Tuesday, 16 August 2011

It's My Birthday!

Yep, today is my birthday. I'm turning 30. Overall I feel a bit weird about it. I think turning 30 means I have to become a grown-up, right? I have to be sensible and save money and think about having babies and a five year plan. Scary.

So, to rebel against the big Three-Oh I shall be celebrating at Jumpers For Goalposts, my favourite night of playing "arts and crafts" and listening to goofy music. If anyone would like to come and join me and help me celebrate then here are the details:



The Alley Café
8pm to latePM

Nottingham’s craftiest craft night returns on 18th August to bring some calm to our riot-torn city and make everything all music and google-eyes again.

There will, however, be a riot of colour and creative ideas, with arresting creations but NO CHARGES FOR ADMISSION!

We’ll have live music from ‘Santo and Claus’ and you can dance the night away (in your seats while making craft items) to the sonic collages made by DJ's from the fantastic film society Kneel Before Zod... we're expecting amazing soundtracks all round!

And don’t forget, the Alley Café serves excellent vegetarian and vegan food until 9.00pm if you fancy Dinner and Craft and Music.

If you're wondering what to get me as a brilliant 30th birthday present, I like cake... and diamonds.


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Awesome People Hanging Out Together


This site pretty much does what the name says & shows photos and occasional videos of awesome people hanging out together. (EDIT: I wanted to show you some actual pictures of Karl Lagerfeld & Kanye West, Shaquille O'Neal & Dr Ruth and Robert Redford & Dustin Hoffman, but BLOGGER SUCKS)

There are some hilarious photos, some incredible ones and some which show important/interesting things in history. For example, look for the photo of the physicists where there's about 30 of them and Marie Curie is the only woman. Or look for young Bill Clinton meeting JFK. I also like that it gives you a sense of the timeline of people more, by relating them to other famous people. It's really interesting to see Mick Jagger progress through from being a young dork with Peter Tosh, a hip young guy with James Brown to an elder statesmen with Madonna. It's also interesting just to see who has hung out with who throughout the past century. This sort of thing might make fame actually worth it!



Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Pretty Dandy

Right now I'm in the process of setting up my own business... Pretty Dandy! It's exciting, but quite slow going because I work full time hours. I'd love to be able to give up my dayjob and do it full time, so that's what I'm aiaming for over the coming year. Pretty Dandy is going to be an interiors/homewares website selling stylish vintage, handmade, art & new design pieces.

I've already started to amass some of the vintage stock, and have found some gorgeous things - like a china teaset with a gilt edging and a fifties-style blue flower, some wonderful vintage fabrics which are soon to become cushions and frames old adverts from women's magazines.  

I'm also putting together a range of handmade items, such as beautiful snuggly chunky cableknit cushions, placemat sets in clashing fabrics and lampshades made from old mats. Finally there's the art & new design pieces. There are some really exciting things to go in this section, like a coat rack which appears like a living branch growing out of the wall, original prints by artists & illustrators, a gorgeously designed energy-saving lightbulb which can go on show in the best lamps or even just on it's own.

It's really exciting sourcing all this stock and planning for the launch of my website: www.prettydandy.co.uk - nothing there until August, so please add it to your favourites and check back then!

In the meantime, if there's something you've been looking for for your home then get in touch, I might be able to source it for you - email hello@prettydandy.co.uk.


Friday, 20 May 2011

Beyonce: Run The World

I just watched this video and had to share it on here in case people haven't seen it yet:

It's insane. The Guardian has an interesting article here about how cultural references are becoming more obscure, with particular mention of the "Beyonce & two Hyenas" shot in this video (1:56). There are countless references in this video, from the Jacksons & Fosse (dancing) to potentially even the news media/ reportage (the setting etc). All in a pop video with incredibly high fashion outfits (check the shoes at 2:17) and an immense cast of female dancers.

The only thing that makes me a little sad is that despite what Beyonce says, girls don't really run the world, and while this video is really interesting and a bit challenging in terms of mainstream pop, it's probably not going to change that.

So, let's listen to this call to make Beyonce's claims real:

Women of the World by Jim O' Rourke


Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Gig in London this weekend!


