comment are 16-year-olds, for whom every sound is as exciting as the last.

Then again, if it were left up to 16 year olds, there would be nothing to listen to except Enter Shikari (accidentally illustrated in the Times with a photo of Shakira) and My Chemical Romance. In which case, heaven help us all.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

24 hours from Tampa

It's funny how strange coincidences happen wherever you are, utterly at random of course, but perplexing nonetheless. I'm in unlovely Tampa, Florida. The day started unsuccessfully - after a 24 hour journey to get here from Hong Kong, and a restless sleep on the wrong side of the world (12 hours behind) - with a visit to an area of Tampa called Ybor City, which held out the promise of "boutique shopping", but actually resembled a ghost town so closely you could almost see the tumbleweed in Urban Outfitters. Everywhere I asked for what I needed (amongst other things, an iPod nano, as a prize draw gift for the stand at the exhibition we're here for, and a place to have a manicure), I was told to go to a mall. So I finally ended up at a faceless place called the International Mall, and walked in to Neiman Marcus only to hear Annie Lennox singing a song written by my sister's ex-boyfriend, the (infinitely better) original of which I first heard on the M8 between Glasgow and Edinburgh, while being driven, in his old black Mercedes, by the guy who'd co-written the music.

Then I went to have my nails done in a huge, but hitherto completely empty nail bar, which smelled strongly of air freshener and whose walls were adorned with slightly suspect plastic flowers. Five disconsolate Vietnamese girls sat waiting for customers. As "Tina" scrubbed my nails and painted them neutral pink, on a huge screen over her shoulder I was lucky enough to be able to watch a completely preposterous film, entitled "DOA" and purportedly set in Hong Kong.