The week that was

So this entry is actually last week’s entry. If I hadn’t made my own arbitrary rules saying I’d do at least one a week, I’d be skipping this altogether (rather than writing two entries in one weekend to make up for it, which is what I’m doing).

Thing is, skipping this entry – excusing myself because I was busy actually doing things rather than writing about doing things – would open the door to endless excuses and no writing for the ages. Which would be sad, given that this blog is almost at its one-year anniversary of regular writing.

I am considering giving myself a break after a year, though. My writing mojo is very much on the blink at the moment (which is why I still have a two-thirds finished entry about the 48HFP results to post). I’m hoping that with NaNoWriMo underway, it’ll be kicked back into touch, in the same way that I’m hoping the regular blog writing over the past year will help me actually complete my NaNoWriMo effort this year. I picked up some tips on getting the words out from a friend last year, so I’ll be putting those to use as well.

BUT. I’m getting sidetracked. This entry is going to be strictly about last weekend and the week preceding it. Basically a list of excuses as to why I was too tired to write. So, stuff that’s been going on:

#1 Spark London

Spark London is basically a storytelling evening that takes place every Monday, in different venues. True stories, five-minutes long, different theme every week, told live by whoever wants to stand up and speak. CM, Christine (who was staying with us for a couple of days) and I went to one for the first time a few weeks ago, at Christine’s behest. She had a story to tell (and she told it well).

She and the other storytellers were very compelling, the crowd at the Hackney Attic was small, and the organisers were welcoming. We agreed to go back again the following week. This time it was being held at the Ritzy in Brixton, but due to faffing on my part, I ended up going by myself. The stories, again, were brilliant, but this one was absolutely packed out and eventually I got a bit claustrophobic and headed home before it was over. I’d recommend checking out one of their events, though. I missed the last one thanks to the storm, but I do want to go again soon. Telling tales (not a comedian or in a play) is an art, and Spark London are doing an amazing job of bringing it back.

#2 North Mississippi Allstars at the 100 Club

I hadn’t heard of the North Mississippi Allstars at all until a friend mentioned they were playing and were awesome and sent a link round to what has become our regular live-music-going group. That link sold me on the band within 40 seconds, and the evening turned out to be one of the best gigs I’ve ever been to. This is a most talented group, with backgrounds steeped in blues. The sheer energy of the Dickinson Brothers on stage is electrifying, and that doesn’t even touch on the amount of fun they were obviously having. They were happily interchanging instruments, playing the hell out of a bean-can guitar and an electric washboard, whipping up the crowd with three drums and a carnival mask. By the end of it I was exhausted, totally over-excited and wishing I could play blues so I could go home and carry on the evening.

I hadn’t been to The 100 Club before either, and really that place is special. I’d go again just for the bathroom graffiti (extended written argument over the merits of Pete Doherty, anyone?) let alone the photos, the atmosphere and the music. An additional highlight was finally meeting, in person, Tim E Raw, who writes for the great Vérité digital magazine/film blog.

Everything you want to know about the North Mississippi Allstars is here, and someone helpfully put up a complete playlist of videos of the actual gig (click through from this one):

I’m in there, somewhere, but surrounded by blokes who were all about six inches taller than me.

#3  The Arts Theatre Club

We went to The Arts Theate Club for a friend’s 30th birthday celebrations. A members club, which allows in non-members earlier in the evening, it’s tucked away in a basement in Soho. Behind the discreet door is a brilliant little speak-easy style club. The evening we were there, the DJ was playing 80s classics from the piano-fronted decks. Specialising in cocktails, the bar staff knock out amazing drinks at not-horrible-for-London prices, keeping up a steady stream of conversation with the customers. I was sticking to Whisky Sours and one Sweet Manhattan, but they also mix-up cocktails for four in teapots, served in little class teacups. Definitely somewhere to revisit.

