Dance Magic Dance

On Wednesday evening, I was poisoned by tzatziki. Not my own I hasten to add, unlike the Wyke Lion I am an accomplished maker of dips. The mezze I ordered there last night was FIZZY. I took a taste of the tzatziki and felt it fizzing in my mouth. I gagged, swallowed the ick and then sat there wondering what the hell was going on. I tasted it again to make sure I wasn't imagining it, made The Boy and our waitress taste it and then pushed it aside. It was indeed fizzy and tasted as if someone had laced it with bicarbonate of soda.

And OH how sick I was yesterday. I won't go into the grim and gory details but I might as well have been a tube. Anything that went in went straight through without bothering with any of the usual formalities such as digestion or bowel control. I might as well have just given in and sat in a puddle of my own effluence.

By the afternoon, weak, wibbly and thoroughly miserable I curled up on the sofa in the foetal position and prepared for an onslaught of Disney - my usual cure for illness.

Disney however wasn't enough and I had to go straight for the hard stuff - Labyrinth.

It's no secret that I love David Bowie - this entire blog is dedicated to him after all - but nothing will ever compare to my love of this film. They started creating it the year I was born (1983) and it was released the year my little brother was born (1986). It was one of the first videos I ever owned and I can distinctly remember the first time I watched it, aged 6 at my friend's house.

David Bowie arriving in a cloud of glitter, following the menacing shadow of his giant wig of gravity defying goblin hair... the sardonic piercing gaze of his heterochromia-esque eyes, his fang like teeth. *wibbles*
I don't know what Jennifer Connolly was on - as a child I would have quite happily abandoned my younger brother (sorry James) and run away with him. Bitch be crazy!

And oh the singing, the dancing, the costume changes, the boots, the SERIOUSLY EYEPOPPING CLINGINESS OF HIS BRITCHES... I loved him then and I love him now.

As I got older and got more and more into films I have often questioned my allegiance to Labyrinth. It's a cult hit - the kind of film that every child of the 80s loved and the nostalgia alone is enough to hold strong. Sure the dialogue might be a little melodramatic, but what 14 year old girl (seriously, that's how old Jennifer was!) didn't talk like that? The music is incredible, the plot is adorable and the incredible magic that the Henson muppet workshop weaved makes the effects stand up today - even against more sophisticated CGI.
For me, in the same way I love the crackling hiss of a record over a CD, I love the effects of Labyrinth.
If you ever watch the making of it and realise the robotics that goes into one expression of Hoggle's Face or the incredible skill of the puppet operators you appreciate that this 22 year old film was head and shoulders among its peers.

I love the intricacies of the design - how elements of Sarah's bedroom helped to create the magical world she found herself in - Escher's Relativity, a Fire Gang puppet, the Labyrinth play, the music box... at a very young age I learned to look for these kind of connections and references to other films or songs or artists.

Even voices began to be stored in my memory bank - before I started school I could have told you the name of most of the Disney voice-actors and given you a cross reference of their other films. When I first saw Red Dwarf aged 6, I recognised Danny John Jules immediately as two voices from the Fire Gang. I get jokingly called IMDBinks because of my total recall when it comes to cultural references.

Clinging to the relics of my childhood loves is something I hope to always do. This week my wedding shoes arrived - high heeled Mary Jane versions of Dorothy's Ruby Slippers. Who says we have to grow up?

Ziggy played guitarrrrrraaaaarrrrraaaarrrrrr.

Title: Dance Magic by David Bowie

Queen bitch

This week I had my very first negative Twitter experience, and then by coincidence a couple of days later I had another one. I sincerely hope that this isn't the start of some sort of epidemic as my career in social media and marketing communications will suddenly take a downward swing of anxiety as I dodge virtual fetid groceries and eventually am found rocking backwards and forwards tracing little blue birds across my padded cell like Dreyfuss at the end of the Pink Panther.

Ahem. *takes fortifying sip of tea*

The first negative experience was one which occurred as a result of being included in a chain of tweets that one of my favourite Saturday Kitchen tweeters had sent about his negative opinion of Iain Lee. Now I must confess that until he had mentioned Iain Lee several weeks ago and I googled him I actually didn't know who he was, but that's not really relevant, what's relevant is that I have no personal opinion of Iain Lee but I am aware that he was rude to some people I tweet with about Saturday kitchen. As a result of being included in this tweet about Ian - not TO Ian, he wasn't tagged in it I hasten to add - I suddenly see in my "mentions" feed that Iain Lee has "outed" us all as bullies.


