Music Monday

In the spirit of Wordless Wednesday and Cali's Photo Friday I decided to start a Music Monday! Mondays blow, whereas Wednesdays and Fridays are days to look forward to. I know a song from a musician(s) which may or may not be familiar to you is not likely to cure your case of the Mondays, but I'm doing what I can.

I feel delightfully self-indulgent for doing this, but I shall carry on nonetheless. Feel free to do your own Music Monday every once in awhile too, but no pressure. I'll keep truckin' along on my own if need be.

For my inaugural Music Monday, I have chosen Bishi to kick it off. I only learned of Bishi a few weeks ago when I was awake at some ungodly hour and became immersed in a BBC Asian Network programme. I don't even know how to describe her. Her music is a fusion of Eastern influences, particular Indian music as it forms her heritage, so the sitar is a feature. It's bhangra, English/Eastern European folk, electronica, and all sorts of wonderful rolled into a delightfully eccentric package.

Bishi is an acquired taste perhaps, much like Bjork. They don't sound anything alike, but I know Bjork is just too odd for some, and I imagine Bishi is as well.

Bishi, "The Swan":

More Bishi research, if you're interested (check out the font on her homepage - art nouveau meets Book of Kells):

Her website

Her MySpace


Things you can tell just by being married to her

The Dude and I have been fortunate enough to go to the movies twice this week. Twice. As in, more in three days than in the previous 8 months if not a period of time far exceeding that. The Dude shapes the minds of young adults, so he has had off this week for the half term holiday. We have been naughty and put P in nursery two half day sessions this week so we could shirk our paternal duties to watch films.

As we managed to see No Country for Old Men a few weeks ago and loved it (as Coen Brothers fans we were wont to do so), we opted for There Will Be Blood and Juno. From the first moment the titles appeared on screen for There Will Be Blood, The Nerd emerged. I am embarrassed to tell you what I did. Ok, I'll do it anyway - I inhaled deeply in reaction to my love of the title font. Yes, really. It gets worse. I then leaned over to The Dude, and in all seriousness said, "That is a fabulous font". My husband, no doubt instantly deflated that he married such a shameless fontoholic, just shook his head. Later he informed me that he was in no way surprised that I would notice such a thing, proving that he might actually know me after all.

Incidentally, did anyone see There Will Be Blood? When you got past the gorgeous font, what did you think of the movie? I was convinced by its scope, but I felt it was a bit hollow. It was this great, sweeping epic, but it just seemed rather empty when the conclusion arrived. I admire Daniel Day Lewis and thought he did wonderfully, but that voice...what was that? I found it hard to focus on much else, plus of course the magnificence of the font kept haunting me.

Today we saw Juno. The Dude only needed to hear the first few lines of the introductory song before leaning over and said, "I know what you will be downloading tonight", and he knows my musical leanings far too well, because guess what I just downloaded? Well, uh, the whole album in fact, but I am also addicted to this song. It's no There Will Be Blood font, but it's some good stuff.

I have been dying to see Juno since I watched a trailer many months ago. I love Michael Cera and Jason Bateman, as I can't seem to let go of the whole Arrested Development thing. Add the clever dialogue and I was so in there. Last month I was reading some anti-Juno backlash over at Cecily's, and began to wonder if I really would like the film after all, as a bitter ex-infertile and blogger in a circle acutely familiar with the issues at hand.

I won't spend paragraphs rehashing what was said, as it's worth having a good read of the comments if you haven't already, but the gist was how the movie reeked of untruths and cliche. Witty, unnaturally clever teenage mother shunning abortion in favour of what seemed to be an uncomplicated adoption - a notion that wouldn't really send this community running to the theatres.

I happened to love the movie. I can see how people would dislike it, but for me, it's just a film. Why should I have grand expectations that it will fairly represent the issues surrounding infertility, teen pregnancy, abortion and adoption? Is there even a way these subjects could be dealt with which would make everyone who has been affected by them happy? Hardly. For me, Juno doesn't try to be a masterful thesis on this group of serious matters, it's just a comedy. Why does it have to bear the heavy weight of our own baggage?

