It makes for interesting reading

Um, well, this blog post probably won’t, to be fair, as today was just another nice quiet day that I was able to spend working and listening to Geth DJing.  What I mean is that, on days like today, my job makes for interesting reading.  I’ve been working for four different clients today and so I’ve been reading about lots of varied things.  I’ve got lots of big projects on the go at the moment, and it’s a bit nicer doing it that way!

A slightly more hectic day tomorrow, but hopefully I will still have time to get lots of work done.

OOTD 6th August 2018
OOTD: another comfy working-from-home outfit. Vest top Batman (2018), leggings Primark (2018), shoes Zara (2018).

Bizarro world Fake That lineup

Those of you keeping score during my interminable Now! marathon will remember that when Take That reformed in the mid-’00s, I dubbed them ‘Fake That’ in a fit of pique because they’d had the temerity to reform without my childhood favourite, Robbie Williams.

Fake That became Take That again in 2010 when Robbie Williams rejoined them for an anniversary album, and then became ‘Fake That version II’ in 2015 when they relaunched as a three-piece with just Gary Barlow, Mark Owen, and Howard Donald, though I didn’t mind that lineup as much as the first Fake That lineup.

In Edinburgh last week, I saw this advert on the side of a bus:

Take That: The Band advert
Well, not this exact advert – it was the same advert except it was side-of-a-bus shaped, and the picture of the group was full-length. You know what I mean.

…and now I’m a bit confused and unnerved.  It’s Take That with original members missing (in this case Jason Orange), but Robbie Williams is not one of them.  Is it still Fake That, given that I started using that term to express my annoyance at the lack of Robbie?  I am not sure I will ever be able to answer this question.

A working Sunday

I’d normally get a bit grumpy about working on a Sunday, but it’s been really nice to have a day with absolutely nothing else going on so that I can just get on with things and get loads of it done.  Some really interesting stuff from my various clients at the moment as well!

It’s also been nicely soundtracked by Geth continuing to work on the wedding disco playlist for Lisa and Kieran’s wedding.  I’ve only been distracted from work by needing to get up and dance…three or four times.  I’m doing well.

Looking forward to an early night tonight so that I can get up and start work early again tomorrow.  I’m so exciting these days.

OOTD 5th August 2018
OOTD: still in the house, still comfy. Jacket unknown brand (bought at vintage shop 2003, estimated 1990s – also mentioned here), dress Oodji (2018), shoes BHS (2016).

Book Review: Rod: The Autobiography

As I’ve mentioned before, It’s only really been the last few weeks – mainly due to my holiday in Canada – that I’ve finally picked up the Kindle I was given for Christmas and loaded it up with ebooks.  Last autumn, I decided I needed to read a few rock star autobiographies, largely because one of the novel series I’m writing – the first of which I did for last year’s NaNoWriMo – involves the world of 20th century rock stars, and I needed to do some research into it.  Also, I thought they’d be pretty fun to read.

The first one I read, while on holiday in Canada, was Rod Stewart’s autobiography from 2012, and on the latter point it did not disappoint.

Rod: The Autobiography on Kindle
Modelled by my Kindle.

Stewart tells his story very engagingly and comes across as very likeable, even at the points when you want to shake him and scream ‘you’re married to yet another beautiful woman – WHY CAN’T YOU STOP WOMANISING, YOU MUPPET???’  I found his justification for why he has always felt Scottish from a football fan perspective really interesting, even if I still don’t really understand it.  The book also provided a really interesting look into all my favourite eras of British pop and rock music, as he’s been involved in the industry for a long time now.

Also, Mum’s read this one as well, because of course she has – she’s read everyone’s autobiography.  As such, we were able to have a good discussion of it while we were in Canada.  We’re distantly related to one of Stewart’s ex-wives, model Rachel Hunter, through the Shetland connection (she’s my fourth cousin!  See the Wikipedia entry if you’re not sure how cousins work.  Suffice to say it’s pretty distant).  Because of this, Mum was pretty pleased that she was the only ex-wife he never cheated on.  You gotta take those victories somewhere!

