Charlie tagged me with the 4x4 meme so here goes.

4 jobs I've had

Waitress - I worked in cafe for a year in between doing a degree and a postgrad. The family that owned it were quite eccentric and ran it more as a hobby than a business so everyday was an adventure. There was definitely a novel in there somewhere. It was never too busy and there were lots of regulars so I spent most of the day cooking and chatting to people. Probably my favourite job ever. It was completely stress-free. Even now in a coffee shop I want to jump behind the counter and froth the milk.

Dole clerk - And my least favourite, working in the DHSS for 3 weeks. I was signing on during the summer as a student (when you could still do that) and they said "we've got a job here" so I could hardly say no. It was really miserable, not because of the jobseekers who were fine, but because of the little Hitlers running the place. I was glad to get out after 3 weeks.

Librarian - This covers about 10 years of work, which I really enjoyed for the most part. As a bookish, indie-loving teenager I felt that I'd found my calling. I started as a library assistant (moving around different libraries over the summer) and decided that was what I wanted to do with my life. Studied librarianship, got a job as a cataloguer and spent the next few years classifying and indexing books in a university library. I loved looking at books all day and enjoyed helping people to find things. It started to go a bit pear-shaped when there was a crisis of confidence and library became a dirty word. It was all learning centres and information centres. That drove me mad so I became a...

Web manager - Which is what I do now. It's the sort of non-exciting relative of web developers and web designers. I have to manage the editors, figure out where the website should be going, make sure it's maintained and meets various standards, teach people how to write for the web and generally just make sure the customers are getting what they need. Try as I might I can't make it sound exciting but still it's the right job for me at the moment except when I find myself wishing I was back in the cafe.

4 shows I never miss

It's quite hard to find 4 but at the moment - Harry Hill's TV Burp, Skins, Hotel Babylon, That Mitchell and Webb Experience.

4 places I've been

I've been to lots of places but these are the 4 I'd most like to go back to:

Malta - We had our first family holiday here when Tommy was a baby. I love islands and Malta is tiny so it's easy to see all of it. It's nice and quiet and full of beautiful buildings. Whenever we can afford a foreign holiday we're going back.

Dunedin, New Zealand - I had a sort of epiphany in Dunedin. I'd travelled half-way round the world because I liked Flying Nun and got there near the end of a long trip backpacking down from Auckland. I was on my own, a not-very-brave 26 year old and I felt proud and relieved to be there. As it's modelled on Edinburgh and has lots of Scottish connections I felt at home.

New York, New York - New York had a big effect on me when I went last year. At the time I felt a bit sad, as I'd missed it at its best but it's been a slow burner. So many times I wish I was back there, just wandering around Manhattan. Next time I'll go to Coney Island too.

The East Neuk of Fife - Quite possibly my favourite place ever and the only one of the four I've got much chance of getting back to anytime soon. The East Neuk is so close to home and yet so foreign. The architecture is totally distinctive - more Scandinavian than Scottish, and there's nothing much to do but you can spend hours wandering around harbours and eating chips. I'd like to retire there and have a little house by the sea with a boat in the window.

4 music artists I'm listening to

I'm really rubbish at listening to new bands, relying on the radio to tell me what to pay attention to. So nothing new I'm afraid but I listen to these a lot:

  • Belle & Sebastian - I never tire of them.
  • The Smiths - the band that means most to me. I listened to them every day at school, then not for years after Morrissey went solo. I'm now enjoying their later albums (Strangeways era) which I didn't rate much at the time.
  • The Association - 60s sunshine pop from California. I really, really love harmonies. Their career travelled the same sort of trajectory as The Byrds going through folk, pop, psychedelia and country rock so there's a lot to enjoy.
  • LCD Soundsystem - the one new album I have bought recently (and that was a while ago). I love listening to Sound of Silver when I'm out and about. It's uplifting and quite tender at the same time.

4 people to pass it on to

Wil, Craig, Ally, Richard (sorry if any of you hate these things but I'd like to hear more about you).

4 jobs

Back room boy in a chip shop Chucking sacks of potatoes into a big machine that peels them, then smelling of potato juices for the next day.
Warehouse boy at Asda Nowhere better to accidentally small a box of Tunnocks tea cakes and scoff them with your pals who collect trolleys.
Directory Enquiries A job where you can flirt with old ladies who want the number for the social in Doncaster.
Record shop assistant Free records + sneering at folks who like Ocean Colour Scene = perfect job

4 shows
I don't really watch TV live, so I tend to see everything on DVD, but I did make sure to download all of the most recent seasons of Curb Your Enthusiasm and The Sopranos. If Seinfeld and Arrested Development were still on, I'd do it with them, too.

4 places
Istanbul A beautiful city made even better by being there to watch Liverpool beat AC Milan in the Champions League final. Hearing the Muslim call to pray echoing with the sound of Liverpool fans singing "Ring of Fire" was amazing.
Brasilia I was there last week, and it's just so utterly awesome. Oscar Niemeyer is a very very talented man.
Ghent A small-ish town with the cultural joys of a big city. Perfect.
New York Been said too much, but it's the fucking greatest.

4 music artists
Because I'm travelling around, I've been listening to a lot of comfort music recently. Stuff that I've loved for years but don't listen to so much. I've enjoyed listening to every Pixies album chronologically. It's easier to enjoy and appreciate Amy Winehouse when you're not bombarded with tabloid images of her. Robert Wyatt's last album just makes me melt. And The Cars. Can't help it. I love 'em.

I meant "accidentally smash"

I went to Dunedin for the same reason. Who says us sad indie losers never get out and about!

Thanks Craig, that was quick. I've always dreamed of working in a record shop. My aspirations are obviously pointing the wrong way.

John - maybe we should start a tour company for indie saddoes? Dunedin, Glasgow, Olympia - all the indie meccas.

OK Anne, I've done it:

Unfortunately, for a little while at least, even though I have very nearly everything, I have tired of B&S. Think I just need a rest. The Smiths on the other hand, like you, mean too much to me to tire of. Have just bought the debut which I, oddly, didn't have. Strangeways is superb. Even like a lot of the man's solo stuff. Have you seen him on TV lately? He's turned into my dad.

"Have you seen him on TV lately?"...I must pay more attention.

Funny you should like The Association.

As a young teenager I'd play their records late at night and lie by the speakers listening to the amazing harmonies.

This 4x4 meme opens up differences and unexpected affinities.

By the way, I grew up across the pond in Columbus, Nebraska.

Keep creating...a daring adventure,


Yes Richard, keep up. I know what you mean about B&S. I put lots of Beatles on my ipod and ended up skipping past them. Guess I need a rest too. And thanks for doing yours, btw.

Mike - thanks. Nice comment!

okay so i've tried honest i have (not very hard i know but what did you expect)

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