Tuesday, 30 March 2010

The healing power of brothers....

Hey hey hey,

I was going to take this blogging opportunity to forward the narrative a bit. I was going to blog about how I'd reached the third act crisis of this particular project, I was feeling grumpy and tired and blah blah bloody blah. But I'm not going to - as much as I'd love a book deal I don't think having a bit of a headache and it raining in London would cut it in the world of shitty publishing about people's pained childhoods. I could always start my own genre of people bitching about the aforementioned minor ailments - but I think Elizabeth Wurtzell has it covered for everyone. (Okay okay I know that the Opposite of Hate isn't being mean to Elizabeth Wurtzell, but it's so easy to do......)

So anyway - I'm going to focus on the love being generated by this blog. Well, okay love might be taking it a bit far, but I've managed to inspire not one but both of my big brothers.

I'm deeply impressed by this - does it mean that the years of face farting, discussion of the scene in the African Queen with the leeches whilst on a rubber dingy in a big pond aged 9 and being referred to as smellbag, wicked Aunt or, my personal favourite Auntie Tartface are over? I doubt it, but here are my big bro's efforts at the cause - I'm truly humbled (but you both smell).

Let's start with Jake. Jake has promised to set up his own blog where:
 "For every piece of good news (I believe there still is some somewhere) I am going to do something horrible. This week in a celebration of how the whole world is publically realising that Catholicism is a backwards and out of date anachronism run by paedos, I am going to beat up some kittens with a plank of wood."

And Dylan? continuing the kitten theme: Dylan emailed me this:
"I have attached a picture for your blog - it is a lovely kitten in a sock. Admittedly the kitten is gratuitous (actually I don't think kittens are ever gratuitous but thats another issue).

And the sock of course is (wait for it) - the opposite of a hat."

Awwwwww. It's like the scene in Home Alone when he realises that he misses his family, or that scene in INSERT NAME OF FAMILY FILM HERE where the family are all happy having been through some sort of madcap scrape. Or that scene in that film with Michael J Fox and Joan Jett that I've never seen but REALLY want to because they both play rock musicians and she's a troubled single mum - damn that film sounds amazing, probably even better than Prayer of the Rollerboys (if that's possible).
So, in honour of the healing power of big brothers I'm going to move this puppy forward. The collection (as I'm now referring to it, as I'm very very powerful in the fashion world and that) is going to get a proper outing. I'm going to be setting up and filming my very first fashion show - probably in a park somewhere when it isn't raining, using anyone I can find who can't run away quickly - as models.
Watch this space kids - let it begin.

What do you mean you don't care?


Thursday, 25 March 2010

All hail captain grumpy Lassoo.....

I could just sleep forever
Madder Rose

Well hello there. What's that? You want to hear about sewing? I can tell you a thing or two about sewing.
Sewing makes you tired. Very tired indeed!

Yes children, all hail the very very grumpy version of me. Rest assured that this is a very temporary state of affairs, being caused by a heddy combination of rain, back ache and it not being the weekend. But other than me wallowing in my own misery, things are going swimmingly over here at Lassoo Towers.

I have learned several things this week:
1. Sewing circles are fun.

I call it a sewing circle, mostly because Rachel's tv was far away upstairs and we'd finished eating everything in sight so we turned to making things as a way to avoid the trauma that conversation becomes when you've known your friends for about a million years. Anyway things were pretty productive on Monday - for example:
Here is the lovely Miss Alex modelling her Status Ho t-shirt. One of a series created by buying a big old pile of logo and other rubbish slogan t-shirts (kiss my arse High School Musical) and creating more interesting words with the results. 

I have also been working on Genecyst (so there's been an anti Phil Collins theme to this week - not my fault dear followers, it's because he's evil and he smells.)
To emphasise the point here's a really really bad picture of me (the one taken moments before was far worse, however, as I was attempting to eat the world's biggest pear drop.)

The esteemed Ms Rachel also made cushion covers, like a nice young lady should (n.b she's not the chick in the picture, in case you think I've only got one friend who I just keep renaming in order to make myself sound like I have more than one friend. In fact Rachel didn't upload the photograph of her wearing the jeans from 1990 that she was going to cut up which I would have entertained myself by showing to you all here - spoilsport.  

