Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Three red car day!

Hey so today was pretty good! Vicki took Freyja out this morning and regretted it just a little - it looked like a clear and beautiful day, but they came back almost frozen!  I think Vicki felt like a bit of a wuss, because it looked so nice out - we later discovered that the temperature was minus seventeen and so we decided that being cold was a pretty natural reaction to that kind of weather.

Um, I found a really big icicle on Sigga's house... Can you tell that I have been doing very little and therefore need to tell you about the little bits of madness that make up my days?

These are some teeny tiny ice crystals on Sigga's house. Do you know how cold your fingers get while trying to take a close up photo? Quite.

Also, I got a present from Ross because of how it is my birthday today!


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Photog blog

Just some lovely photos (mostly taken by Ross) of the prettiness that is Christmas in Sauðárkrókur.

Icicle bicycle

Moon and mountains


Vicki and the fjord

And last but not least...

  Aw. Love this place!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Here and there a patch of snow...

Yay! We're in Iceland again! And oh my gosh it is cold!

And the last few days have been all about snow! Monday we played a show at Koko with The Temper Trap, but as you may have heard, the weather got crazy in London that night! It took us an hour and a half to get from Walthamstow to Camden (you could probably walk quicker, as long as you weren't trying to lug a keyboard and bass amp). It was quite scary on the roads, no one had proper tyres or dare I say it, driving skills? We saw quite a few red buses parked on the sides of the road, and a huge bendy bus parked across two out of three lanes of traffic.  Annoying!

Ross and I were a bit unexcited about the show, as we had to fly out early the next morning, but once we got there, it was awesome! The venue was beautiful, the sound was great and The Temper Trap guys are really really nice - they're doing amazingly well for themselves at the moment, and they really deserve it. Instead of heading home early as planned, we stuck around and watched them play, and it was great fun. A night well spent.

So yesterday morning we woke up after very little sleep (in Vicki's case - none!) and had to get to Gatwick. We left early just in case there were any public transport issues, but luckily it was all good. Our flight was delayed by about an hour, but heaps of flights were cancelled, so we pretty much won! It took us all day and some buses and some friendly relatives and a ride in a tiny tiny plane, and then we were finally in Sauðárkrókur!

It is lovely as always to be back - there's some gorgeous fluffy snow on the ground and Christmas lights everywhere!  We went up to the graveyard today, we're visiting some family tonight to try some stinky fish, and Amma and Sigga have been making us feel right at home...

Life is good.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

14 Across. The girl in the pool game.

Q: Why was I excited about this cryptic crossword clue on the way home?

A: Because I'm the answer! Pool game.
 Man, I am easily amused.

Today work was okay, the new girls are pretty weird though. The one I worked with today is just nuts. I can't even figure out exactly why I (and a few other people) think that... She's really changeable, like sometimes she's all enthusiastic, but then all of a sudden she's rude and rolling her eyes. Then she wants to learn everything and be helpful, but then she's shouting at studio assistants.
What the...?
I disapprove of people who are rude and judgemental in their first couple of weeks. At least wait until you know who's who (also known as the 'don't tell the boss' wife she can't use restaurant cutlery' rule). Better yet - be nice to everyone!

Anyway, none of this is relevant because tomorrow is my last day! I'm working Saturday, too, but that barely counts as working (except in the 'I get paid to be there' sense. Then it counts.) They usually get the awesome studio assistants in on the weekends, and my buddy Gus will be in the kitchen, so it should be a cruisy fun shift with nice people! 

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Delay and a snow day!

Ooops, delayed post = lack of relevance and therefore detail.
Nevermind. Here's what I thought of that staff party that I went to last week:

Wow, when these fashion industry people say that they're going all out, they really really go all out.

It was circus themed, so we were greeted at the door by a dude on stilts, playing puppeteer to a midget in face paint. (side note: In the days leading up to this party, I had a conversation with the event organiser, Adam, about the difficulty of hiring midgets in London in December. Apparently it's a busy time of year to be a little person in the entertainment business - who would have thought?)

