Monthly Archives: January 2006

The Sun Always Shines On HMV

When I was 15 years old I was obsessed with a-ha. I had posters of them all over my bedroom and I played their first album, Hunting High And Low, a billion times, enough to make it part of my very soul (along with the Crowded House albums Woodface and Together Alone, which I still listen to at least once a fortnight – funny how you love things so much, ain’t it?).

I grew up – and so did they – but I’ve always held a soft spot for Morten, Mags and Pal and always will. A couple of years ago I saw them at the Royal Albert Hall and it was magical, although I’m not sure what will remain with me longest: the fabulous music or the eyeful of Morten’s crotch I got as I danced at the front of the stage (he truly is The World’s Tightest Trouser Wearer).

In case you’re wondering why I’m blithering on about Norway’s finest, it’s because yesterday morning, on the way to work, I discovered that a-ha were doing a signing at HMV in Oxford Street at 6pm. As I finish work at 5.30pm, it only seemed fitting that I should trot down to see them; it would have been rude not to! So I dutifully arrived at the store with 15 minutes to spare, discovering 700 fans crammed in front of the stage who had – according to the Sky News report I watched later that night – been queuing since 8am for the privilege.

Despite the crush I somehow managed to get a fantastic view from the side of the stage and proceeded to watch a (completely free) 40-minute concert containing songs new and old, and all of them wonderful. At one point Sky News did a report from right in front of me and I whooped all the way through it – you can clearly hear me on the broadcast. I’m such a shameless show-off!

I have to say, there are few finer ways of ending a Monday than swinging by an a-ha gig on the way home. Talk about surreal! And I’d thought it was going to be such a bad day, too. I spent the weekend in Bath having a lovely time with all my old SFX buddies and you know how it is when you have a great weekend – you never want to go back to work.

The same thing happened today, too – I slouched into the office feeling sleepy and morose, then discovered my friend Mike had got me a ticket to see my favourite songstress Bic Runga at the end of the month: fantastic! Apparently Crowded House’s Neil Finn will be playing in her band, too, so that’s a double bonus. I’ve seen him in concert too many times to count but I’ve only ever seen Bic support him (again at the Albert Hall – that place is my second home!) so it’ll be lovely to see her do a whole gig.

All of which means that I’ve had a rather cool few days. While I was in Bath at the weekend I revisited all my old haunts, which, after four years of living there, turned out to consist of the outside of my old flat, the pet store and mad little shop called Hansel & Gretel which sells the most delicious hot chocolates in the world. My friend Viv had a “Johann” and I had a “Berbl”, which was promptly rechristened a “Gerbl” and then demolished. Mmm, chocolate…

On Sunday I found myself at the station with 50 minutes to spare before my train back to London, so I decided to have a wander around Bath Abbey to kill some time. The first thing I heard when I entered was snoring. It got louder and louder as I approached the back of the Abbey… until I discovered a homeless man stretched out, fast asleep, on one of the pews.

Can’t say I blamed him; it was freezing outside and the Abbey was warm and quiet. I couldn’t help but be surprised he’d been allowed to stay, though – although my surprise turned to amusement when I passed the vicar on the way out of the building. He nodded to to me and then muttered to himself, “Must go and wake Frank up.” Off he went to the back and gave poor, sleepy Frank a shake on the shoulder. I guess he’s a regular guest. What a place for a catnap!

Must go. The new series of CSI has just started and I have the first episode to watch. Time to rediscover Las Vegas’s finest…

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Happy Talk

For your delight and delectation – or possibly just your extreme disinterest – here’s a little exchange which took place on my train home from work last night. Before you read on, please bear in mind that nobody EVER, under any circumstance, talks to any of their fellow passengers on the London Underground unless they know them. There are no “Bless yous” if someone sneezes. No “Thank yous” for offering your seat. No “Your shoes are untied” or “You’re sitting on the half-eaten burger the last passenger left on your seat.” On the Tube, you do not speak to your fellow commuters because that’s Just Not British.

Which means that if you do talk, you’re probably – and how can I put this politely? – a bit barmy.

On this train there was a middle-aged, slightly rumpled-looking woman sitting a few seats away from me. She was muttering away to herself while the people either side of her tried their utmost to show everyone else in the carriage that they weren’t with her.

“You’re in a fucking bad mood tonight,” she shouted suddenly, making everybody jump. Nobody was sure if she was talking to someone real or a person in her head, so we all pretended we hadn’t heard and buried our noses back in our books and newspapers.

“All of you!” she shrieked, as the windows rattled. “You’re all touchy! You’re all in a bad mood! You’re in a fucking bad mood, the lot of you!”

Silence.

“I’m not,” came a chirpy voice.

It was the businessman sitting opposite her in a smart suit and posh hat, a copy of The Times in his hands.

“I’m in a good mood,” he continued, grinning.

“No you’re not!” cried the harridan, who looked stunned at the challenge.

“Yes, I am.”

“No, you’re not!”

“I am,” smiled the frightfully British traveller. “I am sitting here, reading my paper, minding my own business and I’m happy because I’m going home. So there you go.”

