Wednesday, 28 December 2011

Year End

It's not quite the end of the year yet but I get time to write this properly today as I'm hiding indoors, away from the wind and rain. I did this type of post last year and it's a good way of testing how senile I'm becoming in my old age, trying to remember some of my favourites things throughout the year. So here's some of my top things of 2011:


Scala and Kolacny Brothers

This discovery was made just a few days ago, thanks to my Dad. (who bought one of their albums for my Mum's Christmas). I remember the goosebumps I got listening to their cover of 'Creep' when I watched the Social Network preview in the cinema but never bothered to find out who they were. Now that I know, I've been searching through all of their covers on Youtube. I've posted one of my faves below; 'Enjoy the Silence' by Depeche Mode. (I thought nothing could beat Lacuna Coil's cover but this is close) I also love their cover of Marilyn Manson's 'The Beautiful People'. Try listening to that one and not getting goosebumps. Oh, and Metallica's 'Nothing Else Matters'.


It's taken Amy Lee a while to return but it was worth it. Nobody sings haunting melodies quite as well as she does and seeing them play live again was great. Watching her play the piano (and actually listening to the Scala bros) has made me want to play again. Maybe that'll be something I put down on my 2012 'to do' list.
Listening to Evanescence again has also brought back memories of a book I started to write years ago, when their first album 'Fallen' was always on my stereo. So now I plan to dust off those 40,000 words and get re-writing and maybe reach the end this time...

Lykke Li

I've been listening to a lot of Lykke Li this year. I think she's pretty cool and has a lovely voice. One of my fave songs is 'Tonight'.

Top Places:

London: Loved Camden Market, loved meeting up with a friend I hadn't seen in a while, loved seeing Wicked, loved the Tate Gallery and the fact we saw Michael Stipe (though I thought it wasn't him and didn't realise it was him until I googled him later and realised he did look old now...)

Loved this city, particularly the Whitworth Gallery and the Northern Quarter and again loved spending time with a friend I don't get to see that much

Beltane Fire Festival: This is something me and a friend had wanted to do for years and it was great we finally got around to going this year. It felt magical standing on top of Calton Hill in the pitch dark with crazy painted people dancing round fires and the such like. The view across the city below was also amazing.

Hettie's Tea Room in Pitlochry: It's become a bit of tradition for me and a friend to take a trip to Perth and Pitlochry in the summer. And, keeping up with traditions, we once again got a total soaking on our walk round Pitlochry which gave us good reason to keep finding shelter in cafes. Hettie's cakes are amazing!! Recommend.

Arran: A tranquil little island which looks like paradise when the sun shines and this year was made even more special when my bro got married there. And the sun shone for a whole 4 days. Happy memories for 2011!

Favourite Films:


This has to get a mention because I just loved the way it was filmed. The opening scene particularly looked like art in motion (that sounds cheesy but I can't think of any better way to describe it). Not the cheeriest of films mind you. Kirsten Dunst was also great in it.

Blue Valentine

This only gets a mention for the closing credits because I love the way they were put together so that's one of my fave film moments of 2011. The film itself was so depressing it's not one I'd watch again...but the acting was outstanding.

Black Swan

I already devoted a whole blog post to this one so I won't go on about it again. Loved the way it was filmed, loved the whole psychological aspects of it and loved the weirdness.

For pure enjoyment factors I have to mention Breaking Dawn and the last Harry Potter:The Deathly Hallows Part 2 . I went to see Harry Potter twice and cried both times.
I totally loved the way they filmed a couple of sequences in Breaking Dawn (flashing through Bella's life was one of them) I won't go into anymore detail for those who may be reading that haven't seen it!

I'm Still Here

Joaquin Phoenix's Mockumentary is uncomfortable and crazy viewing but it made me laugh. I love him. I could say so much more about this but words can't really describe it so just watch it. I can loan you the DVD.

Film that made me laugh and wasn't supposed to: Red Riding Hood
Hilarious love scene and the worst editing/continuity ever. Also shamless rip off of Twilight soundtrack/imagery.


Dangerous Deceit by Romy Gemmell (a.k.a Rosemary Gemmell, a.k.a my Mum)

This deserves a mention because this is my Mum's first book and also because it's a bloomin brilliant debut novel! Mystery and romance in Regency England with characters that draw you in.
You can read my Amazon review by clicking on 'review' below:
If you got a Kindle for your Christmas you can order a copy on Amazon or if you want a print version go to
Champagne Books

The Nightworld Series by L.J.Smith

Last year I read the Vampire Diaries; this year I've been working my way through the Nightworld Series. They get a bit repetitive after a while -human meets 'vampire' or 'witch' soulmate, they fight some evil contemporaries and end up together. But it's great escapism and particularly enjoyed 'Soulmate' which was about reincarnation.

One Day by David Nicholls

I had mixed feelings about this book when I started to read it because the main male protagonist, Dexter, annoyed me so much. But I really liked Emma, the main female protagnoist so I kept reading. And it became a real page turner; following Emma and Dexter through the years and wondering if they were ever going to get together. Would Dexter ever stop being such a shallow fool? Would Emma ever come to her senses and move on? The outcome is bittersweet so get your hankies ready if you read this.

When God Was A Rabbit by Sarah Winman

This book made me laugh out loud when I was reading it on the train. I loved the characters of Elly, her family, and her best friend Jenny Penny. The first half of the book has more laughs as it's seen through the eyes of Elly when she's a girl. The second half takes on a more serious tone which was a bit of a risk but it still works, though in some ways makes you feel like you've read two different books by the end.

I could go on but this post has already taken me too long to write. So here's to a fun and productive 2012.

Sunday, 18 December 2011


It's taken me a while to feel the Christmas cheer this year; probably because the weather has been extra grim the past few weeks with what felt like one hour of daylight some days, and I've also had the cold. But after putting up my tree yesterday and watching some Christmas films I'm slowly coming around. Today I went to Pollock House with my parents for lunch and we had a walk around the snow covered grounds afterwards and the sun was shining (sunlight, how I've missed you!). I took the photos above which don't really do the scenery justice. My Mum made a comment about how simple things can make her happy and I had just been thinking the past couple of days how it's the little things at Christmas time that brighten my mood. (like the chocolate santas, turkey dinner and so on...)

I know a lot of people are a bit 'bah humbug' about the whole festive season (and the consumerism part of it and mental shoppers does cause me some misery) but ultimately it adds a little bit of sparkle into a very dull few months. I like going home to my parents for a few days and catching up with friends over the holidays and having a break from work.

I also like the dawning of a new year as it always makes me feel motivated to do new things (even if it doesn't last!) I like thinking ahead to what I might do and where I might go...

