Switching Off

Reading time: 6 mins
My bedroom is never completely dark. Sure, the black out curtains help, but the gentle glow of street lights still sneaks into the room, the orange glow casting gentle shadows. Once my eyes adjust I can make out the detail of the print hanging opposite my bed, the sleeve of a shirt hanging off the back of a chair. In a bid to lull my brain into a state of rest – I’m not sure what woke me at 3am but I was most definitely awake – I started pondering what was in store for me tomorrow. Starting with the basics, what’s the date tomorrow? And then it hit me, it’s March. The third month of the year. Already! Where …

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Glitter mops and fashion

Reading time: 6 mins
This is largely the tale of how a love of Korean sauces helped me realise that it’s ok not to conform to fashion. I was looking through some slow cooker recipes the other day trying to decide what to make for dinner. I ended up picking a recipe for Balsamic Chicken and added the ingredients to my shopping list ahead of my visit to the nearby behemoth that is our 24hr Tesco. I don’t actually go to a store to do grocery shopping all that often these days, not because I don’t enjoy it – how else would I have discovered the Korean beef sauce that I could happily live on for months – but precisely because I enjoy it …

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Sunday Mornings

Reading time: 3 mins
Late last year I met a friend in the pub for a celebratory ‘end of week’ catchup. We got our bitching about colleagues and various crappy work issues dealt with whilst the post work crowds rolled in, but as they started to head home to loved ones, or headed off for a night out on the town, we moved on to other topics; specifically Sunday mornings and just how much they can suck. As a child, Sunday mornings were largely about going to church. Dressed in my best Sunday clothes, hair slicked down to look presentable, I was shipped off to Sunday School before attending the morning service. Sometimes the Sunday School kids would sit together upstairs and try not …

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Gig: Elbow and John Grant

Reading time: 2 mins
We got the train to Manchester in the morning. It rained the entire time we were there, soaking us to the bone as we explored the city centre. We ate in a chain restaurant, Italian I think, before heading to the gig. That was a few years ago and though it wasn’t the first time I’d seen Elbow live, it was the gig that sits large and raw in my memory. Bawling my eyes out as the lyrics to Scattered Black & Whites ripped my heart wide open, snapshots of childhood memories, my Grandparents, my baby sister, tears streaming down my face. Maybe it’s because he’s roughly my age with, it seems, a similar propensity for emotion and love and …

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Lighting in the dark

Reading time: 3 mins
“It’s 106 miles to Chicago, we have a full tank of gas, half a packet of cigarettes, it’s dark and we’re wearing sunglasses… HIT IT!” Last weekend saw me driving through to Edinburgh as the last remnants of daylight faded to black, I had already taken my sunglasses off, and I don’t smoke, but the sentiment was the same; (mini) road trip! The previous evening found me and several hundred other people, wandering the streets of Strathbungo, a suburb in the southside of Glasgow, enjoying the labours of many a budding window artist as we partook of the annual Strathbungo Winter Wanderland. With local roads closed to traffic, we took to the streets to peer over railings and hedgerows to …

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Gig: Post Modern Jukebox

Reading time: 2 mins
Everytime I listen to the current hits of the day I come away with a catchy tune in my head. Sure it’s auto-tuned, heavily produced, and reliant on a hook rather than things like a melody or a smart lyric but they are catchy nonetheless. And yes, I am big a huge snob about this and no I don’t care. For me the sign of a good song is one that can embrace change, that can be rendered new by a change in tone, or pace, or instrumentation. Some bands do it to themselves (think Creep by Radiohead, from thrashy distorted guitars to heartfelt acoustic ballad) and some artists grab a handful of such tunes and make a career from …

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Writing sparks

Reading time: 3 mins
Struggling with the duvet cover I paused and reminded myself just how good it is to slide between fresh bed linen. A few more wafts of the duvet and several curses later my bed was made. It took a lot of willpower not to just climb in right there and then. What an odd phrase, how many people have a bed so tall they need to climb into it? Isn’t the English language wonderfully obscure at times. It strikes me, without recourse to research, that this is one of those phrases that comes from ye olde times, when beds were an entirely different proposition. Ohhh how I adore such things, these quirks of conundrums, paragraphs of prose that puzzle and …

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I met a spaceman

Reading time: 3 mins
Ground control to Major Tom… Ground control to Major Tom: Lock your Soyuz hatch and put your helmet on! I can still remember the first time I heard Space Oddity. I can recall just how otherworldly it sounded to me and while that was largely down to Mr. Bowie (an entirely other being for sure) it sits squarely alongside a similarly titled book that I’d just finished reading which was, in turn, the very reason I had listened to that track in the first place. I was maybe 12 years old at the time and the idea of space was more Star Wars than 2001 but I was slowly learning about the Apollo program and pages of my encyclopedia were …

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Gig: The Lovely Eggs

Reading time: 2 mins
I’d not long finished my dinner and was doing the dishes. Standing at the sink I pondered what to do next and tried to think of reasons not to do any more chores, after all hoovering can always wait until tomorrow, right? We will ignore the fact that my hoovering was probably about a week past needing done, because hoovering is ALWAYS a job for tomorrow; just as dusting is a job for whenever someone is coming to visit, a lesson well learned from my dearest Mumsy. So you can imagine my excitement when, moments after I’d set the last dish on the rack to dry, my watch vibrated on my wrist to notify me that a new message had …

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New Bands and Small Venues

Reading time: 2 mins
For a while now I’ve been on a mission to discover new music. That might just be music that is new to me, or it might be actually new up and coming bands that I’ve not heard of, but I’ll happily admit that the recap of my musical year that Spotify provided was a bit of a shocker. We all have our own self-image but, musically at least, I didn’t think I was quite as mainstream as all that… stats never lie though, right? For the last few years I’ve tended to rely on the same few sources; a mixture of random recommendations from friends and colleagues, the occasional blog post or album review here and there, but I always …

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