Thursday, 11 October 2012

The Subways, O2 Academy, Newcastle

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Friday, 6 July 2012

Faith No More - If I Can't Go, I'll Just Make It Up In My Head

Friday, 6 July 2012
You probably already know that there’s more than one version of me – I’ve made no bones about it before. For example, in my professional life, I’m a meticulous planner and my Captain-von-Trappian organisational tendencies are unparalleled. But Weekend Nick? She is a pretty laid back kind of gal. You’ll find her with hardly any makeup, and so non-committal flying by the seat of her ripped jeans she's nary a care in the world. Making long term weekend plans is not her thing. “We’ll see,” she’ll say.
Except today, when someone asked me what my plans for the weekend were, my answer was out there without having missed a beat. “On Sunday I will mostly be moping, because Faith No More are playing two dates in London starting the day after tomorrow and I can’t go.” The tickets, dear readers, went on sale when I wasn’t working, so buying them as well as booking a hotel and train tickets was kind of out of the question. But now, the time has come and I’m proper doomed about it.

I’ll have a bit of a mope, and I’ll get over it. I’ll turn down my mouth and pout out my lip and puppy dog my eyes and do a bit of exasperated sighing and mooning. In preparation for this one-woman-pity-party, I spent a large part of today thinking about what kind of a setlist the band – who (unbelievably!) have so far eluded me for the duration of my gig-going tenure – might put together for the two London shows. And then I started dreaming up what kind of day I would have if I actually COULD get to the gig. And THEN, I started dreaming up exactly what kind of day I would have if I actually could get to the gig in a perfect world.

The last time I went to London was pretty hard to top, but I’ll give it a whirl.

Okay. So if it’s okay with you, I think I’ll set off on Saturday on the train. First Class, do you think? Obviously. Not because I’m a snob or anything, but because don’t you just love those seats that aren’t next to anyone else’s and you can get proper stretched out and comfy?

Mmm, yeah. Me, too. I’d have one of those, for sure.

As far as digs are concerned, if you have no wild objections, this suite at Claridges with the gorgeous piano will do nicely – is that okay?

Not too shabby for me.  No sir.  Allll good here.
It’s only right that I take afternoon tea in my room (if you please) and then – don’t tell anyone -- but I’ll jump on the bed for a bit. I might have a bath – I could take my book in there, couldn’t I? On the other hand, do you think I might be tired from my journey? Maybe a snooze would be in order. Then – do forgive me -- I’ll stuff an obscenely large wad of cash in my jeans pocket, grab my iPod and go for an explore.

First I’ll go for a pint of Moosehead at the Maple Leaf in Covent Garden. Then I’ll rock up to Camden Market where I will buy a couple of new pairs of boots. And some trainers, probably.

I’d sashay contentedly back to my hotel, pad around in my bare feet and play that piano for a bit before going to bed, where I would sleep in an obnoxious diagonal, for at least nine hours. None of that would prove overly offensive, to be sure. What say you?

I’ll fill Sunday in much of the same way, but not so as to wear myself out before the gig. I might go up to Rough Trade for a proper nosey around. I’ll need a good hour in there, minimum. I might head to Trafalgar Square to see the lions. Maybe go to the Tate Modern and listen to the inside of my head for a while.

And then -- the reason I’d be down there in the first place – Faith No More.

And, notwithstanding of course – this guy:

Mike Patton, Fantasy Husband

The setlist would include a good mix stretching the full length of their back catalogue and I’m not fussed exactly how they populate it as long as they include the following non-negotiables:

Remembering that this is a day constructed completely from fantasy, I’d throw in a couple of wacky covers as well – like the theme to the Muppet Show or some Kinks or Hollies or something. Still with me? 
Continuing through the Faith No More gig of my perfect-world imagining, Patton would notice me in the throng trying not to wet myself half way through Stripsearch and pluck me out of the crowd with one arm (in this world I weigh only very slightly more than a Russian gymnast) and let me lie flat on my back in the middle of the stage to watch and listen.

Ah, feck it - we had better bring Jim Martin back while we're at it.

The whole thing would be mind-blowing and skin-crawling and legs-crossing and boobs-squirming and all the things that I’m certain the real gig is going to wind up being.

And then after? I’d float two feet off the pavement, body buzzing, ears ringing, feet killing, throat bleeding, lungs stinging, head swirling back to the hotel. Too wired to sleep, I’d go down to the bar and have a quiet drink or two; that post-concert rapture making my bone marrow fizz.

And in the ultimate perfect world? At the exact same moment the barman pours me my second, Mike Patton, too wired to sleep and wondering where that enchanting green-eyed blonde wound up, descends from his Claridges hotel room looking for a drink.

