13 things to achieve in 2013
Thanks to a friend of mine who had the good sense to link me to this image, I have a new Mantra for 2012:
Success and nothing less indeed. Bring it, 2012.
If you needed visual proof of how wonderful the world is, take a look at these photos from the National Geographic Photography Contest 2011.
Here’s a video of the Aurora Australis (the southern hemisphere’s equivalent to the Northern Lights), as taken from the International Space Station. This sequence of shots was taken September 17, 2011 from 17:22:27 to 17:45:12 GMT, on an ascending pass from south of Madagascar to just north of Australia over the Indian Ocean.
Stunning, isn’t it. I’d quite like to go into space now.
I recently discovered Frisky and Mannish, a sort of pop-cabaret duo, thanks to Scott Mills. They are TOTES AMAZE. They do kind of parodies of pop songs or, in their own words:
“Popmusicy-seriocomic-mashparodic-stereophonic-LOUD-vaudevillian-sketchcabaret-throwbackcurrent-oldfangled-newfashioned-bapsbotty-infotainment. To be succinct, we tit around with pop songs. You will BLATES love it.”
Frisky and Mannish are playing in Halifax at Square Chapel on Wednesday 30th November, and I would very, very, very much like to go and see them, if anyone else fancies it? This is an example of what they do, called Kate Bash:
Where is Halifax, is it near Leeds? A train must go there, surely. Come on, it’ll be FUN.
The other night, I drove home after going out for dinner with some friends over in South Yorkshire. As I drove back, I decided to take a route I don’t normally take, which involves driving through the countryside and a place called Marr, then getting on the A1.
I’d driven this route hundreds of times before when I worked in Bradford, but not for about a year. The countryside is pretty standard Yorkshire fields, hills and valleys and whilst being pretty, it wasn’t particularly breathtaking. Until the other night, that is.
I drove up through High Melton and then hooked a right, flipped full beam on and negotiated the narrow country round in the pitch dark. Trees on either side blocked out any potential moonlight and whilst there was a circle of clear sky above, there were clouds gathering on the horizon. As I rounded the bend which leads into a dip in the hills before you come to Marr, I was struck with a weird sense of awe and fright.
The moon hung fat and low in the sky, resting on its back amongst the clouds, honey tinged and dark. It cast its dull orange glow across the still fields, ushering its slow light towards me. As the light hit, my mounth fell open.
Looming up in front of me, out of nowhere, were two giagantic structures, silent, majestic and menacing. In the near-darkness, with an eerie amber halo around them, stood two monsters, tall and defensive. Silently warning me to not come any closer. Silently, their arms circled around their heads, gesturing to me that I should keep moving. And move I did. Struck by an initial panic then a sudden adrenaline surge, I pressed my foot down and hurtled forward, beyond these monsters from the unknown depths of outer space. As I pressed on, smaller monsters emerged, their whirling arms driving me out of their lair. A dip, a right turn, a roundabout then the bright lights of lorries and cars. I was back amongst my own kind. I was safe.
I sheepishly turned the radio up and cursed my overactive imagination.
The whole thing somehow reminded me of H.P. Lovecraft’s At The Mountains of Madness, and whilst this story is about an extremely different situation, I got that weird, momentary feeling of panic and awe that I was witnessing something completely new and unexpected and my brain couldn’t instantly process what was happening. A rare, instinctive feeling and an amazing sight.
I don’t think those wind turbines will ever look the same again, even if I go back to revisit them. It felt quite magical and I feel lucky to have seen it.
The above all happened in a matter of seconds, of course. But don’t those moments that change us forever always happen in the time it takes to breathe in and out?
Imagine my surprise when, whilst doing my weekly big shop in Pudsey Asda I stumbled across none other than former indie-rock legend and current cheesemeister general, Alex James of Blur fame.
He was thoroughly pleasant, really well dressed and insanely FIT. Needless to say, I was charmed into buying cheese. Not the ghetto tomato sauce flavour, though. I’m not that much of a groupie.
I took part in the Guardian Bookswap this weekend.
The Bookswap is a lovely little idea: you stick a note in a book saying ‘this book now belongs to you’ and then leave it somewhere to be found, uploading a picture of where you left the book to a Flickr map on the Guardian website:
The book I donated to the swap was The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde, with a recommendation to try Dorian by Will Self. I couldn’t bear to give that one away.
I’m yet to find a book, so if you’ve left one somewhere, leave me a clue in the comments so I can go on a literary treasure hunt…
I want to plan a road trip to visit loads of awesome seaside places around the UK. I spent many a happy summer in Skeggy and Cleggy as a kid and I think it’s time to rediscover the Great British Seaside.
I asked on Twitter where to go and received lots of awesome-sounding suggestions, here they are:
Whitby – @LaurenPotts, @middleplanet
Staithes – @LadyRach
Blackpool – @CharMar
Seahouses, Bamburgh, Craster, Alnmouth, Alnwick, Farne – @EllenSCole
Robin Hood’s Bay – @NatalieHarris
Weymouth, Bournemouth, Ayr – @LouiseReviews
Cornwall (not Newquay) – @ThomHoops
Aberdovey Wales, New Quay Wales, Fowes Cornwall – @DigitalOutside
Southend, North Cornwall – @MikeTreat
Scarborough – @PhilKirby
Northumberland Coast – @katherineross
Anywhere but Rhyl – @shuttershimmer
St Andrews – @Lotpop
Teignmouth – @LaylaRobleh
Thanks to everyone for their suggestions! If you have any more suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments section.
I’m really liking the idea of Scottish/Northumberland seaside as I’ve never been up there, also never been to Brighton or Cornwall so looking into that too. Probably won’t be until next summer that I get around to it, but I’ve always said that there’s so much of this country that’s absolutely beautiful but that I never visit, so I’m looking forward to exploring it a bit more.