I might land myself on a list of Most Hated Bloggers for saying this, but here goes. We are a sensitive lot - we find and note errors all the time in articles from reputable news agencies (I'm talking to you BBC!) which talk about embryo "implantation" rather than "transfer". We can't see a pregnant woman without feeling a pang of jealousy and resentment. We, seemingly, can't watch a light-hearted movie about a serious issue without finding flaws which block any enjoyment that may have been had. Sometimes, I think we should just get over ourselves and take in the world like most people do.

It bothers me that infertility has granted me the inability to be normal. My experiences mean that I will always note inncorrect usage of "implantation", and I will always look at pregnant women and wonder if they had a journey to get there or if it they just got lucky. I will never be the woman who doesn't know the difference between "implantation" and "transferring" embryos, and I will never be the woman who doesn't even notice the passing of a pregnant belly.

I enjoyed Juno as a woman almost without baggage. I didn't mull over the intricacies of actual adoptions and the film's lack of accuracy, because I don't always want to be the outsider noticing details, details, details all the time and measuring their accuracy. As it was, I filled the role of outsider when relating to Jennifer Garner's character, and cried a few times during her scenes. I related to her character as an infertile woman, and later as a mother.

It's late, I'm tired, and though I no longer have eyes weeping pus, this post is lacking in coherency. I apologise. I really should have left writing about it until I was a bit more aware, but god knows when that would actually be. At any rate, thoughts on Juno? Preferably without getting into all the technical adoption talk that went on over at Cecily's. I don't need all of that shit.

Even if you hated Juno or have no intention of seeing it, check out the soundtrack. My music pleadings are always completely ignored, so I might as well be talk about fonts for three pages or something. I'm going to go to bed now and dream about fonts. I promise I'll shut the fuck up about fonts from now on too, having clearly exhausted my font-talk quota for life.


Citizen of the world

I've been meaning to discuss my views on healthcare and UK living a bit further since my previous posts on the matter were just glimpses. I know, fascinating, right?

Anonymous helped me segue quite nicely into this post, so thank you Anonymous for getting all up in my face about my statements about the UK. You've inspired me with your venom!

I should preface all of this with the statement to Anonymous and any other people who want to slag me off for my views - I live in the UK. I pay taxes here. I work here. I pay a mortgage here. I raise my British-born daughter here. If I want to slag off the system, I will do it. I'm not just passing through. I have lived in the UK for almost 6 years and will probably live here for about 10 years in total before I move on. I think that might qualify me to say what I choose.

In regard to the break-in and my views on crime in the UK, I stand by what I said. Incidentally Anonymous, dear Anonymous, I don't live in London, where all crime in the UK is allegedly centred. I live in a small yet densely populated city, in an area that is supposed to be middle class. Though I do not live in one, I am surrounded by £500K houses, an area in which you'd hope smackheads wouldn't break into your place and steal your shit. I can assure you that in a like location in the US, this sort of thing would be unusual, not the norm. I can also swear on my stack of Sex and the City DVDs that I wouldn't regularly see street pissers, or public drunkeness at midday, every day.

I don't think all of England is like this, just most of it. Sadly, you need to live in a semi-rural/rural area if you want to escape the drug addicts and pissheads, and be willing to pay hundreds of thousands of pounds for the privilege. Even then, there is no guarantee. I would venture to guess that people living in $1000000 houses in the US do not often wonder if a drunk person will glass them whilst they are walking back from a nice dinner at 8pm.

I don't want to give the impression that I hate England, I don't in the least. If it wasn't for me being paranoid that my daughter's poor big blue eyes will view street pissers and drug addicts with regularity, I'd have very little to object too. Also, since when can you not have problems with the place in which you live? Who finds their home country faultless? It's not as if I'm saying the US trumps the UK and rules the world. Anyone who knows my very leftist, mostly hyper-liberal leanings would tell you that I am no lover of the US. Why do you think we want to move to Canada? Is it because of our abiding love of the US that we want to move to America's hat? Heh. Sorry Canadians, I'm just joking. Don't you go all Anonymous on me and start telling me to stop being so judgmental, blah blah blah.