Wednesday, 4 July 2012


Wednesday, 4 July 2012
So I’ll tell you, if you like, how Himself and I came to be at the Stone Roses gig this past Sunday in Heaton Park, in Manchester.

Like most Roses fans, over the years I had learned to pay very little mind to the frequent rumours of a big reunion. Many an arrogant drunken wager was offered up on many a Friday night, me slurrily offering my next born child/my right tit/a naked stroll down Northumberland Street should they actually reform in my lifetime.

But then! The rumours started to pick up a bit more speed and substance. I raised a sceptical eyebrow, maintained my cucumber cool and tried not to let anyone see that my guts were helter skeltering. But lo -- An Official boom! Ticket sales pow! Then all of a sudden I find myself at work on a Friday morning clockwatching for 9am with my credit card in my hot little hand to score me some tickets for a gig that I never thought would ever materialise.

Now, dear readers – you know I am old school. I’ve slept cross legged on a sidewalk in the rain to get tickets for gigs, I’ve tag-team queued in 6 feet of winter snow for Ticketmaster outlets to open. INFINITELY preferable to the maddening process of getting tickets to a show online, and I’ll tell you that for nothing. I just can’t be handling the stress of it! I do not like the lack of control! At least in a lineup, one can, if required, use one’s considerable girth as a human blockade. But in a virtual ticketing scenario, the scariness of one’s boots/voluptuousness of one’s arse is of little matter. All you can do is have twenty-five goddam web browsers open and F5 REFRESH F5 REFRESH F5 REFRESH hoping that you don’t lose your WiFi before you smash your keyboard to bits.

I mean. COME ON.

So there I was at work. I’m F5-ing like a motherfucker – phones are ringing and I’m ignoring them. People are querying and I am growling at them. Must refresh. Must refresh. 30 minutes goes by and I’m thwarted by every error message in the virtual world. F5, F5, F5. Another 30 minutes go by and I’m trying not to hyperventilate. I am sweating. My lips are pursed, my teeth are grinding. My eyes are little slits. I am muttering all the swear words and vitriolic filth I can call to mind.

THEN! Infuriatingly – a guy at my work comes flying into the room to boast that he got through and got some tickets.

AND THEN – AGAIN! Another guy at work comes flying into the room to boast that HE also got through and got some tickets.

I am livid. In normal circumstances, I’m not a big fan of hiding my emotions and am ready to throw an unholy wobbler of a strop, but I know I do not have time because F5 F5 F5 F5.

AAAAAAAAAAAAAND THEN?! Bam. I’m in. Credit card number entered in a feverish blur and ZING – confirmation of purchase email received.

I was going. I WAS GOING! I flung my arms up into the air and let out a victorious howl. I was going.

Fucking GET IN.

(Part 2 later.)

Monday, 23 April 2012

most days i win: An interview with Nicola

Monday, 23 April 2012
HEY EVERYONE!  My brilliant friend Danielle over at Most Days I Win sent me some questions to answer, and while my kids destroyed the living room I obliged her!  You'll find the gory details just here:

most days i win: An interview with Nicola

You will love her, too.


Monday, 27 February 2012

VIVA 1988, Hate and Morrissey

Monday, 27 February 2012

SCENE:  The Voluptuous Woman and the Bearded Man are in the car.  They are heading southbound on the A19 and are about 5 minutes away from their house.  Despite a recent haircut, the Voluptuous Woman is in fine form.  Also despite a recent haircut, the man is sporting a beard that will, in a day or two’s time, be at that notable stage just after “Blithe Untidy Student” but before “Stinking Dirty Hobo”.  This song is on the car stereo, and as it begins, our heroine turns the volume up a little.
VW:  God, I remember when this record came out like it was yesterday.  I was 13.  I’d come to England to go to my Auntie Lisa’s wedding and it was big news at the time – Morrissey’s first solo album – it was everywhere.  I remember coming home from that holiday and going to the library to borrow the LP.
BM:  You borrowed records from the library?

VW:  I totally did!  I borrowed Morrissey’s ‘Viva Hate’ and T’pau ‘Bridge of Spies’. 
BM:  Admitting liking T’pau won’t do anything at all for your street cred.

VW:  We’ve all got skeletons in our cupboards, Mr B’Witched ‘C’est la Vie’.

(the man scowls)

VW:  Anyway – I think the timing of this song was pretty parallel to my sexual awakening.  These lyrics drove me mad at the time.

BM:  How do you mean?