Baffled, the woman shut up.

Everybody grinned to themselves behind their books and newspapers, and then us Brits carried on not talking to each other. But at least we were a little bit happier about it.

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Boosh Almighty!

Have you ever laughed so hard you get a stitch in your side? Ever been unable to breathe between guffaws? Spent the night wiping mascara from your cheeks through fits of giggles?

Obviously that last question doesn’t apply to (most) of the guys reading this, but you get the point. On Friday I went to see The Mighty Boosh and oh my God, I laughed so much it HURT.

Never heard of The Mighty Boosh? Not to worry; they’re still quite small and culty, though their fame is spreading. Comedians Julian Barratt and Noel Fielding first created their bonkers new world for the stage; then they brought it to radio, then a BBC television show and now a national tour. They play Howard Moon (jazz maverick) and Vince Noir (King of the Mods) and the adventures they have are like something out of your wildest dreams – trips to Monkey Hell, encounters with evil green hitchhikers with Polo mints stuck on their faces, desert island disasters with coconuts… in short, The Mighty Boosh is the weirdest experience you’ll ever know. And it’s bloody hilarious!

Seeing the guys on stage was extraordinary; second row, close enough to get sprayed with water when the Hitcher ‘peed’ on the crowd – at least, I hope it was water – and blinded by the spangled spanglyness of Vince’s spangly jumpsuit. (Isn’t spangly a lovely word?) Barratt and Fielding were in fine form and, as this was a warm-up show for their forthcoming tour, fully prepared to giggle and improvise whenever they saw fit. The crowd were so hyped-up we were all screaming “Top Shop!” before the guys even set foot on stage (you had to be there, really) and every time the Moon had something to say you could barely hear him over the screaming…

I think I should give up; I can’t describe the Boosh in a few words. I would recommend you see them onstage, except that (a) you could be reading this outside of the UK (they’re popular in Australia, though!) and (b) they’re pretty much sold out, anyway. I’m seeing them again in March, so I’m happy!

Saturday was an anti-climax, really, after the heights of the night before – particularly having some (blurry) photos taken with Julian and Noel in the bar after the show – but I still had fun. Ex-SFX editor Dave met up with me in London, along with some pals, and we had a day of culture, wandering around the National Galleries and along the South Bank. Lovely!

We could have travelled down to Battersea to see the whale which swam up the Thames but it seemed a bit… I don’t know, callous. The poor thing was suffering enough without a million more gawkers. The whole city went bonkers over it, but it was a foregone conclusion it would die – it was MILES inland and the Thames is hardly a welcoming environment for an 18-foot sea mammal. I’m sorry it didn’t make it, but I hope people start thinking about how it got there. Did we scare it out of its normal, deep-sea habitat? Did we drive it inland by meddling with its home? You betcha. Let’s try to fix that for the future, m’kay?

Oh, and a final, much happier note: congratulations to Vanessa, who gave birth to little Jason Sydney Hards at 1.09pm today! I really hope you didn’t miss Smallville and Battlestar Galactica in all the excitement, as I know you were worried about that…

I’d also like to say a hello to Nat (don’t go back to Turkey, move to London and entertain me with your antics!) and Gold Anne, who has a heart of gold and two very cute cats. Hey Othello! Hey Desdemona!

Cough. Normal service will resume soon. Thank you for your patience.

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Bombs Away…

Last night I went for a stroll around central London with my friends Gillen and Sam after discovering that Sam, who’s lived here for a few months now, hadn’t yet been to Leicester Square, Piccadilly Circus or even Trafalgar Square. After wiping the stunned expression from my face and acknowledging that, yes, Sam had been too busy to sight-see, a hasty tour was arranged.

And thus:

Piccadilly Circus: bright and busy.
Leicester Square: bright and busy.
Trafalgar Square: rather dark and completely empty. Not a pigeon in sight. Odd.

Our tourist trail continued along Whitehall and towards Big Ben. On the way, I pointed out some chunks gouged out of a wall not far from Downing Street and observed, “That’s where an IRA car bomb went off. Look at the damage!”

To which Gillen – who’s from Belfast – countered: “Call that damage? That’s nothing. Where I’m from it’s more like, ‘See that field? That used to be a town!'”

Well, that’s one-nil to Gillen. Not a contest I’d like to win, though…

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The Fastest Mouse In The World

Apologies for the delay in updating Jayne’s World (and, four months on, I still can’t get used to the hideously tacky name I’ve chosen for this blog). Total Film was doin’ the deadline thang again so I’ve been too busy or too tired to scribble away. No free pizza as we slaved into the evening this month, sadly, though we did raise a glass of champagne to my boss’s pet goldfish, Dudley, who swam off this mortal coil last Wednesday. “He was a prince among men,” sniffed my boss, rather worryingly. “A goldfish with attitude… We’ll never see his like again!”