If you're feeling a bit of the winter misery here's a little poem by James Walker that reminds me how good it can feel being indoors on a dark, cold night!

Safe ~ James Walker

Come, stir the fire,
The lamps unlit
Leave, while we sit
Close to the glow,
And fire and shadow flit
About the room, and fight
For love of it.

Cold winds blow
Whirling in the drear
Night outside; the blaze
Uncoils its tetacles, and here
We in a dream-daze
With the lamps unlit,
Safe in firelight sit.

Sunday, 4 December 2011

Bite Me

When the first traces of Twilight hysteria hit the media I initially wrote it off as another hyped-up teen flick/series that I would avoid. I’d never read the book(s) and I thought I probably never would. But then out of curiosity I spoke to a friend who is very clued up on the fantasy/goth/alternative American YA market and she had read Twilight when it was first out and rated it. So I told her to bring over her DVD and I remember being a little bit mesmerised by the film: the low lit blue colour running through it, the indie minimalist style, great soundtrack and captivating characters. The subsequent films have also been very enjoyable but the Hollywood slick of the new directors took away from Catherine Hardwicke’s initial realness. (I love Catherine Hardwicke and will excuse her for her blip in the road, Red Riding Hood, if she agrees to be my director, for my books...)

After watching the film I read the book and was...hooked. There’s no better feeling than being drawn completely into a world and waiting impatiently to read the next of the series. There’s been a lot of criticism about Stephanie Myer’s writing but I didn’t notice any obvious flaws (and the way a book is written does matter to me. I’ve thrown a lot of books to one side in disgust at the poor quality of writing).

There’s also been a load of criticism from feminists, the media, domestic abuse groups and so on, criticising the ‘submissive’ character of Bella. I admit that parts of New Moon, where Edward tried to forbid Bella to see Jacob, began to really irritate me (though to be fair he was ultimately trying to protect her from being mauled by a werewolf). But anyone who has read the books properly can’t fail to see how strong a character Bella is.

What the critics don’t seem to get is the fact that Bella always makes her own choices. Edward can’t even read her mind (his Vampire super-power), so he certainly can’t control it. I really liked the character of Bella because she’s a bit of an outcast but not in a ‘woe me’ kind of way – more in a, ‘I know my own mind and I’m not going to conform just to fit in with you’ kind of way. She’s quiet but very determined and assertive. She falls in love with Edward; she knows she wants to be with him and she will do anything to get/keep her man. It’s also Bella who puts the pressure on in the bedroom and Edward, always the gentleman, keeps everything in check until he gets her down the aisle. She insists on keeping her baby (even although it’s killing her and no one really knows if it’s actually a baby growing inside of her) and I love the fact she never breaks into screaming hysteria throughout any part of the wacky world she becomes part of.

That’s not to say I have no misgivings about the fact she’s 17 and is prepared to essentially give up her life to be with the boy she loves (old man, vampire, whatever!) but then I think about the fact that she has found true love and suspect these same critics probably wouldn’t have had a problem with a female character giving up on that for their education or career (and how many woman have probably done that to discover that they’ve maybe prioritised wrong?).

It’s kind of refreshing that a 21st century female is allowed to want for love to the detriment of all else. Some say she’s a poor role model for teenage girls because she appears to have no other interests other than Edward (she does actually, she is clued up on her literature). Bella doesn’t care about going to the prom or buying a dress; surely that’s a refreshing role model for teenage girls bombarded with images of fake tanned princesses that they feel under pressure to emulate? And she’s only seventeen and she’s just met her soulmate who happens to be madly in love with her too (and he’s hot – what would you do in her situation?). Edward provides her with an eternity to discover who she wants to be, with him by her side. So bite me, (and I’m a cynic, ask my Mum,) but when it comes to this love story I’m rooting for Bella and Edward all the way.

Monday, 24 October 2011


When I write I like to listen to music. Even if I'm sitting in silence when I write I think I still have some kind of soundtrack playing along with the voices of the characters in my head. I'm also a very visual writer so I can clearly 'see' scene by scene what's happening as the story unfolds. This inevitably then leads me to daydream about the book getting published then made into a film (ah to dream!!) Songs that I listened to started to become the soundtrack of my book; they just seemed to 'fit' certain scenes perfectly as they evoke a certain kind of mood. So here's an insight for you to the 'soundtrack' of the book I finished writing a few months ago:

Catch and Release - The Silversun Pickups
The Royal We - The Silversun Pickups
Julien- Placebo
The Bitter End - Placebo
Empty Room - Arcade Fire
Between Two Lungs - Florence and Machine

I'm sure there's more, but these were the ones I'd written down in my little notebook of book related notes (yes, I am that sad).

Another confession - I've also picked out an actor that I want to play my lead male character but he'd need to dye his hair and wear contacts...and not grow any older because he's already getting too old to play him. So that's clearly never going to happen!

I think it's fun to have these silly little daydreams because it all adds to the enjoyment of the writing experience as far as I'm concerned. And you may be thinking why don't I just give scriptwriting a go but there's something about writing a book which allows you to get into the total inner workings of the characters minds that I don't think a script could ever provide so I'd still choose just to have the book out there if nothing else!

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Dark Matters

At the beginning of the month I took a trip down Manchester way and totally loved the city! It had a real buzz about it and I loved the gothic/tudor architecture mixed in with the modern. Me and my friend took a trip to the Whitworth Art Gallery (part of Manchester Univeristy). I'd read good things about it online and wasn't disappointed. The 'Dark Matters' exhibition is one of the best I've seen (and I saw some good things when at The Tate and Vancouver Art Gallery). An overview of the exhibit is best described from the guide I picked up at the gallery (that would be a paper one, not the human guide): '...artists...employ a range of technology, media and machinery to engage with ideas surrounding shadow, darkness and illusion. In an exhibition populated by half-seen spectres, visual riddles and distorted reflections, works are united by themes of temporality, absence, truth and wonder'.

Click here to see some examples of the works on show:

I really loved the strangeness of Pascal Grandmaison's 'Fake Imagery of a World Upside Down' picture which looks like a man is falling off the face of the earth. Quite an unsettling image and when I watched the film Melancholia last week this image popped into my head. In fact, the opening sequence of Meloncholia was like an art exhibition in motion and would have fitted in really well into 'Dark Matters'.

The photo at the top of the blog posting was one I took of a picture in the exhibition by John Lathum called 'No It'. The picture is about the 'notice of time, Universe and the places humans inhabit'. You can see my faint reflection in the photo - when you stand in front of this art work you can clearly see yourself as part of the picture which I thought was really cool as you become part of the art.

