Let me begin by reassuring you that despite appearances to the contrary this dress is not a shirt. Though I chose it thinking it would work quite well for a night on the town as well as a day dozing in the garden it turned out to be rather unsuitable for both.
I decided to take today off so I could squeeze in some extra time in Manchester and finally get the chance to catch up with my friend who has been on a show stopping musical theatre tour all over the UK. After having a lovely lie in I sat outside in the garden to have my coffee and it was so nice that I didn’t really move much during the rest of the day. My friend came to join me outside and I got so lost in catching up that I foolishly forgot about the wonder that is sun cream. By the time the boy had returned I was a ridiculous shade of pink which did not at all suit today’s dress and is extremely painful.
As we are going out to a gig tonight I tried to calm it down and undo the damage by applying layers of after-sun. After the tenth layer I started to wonder why it was having no cooling affect in spite of the cucumber coloured bottle. At this point I had a look at the label and realised that what I had in-fact been applying was body glitter which had no healing affects but did make me look like an orange disco ball.
There was no time to take it off so I slipped on some other sparkly stuff in the hope of creating an overall impression of a woman hell bent on matching every accessory, arm make up included. The gig was set to take place at a mansion in South Manchester so I treated my feet to fancy shoes and wincing from the pain of my arms clambered in the taxi with the rest of the band.
I must admit that when I hear the word mansion my first thought is Mr Darcy’s estate at Pemberley. For this reason when we arrived at a rather beautiful but derelict mansion which had soil where I was hoping for grounds I was a little disappointed. It was still however a location for a gig and once I got over the soil which was staining the bottoms of my feet it actually turned out to be okay. There were bands playing sets in their pyjamas, toddlers singing magic penny to a hundred people and if one dared to explore the mansion there was an artists rabbit run inside. There were books on every subject you would ever want to study from the 60s and beyond, a grand piano, an artists easel and rooms where musicians could record, for free.
- The dress is originally from H&M, the belt from Topshop, the shoes from Kurt Geiger and the jewellery from Pilgrim. This was one of those dresses donated by the lovely Lara. Though it made for difficult descents from the taxi it is a cute little number and on someone shorter may be rather less revealing.
Every year Salford puts on a two day festival called Sounds of the Other City. It has a little more grit than most two day inner city dos and plenty of good ales, fancy foreign beers and tasty fresh food more commonly found at a farmers market than a festival. The weekend has not started well but I’m trying to be a more positive person and so I pick out the prettiest dress, comb out my hair and with my glad rags on try to raise my spirits for what has traditionally been a slamming party.
Though it wasn’t meant to be the way the boy and I end up alone and having the kind of time alone together that we rarely have these days. It is one of those days when you find yourself falling in love just a little more than ever before, I hope you’ve had them. You remember why it is that you work through the tears and the tantrums because in truth this is the one in your life with who everything just feels right.
We go skipping through the shops like children, searching for a cardigan to keep me warm because I was too worried about looking good for my boy in the band. The weather is freezing and the boy does his best as usual to usher me into his hooded top but its blue and for boys and the dress is too pretty to be covered by it. We end up settling on a long grey cardigan from Wallis which will now be my new cover it up for work. The problem with the project is that I have lots of very pretty dresses which are borderline suitable for the workplace, some a little short, some a little low, this will make even the shortest shimmery shift suitable for the most conservative court appearance.
After sipping down strawberry beers and munching on chicken tacos and tasty chilli which even my soft-core taste buds can handle we slink back on the walls to watch a wailing guitar guy leads us in a chorus of She’ll be coming round the mountains when she comes. We glimpse an old friend who I haven’t seen for some time, she is looking well and loved up and there is something about seeing somebody so content that cheers me through just as much as my cherry beer; strawberry got sickly quickly.
We head over to the gig where the boy plays an acoustic set. The crowd seem to like it and I wish I could be playing the part of the reviewer once more. The venue has a great feel to it and the two girls who put it on are either extremely excitable or just pissed. Either way their enthusiasm is infectious and the crowd laps it up.
We end up hanging out with the other Onions and our friend Ben, who is just lovely. The last time we were here our gang was a lot bigger and I miss the rest of the crew, especially the girls; Anna, Clara, Ellen and Niki. They are all great company and I wish we had all found work in the same city. Sometimes I find myself a little jealous of London which has landed all these great ladies and I lament not making it down there to see them as I should.
