Thursday, June 30, 2011

OK going, going, gone

Try saying that heading 10 times in a row with an everlasting gobstopper in your mouth.

So yes, as you might gather from the title of this post, I toddled off to deepest darkest Camden last night to see OK Go live. Now, while you might know them as That Band That Did That Video With The Treadmills, I've been a fan of theirs ever since they released their first album way back in … *furiously Googles* … 2002. Wow, really? That long? Blimey. Anyway, I've wanted to catch them live for *ages* but have always been thwarted. A few years back I wandered past the Shepherds Bush Empire only to see their name out front the day AFTER they'd performed. And then last year they played a show while I was balls deep in the midst of my 30 days of yoga. This time around, though, I heard about the gig months in advance and booked tickets EARLY.

This was my first concert since May's epic MONTH OF GIGS, so it had a lot to live up to after the life-changing Sufjan Stevens show at Royal Festival Hall, and the adventure of Panic! At the Disco way out in the sticks of Norwich. And do you know what? I couldn't have wished for a better show. They absolutely nailed it.

Here's some buzzwords for you: Awesome tunes. Suits in primary colours. Confetti canons. A gold Ming the Mercilous costume. Hilarious banter. Swears. LED jackets. Furry guitars with lasers. Audience participation. More confetti.

Some pictures?

The massive face on the backdrop is lead singer Damian Kulash's mug, projected onto a screen from a video camera mounted on his microphone.

Kulash performed an acoustic number amongst the great unwashed masses, although he did warn them not to rip his clothes off. Remarkably, they didn't.

LED jackets. WANT.


Here's the band performing their song Return using God's own instrument: HANDBELLS.

Guitars with lasers, people; GUITARS. WITH. LASERS.

And finally, a quick video of the confetti cannons in action.

So, yeah, I think you get the idea that this was an awesome evening. OK Go officially just got added to my list of bands I will go and see whenever they're in town. Heck, I think I'd even go to Norwich to catch them given the chance.

Just one thing, though. As we entered Koko we were given a pair of old-skool 3-D glasses … and yet there wasn't any part of the show that required us to wear them. They did make me look sophisticated and awesome on the tube home, though.


Oh, and at the risk of sounding like Steve Jobs at an Apple keynote presentation: one more thing. Damian Kulash took a photo of the crowd that was later posted to OK Go's Facebook page, and which I have shamelessly stolen here. Bonus points if you can find me amidst the heaving throng.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

From the sublime to the ridiculous

A couple of weeks back I wrote about how in an effort to shake up my wardrobe a bit I threw off my trusted belt and snapped on a dapper pair of braces that I and the world around me loved (and not just for the purposes of comedy twanging). Well, buckle up, because things just got even more exciting.

So I'm now at that age where everyone around me is getting married, and in a few weeks I'm toddling off to some do at a swanky hotel in the countryside. As soon as the invite arrived my mind immediately turned to thoughts of what I would wear, not just because I'm essentially a bit of a girl but because I'm going to the reception not the actual service. If I was going to the service I would of course wear a suit, but correct me if I'm wrong but by the time of the reception isn't everyone dancing on the tables with their ties around their heads, their trousers around their ankles, and red wine all over the bridesmaids?

The fact that by the time of the reception everyone is a bit more … how shall I put this … 'relaxed' than they were earlier in the day means that while I still want to go smart, I want to bring a more relaxed, more casual vibe to my attire. I presented my dilemma to Best Mate Jo, who is herself going to a wedding in a couple of weeks and has thus been faced with a similar situation (albeit of a more lady-based attire nature).

BMJ (who doesn't like acronyms?) immediately said I should wear a white shirt with one of my waistcoats, which was a brilliant idea, although she baulked at the idea of me wearing jeans, however smart they may be. "It's a wedding," she said. "People don't want to see…" and then she waved her hands at my lower half like I'd just dropped a fart of epic proportions.

An easy solution, then, was to pop to Topman and buy a pair of trousers that perfectly match my waistcoat. But the ensemble definitely needed something else. My solution? A bow tie!

I can't say BMJ is 100 percent impressed by this idea, but she's known me long enough to indulge me in such matters. So anyway, I bought a bow tie, and subsequently spent a considerable amount of time trying to learn how to tie the bloody bastard thing (I refuse to wear a pre-tied one; it's like wearing a clip-on tie or velcro shoes).

And finally: SUCCESS!

Jaunty, I think you'll agree.

And before anyone says "oh, you look like Dr. Who!" Piss off! Like my braces, if I was influenced by anyone it was more likely Panic! At the Disco, although seeing as I read last week that their lead singer also likes shopping at Topman you could just say we're both whores to the whims of Topman's clothes buyers and seasonal trends.

Anyhoo, after all that Best Mate Jo told me that she had a present for me. At Christmas BMJ went out to Mexico to see her niece who lives over there, and I asked her to bring me back a sombrero. Turns out, though, that she couldn't get a massive sombrero in her luggage so she resorted to buying me a tiny one. It's awesome, but not terribly practical to wear.

This was taken at Christmas, obviously; I don't have decorations up in June.

