strange_complex: (Saturnalian Santa)
Dracula is hoping you will join him for Christmas day this year.

Dracula Scars Santa hat


It'll be just you and him. He doesn't actually have any friends, you see. Or family. Unfortunately, he killed them all.

There's also no food as such. He's a bit confused about how that works or why anyone might want it.

The wine is the best you will ever have, though. Rich, full-bodied... and still warm.

Merry Christmas!

Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.

strange_complex: (Farnsworth don't aks me!)
Two weeks ago, I had an eye test, and last week, I went to pick up my new specs.

I really like the way they look. But there's a problem: the prescription for the right lens is too weak.

Double trouble: I had the glasses made up by a different optician from the one who did the eye test.

My problem now is that I've been sold something which doesn't meet my needs, but I don't really know what rights or liabilities I have in this situation. The fault clearly lies with the lady who did the original eye test - but I only paid £5 to her for that privilege. Meanwhile, I spent a lot more money than that on having spectacles made up from her prescription, but the opticians who made up those spectacles did so on perfectly good faith, and I have no reason to believe they did anything wrong. Getting the £5 back for the original eye test won't really do much to off-set the cost of having the incorrect lens replaced, but it seems to me that I can hardly expect the second optician to absorb the cost of replacing it either.

Did I accept liability for this situation when I voluntarily chose to go to another optician to have the glasses made up? Or do I have any kind of protection against the consequences of having paid rather a lot of money for an incorrect lens? I surely can't be the only person who's ended up in this situation, but I haven't been able to bring up any very suitable advice by Googling. The best I could find was this, which is someone reporting the same situation - but I'm not at all clear that any of the people advising him(?) have any real expertise in the matter, or indeed whether their comments would apply in the UK.

Further stuff about it, no longer really relevant to the issue of whose fault this was )

Anyway, if anyone has been in this situation, or knows anything about what my rights are, please do comment. And if not, I guess I've just got more inconvenience and another hefty bill coming up...

Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.
strange_complex: (Me Art Deco)
Three years ago, I had just moved into my current house, and jointly celebrated that event and my 31st birthday with a 1920s and '30s-themed housewarming party. Lots of my friends and colleagues came along, as did some of the cheekier neighbourhood cats, and a marvellous time indeed was had.

This year, I decided it was time for a similar celebration to mark my 34th birthday (which is actually on Monday this year), but this time based around a barbecue and without the period theme. 'Cos dressing up is fun, but you can't do the same thing every time. A man turned up from Sainsbury's with eight boxes full of STUFF at 10 o'clock on Saturday morning, and I sprang into action - chopping vegetables, marinading meat, threading things onto skewers and (most importantly) mixing cocktails!

The weather looked decidedly shady for most of the day, but thankfully around 3pm rays of sunshine started to appear, and by the time my first few guests arrived the skies were blue and almost cloudless. My colleague's children ran around the garden while we got the barbecues going (two of them, because they were only diddy ones), and began grilling the first few burgers. And after that everything became a bit of a blur as people arrived, and handed me presents and cards, and I whirled around the place making sure everyone had drinks and introducing people to each other and so forth. But it was a very nice blur! I just have a kind of vague general impression of being surrounded by lovely people all being witty and sociable and exciting and beautiful all around me, and lots of hugs and laughter and (though I say it myself) delicious food and so forth.

Around 9ish it began drizzling a little, but that was OK really, as most people had finished with the barbecues by then, so we just carried on the party inside. An interesting spontaneous gender division occurred, as most of the ladies present ended up in the kitchen discussing various types of relationships, while most of the gentlemen were in the dining room discussing joke websites. But hey - both rooms seemed to be having an awesomely good time, so that is fine. Then around 11ish most of the further-flung guests decided it was about time they started their journeys home, so the scene shifted again to a more intimate gathering of myself, [livejournal.com profile] ant_girl, [livejournal.com profile] ms_siobhan and [livejournal.com profile] planet_andy, chilling out in the lounge discussing serial killers for another hour or so.