#4 A Fetch Event (The Mean Girls Quotealong at the Prince Charles Cinema)

The next day was spent marginally recovering from the Arts Theatre evening, and then applying make-up ready for the night out. This was a double-whammy evening, starting out at the Prince Charles Cinema and then moving on to the Scala in Kings Cross for a Halloween ball. This meant rocking up to the Prince Charles already dressed for the ball. There was a Labyrinth Masquerade Ball happening at the same time, and if I’d been going to that I would have mostly fit in, but nope –  Mean Girls!

If you’ve never been to a quotealong event at the PCC, I highly recommend it. I was there with my friend M (dressed as a zombie bride – appropriate for both Mean Girls and a Halloween ball) who, literally, knew every single word of the script. Tina Fey’s now-classic teen movie was Introduced by compere Ralph – in character as Damien – complete with a Kalteen bar eating competition and Burn Book to fill in, the audience rolled up dressed as their choice of lunchroom clique, sang along to the soundtrack, shouted at their favourite bits (memorable line, as Cady knocks back a shot at her house party: “Oh, Lindsey, that’s how it starts!”), hooted at the dancing, and did baboon impressions. It was easily the best time I’ve had watching a film (with maybe the exception of 30 Days of Night in 2007, at a regular cinema, which just happened to have a vocal and extremely funny audience).

#5 White Mischief: Births, Deaths and Marriages Halloween Ball

And on to the ball! This is the first White Mischief event I’ve ever attended and was billed as part of a Steam Punk Weekend. I went as a sort of shot-through-the-eye vaguely Victoriana/Steampunk funeral attendee. Alas, there aren’t really any photos [that I’m willing to post]. We grabbed CM on the way out of the cinema and headed up to the Scala, getting there for about 11.20pm. Once we got there, I sort of wished we’d managed to split the PCC and Ball over two nights, because I was sorry to have missed the start of this one.

The best way I can describe it is to say it had an atmosphere of cheerful, welcoming debauchery, with rooms decorated beautifully, and readings and music and peepshows happening even on the stair landings. Everyone had made an extraordinary effort with their costumes. Particularly memorable was the Evil Robot with glowing blue eyes (properly freaked me out). Gentleman skeletons and zombie brides all over the place. Cabaret, dancing, aerial acrobats, a floor playing solely Northern Soul. We watched Perhaps Contraption play (in their words: an astonishing, twisted brass, avant pop marching band) and Amanda Palmer wandered onto the stage to play a couple of songs – launching straight into Runs In the Family, while a couple of fangirls behind me, who hadn’t realised she was going to show up, clutched each other and tried very hard not to faint. Later on, Neil Gaiman was spotted wandering around.

I was near the front, for once, and able to take a clearish photo, for once...

I was near the front of a crowd, for once, and able to take a clearish photo of a gig, for once…

I don’t think I can do the evening justice in this already over-long entry, except to say I wanted to have the energy to stay longer. When we left (with about an hour of the evening to go, I think) we chatted to other Ball-goers while we grabbed some food. Unanimously agreed to be an incredible evening. “I wish there was one every week,” said an elegantly vampiric-looking lady, as she picked up her pizza box.  Yep. CM and I drifted into our flat at about 5am.

And Sunday was spent sleeping and playing a mostly super-classy game of scrabble in our local pub as recovery.

Classy scrabble – at the key moment I had a U, people, and the grace to replace it with an E.

And that, ladies and gentleman, is why that entry you didn’t realise hadn’t been written on time was not written on time.

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5 thoughts on “The week that was

  1. Glad it was late for a good reason! Love the sound of the North Mississippi Allstars – I’ve spread the word to a dj friend of mine who I think will love them, too. This is the difficulty of blogging – to have something good to blog about you must go out and live, but then there is no time to blog about it. The answer, I believe, is more coffee, less sleep. Keep up the good work. I look forward to tonight’s entry.

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    • Ah, no. Now that you’ve read it I really will have to write another entry today. Hope your DJ friend enjoys the band. I might have to start sharing Coffee Monster’s coffee stash. Or quit my job. Or both x

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    • I think there might be mild swearing in the story. Don’t think there’s anything he’d really pick up on. But in terms of being able to give your full attention to it, yeah, maybe wait.

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  2. Pingback: The week that is | Bookworms and Coffee Monsters

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