We watch a surf band from Wales. They are playing at one of the city churches where they are selling beer and alcopops. It is surreal and though I fear my mother might not like it I lie beside the boy on a blown up sofa beside the altar. I figure its okay because this is the Church of England and I figure they do things different from us Catholics, we kneel.
Later on we head back to The New Oxford, where the boy had his gig. There’s a band Frazer King, friends of the boys who are playing and based on the last time I saw them they are well worth a watch. Though I do not tell the boy, there is something a little sexy about their lead singer who growls the lyrics. When we get there we find the band outside, setting up on the steps of Salford Magistrates Court, having decided they are too big for the venue. I am amused by their arrogance but their choice of setting is inspirational and the set is sublime. I shiver throughout and see traces of blue on my lips but I don’t want to miss a moment and dance and sway with the boy just to keep warm. They put on a show and its one of those gigs you just know you’ll never forget. I wish the crew were all here but its great and I’m happy and in love and I don’t care if it lasts, its here and we’re happy.
- The dress is from Topshop, a tea dress. I usually hate showing my back, its broad and has a mole which I would love to move but its an eight and when it fits I get a bit carried away and forget all my usual insecurities if only for one day. It is on loan from Kat Ingham, who is in Manchester but who I unfortunately missed out on seeing tonight as she was at the sound of the other city, or Maps.
Today has been a sad day for footwear. Back when I was a a 23-year-old with the world at my feet and a job as an events manager which paid a tidy little sum my main outgoing other than restaurant bills and bar tabs was shoes, I was obsessed with them. For the first time in my life since I was 18 I was totally debt free. Out of my monthly salary after all bills were paid I still had an indecent amount left over to spend on myself. Though I smoked and had a fondness for Marks & Spencer sushi and sausage and onion cobs every Friday when I was too hangover to use the phone, I had no children, no mortgage and no monthly car insurance or pension payments. I was young, free, practically single and absolutely loving the independence of it all.
The boy was living a hand to mouth existence as he was still studying for his music degree but I was free to fund our outings and as one of the girlfriend of Manchester’s hardest working band I got to play the part nearly every weekend; we would all hangout backstage drinking down the riders, dragging on rolled up cigarettes and generally just hanging out feeling ever so slightly like the cool kids.
At the time I guess I knew the life we were living would not last forever. I was having a hell of a good time but work was taking its toll on my health and I’d dropped down to my smallest size since I’d had a minor eating disorder back when I was 18. I remember looking at my bank statement and feeling sad at how little I had to show for all the brilliant nights out and evenings just spent drinking red wine round a rickety table listening to music and playing cards in between musing upon our dreams for the future.
Other than Sylvanian Families I had never really felt the desire to collect anything. My sisters had their key-rings, their badges and even at one stage their dice and my brother had the monopoly on every phase and craze out there including Thomas The Tank Engines, Thunderbirds, Power Rangers and even at one stage care bears which was extraordinarily cute. It was when I realised I was spending much of my money on momentary pleasure products that I decided to start a collection and as I had no particular interest at the time in tea cups I decided I would collect shoes. As my regular readers know I am a slave to Kurt Geiger. The shoes they make are so well balanced you can stamp around in a pair of stilettos for sixteen hours straight without feeling an ache. They are creative, original and considering how well they last lusciously priced.
This then brings us to today’s dilemma. There is a man in Market Harborough, his name is Andy but I have always known him as the saviour of shoes. Many times I have brought him a forlorn pair at the end of their life and he has carefully restored them to beauty. One time he managed to restore my red or dead spike heeled stiletto ankle boots to spanking brand new in spite of me having ground the five inch heel to a mere three inches after a weekend in Liverpool visiting a friend where we danced till we dropped to sleep in his dorm just before dawn. Today Andy very kindly explained to me there was sadly nothing he could do for two of my favourite pairs.