And now this morning, here I am browsing through last night's photos, eating delicious Belgian chocolates which somebody gave me and generally basking in the afterglow of a most excellent evening. Many thanks to everyone who came, and especially those who helped keep an eye on the barbecue, which I could not really have managed on my own alongside meeting and greeting everyone and generally being the charming hostess. I'm slightly delicate today, and unlikely to move terribly far from the sofa, but it was definitely all worth it. Give me another three years, and I might be ready to do it again... ;-)

Photos follow under the cut )

Oh, and if anyone wants the recipe for the marsala peaches we had, and on which I got several compliments, Delia is your lady. I shall be enjoying the few which were left over with my lunch today. :-)

Click here if you would like view this entry in light text on a dark background.

strange_complex: (Me Art Deco)
A couple of weeks ago, [livejournal.com profile] ms_siobhan and I spent a day in Saltaire, with the particular aim of checking out an antiques dealer with a bit of a line in Art Deco furniture on the top floor of Salt's Mill. I was looking in particular for a largish sideboard / cabinet to go in an alcove next to my fireplace, and I'd hardly got inside the shop when I saw an absolutely wonderful example, in a golden maple-wood finish with a bowed front and lots of lovely storage capacity. The price was high enough that I had to spend quite a bit of time thinking it over and psyching myself up before I took the plunge - but eventually I did, and it was delivered today.

This is what was previously in the alcove which it now occupies )

Perfectly all right, but not really making the best use of the space. What I needed was something that would look good and allow me to stash lots of crap inside it!

So this is what I have now )

Meanwhile, the old low-level beechwood sideboard which used to stand in its place is now surplus to my requirements, and therefore for sale to anyone who might be interested. It's good solid wood furniture, with a lovely spicy smell when you open the drawers, and there are a couple of pictures here if you want a closer look )

In other news, I spent this last weekend in Birmingham visiting the parents. Mum is still doing pretty well - enough to go to a jazz concert on Friday, have my sister and fiancé (!) round on Saturday, and then go and visit some local gardens which were having an open afternoon on Sunday. While there, I also stocked up on floaty purple skirts at The Oasis, because (despite the rain today) there is clearly no way I am going to make it through the summer without a good selection of light-weight medieval princess skirts that ripple around my ankles when I walk. I also spent Saturday afternoon reading in dappled shade on a deck-chair in my parents' gloriously beautiful garden while my sister and fiancé (!) planned wedding stuff, my Dad made random observations about the state of the world and my Mum sat in the summer-house. It was a perfect slice of English summer, and I hope there will be more in the same vein over the next couple of months.

Click here to view this entry with minimal formatting.

strange_complex: (Me Art Deco)
Firstly, thanks to everyone for their comments on my last post. 'Cathartic' would be an understatement.

But secondly, because not everything is about doom and gloom, I have some lovely pictures to share. They are from two publications of the 1930s, and both were found in the family archive last weekend, where they'd obviously been preserved by my step-grandmother.

The first ones come from a page of the Daily Mirror, published on Monday September 17th 1934. It's the women's page (page 23), which she had torn out and kept, though we're not quite sure why. Anyway, it's an absolutely brilliant snapshot of feminine life in the 1930s. You've got recipes, fashion reports, household tips and (best of all) an article about Meg Lemonier, a 'charming little French actress' who is also a male impersonator. I've scanned it in four over-lapping parts, so that every article can be read in its entirety on at least one of the scans.

Daily Mirror, 1934 )

The other side of the page is sporting news, but apart from a few pictures of very 1930s-looking rugby-players, it's nothing like so exciting. Teams win and teams lose in every era, and unless you're invested in their fortunes, it's pretty dull to read about.

Meanwhile, my second find was a souvenir programme printed to commemorate the centenary of the City of Birmingham being awarded a royal charter in 1938. The official content is again kind of dull - there's a great deal of stuff about centenary committees and awards, and a bit of stuff about decorations, floodlights and pageants put on to mark the occasion. Best of all by far, though, are the period adverts, which take up about 50% of the booklet. Click on each one to go to the gallery, and then again for the full-size version.

Vintage ads ahoy! )

Click here to view this entry with minimal formatting.

strange_complex: (Janus)
For at least the last twelve years of my life - possibly slightly longer - I have worn, every single day, the pendant shown below:

Eye of Horus pendant )

If you have ever met me IRL, you'll have seen it. Or if you didn't, it will only have been because I was wearing a high-necked top and it was tucked underneath. I will have been wearing it - I guarantee.