There was a whole sideshow alley with dart games, shooting games and a coconut shy, plus a whole bunch of crazy performances - a burlesque dancer who emerged from an egg and wore feathers, some dudes dancing to Michael Jackson, and a skin-stretchy guy, who I missed but was apparently really creepy and interesting to watch. (note that no one actually said fun to watch - the operative words are creepy and interesting.)

So a good time was had by all, to varying degrees. I actually had fun, I talked to some nice people and showed off my Ross to everyone. We left around one in the morning, which I think was the right time. Tamas the awesome bar manager had to come in at eight the next morning to clean up, and apparently there were still people  hanging around!

So anyway, that was that. This week is my last week at Spring! I'm officially finishing on Friday, although if there are any studios on the weekend I might do an extra shift or two. I have a feeling I'll be needing all the money I can get next year. Luckily Ross is working again, and has some work booked for mid-January, so we'll be fine, as always!

Today it snowed! I only got to see a little bit of it, but Ross got to work outside all day -  what a super lucky guy...

Friday, December 11, 2009

You can tell a lot about a person...

... by the way they treat people who can't fight back - for example: children, animals and waitstaff.

Yay for Dad wisdom.

My staff party is tonight, Ross and I are going to go for a little while, if only to take advantage of free food and drinks. Also there are quite a few lovely people at my work, in amongst the jerks.

So this week was pretty busy, we recorded some demos for the new album on Monday and Tuesday. It's basically just a rough recording of the new songs, so we can show them to labels. Hopefully they'll go crazy for them and pay for us to go record it properly in Iceland next year.

Joe was really sick over the weekend - he couldn't even get out of bed on Monday to come in to the studio. We had to do drums and bass first, anyway, so we got quite a lot done without him, but we were a bit lost when it came to song structures - these new songs are still at the stage where I watch Joe to see when he's going to change chords, and every once in a while he shouts 'chorus!' Just like the good old days...  

The studio was pretty cool, it was run by this stereotypical old British rock'n'roll guy. He said 'innit' a lot and talked about the glory days of recording Robert Plant on tape vs. the idiocy of all these newfangled bands recording digitally. Nice guy, though. His studio is full of various crazy instruments that he has acquired over the years:

This is a really old old organ that I think he said was given to him by a friend... There was another one that he somehow got free from the Tate (?) but it wasn't as pretty.

 Complete with ye olde gothic font on the levers.

You might have to look at it up close... I like that this amp has two options for inputs - you could go for 'normal' (the two inputs on the far left) or 'brilliant' (the two in the middle).  Hmm, which one shall I choose? I'll take the 'musical genius' option, please! Brilliant!

Here's Andy and Joe and our producer, Aaron. He's a pretty awesome guy, and he's also lots of fun to work with. If the label throws enough money at us, we'll take him with us to Iceland!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

You haven't truly lived...

...until you've been Andy's hype man* while he sings EVERY SINGLE WORD to Kriss Kross' Jump.

* You know, the guy in the background going "Yeah, Aw, Alright" and joining in at the end of every line:
How high? Real high
Cause I'm just so fly
A young lovable, huggable type of guy
And everything is the back with a little slack
And inside-out is wiggida wiggida wack!

Observe Joe's look of disbelief; it was INCREDIBLE.

This last one is my favourite. There's so much going on - and it's a great representation of what it's like living in my house. It's like this all the time!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Skating and scary birds...

I had a great day off yesterday - Ross and I went ice skating at the Natural History Museum! They have an outdoor rink there during winter, and I think it might be really busy during 'peak' times (after 5pm and on weekends), but on a Tuesday afternoon? It was almost empty...

...which was really really lucky, as neither of us were much good at staying upright... They had a little kids' section off the main rink, it was a great place for practising jumping, spinning, not falling over, and other such tricks. Ross had some great spin action, but wasn't so good at stopping the spin.

The weather was really nice, too - pretty cold, but not windy or rainy. I love that beautiful kind of crisp sunny day. I'll be happy if the rest of winter stays like this...

