Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Internet Sensation

We nearly went to the Broadfield on the way to the gig on Sunday night. As we turned the corner into the Lantern car park we somewhat regretted our decision not to. I hadn't banked on joining a queue to get in and would rather have been standing at the bar. As it was we joined the queue and looked like we were just as eager to get in as all the others.

I wasn't expecting to queue, largely because I hadn't really heard of who we were coming to see and was rather surprised that lots of other people had. Especially surprised when they were all approximately 15. We felt very old and extremely unfashionable. And in Paul's case very male.

For information short shorts over see through tights are the in thing. If you want to stand out also wear a sort of bowler hat a la Clockwork Orange.

So we queued and felt marginally uncomfortable. I'm sure some of the girls pointed.

The good news was when the door opened most of the other members of the queue went in to grab seats at the front. That and the fact they couldn't have got served at the bar anyway meant we could order stout and lager in peace. There are benefits to feeling old, honestly.

I had booked the tickets in a flurry of excitement some time ago. I think I got swept along on a tide of us being grown ups with a regular babysitter and an enthusiasm for new stuff, especially music. It was a little bit of an error, albeit a humorous one. We were still knackered from Elvis the night before (who was undoubtedly going to be a hard act to follow). And we felt very very old. I feel the need to mention that again. Fortunately we were also in a good mood so spent most of the night laughing our heads off.

There were three acts. The first was called Shannon Saunders and had a beautiful voice. She's 18. We felt old. Especially when she kept banging on about the number of YouTube views he'd got.

The second was Frank Hamilton and we both loved his set. Plus he was at least on the way to being 30 so we couldn't technically have been his parents.

The third and main act of the night was Lewis Watson. We've never seen an "internet sensation" before. He's an artist tipped by some as the next Ed Sheeran, and Paul pointed out he's also a pretty good guitar player.

It was hard to give him a thorough critique though as we were too distracted by his apparent desirability. There was tittering, giggling and commenting on his every sentence. One girl even suggested having his baby. There was also swaying. Paul said "this must be what swooning sounds like". Lewis was clearly a very attractive proposition. He looked to me like a regular fairly awkward teenage boy (he's actually the grand old age of 20). Although I'll let him off the awkward. You would be too if most of the audience giggled after everything you said. We felt old.

We left early to relieve the babysitter (yep that'll be the old couple leaving) and outside the venue sat car after car with lone men in the driving seats. I suspect waiting for their daughters in the car was preferable to watching them fawn over an internet sensation with sideways swept hair.

Did I mention I'm old?

Monday, 10 June 2013

Another Icon

Well that was a mad weekend.

On Saturday night we were VIPs. Well I think the term VIP was a stretch but we did have dinner and wine at City Hall and really good seats. One definite additional bonus was that it meant we got to leave the house at 5.30 and had the night off from the bedtime routine. Plus it was a win win because the babysitter really enjoyed the 1980s film of Swallows and Amazons apparently.

So while they were enjoying up to date cinematic experiences I was trying to convince our waitress that she wanted to ask ElvisCostello to sign my 1978 copy of "Radio Radio". She tried bless her, but failed. We were clearly not VIPS. She also told us that when Peter Andre played City Hall he found his own way to the VIP room and hugged people. We didn't entirely know how to respond.

Anyway the show started and we had fantastic circle seats with an amazing view. Of course it transpired that had we been in the stalls he might have a) danced with me b) sat on my knee or c) invited me to spin the wheel to choose a song and dance in a go go cage.... Okay, probably best to be in the circle then.

The first couple to be invited to spin the wheel were called Molly and Michael, which seemed odd since the girls had named two of our brand new fish those names just that morning. Jackson and Thistle obviously weren't Elvis fans.

So the format was basically that Elvis Costello and The Imposters were on stage with a twenty foot tall spinning song selector, a bar for audience members to view from and a Go Go cage where some choosers were encouraged to dance, for in most cases just a little too long for their collection of dance moves. Some of those selected from the audience were slightly obsessed fans from Brighton, some were daughter father combinations that made me smile (and occasionally cringe) and one lady was clearly pregnant. They didn't make her dance in the go go cage for which I suspect she was truly grateful.

