Wednesday, 28 September 2011

Snow Black laid bare

For a while now, sites like facebook have been driving me mad with all my contacts updating their "walls" telling everyone how great life is, how they've just bought a new car, baked a cake or ran 5 miles in 5 minutes all before 9am, when i've not even managed to change out of my nightdress and my biggest achievement has been making a cup of tea. It really doesn't make for a good start for the day. Then again blogging also means you can edit your life through a website, if you're having a bad day/ week/ (even month) no one needs to know because you can just choose to hide it by writing about something else.
It would be nice if the blogging and social networking world changed for a little while, and people would just tell the truth, no matter how embarrassing or boring, everyone should confess to what they are really doing.
I am going to start this trend which will start on this very small blog and then will become so popular that everyone will copy me and the world of blogging and of facebook will change forever, and you can all thank me when your contacts stop saying how great their lives are and start saying the really mundane things they are doing and you will start feeling so much better about your own non eventful lives.
My confession is about the music that I run to, I am a bit of a music snob, oh alright, i'm a lot of a music snob. Not that I am a musician, or have the best ever taste in music (although i'd say it was quite good) but there is just some music that I hate. Top of the list is indie music that isn't really indie music, like people who think Kasabian or Snow patrol is indie, its not,and thats all i really have to say about that. I also cant stand clubs that play dance music, I hate dance music and refuse to dance to it, and in a category all by himself, Colin Hay, I will never take him seriously for rhyming sea with tea, or marie with company,or car with far (the list goes on...) enough said.
However, there are times when your usual song choices just aren't right, and for me, thats when I run. I went through a phase of listening to 1970s punk rock and nothing else at the start of the year when i was training, before that there was an entire year of running to ABBA,and this year, in preparation for, and during, the Great North run, I'm afraid things just got see, I am not a very good runner, I just enjoy doing it because I like to really push my body until it feels like i've got no energy left sometimes, and, not being a serious runner, I dont follow training plans or timings or techniques, I just run as if I am in a musical. Its quite basic really, I love dancing and always wanted to dance on stage, so when i run I try to zone out, focus really hard on the songs and pretend I am dancing to them; it can be embarrassing because your legs have to run, but your arms are free to dance and you need a lot of self control to not flail around and knock out other runners during your imaginary dance routine.
So, with that in mind, this years music playlist has included...
Bon Jovi - Lay your hands on me
Hot Chocolate-You Sexy Thing
Placebo-Pure Morning
(I almost feel sick admitting to this one...) Shania Twain-Man! I feel like a woman
Tom Jones-Help Yourself
During this years run, at about the 10k point when the rain started to come down and I needed an extra push, the perfect song came on at just the right time, and I have to say, It is the BEST song to run to....
Cher-Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves
So, maybe i have Cher to thank for getting me through the half way point, and In a sort of weird tribute, i have drawn myself warming up to my next run (Edinburgh's 10k this sunday-what am I thinking?!) wearing an outfit inspired by a 1980s Cher aerobics outfit, now, maybe i should look up some of her other songs to get me through the run, shoop shoop song anyone?....

Right, I feel so much better about my Cher confession, who's next?.........

Tuesday, 27 September 2011

Snow Black and Rae's Diner

I don't know why anyone bothers to spend hours deciding on what colour of paint to use in their decoration plans, stop buying sample pots and buying magazines for ideas, everyone should paint every room in their flat/house/office in the colours of Rae's diner in L.A, because it is possibly the best diner in the world, and definitely one of the best interiors in the world, bright blue, turquoise, orange and timber paneling, it is all any interior could ever need, surely...

Friday, 16 September 2011

Snow Black in the evening light

Following on from last weeks post, here is, as promised, Snow Black in the evening light. Sometimes on an evening, especially at weekends, I like to make a make-shift bed on the floor infront of my portable television, I get my bedcovers and pillows and lie under the skylight with the evening sun streaming down at me, with a DVD on and sometimes a gin and lemonade too. There's something comforting about falling asleep with the television on when you're home alone, the blue light making the room glow. I'd put my favorite animal print eye mask on, cuddle the cat (who loves sleeping on my chest) and listen to some music, maybe the Smiths, because Morrissey has a lovely voice to dream to....