Not the one person who took umbrage with him, but the people he was tweeting about it. Now any idiot with any understanding of context would never have thought that we were all bullies, and anyone who suspected as such should surely have had the common sense to research it a little further by viewing the conversation and confirming such a suspicion before accusing someone of something. And further to that, someone with manners would have complained to the person directly rather than immediately make incorrect public accusations.

Other than a few tweets from fans of Iain Lee telling the group of us they want to vomit, that's as far as that went thankfully. I don't care to have my twitter account (which promotes my food blog Everything Goes With Toast) associated with a so called "celebrity" thinking I'm a bully... but the situation didn't distress me, just irritated me.

The second situation did distress me. At first I found it petty and childish and then as the day grew on I realised that I was genuinely affronted and upset. I'm not embarrassed to admit this, even though I am sure I will read back on this in a few months and dismiss it as the kind of hormonal slump more suited to a teenager than a 28 year old woman who is rational and renowned for her rhino thick skin.

During Saturday Kitchen (again with this show! What's going on!? I've been watching it ever since James Martin began to present it and never had a moment's cause to regret that!) I always add an extra column to my Tweetdeck for #SaturdayKitchen so that I and the regular group of viewers can share our opinions. I almost get more entertainment from the feed than I do from the show. (Except if Michel Roux Sr is on it. *swoons*)

One viewer wrote "Fucking Saturday Kitchen. Knobs" which made me laugh because unlike the rest of the feed who tend to be a bit more specific such as hating a chef, or hating the presenter etc they just had this brief profane outburst so I responded "articulate little thing aren't you?"

If I didn't LOATHE the use of emoticons as being mostly the communication choice of morons I would have added a little winky one to the end. Perhaps if I had this would not have happened, or perhaps then I really WOULD have been deserving of ridicule!

Their response was "Thank you! I think it's the course in Philology I teach at Oxford that does it." which further intrigued me because you'd think of all people he/she would be passionate about language so I responded "having a day off from it?" and then... this was the part which confused me I got a response saying "don't worry honey, lots of people don't know what philology is."

I didn't understand where that had come from because it seemed so out of context of what I'd thought was a cheeky exchange of tweets between two people so responded "I know what it is! I may be blonde but I'm not an imbecile" which earned me a retweet/quote of "I know what it is! I may be blonde but I'm not an imbecile" < Me thinks the lady doth protest too much..." followed by this person updating their status to "I really should stop playing with people on twitter that are less intelligent than me. It's morally wrong. But they make it so EASY..."

and then, much to my horror I realised that the person I was tweeting was retweeting what I was writing, responding to my tweets and trying to make out me out to be some sort of object of ridicule.

Fair enough had I been doing something ridiculous like writing about my deep respect for David Cameron or that I'd read something compelling in The Daily Mail by Richard Littlejohn... but I didn't understand how the conversation could be so misconstrued. It irritated me that they were trying to make me out to be stupid when I'm anything but (clearly I'm too trusting which may make me a little naive but I'm not an idiot) so I replied "because using profanity to express an opinion makes you sound so much more intelligent than you are..."

What follows is the rest of the exchange.

"there there. Try not to cry. We can't all have a sophisticated sense of humour."

"what's funny here is that you actually seem to be under the impression that you're bothering me or somehow superior"

"* whispers* (do go away silly blonde woman)"

then an update to someone else "I swear because it offends simple minds."

I realised that they obviously thought I was offended by profanity (how ironic when I swear like a sailor!!) instead of understanding that I had meant that profanity rarely demonstrates a person's intelligence but is often a sign of a limited vocabulary. You only have to listen to some people frustratedly punctuating every second word in a sentence with the word "fucking" when sharing an anecdote to realise this.

(n.b - I am not saying that profanity can't be humorous or used intelligently, it obviously can)

I tried to explain this, hoping to resolve the situation with "I'm not remotely offended by profanity, I merely pointed out that it didn't sound very articulate. You're quick to assume" but of course they had long tired of me as soon as I realised that I was in fact being ridiculed so I left it there.