Okay now I only have one friend.)

My biggest triumph of the week, however, has been the creation of lovely eye masks for my two sleepiest friends. 

Remember this?

I know. I rock. (Ignore the fact that there were supposed to be four. I lost one and one turned out really odd, scary and wonky.) 

Pictures of I Ate Kate Moss and Genecyst are coming soon. Well you're just going to have to wait aren't you.

Which leads me to point 2 -
2. Sweat shops featuring your best friends, can be re-named as Sewing Circles and seem somehow more charming.
Get back to work you tramps - we have lots of minging clothes to re-jig!

3. I have a crap disco living in my head.  
Okay, this is only partially to do with this month's challenge - although sewing leaves me mesmerised and unable to change the record for long periods of time, during which I'm subjected to the songs that continually go around in my head. I've never sat down and listened to Harvest for the World by The Christians, or anything by the short lived 90's pop shite act Eternal, yet I'm plagued by them. I even know all the words! Why? WHY DOES THIS HAPPEN? Does my brain hate me? Should I never be alone in the quiet in case the lyrics to Lady in Red to the tune of Red Red Wine pop up and haunt me forever (this happened to my brother once - seriously he was haunted for months!) Is this a form of mental illness?

4. If I ever have to see a picture of Samantha Cameron in her undercrackers again I'm leaving the country - I'll even live with Phil Collins. 
(Okay that was a lie, he's probably got the aforementioned pictures of Mrs Cameron up in his tax evading mansion in Switzerland, the talentless tory t***). 
(Note the starring out of swears dear followers - on behalf of the lovely Ms Gillespie who would like this blog to inspire her fabulous 12 year old daughter. Fuck it I should be given a whole generation of little girls to influence - can you imagine it? An army of 12 year old Bikini Kill fans with Eroticise My Fist stitched into their mini dresses? Collins would stay in Switzerland for sure and all our lives would be better. Bugger I swore again. There go my plans.)

That is all.
Next week - it's the Pineapple's Easter Bonnet competition - the first year I made two fluffy bunnies fight to the death with spears (and made Trigger from Only Fools and Horses look at me as a frightened child might look at an angry dog), the second year I cut the head off a Care Bear - what horrors can I add to a peaceful holiday this year.....

The mind boggles xxxx

Thursday, 18 March 2010

I have a phone of death, and I keep dreaming about Corey Haim.....

This is a little off the subject - is anyone else plagued by dreams about Corey Haim?
Nope? Just me?
Okay then.

Did anyone else think that Prayer of the Rollerboys was an undiscovered classic?

Thirty is an enlightening age. I learn a little bit more about myself every day.

Anyway - back to the task in hand.

Here are the promised before pictures (apologies to anyone who misread that sentence somehow, I know it doesn't scan, but I refuse to use inverted commas unless it's a matter of life and death. Let's blame the Daily Mail, if I have to read another article about an "alleged rape" or a gay "wedding" I'm going to shave all my skin off with a teaspoon and post said skin to Liz Jones with a note telling her that it's Elizabeth Arden anti ageing skin and shoving it all up her nose in one go will make her 20 years younger). Tell you what, I'll use italics instead.

Here are the before pictures:

Okay, first up we have a purest polyester number, modelled by the esteemed Me (note the amazingly blonde not yellow roots - attained after lots of stern words from my lovely hairdresser Anne, by my own fair hand, involving a vast quantity of pain and burning smells. I really hope I look good in hats in two years time.)

This top is a beautiful example of a look I would describe as kinder whore. Swirly polyester patterned, the child halter top. Made by Gap - who are, of course, famous for their human rights at work record (strapline made for children by children)

Top number 2 - more of the same, it's going to make someone a beautiful eye mask.

And as for you my lovely..... I don't quite know what to do with the white corduroy micro skirt - I wanted white jeans initially but was too cheap to pay more than four pounds for a pair. I'm toying with the idea of embroidering the words objectify my fist onto the bum in big gold letters - and probably will unless someone tells me explicitly not to.

