Monday, 28 February 2011

Totally Friends With Billy The Subways

Monday, 28 February 2011
I wander into the kitchen to help Jason with the dishes. This is uncharacteristic of me – we normally have a bit of an arrangement: I make the mess; he cleans it up. You might think that a bit unfair, but you couldn’t be more wrong. Those of you who know Jason well will know he loves it in there; his borderline obsessive-compulsive personality is directly conducive to all that dishes / sweeping / wiping / antibacterial-wipe-cleansering palaver. But I digress; the point is that he was in there and so was I, and like any evening Chez Proctor the DAB radio is on.

So, we do this dumb thing with the radio, every day it’s the same: if he leaves the room I switch it onto BBC 6Music. I have mentioned them once or twice here before. If I manage to do this, and then absentmindedly leave the room myself, he switches it onto Planet Rock. This is what we do.  Anyway – he’s on his hands and knees washing the floor (no, I’m not kidding) so it means that the dial was stuck on the latter. No matter – it happened to be a band that I quite like.

“You know what it is?” he says. “I just really don’t like The Ramones.”

“What?” I stop drying the plate I am holding.

He doesn’t look up from his position on the floor, and says again, “I just don’t like The Ramones.”

“But you have that greatest hits CD,” I remind him.

“Yeah. I’m pretty sure you can have that CD,” he says.

I am happy for this floor-washing inspired generosity but simultaneously a little disappointed – I can count on one hand (hmm... okay, maybe two hands and a partial foot) the number of bands that we both like – we can hardly ever go to gigs together as it is – my tastes are bent toward the jangly-clinky-clanky and his are more growly-barf-chuggy. In this particular instance it is of little matter I suppose; it’s not exactly as if Joey Ramone is in any position to rally the lads up for a reunion show any time soon.

“So what you’re saying is that in our musical divorce, I would get custody of The Ramones,” I deduce.

He nods. “Without hesitation.”

“I suppose you’d lay claim to The White Stripes then?” I enquire.

“Nah, they’re not really worth fighting over,” he says, dismissively.

I deliberately sass him: “I get The Subways.”

“Don’t even think about it,” he says. “It was me who bought their first CD; you only like them because I played them for you.”

“Whatever, punk. I’m like... totally friends with Billy The Subways on Twitter, anyway. I follow him and once he Retweeted a joke I made this one time.”

“I don’t know what this means," he dismisses me with a shake of his head.  "But I’m pretty sure it doesn’t affect the argument; I will be guardian of The Subways.” He is cocky. It is unbecoming; transparent. He’s a pussy, really.

This is what we’re like when we do the washing up together. He can fucking** do it himself, tomorrow night.

**I just read this aloud to him and he said, "That was good right up until the swearing bit at the end."

Friday, 18 February 2011

Any Ideas, Internets?

Friday, 18 February 2011
Like any mother, I’m prodigiously proud of my kids. When they took their first steps, I just about lost my mind with excitement for them, for us: HE’S ON THE MOVE – WATCH OUT, NEWCASTLE! As they both made their way from the beginnings of language, from little nuggets of words, then sentences… and eventually reading? I’ve come to live for that familiar swelling of my heart, each time wondering if my chest cavity has sufficient capacity to contain my joy or is it just going to bust on outta there this time?

From a very early age, Ben demonstrated a fascination of all things mechanical. His collection of favourite machines started with fans – ceiling fans, pedestal fans, windmills – strange, but true. Then he moved onto gardening – lawn mowers, trimmers, edgers – he can retain information and statistics about anything mechanical; easily able to develop an almost encyclopaedic knowledge of engine sizes, rotations per minute, and could hold his own in any electric vs. petrol debate. We uncovered a world of ‘gardening equipment review’ videos on YouTube and Ben would happily sit and watch them after school. We even helped him make his own.

But lately, Ben’s penchant for mechanics has taken a turn that – I have to say – I’m not altogether comfortable with. He likes tanks. Yes, you read that right: tanks. A machine built for fighting. War. Guns. Armour. Missles. Explosions. Soldiers. Yowza.

Now, Jason and I are just about as non-violent as you can get. We have taken great pains to impress upon our kids that above all else, it is important to be kind. Jason is so inherently pacifist that he won’t even kill bugs. We don’t allow toy guns in our home, and I don’t even let Ben watch some cartoons – you know, the blowing up and blasting aliens Ben10 type of thing. So the fact that my 6-year old comes home with paintings of armoured killing machines from school? Doesn’t make me very happy.

I’m so conflicted: do I try and steer his preferences elsewhere; discourage this interest in these nasty big fat killing machines that make my skin crawl? Is it wrong to suppress this thirst for knowledge, just because I am uneasy about the subject matter? He wants to know about the World Wars, and even likes watching documentaries about it. But of course he’s too little to understand it completely – I ask him why he likes tanks and the war, etc. and he says, “I really like the parts where there are tracks instead of wheels.” He overhears someone talking about World War II and he’ll say, “Ah! World War II is my FAVOURITE war!” Don’t get me wrong; I like that he seems to be sucking up historical facts like a sponge – I guess the context will come later as he gets older – and it is kind of nice that he is interested, say, in the roles his great-great-grandfathers played in active service during the war… but on the other hand? [INSERT HEAVY SIGH HERE]

It’s his favourite item for discussion: he wants to tell me about how the turret on so-and-so tank is different from so-and-so tank, and how this German one was better than that Russian one… and I’ll admit, I’m quickly growing weary of the subject and often change it when it’s clear he’s got it on the conversation agenda. Is that awful? I’ve tried to explain to him about wars and guns and killing and the rest of it, but he’s just too fascinated with the actual vehicle that it just doesn’t sink in. And I’m glad, in a way, because I’d hate to live in a world where a 6-year-old actually had to comprehend those kinds of atrocities… ah, I just don’t know what to do. Any ideas, Internets?