Another great section of the exhibition was the Brass Art installation 'Still Life No.1'. Standing in a white room with shadows dancing around the walls, consisting of small people and trees and magical shapes made me feel like I was standing inside a childhood memory. It demonstrated the magical effect light can create as it was such a simplistic set up (a table in the corner of the room contained plastic models and figurines with a single light bulb fixed on them as they spun around a small circular mechanism). So inspiriing to see something so small create such a great spectacle.

Daniel Rozin's work was also amazing. When standing in front of his 'Snow Mirror' the screen was a fuzz of snow (like when your TV goes on the blink) and then gradually my image appeared in black and white amongst the snow, forming into a weird slow motion 'computerised' version of me. When I waved the image waved back, like an alternative me was saying hello from another digital dimension.

I'll leave you with a quote from the Russian writer Maxin Gorky (published in the gallery guide), where he is describing his first impression of the Lumiere Brothers cinematic showcase: (which kind of sums up my impression of this exhibit minus the word terrible!)
"Last night I was in the Kingdom of Shadows.... If one could only convey the strangeness of this world. A world without colour and sound...No life, but a shadow of life...It is terrible to see, this movement of shadows, nothing but shadows, these spectres, these phantoms."

Monday, 19 September 2011

Gypsy Firefly

Today's post isn't about a random song- the blog title relates to an image I love. When I was in Perth in August I bought a card titled 'Gypsy Firefly' (I took a photo of it, which you can see above. It's quite blurry but it gives you an idea of what I'm talking about). The image was created by artists called Angi Sullins and Silas Toball. There's something about this artwork that I find so mysterious and inspiring - I want to be able to step inside the picture and be transported into this girl's world. I think it was that kind of feeling that made me want to write in the first place; the desire to live inside any world, become any character and experience a bit of magic. I've got a few cards by these artists (as does my friend Lorna). I also just discovered this evening that they have website of art, inspiration and short films at I'd recommend having a look if you want to step into an alternative little world for a while.

This is an example of one of the films they've created. It's called 'A Knock on the Door' (which I find kind of funny seeing as one of the lines of my Haiku I wrote last night was 'she comes knocking'. A nice little bit of synchronicity...)For me the music ruins it a bit so I prefer to view it with the sound off! Enjoy :) and hope it brings you all some inspiration...

Sunday, 18 September 2011

No sound but the wind

Today's song is by the Editors. This would have been such an appropriate title for Monday when the gale force winds were blowing across the country. I was going to attempt to write something profound in my blog post today seeing as I’ve been a bit lazy with the whole random song a day thing but then I thought nah, I’d rather attempt another haiku. So here you go:

No sound but the wind

As night falls, she comes knocking
Whispers in the air:
Can you hear me, are you there?

Tuesday, 13 September 2011


Today's song is Awful, by Hole and this is a bit of stupid blog post because I'm really tired tonight and wanted to write something but my brain can't cope with anything too taxing...

So here's a list of things I think are awful:

Dark mornings


That new Haribos advert

Katie Price, Jordan, whatever the she devil calls herself these days

Ignorant people


Always joining the wrong queue (you know, when you join the shorter queue only to have the old biddy in front of you take half an hour to count out the exact change)

Nightmares that are so vivid they leave you in a daze for the rest of the day (thankfully don’t have that many nightmares)

Having to deal with overly loud/happy people first thing in the morning

Accidently eating a bit of the foil paper from a Kit Kat wrapper – eeee- this is the equivalent of someone scraping their nails down a blackboard for me

Eating a packet of fruit gums and only finding one blackcurrant one (and way too many yellows)

The fact Smarties no longer have the answer, due to them now tasting of ‘natural colouring’ with no mood enhancing E numbers

The fact I can no longer tape anything on TV because I don’t have one of those fancy box things

The way old people always moan about young people being rude then proceed to ram you in the heels with their trolleys

Monday, 12 September 2011

As Dust Dances 2/15ths

The random song posts are back as I was needing some inspiration to kick start my writing again and this seems to work for me. The song is by Biffy Clyro (who seem to come on a lot when I have my MP3 player on random)and below is my poem. It's been a while since I've written proper poetry, and it could be said I'm still not, seeing as this breaks rules with erratic rhyming and bad punctuation. It's quite a melancholy poem for which I blame the weather.

As Dust Dances 2/15ths

I predicted your last goodbye
like watching time unfold and knowing it will be told
You can hold the moment, lock it in a memory
but you know and I know that soon
it will become a trace, soon the clocks will erase
and it will change, and we will become dust.
The mirror with a lost reflection, distorting the next direction
You cannot be followed, I cannot trail it back
The pictures and the words never capture
everything that was true, everything that was you.

Saturday, 27 August 2011

My Boy Builds Coffins

Today's very random song is by Florence and the Machine . I think I'm going to make this my last random song themed blog post and seeing as I started with a Haiku I'm going to finish one. I also had no clue what else to write with that title as a theme! So here it is...

My Boy Builds Coffins

The last resting point
he carves in contemplation
of who will lie here.

Friday, 26 August 2011

Blank Page

Today's song is Blank Page by the Smashing Pumpkins. Missed a day so guess that is fitting in with the whole blank page theme...

When faced with a blank piece of paper I'm often tempted to doodle. I had a conversation with a friend yesterday about doodling and how it's a really good creative outlet/relaxer for when you feel like producing some art but can't quite be bothered to focus properly (or can't focus properly because you're in some 'important' meeting). It reminded me of a doodle I kept from years ago which turned into a bit of an elaborate drawing (which is above). I dated it on the back so I know I drew this when I was about 14 and I think I could actually draw a whole let better then than I can now! Supposidly you need to keep drawing to get better and I don't do enough these days. If I could go back to study something full time I'd love to go to Art School. I remember my art teacher encouraging me to think about applying but my bro was already there and I thought one art student in the family was enough (particularly because he is 110% more talented than moi!). I was also kind of worried that if I tried to formally 'study' art it would take the fun out of it.

I think doodling is probably the art equivalent of 'free writing' where you're supposed to just disengage your brain and let your pen form words. I've tried that before and it's quite hard to get into the 'zone' but once you stop overthinking it's quite cool to see the bizarre sentences it produces.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Sometimes... today's song by My Bloody Valentine.

