Guardian Girl

Independent’s days

Posted in Books, film, Television by guardiangirl on November 2, 2009

Life is dramatically different as Independent Woman, it must be said. Last week was great fun, what with being liberated from the obligation to cook a proper dinner every evening and being able to see my friends in the pub, dressed in my own outfits, with just the odd exciting little cultural mission to undertake – even if only buying a bunch of DVDs. Today has given birth to my first hollow moment, though, wanting a comforting evening and finding no winter hotpot recipe awaiting me at home. Could it be that I miss Guardian Girl and am readier than I ever predicted to return to the motherland of Fearnley-Whittingstall and The Measure? Crumbs – the very words put tears of homesickness in my eyes! Anyway, let’s focus on the job at hand. Last week’s exploits have so far gone unreported, so here’s a catch-up episode of the achievements, near misses and abysmal failures since I last sat at keyboard.

First, television. The Independent had a wee spot about playwright/writer Jack Thorne, who has an upcoming telly collaboration with Shane Meadows. This isn’t on until next year, as is the case with many items covered in this On the Agenda column that I’ve perhaps rather thoughtlessly chosen to copy. On the plus side it means I get some forward planning in my life, which is welcome relief after developing the knee-jerk reaction of replying: “I’d love to but I’ll have to let you know after I’ve seen what the Guardian tells me to do” when faced with any invitation.  (My mate Disco Dave’s recent response to me asking politely what he was up to at the weekend: “Dunno until I’ve bought the Independent on Sunday, sweetheart – probably sticking pins in my eyes and taking a shit in a church.” He’s been the first person to give me a bit of genuine stick for this whole thing.)

Because I’m in no position to watch advanced screenings of TV programmes that possibly haven’t even been made yet, I did my best to ‘read around the subject’ instead. The IoS reports it’s our last chance to go up to Manchester to watch Jack Thorne’s play 2nd May 1997 but this isn’t going to happen for me. I’d go for a weekend in Manchester but I wouldn’t try to make it up there on the Megabus to watch a play on a school night and my weekends are busy at the moment, so that was that. Instead I stopped off at HMV after work and bought myself some bargainish DVDs from HMV. I got Shameless and Skins, both of which Thorne has written for but neither of which I’ve seen (well, maybe 1.5 episodes of Skins – enough to know it makes me feel cripplingly decrepit, clinically obese and criminally dull) and Shane Meadows’ This is England, all for the cheaper-than-a-ticket-to-Manchester sum of £26. I haven’t watched them yet but they’ve joined the DVD queue, and I’ve photographed the results as always to prove I’m telling the truth. I’ve already seen This is England and I think it’s superb, so that’s a good one to have for a rainy day:

This is England

This is England

This is a DVD of This is England

This is a DVD of This is England

Marks out of 10: 5

I was also supposed to buy some books – the ones the IoS mentions might not be out yet but I thought I could get the prequels at least. However I put it off until Saturday and in the event book shopping didn’t fit with people’s plans, so I let that one go. I have a book queue at the moment too, with a Paul Newman bio at the front, so that’s no great loss.

Marks out of 10: 0

The main event of the weekend was one regular readers will know I’d been looking forward to all week – the Hammer House of Horror Festival.

It was supposed to consist of three parts: a special screening on Friday night, an exhibition on Saturday daytime and a couple more films later that day. Unfortunately I couldn’t twist anyone’s arm to come all the way to Kensal Rise (I have lots of east, northeast and south crew but northwest-dwellers are under represented among my friends) for the screenings at the Lexi, and after Friday night’s shenanigans I wasn’t sure if I might be barred from any future Hammer events, so I didn’t want to rock up on my own dressed as a vampire and be cruelly rejected.

The Friday night event at The Curzon Soho was a greatly exciting affair on paper but something about it fell slightly flat in reality and, because it didn’t kick off until 9.30pm, several pints had been consumed before it all began. They were serving a highly delicious whisky and ginger cocktail (once glass of which was free), we were experiencing the well-documented liberty of the facial disguise, and we went a bit bonkers.

Phoebe heckled the CEO of Hammer Horror (“Where’s MC Hammer?”), I got the giggles very loudly during an introduction by the organiser, which killed even me because he seemed extremely sweet and nervous (and he was very handsome) – but I just couldn’t stop once I’d started – and we got a few vampirically cool glances from the daughters of the starring actress who did a dull Q&A before the film started. Liv and Phoebe found the film boring after ten minutes and headed back out to the bar to drink more cocktails, while I feel asleep, dribbling in my full zombie make up and only awakening when the room was empty but for the odd tutting horror fan trying to push past my blood-stained corpse. Then a band played. They were called the Dellas and they were fairly mediocre, so Phoebe livened matters up with a bit of dancing while I harped on to anyone who’d listen about how desperate I was for a plate of tagliatelle with quatro formaggi sauce.

All in all it was more hammered than Hammer, and we perhaps should have been more mindful how many of those ginger cocktails we consumed. I blame the organisers, who made it all sound so thrilling that we could barely contain our excitement and then had to try to behave ourselves in a quiet room after getting all whipped up.

OK, I blame us.

On the Saturday I headed to the Idea Generation Gallery on Redchurch Street with Adam, Katy and Thomas – and that was undeniably worthwhile. There are some excellent photos, posters and other bits n bobs on display, it’s a really nice space to walk around and very well presented. It comes highly recommended – and it’s free.

Instead of the Lexi cinema showings we then bloodied up again and spent the day drinking drinks and eating tapas around East London, where everyone inexplicably loves dressing up as the undead anyway, so no disapproving glances there. Here follows the Hammer gore-gore gallery of shame.

Marks out of 10: 7

We really tried on this one and you have to give us all props for it – especially considering that I still have faint rivers of blood running down my face if you look hard enough. Three points deducted for not being thorough – or serious – enough about it, though.

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