Sunday, 6 February 2011

Songs in the Key of GRRRL

Sunday, 6 February 2011
Okay, okay.  So from deep within a hazy fug of cold and flu medication of this weekend, I resolved to balance the spheres a little by making another post for girls.  So you see --  I'm not a fickle hearted turbo slut.  Honest!  I just attach music to people.  To places, to significant life events.  So to balance everything out -- here is a list for the girls in my life. 

I bet they'll all be able to work themselves out.  Leave a comment if you see yourself in this list.  Sames goes as before - sometimes more than one track per person, sometimes more than one person per track.  Enjoy!  :-)

I’ll be the alto if you’re the soprano:
Handel – Hallelujah Chorus

Harses, harses, harses... ding-a-ling-a-LIIIIIING:

How Many Times? FUCK, I lost count – start it again:
Daft Punk – Around the World

If I close my eyes I can see her dancing:
Beastie Boys – So What Cha Want

It’s wrong to dance like this when you’re driving.
Weezer – My Name is Jonas

What are they playing in the big room? I don’t fucking know, it’s probably GWAR.

Who needs one watch when you can wear four?
The Shins – Kissing the Lipless
The Trash Can Sinatras – Blood Rush

Crying, crying, crying every time I hear it.
Wedding Processional from The Sound of Music

Duran Duran – Girls on Film

Go dooooown, baby.
Consolidated – You Suck (feat. The Yeastie Girls)

Yodelling road trips.
The Lonely Goatherd from The Sound of Music  

Time me and see if I can dance for the entire song without having a heart attack.

Tarot me, roommate love:

JUMP OVER AND TOUCH HIM, everybody’s doing it.
The Lemonheads – Rockin’ Stroll  

I can still hear you singing this - better than the orginial, I always thought.
Eric’s Trip – About You

Share my headphones in the hallway – too bad the Manics became shit.
Manic Street Preachers – Love’s Sweet Exile

I’m oafff-ly pride of you, let’s watch Lonely Planet.

Aww.  Love my lovely girlies.

Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Songs in the Key of Single

Wednesday, 2 February 2011
Near to the top of the list of blogs I read regularly, you’ll find Dooce. I’m a bit of a lurker on the Dooce Community site, and the other day I came across this question:

Now, dear readers, a gal’s gotta have some secrets... of course I couldn’t possibly tell you the amount in pounds and pence, but it got me to thinking – instead of currency, could I make a CD? Would it be an EP? Full of radio edits or extended play versions? Would I have enough songs to compile a limited edition box set with bonus DVD? Shall I have a go?


Disclaimer: this isn’t an exhaustive list... while it’s true that there might be a boy attached to each of these songs, there are sometimes two (or more) songs attached to each boy. Maybe there might have been a boy or two to whom, try as I might, I can’t glue a soundtrack.

Now then clever dick, don’t even go trying to count the songs and add them up to work out just how fast and loose I was in my formative years (as if you haven’t counted down to see how many YouTube links there are here) because I’M ON TO YOU AND THAT WON’T WORK.

Some of these boys I never even spoke to. Some of them have held my hair back while I’ve been sick. Some of them I sat next to in Geography. Some of them I only sat behind on the bus. Some of them stayed on the phone through the night while we both slept. And more. Some I admired, some I found entertaining, some unreachable, some always available. Some of them had important roles in the shape of my character.  Some of them I remember for totally random, insignificant reasons.  One of them – obviously – I had a couple of babies for. Some of them gave me great joy, others tragedy and heartbreak. 

The point is that no matter where I am or what I'm doing, hearing the opening bars of these songs all invoke the memory of an actual person, and all of them had – still have -- a well deserved and ever fixed mark on my heart. You can decide whether I mean the songs or the boys. :-)

So without further ado, here is my collection in a purposely non-chronological-or-any-other-kind-of-order:

The Wonderstuff – A Wish Away  

The entire record from start to finish of The Cult’s Electric.
Wild Flower
 ...and okay – have another: Aphrodisiac Jacket  

Stone Temple Pilots - Sex Type Thing

Red House Painters - Mistress  

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds - The Ship Song

Depeche Mode – Enjoy the Silence  

A Perfect Circle – The Hollow  

Otis Redding – These Arms of Mine

Peter Gabriel – In Your Eyes  

David Gray - Please Forgive Me  

King Cobb Steelie – Duotang  

Swell – Is That Important?  

REM – Country Feedback  

Not bad for a first attempt. I know that the minute I press Publish I’ll think of a million more. I might make a Part 2. But for now – hope you enjoyed my trip down slutty memory lane.  :-)