One of them was the first pair of pricey shoes I had ever purchased. Brought in my lunch break from Berties at Kendall they were soft white leather with five inch thick wooden heels. Generally I believe white shoes should be saved till ones wedding day and even then they should be hidden and if possible cream but these were divine. Unfortunately as I tend to run in heels as well as walk whilst racing to get the bus back to see the boy after an after work drink my heel snapped on Deansgate. It was humiliating and I actually sat down and cried. I hadn’t even had any hooch but I was just so sad for my poor innocent shoe. Andy said it could be saved in an expensive operation but the job would have to be sourced out and the operators may well break the wood in the process.
The other pair are of the Kurt Geiger variety. I bought them foolishly after getting made redundant from Webb PR a month before Christmas. I was a little heart broken about losing the job and in a fine example of someone who had temporarily given leave to their senses and indeed their financial situation I sneaked away on a Christmas shopping trip with the boy, and bought three pairs of shoes in the sale. Admittedly they should have cost £400 and came to just £120 but still I had just been made redundant and with no job on the horizon it was a foolish mistake. I guess I have never regretted it because today, 15 months after the fact, I still have the shoes and they are still stunning. Unfortunately one of them, a pair of mustard yellow t-bar three inch heels was mortally injured back in May. I was chasing a story at the time and as I tore down the road the pin snapped and I had to traipse around on tippy toes the rest of the day. Andy says there is no hope for them and though I know I should consign them to the bin they are just too lovely, perhaps at some time in the future there will be better technology for such injured shoes? I live in hope.
- Today’s dress is from the wonderful Rebecca Allison. She sent this in a lovely package from the states and as well as a pair of earrings there was a beautifully written letter. I realise the dress comes up a little short on me but I hope you will not take too much of a hump at me modifying it for the workplace by pairing it with the skin tight Lycra number from Zara sent by the lovely Clara, believe me it is to protect your eyes from a legging lovely sight. Again if you do get the chance take a little look at her website. It is a fabulous way to start ones day and has given me goosebumps in the past with the sheer poetry of her posts. http://solsticetosolsticetosolstice.tumblr.com/
Today I have been a bit of a cross patch. The boy told me this morning that he was going to have to leave for home earlier than expected; a whole day earlier in-fact. Though I have often wished I was the kind of woman who could respond to such revelations with short breezy sentences which betray none of my frustration, I usually fail at being the rational understanding female and today was no exception.
The foolish thing is I know it is not his fault. He is a peripatetic percussion teacher and he has to teach his pupils whenever the schools timetable will allow. If he hadn’t headed back this evening he wouldn’t have been there in time to teach tomorrow and would have missed out on a whole day of lessons and consequently a whole day of cheques. I know all this, but when he tells me he has to go I still behave like an adolescent. I cry like a child who has just lost her lolly and ask him if he can just please stay a little longer. I am aware I am being ridiculous and irrational but I don’t seem to be able to stop myself from behaving this way.
Perhaps the main problem I have with him leaving early is that I know I have been a rubbish girlfriend. Even though he has come all the way down from the north to see me I have spent most of our time together sleepy eyed, tearful and tired. I want to be the girl I know he loves to be with; a social butterfly all bubbly and bright eyed. I should be chewing his ear off about my week at work, telling him tales from the piste or even just dragging him out to party the night away at the closing party of our old teenage haunt Helsinki. I don’t though; I try to go out, I try to summon some enthusiasm for it, for anything in-fact but everything feels like an awful lot of effort. I am being a bore and I know it but I can’t seem to stop myself and all I can think of is getting some sleep. I do not want him to go but I feel bad that he has to see me when I am like this. I can’t stand myself when I get this low and so I guess I can hardly blame him for wanting to get the next train out of here.
- Today’s dress was sourced and sent over to me by Hannah Cantrell. It was originally from Topshop and for some strange reason the top of it was left open. Now I am all for showing a bit of skin but even liberal minded me was a little reluctant to let slip so much bra. I have therefore modified the dress slightly with a white vest top to preserve some modesty. It is woollen but not at all itchy and fits like a glove. As I have been such a useless girlfriend this weekend I thought the least I could do was try to look nice. The boy took the photos which was nice as I have missed him being my official photographer. He got a bit crafty and found this spot for me to stand on so he could show the flowers of spring. I have a feeling he was trying to cheer me up by putting me in the middle of all this beautiful new life but unfortunately I think it just served to make me look even more miserable.