Hello Thor are curating one of Rough Trade's legendary afternoon gigs at the Notting Hill Arts Club this weekend. Woop!

An extension of Rough Trade's classic in-store gigs (just with a bit more room, and fewer records), the RoTa shows have been graced / curated by the likes of Hot Chip, The Line Of Best Fit, Warp, Jamie T, Saddle Creek, Fortuna Pop, Truck, Jonquil, Yuck and more.

It's on Saturday (21st May) from 4pm until 8pm and it's completely for FREE.

Warm Brains
- new band from ace DIY producer Rory Attwell (Fair Ohs, Male Bonding, Fists).  They make fuzzy, dreamlike, carefully-woven, lo-fi slacker tunes as heard on debut single Old Volcanoes.

- recently described as a "one band John Peel show" Fists' sound ranges from bittersweet vocal harmonies to stomping garage rock. Or as Artrocker put it "they sound like a drunken art collective playing country songs they’ve never heard before. Which is meant to be a compliment.”

We Show Up On RadaR
- combining the optimism and joy of the Flaming Lips with the melancholy of Daniel Johnston, WSUOR's music is gentle, mischievious and magical indie pop to dream to.

Not Cool
- these gutter pop pioneers specialise in frenetic, melodic and slightly demented post punk.  Think Fugazi or Pavement, but from Downham, south London.

Facebook event here: http://www.facebook.com/?sk=inbox&setup#!/event.php?eid=201457909891967
with super cool poster by Angi from Fists
It's gonna be ace!

love Bex

Sunday, 17 April 2011

FUN-Raising at Jumpers for Goalposts

Please come along to the Alley Cafe on Thursday from 8.30pm for an evening of music, craft & entertainment. ish.


Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Jumpers FUNraiser

Check out the blog here for more info

Get yourself added to the facebook event (& invite your friends too!)

Comment on LeftLion

It would be super awesome to see you there. It's Pretty Good Thursday (21st April), so you've got the day off afterwards (Good Friday). So, why not come and share a cup of tea or organic ale with us, bring some unusual craft materials and a pound or two to donate to our chosen charity and have a good time.


Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Peruvian Delicacies

My big sister now lives in Peru. This means that I now think Skype is one of the best inventions of the last 100 years, I regularly get postcards with llamas on and I worry about her whenever there's an earthquake / mudslide / flash flood / tsunami etc. It's a bit different to when she was just up the road in Sheffield.

It also means that when she comes back for a visit we get to taste the delights of Peruvian cuisine. Ever eaten Peruvian food? Had any in your local Peruvian restaurant? Thought not... there's definitely a reason why. My sister assures me that some of the Peruvian cuisines are actually very well thought of and that posh Peruvian restaurants are opening up in various cities across the world. Based on what we ate on Saturday I might hold off on booking a table...

Here is what she cooked for me, Anders and Abi:


Starter - Papas A La Huancaina

This is a sort of cold salad. You put boiled potatoes, boiled eggs & olives onto some lettuce leaves and cover them in the special sauce. To make the sauce you need onions, bread, peanuts, chillies, garlic, condensed milk and feta. Yes. All of those things. Mushed up into a sauce. It's an unusual flavour combination and a strange consistency - not a dish I'll be hurrying to repeat. Initially I thought it was pretty tasty, with a nice light chilli spice and a creamy peanut flavour at the fore. However soon the heaviness of the sauce took me down and I realised I couldn't even face eating the mouthful I'd just put onto my fork.

Main - Arroz con Pollo
This was actually delicious, so I can't complain too much. It's basically chicken and rice, but this basic description doesn't do it justice. In the Cuscenian version you cook the rice in beer as well as stock, adding chilli, garlic and plenty of coriander. It's really tasty, richly flavoured and surprisingly light for a dish with so few vegetables. 

Dessert - Picarones

To round off our Peruvian experience my sister had brought home a packet of mix to make Picarones. These are sweet potato donuts. I know. Sweet potato donuts. You fry the mix into little rings and eat it dipped in molasses syrup (or golden syrup in our case). Actually they were pretty nice, but another heavy heavy treat. I don't know how people in Peru eat this sort of cuisine every day.