My list of things I adore about the UK is lengths longer than the dislikes. No one ever wants to read about the good stuff though, do they? The good stuff doesn't inspire the Anonymous' to come out of the woodwork to get their knickers in a twist with the mistaken impression that I am waging a verbal war on the Queen's fair isle.

When it comes down to it Anonymous, this is my blog. I don't write to not offend. How can I appease everyone? I'm not sorry I bothered you with my statements, toughen up chicken, it's a nasty old world out there. I should mention, you said "alot", which is two words rather than one. That says a lot about the state of the British educational system, which I am particularly qualified to comment on, but this is perhaps a topic for another day, much like health care.

If you want to find out what pro-American tripe is spouted by ex-pats, you'll need to read someone else. As a member of a particularly patriotic mailing list, trust me, it gets a lot worse than anything I would possibly say. I've been nearly booted from that list a few times for being a bit of a rablerouser, objecting to all of the Republican propaganda and religious bullshit they trot out on occasion. A quick tale - one of the list members was comparing crime in the UK versus that in the US. She spoke of a neighbourhood she used to live in, in a large American city. Believe it or not, that it was a largely black neighbourhood and rough, but when queried, said there was no inference. No inference, though you feel the need to mention that it was a black neighborhood. This is what I'm up against on that list. It's a no win situation.

Ok, I'm done rambling. I would, since I'm going on with this theme about my own greatness, like you to cast your eyes to my "E for Excellence" award in the sidebar, given to me for being fucking brilliant. At least, that's what OvaGirl said. Oh, you didn't say that OvaGirl? Hmm...must have just heard what I wanted to. It's my first ever award, so as you can imagine I'm quite flattered. You know when you go to some blogs, which, frankly, aren't always so fabulous, and they are plastered with blogging awards? I am annoyed at how tacky such collections are, but secretly, probably a little jealous. I might be nearly 30 (gasp, sputter), but sometimes I'm 16 again and just want to be the popular kid.

This is all too much drama for me. I'm going to lay down.


Bad mummy, pt 1

I'm numbering this series of "Bad Mummy" with a 1, though please be advised it is not the first time that I have been known to dabble in bad mummydom. This is merely the first time I've chosen to document it, for reasons I don't know myself.

It was my turn to get up with P on Sunday morning, and I did the most lazy of things - I turned on the devil box. P was most pleased and rather giddy at the notion of being able to watch BabyTV, and this gave me the chance to prepare our breakfasts. After we had eaten, I tried to cajole her into playing with toys whilst I deftly changed the channel. To Maury. Yes, you heard correctly. Maury.

It gets worse. P noticed my bold malfeasance, pointed at the television, and started crying, "Noooo! Nooo!!", to which I replied, "But P, Mummy wants to watch Maury!"

People, I kept it on Maury as well, despite my child's cries. I wanted, nay, needed to watch yet another Maury on paternity results.

So the bad parenting count within this incident is manifold:

1st infraction: I let her watch TV early on a Sunday morning when I should be singing nursery rhymes like "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" with accompanying baby signs.

2nd infraction: I turned the channel on her and subjected her to a shitty talk show about baby daddies, full of shouting people.

3rd infraction: Despite her numerous protestations, I left Maury on and watched the nonsense when she deserved my full attention.

Yikes. The sad thing is, you don't know the half of it people. If you thought the Maury situation was bad, I guess I shouldn't mention the floor eating. Ahem. That's a story for another day.

All P is missing here is a cigarette dangling out of the corner of her mouth and three broken down pickups in the yard bolstered by cinderblocks. I guess it's no surprise I let her watch television and then change it to Maury, is it?


Insane in the Brain

I have decided that a good Friday topic is mental health, so here I go. What better way to start off the weekend than talk of Prozac, depressed mothers, and mind-melting anxiety? Yeah, that's what I thought.

I've been intending to mention that my earlier post about saving the world one post-natally depressed woman at a time may have come off as arrogant, as if I view myself as some sort of PPD saviour. I am not under the very misguided perception that my few emotional words will save anyone. The basic idea was to put it all out there in the hopes that there might be someone reading with whom those feelings resonated. They won't leave the blog blissfully happy and shitting rainbows, but maybe they would feel slightly less alone and convinced that they are horrible mothers. That's all I'm going for.