Release Date 08/03/2010 (Epic)
By Elinor O’Neill
Along with loss and love, unrequited love has long been one of the great themes of literature and music. Unrequited love lacks any of the beauty or purity of real love. It is dark, obsessive and can destroy those who dwell in it. In music, however, many songs about this love are often poignantly beautiful in their raw honesty and expression. Ignoring the dreadful drones of James Blunt’s You’re Beautiful, many of Aretha Franklin’s best ballads were about unrequited love, and even Wheatus had a hit with Teenage Dirt Bag, a tearjerker of a tune which tells the tale of a geek in love with a girl who will never know his name.
Lemar’s new album “The Hits” is jam packed full of ballads about this subject. And although listening to one or two tracks is a pain free possibility, hearing him moan on for fifteen tracks about rejection and heartbreak is akin to the pain of watching as the tabloids pull girl after girl from the kiss and tell closet of Ashley Cole’s past. It might appear to be entertaining at first but ultimately it makes for a rather dull, depressing read, and by the time the 500th girl is named we have all switched over on to something less sad.
In fairness to Lemar he is a rather good singer with a great range, and there are some tracks on the album which are bearable. “It’s Not That Easy” stands out with its boppy beginning. But unfortunately it becomes grating when, towards the end, annoyingly angelic backing vocals are thrown thoughtlessly into the mix. “You Don’t Love Me” has been combined with “You Keep Me Hangin’ On” by Vanilla Fudge to create a pretty funky little dance tune, which gets one’s brain buzzing with fantasies about a dance off between Lemar and Run DMC on an 80s disco dance floor.
There are a host of classic Lemar tunes for hardcore fans to get their groove on to, but most will find 50/50 and Dance do not carry well into 2010 seeming somewhat dated. There is a pretty impressive duet with JLS on “What About Love” where Lemar’s voice is undoubtedly the best of the five thanks to its simplicity and strength. Throughout the album, though, this voice is compromised as tune after tune is tainted by show off singing and excessive overdubbing as well as the dreadful subject matter.
As the Mamas and the Papas sang in “Glad To Be Unhappy” unrequited love can be a bore, and in choosing to centre nearly every track upon this subject Lemar ensures the record is a painful production which leaves one depressed and bored in equal measure. Even my mother usually a tolerant woman begs me to, “Turn that awful noise off.”
Hurrah hurrah hurray, the summer is finally on its way. Whether you suffer from SAD, the blues or even just get cold a lot, there is nothing more wonderful than the first real rays of sunshine. Today, in spite of suffering from a collective hangover the Onions boys headed out to play tennis and football at Fog lane Park and me and my boy go on walk about in Withington town. For the first time in months sitting outside to read the Sunday papers seems like a viable way to spend a day and I actually can not wait to get out from under the covers because the sun is streaming through the curtains. I am a bit keen on the idea of going and playing frisbee in the park but the frock I’m wearing today is so pretty and feminine it seems a shame to go out and get it all sweaty and grass smeared. I could of course wear sports gear but it feels somehow a bit dishonest not to stay in the same dress the whole day and in the end I settle for a brisk walk. Perhaps I will have to start hassling Nike for tennis and yoga dresses to stop me becoming a sweaty Betty when wearing pretty prints like this. In just a couple of weeks I will be flying out to ski Chamonix and I am sorry to say that even I am not mental enough to ski in a skirt. I am an extremely cold person as it is and without excessive layering I succumb to hypothermia within minutes of hitting the slopes. I am hoping it will be acceptable to all if I just wear my dresses in the evening rather than on the piste, in return I promise you some brilliant apres ski stories and some of the most stunning backdrops to pictures of the dresses thus far. I really enjoyed wearing this dress today. The boy chose it for me to wear as we are going to watch The Miserable Rich play at The Deaf Institute this evening. As I am heading home in a couple of days he wants to see me in this floral feminine print even though it would not usually be my cup of tea. It is because I am heading home in a few days that I want to wear the dress I know he will like the best; though I do not like to dress for men as a rule, I do enjoy looking nice for him just as I know he likes to look nice for me. I brought him a stripey blue and white polo t-shirt shirt for our anniversary and when he wore it to his gig last night I felt really proud of him, even though his look was jeopardized earlier in the evening by a car of egg throwing bandits. I love finding clothes for him which he likes as he is very fussy about what he will wear and getting him to wear anything other than green, brown or blue is a miracle. Since we started going out however I have managed