Thursday, June 30, 2005

Is this the modern age?!

I don’t think so. Do you know how hard it is to find somewhere to blog in London?! I am only just starting to realise how much I took having the Internet at work for granted (and how much time I wasted on non-work things!). So, I work from 8.30 in the morning until sometime between 5 and 8 at night depending. I get half an hour for lunch and another half-hour later in the afternoon. The nearest Internet cafĂ© costs £6 an hour and you can’t pay less - say if you only wanted to use it for half an hour. So unless I go after work – and at this point I only want to go home and vegetate – I’m screwed. The nearest easyinternetcafe is a good 15 minutes walk away from work, and the town I live in doesn’t have any Internet cafes at all. It makes me so mad I want to cry. But looking at, it seems quite easy to set up your own shop, all you need is space the size of a bathroom and bob’s your uncle.

The scariest group in the world just came into my library.

So, I just walked into the library and spotted a man lurking by the Dictionary of National Biography. My first thoughts were "who is that weirdo and is he supposed to be in here?" Initial Librarian instincts are always defensive, from "switch that mobile phone off", to "take that three course meal out of here", to the best one in members-only libraries – "are you a member and if not how dare you walk through our portals of learning". But then in walked another 4 or 5 equally weird looking people, some of them female. At this point I started to get a bit worried. Weird things have been happening this week, pictures that have been hanging on walls quite innocently for decades have suddenly fallen off and smashed, the elastic band holding our calendar on the wall up (hooked over a drawing pin too before you ask) snapped, and there have been mysterious drafts. I’m thinking restless spirit here, though I haven’t heard of anyone dying here recently. But I digress. So, big bunch of weirdo’s – who are they and what are they doing here?! Turns out they are archivists. They’ve come to "do lunch" with our archivist – and I’ve never seen a scarier sight. They made librarians look positively normal. Sorry to any normal archivists out there, I’m sure there are some, and I know lots of weird librarians too. What would you call a group of archivists? I know a group of librarians is a shelf (or a trolley depending on if they’re in the pub at the time) – hmm, maybe a mould of archivists?

Monday, June 27, 2005

Washed out

So Glastonbury has been washed away by tidal waves and plagues of locusts. Oh dear. Those poor old posh people slumming it for the festival won't like getting their Jimmy Choos wet. If any bright spark set up a stall selling wellies (ideally pink with diamante accessories) they'd be well in. I went to Reading a few years ago with Lady Librarian and it was great. We only got soaked on the Friday night and sensibly we had packed our doc martens and parkas so we were ok. Our tent certainly didn't float away anyway! Why do people who go camping always assume it's going to be lovely weather and never pack for every weather extreme? This is Britain after all. And most people now seem to drive, so if you have a car you can pack everything you own and leave it in the boot just in case. I would. I might even sleep in it (especially if I get a bed in the back from Pimp my Ride).

Is the whole of London an audition room?

Ladies ladies. I know it's hot this week and we Londoners are always shocked and unprepared for the heat, but what's with the outfits? All the girls on the streets this morning looked like they were auditioning for Julia Roberts' part in Pretty Woman, the bit at the beginning before she met Richard Gere. Very very short skirts, stilettos and mini tops with too many straps and not enough material. Maybe I'm getting old, or maybe there was a prostitute convention somewhere today. Who knows? I know I have trouble dressing for summer, I only got my legs out yesterday as it was so hot it was an emergency skirt situation. But who goes to work looking like they've been up all night on the job?! I know my boss would frog-march me to a shop to buy a big kaftan or something if I tried to come in dressed like a hanging round street corners variety of lady. She doesn't hold back if you're showing too much flesh off round here, oh no. It is in our interests though, as who wants to be responsible for a barristers' heart attack?! Or at the other end of the scale, unwanted attention from a slimeball who thinks he's it? So it's burkas all round then in my world.


My new favourite program has to be Pimp my Ride on Mtv. I first saw it over in Paris channel-hopping and I am now beginning to be a little bit addicted. It's great. They take a skip on wheels and transform it, usually by completely rebuilding it, but they put the best things in the car - things you would never have thought you needed in a car. My all time favourite has to be a popcorn machine in the back and a sunblock dispenser in the front. They always put dvd players and tvs in the back, and on one of them they put a tv in the sun visor, obviously so the lady who owned it could watch tv and drive at the same time - is that legal in America?! The people who get pimped must be made up - they get all sorts of expensive technical stuff and things like Playstations for free - I wonder how often the cars featured on the show are subsequently broken into or stolen!? They are usually hard to miss - one was bright yellow with black stripes. I'm putting my husband's dodgy transit in for the UK version I think. I want a tea maker in the back, a bed for when we get stuck in traffic (or if our house falls through so we can live in it), a fridge, and a big framed picture of Justin from the Darkness in his famous pink and white catsuit at the back. Ooh and a cocktail cabinet would be nice.