Luckily she also treated us to a big bottle of posh Pisco - Peruvian brandy - with which to make Pisco Sours - a delicious citrussy cocktail comparable to the fabulous caipirinha, but with less heartburn. I think I can definitely say they were the highlight of the meal for me.

We had a brilliant evening and I love getting to spend time with my sister again. However... next time I'm cooking.


Friday, 25 March 2011

Dr Who!

As mentioned before we recently held a special magical Jumpers for Goalposts party at the Alley Cafe where we celebrated the magic of Dr Who via the medium of improvised music & craft. Here's the evidence (bit bumpy, don't get motion sickness!)

In case you've never been, Jumpers for Goalposts is held on the 3rd Thursday of every month at the Alley Cafe in Nottingham. Essentially it involves a lot of larking around with child-friendly craft materials (googly eyes, pipe cleaners, lollipop sticks) making wonderful creations for our competition AND live music. That time the live music was the audience, usually it's a proper band. Come down and join in and see for yourself how much fun you can have with glitter glue and a pint of organic cider!



In Popbitch this week they pointed the reader towards an amazing website. I recommend a visit (needs sound ideally):

Possibly the greatest use of flash on a 
website ever. Don't, under any circumstances,
skip the intro. But you have to wait for the
site to load. That's when the guitar solo kicks in:

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Black Swan, Good Hair and things to do this week


How are you? What've you been up to lately? Have you changed your hair? I like it!

Here's some things we've been up to lately:
- Bird watching - we've got lots of little blue tits, great tits, blackbirds & robins fluttering around in our garden, along with a big fat squirrel that keeps eating all their seeds!
- Getting ready for the awesome new Fists release on Hello Thor records (details in previous post)
- Going to the auctions (it's a different world)
- Making more things on my sewing machine (tea cosies & placemats are my latest adventures)
- Practising for Jumpers for Goalposts (scroll down for more info)
- Going to Just The Tonic (only once, saw Paul Foot & thought he was really very funny)

- Watching loads of films & TV - round-up & recommends here:

Misfits - If you haven't got into this TV series yet then DO. It's funny, rude, a bit gory, endearing and exciting. About a bunch of asbo kids who get magic powers from a storm. That does it no justice. *RECOMMENDED*

Going The Distance - Anders will tell me off for adding this to my list, but I enjoyed it. If you're a fan of the romcom this strays slightly away from the usual format (by just being a bit less lame and having characters you're a bit more likely to want to be friends with) - e.g. Drew Barrymore is the main character and she's not a control freak like every other female in rom-com land. I liked it.

Black Swan - I still don't know how I feel about this film 2 weeks after seeing it and I'm still talking to people about it. That seems pretty good to me. However, I found it a bit annoying, over-blown and trashy too. It's hard to pigeonhole and hard to describe without giving anything important away. My enjoyment of it was shared 50-50 with annoyance, so this isn't a glowing recommendation from that point of view. I would however still say you should watch it, if only because it will keep you talking. *RECOMMENDED*

Beetlejuice - I am aware that I'm the last person in the world to see this film, but isn't it fun?! I love the bit where they all do a dance around the dining table and I bet that was awesome to film. Plus it has the woman in from all the Christopher Guest films. Love her.

30 Rock - We went for a marathon of the latest series at Bones' house and it was AWESOME. If you've never seen it then it's about Liz Lemon (Tina Fey) who is head writer on a SNL-type of show in America. It's also got Alec Baldwin in and he is hilarious. It's got a really high gag-rate, you care about the characters but it never tries to make you cry and Anders hearts Tina Fey. Watch it from the start, it will be a pleasure and a joy. **RECOMMENDED** (Big time!)

The Baader Meinhof film (I'm getting the name a bit wrong there) - This is often on those "films you should watch" lists, but I wasn't really feeling it that much. It's about a terrorist group in Germany in the 60's and is a bit confusing if you don't know anything about the situation (me) before you watch it. Interesting, some good performances and nice to see a mix of real-life footage and drama, but overall left me a bit cold.

