Wednesday, 28 October 2009

Moos and monkey nuts

Trying to talk Mum and Dad into starting up a blog for their Grand World Tour of Austrailia. They're off to Oz on Monday for a month to travel through the cities, beaches, deserts, tropics and barbies meeting various distant relatives along the way. They've even been invited to a Wedding while they are over there.
Not sure if they're keen on the whole blog thing although Mum is talking about keeping a journal in a small notebook I apparently bought for her many moons ago. Mum came across the book the other day finding a small message on the inside cover, written by myself. Turns out the notebook is a nice little hardback number with illustrations littered throughout it's mostly blank pages depicting scenes from, none other than, The Wizard of Oz. Let's just hope they don't get hit with any tornados while they're over there. Or meet any Witches, flying monkeys or pumpkin headed men. (I've never met most of the austrailian relatives before so who knows).
Talking of pumpkin heads, it's halloween this weekend and Ka's nursery are having a party today, three days early. No doubt there'll be loads of monkey nuts and apples flying about.
Halloween was always bad for monkey nuts. Who came up with the idea of monkey nuts at Halloween? Who wanted monkey nuts for telling folk your best jokes? You knew you had to walk a little further afield on your trick or treating if all you were getting for your trouble was flamin' monkey nuts. Sometimes you'd get really lucky on you way round the houses and start getting actual money for your jokes, usually from folk that were either unprepared or just rich and generous. Nowadays, if you were to give money out to the kids you'd probably get reported for suspicious behaviour.
Anyway, today Ka is dressed as a cow with a pink skirt and a ginger fringe. This was the only costume that came to hand for her nursery party. Her brother, Colin McG, wore this cow costume, one of two, at his drama group's panto last year and on Saturday Ka and Jillian borrowed the costumes for a trip to Motherwell. As you may or may not be aware, a bunch of cows stoating around Motherwell on a Saturday is nothing too unusual but on this occasion the cows were panto versions of the actual animal, large and furry with the afore mentioned ginger fringes. It was an animal themed Singing Kettle show which Grace took them along to with Morgan. The lengths these girls go to to entertain Morgan is quite extraordinary. I dropped them off outside the theatre, driving off speedily as they pulled on the furry black and white cow costumes and posed for Grace's camera alongside Morgan, who was a Giraffe. As if this wasn't confusing, or embarassing, enough for Morgan, she was then pulled up on stage during the show to be a penguin.
Saturday is Halloween and will hopefully be the same as last year with no visitors and no rubbish jokes told by seven year olds from under rubbish costumes as they stand muddying up your hall carpet. We live in a flat so we can easily shut and lock the close door to stop any of the kids into our block. This is assuming, of course, that not all the kids are down the swing park boozing or mugging each other. We've only had trick or treaters at our door once and I don't think they've ever come back. They couldn't have liked their monkey nuts.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Drugs and flamingos

Woke up rather disturbed this morning thinking I was in Libya and Ka and been jailed for drug running. Another crazy dream but one that seemed all very real. We had been holidaying in Libya, walking down a busy street in a busy town when suddenly a bunch of black uniformed police officers started chasing us. We looked one way and they were pushing people aside to get to us. We looked another and more officers were marching down the street, eyes glaring. They swiftly arrested us and as we objected one of the officers ripped Ka's bag from her shoulder and, after a little rummaging, pulled a large wad of notes, tied by an elastic band, from her bag swiftly followed by a small bag of suspicious looking white powder. Ka argued she'd never seen the items before (as they all do) and we were pushed off to the nearest Libyan police station. After being held for a short time I was released (for some reason) but Ka was detained due to the fact the items had been in her possession. I was fairly distressed by all these goings on, as you can imagine, and argued with the officers ferociously as I was shoved back out on to the streets. Ka had been fitted up and as I set off into the warm, dusty streets to get help, she sat in prison, in fear and isolation. This is where she remains as the dream ended shortly afterwards and I woke up flailing around in bed as I tried to shoulder my way by some market tradespeople.
I used to keep a dream diary. During my time in Art School I used to entertain folk with stories of the dream from the night before. Some of them even used to inspire drawings or stories! I've always had pretty epic dreams of all shapes and sizes. I still remember a nightmare I had when I was around eight or nine about giant flamingos surrounding our house in the black of night like some tropical version of Hitchcock's 'The Birds'. My family and I were sitting cowering in the living room, turning all the lights off as the small beady eyes over their large beaks peered in through the windows at me from the black outside. Remembering dreams for longer than an hour, however, is usually a bit of a struggle for me. I'll wake up thinking, "That was great, I'd better remember it and write it down". But, after my Bran Flakes, the images and stories will disperse and fade into the clouds of my mind. The next thing I know I'll be sitting in the office wondering what the hell that had all been about. Someone once bought me a cheap dream diary which didn't even touch the surface of some of the stuff that goes on in my head during the night. The stuff that goes on in my head during the day is bad enough but during the night it's just damned crazy.

