Friday, October 31, 2008

I forgot about the part where hard work is hard...

Hey, so I had my trial today at Spring Studios, the photography studio/restaurant in Kentish Town. It went pretty well, but gosh darnit, I feel really unfit. I mean, I used to stand for ages at a time while working at Dome, but after today I am knackered! It's a good kind of knackered, though... Especially now that I'm sitting down.

It seems like a pretty interesting place to work. The morning was spent getting breakfast for the fancy people in the studios - models, photographers, crew. It was pretty neat. Then came the lunch rush, which was apparently really quiet, but still kind of stressful. I guess it always is until you learn what you're doing. Plus I'm not convinced that the guy who was trained me is any good at training people. There were a few vague unhelpful directions, and a couple of conflicting ones, too. And on top of that, he sat down and had breakfast at 11ish, but neglected to let me do the same. Bummer.

But yeah, overall it was alright. I've got some shifts next week, it'll be so good to start earning the pounds!

Ack, I'm feeling really sentimental and a little bit homesick tonight. Everyone else is going out to Halloween parties, but I think it'll be nice to have a bit of time on my own. Maybe I'll have a bath! For anyone who's unaware, I think baths are the ultimate in luxury. To justify that amount of water, you have to spend at least an hour or two in there, which is an hour or two that you set aside for just sitting and thinking and being warm. Sounds good.

Okay, I'm going to finish up and write more later. Maybe I'll take some photos for it...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

P.S.

My really good day yesterday got even better. It started snowing!


Housemates frolicking!

Our lovely housemates are moving back to Australia in November, so they didn't think they'd get to see any more snow! It was nice snowfall, too - big, fluffy, drifty flakes. Alas, it was too warm for anything to build up, so we'll just have to wait til Christmas to see some real snow!


Me and Joe - so much excitement!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Today was a good day!

Wow, it just got cold all of a sudden! The weather today looked really sunny and beautiful, but luckily I checked the forecast before I left the house - maximum temperature was 10 degrees. Also, apparently there's snow in Scotland! Can't wait til the London streets are filled with pure white fluffiness, which quickly becomes dirty brown sludginess.

In other news, Ross is working! He got hired by a temping agency, they seem to cover a whole range of jobs. Last Friday he worked in the mail room of Warner Brothers, this week he's a recycling bin man. It's only 8:30pm, but recycling bin man is asleep already as he started work just before seven this morning.
And also, I almost have a job! I had an interview today at a restaurant attached to a photography studio - it'll just be waitressing and making coffees, but at least it's an interesting environment. It isn't confirmed yet, but as long as I don't burn the place down on my trial shift, I should be okay.

My trip to the interview was kind of funny. I decided to leave the house two whole hours before I had to be there, just to be on the safe side, but I figured I'd just get to the area really early and hang out. Instead, I spent an hour and three quarters waiting for trains, then getting on the wrong ones... Got there just in the nick of time, and I had no extra time to fret and worry about the interview! It all worked out for the best, I guess.

Then my day continued to get better - I went to an Oxfam and bought two books for 60p each: Diary by Chuck Palahniuk (I think it's my favourite of his books, although I can't actually remember what happens), and an old penguin one about some guy whose face is disfigured. It just looked kind of random and cool, and gave me something to read on the Tube.
On my way home I went through the shopping centre and bought a pair of shoes for eight pounds! Yay! They're just plain flat black shoes, but comfortable and will go with everything. Black shoes are right up there on the list of 'Things I didn't pack that I wish I did'. Hmm, maybe if you guys want to get me a Christmas present, you can just send me things I already own!

It's Guy Fawkes day soon (on the 4th or 5th? My Aussie housemates don't know, either), so you can buy fireworks from the shop down the road! I can hear some going off now - I guess if you had a bag of fireworks looking at you, it'd be hard to restrain yourself. I don't think I'll buy any, I'll save my sprengigleði* for Icelandic New Year.
It's also Halloween on Friday. I'm not sure whether people celebrate it in a big way over here. There's quite a lot of pumpkins at the supermarket. I think food sculpture is underrated. There should be food sculptures for every holiday! Anyway, re: Halloween, I don't know if I should buy lollies or not. I don't want to make the chillens all sad, and I definitely don't want them throwing things at my house. Then again, our house is in a shopping mall, so I doubt people would come knocking here anyway. Maybe I'll buy some lollies for me instead!