This is kind of a vague title which I guess makes this post easier in some ways. 'Sometimes' is a word which evokes feelings of wistfulness or nostalgia. Which is quite appropriate really as when I was in the Arches Cafe Bar this evening I noticed a woman (crazy woman) in a wheelchair who used to frequent the GFT Cafe Bar when I worked there many years ago. She used to come in with a tray attached to her wheelchair demanding cake in a very loud voice, always wearing a baseball cap and always telling staff members that they looked like some famous person who they had no resemblance to whatsoever. This evening in the Arches she had a massive pizza on her tray and was positioned at the bar while she ate. I also saw her (or more like heard her) in the audience at a play I went to one night in the Arches and she laughed really loudly at the most inappropriate bits.

Seeing her this evening made me feel a bit nostalgic for those days when I worked in a job where I had little responsibilities and got to meet lots of interesting people and sometimes lots of crazy people,and got to play my own CDs behind the bar. I still get to meet some interesting and crazy people in my present job (in fact the crazy is on a whole other level sometimes, with massive cuddly toy rabbits making appearances and I also had to interview a client right after he peed himself - an adult client, bleurgh). Sometimes I get bored with 9-5 routine though and I guess that's why it's important for me to do creative things outwith work to add some variety. Sometimes I think it would be great to be able to write full time, maybe go to some nice cafes, go to the cinema in the afternoon... but in reality I think I'd fritter away the day doing pointless things (and probably eat too much chocolate) I think sometimes the busier I am, the more I actually do (so the more I actually write).

That's what I'll tell myself anyway to feel better about those dark mornings that are approaching when it feels like I'm making the commute to work in the middle of the night and when I get home all I want to do is crawl into bed and forget the world, only for it to start all over again the next day... I hate winter, you'd never guess eh? Sometimes I wonder what it would be like living in a country which has no proper winter...

Tuesday, 23 August 2011


Today's song is Drown by the Smashing Pumpkins.

Once upon a time I nearly drowned but this isn’t what this blog entry is about...

I was struggling to think of something to write around the theme of ‘drown’ and then remembered a conversation I had many years ago with a passing stranger. (Some of the best conversations I’ve had in life are with random strangers who seem to just appear to tell me interesting stories). He talked about a near death experience he had where he nearly drowned. During the experience he fell deep under water and ‘was brought’ to reside in a lighthouse (I love lighthouses!), which he described as a waiting ground for people to pass over or return to life. A woman came to fetch him and told him he had to go back and wasn’t to pass over. Later in the guy’s real life he met this same woman and she told him that she recognised him too, even though they had never met in ‘real time’ before. They both took part in regression hypnosis, (if you want to know what this is, then look up a book called Journey of Souls- which I had strangely just read a few months before meeting this guy when it fell off a bookshelf in front of me). During the hypnosis session they discovered that they had met in many past lives and he said they became best friends in this life.

I kind of like the idea of meeting someone in many lives (if you like them- not so great if you have to endure an annoying twerp 50 lives over). I met another random stranger at a writing thing earlier in the year and had an interesting conversation over dinner with her one evening. She told me she’d lost her mother when she was a teenager and when she had her own children one of her daughters started saying strange things when she was about 3. The daughter said to her one day: “Isn’t it nice how you now get to be my mummy?” And pointed out a window of a flat over to old buildings saying she used to ‘work there’ and said the windows reminded her of her old school. She also demanded to know “who the characters in her life were going to be”. The aforementioned book Journey of Souls talks a lot about how we get to choose certain people to come into our lives and that we’ll usually recognise them (on a subconscious level) which could explain why you sometimes feel an instant like or connection to people you first meet. You never know... I asked this woman if she’d read Journey of Souls and she said she had. She brought up memories of a period I went through in my early 20s where a lot of weird synchronicities,(look up Jung for an explanation of that one), occurred in my life. She reckoned it was because my mind was free from clutter of study at that point, I had a low demand job and was going out socialising out with creative people a lot, so my mind was more open or something.

I like to think that there’s something a bit more than just the black and white of every day existence and love coming across people like that who tell me bizarre things! I’m still not sure I’m sold on the idea of reincarnation though; it seems a bit of an exhausting concept...

Monday, 22 August 2011

Living is a problem because everything dies...

...this is my random song of today by Biffy Clyro; nice cheery concept which I don’t want to get too philosophical about.

I think ‘Living is a problem’ is the mantra of any plant which spends any significant time in my flat. My friend bought me a sunflower growing kit and the photo above shows that one is indeed growing and so far surviving...I’m determined to actually get it to flower! I love sunflowers and it would be really cool if this one successfully beat the odds of my tendency to either over water or starve the things. Hopefully I’ll soon be able to post up another picture soon with it in full bloom.

One of the downsides of living in a flat is the lack of a garden (unless you count the bit of space out the back where the bins are kept). The prettiest garden I’ve ever seen was the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Chinese Garden in Vancouver (photo below). I’ve mentioned this before in my blog but it was so great it deserves another mention. It was such a beautiful sanctuary in the middle of a city and I could have sat there all day. Not quite the same as the park along the road from me... but maybe if I close my eyes I can imagine this place instead...

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Creation Lake

I'm trying an experiment this week,(or maybe for a few weeks, depending how much time I get to write), where my blog posts are going to be inspired by the first song which pops up on my MP3 player random shuffle. Today's song is Creation Lake by the Silversun Pickups.

For this entry I decided to attempt a Haiku (been a while since I've written any poetry) so here it is:

Creation Lake

Scattered pink bloom floats;
a discarded summer cloak
fading in moonlight.

Sunday, 14 August 2011


The Painting above is ‘Spring’ by William Kennedy, one of the Glasgow Boys who moved to Paisley

I saw my current hometown, Paisley, in a new light this weekend after visiting the local museum, owned by Paisley Arts Institute. The museum is currently housing an exhibition of paintings by artists collectively known as “The Glasgow Boys.” I’ve seen some of their work before in the Kelvingrove but was unaware that the group had close links to Paisley, with a couple of them living in the town and studying at Paisley’s School of Design in the late 1800s/early 1900s. The Paisley Arts Institute was formed in 1876 and provided a venue for sales of ‘The Glasgow Boy’s’ work. The Institute is still going strong, running various drawing competitions, and is recognised as a leading exhibiting body in Scotland.

Within the current collection on display were several paintings of old streets in Paisley; it was fun trying to figure out what now stands in place of long forgotten buildings. It struck me how vibrant Paisley must have been during this period, with the Coats family just one of the wealthy art collectors based there around that time. Also on display were the famous Paisley Pattern shawls. The Weavers were a well read and radical group, which included the poet Robert Tannahill, and were involved in the ‘Radical War’ of the 1920s.