to persuade him to try all kinds of other colours and designs other than hooded tops and jeans and I once even managed to make him try on an orange t-shirt. I like the fact that he dresses well but is not too into his looks. I have dated men in the past who are obsessed with their hair and refuse to let it be ruffled for fear of wasting their carefully selected product. I once went for a meal with a guy and became utterly convinced he had a twitch in his right eye as it kept flickering to the side of my face; it wasn’t until I got up to leave that I noticed the mirror behind me and realised he had been checking how he looked the whole time. It was funny but also a little sad. The gig we go to turns out to be brilliant and although I am technically wearing black, the flowers on the dress and the cloudless night continue to remind me that spring is in the air. At the gig many people arrived wrapped up warmly in their winter coats of muted colour but as they start to warm up there is a shedding of their dull outer layers and much like the sun which has emerged today from the folds of the bleak winter all around us there are people dressed in bright pieces from last years summer wardrobe. Greys and browns are on their way out at last as colour and cheery clothing is welcomed back at last. Whilst the sun goes to get his hat on lets all go out and play!
- This dress is on loan from Sinead Kenny. It is originally from Wallace and feels beautiful on and the thick lining and structured waist makes it a really elegant fit. There have been a lot of floral patterns coming out lately which are really beautiful, particularly those printed on silk. Economise on the material if you have to but don’t penny pinch when it comes to the print itself or you will end up looking as cheap as your outfit. The photos were taken on our way home from the gig on a green patch of Withington and outside a section of Christie’s hospital. If you look close enough you can see the sign which says do not walk under this barrier, as I was limboing and crawling under it I will hopefully not get a letter in the post advising me of legal action any-time soon.
At last I hear you say, the end of the story is nigh. Today I considered not finishing this little modern-day romantic fairy tale because I have had a bloody awful day. I thought that if I was going to write this blog, I was going to do so by waxing lyrical on how utterly awful I am feeling; how sick I am of taking tablets which leave me nauseous and sleepy; and, how awfully cross I am about finding I have put on weight, another joyful side effect of quetiapine. Instead however I have decided to swallow down the bitterness and rather than dwell on the present pain to immerse myself instead in the ghosts of my past in the hope I can fight off the persistent pull of negativity which has been weighing me down since yesterday.
And so the boy and I after spending a night and day together but had parted ways with no way of contacting one another. Luckily our mischievous matchmaking friend had more up her sleeve having decided we were the perfect match. The next day whilst I was daydreaming about the boy and puzzling over whether or not I should go on a date with the other Chris, the boy was sending a message to our friend along the lines of, “Niki I’m a total idiot, I forgot to ask her for her number. Please can you send it to me.” Niki did not hesitate to strum the strings of fate and shortly after I received a text from the boy asking if I wanted to come and see him play a gig at Glass in Fallowfield. In all honesty I wasn’t terribly impressed, in spite of taking a fancy to him whilst he was on stage, I was certainly not about to behave like some kind of groupie girl and go along to watch adoringly as he drummed away like a toy soldier. Instead I went out with some friends and it was not until he invited me on a proper date, to see Gideon and The Deadbeats, now known as The Ten Bears, that I conceded to come along.
When I went to meet him I arrived early so I could catch up with my friend and after admitting I was rather terrified about the prospect of going alone to a gig with a man I barely know she decided it would be best to come along to assist with the magic, and also because she really fancied seeing the band. As this was the wonderful hazy days before the smoking ban, the Academy looked rather magical and with the hippy smoke floating about it was hard not to relax a little and take in the music. Gideon Conn is a bit of a lyrical genius and when he played the little ditty, Londonderry, which is about a first date between two people who are from Derry gosh darn it not Londonderry, I leaned back into the boys chest and felt rather loved up. We ended up all going back to his place for some drinks after the gig and when my friend and her lover went to bed we shared a little kiss before I went on home. I was mad at myself because i was being so careful to take it slow, because I knew I really liked him and was aware most of the last years affairs had ended as a result of me becoming too quickly involved. Though the kiss was nice it was a little too much down to how much we had drunk to steady our nerves.