Another reason why today was good - I bought the tastiest pomegranate ever! It was just the right amount of sweet and sour. I'm so easily pleased. Good times.


*Sprengigleði is an awesome Icelandic word that I only learnt recently - it translates as 'the joy of blowing things up'. So good.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Punched

Awesome, this is a first for my blog! Internet tag! Maja got me.

5 things I was doing ten years ago

Living with my parents
Really getting into local music for the first time - The Tigers, Eskimo Joe, Red Jezebel, Cinema Prague, Fourth Floor Collapse! I need to be stopped.
Going to high school - I think year nine was actually my favourite year
Tagging along with my older brother and his friends
Dreaming about being in a band...


5 things on my list of things to do today

Get out of bed!
Wash my hair
Call our landlord with my bank account details
Do some grocery shopping
Find some cheap, comfortable and awesome black shoes


5 snacks I love

Cheese and crackers
Pomegranates
Raspberries
Those little bars of Kinder chocolate
Toast


5 things I would do if I were a millionaire

Stop job hunting
Buy a house
Buy some new musical instruments
Travel all the way around the world - visit Perth!
Give some to my family


5 places I've lived

Manjimup (I don't know the street name... Mum? Can you help me out?)
Banach Street, Maddington
Hall Road, Roleystone
Aðalgötu 17, Sauðárkrókur, Iceland
High St, Walthamstow


5 jobs I've had

Delivering lambs at Andrés' farm (unpaid, but it was work!)
Kitchenhand at Fosshotel in Sauðárkrókur
Scraping fat from lamb carcasses, Slaughterhouse in Sauðárkrókur
Duty Manager, Retro Betty's Leederville
Barista, Dome Subiaco

5 people I punch (in the most loving way, of course)

I don't know five people with blogs... If anyone wants to fill out some answers and send it to me, that'd be okay.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Prom, Ross and Job-hunting.

Oooh, I got Firefox and now the pictures work again...

But before I talk about my life here, take a look at how my life back home was this past weekend... Boysboysboys prom photos!
Those guys look amazing, and who could have been a better prom band? I miss them lots! And I miss getting all pretty and hanging out with lovely ladies (and gents)! I guess I could still dress up here, but really, when was the last time I did that of my own accord? No, I need the peer pressure.



I'm glad B decided to wear the Alpha Female dress, she got it in an opshop and it looks amazing!

Cool. So back to London, where it's starting to get a little bit cold and I was going to say grey, but Ross corrected me. It's still pretty sunny, but jackets are definitely required. Two of my housemates, Donna and Kelli are moving back to Australia in mid-November, and I believe they're leaving most of their winter coats behind! That's really good because I've been looking for the perfect coat to buy, but I just haven't found it yet. Now there's no rush, I'll have plenty of warm things to wear while I'm looking.


Okay. Guest Post - you've been waiting for it - Here's Ross!



AHHHHHH HELLLO
i don't really know what olga has told you but here i go

We are not doing much because we don't have much money and our Australian moneys aren't really worth anything over here. So day to day activities involve looking for jobs. I am trying to get similar work to what i did back in Perth (Forklift stuff) but have not received the certificate that proves i can drive one, so that is sort of becoming a problem. I have an interview today, So I hope it goes well.

Olga and I both got bank accounts the other day and have an appointment for a National Insurance Number tomorrow, these things help in getting jobs so i guess we are half way there.