It’s sad to now walk down Paisley High Street and be faced with rows of unoccupied shop fronts (and a burn out flat which the Council haven’t even bothered to board up.) It has such potential; the Abby is a beautiful building and the Oak Shaw area is really pretty. The local Arts Centre is a place I consciously want to support and utilise – I’ve been to a few plays/dance performances there and attended Life Drawing Classes during the year. Sometimes with Glasgow being so close by it’s easy to forget to look a bit closer to home. I hope the Council start to do more to encourage the growth of new business and invest more into the local community to keep the culture alive.

Sunday, 7 August 2011

Sadako and the paper cranes

One of my friends invited me along to an Origami workshop yesterday in the Mitchell Library to learn how to fold a paper crane in memory of a girl, Sadako Sasaki, who died as a result of effects from the atomic bomb which hit Hiroshima in 1945.

When Sadako was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of 12 she spent her remaining months in hospital where she folded hundreds of paper cranes and her friends and family brought them to her as gifts. In Japan there is a legend that if you fold 1,000 paper cranes that your wishes will come true. They also believe that Cranes live for 1,000 years.
After her death Sadako's classmates campaigned for a Monument, to honour not only Sadoko's memory, but also the other children who died as a result of the bomb.
This resulted in The Children's Peace Monument being built in 1958 and all of the paper cranes made at yesterday's workshop will be sent to the Monument in Hiroshima.

I was really rubbish at folding my Crane but thankfully an expert was on hand to help! The story was really sad but knowing hundreds are still folding paper cranes in her memory (and no doubt across Japan hundreds are folding cranes in memory of lives lost in the latest Nuclear/Earthquake disaster) adds a bit of hope and simplicity back into the world.

Getting Lost

Thought it was about time I updated my blog - didn't realise unitl I logged in that it had actually been so long since I last posted.

The past couple of months have been filled with the usual day job humdrum, a fun trip to London (where I got to meet a wax version of RPatz and failed to recognise Michael Stipe in the flesh at the Tate Gallery until I googled him when I got home and realised yes, he is quite small and old looking now with dark rimmed glasses...)and the biggest event was being bridesmaid at my brother's wedding in Arran and acquiring a sister in law!

More and more I find myself seeking new places, new experiences and new people as I find this then adds to my writing and sparks off half formed ideas...or just helps to take me out of that boring 9-5 frame of mind. Just stepping off the tube in London and going down the escalator to sounds of a really good busker (it's been a while since I've heard a really good busker in a city) wakened up my senses to something new, something different.

I also love being by the sea so staying in Arran for a long weekend of sunshine was so relaxing and it felt like I'd escaped to a little paradise island for a while.

The past week I've been off I've enjoyed getting lost in my own head, getting lost in my writing and music and films and books and I also did some sketching when I was in Perth (church windows are not the easiest of things to draw). I feel lucky to love all those things; to have the ability to evade reality for a while and daydream.

I finished my young adult novel during my week off and am now in the process of going back to the start and doing the edits. I felt a sense of accomplishment finishing it but am also a bit deflated and sad as I'm leaving behind characters who have been wandering around in my head for the last 10 months or so. Maybe by the time I've finished the edits I will be gladly showing them the door...

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

3 Letter Word Stories

I'd forgotten about this fun little writing task I set myself a couple of years ago. Amazing what stories you can create by just using 3 letter words. Off to try some 4 letter word, 5 letter word stories now...Please leave your efforts in the comments section for fun:)


The cat ate the mat and the man got mad; all day his cat ate and ate; he'd fed him too but the cat was fat and the man did ask for the vet but the vet got mad and the man got sad and let the cat eat his new mat and the cat ate the kid who had bit his paw and the cat ate the kid who had hit the dog….the man got too sad; his cat was too bad and not fun and not rad. The bad cat who ate the mat.


Sam Zen was the man, the sex god. Sam was fly and the guy got the eye all day.

"Hey Sam!" Lou was the hot gal Sam had the eye for but Sam was too fly for the one gal. Ten, yes. Not one.

"Hey Man! Dig the car!" Joe let Sam buy his rad car. Why? Sam did not ask. But Joe too had the eye for Sam. Joe was gay. All day Joe saw Sam act the man, sip his gin...Hah! And Joe was gay?

Sam was all set for the day; had his pot, had his gin, his new car, his gun. The sun was hot. The day was top dog.

Sam got out his car. Got out his gun and hit the tin can off 'Hit Row.' Sam let rip. Bam. Bam. Bam! One tin can...two...Sam hit low. Sam hit his toe. Doh! Not fly. Dim guy!

"Wah!" Sam let out. "Ahh!"

His gal, Sal saw Sam sob. Man, Sam was wet.

"Shh! Sit!" Sal got the toe, got her pin out the kit and got the tin can lid..."Sip the gin, Sam."

Sam had his gin and had his pot. "AHH!"

Sal cut his toe. Sal was mad you see. Saw Sam and 'shy' Val...Sam and Eve...Sam and Jen...Jan....He'd lie. Sam was sly - say he'd one gal - her. Hah. Now who was the dim one!

"Sal! The toe!...the toe! You cut the toe cow!"

Sal got one tin can for the toe. She saw Sam sob and cry.

"But why Sal? Why?"

"Bye Sam Zen," She set off.

His toe Sal cut off she now got out the tin can and had for her tea. Ham, pea and toe. Yum! The end for Sam Zen and his big toe.


Fat Boy met his pal Old Man Bud and sat all day and saw the sun set low. The sun was red. The sky was red. Fat Boy ate his pie and Old Man Bud lit his fag. The air was hot. The air was tar.

Old Man Bud let out the bee; he’d got the bee out the jar he’d got out his car. Fat Boy saw the bee fly and fly and Old Man Bud let out: Say, Fat Boy. Gee, see the bee fly…It’s got big too…how can the bee fly? And not dip and die? Fat Boy, how… why?

Fat Boy saw Old Man Bud get sad; saw him nod; saw him sob – now he’d cry.

Now you…Fat Boy met his eye. See the sun. You are old, yes, but you are the bee. You are the joy. You are the wit…not the old git not yet, not for now.

Old Man Bud saw the sky ask him: Why cry? Yes, you die. But not now. For now you fly. For now, you are the bee.

Old Man Bud saw the joy... He’d not rot yet. Fat Boy saw him run; saw him jig; saw him rap, saw him tap. His pal – Old Man Bud.

Pat Woo and The Sun

One day Pat Woo saw the sun dip and tip out the sky.
”Wow! See the sun!”

Pat Woo saw the sun run and Pat ran too. The sun set off for the day. One sun ray hit the ill cow. Pat saw the cow fly – set out for the sky.

“Moo! Pat Woo! The cow can fly!”