Monday, 19 October 2009

Crates full of fairytales

I'm ever so slightly achey today after the torture that was Ka's sister's house move at the weekend. Angela, her partner, Steven, and our niece, Morgan, were moving from Bellshill to Bothwell involving many a trip in the hired white van on Saturday and more than a few journeys with my own car filled to the roof with 'stuff'. 'Stuff' is actually quite an accurate description as it seemed to me there was a suspicious amount of 'stuff' kept especially for those infamous, mythical times when things might come in handy. Not only that but Dougie and myself had to deal with possibly the messiest garden shed I'd ever seen in my life. A garden shed which held pick axes, crowbars, thousands of coloured plastic balls, thousands of nails, spanners, skipping ropes, spades, hoes and at least five spirit levels. That was before we tackled the garden with it's collection of inflatable animals and balls of all shapes and sizes.
The presence of the spades along with the pick axes, drills, mallets and other nasty looking tools inside the nail floored shed made me suspect that Steven was perhaps slightly more than the innocent family man that he makes himself out to be. I was almost expecting to be knocked unconscious at some point and wake up strapped up in some horrible mechanism, surrounded by spirit levels, sawing my own hand off and chatting with a freaky looking puppet on a tricycle.
Don't get me wrong I'm a bit of a hoarder myself, at least, according to Ka anyway. I've still got hundreds of Empire, SFX and Q magazines lying around in large piles, some at home, some boxed up in Mum and Dads but I'll keep them. Boxes of issues soon to be stored away up in Mum and Dad's loft turning their attic into a smaller version of the Raiders of the Lost Ark warehouse. Just in case. You never know. Someone someday may ask me who played the supporting actor role in suchandsuch a film and I'll be able to spring up, go to my Empire collection and pull out the relevant issue, flick through the dusty pages and find the details after scouring through a large feature of that particular month. Either that or I'll just google it. In that case hanging on to the issues seems rather pointless. Better not let on to Ka... I don't think Steven had any mag collections though he certainly had some hefty books. As did Morgan who has at least two crates full of fairytales along with her many castles, dollshouses and plastic cars. Later in the day, at the new abode, whilst busily unpacking from the rear of the van, I almost dropped a box with fright as, squeaking out of the shadows inside the van trundled a tricycle.

Friday, 16 October 2009

Safaris and Stevie Wonder

Over a week since my last post! Good grief - what's happening to me?! I have been off work for a week and enjoying myself in posh hotels, trips to safari parks, eating out in the town, relaxing in the sauna and jacuzzi, spending Wedding gift vouchers and visiting graves. Well, I wouldn't class the latter in the 'enjoying myself' category but it is one of these things that you always mean to do and never get round to doing. I've carried out a few of those 'meant to do' jobs and trips having the whole week off and to myself and it has been great.
Ka and myself stayed in Malmaison last weekend for a five year anniversary treat - and also because we had a voucher given as a Wedding gift by a parent in Ka's nursery. You know your in a posh place when the bathroom sink is on a table and the toilet comes out of the wall and not the floor. A floating toilet seat - amazing. I did manage to pull myself away from the posh toilet seat to go down to Humming Bird on Bath street after our splendid two course meal in the Malmaison restaurant. Another trendy overcrowded bar with a mix of music, cocktails and clientele.
Blair Drummond Safari Park was surprisingly impressive too. We arrived at five to ten on Monday morning with Morgan, the neice, singing in the back seat, eating cheese sandwiches. Blair Drummond proved to be a great day out with talks, shows and enclosures for elephants, lions, tigers, giraffes, chimpanzees, meerkats, penguins, guinea pigs and a dead bear. Morgan informed us the bear was now in heaven. Watching the sea lions wave and jump was quite fun, though a little disappointing if you happen to have already been to any Deep Sea World abroad, the Sea Lions best skill being their rather accurate impression of Stevie Wonder as they stood swaying on their plinths.
The Birds of Prey talk was far more entertaining as a giant eagle of some description done it's best to take our heads off. Morgan seemed unfazed by it all, apparently the overfriendly lamas were far more frightening. Driving through the lion enclosure was surprisingly intimidating too especially when one of the lions jumped up and broke into a run, heading straight for us. I nearly chocked on my chocolate button but fortunately refrained for jumping on the accelerator as the lion in question then decided to slow and settle down at the foot of a tree in the shade.
Tonight Ka and myself are off to another ELU fund raiser involving the old wooden horses on strings ordeal. You never know I may even win some money out of it... certainly more than a visit to the Shawfield Stadium anyway.