And last but not least - here's Baggy, the best boyfriend in the world, modelling the - not quite sure what it is. Is it a boob tube? is it a micro skirt for the fashion conscious baby? Is it a new, and somewhat inadequate balaclava? Whatever it's supposed to be, it's looking forward to its new life as a very stylish peg bag, once I get him to take it off his head.

Other than that the t-shirts are coming along nicely. Last night I managed to thread a needle in the dark.
Divine intervention?

I think Corey Haim would have been proud.

Wednesday, 17 March 2010

Working on it, I promise

Hey there cats and kittens.

Two days in and I'm chopping up a storm. I know I promised pictures - and obviously the three people who read this blog have been waiting anxiously to find out exactly which clothes I deeply disapprove of in a Mary Whitehouse stylee (hi Alex, Galvatron and Angela by the way! love you!), but not having a camera seems to have got in my way. I tried just looking at them and hoping that Macs had some sort of device where I could bluetooth directly from my eyes, but you have to pay extra for that so I'm just going to wait for someone with a camera phone to walk past my bedroom. It should happen soon - even though my bedroom is a million floors up.

Anyway, the first task is fully underway. I bought a small treasury of bad slogan and crappy logo t-shirts in my local charity shops (RSPCA and Sir William Crookes on Caledonian Road if you're interested) - both of which had far too many good items, we really had to dig deep for the crap!) and last night I dutifully cut out all the letters (whilst watching the 70's Bollywood classic Bombay to Goa - well worth the watch for a) amazing fight scenes and sound effects not that rival Police Academy 7 b) the theme song - which is an Indian version of Help Me Rhonda by the Beach Boys, but with different lyrics c) massive fuck off eyeliner and d) a young Amitabh Bachchan - yummy yummy yummy yummy yum. Yum) to make new, and more juvenile slogans. "I ATE KATE MOSS" is well on the way.

If anyone can think of good slogans please comment below - I'm a bit strapped for inspiration and rubbish at this sort o' ting.

Right - off to sit in a bar swooning at the boy playing records and stitching letters onto a t-shirt.

Monday, 15 March 2010

Say it with pillows, and hats, and bags and .......

The Ramones.

I have just spent the most amazing weekend playing beautiful music and hanging out with almost virtual strangers whose hospitality blew my tiny mind, and made me remember fleetingly that not everyone is a London commuter. Not everyone is filled with a murderous rage that would happily see them throw a complete stranger under a bus for walking slowly in front of them with a bag on wheels at rush hour (okay that was me). So not everyone is as secretly evil as me.

It's cheesy as hell to say that the weekend made me realise that there's a lot of greatness in the world - but what the hell, I'm feeling cheesy kids, I'm feeling drunk auntie at her favourite niece's wedding cheesy. Hell, if you were here right now I'd give you a big sloppy beardy whiskey breathed slobber on the forehead and sing at least one verse of Wonderful Tonight - or at least I Will Survive.

And it's whilst still in this slightly odd mood, riddled, as ever, with more enthusiasm than talent, without further ado - let me introduce this month's task.

This month I'm going to be tackling a massive concept which pisses me off for a variety of reasons. I'm going head to head with the fashion industry. Obvious, yes, but valid also I believe. I'm going to list my reasons anyway:

1. The fourteen year old girl ideal ….Wow look at the beautiful clothes! what clothes? Oh the handkerchiefs hanging off that hungry looking fourteen year old with the blank expression. Hmmmmm. Yeah yeah, at London Fashion week this year they had plus size models. Yes ladies, plus size models. These well groomed ladies were at least a size TEN! Can you believe the disgusting displays of gluttony on offer?

Now I'm not having a go at people who are naturally thin. Some of my best friends are naturally thin - probably because I steal their food when they're trying to get to the table, but either way…. I'm having a go at the people who think that they should define beauty by shoving boobless, hipless, tummyless, blank expressioned white things in front of our faces. Now leave those little girls alone - they have homework to be getting on with, stop dressing them and leave them to work through their 30 seconds to Mars t-shirts phase, tasselled skirt and waistcoat phases by themselves so they've grown out of it by adulthood, like chicken pox.