Good Hair - This is the Chris Rock documentary about black hair. It's absolutely fascinating, a peek into a world I knew very little about. AND there is a hair styling contest. It's worth watching for that alone. One of the stylists entered before and her theme was "brokefront mountain" (no I don't get it either) and there was an awful video she made of her and some women dressed in cowgirl outfits with a bit of hay. It made NO sense and her entry in this documentary is even more random. A thoroughly enjoyable film, well-presented, good structure, interesting and funny in places. **RECOMMENDED**

So, that's what we've been up to.

Now on to what's coming up this week:

1 - Jumpers for Goalposts - Thursday @ Alley Cafe, FREE
This is a monthly event we run where you can come, hang out with your friends, hear a bit of music (usually just 1 band will play a few songs) and make something shit out of plasticine and pritt stick and straws. We call that part the Creative Competition and there are mega prizes involved. It's also very hard-fought and sometimes people create actual amazing things, not just rubbish penis-related puns!!

Anyway, this month we are doing something a little bit different. In place of our usual (talented) musical act YOU will be the band. Come and join in as we create an intergalactic jam session on tiny instruments. No musical talent needed (phew!), jsut enthusiasm and a willingness to have a go on a kazoo (no euphemism). We'll be playing a very exciting special TV theme tune... if we can all learn it quickly enough over the night to make our final performance a success then we will film it and share our talent with the world!

2 - Record Breakers - Saturday @ the Arts Theatre, £10 in advance
This is a huge gig organised by Denizen Records which features some of the best musical acts Nottingham has to offer, all together on one stage. Come along to see the likes of Yunioshi, Kogumaza, Dearest, Swimming, Hhymn & Fists ply their trade in this gorgeous venue. There are Late Of The Pier DJ's and apparently a world-record attempt too! You can get £10 tickets, or even get a cheap group booking deal from http://www.hellothor.com/.

what a lot of stuff. I'm tired now. See you thursday or saturday or both!


Wednesday, 26 January 2011

New release on Hello Thor Records - Fists single - Ascending b/w Stag

As you may be aware Anders runs a record label with Nick & Tom, based in Nottingham called Hello Thor. They do gigs and stuff and put out singles by amazing bands. Their first ever signing was Fists who have released an amazing 7" and a brilliant EP so far.

21st Feb 2011 will see the release of Fists' next single Ascending b/w Stag on limited edition coloured vinyl with an individually screenprinted sleeve. It's going to be a beautiful thing.

Both Ascending and Stag have already received loads of airplay on 6 Music, Radio 1 and were selected for the 6 Music Rebel Playlist. They are great. You can read more, pre-order the vinyl, download tracks and so on here. If you'd like to support Hello Thor then please do buy from their site http://www.hellothor.com/ - no middle man costs! Oh and if you'd like to hear more from them then follow them on Twitter (@hellothor) or sign up to the mailing list on the website.

You can hear previews of the tracks on the Fists myspace and you can see them live, celebrating the release at a huge gig at the Nottingham Arts Theatre on the 19th February with loads of other amazing bands including:

Injured Birds

AND special guest DJs. It's being put together by a new Nottingham label Denizen Records (look for it on facebook!) and it's going to be AWESOME!



p.s. there are some great photos of the band here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/kdadesign/sets/72157618427893224/with/3542947105/ by KDA Design

Friday, 14 January 2011

Making things...

I have been making some great things in my sewing class and with my new sewing machine. I love it, it's so exciting to choose some fabric, spend some time concentrating and carefully cutting, pinning, lining up and sewing. Then to end up with something special that yo'uve created at the end is just great. What a sense of achievement.

Anyway, here are a few little things I've made (cushion, scarf, bag... in that order). What do you think?

Yeah! Even just looking at the pictures now I feel really proud of myself.

Love Bex

Sunday, 2 January 2011

New Year's Resolutions


I love making resolutions for the New Year and this year have a few I'll be hoping to keep. They include doing something new each week (this week it was learning to play the Dr Who theme on a child's toy accordion) AND doing something I've thought about for a really long time... starting my own business. If you have a moment you could help me keep resolution No.2 by scrolling down in the window below....

Create your free online surveys with SurveyMonkey, the world's leading questionnaire tool.

Thank you!