As the day went on though it really did start to bother me. How often do we misunderstand people on the internet? How often do we inadvertently offend? How many people do we alienate or upset as a result of a limited 140 characters to express our view making things we say sound perhaps terse or serious instead of in jest?

It's a worrying thought which reminds me of a scene in You've Got Mail where Meg Ryan, her character a saccharine sweet victim, undermined professionally by Tom Hanks (who she of course later falls in love with) finally snaps and bitches him out. Then she regrets it and apologises to her anonymous keypal (the internet equivalent of penpal? Yes?) who of course turns out to actually be Tom Hanks... saying "I was cruel, and I'm never cruel.  And even though I can hardly believe what I said mattered to this man (to him, I'm just a bug to be crushed) but what if it did?  No matter what he's done to me, there's no excuse for my behaviour." and that really does sum it up.

So now I worry that I have inadvertently offended someone and even if I didn't do so, I worry that I misrepresented myself. I'm an intelligent and sensitive person - I would never "troll" someone on the internet and whilst I find sites like hilarious I do so as a vicarious voyeur (alliteration addict) knowing that I could never actually go through with those sort of pranks or deliberate attempts to belittle people.

And this person - I don't know them but Twitter tells me they're passionate about food because of the people they're similar too and the people we both follow. Clearly they're intelligent - this is someone I could have come across, not made a fool of myself with and perhaps made friends with. Someone who may have liked my food blog or someone I could have talked to about supper clubs or where one can find edible glitter and whether it should ever be used by someone over the age of 5.

Kierkergard said "at the bottom of enmity between strangers lies indifference" and it seems to fit here.

Ziggy played guitarrrrrraaaaarrrrraaaarrrrrr.

Title: Queen Bitch by David Bowie

My little china girl

Back in December I went to visit my lovely friends at Cornucopia at the Corn Exchange (I wasn't exhibiting this time) and met the lovely Ann of The Tea Experience.

She took some time to explain to me how the flowering tea blooms worked - hand stitched silvertip tea which opens in the hot water to reveal gorgeous flowers, petals waving gently and infusing the tea with delicate flavours.

As a huge lover of authentic tea leaves and broadening my horizons with ever more pretentious and intricate methods of drinking tea I quickly snapped some up and expanded my collection with this gorgeous glass teapot and some little glass tea bowls.

Ann is absolutely lovely, very passionate about tea and she has a wonderful range on her site - everything from teapots and the flowering teas to loose leaf tea and strainers and other equipment. If you like tea or know anyone who does, these would make a rare and gorgeous gift. Or do what I did and just damn well treat yourself! You can follow Ann on Twitter or Facebook too.

Ziggy played guitarrrrrraaaaarrrrraaaarrrrrr.

Title: China Girl by David Bowie

New Killer Star

Last night I went to The Maven, a cocktail bar which opened in September 2011 on Call Lane in Leeds.

The concept was created by Claudio Antonino who was a bar manager at Harvey Nichols - the mixologists wear quirky 1900s clothes (we were digging the cravats, braces and fitted shirts) and the decor is "pre-prohibition" with vanilla votives burning seductively against the dark, masculine tones of the walls.

It felt like a "grown up" bar and given that there isn't a sign outside and only the very chicest people know of its existence the exclusivity should have had my companions and I on our best behaviour. Sadly I'm a rebel at heart and rather than sip sophisticatedly at my drink and stare moodily out of the window I found myself singing along to the EXCELLENT music (No Bowie though, sort it out!) and having outrageous conversations with my girls.

And the drinks...? Well upon entering, I was poured a glass of ice water and asked what kind of cocktails I liked. Being the open minded sort of person I am, I said that as long as it wasn't gin, I was pretty easy.

So of course he made it his mission to convert me to gin and convert me he did. My cocktail was citrussy light, fluffed up with egg white and served in a curious amalgamation of a teacup and a wine glass which I resolve to use exclusively from this point onwards. If you've read my thoughts on tea, you will understand my love affair with the cup and saucer well enough.

They were far too moreish (danger, danger Will Robinson!) and I have an abosolutely excruciating hangover today.

I can't recommend this place highly enough and will definitely be patronising it again. It even had nice loos and plenty of cheese on offer as a bar snack.

Ziggy played guitarrrrrraaaaarrrrraaaarrrrrr.