2. Stinking capitalism…..
Primark doesn't piss me off because it makes a generation of boring clones, it doesn't piss me off because it believes that clothes that last more than twenty minutes are counter productive or because it is without a doubt the scariest place on earth to visit unless you are a ten foot mega robot with lasers for eyes, or someone's mum. The thing that really pisses me off about Primark is that it's pretty easy to make cheap when you can exploit poorer countries to do it. It's not just Primark, they're an easy target. International capitalism likes poor countries, you can get brown people to make all of your stuff without all those pesky laws that say you have to pay people a living wage, or treat them as if they were humans. The UK population is pretty skint right now too, so it's next to impossible to buy cheaper clothes that haven't injured someone along the way. And for some reason that pisses me off.

3. It's not political, it's Primark -
Okay this is a first world problem - but if I see another vacuous topshop twat in a Ramones t-shirt I am going to get really mad.

So what are you going go to do about it big shot?

Fuck you capitalism. I'm taking my ball and going home. My first task is my tiny way of kicking a bit of sand at the big scary pooman's face. I'm going to take boring high street clothes and make them into useful and interesting things.

The task is going to fall into a few separate parts - the first part is going be my little dig at logos, the second will be my laugh at the transient and slightly pointless nature of fashion… and the third I haven't thought of yet so I'll have to pontificate and come up with something convincing.

I'm going to buy high street schlock and make art, or at least useful items from it. I'm going to sew like I've never sewed before. Like a cross between Scarlet O'Hara and Maria Von Trapp, but my curtains will be the discarded booty from our own precious high street. Then I'm going to gift my creations and hopefully bring a smile to someone else's face (be it sarcastic or otherwise.)

I'm also imploring everyone I know to get involved, to join in this little creative dig at the world of capitalism. If you have the time, the energy or the whatever, feel free to go to your nearest charity shop, find the nearest pair of culottes or global hypercolor t-shirt and make it into a useful pillow, a shopping bag or just cut out the letters in the logos to make the word TWAT. I've put some of my favourite links to crafty type websites up here, so go and scout for some inspiration. Just send me your before and after pics.

I'll be back tomorrow with before pictures. TTFN.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

Well that rocked

All the money's gone, but I can sing a song and I never thought I had a pretty voice until I almost died - Julianna Hatfield

So yesterday rocked. I'm a little stumped for what to say - shocking I know. It's always more difficult to express positive emotions than negative ones. Hate is cool, hate is rock 'n roll, I want to kill you always makes for better songs than I love you. Fuck it, i'm just gonna risk sounding like Oprah for a minute. It's really really humbling to see so many people gathered in one place to stand up and shout about something.

There were several really poignant moments for me yesterday, listening to women from Uganda, The Democratic Republic of Congo and Iran speak of struggling against violence and prejudice with nothing but grace and strength made me realise how lucky I am, whilst also reminding me that any society that objectifies and dehumanises anyone, in any form, needs to be tackled.

With the wonderful Alex and Dre by my side we spread the cookie love to our sisters yesterday .

I know it's stupid to be scared about giving out free cookies, it's not as if I was trying to flog anything or hand out a hate manifesto, but I think it's pretty natural now to be scared of unknown people. Call it a climate of fear, extreme stage fright or too much Eastenders, I had planned worst case scenarios in my mind - from scary right wingers attacking to extreme nut allergies. Of course none of this happened. Of course I'm a neurotic idiot. Free cookies did exactly what they needed to - spread the love.
So now the slate is wiped clean. I've handed out a cookie to a sister for everything that's pissed me off so far this year, I've faced my first stupid and pointless fear and proved it to be exactly that, stupid and pointless. The burden is lifted, it's time to start afresh.
On the 15th March (pay day! Too skint to start right now!) I'm going to be back to announce my first month long task for this blog. Watch this space......

Saturday, 6 March 2010

The official launch - well nearly....

"Do you wanna have a party? Do you wanna have some fun? Do you want to stick your hand in the sun? Or do you just wanna......"
Nectarine by Drugstore.