Soon after, and I can't remember who mentioned it or why, someone said that she should've got me a Mexican wrestler's mask. The mere mention of those three words made my little eyes light up and I practically demanded that she get straight on a plane and go back to get me one.

Anyway, long story short, her sister went out to Mexico the other week and BOOM:

HOW AWESOME IS THIS?! It's a real Mexican wrestler's mask, from Mexico, chosen for me by a genuine Mexican!

Worryingly, though, I've just remembered that I made an off the cuff remark months ago about how if I actually got a Mexican wrestler's mask I'd pose for a new Facebook profile picture wearing only it and a pair of Speedos. I'm going to hope no one remembers that.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

A sterling effort

Have you ever compared yourself to a character from a television show? I guess I have in the past - I mean, Captain Kirk is a charismatic leader whose skills can be applied rather well to a multitude of office-based situations (as long as you don't send any colleagues dressed in red to their doom), while Spock's logical approach works equally well when pressed into service during those more trying times.

Elsewhere I suppose I was impressed by Lorelai Gilmore's chipper attitude in even the most trying of times, and her ability to get a small business off the ground and make it into a success. Very worthy attributes, I'm sure you'll agree.

More and more in the last couple of months, though, I've found myself bringing qualities from this character into my life:

Sterling Mallory Archer.

On the face of it, Archer has plenty of commendable qualities: he's a dashing man in his thirties with a sophisticated dress sense, a secret agent, and a hit with the ladies. On the surface he's all round awesome.

On the downside, though, he's an alcoholic man-child with an overbearing mother who frequently gets himself into trouble and who is surrounded by bumbling idiots.

Since I started watching Archer (I blitzed the season one boxset in an afternoon) I've found myself picking up on a lot of his catchphrases (as often happens with a nerd like me); it started with a chuckle and a random "awesome," progressed to a frankly outspoken "whatever" when confronted with someone telling me something I had no interest in, and has now progressed to me randomly singing "daaaaaaaanger zone!" in a falsetto voice like this:

Which can sometimes be a bit awkward when you're in the middle of Hammersmith. I said it one time and the lady sitting at the table next to me outside Secret Starbucks got up and left.

I have also started making slightly inappropriate comments about 'tips,' which I think might get me in trouble at some point if someone gets the reference.

*wonders if woman outside Secret Starbucks got the reference and thought I was one step away from making a tip comment to her*

Heh heh. Awesome.

At this rate it won't be too long before I start wearing black turtleneck jumpers.

The only way I know my transformation is not yet complete is that I haven't started daytime drinking. But, y'know, that could happen at, like, any time.


Friday, June 10, 2011

Yo, Warner Bros. - you can have this one for free

Are we all excited about the Green Lantern movie then? No, me neither. Which is a shame because I used to love the comic. I *hope* it turns out to be one of those films that you think is going to be a bit underwhelming but which really knocks you for six when you actually see it (a bit like X-Men: First Class did when I saw it this week), but from what I've seen so far it just looks a bit too … CGI-y and … dull.

As well as the trailer not really doing anything for me, I took one look at the poster the other day and kind of just went "huh." I mean, I suppose the image is … OK, and yeah, it makes sense to use part of the Green Lantern oath as the strap line - but truth be told that oath is a bit po-faced and doesn't really mean anything to anyone who doesn't read the comic.

A strap line needs to be punchy and awesome and grab the attention of cinema-goers; 'in brightest day, in blackest night' says NOTHING. If anything it just sounds like a weather report. And so, bearing in mind how powerful and bad-ass Green Lantern is supposed to be, I thought I'd have a stab at it.

I think you'll agree this one is far more entertaining.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Brace yourselves

So, last week I did something I haven't done in years: I wore a pair of braces (that's 'suspenders' to my friends across the pond). The reasons for this essentially boil down to the following:

• I've been trying to shake my wardrobe up for a while now.
• This seemed like an interesting way of doing it.

The last time I wore braces I think I was about four years old and they were red and yellow striped with little red and yellow cars on the clasps. I distinctly remember that the cars - I believe they were VW Beetles - made me very happy; on the downside, I possessed a distinct inability to attach or detach the cars clamped to my little trousers which led to several urine-based incidents and a parental vow that the youngest son would only be wearing belts or trousers with an elasticated waist until he was old enough to know better.

Seriously, why I felt the need to undo them completely rather than just unhook them from my little shoulders I'll never know.

So anyway, yes, last week I thought I'd give braces another go. Sadly no little red and yellow cars this time, though; instead I had to make do with an all black pair (I know: DISASTER). But you know what? I loved them. They made me feel particularly sophisticated and masculine (something I doubt little cars would do, however awesome they might be). What's more, I received lots of compliments throughout the day from swooning colleagues, and only had to contend with two 'witty' remarks comparing me to Cannon and Ball, both of which came within 30 seconds of one another, and both of which I dispatched with an arched eyebrow, possibly a swear, and definitely a threat to take off my braces and beat those responsible with the metal ends.

I also managed to resist the temptation to twang them for comedy purposes, which would've no doubt resulted in a painful laceration to the nips - and even better: I didn't pee myself.

All in all then it was a successful sartorial experiment, and one I shall happily repeat.