That pendant's history and significance )

Why I need a new one )

Gravitating towards a TARDIS key )

But I liked the idea of the key very much, and I began to feel that a smaller, more feminine version of the same thing, made nicely out of proper silver, would actually be a very worthy replacement for my old Eye of Horus. And this is where [livejournal.com profile] nalsa comes into the story.

Nalsa's handiwork )

It is, quite frankly, awesome. It's just exactly what I wanted - light-weight, and feminine, and in fact able to pass quite readily as a piece of interesting abstract jewellery to anyone who didn't know what it actually was. I can wear it to conferences, I can wear it to teach in, I can wear it out to dinner. But to me, and to anyone else who's geeky enough, it is in fact also a compelling emblem of fantasy, and adventure, and one man's quiet battle to make the Universe a better place. If I can trust any small piece of metal to keep me safe, help me access the past, help me journey on into my future, and help me find my way back home again if I ever get lost - then this is it.

The history and experience I've written into my old pendant can't just be thrown aside lightly, though. Perhaps there are some things it's witnessed that it's best to leave behind now, and stop carrying around with me. It may be time anyway, even if it weren't for the worn old silver, to move forwards, and let the new pendant receive an impression of the present and future me. But the present me has been forged by the past me, and for that reason I need to keep my connection with the old pendant, too.

So, right now, downstairs in my fire-place a candle is burning, and in front of it the two pendants lie, back-to-back - one facing into the past, and one facing into the future, just like the god Janus (see icon). Once the candle burns down, the 'transfer' will be complete, and I'll be able to leave the old pendant behind and move into the future with the new one. I'm not quite sure what I'll do with the old one after that - but as [livejournal.com profile] glitzfrau said the other night in the pub, the right thing will come to me.

strange_complex: (Apollo Belvedere)
Onto season 18, now. I think I'll try to write up the stories in this one at a time as I go along - otherwise it just becomes too daunting if I let a back-log build up and have to write three at once.

Fourth Doctor: The Leisure Hive )

Long thoughts on the beginning of the JNT era )

And back to the specifics of The Leisure Hive )

strange_complex: (Sleeping Hermaphrodite)
I'm back from Verona. Very tired, but I had a brilliant time. In theory, I've gone all the way back through LJ to where I left off before I flew out, but it meant going back to skip=260, so it was very much skim-reading.

I'll post a proper report tomorrow, but in essence, after the initial flight cancellation tedium, it was all good. Students fine, my opposite number in Verona a real sweet-heart and very enthusiastic host, Verona wonderful, hotel welcoming, food excellent, and I have been to Venice! Wow.

In all honesty, I'd rather still be there than back in Britannia. But the good news is that the weather there is exactly as horrid as it is here, so I do not need to feel I am missing the sunshine. Only the warm internal glow of Italy and its people. :-(

I have many pictures, but for now you just get my favourite two:

My little friend from the theatre in Verona )

Have you hugged a tetrarch today? )

strange_complex: (Alessandro Moreschi)
Continuing on last night's theme of the adulation of male sopranos, let it be recorded that today is (amongst other things, of course) the birthday of Alessandro Moreschi. Were he still alive, he would be 149 today (so a big anniversary next year - whoop!).

Last year, I marked the day by posting about the pilgrimage to the Sistine Chapel which I had undertaken in his honour in June of 2006. This year, I'm celebrating by posting up a series of pictures of him - in fact, all the ones that are in existence as far as I know. Most lead to larger versions if you click on them - sometimes much larger.

Moreschi - a life in pictures )


Image hosted by Photobucket.com

And between all of those, I was able to make this colour bar early in 2006 - which still graces my userinfo page to this day, and is not going anywhere any time soon. The Sistine Chapel photograph isn't really worth including, as you can't really tell it's him anyway, and I'd be the first to admit that some of the others are moot points. But eight photographs of any person who lived when he did is pretty good going. And I'd like to think that somewhere, in archives or in private collections, there are more waiting.

strange_complex: (Nennig musicians)
Crumbs, but today was busy. Two lectures, two seminars, barely time to sit down and remind myself what I was actually supposed to be teaching in the next session before it hit me, and I spent the last seminar being systematically and relentlessly coughed all over by a student no more than a metre away from me. After the fun and games last week, I do not want another cold, thank you!

Anyway, thankfully now it is all over, and I only have a Latin class to teach tomorrow. So I can get on with blogging my extremely exciting and splendiferous weekend...