I've been psyching myself up for this day. It's very sad but true. I've been filled with this nervous energy, this strange creative buzz which is almost out-shouting the filthy cold that's rendered me some sort of weird cross between Gilbert the Alien and the first Lucy from Neighbours - known in my circles as adenoidal Lucy (as opposed to flat top Lucy (2) or trampy Lucy (3)).


I've picked today as the official launch of my blog. It seems quite entertaining that I'm making a big deal of this considering it's not exactly Ashley and Cheryl, hell it's not even Peter Andre shagging someone with creepy consequences (could there be any other kind of consequences to shagging Peter Andre? At best you'd get away with weird orange stains all over your sheets.) But it is a big deal for me. This is my way of standing up and screaming that I'm actually going to get on with some work. And for a work shy creature whose greatest joy in life is adding to my already Rain-manly encyclopaedic knowledge of neighbours with a cat on my lap (I don't care which one) and an inhumanly large cup o' tea, this scares the living shit out of me.

But this should do the trick shouldn't it? It's like the time that I got hammered on new years eve and told everyone I was going to run the marathon. I even phoned people in other places - on New Years Fucking Eve! Okay so I didn't run the marathon marathon, but I did the London 10 k and, as a consequence, can actually run now without wanting to die.

Anyway, I've picked today because it's the day of the Million Women Rise march in this fair city. Myself and a few of my nearest and dearest are going to be heading to Hyde Park to show solidarity to the women who have had their lives robbed by domestic violence. In the face of horrible figures, the continued deaths of women and children within their own homes and the prevailing, if hidden public attitude that somehow a domestic is a lesser incident of violence, women are going to be pouring into the streets to stand up and bring attention to the continued violence, rape culture and anti woman sentiment that prevails in some areas of society. Now if that doesn't sum up what I want to do with this blog (on a far more impressive scale of course - fighting hatred with sisterhood and solidarity), then I don't know what does.

So how, pray? Do I seek to do this. Well my darlings it is perfectly simple. Today Matthew I'm going to be wiping the slate clean and showing love to my fellow marchers in my own unique, mother earth, creepy feeder way.

We're going to be saying it with cookies.

Before anyone scathes openly I am aware that cookies will not end domestic violence, but as token gestures go I think that cookies spread love and help to counterract the stereo type prevalent in the tabloid press that feminists are cold, failures and (my favourite) "bad for your health". Plus as good cheap PR stunts go - it's not that bad. Basically for everything that's pissed me off about society in the past year I've baked a cookie, a delicious, lard-tastic chocolate chip cookie, and I'm going to give it to another person so that from all that hate, they can feel a little love.
Yesterday (after forcing myself to sleep the sleep of the extremely bunged up) myself and my beloved housemate Alex took to the kitchen like elderly aunts a funeral (don't worry kids I made sure that I washed my hands every five minutes with soap and everything!)

A word about Alex, I think she's going to be featuring in this blog a fair amount, being my house mate, vague relative and an all round good egg. She's also the one with the talent in this relationship. Alex is essentially what Wonder woman would be like if she came from Felixstowe and was good a making stuff. She's a great housemate, she takes part in my strange plans, remembers to buy interesting flavours of squash and doesn't mind that I continually steal her face wash (or at least she didn't realise until now. Bugger).

So anyway, me and the Alex got to some crazy cookie baking yesterday.

Things we learned baking:
1. Cookies, like goldfish, or people reading The Telegraph on trains, expand to fill the space around them.
2. The sacrificial cookie is the most delicious by far, but it doesn't mean you have to eat the whole batch.
3. Too many cookies (or possibly one cookie) make you feel slightly nauseous (see above).
4. Rubber gloves are NOT oven gloves.
I'm going to repeat number 4 again - RUBBER GLOVES ARE NOT OVEN GLOVES.
Everyone clear with that?

So we're all baked up and good to go. Recipes below:

Choc chip cookies:
Take a big load of lard, mix with sugar, chuck in chocolate. Bake.

Cornflake cakes:
See above, add cornflakes to lard.