Quite a few daft things have happened since I last blogged. For instance, I’ve discovered that purple nail varnish doesn’t suit me – impluse buy, what can I tell ya? – but that Tumble really enjoys scraping it off with her teeth. I’m not sure if rats are supposed to eat nail polish, to be honest, but she certainly seems to enjoy it.

Last night I went to the cinema to see Johnny Depp in the highly-enjoyable-but-incredibly-rude-don’t-show-it-to-your-granny The Libertine. On the way home my friend Paul and I started chatting to a jolly homeless guy who asked our names. He kissed my hand in greeting, pulling off a pretty impressive Joey Tribbiani “How you doin’?”, before I asked his name in return.

“Och, you won’t believe it,” said the man. “It’s Connor McLeod.”

Anyone who hasn’t seen Highlander may like to know that Connor McLeod kills people with a big sword and is immortal. Pop gods Queen even sang about him: “Who wants to live forever?” This Connor McLeod was 34, looked 54 and had obviously had more than enough of this lifetime. Nice chap, though.

Another daft happening (and a complete subject change): if you’ve ever travelled by Tube you may have noticed its Underground Mice – wee little rodents who scamper from rail to rail in search of food dropped by the millions of people who use the platforms every day. We humans are a mucky bunch, make no mistake, and it’s nice to know that those cheeseburgers thrown so casually onto the tracks can feed a family of furry critters (their cholestrol levels must be frightening, though). Underground Mice, for the record, are jet-black from all the soot expelled by the trains and are apparently born deaf after generations of their kind have had their eardrums popped by the sound of engines. Not the healthiest of lifestyle choices, obviously, but at least they don’t get hunted by cats.

Anyway, at Marylebone Station the other night I saw The Fastest Mouse In The World. No kidding! It skittered before my eyes like a miniature cheetah, a flash of black against the sooty concrete. I blinked, wondering if I’d imagined it, but no! There it was again, ten feet away, scampering like a sprinter. I have never seen an animal move so quickly in my entire life. It actually scared me.

Later, when I texted Biddy my discovery, she texted back: “Was he shouting, ‘Arriba! Arriba!’ and wearing a tiny sombrero, by any chance?” No, he wasn’t. But he bloody should have been.

Daft happening number four: I watched a Japanese anime movie called Ghost In The Shell 2: Innocence yesterday and for some inexplicable reason spent 20 minutes giggling when I saw the review disc sent out by the PR company had “GITS” written on the outside. Why is that funny? I don’t know. But it is.

And finally… a while back I wrote that one of my work colleagues compared me to Jason Voorhees from the Friday The 13th movies because I’m so calm and methodical. Well, he’s bettered himself this week. Word for word, and I ain’t lying, I swear it, this is what he told me:

“Jayne, I want you to know this about me. I’ve thought up a ten-year plan. I’m gonna write a screenplay, jack in this job and go to Hollywood. I’m going to keep writing screenplays until I’m making $4 million a pop, then I’m going to write and direct them too. Then, when I’m established and famous and the world is at my feet, I’m going to write a film about a mermaid.

“And I want YOU to be that mermaid.”

I think he needs professional help, don’t you?

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Listmania!

Happy New Year, gentle readers: however many of you there are out there! (I have no way of knowing, other than by looking at the counter on the “About Me” page on the right – which is utterly wrong, so take no notice of it.)

It’s the time of year for lists of resolutions, promises and vows, so I thought I’d share mine. Some probably tally with yours. Others may just scare you. Or you may not have written a list of things to change about yourself because you’re perfect already – in which case, can I have your phone number? Especially if you look like David Tennant…

(Damn, I must stop obsessing about Doctor Who. Although I won’t add that to my list of resolutions because I’m enjoying it too much to stop at the moment.)

Anyway:

The List

1) Drink less coffee and more water (already broken this resolution).
2) Eat healthier food during my lunch breaks (ditto).
3) Do the washing up every night before bed.
4) Don’t do all my freelance writing the night before I’m due to hand it in (already broken this one, though I have counterbalanced it by handing in a book review to SFX a few days early, so I’ll let myself off).
5) Spend less money on Starbucks coffee, sweets and chocolate and spend it on paying bills instead. Or on DVDs. Actually, I think I’ll resolve to buy more DVDs regardless.
6) Read every single Sherlock Holmes story.
7) Stop swearing at my computer when I’m at work. It can’t hear me. Though I suspect it could if it chose to.
8) Re-read Gone With The Wind.
9) Phone my friends more instead of texting them – I’m getting rather scared of developing RSI.
10) Meet Goran Visnjic from ER.

In 2005 I met Rob Lowe and also walked down the red carpet at a film premiere a few feet from Ewan McGregor (then saw him on stage a few months later). Now I just need to meet Goran and I can say I’ve been in the presence of the three most gorgeous men in the world. Somehow, someday, Goran is gonna hear from me… but not in a scary, stalker-ish way, I hasten to add. A cheery “Hello!” or a handshake will do nicely. As long as he speaks to me in that adorable Croatian accent, I’ll be happy.

Ahhh… Goran…

Suddenly have the urge to Google for pictures of him. So long, suckers.

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