The miracles of Word

Ooh I've got so much to rant about, I'll be here for a while. Thanks for the messages of support btw, it's good to know some people out there read my inane rantings! Thanks to the miracles of Word, at the moment I can write it all offline and then hopefully load it all up quickly once a week. At least I won't need to see a therapist. So, Tom Cruise. Today I heard that he bought Katie a phone and when she discovered it had a tracking system in it (yes a TRACKING SYSTEM!), he blithely announced that it was so he would know she was safe at all times. Controlling freakazoid anyone?! Now I have no love for Katie Holmes either. Contrary to the general opinion when Dawson's Creek ruled television, I found Joey really really annoying. All that dithering and mithering on about Dawson or Pacey, Pacey or Dawson. Spare me. But to be turned into a smiling idiot and stalked by Scientology nuts just by her bad choice in men seems a little unfair. Hey I've been stalked, he was only a librarian not some multimillionaire, but it's no fun.

My new choice of rant that will probably keep me going for some while, though mostly in my head as I can't get to my blog often enough, is my "new house". Out of the blue, like a miracle from the skies, has come a house that is for sale, is lovely, and that we can afford. Well for "afford" read "take all our money to the last penny and keep us up to our necks in debt for 30 years" but at least it'll be ours. So we've had our offer accepted, have started all the legal shenanigans, and I'm hoping for the best (but also quietly convinced it will all fall through so am living the dream while I can) - but I think the stress is only just beginning. I must be a sadist to agree to this. What's wrong with renting? You can move when the roof starts leaking or at least shout at your dodgy landlord to fix it. Now there's a theme for a rant - dodgy landlords I have known!

Monday, June 20, 2005

Down but not out

I have hit a small snag. My blog has been banned at work. What is a girl to do?! Not being in the technological era at home, we have yet to get the internet and we are about to move house so that is off for a few months. I went to an internet cafe after work last week - and their internet was down. I'm trying not to take it as a sign. Sad as it seems, I miss my blog. Just being able to write at home (when I can) or after work isn't the same as being able to write when the mood takes me. (Tom Cruise is still high on my celebrity news radar!).

So for now, I'll write when I can and hope to get on the old t'internet soon. But don't forget me!

Monday, June 13, 2005

When librarians go wild...

I've just got back from a 4 day library conference and it nearly killed me. Librarians on the razzle are a scary bunch, they manage to party till 4 or 5 in the morning and then turn up bright and bushy tailed for lectures at 9 the next morning. Well most of them did. And don't get me started (oh go on then) about librarians and discos. You've never seen so many usually sober and sedate ladies of the cardigan variety throwing shapes to Britney, and when Hey Ya! came on it was one of the the funniest things I've ever seen. One lady who admittedly wasn't a librarian, more of a publisher, was dirty dancing to some songs with a bemused man - and when she tried to get her leg round his neck mouths dropped all around the dancefloor. She will certainly be seen in a different light from now on.

Thankfully, this madness is only once a year, then we librarians go back to our normal day jobs and hide the crazy dancing, drinking and partying personas till next time round. You should all be very thankful indeed.

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

It's dangerous to be a Rock Star

I was watching a badly dubbed Metallica documentary on German Mtv recently (don't ask, the only other channel we had was Eurosport) and I didn't realise that their original bassist was killed in a coach crash in their early days to be replaced by Jason Newsted. They had a dodgy coach (or a dodgy driver) and when it crashed he got thrown out of the window and it landed on top of him. He had swapped bunks with Kirk Hammett, and my friend back at college had a serious thing for Kirk so I hope she never knew this, but I digress. This got me thinking to how dangerous the life of rock stars can be - it's not all throwing tv's out of windows and doing dodgy things with ladies of the night whilst under the influence of Jack Daniels. Take the drummer out of Def Leppard for instance. He lost his arm in a car crash, the whole of Lynard Skynard were wiped out in a plane crash. And what about Gloria Estefan? And Justin from the Darkness nearly had his career ended by a glass injury.

Pft. It's much safer where I am I think.

Tuesday, June 07, 2005

Celebrities (Pt 2)

Tom Cruise is now allegedly going to marry Katie Holmes. Marry?!?! Only a short time ago they met (well she's that much younger than him so he had to wait till she grew up obviously), she got lots of nasty looking snogging rashes, and now they're getting married?! Is life in Celebville so short that what would normally take at least 6 months to a lifetime (you know, meeting, courting, getting engaged, marrying, kids, dying...) is all done within about 3 months then on to the next victim, sorry, love of their life? Much as I like to see new love and smiley happy people all over the tv and trashy magazines, this is all a bit weird. He protests a bit too much methinks. I'd like to say I'll be buying a hat (for my invitation would be a definite, natch) but poor old Katie will get a nice career boost then disappear - where is Penelope Cruz now eh?! You see my point. There'll be a "Missing Celebrity Ex-girlfriends" show on when Big Brother finishes. Nicole was his wife so she doesn't count.