Eyes closed, nose pinched, sun shining, vague fear - it's time to launch this bastard! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, 3 March 2010

And so it begins.....

Okay. Here I am.

The blank screen in front of me, my future stretching out like a highway in a David Lynch film. Okay, so that's clearly the highway in Lost Highway (a film I once insulted a film studies lecturer by claiming it only existed as a showcase for Patricia Arquette's tits. Apparently it doesn't - something about neo somethingism, pesky neo somethingism - digging up my front yard.) Or possibly Wild at Heart.

Anyway, that's not important right now. I, Tommy Lassoo (new name, quite liking it) am here to embark on a very important mission.

But first some background. I'm 30 years old, I live in London. I have a job I love, friends I adore, a brand new shiny boyfriend, a deeply obsessive and sad knowledge of films and, to a lesser extent, music, and an often misplaced and intermittent creative streak that keeps me alive and miserable in equal measure.

I've embarked on so many different creative ambitions in my life it's difficult to keep up. From flute playing to screen writing, from the embarrassing Ginsberg rip off teen poetry to my equally ill thought out Kevin Smith tribute student days. I've finished one novel and plan a second, I've written three perfect short stories and keep claiming that if not published soon I'll cook up some cheap porn. I made unintentionally Ed Wood short film, I can't decide if I want to be Emmylou Harris or Patti Smith but I know the requisite 10 chords on the guitar and can also play it and sing at the same time. But somehow I can't commit. I am an artistic tart. Hopelessly devoted to each and every one of them, before I start sniffing around the next.

Surely this isn't a way to live? Surely there's redemption for me? Should I marry an art form and spend the rest of my life in blissful.... something?

The other problem, of course, is society.

As I mentioned before, I love my job. I'm lucky enough to have stumbled into PR and it's ace. I get to use my creativity to think of weird and wonderful ways to play with the media and into sending great stories out into the ether. The one drawback is a constant knowledge of what's happening in the great British press. Suffice to say I once glanced the letters page of the Daily Express by accident and I still suffer from acid reflux when I remember. Holy shit, even the Guardian had Lilly Allen - that fucking pointless purveyor of repetitive shit and arsehole celebrity feuds - commenting on the closing of 6 music this morning, because obviously 6 Music does nothing but play Lilly bloody Allen songs, day in and day out, because she's so fucking indie.... ARGGHHHHHH.

Yep, there's the acid reflux.

There's already a lot out there about tabloid lies, but it's not just that. As a proud and shouty feminist I'm sick to death of hearing about the sort of body shapes human beings should have, I'm sick of rape being put in different pigeon holes according to who the victim is; I'm sick of little girls wanting to dress in pink and be Cheryl Cole because no one on ITV is pushing how much cooler Jessica Mitford or Gladys Gillem were. I'm sick of endless billboards of emaciated 14 year olds; of violent porn being mistaken for how sex should be; of not being able to eat cake!

There's so much negativity in the world. And I'm lucky. I'm blessed enough to be able to counteract all the hate in the world with the people I love, with art and music, with nights out and random conversations with amazing people. I've seen the giant redwoods in California and no world that can have giant trees is all bad.

So what's my plan?
Believe it or not this rant was coming to some sort of conclusion.
I've seen hate, like everybody else I see hate every day. I also see the opposite of hate. I see it in me and in the people around me. I'm past thinking that party politics will change the hate, but I do think that people can do it.

So this is what I propose. In the next twelve months I'm going to do the opposite of hate. I'm going to pick twelve things that make me angry, that send me on foaming rants and make the bile flow from me like cliches pour from Richard Littlejohn. I'm going to pick twelve things, one a month, and I'm going to offset them. I'm going to pay off that hate with a single creative act. It might be a comic, a photo story, a batch of free cookies for strangers, a Dear Deirdre column or just a plane old fake charity record featuring everyone I know. I'm going to offset twelve wankerish acts with twelve original ones.

It won't change the world. It won't make me the next Cheryl Cole (or Lilly Allen!), but it might get me to do something positive and make everyone I know do the same thing.

It might just help inject a little bit more love into this world. And surely that's worth a try.