Monday, 26 September 2011

Music Monday

Short and sweet today as I'm at work and will be until gone 8pm, but in honour of my upcoming trip to Iceland here's Joga from Bjork's Homogenic album.  Amazing video by Michel Gondry.

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Not buying it: week # 4

The first week was easy; I enjoyed the challenge in the second week; last week I had Ofsted to worry about.  But this week I have started to struggle.  The thing is, I like shopping.  I enjoy spending a lazy afternoon wandering round the bookshops in Clarendon Park or oohing over the dresses in H&M.  I'm one of those strange people who actually enjoys supermarkets and can quite happily while away hours browsing the aisles in Tesco, popping bargain clothes and kitchen implements I don't really need into my trolley.  Making it even harder is the fact that some of the clothes in the shops at the moment are so lovely.  Polka dots are everywhere this autumn and I adore polka dots.  I love cardigans and woolly jumpers and brogues and thick tights and everything else that's just hit shop floors. 

However, my self-control has surpassed anything I could have anticipated.  This afternoon I found myself at Leicester's out of town shopping centre (to return a broken vacuum cleaner, so totally allowed), and having had a shitty lesson last thing this afternoon was even toying with the idea of treating myself to something.  "Who'll know?" I thought.  After all, I live on my own so smuggling something into the house wouldn't be a problem.  I walked into Dotty P's, looked at the lovely dresses on display longingly and... walked out again.  I just couldn't do it.  Even an utterly gorgeous dress (with - what else? - polka dots) in Sainsburys couldn't tempt me.  "Three more weeks," I repeated to myself as I scurried back to the car.

A few years ago (even, perhaps, a few weeks ago) there is no way I would be able to walk away without buying something I wanted.  I was totally in thrall to the 'must have it, and must have it now' mentality that is so pervasive in modern society.  I'm frankly amazed that in the space of four weeks I have managed to reprogramme myself so effectively.  Whether it will last when the experiment, with it's clear rules, has finished is another matter.

Monday, 19 September 2011

Music Monday

I was walking into Leicester to meet someone for a second date, my iPod playing on shuffle.  It slowly dawned on me that perhaps this guy wasn't 'the one' when Lone Wolf began.  If you're on the way to a date and the song that strikes a chord includes the lyrics "I am a lone wolf/Nobody needs to get too close to me", then you have a pretty good clue of where the relationship might be heading. 

Sunday, 18 September 2011


A bit of background first: JB actually are my initials.  J for Janet, a name I was never too fond of, carrying with it a whiff of school dinner ladies or golf club wives.  As a child surrounded by Sarahs, Emmas and Nicolas, I felt my name stood out (and not in a good way).  Now I quite like the fact that no-one else between the ages of 0 and 45 shares my name.  B for Brown, my surname, a name so dull and workaday it makes me yawn. 

jbistheinitial has been my online persona for years after it became a nickname of sorts.  When I was in my late teens I worked at a rock/indie club in Leicester (then called Alcatraz).  Around this time American hop hop duo The Jungle Brothers released a track which featured the repeated refrain of "JB is the initial...".  After one play by the DJ on my birthday it became my anthem, often played by other DJ friends when I arrived at a club or bar.  I have to say, after years of disliking my name, having my initials turned into something to herald my arrival (in fact, having my arrival being something that was worth heralding at all) felt pretty good.

All of which is a looooong way of explaining my username.  And also of explaining why my house is a veritable riot of Js and Bs, such as this mug I found in Anthropologie in New Orleans, and was convinced would be in pieces by the time I came home a month later.  That it survived intact in my rucksack is a miracle.  That it cost only $6 is even more of a miracle, Anthropologie goods being only slightly less expensive than pure gold.

Or this intricate metalwork J that I picked up in Urban Outfitters in Seattle, and which hangs on my landing.

My love for typography is well documented here, but my Js and Bs are particularly special.  Because JB is the initial...

Tuesday, 6 September 2011

Not buying it: day # 8

Yesterday I completed week one of seven in my experiment and so far, so good.  With rather fortuitous timing, the post on Friday yielded up my yearly bank statement, a terrifying/brilliant (delete as appropriate) new idea from my bank.  It's an A4 booklet full of charts, diagrams and lists showing where, when and how I spent my money over the past 12 months.  Well, considering in 7 of those months I spent more than I paid in, this experiment is definitely long overdue.  The thing is, I earn a good salary, certainly compared to my days as a wage slave at Waterstones when my take-home pay was just over £600 a month.  But I've always been profligate with money and have always struggled with deferring a purchase, subscribing more to the Veruca Salt school of acquisition: I want it, and I want it now.  But looking at that yearly statement I realised that some months I was happily spending upwards of £500 (so about what my entire salary was a decade ago) on travel deals, Amazon sprees, eBay bargains and endless new dresses and cardigans.  Not good.

The past week has been something of a revelation.  Walking into the supermarket this afternoon, I turned right towards groceries instead of left towards clothing and in doing so managed to finish the shopping within 15 minutes.  Every marketing email from internet retailers goes straight into the 'Trash' file, freeing up at least 10 minutes of extra work time first thing in the morning.  And instead of whiling away my evenings on Asos or the Dotty Ps website I have been baking cakes, writing to friends and crafting like mad.  Would I want to extend this experiment past 7 weeks?  Hell no, but so far I'm pleasantly surprised at how easy I am finding it.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Music Monday

Not really a memory or even a proper story this week, but just an awesome coincidence which affirms my love of 6 Music. 

One evening last week after work I was sitting at the kitchen table on my laptop while listening to the Steve Lamacq show.  Writing an email to my brother, I mentioned the band Belly.  As the word appeared on the screen, as I entered the final 'y' in fact, Gepetto started playing on the radio.  WHAT?!  I was so excited I did a little dance around my kitchen.  This version is from The Late Show 'No Nirvana' special in 1993.  I'm all about the 90s at the moment.