Overall, it’s a nice optimistic, fun read and I really enjoyed it.

Top fact that I gleaned from this non-fiction work: while everyone knows that it was John Peel who mimed the mandolin playing during the Top of the Pops performance of Maggie May in 1971, it was Ray Jackson from Lindisfarne who played the part on the actual recording!

I spoke too soon

After bombing it round Edinburgh parkrun last week for a PB, I was sure it would be months before I managed another one.

I got another one this morning.  Whoops.

Today’s parkrun didn’t feel anywhere near as fast as last week – there were many stretches where I felt I was taking it easy.  I still somehow managed a 30:38, a fourteen-second improvement on last week.  Very happy!

I really feel like sub-30 might be on this year now.  If I’ve not managed it by the second week of November, I will be making use of the Newcastle parkrun pacer week and attempting to keep up with the 30-minute pacer.  The pacers at Newcastle tend to be a bit too fast so I’m not sure how I’d get on, but we’ll see!  Sadly I’m doing races and/or otherwise engaged on all the intervening pacer weeks (Newcastle does one the second week of every month), so I will have to be patient.

Another quiet afternoon and evening working (and listening to Geth working out DJ stuff for a wedding disco playlist!).

OOTD 4th August 2018
OOTD: super comfy hanging-around-the-house outfit that could have been easily dressed up if we’d decided to go out tonight (we didn’t). Bonus mirror selfie as Geth was busy DJing. Glasses Emporio Armani (2017), t-shirt modified Deviant/Fruit of the Loom (thrifted from Geth 2014, originally from the early 2000s), leggings Primark (2018), shoes La Redoute (2018).

Leaving Toronto

Canada part ten…


I had ALL THE FOOD at hotel breakfast on my last morning in Toronto, because I knew I wouldn’t get another chance!  The French toast was amazing and I’ve missed it since I left, although obviously there’s no way I would be staying at target if I were eating that every morning.

Geth went off for a meeting with a contact he’d made at the conference while I packed.  Mum and Dad arrived at our hotel shortly afterwards, and we caught up with the Tour de France on the TV – then once Geth had returned and Malcolm had arrived, we went down to the hotel bar for a couple of drinks.  It was nice to have one last drink together before we had to head off.

We collected my bags and walked over to the Holiday Inn, from which Mum and Dad had booked a taxi to the airport.  It was sad to say goodbye to Malcolm, but everyone’s already looking forward to meeting up again on this side of the pond next summer.  Geth had another day to spend in Toronto, but for now I had to leave it behind – I’m sure I will be back again before long.

In Toronto

A regular Friday

One of the interesting things about getting back into routine is that routine things feel out of the ordinary!

Today was a very routine Friday – Geth and I went into town in the morning to do a bit of clothes shopping and drop our smart clothes off at the tailor to be altered, then I went home and spent the afternoon working, then we went to the pub to celebrate Geth going on annual leave.  I’m now having a nice quiet evening catching up with admin while Geth sorts out the music for pre-DJing Lisa and Kieran’s wedding.

Tomorrow we get to run our home parkrun at Newcastle for the first time since May!

OOTD 3rd August 2018
OOTD: daft post-pub photography that resulted in Geth singing Kraftwerk’s The Model at me in a slightly drunken manner. Sunglasses Jasper Conran (2018), t-shirt Punk Masters (2018), handbag Just Cavalli (2018), trousers Bat Attack (2009), shoes Vivienne Westwood Anglomania for Melissa (2018).

A museum Monday

Canada part nine…


On the Monday, which was my last full day in Toronto, Geth and I decided to go and visit the Royal Ontario Museum.  Before that, however, we headed to Carlton Street for a quick look round the Maple Leaf Gardens, which is next door to the Holiday Inn where Mum and Dad were staying.

Maple Leaf Gardens, Toronto
The exterior of the building, including the front signage, has stayed the same since it was built in the 1930s. It was originally the tallest structure in the vicinity, but is now dwarfed by its neighbours!