I am enjoying London, So many things always happening even if you don't have money you can amuse your self with the ranting and raving of our neighbours. We line in Walthamstow which it seems is a little bit in the ghetto, this makes for cheap rent.
Out the back of our house across the alley way is a block of flats that are inhabited by polish squatters who are quite vocal, not that i understand anything they say. they might not even be polish? but they like to throw all their trash out the window into the alley way. To the right are a black couple who seem to always arguing and calling the cops on each other, sounds like they have a solid relationship. Also everytime you hear a siren you can't help but get the theme song for the bill stuck in your head.
We also have a squirrel in the tree outside.

Olga has probably told you about our room or shoebox, Our mattress has dodgy springs which poke into my ribs which cause me to have dreams about being stabbed. Pretty awesome. We have a T.V where the picture is blue, it's very soothing. calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean. One corner of the room is dedicated to a tetris styled heap of musical equipment. I love Tetris I hold a high score against my brother Jesse and 'someone' still owes me money for that. They know who they are.

I don't know what else I can tell you. Please feel free to comment on this blog and ask questions and Olga and i will do our best to answer them.

Oh yeah I know it sounded like i was complaining about my room size, but at least i don't live under the stairs like Joe (ahahahahaha)




And on that note, Ross has gone to take a photo of Joe's nook under the stairs. See, Joe will eventually live in this house when our housemates' lease is up, but in the meantime he's been staying here because his grandma's house in Slough is too far away... He was sleeping on Kelli's floor, but I think she wanted her room back.

So, what else? I ended up getting the bank account under my Australian name, I hope that doesn't cause problems in the long run. The bank lady said she could change the name if it becomes an issue, but she sort of talked at me like I was an idiot for even worrying about it. Grr. And she's the one who said I shouldn't even bother trying to get an account as an Icelander. She is not my favourite.
On the plus side, the Fastrack stuff we did really did make it easier to get an account. It was like paying money somehow erased the need for all the proof of ID and work and address that you normally have to wade through.

Okay, I'm going to go do some job hunting again today. I know, I'll go out and find some amazing Icelandic bookstore with a cool music section, and another section entirely devoted to kittens. That sounds like a neat job!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Hmm, good things and bad things.

Oops, I just published a title. Oh well, it can be edited, and it shall be!

What's been happening? Well, we tried to apply for visas to the US because we were supposed to play a festival in New York next week. The tour has kind of been plagued with issues from the beginning; our friends from Perth The Silents were supposed to play but couldn't get there, then one of our shows got cancelled, so we couldn't afford to bring our manager Heath with us.

Anyway, as you would imagine, the bureaucracy that you have to deal with is pretty intense, so there's this company that helps out, in an effort to encourage foreign bands to tour there. They were really helpful, gave us step by step guides to all the forms and regulations, and told us that this kind of performing visa is usually rushed through.
Unfortunately, the US government doesn't fast track Indonesian Muslims that have visited Mecca a few years ago - who would have thought? I guess it was always a possibility, but somehow I forgot to worry about it, I was too busy worrying about my own paperwork. So, we're not going to New York, there's no way they'll get Andy's visa through in time. But never mind, we'll get the visa eventually and play some other shows there instead!

It's probably for the best, it allows us to concentrate on getting jobs and bank accounts, and generally settling in here a bit more... Ross and I paid for this company that helps you get all that stuff organised, and they've booked us appointments for national insurance numbers and bank accounts. However, I'm here on my Icelandic passport and will be working under that name. So, you'd think I should get the account under that name, right?
Um, apparently, wrong. Because of the shenanigans between the UK and Iceland, Fastrack recommends that I get an account in my Australian name. Because, being Icelandic, I must have been pretty heavily involved in the running of the country and it's financial policy, and therefore all the trouble that was caused. Sorry. Promise I won't do it again. Can I please have an account now?

It's crazy, it's exactly like Maja's post where ordinary people are blamed for their whole country's mistakes. And in the case of Iceland, I'm beginning to be convinced that it's not even entirely their fault, let alone mine.

Hmm, I just realised my two stories are kind of similar. Interesting. Anyway, although neither of them are heartwarming, life is not bad. The sun is shining, there's a colourful street market outside of my window, and Ross just drew me a picture of a frog prince. I called my Mum and Dad today, they sound pretty happy and relaxed, and are cooking a barbecue tonight. Starting to miss Australia, but not in a painful way, just a nice nostalgic way.