The pivotal hinge of the whole 48-hour period was Opera North's production of Reinhard Keiser's The Fortunes of Kings Croesus, which I'd been busy organising an outing to since May. It was lucky I'd successfully bought a three-bedroomed house in the intervening period, as I had four house-guests for the weekend (a fifth, [livejournal.com profile] redkitty23, sadly couldn't make it in the end due to illness) - my Mum, [livejournal.com profile] rosamicula, the artist formerly known as [livejournal.com profile] kharin and [livejournal.com profile] megamole. And it was just so fabulous to see everyone anyway! To think that the added bonus was not only baroque opera, but a composer I'd never heard performed before and a chance to hear Michael Maniaci sing live at last was more than enough to have me in a state of fizzing excitement by early Saturday evening.

You can see as much from the grin on my face )

And so off we set in our finery through a crisp, autumnal-smelling evening, to rendezvous with [livejournal.com profile] big_daz and take our seats in the auditorium. I have a recording of the opera directed by René Jacobs in 2000, but had only listened to it in a fairly haphazard and perfunctory manner, so I knew some of the tunes beforehand, but had absolutely no clue as to the plot )

Keiser )

The production )

Maniaci )

And friends )

Fangirling )

We did do the Wrens, too, and then home again under a bloated half-moon. And the next day was all communal breakfasts, and chatting, and guests slipping away one by one, until I was left alone once again. Except that I didn't have time to get sad or mopey about it, because it was off for my own humble brand of singing at choir practice, followed by chat and dinner with [livejournal.com profile] glitzfrau to round off the weekend.

There are two more performances of Croesus in Leeds, on the 7th and 10th of November, and you know what? I think I might go again. Because I can, and because I still bitterly regret not going to see David Cordier sing Bertarido in Rodelinda for a second time in Oxford when I felt much the same about his performance and I could have done. It doesn't even have to be that expensive, either - judging from the Grand Opera House website, there are some quite cheap last-minute tickets available, and neither performance is likely to sell out completely. June, after all, is an awfully long time to wait for that CD...

Holiday snaps

Wednesday, 5 September 2007 15:19
strange_complex: (Hastings camera)
Right - it's time we had this canal holiday in pictures, then.

Warning - there are 86 of them )

My first Prom

Wednesday, 8 August 2007 17:27
strange_complex: (Nennig musicians)
Yesterday evening, I attended my first ever Promenade concert, in company with Cie. It occurred to me, sitting in the Albert Hall as we waited for the performance to begin, that this was a slightly odd thing to be doing for the first time now that I've moved to Leeds, given that I'd never managed it the whole time I lived in Oxford. But honestly, the trains from Leeds to London are so good, that it's practically just as easy from here.

I met Cie after work, and we caught up over dinner at Wagamama's - another first for me, and a good one, although I made the mistake of assuming that when a Japanese menu described soup as 'spicy', they wouldn't really mean it, only to find that actually they did. We then proceeded to Hyde Park, where we circumambulated the Albert Memorial for a while, gaping in mingled awe and horror at its sheer rococosity, before deciding that it was a bit nippy out and repairing to a basement bar within the Albert Hall. There, we drank coffee and ate cookies, until we were joined by [livejournal.com profile] qatsi, who had just been enjoying a programme of Britten and Mahler in the evening's early Prom. Sadly, [livejournal.com profile] qatsi couldn't stay for the late performance, as he needed to get home to Reading at a Reasonable Hour, but we got a good half-hour's chatting in nonetheless, so that was nice.

Concert review )

After the concert, we went back to Cie's flat in leafy Ealing Broadway, where we hooked up with her partner, Mark, for a bit before collapsing into bed. And then today dawned, all bright, breezy sunshine and views across people's gardens from Cie and Mark's lounge windows, coffee in hand. By lunch-time, I was safely back in Leeds - just in time to greet my Dad, who is installing curtain-rails for me downstairs as I type. Speaking of which, it's probably time I went and fixed us both some dinner.

Let me leave you with some pictures from my adventure )

strange_complex: (Camera 1960s)
Good news - the duckling pictures were not too terrible to post. Here they are:

Cuteness this way... )

strange_complex: (Purple and black phone)
This is mainly a test post, really.

But while I'm at it, have a picture of the Choiseul Gouffier Apollo.