Pat Woo saw the sun run and dip. Its ray hit the old rat. The old rat was lit. The rat got fit – saw the sky; his old eye now new. The rat saw the sun; saw Pat Woo.

“Pat Woo! The rat can see!”

One ray hit the cod. Pat Woo saw its fin dip; saw the cod nod and the cod got out the sea net.

“Pat Woo! The cod will not die!”
”Hot sun you are ace.” Pat Woo had joy for the sun.

The sun had fun. Pat Woo did too – the day Pat Woo saw the sun dip and tip out the sky.

Thursday, 5 May 2011

Dangerous Deceit

It's not every day I get to write about the release of my own mother's Debut Novel!!
Above is a picture of said novel; 'Dangerous Deceit' by Romy Gemmell, which is a Regency Romance set in England. It's available now on e-book through the publshers Champagne Books:

and on Amazon Kindle. The print version should be out in a couple of months.

This is a blurb about the book:
Lydia Hetherington is uninterested in society balls or marriage, until her brother's friend, Lord Marcus Sheldon, rides into her life to unseat her from her horse and unsettle her heart. An undercover spy for the government, Sheldon is equally unsettled by Lydia.
Complicated by a French spy, her best friend's unrequited love for Lydia's brother, James, and a traitorous villain, Lydia gradually finds her emotions stirred by Lord Sheldon. But what is his relationship with the beautiful Lady Smythe and his part in an old scandal? Lydia faces danger before all deception is uncovered and love claims its reward.

I'm very excited and proud to be able to talk of my Mum's success as it is much deserved! Getting caught up in all of the excitement of the release of a debut novel is making me realise how satisfying (but exhausting) the whole experience can be. 'Romy' has put in a lot of hard work and perserverance in order for the book to be completed and accepted for publication and the hard work continues with the promotion! I think my Mum would agree though that it's all worth it?!
She's an inspiration to all writers who are sitting with half written (or completed books) which are festering away on a computer/in a drawer (ahem). Nothing will ever come of it if you don't get on and get the stuff out there! (I'm lecturing myself here).

Today is the cyber launch of Dangerous Deceit so get on over to Romy's Regency Romance blog to join in all the fun!!

Raising a glass of champagne to my Mum!!

Monday, 11 April 2011

The Thing Called Love

I joined up to Lovefilm the other week in the hope that I can catch up on all of the films I keep missing at the cinema (and ones that I never got round to watching throughout the years). One film that has been on my list of ‘must sees’ for about 17 years now (hasn’t taken me long then to get around to actually watching it) is ‘The Thing Called Love’ and seeing as I use this blog to talk a lot about Pop Culture I’m going to indulge my inner teenager and revisit a little River Phoenix fascination, who was one of the most captivating pop culture icons of my generation (in my opinion).

Any River Phoenix fan will know that ‘The Thing Called Love’ was his last completed film before he died (in 1993 for anyone not in the know) and it was with interest that I watched it now, all these years later. I have to admit in all of his later films I tend to look out for signs that he was doing drugs, which probably sounds morbid. I’m no drugs expert – I’ve never touched any, and have never had any desire to, but I’ve been around people who have taken them so I’m talking from experience of being a bystander. I remember working with a guy who was very ‘cute’ and fresh faced. I knew he dabbled in ‘soft drugs’ but after about a year of knowing him I realised from overhead conversations on nights out that he’d started dabbling in cocaine and for me it was soon written all over his face. It was a very subtle transformation but his features ‘hardened’ and his expression had a subtle shadow of darkness that aged his youthful glow. Cocaine users might tell me that I’m talking rubbish but it’s an image that stayed with me.

I remember seeing stills of Phoenix in the press from the set of ‘The Thing Called Love’ and I found them unsettling as he had a really dark look about him (and it wasn’t just because he had dyed his hair darker for the role) This was maybe why I avoided watching it at the time (I was about 13/14 when the film came out). Watching it now I definitely think he looks older than his 23 years, which is weird for such a previous ‘fresh faced’ actor who usually passed for a lot younger than his actual age.

In the film his face has a sort of hollow look about it but then the character he plays is dark and broody and Phoenix was well known for immersing himself completely in his roles so maybe he just successfully ‘transformed’ into the character. His haunting vulnerability still shines through the arrogance of the character, particularly in the scene where he confesses to Miranda (Samantha Mathis’ character) that he wanted to call her but was too scared.

The thing that also struck me about him in this film is how completely at home he looks when he’s singing and playing the guitar and it’s interesting when reading about his life that many people talk about how music was his true passion (he played in a band called Aleka’s Attic and had started touring with them seriously in his early 20s). Watching him sing country songs also draws inevitable comparisons to his brother, Joaquin’s, role as Johnny Cash in 'Walk the Line'. It makes me wonder if Joaquin accepted the role of Cash as an ode to River’s part in this film--River plays a fictional country singer, not Johnny Cash--- (I have to say that Joaquin pulls off the whole moody and broody thing with much more intensity).

River has mesmerising contradictions about him in this film as there is something
very feminine about some of his characteristics and features one minute, then in the next scene he will be completely masculine and arrogant. There have been many speculations about Phoenix’s sexuality (particularly as he apparently did some method acting in order to get into his role of a gay hustler in My Own Private Idaho) and it wouldn’t surprise me if he broke many a male and female’s heart. There appears to be so many aspects of each gender in his energy that I wouldn’t be surprised if he was bi (and possibly made any guy who met him suspect the same about themselves!).

I recently watched some interviews with him on Youtube in the run up to the 1989 Oscars when he was nominated for a supporting actor Oscar for his role as Danny in ‘Running on Empty’ (great film that no one else I know seems to have watched – go and watch it!). There is some great YouTube footage where he is at a press conference standing in a wooly jumper (the kind your gran would knit you) and just looks like a fish out of water; totally unassuming, awkward and...normal. A million miles away from the slick robotic Zac Effrons of today.

Even on the red carpet on the walk into the Oscars he has jaw length bleached blonde hair which just looks so 90s grunge and cool. And Martha Plimpton, his girlfriend of the time, is larking around behind him sporting what looks like a semi skin-head hairdo and some white ensemble that could easily pass for a nightdress. This made me nostalgic for times when actors like that were our role models (ok, so Phoenix overdosing on drugs was not a good role model example) but here were 2 young people turning up at a massive Oscars ceremony in LA looking like...2 young people having a good time and not giving a sh** about what the establishment thought. Another clip I watched of him walking up the red carpet to a film premiere, dressed in a green t-shirt and again sporting long bleached blonde hair, made him look more of a grunge musician than an actor.