It was brilliant. One of those gigs where the words pop into your mouth despite you not having voiced them for twenty years. I particularly loved "She", "Red Shoes", "Watching The Detectives" - there were so many and he was a true showman. Very funny and energetic - well he needed to be since his set was nearly three hours long.

Then afterwards I did something I have never done before in my life. I went and stood at the stage door. Which showed dedication since I's been wearing heels for six hours.

I think partly I stood there because I'd met Billy Bragg already and I thought I couldn't miss the opportunity to meet another of my teenage icons. Also I had consumed quite a lot of free VIP wine and had a single in my handbag. And a very understanding husband.

So we waited and queued. After a while Elvis appeared and various people pushed in front of me. They also pushed in front of the disabled man in a wheelchair so I didn't take it personally. Once I appeared to be roughly near the front I plucked up enough courage and asked if he would sign my single and he did. I daren't ask for a hug or a photo so I didn't get one, but he was a gent. Although Billy hugged me without me even asking. Just saying..

It was an amazing night and it really felt like I had watched and, very briefly met, a star. The tickets also happened to be one of the most thoughtful gifts I have ever been given by my lovely husband. So all round,pretty terrific.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

100 Acts of Minor Dissent

My love of the Lantern Theatre continues. Mark Thomas played there twice last night with part of a show destined for Edinburgh, for the princely sum of £10, in front of a maximum of 100 people. You can't get better than that. The laughter in the tiny venue could have lifted the roof off.

It was understandably sold out, twice.

He was, as usual, honest and hilarious. The audience left armed with subversive stickers bound for terrible books in megashops and a host of ideas ticking over. (Mum and Dad would approve of his stickers to attach to Jeremy Clarkson autobiographies: "Also available in charity shops!")

It was a fantastic night out yet again.

And we are off to the Lantern on Sunday for Lewis Watson and for Lucy Porter next week. It's my new favourite place. If you haven't been yet and you live in Sheffield, sort yourself out.

Monday, 3 June 2013

The beginning of something

For reasons of privacy I don't really want to put on here where I work or really what they do. If you know me then you'll know already. Sufficed to say I started my new job today and it was good. I am knackered but hopeful.

It's been an odd sort of day. It's been a while since I've done an induction and this one was certainly eclectic. I can't really say much more. Apart from that I now know a bit more about Annie Lennox and I work somewhere that has a balm making room. I spent most of the day thinking Chloe would love it. Which means it must be good.

My overwhelming feeling so far is joy that a place like where I work exists. It seems incredible, valuable and fascinating. Not a bad start.

So now I just need to get on with this working lark and start the new bit of my life. I am flipping shattered already though.

Sunday, 2 June 2013


So this is a big week for me. I had so much planned for before it arrived and have achieved none of it. The book isn't finished, I'm still overweight, and the house is a tip. I suppose at least the rabbits aren't dead which is some comfort. My output the last six weeks has been disappointing but then I've always been terrible for setting myself unachievable goals. My resolution for 2014 should be to not do that....ah.

But I digress.

Tomorrow I go to a job, in an office, for the first time in seven and a half years. I woke up this morning and sobbed. Not because I don't want to go. I do. And not because I don't think I can do it. I can.

But because it signifies reaching a whopping milestone because I start a new job tomorrow. Since we are using the analogy, this milestone is as you might expect one which makes me look back (it was chuffing hundreds of miles ago when I last had an email account that wasn't full of groupon offers) and forwards (it stretches about thirty years long and I can't see the easy chair at the other end of it which is frankly a worry).

I'm changing jobs. Not from one firm to another, or one role to another. It's not as straightforward as that.

My proud job title has been 'Stay at Home Mum' and it has been the best, toughest, at times literally crappy, gigglingly joyful, painfully exhausting and downright rewarding job in the world. For me anyway. It was my choice and it was the right one. But there's been a reshuffle in the office and my two team members appear to be at school all day which has shaken things up a bit. Not least in my brain.

So now I will do something different and reawaken my office working life between the hours of ten and two each day. The rest of the time I will still do everything I did before. So it's not actually a change of jobs. I'll still be doing all the painful, messy, hilarious stuff before and after work and school.

Oh I see now. I have essentially invented the 28 hour day.

So cross your fingers for me. That I can do both things well and that we are all happy. Because, well that's the point.