After the skating we went into the museum itself for a little while... So many stuffed animals! Here are some scary looking birds:

I'd definitely like to go back there sometime and look around properly. And take way more taxidermy photos.
And finally, I have been shopping on eBay. You can get the most wonderful things on the internet. Case in point:

It's a tote bag - I just realised you can't tell that from the picture... Anyway, I may have to start a flickr album made up of pictures of me with alternate heads. It'll be rad.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Catch up styles!

Okay, so...

1) I quit my job!


2) We went on a mini tour to Manchester and Sheffield.

1) I QUIT!
I talked to my awesome bar manager Tamas on Wednesday afternoon, and told him I wouldn't be coming back after Christmas. He said that was fine, and he could understand where I was coming from, but I would be sorely missed.

I then talked to Adam, head-of-lighting-and-also-the-bar-for-some-reason, who I've had run-ins with before. I wasn't going to talk to him about it, but Tamas told him so he came to 'chat' with me. Basically he thought it was really drastic to go from working all the time to not working at all - he offered me less shifts next year, if I want them. Then he asked me to explain why I wanted to leave, and seemed really unsatisfied with my answer of 'because I'm tired all the time and everyone is rude to me'. He said if I decided I wanted to be honest with him, I should let him know at a later date.

What the...? If he doesn't understand that being treated like dirt on a daily basis makes for an unpleasant work environment, then it's no wonder he can't keep good staff.

Anyway, enough of that unpleasantness - I'm free as of the 21st of December!

2) I TOUR!
After a mix up with hire cars, we ended up crammed into a station wagon instead of the van that we'd originally booked. Oh well, at least the radio worked.

We picked Andy up in Cambridge, then got to Manchester, found the venue and loaded in. It was an absolutely beautiful room in a place called The Deaf Institute, with lots of really interesting wallpaper and nice skylights.

The headlining band were a bit late, so we ate some food while we waited for them to come and soundcheck. They turned out to be really nice dudes, just a two piece with drums and looped guitars and vocals. And their band name was Friendship, which is a pretty cool name.

We played a good set, although there weren't that many people there. The people at the venue were really nice, they paid us ahead of time and even organised accommodation for us!

So there's this lady, Bernie, who has been putting up touring bands in her house for about six years now. She's got a huge basement filled with various mattresses and sofa beds, and she charges ten pounds a night per person. It was really really nice, and Bernie herself was lovely. We arrived at her house at about midnight and she was up waiting for us. She offered us drinks and let us play some awesome records from her enormous collection. All this and she had a friendly pet cat, too.

In the morning she had to go to work, but she laid out a whole breakfasty feast for us and Friendship, who also ended up staying there.

It was such a great experience. We were all pretty blown away by her hospitality, it's just not what you expect from... well, people. I'm not expressing myself very well, but I was really inspired by her generosity, she has kind of changed the way I think.

So after that lovely breakfast we went to pick up the gear from the venue, then drove to Sheffield. We got stuck in some pretty bad traffic on the way, but made it eventually.

The venue in Sheffield was about as different as could be from the beautiful Deaf Institute. It was basically a rehearsal room in a warehouse, really scummy and dirty. And oh my gosh it was freezingly cold.

On the plus side, we had some awesome curry for dinner, and played a good show. It was messy and kind of a shambles, but sometimes that really works for us. There was a really underground vibe about the whole night, lots of uni students and arty types drinking from three litre plastic bottles of Tesco own brand cider. Nice.

We drove straight back to Walthamstow after the gig, as Joe had lessons to teach all day Saturday. It's always nice to sleep in your own bed. Even nicer to wake up, eat breakfast and then go back to bed and watch movies all day. Yay for winter!

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Small pleasures...

1. Ross found a good avocado at Lidl, which means that our nachos will be improved tenfold!

2. I knocked a clay pot off the top of a fridge at work today, but then I caught it one handed! And the chef saw it and congratulated me!

3. I am totally going to quit my stupid job tomorrow. I have to give notice, so I'll still work up until Christmas, but I'm not going back next year. I feel relieved.

