Seasonal&Self30 Dec 2005 09:00 pm

Sad Lucy We only have one more full day of 2005.

Guess what? I don’t like New Year’s Eve either!

I can tell you’re amazed.

Still, it’s nice to start afresh psychologically in January, much as I loathe the dark, dank month in every other way. And making resolutions is fun of sorts, even if they don’t last past 10am on 1 January.

This year, my resolutions include podcasting (working on it, kittens, working on it!) and finishing some of the other creative projects I’ve started.

What are yours?

And do these earrings win Classiest Jewellery* of 2005? (available from here, in all seriousness)

* Jewelry, if you’re from over the water

I vote yes.

Pop culture&Seasonal&Self27 Dec 2005 11:52 pm

Keanu in snow I’ve just been watching Constantine, so here’s a picture of Winter Keanu. As you can see from the snap, he’s helping to dig the snow off the M20, which is good of him.

Yes, I’m in a silly mood. Sorry.

Nails are looking good though.

Watched all 6 Nathan Barleys in a row late last night and squealed with recognition all the way through. It really is a good time for me to be living out of London. You know, I went out with someone just like Nathan. For a whole year. Arghhh. (I am now cured.)

How’s your Saturnalia been? And are you back at work soon or on holiday until the New Year? Yes you, I mean you. You, my dear. Mm?

British politics&Seasonal&Self26 Dec 2005 10:55 am

Fra Angelico - St Lawrence Giving Alms (c. 1450) So did you have a good Christmas Day? Are you ready for Boxing Day?

Americans always ask “What is this Boxing Day thing? Huh, limey? What does it MEAN?”

Traditionally, it was the day when the masters / rich gave the servants / poor their seasonal gifts / money. In the huge homes of the wealthy, Boxing Day would be the day when the servants of all the extended families present were allowed to gather together to eat and drink and celebrate Christmas. Obviously they would’ve been on duty throughout Christmas Day itself, bringing succulent treats to their pampered employers.

Many women in my mother’s family (from maternal great-grandmother backwards) were in domestic service. I am therefore going to have the laziest day I can possibly manage, in dedication to those women and their back-breaking toil. I think they’d be proud that a female descendant of theirs could afford to be idle so much of the time, and with such silky soft never-done-a-proper-day’s-work-in-her-life hands.

Let us drink a toast to the dismantling of the British class system!

(which is scheduled for the day after muscat grapes are harvested in the Sahara)

I may write more here during Boxing Day, but… y’know, only if I can be bothered. First, I’m going to paint my nails a glossy crimson and watch The Philadelphia Story. It’s what Great-Granny would’ve wanted.

Audience participation&Pop culture&Seasonal&Self24 Dec 2005 06:55 pm

Here’s something to while away those long Saturnalia minutes between carb fixes. I’ve shamelessly stolen the link from Mark of Fear & Loafing in England, who is a TS Eliot / Ted Bundy / Samuel L Jackson hybrid.

What am I on about? This. It’s MyHeritage, a site which offers photo facial recognition (still in beta) that can tell you which celebrities you most resemble, based on physical genetic similarities. You upload a photo of yourself and the software compares the attributes of your face to the celebrities in its database. Then it tells you who you look like, on a percentage basis.

I’m loving it, because it’s just told me I look like a whole host of gorgeous women, none of whom I particularly resemble. Actually there are a couple in there who are broadly along the right lines, in the loosest sense, but the others…?! I’ll gleefully take the compliment, but blimey. Let’s just say none of us are long-lost twins. If you know me in real life, judge for yourself, and try not to choke on your mulled wine. Here we go.

Gwyneth sobs
Gwyneth didn’t take the news well

Foxy is:

72% Beyonce Knowles
72% Halle Berry
71% Preity Zinta
71% Drew Barrymore
70% Vivien Leigh
70% Asia Argento
69% Britney Spears
68% Hillary Clinton
68% Daniel Cohn Bendit (who?)
68% Gwyneth Paltrow

Funnily enough, I have never in my life been compared to any of them. (Perhaps because I look nothing like them.) Ah well. I’m obviously too bootylicious for ya babe. I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly.

Who do you look like?

Beyonce roars
“I look like goddamn WHO?! Is this some kind of JOKE? Get outta my way!”

Seasonal&Self22 Dec 2005 10:01 pm

Angel with trumpet My oh my, I’ve been a busy old fox. Please accept my apologies if it looks like I’ve been neglecting you lately. It’s not personal. I still love you. No really, I do.

But I am planning to blog Saturnalia. Not every single gift opened and cracker pulled, just one or two prose interludes over the holiday season. So see you then if you’re around. If you’re stranded in a family home without net access, this may prove problematic. But you’ll probably need frequent net breaks if your family’s anything like, say, Alecya’s. Escapees and sanity-seekers are welcome here any time. Make yourselves at home.

Highlights of Foxy’s festive frolics so far:

1 – I received a brilliant home made card today from a Real Life friend, featuring a picture of Luke Haines in its design. Thanks F, you creative thing.

2 – A ‘3 for the price of 2’ offer on a gift that I planned to buy for 3 different people. Bonanza!

3 – The prospect of some empty diary days in the near future… phew.

Hope you’re well, that you enjoyed the winter solstice (a bit late, sorry Spins), and that you’re having a pleasant party season so far. Tinsel-trimmed hugs all round.

Seasonal&Self17 Dec 2005 04:58 pm

Saturnalia twig tree This is my Saturnalia tree.