Bleedin' foreigners!

Americans. Don't they get everywhere? And they are so LOUD. In gay paree - the land of romance, croissants, very strong coffee - the atmosphere was blighted by braying American accents. Now, I work with a lovely Californian and I do heart lots of American rock stars (sadly one of the Americans I came across wasn't Chris Cornell), but highly excitable American teens abroad do tend to grate. Whilst admiring the architecture of Notre Dame, and basking in the romance of the moment, we were rudely interrupted by a girl pronouncing to anyone within about 100 miles that she was on her European tour, had "done London, and was going to to Rome next". Well bloody sod off to Rome then, and put a sock in it too. Why is it that when I was a lass, the closest I got to a tour was a trip to visit my friend who lives in Yorkshire and then the annual trip to Cornwall?

And in a restaurant one evening, all the customers were entertained by a young chap telling his mate about his shenanigans at a "frat party" (don't you just hate that term?) with a young girl that he "didn't really like but she just jumped on him and it would have been rude to throw her off" !!! Is it just me? Who wants to hear that kind of crap while having their dinner? I just hope the girl in question saw the error of her ways, and next time uses her teeth instead.

And please, people who go abroad, at least attempt some communication in the mother tongue. Learning to say hello, thankyou and goodbye should be compulsory, and tested at the borders before people are let in. The number of Americans (and Brits too to be fair) who were patronising and rude to poor shopkeepers and cafe owners for not understanding English made me very cross. Or maybe the French are canny and pretend ignorance so they don't have to converse with the annoying teenagers?! By jove, I think I've cracked it :-)

Ooh la la!!

Bonjour! Well we did all the main attractions - the Eiffel Tower, Notre Dame, the Louvre (which incidentally is free on the first Sunday of the month - bonus!) and a museum which promised severed heads but when we got there realised it was very good marketing as they were actually severed statue heads from Notre Dame that had been chopped off, and not real heads at all. Damn. I do have a fascination for the morbid things in life...A fine time was had by all, and we managed to make ourselves understood to all the people we met who curiously had no knowledge of English at all. My other half was very pleased with his souvenir purchase of a lighter that flashes blue, red and white and plays the French national anthem while a green flame burns at the top. Sacre bleu!

As is always the way with trips that I take, we met several people who were away with the fairies. One man in our "local" brasserie/tabac played the national game Rapido which is like the Lottery but a new game runs on tv every 5 minutes. We had a go, as you can play with only 1 euro and win 30 back so the odds are good, but this man was completely obsessed. He had some weird strategy involving grunting and was very cross when he didn't win. All hands in the air whilst cursing with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth. Very gallic. Then he'd throw his old unwinning slips on the floor with his cigarette stubs and the poor lady who worked there (who was 75 if she was a day and very withered) had to clear it all up whilst frowning pointedly at the ashtrays and dustbins. One evening we were highly entertained in a nice little restaurant by a group of French students sat across from us. They refused to eat until their wine glasses were refilled (rather regularly) and shouted at the sullen waitress until she complied, managed to spill a bottle of red wine everywhere, and smoked between mouthfuls of beef bourgignon. I sometimes think I am way too polite, what do I care what people I'll never see again think of me? Us Brits are way too restrained.

The Olympic 2012 bid completely passed me by, it was only when the tv showed the Champs Elysees full of people in a publicity stunt for the Paris bid that I realised why the Eiffel Tower was so quiet on Sunday. Doh! I don't know who I would prefer to win, London or Paris. The Metro completely stumped me, foolishly I thought that being familiar with the tube I would be ok, but no. It was more luck than logic finding our way round between all the different lines and the double decker trains are scary man!

Next time we go I will be much more confident and there's still loads of things I want to do, we didn't make it to Montmarte or the Moulin Rouge, I want to see Ewan McGregor on an elephant before I die.

Thursday, June 02, 2005


Hee!! I'm off to Paris tomorrow for le weekend and although my French is GCSE level and never used in a real-life situation with proper French speaking people (why did my school never have trips apart from to Yorkshire?), I feel duty bound to practice my pigeon French on the poor people I meet. I can say "can I have a tea with milk please?" and ask where the nearest garage is as I have a flat tyre. So I should have no problems at all then. I have heard conflicting stories about French people (no offence meant mon ami) from refusing to speak English to poor English tourists clutching a guide book, to refusing to speak French altogether, but speaking English really well instead to prove the point. Hmm. I think with a cheery "Bonjour!" and a smile I should win their hearts over and get my tea and spare tyre with no problem. (Especially with too many croissants oui?!).