Choiseul Gouffier Apollo 4.jpg



ETA: OK, so lessons learnt - use <br> or <p> if you want line breaks, and don't try to get clever with links. The picture worked, though!

strange_complex: (Alessandro tear)
I won't be able to post about this tomorrow (Saturday), since I have no internet access at home at the moment. So today (Friday) with a fore-dating will have to do:

November 11th is (amongst other things), the birthday of my favourite singer of all time, ever, no exceptions - Alessandro Moreschi. (Who? What? Eh?) Were he still alive, this would be his 148th. And to celebrate this occasion, I've decided it is about jolly time I got round to posting about a little pilgrimage which I undertook this June, while I was in Rome.

Take a look at this picture )

Try to ignore the fact that it is the worst scan you have ever seen in your life of a picture which was never terribly good quality in the first place (yanno, having been taken in 1902 an' all). I didn't scan it - I stole it from the archives of the Castrati_History Yahoo! group.

Concentrate instead on the fact that this is a picture of Moreschi (he's the one in the middle) sitting on the stone bench which runs around the perimeter of the Sistine Chapel, just in front of its choir loft (or cantoria).

'Well?' I hear you cry. The significance is that this picture shows Moreschi in a specific and easily-identifiable place which still exists today. A place which could be tracked down to the very centimetre, and sat in by any member of the Vatican-visiting public who cared so to do.

And so, knowing that I would be in Rome for a few days in mid-June this year, I decided to do just that. To sit in the very same place where he sat in the photograph, and see if it was still warm from his bottom. After a lot of queuing and hurrying through galleries, I tracked down the very spot, and, with a well-timed stroke of luck, I actually managed to sit there - not by any means a given, actually, as the Sistine Chapel was absolutely packed that day, and naturally empty spots on the stone bench were getting snapped up very quickly.

The result, kindly photographed at my request by [livejournal.com profile] libellum (in a blatant disregard for Vatican regulations, which will clearly result in us both going straight to hell), is here )

I'm pleased to report that the stone was still warm - and I don't care to hear your so-called 'scientific' explanations of how that was more likely to be connected with the boy who was sitting there just before me than with Alessandro Moreschi. ;-) I know it was from him. And so I sat there, in the place where his voice had rung out like struck silver for thirty years, awed by the sense of his presence and hearing his pure, high notes still echoing off the walls in my mind's ear. Until, that is, the Vatican closed up for the day and we were all herded out again into the hot sunshine.

Short of going and lying on his grave (which seems to me excessively morbid), that's the closest I'll ever be able to get to him. And that makes me very, very sad. But I can still celebrate his life and his music across the gulf of a century, and get great enjoyment out of doing so. And that is why I post today to say: felice anniversario al mio carissimo cantore!

strange_complex: (Penny Crayon)
I've now uploaded all of my ball pictures into my LJ scrapbook. There are three pages worth, they're visible to everyone, and you can see larger versions of them by clicking on each thumbnail.

I was going to post a few of my favourites in this entry too, but they are so HUMONGOUS that, even under cuts, they would just be obnoxious. So instead, the captions below link to the medium-sized versions of them visible in the gallery:

Some of the Oxgoths contingent: Andy, violetdisregard, Cat and edling

La Fleurissima

A beautiful eighteenth-century lady, who bears a strong resemblence to redkitty23

Double Helen joy

Huginn and Muninn attempt a beak kiss

King and Queen contest: mask fellatio

OMG kitten!!!

Sheer costume genius, both made by the young lady on the right (Megan)

King and Queen contest winners: Boy-on-Boy Action

When the world outside breaks in

For real photographic genius, though, and an excellent sense of what the night was like, I highly recommend visiting the collection of the official ball photographer, [livejournal.com profile] dylan.

Links to other collections will be edited in below as I come across them:

Purple joy

Sunday, 12 June 2005 01:00
strange_complex: (Megara flowers)
Thanks to [livejournal.com profile] damien_mocata and his digital camera, I can now show off the big puffy skirt I got at the Rusty Zip a few weeks ago. These pictures were taken after we went to see Dracula on May 28th.

Big puffy purple joy under here )

Profile

strange_complex: (Default)
strange_complex

August 2017

M T W T F S S
 123456
78 9 10111213
14151617181920
21 222324252627
28293031   

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Tags

Active Entries

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Wednesday, 23 August 2017 08:14
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios