Monthly Archives: August 2001

my own language

This outfit is a little Betsey Johnson combo I picked up in San Francisco last September. The dress was made for me. It is cut in at the waist and everything. The coat is a medium because I like oversized. Splendid yes?

So as you all know last weekend was my birthday. As a gift Patrick took me on an all expense paid weekend to the Leeds Festival in Leeds, England. The real gift was that he made all the arrangements. I usually play ‘Julie the Cruise Director’ and he did it all himself this time instead. He did a great job too.

First let me start by saying they play much better music in the UK in public than in either US or Germany. In the elevator of the Crowne Plaza where we were staying, they were playing Gangster’s Paradise over the sound system. And it wasn’t even Muzak! Gotta love that.

The lovely town of Leeds has some very interesting stores. We saw these as we were on the bus going to the festival site so weren’t able to get pictures (we tried). The first was a place called “The Murder Shop”. No idea what that was. The next, and by far the most amusing thing I saw the entire weekend, was the hair salon called “Kurl up and Dye”. On Saturday morning the place was packed. I would have loved to say to my friends, after getting a nice new coif, “Oy ye, got it done at Kurl up and Dye, luv”

So the crowd was mixed. It ran the gamut from 50-something burn-outs that looked like they probably had a tree house with Iggy Pop when they were kids to “relatively” normal looking 5 year-olds. Mom and Dad had weird hair and were smoking weird cigs but the kids seemed happy and the parents were paying a lot of attention to them. Then there were the 2 naked program selling guys. Yep, naked. They were wearing the neon pink smocks that identified them as program sellers, but that was it. They did have a bunch the program necklaces hanging around their necks, but it didn’t hide much. We got a picture of them which is on our travel page for this trip. The one on the page has a censor tag over their “manly” parts, but if you click on the picture you can look at the original.

The best bands were, in order of greatness ascending: Run DMC, The Cult, PJ Harvey, Green Day and Iggy Pop. It was just cool seeing Run DMC after all these years and they sounded great. The Cult had not played together in England (they are English) in 7 years and just seemed to be really happy to be there. PJ Harvey is just cool. Patrick was pretty smitten. She was wearing these amazingly high heels too. Like they were nothing! Green Day is always fun. They played all the classics and then invited 3 people from the audience to come up and play their instruments as Billie Joe sang a song by Operation Ivy. Then later the drummer trashed his set, stuck the bass drum through the cymbal stand and lit the whole thing on fire. He poured on some liquid and lit it up! They played 2 more songs with it burning in the background. Everyone in the audience knew all the songs and had a great time jumping around. Iggy Pop was the most impressive though. He sounded great and jumped around like he was 20, not 57! He sang “The Passenger” which I hadn’t realized he did first. I am so glad I got to see him (a)live.

Eminem and Marilyn Manson sounded really good but didn’t really seem to be into the show. They both sound great live. Still great quality singers, but they lacked the enthusiasm of the best bands. One thing they both have in common is lawsuits. They are both being sued by a bunch of people so perhaps that is why they weren’t as enthusiastic.

On Saturday afternoon it got rather warm and I was dancing around quite a bit so I took my shirt off. I was, of course, wearing a bra, that covers more than many tank tops and bikinis. It made me real popular though. Lots of staring and nonchalant picture taking. This 5 year-old little girl sitting near us with her parents was just in awe. It wasn’t a disapproving look but like “wow, that girl is brave!”. Now there were LOTS of people with LOTS of facial piercings and visible tattoos (let’s not forget the naked program guys either) but they weren’t getting even a second look. I asked my buddy Basil from the UK and he said piercing yes, taking your shirt off no. Strange people the British. Patrick said part of the reason men stare at me is the way I move. I look uninhibited and um..talented? I take that as a compliment and sign of good qualities. It doesn’t bother me when people stare at me. I think it would be rather naive and unfair of me to get angry at people for staring at me when I have purple coloured hair and all. Anyhow…

So the females in Leeds are a tad on the plump side. Make me feel a bit anorexic. They don’t seem to be self-conscious about it at all though. This is a totally great thing. We saw lots of girls out in their Saturday night finest strutting about confidently. Too many men peeing in public though.

The difference between the UK and Germany was so obvious and loud. The customer service was great, the people were nice and I felt a sense of freedom in the UK I don’t feel in Germany. On the other hand, I didn’t feel as safe, it was much more dirty and there were all the men peeing in public. In Germany the culture is so regimen that though I can’t get any decent help at a store, the streets are clean and I feel safe walking anywhere late at night. I must say I think I prefer the UK though. Customer service rocks!