He genuinely came across as not caring about any of the fame that came with his acting – maybe because moving into acting was never his conscious choice? Everything written about him suggests that it was his parents, particularly his mother, who pushed him down the road of acting and once ‘there’ he felt pressurised to keep going in order to support the family with his wages.

There’s a lot of speculation about his death, suspicions, accusations and conspiracy theories. I stumbled across some really mind bending conspiracy theories where some people reckon River was subjected to mind control experimentation during his time in the Children of God Cult when he was a kid and that he had started to remember things people didn’t want to get talked about in the press so someone spiked him with a toxic cocktail of drugs.

Weirdly enough there are even wackier conspiracy theories about Kurt Cobain being subjected to mind control experiments also when he spent time in his mum’s mental institution when he was a kid. And the article then draws further connections to Gus Van Sant being part of some underground establishment mind control experimentation (it talks about his film My Own Private Idaho being based on Cobain’s life -before his fame-as Cobain was apparently a gay hustler and had narcolepsy. And Narcolepsy apparently is a symptom of being subjected to mind control experiments in infancy and so on).....I find the theories fascinating, though I don’t buy into them, but in my earlier blog entry titled ‘Cult’ I had jokingly wondered if the connections between said people (and I threw Michael Stipe into the mix) does have some sinister undertone... Matt Damon is mentioned in one of the conspiracers article so if he dies any time soon under suspicious circumstances maybe we should start taking note...

I really don’t think there is any mystery about River’s death that night. He was heavily into the music scene where he was probably living a bit of a rock and roll lifestyle and at the same time struggling with the perfect poster boy image the media was projecting into the public realm. It’s possible to be passionate about the environment, be a vegan and care about important issues, and be a sweet person, as well as being into hard drugs. There’s quotes where he himself talked about how anyone can be an addict (not just your stereotypical bum on the street) and how he wished he wasn’t ‘so conscious’.

It’s reported on the night he died that he voluntarily took a ‘speed ball’ containing fatal levels of a bad mix of drugs. Other reports say there was a spate of people getting ‘spiked’ in the club that night with bad drugs. I don’t believe that night was the first time he dabbled. I reckon he was just unlucky and to me it’s just an example of the Russian roulette you play if you’re going to take heavy drugs.

His mother reckons he made a deal with God to stay on the earth for only 23 years. It’s reported that she said she was in labour with him for over 3 days and she had the feeling that he really didn’t want to be born and she imagined he was bargaining with God saying ok, I’ll come down for a little while, 5 years....etc. until they reached a number they agreed on. She saw him as being some ‘missionary’ to deliver some important message to the world. What an expectation to live up to.

I reckon whatever message he might have wanted to deliver came out a little distorted... as anyone’s would when the media is taking control of your words. But ultimately for me he brought a refreshing naive honesty into ‘Hollywood’ films and a uniqueness that has yet to be matched on screen. I was at a party on Saturday night and got talking to a female around my age and she told me she remembered the week he died because one of her friends was found curled up on the floor outside their class unable to speak. She said such was her grief that they thought a family member had died. An extreme example of the spell he cast upon his fans...

But go and watch his films and I defy you to remain untouched.

Sunday, 20 March 2011


Last weekend I attended the annual Scottish Association of Writers conference. I'm a postal member of Erskine Writers so it's always nice to meet up in person with the group at the conference. Our group did very well - getting about 12 mentions in competitions and I'm pleased to group myself in amongst those mentions as I won the T.C Farries Trophy for the first part of my new young adult novel. This win means so much to me because I've been excited about this book right from the minute the idea started to unfold in my mind and it's so great to know that someone else sees some potential in it. I am now frantically trying to get it finished so that I can start sending it out. The photo above shows all of the first prize winners of the weekend (I'm the second person in the front row). I felt like I was at a press conference when this photo was getting taken as I kid you not there must have been about 20 cameras flashing in our faces!

The weekend came at just the right time for me as I was badly needing an escape into a world away from my day job and some time out just to completely switch off that part of my life and focus on writing, writing, writing. I was very touched by the encouragement and support from not only my own writing group (especially my Mum who I am lucky enough to have as a writing buddy in the same group) but other groups and I know that I will have a lot of people on my case if I don't get this novel finished!

Jane Wenham-Jones was one of the key speakers at the weekend. She was hilarious and also spoke a lot of important key truths. I attended her workshop and she made us shout out things which we feel stop us writing. A lot of valid reasons popped up - work commitments (that was mine), family commitments and so on. She gave validation to these points but basically told us that what really stops us writing is fear and lack of confidence. And I have to agree. I am nearly 20,000 words into my novel and am having flashes of doubt at every new chapter. Is it interesting enough? Are my characters engaging enough? Where the hell am I going with this...and so on...but I've not lost that excitement I had with the first page and that is keeping my faith alive in what I am writing.

It was lovely to win the T.C Farries; it's fantastic when someone tells you that you write well, that they love your idea, but what we all really need as writers is total belief in ourselves and our writing - this is what is going to get you through those last 60,000 words (or 100,000, depending what type of novel you're writing) And I am already thinking ahead here...that faith is what is going to allow you stand up in front of people and sell your stuff!!

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Stylish Blogger Award

Thanks to Rosemary over at
for awarding me the Stylish Blogger Award. Through accepting this award I now have to tell you 7 things about myself and pass the award on to other blogs I like. So, here firstly are my 7 things:

1. I was the Dux of my Primary School and was also in line to be Dux of my High School but due to my point blank refusal to do Higher Maths was taken out of the running. This makes me sound like some sort of super intelligent swot but in fact I was in a very small Primary School at the time which focused heavily on English and Art (subjects I loved).

2. I worked for 3 and a half years in Cafe Cosmo at the Glasgow Film Theatre during my student days. I really wish I’d kept a proper journal of my experiences here as I met so many interesting characters-both staff and customers. Some of us were convinced that the cinema was haunted. Some Ushers in cinema 1 said that when they sat down at the end of an empty row they could feel the row move as if someone sat beside them and felt weird sensations of coldness. In the bar a lot of us had experiences where we heard our name being called (this happened to me on several occasions and I also sometimes felt a sensation of someone brushing past me). A male customer approached me one evening and asked me if the bar was haunted and then proceeded to tell me that he was ‘sensitive’ to these things and that I wasn’t to think he was crazy but he had heard a female calling his name and thought it was me at first but then realised I didn’t know his name. He told me that he thought the ‘ghost’ was called Amy and had died very young. Spoooooky! During my time here I also met some famous people (some of whom I didn’t recognise until someone pointed out who they were. I served Peter Mullan beer for about a month before I realised who he was – I thought he was a tramp). I served Gary Lightbody from Snow Patrol before they hit the big time (I was a fan from the very beginning so knew who he was as soon as he walked in the door) ...I was too shy to let on I knew who he was. He complained about the price of our Hagaan Daz ice cream.