Anyway, I've been inspired to write about my own insanity AGAIN due to a troubling article on the BBC website today which designates Britain as a 'true Prozac nation'. Why is Britain rapidly turning into a country full of automatons with glazed-over eyes? Well, could it be because it takes up to 18 weeks for an individual to receive non-medicinal treatment (counselling/psychotherapy). 18 weeks. 18 weeks is 126 days. 18 weeks is 4.13 months. In some areas waits for therapy would be two years, with the longest waits overall averaging out to 7 months. I'm sure that these numbers do not apply to the severely mentally ill, but for those of us who have battled with dark times, any wait is too much.

Because of this delay, many GPs are prescribing anti-depressants as they are well aware that counselling would be very far off in the patient's future. According to figures, 31 million prescriptions are written in Britain for "drugs such as Prozac", which I assume refers solely to anti-depressants.

I could write a cogent meditation on all of this, but my only question is - WHY CAN I NOT HAVE OF THE 31 MILLION? I want a piece of the Prozac pie! Regular readers may be aware of my battle with my GP for some recognition of my post-baby depression and anxiety issues. If not, the initial post can be found here. In summation, I went to the GP a gibbering wreck, cried until I couldn't speak, told her I was going mad with anxiety, showed her my constantly shaking hands, was spoken to as if I was a small child with severe learning disabilities, was given a "book" prescription for some nonsense self help book on anxiety, and sent on my merry way. The end. Until....

I went back to the GP a few months ago, a fact I never mentioned on the blog. I intentionally saw another doctor at the practice, stupidly believing this would increase my chances of something being done about the anxiety. Ha! Ha! I scoff at your ignorance, November Pru. I managed to hold myself together, but mentioned that I worry incessantly, something which has not managed to go away even though I was back at work and not stuck indoors with a baby all day anymore. Her advice? Take a walk. Take a motherfucking walk. Walk. As in, one foot in front of the other in a repeated pattern. Doesn't matter where, just walk.

"It will clear your head!" she said to me enthusiastically, as if the cure to most of the world's ills could be solved by a brisk power walk at the start of the day. I tried to politely tell her that I had plenty of time to myself, thanks, but she didn't buy it. She, like GP #1, felt the need to impress upon me that medication was not the answer. Books and walking are apparently. Who knew?

The moral to this story is, Britain, don't turn into a Prozac nation. Dump your pills down the sink wash them away forever. As you're turning on the garbage disposal (which don't actually exist in this country) to shred those pills to pieces, think how happy and re-charged you'll be as you're striding confidently down the street with the knowledge that that dirty black dog Depression is quickly sliding away.

Folks with anxiety? Pick up that book with the pastel cover which looks as if it was designed by three year olds during a daycare craft session in the early 80s, you'll be glad you did. It tells you to take deep breaths and think happy thoughts, something which surely never occurred to you at 3am when you're having a panic attack and feeling as if you are being crushed with the weight of your own thoughts. Duh!

What I want to know is, in a county with a population of just under 61 million people with 31 million anti-depressant prescriptions, how do I get two doctors who refuse me these magical pills? What are the odds?


It's all about me, me, me!

This is most unlike me - two posts in as many days? Insanity. Clearly the gale-force winds that seem to constantly inhabit my seaside town have done swept away my brains.

I'm here again because I stumbled across a great meme that I had to jump on right away. Melissa at Musings and Mutterings did this meme where you go to the Billboard charts for each year you were in high school, then list the songs that correspond to the categories of favorite at the time, actual best, worst, zeitgeist, and WTF. As a long-time music obsessive, I can so do this. Bear in mind of course that I was a small-town hipster as a high schooler, so my musical tastes generally went beyond that of the Billboard chart, but I was an equal opportunity listener as well.


Favourite at the time: Ordinary World, Duran Duran. This is the first song of Duran Duran that I was familiar with. The Dude, toothless and bent with age, still can't grasp the concept that I have no idea what he's talking about when he rants about the brilliance of "Wild Boys".