Oh and as far as the title of this page goes…I thought to myself before leaving Germany how nice it would be to get to a country where I will understand the language being spoken around me. WRONG! It was hard in London but virtually impossible in Leeds. I was asking the taxi driver some questions and only understood about half the answers. Oh well.

faster life

Is this a great continent or what? We went to Paris last weekend (see the Travel page Paris Weekend) and had a fabulous time. We took the night train Friday night, got to our hotel at 8 am, where our room was ready. We dropped stuff off, I took a shower and then we went downstairs for a “Continental Breakfast”. The best damned croissant, piece of baguette, jam, coffee and orange juice, you ever had. The bread was God like. Then we rushed off to the Champs-Elysées to shop, shop, shop. The stores were just opening. All our Paris Eyewitness guides are missing so we had to buy a new one at Mr. Branson’s (Virgin Megastore). We went to Sephora but didn’t have much luck. If you see any Benefit “Boo boo Zap” buy it all. It is brilliant on white heads and thus stores have a hard time keeping it in stock. Anyhow, the only thing we were looking for in Paris was a dress for me to wear to Brett’s wedding in October. We took the risk and went to the Tara Jarmon (she is Canadian, hey). They were having a sale. Death. I got a pink raw silk strapless dress to wear to the wedding, an awesome hot pink a-line skirt that has laces up the back and a black chiffon skirt with an elastic waist. As it turns out, I can wear the skirt over my bust and now it is a strapless dress!

So then we had lunch at a British Pub (guess we will have to have French in Leeds next weekend). We both had Cheese Burgers. They were heavenly. Patrick doesn’t trust German beef because the German gov’t still denies to a certain extent that they have mad cow so there is little testing. France admitted it and is testing vigorously like Britain. They were great burgers and we were totally sick the next day (since we hadn’t had beef in forever).

After lunch we went to the one place Patrick has been wanting to go in Paris. The Roman Amphitheater. It was really simple. There were some locals playing Bocce Ball in the center. We hiked up one side and took a bench in the shade. It was so pleasant just sitting there and watching the people play bocce. On the bench next to us was a couple with a pet Chihuahua. Patrick kept impersonating the dogs voice. He would say things, in a high pitched whine, like “Feed me. Please, feed me. They don’t feed me enough at home. They dress me up in frilly dresses.” When the owners called the dog back he said “Only if you give me a biscuit. No not the leash. I want a biscuit.” Strange boy. So then later the dog barked at some people coming up the stairs. The bark was pretty pathetic so Patrick started quacking. Making fun of poor defenseless animals.

After a while a large group of slightly large rather unattractive old people in vests swarmed the entrance. We knew in an instant…German Tourists. Time to leave.

We continued on a shoe hunt to accompany my dress. Patrick had bought me a beautiful pair of snub nosed black high heels at Charles Jordan that could work for the wedding but we wanted to try other places. In the end we didn’t have much luck on the shoes but did have other luck. I got a used winter coat that makes me look like Madeline, a cool hooded sweater with dingle balls (you have to see it), a Custo shirt that says “love and hate” and looks very gothic and lastly a tiny babies t-shirt that has the perfect angel wings on the back for my tattoo. Yes Mom and Nana, I want a large tattoo of wings on my back. We’ve been looking for the right picture of wings but haven’t had any luck so far. Unlucky for you, we found it in Paris. Patrick got a cool sweater shirt from Custo as well. Custo is a Spanish designer by the way. If you saw the shirt you would recognize it. Keep an eye out on my fashion page.

We had sushi for dinner and then met my friend Stefan at a cool lounge/bar. He was with a girl and I saw him kiss her even.

The next day we got to do what we had come to Paris to do…go to the Alfred Hitchcock exhibit at the Pompidu. It was brilliant. I spent 3 1/2 hours in one exhibit. I’ve never spent that much time looking at art ever. There were the most amazing things in this exhibit. Turns out Hitchcock wrote few, if any, of his movies. he used others short stories and books. He also was a great fan of art, specifically paintings. The exhibits showed the painting he owned and the artists he admired. Then next to the painting they would show a clip of the movie that painting was “in”. For as little as a second and as long as 10, you would see a near exact replica of the painting. It was amazing. Hitchcock took others work and saw much, much more. There was one painting by George Braque called Les Oiseaux. It is obviously where Hitchcock got his idea for The Birds. He told his art director people to refer to Edvard Munch’s The Scream for the ambiance for the movie. Salvador Dali assisted in the art direction, especially a dream sequence in Spellbound. He also considered Hair to be the ultimate erotic fixation. My kinda man. Really I can’t say enough about the exhibit. It was wonderful. You should all go out and get on planes to Paris and see it before it is over Sept. 24th. If you miss it, I bought a book about Hitchcock and the exhibit that you can borrow.

Do you like my new Gaultier above? Patrick bought it for me. It is my first (and likely only) Gaultier.

Saw a cute movie by the same director as The Full Monty. It is called Blow Dry. It is about the 2000 World Hairdressing Championship in this little town in England. The story revolves around the 10 year previous “supreme winner” who now only cuts hair for 7 pound 50 pence because his model (female) ran away with his wife (yes they became lesbians) the night before the “total look” finale. His ex-wife and model live in the same town. Through a series of events the son unites the “family” back together, sort of, to compete. I can’t tell you much more or it will ruin it. Alan Rickman plays the jaded hairdresser and is BRILLIANT. He is an amazing actor. Turns out I have seen him in more things than I realized and he is always brilliant. Anyway, go see it.