Monday, 5 October 2009

A bit of talent

I'm in a minority. Am I the only person that doesn't watch and has no interest whatsoever in the latest bunch of wannabe's and unfortunate souls to take part in the X Factor? Yesterday evening Ka and myself were round at the In-laws for Sunday dinner and the main topic of conversation, among the chaos, was all about, what feels like, the thirtieth series of the talent tv show. Colin, Ka, Grace and Dougie all argued about an Essex boy, the essex girl, the two Irish guys that can't sing for irish toffee and the teacher with the arrogance. Maybe it's the feeling of being completely unable to comment that annoys me more than the affects of this show. The fact I am now offically an outcast in society and the world around me because I have no interest in the latest, half manufactured, supposed talents nodded on stage by Simon Cowell and his minions. However, I must confess to stopping dead in my tracks on my way through the living room yesterday afternoon during Saturday night's repeat. Ka was watching after we had attended a birthday party the night before and as a result missed the big couch lounging decision making episode. I may even have watched the entire episode if I'd known that Kylie Minogue was going to be involved. I stopped halfway through the living at the precise moment when Dannii introduced her big little sister to the waiting hopefuls before her and I gasped alongside the potential singers. Then all the contestants started screaming and talking about how they couldn't believe it and I resumed my trek to the kitchen. How could they not believe it I wondered? Kylie is her sister after all. Kylie is a successful singer, and she has more flamin' right to be judging s singing contest than her plasticated, one hit wonder, grinning sister. I must confess I actually seen more than I'm letting on though... if only Kylie had strolled out with those palm leaves on...

Thursday, 1 October 2009

Chipmunk and tea coseys

Ended up in the SECC last night at the MOBO awards, shaking my thirty odd year old hips to Keri Hilson and trying to figure out why people kept ranting about Chipmunks. It was all very different seeing an Awards show in the flesh - quite a lot of flesh as it happened with the Glasgow glamour factor turned up to a volume knob defying eleven. After arriving and making our way through the spangly crowds, Ka and myself had to make a quick stop at the loo before entering the main MOBO Arena (or Hall 4 as it's usually known in the SECC). It just so happened that the female loo was right next to the exit of the VIP lounge and after visiting the male loo I moseyed on over to wait on the other half just as the VIP doors were flung open. A parade of VIP guests then made their way out from the purple curtained interior, leading the way Scotland's own Kaye Adams. Yes, Kaye Adams! Anyway, a whole army of VIPs followed her out, most of which were dressed up to the eyeballs in their finest, from the glamorous to the downright horrendous. Duncan Bannatyne, in a usual black suit, sauntered by my elbow in mid chat. One of those 'I know him from somewhere and only realising when he had passed' moments. Probably just as well or else I would have probably jumped out infront of him shouting "Duncan, Duncan Bannatyne, are you out, get it, out and about?!" The permed red haired woman that walks around Scotland on tv getting soaked was also there adding to the Scottish celebrity class alongside a lot of other fashion victims. One of the women that emerged from the shadows of the VIP room had, quite possibly, the biggest bust I'd ever seen, somehow fractionally suspended from within, what can be loosely described as, a dress. I suspect some of these rich folk got dressed in the dark before they left the house and maybe even tripped over their dog on the way out.
It was refreshing to witness an Awards show being recorded live, seeing the presenters twiddling their thumbs through the videos and try to read from the screen at the back of the hall. We were on the left of the hall alongside the tables of afore mentioned celebrities, shouting and cheering. In Beyonce's case jeering, when she appeared on the big screen to accept her Best Video award and mentioned about not being able to be there. Dizzee Rascal wasn't even there and he only lives in London?! This did leave room for the likes of Tinchy Stryder and others to take to the stage who may not have got the chance if the bigger stars had been there. Peter Andre got one of the biggest cheers of the night from the gathered in the SECC hall and he only appeared talking on screen, a live video feed from backstage. The three piece N-Dubz won two prizes so that will hopefully enable Dappy, the wee guy, to buy more tea cosey style hats. The X-Factor runners up JLS (or JLC as I kept mistakenly calling them) also dubbed their way through their song onstage whilst the actual winner, Alexandra Burke had to make do with merely presenting an award. The performances were mostly pretty good with David Guetta and Kelly Rowland for me stealing the show with the brilliant 'When Love Takes Over'. The Michael Jackson tribute was a bit of a let down though with Jermaine Jackson coming on and singing a version of 'Smile' after that wee guy from some Talent show sang his bit in the same grey suit he wore at the Official Jackson tribute concert. I think I was expecting something a bit more theatrical or collaborative with all the other artists coming up on stage and having a good singalong, Live Aid style, but that was saved for the Warchild single at the end, a dreadful version of the Killers' 'I've got Soul'. It is for charity though so I'd better not slag it off too much.