Actual best: In a year littered with brilliant songsmiths like Kriss Kross, Taylor Dayne, JOEY MOTHERFUCKING LAWRENCE, Wreckx-N-Effect, and Snow, there are just so many to choose from here in 1993. Err...Janet Jackson, "That's the Way Love Goes"? She's legitimate enough, right? Like a moth to the flame burned by the fire, my love is blind can't you see my desire? I didn't even need to google that. Sad. Also, I know that Jennifer Lopez is in that video as a dancer. Dork.

Worst: Again, so many to choose from. I'm going to have to go with Knockin' Da Boots by H-Town. Don't worry yourselves knockin' the boots, knock da boots. It will make all the difference.

Zeitgeist: Nothing says early 1990s chart music than cheesy, lamer-than-lame R & B (see Knockin' Da Boots, above). To wit: Jodeci, Boyz II Men, Peabo Bryson. You get the point. My vote for this goes to Tony! Toni! Tone!, "If I Had No Loot".

WTF: I have to bring this up again - Joey Lawrence, "Nothin' My Love Can't Fix". Amazing that repeatedly saying "Whoa" on Blossom can lead to a pop video full of breakdancing and neon colours.


Favourite at the time: This is a hard one. I'm choosing between "Shoop", Salt-N-Pepa, "Because the Night", 10000 Maniacs, "Here Comes the Hotstepper", Ine Kimoze, and {{cough}} "U.N.I.T.Y.", Queen Latifah. Right, I'm just going to do it. U.N.I.T.Y. it is. I have fond memories of being 15 and thinking I was badass for singing along the line, "who you callin' a bitch?" The answer - no one.

Actual best: The 90s were hard, maaaaannn...Beck's "Loser" is probably the song on the list from the most hip artist, as it were, but I hate that song with a passion. Beck is a Scientologist, so for that alone I'll pick something else - "Streets of Philadelphia", Bruce Springsteen. "Philadelphia" made me cry like no movie before it, so I would even get teary watching the video. One would have a strong argument if they were to say it might have been more of a result of being forced to watch a whole video full of images of Philadelphia.

Worst: It appears 1994 was the year of Ace of Base, so this is easy. Of the three or four that came out that year, I'll choose "The Sign". I can't even listen to this song while I'm matching it up with the link on here. Ew.

Zeitgeist: "Stay (I Missed You)", Lisa Loeb. This song makes me think of lusting after cute boys and reading Sassy magazine. Oh, those were the days...

WTF: "Whoomp, There it Is", Tag Team. There what is? Regardless, I'm sure I got down a bit to this song back in the day.


Favourite: "Carnival", Natalie Merchant. I loved, loved, loved the Tigerlily album. I listened to it obsessively, that is, until my crazy mother ripped it out of my stereo and stomped on it because I hadn't cleaned the bathroom. She liked Natalie/10,000 Maniacs too, but I guess her insanity trumped her feelings for the music of Ms Merchant.

Actual Best: I don't want to make this boring, so rather than picking "Carnival" again, I'll pick "Strong Enough" by Sheryl Crow. I feel I should say I hate every other song of hers that I've heard, and "All I Wanna Do" makes me want to stick knives in my eardrums, but I still like this one.

Worst: "I Believe", Blessid Union of Souls. No, that's not a typo - they are indeed called "Blessid" Union of Souls. There was a lot of shite music in 1995, yet this song still manages to be the worst in my opinion. It's so whiny I just want to kill them.

Zeitgeist: "Run-Around", Blues Traveller. This song has always made me happy. Good times.

WTF: It wasn't going to go to anyone else than "Short Dick Man", 20 Fingers feat. Gillette. WTF, indeed.


Favourite: "Wonder", Natalie Merchant. Yeah, ok, I really liked her! Sorry. Where is Natalie these days anyway?