It’s not very photogenic. You can’t really see the lights here, but it looks pretty in real life.

It changes colour softly: purple, blue, green, pink, white. It doesn’t flash, it just gently twinkles as each colour blends into the next.

Saturnalia twig tree again It has the icy sparseness of a bare winter tree, in a deciduous rather than evergreen style. It’s a postmodern nod towards the semiotics of the Christmas tree, without all the trimmings. It’s a knowing glance at tradition with the aesthetics of late 20th-century minimalism.

It’s a load of fake silver twigs with fibre optics inside, basically.

Still, I like it.

Anti-consumerism&Pop culture&Seasonal&Self14 Dec 2005 02:30 pm

Saturnalia by Antoine-Fran├žois Callet Before December slouches on any further, I feel duty-bound to tell you something.

I don’t enjoy the Christmas/New Year season much. It’d be fair – if somewhat understated – to say that I am looking forward to February.

In the circumstances, please don’t be perturbed if you are unable to detect festive joy in these pages, or if I turn into a royal pain in the booty. Similarly, don’t take it personally if my comments on your blogs lose their bounce and become distinctly lacklustre. I’m not asking for sympathy or suggestions, just patience. My melancholy will pass, as all things do.

Of course, I shall quite understand if you choose not to visit me again until February. The blog may well be a bit of a downer, if you’re in full tinsel-and-baubles mode.

Secondly, as I don’t celebrate the festival as the birth of Jesus, I have decided to revert to calling it Saturnalia from now on.

It probably won’t make me love Overdraftmas any more than I do now, but let’s give it a go.

Tangential Foxy anecdote: Saturnalia is also the name of an ill-fated club night I almost put on in Shoreditch a few winters ago. It all fell apart when a friend – who was waaaaay more experienced as a club promoter – booked his event for another local club on the same night, including all the bands I had naively made only verbal agreements with. Ho ho ho.

(NB: this is not the source of my yuletide misery; I bear no grudge. The friend in question is now plying his wily trade in New York, and I’m most proud.)

Er… I was just about to concoct an excruciatingly laboured joke about myrrh-der on the dancefloor, but let’s leave it there, shall we?

Audience participation&Self09 Dec 2005 01:03 am

Observant readers may have noticed there is a new avatar in the sidebar. It has a fox tail and everything. What larks. Thanks to the lovely Aravis for telling me where I could find it.

Who? What? Why? I’ve ranted on enough about politics this week, so today’s post will be an Ask The Audience session. Please offer your responses on any questions you feel drawn to. Much obliged.

(1) Can you recommend me a good general level book about early-ish British history (any period from the year dot to medieval, ideally a basic overview of a large chunk of it)?

(2) Does anyone have a digital camcorder? What would you say are the absolute minimum specifications needed for it to be worth having? (We’re talking the lowest end of the price range here, so don’t trouble yourself if you’ve got some swanky 3 grand affair with built-in lazer guns and espresso dispenser.)

(3) Can someone explain the concept behind RSS feeds to me in a way that doesn’t make me go “Oh RIGHT… I see” and then forget 20 seconds later?

Your time starts… NOW!

Self02 Dec 2005 03:00 pm

It’s a bit like being Kate Thornton on The X-Factor.

[suspense-ish music]

“I can now reveal…. [10 min pause]…. that the WINNER… [20 min pause]… by a SINGLE vote… [45 min pause]… is… [3 hour pause]… coming up right after this ad break!

[winks to camera]

Don’t go away!”

[Studio audience groans theatrically as though this doesn’t happen every single week]

Well, it was close. But the two paragraphs of personal information came out on top, by just one vote. So two paragraphs you shall have.

If you are horrified by this result, or you feel it will tarnish our co-blogship forever, please look away now. Here they are.


My father is from the East and my mother is from the West. I grew up in a fairly dull part of the Home Counties. You might call it an unhappy childhood; if you offered me a million quid to relive a single month of it, I’d turn you down. Luckily, I escaped at 18 to to study English literature in London. I chose the university purely on the basis of its arty students and cool staff. This is possibly a prime example of why 18-year-olds shouldn’t be allowed to make important decisions. But I don’t regret it. My pink-haired, pierced professors taught me how to think for myself. “Question everything,” they said.

My creative work is split. I am half musician and half writer. If forced at gunpoint to choose between the two artforms, I’d be torn, but I’d choose music. Those who guessed at music journalism weren’t wrong: some of my earnings are from this source. I have a bit of an ethical dilemma with it at times… obviously free music and guestlist places are pleasant enough, but essentially your writing is an extension of a corporate PR effort to shift product. Like all big business, the music industry isn’t very nice, and that’s putting it mildly. On the positive side, interviewing creative people has meant I’ve been able to have long conversations with two of my heroes. The first time was when I was 16 and still at school. I’d blagged my way to him with lies and cheek and teenage bravado. It was my first ever ‘celeb’ interview and it was an excruciating experience. The second time, I was a more sensible 29, and it was a delight. I wasn’t disappointed by either of the subjects, but it was hell on toast to try and do them justice in words afterwords.

Oh yeah, and I’m female.

Audience participation&Self02 Dec 2005 11:17 am

X marks the spot The vote is now closed and the results are in. The winning option will pop up here later today.

Tell you what though, this democracy’s a right hassle, isn’t it? I can see why Saudi Arabia don’t bother with it.

(Arf… back later)

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