 VW:  Well... listen to this bit – where in like, a snarly, surly, sexy way, he says: 

“Were you and he lovers?  If you were then say that you were...”  

and then in the next verse he goes:

“ Put a note upon his desk:  ‘P.S. Bring me home and have me. ‘ 
Leather elbows on a tweed coat?  Oh, is that the best you can do? 
So came his reply: ‘But on the desk is where I want you.’   
So I ask (even though I know): were you and he lovers?”

BM:  And?

VW:  And HOLY SHIT -- that was a pretty alarming discovery for girl whose leisure time was previously filled with riding bikes and jumping rope. 

BM:  Aaaaaah...I see what you mean.

VW:  I was like... ‘People leave rude notes for other people about doing it on desks AND THEN THEY DO IT ON DESKS?!’  Screw riding bikes – get me some leather elbows on tweed coats!  Get me ‘on a canvas with the tent flaps open wide!’  I want in on this!

BM:   (pensively, then mocking)  I’ve got a song that was 'parallel to my sexual awakening', as it happens..

VW:  Oh yeah?

BM:  Mmm-hmm.  Arguably less poetic than Morrissey with his tweed coats or what have you, but I know what you’re talking about.

VW:  You do?  What was the song?

BM:  I’m not telling you the song.

VW:  Tell me the song!

BM:  I won't.

VW:  Why not?

BM:  Because you will laugh and then you will take the piss, and then you will write a blog about it.

VW:  (laughs)  As if...

A few minutes pass while the song ends and the couple arrives at their destination.  The woman pulls into the drive, applies the handbrake and unbuckles her seatbelt.  The man follows suit, and goes into the house, shutting the front door behind him.  The woman is retrieving a shopping bag from the back of the car when the front door opens, and the man’s head peers out from behind it.

BM:  If you must know, it was W.A.S.P.’s ‘Animal (Fuck Like a Beast.)’

The front door shuts.  The woman shakes her head.


Monday, 13 February 2012

Valentine’s Day, Schmalentine’s Schmay

Monday, 13 February 2012

Me & him, circa loads of years ago.
So I was over here on Momversation today watching the always lovely Rebecca Woolf from Girls Gone Child and her main squeeze, Hal, talking about Valentine’s Day.  I started making a comment but thought I’d respond here instead.

Have I ever told you the story about Himself’s and mine first Valentine’s Day?  I haven’t?  WELL THEN!  *cracks knuckles*  Pull up a chair, romance lovers – this one’s a corker.

We are in the year 2000, and Himself and I have been (coughcoughsleepingtogether) going out for about 4 months or so.  I lived in Leeds; he lived up here in Newcastle, and we only saw each other on weekends when I wasn’t working and/or in school.  It was fun, but the unpredictable nature of our time together left me wondering if we were actually Going Out-going-out or if we were actually just coughcoughsleepingtogether.

As girls – and particularly, I – am almost ALWAYS wont to do, I talked about “The Situation” with all my female compadres to work out what was to be done.  I whirled between being absolutely certain that he seriously dug me and yet constantly wondered what the hell I was doing to make him want to hang out with me so much.  So I and my team of home-girl-romance-counsellors-extraordinaire decided that Valentine’s Day would be the big tell.  If he got me a card, it would DEFINITELY mean something.  If he didn’t get me a card, it might mean something else.  And if he DID get me a card, the kind of card would definitely tell me something.  Would it be a funny card?  A romantic one?  What would the verse say?  Would it say ‘To My Girlfriend’ on it?  How does a guy like Himself choose a card based on price?  Aesthetic appeal?  Poignancy of poetry?  A quick smash ‘n grab at the card store?

Oh, how I agonized, analyzed and all kinds of other ized’s over this.  My little 22 year old heart was all a-flutter, and I didn’t know where to put my damn self. 

And then!  What kind of card should I buy him?  Serious icks-nay’s on the “to-my-oyfriend-bay’s”.  All the mushy ‘To The One I Love’ shit was RIGHT out of the question.  But if I got him a funny one, would he think I was kidding?  And then, how to sign it?   

People:  I’m talking ulcer-inducing levels of Girl Stress, over here.  Looking back, it was rather comical.  If I could have a word with my 22 year old self, I would wallop her with the nearest heart-shaped red satin embroidered pillow and tell her to chill the fuck out.  I'd grab her by the shoulders and give them a shake -- who is this weird chick, fretting herself into an aneurysm, rocking back and forth in the corner of a bedroom under a pile of half eaten Mars bars and a notepad full of signatures with someone else’s last name?  Where is that cheeky, sexy, wildly hilarious and exotic* girl we'd come to know and love? 