4. Ross bought me a pretty scarf.

Okay, so my head might be the tiniest bit weird in this photo. So what?

Also, Ross mentioned that I should point out that this is the scarf in question. I'm not just posting weird photos of my head. 

And bonus points for corner-Ross.

5. We have borrowed so many DVDs off of Joe and Maja: Flight of the Conchords, Black Books, Planet Earth. Awesome.

There are many little things that make me happy. Big things, too, but that's all for now.


Sunday, November 15, 2009

Cave art, karaoke and ARGH - tonsils!

  So there is some cool art in the gallery at my work at the moment. I worked the opening party on Thursday night, then had a look at the exhibition on Friday.

I think I love art that you can walk through... K and I once went to an exhibition in Melbourne that had a cardboard maze, this weird cave thing is on a smaller scale.


You walk in and there's all these hand made clay faces on the walls, they all look kind of shocked and excited and talkative.


I really enjoyed it, and it was a lovely end to my week. I didn't have enough time to look at everything else properly, but this sculpture cave alone made me pretty happy.

On Friday night we went to karaoke for Daisy's birthday - I didn't take any photos, but I'm sure you can picture how awesome it was. There were lots of her work friends there, they were pretty nice people. We sang heaps, danced more and then went to a gay bar (as you do). Twas a lovely evening.

Last week at work was a bit killer. Did I mention Hajni, the awesome girl at work who had tonsilitis? I ended up covering a bunch of her shifts, but then she was 'better' and on antibiotics, so she came back to work...
She worked the day shift on Thursday, then when I came in at three for the party, she looked pretty awful - all fevery and sore throated. Turns out she had a temperature of 39, went straight from work to hospital and has now returned to Hungary to have her tonsils taken out.

This sucks on the levels of 'oh my gosh, poor little Hajni', and also 'oh no, this means it's just me until Christmas'. The new girl has just quit, she's working one more week and then leaving. She wasn't especially awesome, but it's always easier having someone else there, even if I have to prod her into doing anything useful.
So we now have two new trial girls and I'm hoping they're the kind of people who don't mind actually working while they're at work. It seems to be a rarer quality than I thought...

Anyway, it's only about five weeks til Christmas, I can stick it out til then. I'll go visit the clay faces in the gallery when I need cheering up!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Are you bored?

Hey so there is a Sigur Ros documentary thing that you can watch for free on Pitchfork - for this week only! Although I'm not sure when the week officially started, so check it out quickly if you want to...

Among other things, it features a conversation with an Icelandic man who makes marimbas from stuff he finds in nature. You know, like rocks and bits of 100-year-old rhubarb. Ross got incredibly excited about it - guess what we're doing over Christmas?

What else is there? Work is crappity crap at the moment, I'm back into the same mindset I was pre-Christmas last year - a neverending mantra of "Stick it out til the holidays, then you can quit if you want." Although on really bad days it becomes "Heck, I've never quit in a huff before, maybe that would be an interesting experience!"

In other (better) news, our housemate Daisy is having her birthday party this Friday at our favouritest karaoke place (okay, the onliest one we've been to) - Lucky Voice! I think it's going to be great, I have even booked the whole day off so I can sleep in and spend the day getting ready.

Also, Ross says hi! We're going to watch the Dark Crystal and eat some olives and pickles and maybe cry during the sad parts. Ross will probably not cry, but we just decided that it would be okay if he did. He does a scary Skeksis impression that you should see sometime.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Hey, so I have been looking through all the photos on the computer quite a bit lately; I found some awesome weird band related ones. Wanna see?

Maybe you've seen this one before - we used it heaps for promo for the last album. I really like it, but I guess it looks a little bit morbid. I don't think Mum is a fan...

However, to make that first photo, we had to get a bunch of these ones first:

We got all messy, then flailed around in front of a white wall for half an hour. Good times.

And the mess? The mess was a mixture of tomato sauce and vegemite. It smelled pretty awful, and was sticky but hilarious.

Luckily we managed to get organised beforehand the next time round!