Friday, 9 September 2011

Snow Black in the morning light

Ever since I can remember I have been obsessed with the layout of interior spaces. When I was little someone (probably santa) bought me sylvanian family figures and a house to match. For anyone who doesn't remember them, sylvanian families were figures of animals a couple of inches tall, most people got a family of say 4 rabbits, but I somehow ended up with something like a mum and dad rabbit who'd given birth to a mole and a cat (way to mess me up santa), anyway, back to my point...I wasn't really sold on the house and used to instead get out all the video tapes (sorry mam and dad) and lay them out on the living room floor, building rooms out of them for my strange little animal family. I also repeated this video-house making for my hamster years later who didn't seem to appreciate it as much as i'd hoped...
A totally normal/conventional Sylvanian family..

I then progressed to studying plans of houses whenever we got a leaflet about a new estate being built, and used to re arrange the furniture in my bedroom on a regular basis. Years later I went on to study Interior Architecture, now why didn't I make models for projects from video tapes? I'm sure with some good lighting I could have passed it off as installation art and fooled everyone into thinking i was an interior genious.
I haven't designed an interior for quite some time but I am still fascinated by housing and space layouts so for the past week I've been reading Bill Bryson's book-A short history of private life I like Bill Bryson because he's a massive research geek. In this book he looks at the history of the place we call home, one of the things i read was that during the Italian Renaissance period, rooms didn't have specific functions as they do today, such as bedroom, living room etc, they simply moved their furniture and belongings according to where the light was coming into the house at that time, therefore during "mattina" (or morning) they would move furniture and set themselves up in a room with morning light streaming in and during "sera" (the evening) they would again move their furniture into a space with evening sun. This fascinated me, although interiorists now consider sunlight when laying out their interiors, there is a beautiful simplicity about how things were set out during this time.
Although I am a massive hoarder of just about everything, I sometimes wish I had one flat for storage and one for living, in the flat I lived in I would love to simply move my furniture around according to the sun. On a morning I would move my (totally imaginary) chaise lounge (i have always wanted one) into a room with sunlight streaming in, and sit there feeling the warmth on my skin; I would set up my drawing pens and paper and listen to music, I'd draw fuelled by amaretto coffee and have everything (including the cat) nearby so i didnt have to move all morning, i'd wear my really old nightdress thats so old it only fits as a top now because the 20 years of wear have made the fabric silky soft, i'd team it up with some shorts and a pair of long socks to keep warm..

check back next week to find out where i'll be during the evening!!

Thursday, 8 September 2011

Snow Black and the Great North Run countdown

10 days to go til the Great North run...maybe only 10 days to go on this earth if my legs don't hold up.
I received my running vest a few days ago (fortunately green is my colour) its all starting to feel real, and scary, and at the moment my music playlist planning is taking priority over training....
Back in January I hoped that by entering the run I would get amazing legs in the process of training, but then a friend warned me that i might get super fit lovely legs, but my bra size would go down...a lot, therefore i have made the well thought about decision to forget about the amazing legs plan, but now i think about it, having super strong legs would help a lot with the uphill stretches...oh well....for now i will just have to enjoy the last 10 days that i might have left..

oh, and i am running (perhaps dying) for the Farplace Animal charity who help out lots of lovely animals and let them run free in wild meadows...please sponsor me here

Snow Black, Scotland's secret bunker and Office Killer

I moved to Edinburgh aged 19 to study, and I was really worried about being a fresher. Freshers were crazy and stole traffic signs, freshers like parties (I tend to avoid social gatherings like the plague), freshers drank alcopops (I was already onto spirits) when I arrived in my halls I quickly found out the few people I could be friends with, but before discovering these few sane people I sometimes took myself to the Cameo Cinema which was just minutes away from my room. The first time I went was somewhat of a culture shock, people laughed at things that weren't that funny in the film as if they just wanted their laugh to be heard, and at the end of the film, they applauded, it was weird, i felt like an alien and didn't understand the city at all and sometimes felt desperate to run back to the town I'd left just for some normality.
I remember clearly the night that I went to the Cameo, alone again as no one wanted to see a "weird film" , but stopped caring that I felt alone in the city, and stopped wanting to run home again, because I'd found a place I could go that didn't exist in my hometown, and somehow it didn't feel important that there was no one in my new town to share it with. Photographer Cindy Sherman was about to open an exhibition in the modern art gallery and so the Cameo had decided to do a one off screening of the film she directed-"Office Killer" I was so excited, and moreso because Cindy Sherman was supposed to be there to watch the film too (but she didn't turn up, there was quite a lame excuse given, maybe she hates social gatherings too) Looking back i'm quite glad she didn't turn up as I like the fact that I have only ever seen her in disguise in her photographs, and its quite nice to have some mystery left.