I digress.  

Anyway.  The big day rolled around.  I’d carefully chosen a card that was just the right balance of affectionate and funny, and painstakingly constructed something equally affectionate and funny to write in it, and I mailed it to him in enough time so that it would arrive on the 14th of February.

My letterbox was empty that day.  And the next day.  AND THE NEXT DAY.  When I asked him about it he shrugged it off and said that he’d forgot. 

He forgot.  Waaah!

I felt sorry for myself for ages about it.  My Mum even called him (oh, cringey cringing cringe-o-rama) and told him off for it.  (Thanks, Mum.)  But I rallied - drowning my sorrows in cheese and onion crisps, midget gems and Strongbow and lo, eventually I got over it – and myself – until a few weeks went by and I realized the date of my birthday was approaching.  Cue the whole sorry cycle again, but this time with a birthday card. 

Surely here, surely now, I would get the concrete evidence of his undying love for me that I’d been mooning about for, all this time. 

My birthday arrives, and I rocked up the country on the fastest train I could jump onto, and came up to Newcastle to see what he, this potential life partner I was carefully brainwashing to my exact specifications, would produce.

I’m here to tell you now that he actually did get me a card that year.  I was pretty happy that he remembered.  I’m also here to tell you now what he wrote in that card:  and by the power vested in me by the state of my own obnoxiousness I give you the verbatim bone fide quote:

“Nichola – we are all gonna party for you BIG TIME, from Jason.”

(I’ll give you a minute to roll your eyes.  You can ‘tsk’ if you like, as well.)

Seriously?  SERIOUSLY.  How lame!  And did he just spell my name wrong?  MY NAME?  Oh, yes he did.

I had a bit of therapy (aka cheese and onion crisps and similar) and wouldn’t you know it, he was right all along?  That very weekend there did occur quite a bit of big time partying!  Such that I really didn’t give a rat’s arse about what he wrote or didn’t write or spelled or didn’t spell in my card because wheeeeeee look at all the funky lazers in this club and let’s dance until NEXT TUESDAY and aren’t we all so pretty and I totally love all of you in this room!

I guess I did something right, and I guess he did, too.  Because here we are.  I’m still alive and so is he, despite the fact that we live in the same house together.  We even made two people.  And also?  He now finds it easy to spell at least the last part of my name because, after all, it is also his.

* A Canadian in the North East of England is exotic.  It is.  It is!

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

This Kind of Crap Stops Me From Going to Sleep On A Night: January 2012

Tuesday, 17 January 2012
The Voluptuous Woman is in bed. She wears an eye mask to block out the light. Her luxuriant hair is swept up into a loose knot and she is nearly asleep.

A man enters.  In about 3 days, the Voluptuous Woman's requests for the man to HAVE A SHAVE ALREADY are going to reach fever pitch.
 BM: Ha! Monkey spunk moped!

VW: (removing her eye mask) Um, are you high?

BM: It was a cartoon! Did you not have it in Canada? It was a cartoon about a moped powered by monkey spunk.

VW: Oddly, no.

The man giggles to himself. A few moments pass. The Voluptuous Woman’s breathing starts to regulate and it is quite clear TO ANYONE WITH HALF A BRAIN that she is dropping off to sleep.

BM: Did I ever tell you about the time—

VW: (interrupting him; mildly irritated, somewhat sharply) YES. Yes, chances are you probably have already told me about this time. I was asleep, you spaz.

BM: (with a hint of exasperated defeat) This is rubbish. There MUST be, somewhere in me, SOME interesting and as yet undiscussed fact that I know, that I can talk to you about. I can’t have told you all my witty anecdotes between (he looks at his fingers) 1999 and now.

VW: To be fair, I’d never heard you say ‘monkey spunk moped’ before.

BM: (brightening) Really?

VW: Yes, really. So I guess the solution to this problem is that I have to get you a subscription to Viz magazine again, for you to nick stuff out of and pass off as ‘fresh’ and ‘new’ bedtime conversation?

BM: I’ve never had a subscription to Viz magazine.

VW: Okay, so I have to get you a subscription to Viz FOR THE FIRST TIME?

BM: Anyway, it’s a saying.

VW: What’s a saying? Monkey spunk motorcycle is so not a saying. How would you use it? ‘Oh, monkey spunk motorcycle, I’ve misplaced my car keys again!’ or ‘Wow, I haven’t seen you in ages, isn’t that a monkey spunk motorcycle!’

BM: Moped. It’s Monkey Spunk MOPED.

VW: Whatever. I win at marriage.


More adventures with our intrepid couple herehere, here, here, here and here.