The Maple Leaf Gardens is currently used for sports by Ryerson University (the same uni that was hosting the conference Geth was attending while we were in Toronto).  They took it over and massively refurbished the interior in the early ’10s.  In the ’00s, it lay empty and deserted, but up until 1999, it was a thriving venue for political events and music concerts and was the home of the Toronto Maple Leafs ice hockey team (hence the name of the venue).

(Incidentally, it’s always really annoyed me that the team are called the Maple Leafs rather than the grammatically-correct Maple Leaves.  This is why I will never get into watching ice hockey.  #proofreaderproblems)

As a concert venue, the Maple Leaf Gardens hosted Elvis Presley, the Beatles, and pretty much everyone else who was big in the 20th century.  In 1984, Duran Duran filmed the video for The Reflex there, which was one of my main reasons for wanting to go and have a nosey around.

Inside the building, there are lots of boards on the walls telling you about the history of the venue.  The number of famous sayings that were apparently coined there is difficult to believe!

'Elvis has left the building'
‘Elvis has left the building’.

‘Elvis has left the building’ – apparently said for the first time at the Maple Leaf Gardens!  Wikipedia claims differently.

'He shoots, he scores'
‘He shoots, he scores’.

‘He shoots, he scores’ – apparently said for the first time at the Maple Leaf Gardens!  Wiktionary and Urban Dictionary do back this one up.


‘Hat-trick’ – apparently originated at the Maple Leaf Gardens!  Geth didn’t believe this one for a second, and again Wikipedia claims differently – cricket players were using the term almost a century earlier.

Still, I guess one out of three turning out to be true is not bad going.

After a pleasant wander around the venue, we headed over to the Royal Ontario Museum.  Geth just wanted to have a look around the main museum, but I was more interested in one of the exhibitions they had on – a collection of work by fashion designer Iris van Herpen and her interesting collaborations with architect Philip Beesley.  The creative and design process behind making the pieces was fascinating – there was a short film all about it that was being shown in the exhibition hall – but it was the beautiful dresses being shown in the hall that were the best thing:

Iris van Herpen couture dress
Perhaps a little impractical for the supermarket, but it’s very pretty.

The shiny installations dangling from the ceiling were nice as well!

Philip Beesley installations
I wouldn’t mind some of these for the house, though sadly I don’t think our ceilings are high enough.

After I’d finished looking around the exhibition, I met back up with Geth and we took a quick trip to the dinosaur floor.  They had some good skeletons, both real and replica, but it was a bit too full of kids having pictures taken with the T-Rex, so we eventually decamped to the Museum Tavern nearby, which is one of our favourite pubs in Toronto, for a couple of pints and a good chat with the barman.

In the evening, we met up with Mum, Dad, Malcolm and Steff for our last meal in Toronto, at Scaddabush.  This involved more pizza (which was served on a board with SPECIAL PIZZA SCISSORS for cutting it up!  They were amazing and I want a pair!), more cheesecake, and more crayons for scribbling on the table:

Restaurant table scribblings
Message from Steff on our last family dinner table!

After the meal, we said goodbye to Steff – she was working and wouldn’t be able to see us off the next day – and Geth and I headed back to our suite at the Grand for one last sleep in the city (for me, anyway).

New Hits Friday: 3rd August 2018

Just two new entries this week.

Fredo, Young T and Bugsey – Ay Caramba

The intro with the group vocal is quite good, and I like the 8-bit videogame inspired backing track, but the rap verses are very dull.

Oh yeah, and it’s another grim, offensive, NSFW video.  Not recommended.  It’s a yacht ‘n’ almost-naked girls video that basically illustrates everything that has gone wrong with the world in the thirty-six years since Rio first did this theme.  Utterly horrendous and depressing.

DJ Khaled, Justin Bieber, Quavo and Chance The Rapper – No Brainer

Even more uninspired than previous collaboration I’m The One.  There’s nothing interesting about this track at all.

The video’s pretty daft and has too much of a teenage ‘look how wild and crazy we are with our booze and illicit substances’ theme to it, but I guess it’s got quite a nice colourful quality.