Office Killer remains one of my favorite films, 8 years on, I still won't lend my Video or DVD copy to anyone as they are really hard to find, but I suggest you get yourself on ebay and hunt down a copy, I cant even begin to describe how clever, disgusting and funny it is. Cindy Sherman's background in photography shines through as you can see her ideas behind the framing of some of the scenes.
But, as you are probably never going to watch it, i'm going to describe some of it. The main character is Doreen, a shy office worker with a demanding mother and a dark past, she's worked in the same office for years and gets overlooked and bullied by the other workers, all younger and prettier. One day, in an accident, Doreen kills a co worker and something in her mind changes, unseen by anyone else she drags his body into her car and keeps him in her basement. As things at work get worse, and the pressures of her past become too much, Doreen begins to kill co workers one by one, collecting them as such and placing them in her basement. She doesn't dump their bodies, but instead sets them up to face the television and talks to them as if they are the friends that they never where when alive. She, in effect, builds up her own office of co workers who she can pretend like her. Dont feel too sorry for her though, the end is amazing, but I wont spoil it just incase you have found that ebay copy.

Here are some screen shots from the film, the first being Doreen...

the best basement stills i could find online....

And so, my Office Killer memories lead me onto somewhere I visited earlier this week on a detour to pick up my cat from her Perthshire holiday home. Scotland's Secret Bunker must be one of Scotland's best museums, because where else do they have a dress up section with adult sized clothes AND a licensed bar;a vodka and orange followed by a stint posing in a RAF uniform?-yes please! Set in the Fife countryside amongst endless fields of Friesian cows (the best kind) the bunker is entered through an unassuming farmhouse. Built to house 300 people at the height of the cold war, it was decommissioned in 1993 when it was bought by a man who can be seen in this video (click here!) sporting some rather fetching camouflage gear.Not expecting to buy a nuclear bunker but instead just looking for a farmhouse, he has now converted the bunker into a museum. (and I thought I was lucky that I had a semi-secret attic conversion in my flat-now I want a secret bunker...)
Besides the vodka stocked cafe, there were lots of oddities within, and it really did feel like entering a time warp. It wasn't the lack of natural light that made the experience eerie for me, but rather the feeling that everything seemed untouched, like it had lied in the same place untouched for years, and would probably lie there for years to come. The museum seems to have been created on a budget with many items most likely donated or simply left from when it was a functioning working space. The owner however, has placed mannequins around the bunker, dressed in period uniforms. The disturbing thing about this was that they don't seem to be models made especially for a museum, but most likely they once stood modeling the latest outfit in BHS' window display circa 1988. The women have perfect make up and painted nails and the men have rather impressive toupees, they now look rather, well, forced into positions and this seems to have resulted in the loss of a hand or two or a coat that looks like someone wrestled with the mannequin to dress it. The thing that struck me was the position of their hands, they are creepy, unnatural and The focus of their shiny eyes and the un-natural poses of their hands made it really uncomfortable to be in a room with them, especially as you walk into a room and sigh a breath of relief and you think it is mannequin free, only to turn a corner and have one staring back at you.
The setting and posing of the mannequins reminded me of Office Killer, but instead of Doreen posing her dead office workers, someone here has had some fun touring clothes shops and buying up their old mannequins then had a massive game of dress up, posing them in slightly uncomfortable, but definitely comic poses, i wonder if they even realise the humour behind the way some of them are positioned, i hope not. I'm sure if this was Doreen's collection of people she would sit and talk to them, maybe update them on current affairs and put the radios on for them.I'm sure the owner of the bunker is a fairly normal bloke (besides the mismatched camouflage outfit, which I'm actually growing to love) but part of me wishes he was a bit mental and spent his evenings having a vodka orange or five in the cafe surrounded by his mannequin friends.
Here are some photos of said mannequins and their scary hands...first up, a missing hand ...

Lastly, is it a mannequin....?

Was it the natural looking hand or the converse that gave it away?.....

I just cant resist a good hat, and now have 1000 times more respect for my Grandad Jack having to wear one of these on the desert (its so heavy!)
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