I like: home
I like May 2005

24.05.05 - I need a holiday somewhere in the sun
Off for a week, as of today.

23.05.05 - The Musical Baton
SpinesThings has passed The Musical Baton - quite a challenge. I feel a bit out of musical shape, as most of my music listening happens in the car, and then it has to be something acceptable to all 3 of us. It's never been quite the same since we moved house and half the records ended up in the loft. Odd chunks have made it downstairs, mostly B-F and O-T - good letters to have. There's a certain stigma about having your record collection alphabeticised when you're a librarian. I resisted for years (although it was in genre order, which is probably even worse) and then decided it would be good to be able to find things. I now mostly listen to the radio in the house, Radio 2 in the morning and 6music the rest of the time. Anyway, here's the answers:

Total volume of music on my computer
Not a lot. A few mp3s, mostly from Spoilt Victorian Child and 3 albums - Doves Some Cities, Kaiser Chiefs Employment and The Sound Spectrum.

The last CD I bought
Kings of Leon - Aha Shake Heartbreak, which I like very much.

Song playing right now
Scott Walker - It's raining today. Because it's raining today.

Five songs I listen to a lot, or that mean a lot to me
Listen to a lot (in the car):
The Bees - Free the Bees, The La's The La's, Doves (anything), The Charlatans - Telling Stories, The Who - Who's Next, A Quick One.

Mean a lot:
All of The Smiths Hatful of Hollow, Blur Modern Life is Rubbish, The Kinks Village Green Preservation Society, Lee Hazlewood Love and other crimes, Belle & Sebastian Tigermilk.

Five people to whom I'm passing the baton

19.05.05 - Round-up

18.05.05 - Going underground
Washington metroMy favourite thing in Washington was the Metro. It's very simple - 5 lines, colour coded. Every station a symphony in concrete, very plain but with these great vaulted ceilings like Union Station without the gold. The way in has a certain drama with steep, steep escalators that are like Entrances to Hell. The ticket machines are on a mezzanine which sweeps down in a concrete curve to the platform. The signs and lettering are simple, and the atmospheric lighting makes it feel like a nightclub. Then when the train is about to arrive the lights along the side of the platform flash. It's very cool indeed. And the cars! Comfy vinyl seats in great condition, and carpet on the floor. I could have rode around for hours.

A site called Building the Washington Metro explains why it turned out so great. Inspired by the local success of Eero Saarinen's Dulles Airport, President Lyndon B. Johnson wanted to 'combine utility with good urban design'. The brief was to 'set an example for the nation' and the choice of good design over cost really paid off.

16.05.05 - Gee it's good to be back home
No idling
Washington photos are in Flickr. Back properly later in the week.

06.05.05 - I like to be in America

05.05.05 - Oh knickers
Baby DollI never thought I'd be telling everyone about my new pants, but found today in Top Shop, some underwear with the best packaging I've seen in a long time - a whole series of 'camisole and bikini brief' sets (vest and pants to you and me) with the most fantastic retro-style graphics. There were another 3 or 4 to pick from, some with a more 50s or early 60s bent. After a bit of googling, Hargreaves+Gervis seem to be the culprits. Their website isn't giving much away, but there's a nice scrapbook which explains where some of this came from. Maybe I can feel less embarrassed about my collection of vintage tights packets. There's a nice selection at Vintage Pantyhose, and some leggy 1950s lovelies at Sleek n' Chic.

03.05.05 - On the road

01.05.05 - Round The Horn
The Horn - now with added cowThe main reason for going to Dundee last weekend was a trip to The Horn. We'd passed this a couple of years ago when it was shut and I've pestered Neil to take me back ever since. The novelty name, old sign and bonus cow give it a real Roadside America feel. Inside it's a mish mash of old and new. The menu is proper old school, with lots of cakes and great macaroni cheese. The lovely round shape makes it feel very seasidey. Everyone inside (staff and customers alike) seemed very jolly. It really reminded me of going on holiday when I was wee. There used to be loads of these places. Now there can't be many left, but it beats Moto anyday.

After that we took a lazy drive home through the back roads - through some really beautiful Scottish scenery, mountains and lochs and all that. It's all amazingly quiet and unspoilt. What made a great journey even better was running into The Imp Club annual Scottish rally. There were Hillman Imps of all shapes and sizes tootling about the countryside - one of those great serendipitous moments. The best thing about the trip was a real sense that the world isn't going to hell in a handbasket. Everything's fine. There are still little towns and little cafes and little cars that haven't been homogenised. It's all there for the taking.