Actual best: We'll go with "Wonderwall", Oasis. One of our early dates saw The Dude and I going to an Oasis/Manic Street Preachers/Screaming Trees concert, so this song is rather important to me. I remember I was wearing size 3/4 jeans, a gorgeous pair of wooden shoes with a carved heel, and a lovely vintage shirt that wouldn't contain even one of my boobs these days. Attending concert with man who was eventually to become my husband + wearing clothing for tiny people = fine memories in the very, very distant past.

Worst: I am teetering between Blackstreet's "No Diggity" and LL Cool J's "Doin' It". Verdict - "No Diggity". It's fun to occasionally sing "No Diggity" to yourself though, for that retro, radio-friendly shit hip hop vibe.

Zeitgeist: "Ironic", Alanis Morrissette. Ok, lack of irony within the situations stated as being ironic in the song aside, you know you liked Alanis when she first came onto the scene (You Oughta Know). You too were shocked when she talked of going down on someone in a theatre. Hopefully, you weren't like this naive child who actually thought, "Go down whe----oooooohhhh..."

WTF: "Macarena", Los Del Rio. I never did, nor shall I ever, dance the Macarena. I would rather plaster our car with a million "Baby on Board" signs, so that shows you I'm serious. Also, I'm not line dancing to "Achy Breaky Heart".

So there you have it. Don't make me look all stupid by not participating. I know my music-related posts have about as much fanfare as the sinking of the Titanic, but play along just the once, will you?


Sacred and Profane

Imagine my sheer shock and delight at being directly linked to in a post by Mel over there at that amazingly comprehensive blog, Stirrup Queens and Sperm Palace Jesters. Thanks to Mel, my traffic has shot up this weekend. Unfortunately, I can't help but wonder what these poor souls must think when they get here, because forsooth, the language! Times like these make for interesting stat viewing. People are directed here from a particular blog - some read the recommend post(s) and promptly leave, others don't even bother reading, likely put off by the first usage of "fuck". Sorry dears. The final group, well, they come here and like what they read. That, or they are paralysed with terror and overcome with such disgust, they cannot click away. Entirely possible.

I'm aware that I'm an acquired taste. No doubt some think that I could do without the liberal sprinklings of profanity, and perhaps I could. However, I enjoy swearing. There, I said it. I don't have much opportunity to swear in real life, so the blog is my forum to say whatever I want. Surprisingly, in my three years with this blog I have never had a troll. Ever. I swear horribly, I call other peoples' children freaks, and have talked of waving my fanny at my RE from an open car window. Yet, some keep reading. It beggars belief really.

In my quest for advertising on BarrenAlbion, I have applied for BlogHer ads. I don't know if I'm allowed to say that, as they send spies round to have a look at blogs to see if they are appropriate for BlogHer advertisers. Nonetheless, one of the questions on the application form is whether or not profanity is used on the blog. It was only a tick box, so I was forced to refrain from typing, "Fuck yes", which is rather unfortunate. I am wondering if my mouth will get me in trouble like it did in my teenage years when I'd spend months on end grounded due to not knowing when to shut up. Ah, see teengage Pru, your mother was right - no one likes a smartass.

In unrelated news, I have *finally* updated my blogroll over yonder. You do not want to know how old some of those links were, it was frightening. I still have a few more to add here and there, but I currently lack the patience and sheer dedication that this task requires. I have added a shitload (oops) of new blogs, so please do yourselves a favour and go read some of those ladies. If I have left you out, please let me know by comment or email (barrenalbion at g mail dot com). Based on my reading preferences, are there any more blogs you can recommend? I don't require vulgarity of course, but I do require some humour. Blandness is not my forte. With my 130+ feeds on Bloglines I totally need some new reads, as I'm clearly suffering from a surplus of spare time.

I have kept some bloggers who haven't updated in eons, in the vain hope that they will surprise us all and write something soon. It's seriously the highlight of my day when a long-silent blogger emerges from the shadows to blog again. Sad, I know. Speaking of great bloggers, Ornery's link says she's pw protected, is this true? If so, anyone know her email address so I can get the hook-up?

I must go to bed now. My eye is pussing and is making a most unattractive puddle on my brand new laptop. Kidding, kidding. About the leaking puss, not the puss itself, that's totally oozing slowly out of the corner of my eye. Send help.