I read an interesting article in one of my aging issues of Talk magazine this month. It was about what happens to a couple’s relationship after children are born. The woman who wrote the article (and subsequently divorced her child’s father) said that when the child is born the relationship shifts from being between the Husband and Wife, to between the Mother and Child. A great quote to this effect was “Men often feel as a pay check for their wife to have an affair with someone else (the child)”. See I always figured, when you have kids you agree either explicit or implicitly to giving up your relationship until the children are independent. Children first, making a living second, couple third. Apparently this was enlightenment on my part and lots of people don’t realize this.

Remember when I wrote up our trip to Budapest and I mentioned the great poem that I was going to provide a link for, then didn’t? Well I have finally gotten around to it. You really should read it.

Next weekend is the concert festival in Leeds for my birthday. We are very excited. In the spirit of my mom we are not camping out with the rest of the dedicated festival goers. We are staying at the Crown Plaza. So when we come back each late night covered in mud from the mosh pit, we have hot water and soft fluffy towels to wash with.

holy month

I finished my laundry in 3 days this week! I was diligent about watching the clock and going down every 2 hours to change the load. Yes, 2 hours. It takes 2 hours to WASH one load of laundry. This does not include drying, mind you. I like the washers here better from a cleaning standpoint. They aren’t as hard on clothing as US machines. The hot wash does, literally, boil your clothing, but the dryer is extraction not heat. It is much better for my sports bras, et al. So anyhow, considering how long it takes to do one load and the social rules about the times you can do laundry (thank GOD my building mates are modern enough to wash on Sunday) 3 days is darn good.

So the Lesbian bar…It was interesting. For the most part when I have encountered lesbians in public, here in Germany, they seem very unhappy. The seem bitter and angry. Not a lot of smiling going on. Being that I don’t know any lesbians in Germany, I don’t have anyone to ask, but I guess this is because of their “status” in society. They are not looked upon well and are discriminated against. On the other hand, Germany recently passed a law allowing same sex marriages. It was challenged in court but was upheld. And just this week the first lesbian couple was married by the state. They both wore tuxedos and looked great and happy. Anyhow, I went with my friends Jenn and Theresa. I told them I had gone by the club just before it opened and no one was wearing skirts or strappy sandals with heels. Did they listen? No. Those 2 were in their hetero-boy-seeking finest. Tight slim skirts, coifed hair and make-up. Lip gloss no less! We decided to go with the “lesbian showing her 2 straight friends around” front. I was in low slung khaki’s, a tight cropped t-shirt and SENSIBLE shoes (see new Stephanie Plum book Seven Up for an explanation). No make-up and flat hair. I passed. We walked into the club and were surrounded by very similar looking women. I am sure they feel the same way about Heteros but really the outfit 99% of the time was slim jeans, trainers (tennis shoes for you Americans) tank tops, short flat hair, no make-up. They were having a good time though. Everyone was smiling and dancing and singing and drinking. There were couples sitting on each others laps. There were a few smooching a little (nothing really graphic like Gay clubs). It was like any other club though everyone seemed more…united? It was more like a class party, where everyone was basically friends. Maybe a club party? It was cool. I was really happy to see them all so happy. At the same time I was bummed they couldn’t be happy like that in public too. Maybe they are and I just haven’t encountered enough. I hope that is it.

Finished my magazine pile this week too. Feels good. Lots of recycling to go out now. I learned all sorts of interesting things too. I read about new interesting authors I think I want to read now. I read about politics. There was a great article about the news organizations having to deal with the election fiasco from last year. It was hysterical what some of these people had to do. There was one awesome quote from the “law and justice unit producer from ABC”, Ellen Davis, who got pulled out of bed suddenly because the Supreme Court had issued its final decision. She ended up going on air, sans lipstick or hairbrush to try and explain what the decision meant. After it was over someone asked whether, when she got the call, she thought that she was going to have to go on the air. She simply replied, “Don’t you think I would have combed my hair and put some lipstick on if I had known I was going on camera?” Apparently the same week everyone was in Florida for the recounts, there were several conventions and the Florida vs. Florida football game. News agencies were renting student apartments for like $3000 a weekend because there were no hotels. Politics are so amusing.

Last weekend I cleaned out the drawers in the bathroom. I was just feeling really organizational. I was very honest with myself and threw out all the make-up/skin treatment stuff that I realized I would never use. As is typical with women, I am willing to believe any make-up counter girl once and try their product. Most of them have too much fragrance and my skin freaks out. Anyhow, I piled it all up and tossed it out. My mom loves samples. She has tons of them. Some are so old they are scary. As a result of growing up with this, I am a purger. Sorry mom, I threw out tons of worthless samples. Boy, do I feel good though.

Do you like myBetsey Johnson Death Rock dress? I bought this at the San Francisco store last September. Wore it to the Marilyn Mason show in Praha. It hangs really well on me and with a corset shows off my waist well. While writing this I realized I have been to Betsey Johnson stores in Washington DC (2), San Francisco, Seattle and LA. The people that work there are always so nice. Though perhaps, it is because I spend so much money there. Nah, I think they are just cool people. The girls at the Seattle store put me on their newsletter list. Though I don’t usually get them until after the sale, it is nice to be remembered.