And Kristinn sent me this photo. If anyone's ever feeling down...



x

Monday, October 13, 2008

What's going on? Not much...

My last few days have been pretty samey; I've been dividing my time between looking for work and doing everything in my power to avoid looking for work. I'm a procrastinator at heart.
So here's some random photos and words...



Ah, Mr Krona. Not doing so well, are you? I'd like to learn more about how economics works. It's such a weird idea, that money can be worth more or less depending on how many people have it... Come to think of it, it's weird that money is worth anything at all!
Also strange is that this is a one krona coin that was loose in my bag, which got stuck to the magnet on my camera case. I thought money wasn't made of metal that sticks to magnets - none of the other coins I've tried were, anyway.



This is the backstage room at the Louisiana in Bristol. I liked it. Ross said that he had been thinking about taking the exact same photo, but didn't. Who's laughing now?
Probably no one.

Anyway, we've gotten the wireless internet working in our house. It was very high tech, Ross copied the password off the modem and then typed it in. He's quite the IT guy.
Ooh, speaking of which, we saw Richard Ayoade from The IT Crowd and Garth Marenghi's Darkplace. He was at our show in London, but I'm not sure if he saw us play or not.




I don't think anything needs to be said.


I got a letter from Bridget and one from Jade, too! If you think this post is disjointed and weird, you should see the letter I tried to write back to Jade - there's no editing and rewriting in letters, so it's a rambly confusing mess. I hope she likes it.

This next picture is for Bridget, it reminds me of a Redfern party where she made everyone choose which they liked better, prawns or cheese. I was on the side of cheese, as was Bridget (from memory), but Karen chose prawns. Now there can finally be an end to the fighting - together at last, in a tube.



And then after I took this photo, I realised you can buy rækjuostur in the Icelandic bakery. There's probably a long history of prawns and cheese together, that I hadn't even been aware of until now. I'm glad the veil has been lifted.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Touring and awesome-ness!

We played some shows. They were really good. Here's some photos. They're not as good, but they'll do.

First show with Pivot was in Leeds on Sunday, which I already talked about... The room was a weird shape, so the sound kind of bounced off the walls in a funny way. Maybe I should learn something about acoustics terminology...






Ross and Andy settling their differences the old fashioned way - drum contest.


This is backstage at the 100 club in Soho, where we played on Tuesday. It's quite a historical club - used to be a jazz club, and then it became a punk club, and now it does both. Everyone who's anyone has played there, and there's tonnes of old photos on the walls. Except in the backstage area, where there's just graffiti.




We got some great weather the last couple of days, especially once we got out of the greyness of London. This is out the window on the way to Bristol - after I took my turn sitting in the back with no windows, I was greeted with beautiful English countryside. Aw.
This is one of the bonuses of touring - when else would I have gone to Bristol?



I tried to find some good photos of Pivot playing, but I still haven't figured out how to take good band shots, so I don't have any... I'll add that to the list of things I need to learn how to do - up there with sewing and being a librarian.


And finally, THIS!



I bought it from H+M. Possibly the best thing I've ever paid money for...

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

I just realised that most of my titles end with ellipses...

I had to look up the word for those three dots, but I'm pretty sure I've at least heard the word before.

Played a show in Leeds on Sunday night, it went really well considering it was our first show in ages. We played with Pivot, an Australian band who live... well, nowhere at the moment, they've been on tour since early this year! They were really friendly guys, they lent us their gear and said they could give us some contacts in London. We're playing with them in Soho tonight, and tomorrow night in Bristol, and they offered to drive our gear there for us! I guess it's not too hard for them to do, they're driving there anyway and have room in their van, but still, it's a pretty cool thing to do.

Actually, on that note, lots of people here have been a lot friendlier and more helpful than I would have thought. Our housemates, who are all friends of friends (at most) have been going out of their way to be awesome, or maybe they're just that awesome to begin with, and don't even have to try. I guess I'm quite down on humanity in general, but when I think about it, most of the people I've met recently have been great.

Anyway, Ross drove to Leeds in our hire van, and we did really well on the way there. We drove to Cambridge the night before and stayed at Andy's, which was nice and cut down our driving time a little bit. On the way home, however, we got lost in every way imaginable - we drove north for a while, then turned around and tried to get back to Leeds, then got lost in Leeds and couldn't find the road out of there! We stopped and asked for directions and got lost again, then stopped again at a pizza place run by the nicest man in Leeds - he closed his shop, got in his car, and drove to the M62 so we could follow him! If it weren't for that man, we'd probably still be there.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

What a day!

Okay, so now we're living in E17 (woo!) and are staying in a house with a bunch of people. And we're playing a show on Sunday in Leeds, which is about 3-4 hours out of London. We've finally sorted out hire cars and such, so I'm looking forward to playing again.

This morning our gear arrived from the freighting place, which was good, but it arrived an hour earlier than it was supposed to, which was bad. Joe was going to come round and help us lug nearly 300kg of instruments up 3 flights of stairs, but he was too late and missed out. We managed okay without him, though...
I took a photo of the clutter in my room, too, but looking at it just upsets me, so I won't subject you guys to it. Can't wait to have space again!


After carrying gear up to our room and tetris-ing it into the space next to the bed, I checked my emails and waited for Joe to come over. I got an email from my lovely friend Fiona, and while I was replying the doorbell rang - it was Joe (surprise surprise) and also a delivery guy with a pretty package (actual surprise). It was a box of cupcakes from the very same Fiona and her boyfriend Steve. It was like how you can get flowers delivered overseas, but with delicious and beautiful cupcakes! It came with a congratulations on engagement card, and it was amazingly lovely and thoughtful, and those guys are great. They're almost too pretty to eat, but they're also really tasty. Here's a picture!


There's a bit of a nibble taken out of that bottom yellow star one, but I figure they still look amazing!




After that we decided to go to Primark, which is a super cheap clothing chain that's been highly recommended by quite a few people. Well, I decided, then bullied Joe and Ross into coming with me. Sounds very straightforward, but it turned into quite an adventure, thanks to the joy that is the public transport system.

There's a Primark in Hackney, which is two overground train stops away from where we are... Being the person that I am, I paid for a ticket, and Ross did too. Joe is a bit financially challenged at the moment, so he didn't pay - we were assured by the girls we live with that there's a very minimal chance of getting caught. However, today, they were running a drug raid on the entrance to Hackney Downs, so there were about 15 police officers, a drug sniffing dog and six or seven transit police waiting to meet us.

Joe almost charmed the lady out of giving him a fine by telling her he'd just got to London today (while I frantically avoided eye contact, as I'm a terrible liar). Unfortunately, she couldn't let him off with all the police officers around. It sucks, because he was trying to scrimp on £1.60, and instead he had to pay £20. Crime doesn't pay.

So anyway, we went to Primark, I bought some thermals and stockings and a new towel, and it cost about $30. I think the shop was maybe a bit hyped up, but apparently there's a huge one somewhere that might be worth a look in at a later date. £1 t-shirts, anyone?

Went back to the station, where there was a train waiting with its doors open, so we ran into it, except it didn't leave. Waited a little longer, still didn't leave. Then the driver announced over the intercom that a lorry drove into the bridge just down from where we were, so they didn't want to drive a train over it until they'd checked the damage. Sensible, but annoying. Take some risks, National Express! Live a little!

There was a train going the other way which took us to Seven Sisters. It's a combined overground/underground stop right on the Victoria line, which goes right to our house! Awesome, except that the Victoria line had just closed for weekend repairs. There were no direct replacement buses, so we spent the next hour or so trying to catch a bus home - it all seemed more complicated than it had to be, but we met a nice girl who helped us out a bit.

And then we finally arrived home! Exhausting day, but full of adventures and getting stuff done, plus a beautiful treat from a couple of awesome friends.