Brainstorming for band shots for a street press cover: "Hmm, it'd be awesome if the photos linked in with the album art somehow... Let's see... Maybe a kind of tribal vibe... "
"Some black paint... AND GOLD LEAF!"

Again, partial nudity? Heck yeah.
I remember it was COLD that night, though, so it was a little uncomfortable spending a few hours outside posing in the overgrown ivy at Steve's house. The plus side of discomfort: had the best shower ever when I got home!

(The sad part of the story is the epilogue, where our label tells us the photos are a neat idea, but completely and utterly unusable for anything. Ever.)

We're going to need some new shots soon, although I don't know if anything could beat this one taken after the show the other night:

That reminds me, I started writing so I could tell you about the halloween show! (I was going to include that awesome pretentious looking apostrophe - hallowe'en. I think it's pretty standard over here, but see above re: pretentious looking.)

So once we got to Hackney, we realised that the warehouses were pretty lacking in street numbers.  Luckily we found an awesome party almost straight away - there was a stage, and some amazing over-the-top decorations. We talked to some nice dudes in cool costumes, loaded in all our gear and got excited.

Unfortunately, it wasn't the party we were supposed to play at. Oops. We found out when we asked about the drum kit we were supposed to borrow, which they obviously didn't have. One of the nice dudes said we could come back after we played our other show - we didn't end up taking him up on the offer, but it was a friendly gesture.

Our show was at a warehouse that seemed to be a sharehouse - as we were loading in there was a girl in a dressing gown headed to the bathroom, and later they had a big group dinner as we tried to soundcheck. Slightly awkward.
It was a fun show, though. There were quite a few people there, but none of them were industry folks, so we were free to just play a crazy loud set. Quite a few of our friends came down, and we all had a great time!

For future reference: pumpkin carving + warehouse party + awesome friends = rad halloween!

And finally, just a nice photo that I don't think I've shared yet. I love these guys.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Well, it's still the second over here...

Argh, it's another timely post fail! My last in the series of ladies who are awesome and have birthdays should have been written yesterday - so that it made sense in Australia, too.

Sorry Vicki - but happy birthday for yesterday!

So Vicki is my mother-in-law (hee hee, that still sounds weird!), and she is kind of amazing.

No wait, scratch the 'kind of'. She is a completely amazing lady that I have really come to look up to. She is incredibly independent and pretty strong willed (in an awesome, and for me, enviable way).
She is creative and hard working, and has made some positively brave decisions in her life.

And on top of this, she has managed to raise four awesome humans.

I guess I can be stupidly shy sometimes, so I still feel like I need to get to know her better - lucky we all have the rest of our lives to be family. Most of what I do know about Vicki comes from listening to Ross talk about her - and when he does, it definitely says a lot about both of them.

His voice is filled with so much respect and love for his mum, pride at what she has achieved and gratitude for everything she does for him. And unlike some people (me, for example) he's not afraid to say these things out loud.

So here's the summary: there's this man that I love, and Vicki made him who he is. I love her lots, too.

P.S. Most of the lovely photos I've been using have come from Vicki's sister Kerry and her fantastical camera skills... Nice, hey?

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Aw, heck yeah!

Halloween'd: The tale of the pumpking!

'Pumpking' has been a common typo for me lately, so I decided to stop fighting it.

Anyway, so clearly Ross and I carved some pumpkins today - food sculpture is awesome! I don't care that today is an over-commericalised American holiday, it's great fun! The world would be a better place if we cut faces into our vegetables more often...

I believe we may have started a trend. As I type, Daisy and Victoria (flatmates from New Zealand/ lovely girls) are making some awesome orange beasts of their own!

So what else has been going on? We went to the movies on my day off this week and saw Fantastic Mr. Fox. It turns out that school holidays are on at the moment, so it was a bit crowded, but all the kids were pretty well behaved. The movie was awesome, it was that really good mix of kids' movie with funny grown up jokes, too. And it looked amazing, full of all these warm colours and textures.

We're playing a show tonight at a warehouse somewhere in Hackney, it sounds like it'll be messy but fun... And that's about it. I'll leave you with our (ahem) masterpieces.