Title: New Killer Star by David Bowie

In the heat of the morning

Chuh. More like in the wee small hours of the morning.

My goodness but I loathe that song. Oh it's pleasant enough to listen to if it's Frank Sinatra singing it. Old blue eyes himself but the lyrics, ugh. In the wee small hours of the morning whilst the whole wide world is fast asleep. Well Frank, darling that's just silly isn't it? For a start only a small portion of the world could conceivably be asleep whilst you are asleep because of different time zones and that's not even taking into consideration the perils of working shifts or perhaps having an infant attached to one of your wangers going chomp chomp chomp. And insomniacs would probably feel quite resentful of the saccharine melodrama of lying awake and thinking about the girl and never ever thinking of counting sheep. I mean if you're lying awake thinking about a girl that's possibly a temporary thing, insomniacs spend years not being able to sleep for any conceivable reason because if of course there's a tangible reason there's probably a solution n'est-ce pas?

And I don't buy the insistence that "you'd be hers if only she would call" - I mean good god if you're lying awake all night with your heart all sopping wet like that and haven't thought to just call her then quite frankly you deserve to be awake. Unless perhaps there's an explanation for that too, like that you are on a pay-as-you-go mobile tariff and have run out of credit. But then is that really anything to loose sleep over?
And am I quite certain that I have spelled tariff correctly? Or is it perhaps tarrif? No that doesn't seem quite comfortable.

Oh for heavens sake who cares.

So it's approaching the hour of 3 in the morning in the UK (if you must, do take this opportunity to work out what time it was for you when I wrote this and let me know if you should have been sleeping too. Perhaps you were capable of sleep but chose not to indulge in said activity, chose instead to break with convention and have a lovely shag instead. Or eat ice-cream. Or ponder the correct spelling of tariff. Do let me know won't you?) and I am, as you may have gathered not asleep.

I'm not terribly happy about that, especially as I am not having a lovely shag, or eating ice-cream and I couldn't give a hairy fuck how to spell tariff. I am instead quite deliriously bad tempered about being awake, though as ever am trying to see the positive, the non-fuzzy end of the lollipop (*winks at Laura*, no not THAT Laura, the other Laura - the one that looks just like her but is not her. I'm very excited about them meeting at my wedding. I want a picture of them together and I will caption it "separated at birth?" and pretend to be oh so witty and then hope that it doesn't make either of them terribly paranoid about their lineage), the silver lining, the rainbow's end. (Quite frankly in my humble opinion rainbows should never, ever end. What an intolerable idea)

Where was I? Oh yes.

The positive of being not asleep, of this flagrant display of vulgar consciousness is that I am here writing, something I just never get time to do. I have been given the gift of time.

And tomorrow I shall see that said time has marched across my face and installed itself in the cosy cocoon of the gigantic eyebags that I shall be sporting. And oh dear lord I don't think that I have even moisturised my face since Friday morning. Gracious good lord.

I deserve to have eyebags. I shall probably even wake up with a moustache.

Speaking of Our Lord Bowie it was his birthday on Sunday, which was yesterday though given that I have not as yet broken the day up with sleep I am going to stubbornly refer to as today. Because I can - you are all asleep and no one is here to correct me.

I celebrated his birthday twice actually. On Friday in a fit of typical idiocy I was quite convinced that it was the 8th but then learned after wishing my idol a happy birthday that it was in fact the 6th.
Not that I wished him to his face. Such an honour would overwhelm me to the point of unconsciousness that would put a coma victim to shame. Do coma victims feel shame?
Do they in fact feel anything? Which makes me recall that ghastly joke about a man visiting his wife in a coma and somehow being advised by her doctor (all doctors are perverts eh Laura? Yes you this time - not the other one) to engage in oral sex.
And then kills his poor wife by choking her with his penis. I don't know what is more idiotic - the strange fellow not realising that the point was to give her oral sex (because when will men ever grasp this concept?) or the strange fellow listening to the perverted doctor.
If I am ever in a coma, I would suggest a bikini wax - I sure as hell don't sleep through those.

Oh why oh why am I awake?
This is not a rhetorical question, I am genuinely interested in the answer.
Not that there is anyone awake to give me one, or indeed answer the question. Fnar fnar.

Ziggy played guitarrrrrraaaaarrrrraaaarrrrrr.

Title: In The Heat of The Morning by David Bowie