3. I started writing when I was about 7. I used to staple bits of paper together to make ‘books’ which I illustrated. In primary 7 I had an unhealthy addiction to Sweet Valley High Books and wrote my own series of Sweet Dreams books in lined jotters, which again were illustrated and probably shockingly Americanised. I typed up my first proper ‘novel’ when I was about 12 called ‘Rhea the Rollerskater’ and sent it off to some poor unsuspecting publisher who responded with a very kind rejection. The rejections unfortunately are still rolling in 18 years later but I like to think my writing has improved slightly!

4. I had a fear of dolls when I was a child (and a very overactive imagination which resulted in my Mum having to remove several dolls and weird looking pictures from my bedroom when I was a wee girl!).

5. I have a Degree in Communications and Mass Media (I used to want to be a film director) and a Postgraduate Diploma in Careers Guidance (I now work full time as a careers adviser). For my 4th year dissertation for my Media Degree I wrote about the films of John Hughes, relating it to Youth Culture. It was shocking. There is nothing intelligent that you can say about Pretty In Pink, Sixteen Candles or Ferris Bueller.

6. I got my tonsils removed when I was 22. A truly happy graduation present as they caused me so much grief during my last year of Uni. They told me I would only get home the next day if I ate my lunch successfully. The nurse forgot to give me my painkillers but I still shovelled down all the cauliflower cheese so determined was I to get out of there!

7. When I was younger I had a bit of a spooky resemblance to the child in Thomas Cooper Gotch’s Painting ‘The Child Enthroned’.

And here are the blogs I'd like to give Stylish Awards to:
* Apologies for rubbish links - I'll need to see why it doesn't hyperlink properly when I try to insert them in my blog!

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Embrace your dark side...

I went to see Black Swan the other week, an exquisite performance from Natalie Portman and lots of psychological weirdness from director Darren Aronofsky (no surprise there if you have ever seen his films The Foutain, Pi, Requiem for a Dream... ). Portman’s character, Nina, is desperate to be chosen for the lead role(s) in Swan Lake, a desperation which practically oozes through her every pore. You can understand the sleazy art director’s reluctance to grant her the lead – how will this innocent and meek 'White Swan' make the transition into the wicked Black Swan? And so begins the intense and increasingly unhinged emergence of the White Swan’s dark ‘alternative’. From the beginning Nina is being chased by her ‘dark side’ and it eventually takes over her body and her mind, pulling her into a downward spiral of obsession for perfection.

The film brought home how all-consuming ballet could potentially become to young woman. They must at some point experience that desperate need to be the best, knowing they have a window of opportunity in their youth, and some of them must be tempted to hurl themselves through it head first into a crazy world of torturous contortions and pirouettes....and crazy body shapes. Natalie Portman had the body of a 12 year old in the film.

I found it interesting that Nina was technically brilliant, a perfectionist but so rigid with it; calculating every move that inhibited the real ‘wow’ factor that finally emerged when she let herself go (she let herself go a tad too much, her character didn’t do things by half).

I think it’s the same for any art form... if an artist is too conscious of where their brush stroke should lie, if they practiced every shape and line until it appeared absolutely perfect to look at I think it would convey flatness, like the deepest thing they poured into it was a vibrant hue.

As a writer it’s easy to sometimes get too bogged down in constructing a perfect sentence – as soon as you think about constructing that perfect sentence then you just know that it isn’t going to be natural or free. There is a big element of having to let yourself go in writing, to tap into some unconscious part of your brain that doesn’t censor. You’re told to think of your audience if trying to write a story or novel for a certain market. But if you start to think too much about your audience then you start to think about all the people in your life who might read this and what they will make of it...

Some of the pieces of writing that I’ve been happiest with are ones where I let go, tap into a different (darker?) side of my personality. Although of course it shouldn't be 'me' at all as I’m getting into the minds of my characters and it’s weird how they can begin to take I have many ‘alternatives’ just waiting to come alive on paper. And if that makes me sound a little nuts then I’m sure I’m in good company!

I wonder if Natalie Portman is going to wake up one day in a years time, look at her baby and partner and think to herself...who the hell are they and how did I get here? (you do have to wonder what that gruelling dance/diet/filming schedule, awards buzz and pregnancy hormones must have done/be doing to her mindset just now...)

Saturday, 15 January 2011

Joaquin directs the Silversun Pickups

Youtube has been around forever and it's only lately that I'm actually spending proper time exploring it and realising the excellence of having access to millions of music videos, clips you've heard about but never seen before...heck, I'm even in a sort of music video on Youtube (this is not a lie-it's by an unknown Glasgow band so you won't be able to find me). I just discovered that Joaquin Phoenix (one of my favourite actors) directed a music video for the Silversun Pickups (one of my now favourite bands of all time) and I thought I'd share it with you; so here it is:

I think Brian from the Silversun Pickups has a look of a young Billy Corgan from the Smashing Pumpkins going on here. Apparently it was shot at about 3am downtown LA after the band had just finished a long tour which is probably why they all look a bit wasted (and Brian quite frankly looks a bit mental). Love the 'little lovers' in flight. Impressive film work from Mr Phoenix.

I'm looking forward to watching Joaquin in Casey Affleck's (his brother in law) Mockumentary "I'm still here". I think it's out on DVD soon (or maybe now). I don't even know if it was released in cinemas here but there was a lot of debate in the American media, amongst film critics etc. if this was a 'real' documentary and if Joaquin had actually had a very public meltdown, was high on drugs, forgot his barber's number and so on. Watching him in his shades and beard on the David Letterman show makes for funny, if uncomfortable viewing, but to me he's always had such a weird quirky thing going on I was only a little bemused by the news that he was retiring from the film world to persue a career in rap. But thankfully his P Diddy days were only a wind up and he was just putting his acting skills to good use to wind up tinseltown. It must have been so liberating for him to have the upper hand for once with the media and play them for fools. Respect to JP.

Friday, 14 January 2011


I took a quiz on my talented Mum's blog to find out what Jane Austen character I am and apparently I'm Elizabeth Bennet which is good because that's probably the only Jane Austen character I'm actually familiar with! I liked Jennifer Ehle's portrayal of her in the BBC adaptation of Pride and Predjudice. Now where is my Mr Darcy?
Here's a wee link to the quiz if you fancy taking it:

I am Elizabeth Bennet!

Take the Quiz here!