After this date I tried to back away a little bit and after talking to some friends decided the best thing to do was to play it cool. I was in the middle of doing a dissertation on dating literature and though I had condemned the Rules as utter rubbish more dangerous to women than sexist males there were a few things I had taken from it. For example if you make it too easy for a man it can take away the fun of the chase and they will soon be looking for another lady who is willing to treats them mean. Though there is no way of knowing whether the boy would have been as keen on me if I had turned over on the night we first shared a bed and given him a good snogging, I am always glad we took things a day at a time. It made everything so much fun and meant we went on a host of date nights including a disastrous cinema outing where I demanded we leave after 10 minutes because it was so dire and a pub crawl which was rather messy but all of them ended in the same civil manner with a bit of a peck and then a goodnight sweetheart.
As our first date was spent in the company of a chaperone, we have come to the conclusion over the years that the night on which we should celebrate our anniversary is the first date we had by ourselves. I was completely nervous about the whole experience as by then I knew I really rather liked him but was still technically dating the other Chris though I knew it was just a matter of time before it fizzled out. After several hundred outfit changes I settled on a knee-length reddy brown leather skirt, a pair of black Red or Dead pointy ankle boots with a silver spike heel and buckles which one of my exes had brought me, a black T-Shirt and a frilly sleeveless black polo neck over the t-shirt to hide the ridiculous print on the t-shirt. Over the whole thing I had to wrap myself in my Burberry Mac which I was cross about because it meant the first thing he saw when I walked in would be the coat and not the carefully chosen outfit.
We were both late for the date, though I had messaged ahead to tell him not to hurry he still got there before me and was sat with a drink and a cigarette looking nervous. I couldn’t spot him when I first came in and the butterflies in my stomach started to dance about. He smiled when he saw me and I myself felt all a flutter when I saw he had made an effort to look nice. I fancied him and we had the nicest evening chatting about music, life, art and even our mutual friends and our own families. The evening took a bit of a turn when he decided, or maybe it was me that it was only fair we brought a second bottle of wine so as not to leave the other person out-of-pocket. I am by my own omission a total light weight and when we got on the bus I was horribly aware that I had drunk too much. He had suggested going for another drink in Withington at Solomon and Grundys which would soon become our local hang out, but when the bus started to move I was suddenly aware of how much I needed to get some fresh air. Turning to him I muttered something vague about having had a lovely evening and how it really was time to go home, then I lurched off the bus. I still could have retained some of my dignity if he had not stepped off with me sensing something was amiss and had the pleasure of watching his date throw up outside a building site in Fallowfield, a friend of mine later moved into the flats and I never had the courage to tell her I had thrown up in the foundations of her flat.
In all credit to him the boy was an utter star. rather than leave me to stagger home poorly and vulnerable he looked after me and took me back to his house. He tucked me into bed fully clothed but got me lots of water and a bowl, just in case. He shared the bed with me but surprisingly enough didn’t try anything funny and when he got up in the morning to go to work he kissed my forehead and brought me a cup of tea and left me some money just in case to get a cab home. I was utterly humiliated and as soon as he had gone I pulled on my jacket and bolted out the door. After a daytime nap I came clean to my flat mates about the dreadful date and was subjected to hours of teasing and even drawings to illustrate the incident as well as cries of, “well at least you’ll know he is not calling you because you slept together.” After it got past three however they seemed to have exhausted their insults and were now acting quite sympathetically as it had become clear he was never going to text back. I started to cry a little and decided to stop obsessing about it and leaving my phone in my room I joined the boys for our Friends and scrubs marathon. When I came upstairs to bed later on it was to find he had sent me a message after all: “Hey sweetie, you looked really pretty this morning. Was horrible leaving you. Hope you are feeling better, thanks for a great date x The rest as they say is history.
- Today’s dress is on loan from my lovely Auntie Bridgeen. It is from Primark and she loves wearing it on holiday. I managed to do something to my hair in spite of being fed up, put it in a bun after washing it then letting it down in the rain, and am wearing it with a vest for the cold and some suede black boots and opaque black tights for the warmth. The giant took the photos today thus why they are as my mother said a lot more demure than usual.