Wednesday, December 31, 2008


normally i write some epically angsty prose about the disappointment of new years eve and the beginning of the next year.

i'm too tired to do that this year. this time last year though, i was working a dead end job, dreaming of parisberlinedinburghromereykjaviketc. now im unemployed and still dreaming of the same cities.

so put your heels on, your best dress, your red lipstick. put on your glad rags and hoist your glass of champagne. make resolutions to be fantastic, outrageous, immoral and exciting.

and have a good one, i guess.

(im living in hope that i learn to like this blog in 2009)

Monday, December 29, 2008


my computer just wiped my ipod

and considering half my music was stolen from other peoples computers, and half those people are in different countries, and i don't have a proper list, i'm fairly pissed off.


Monday, December 22, 2008

we dance to the sound of sirens

people keep asking me about my top songs/albums/books/videoclips/milkshakes* of 2008. my standard reaction is to mutter something about innumeracy followed by disappearing in a cloud of smoke. i don't really understand why everything has to become a competition to be the best. and anyway, surely people know me well enough to know that if i were to take the best of lists seriously, then editors/brmc/sigurros/idlewild/thenational would feature, and apparently that's not the point of those lists. it's just an exercise in how cool you are. but looking through everyone's lists on hypem and godisinthetvzine, i get to wondering if people are ticking albums because they genuinely enjoyed them or if its because they're terribly cool albums. like MGMT. a technically good album thats nice background music to an afternoon toke, but not a very good live act, or a very engaging band. are people listening to music because they want to, or because they need to keep up with the cool kids?

huh. cynicism before midday. points for me.


i've bought three christmas presents this year (and only one of them was for a family member. it was an ikea buy and way too awesome to pass up). my mother has braved sydney central today to try and hunt down gifts. brave woman. it just doesn't feel much like christmas, instead it feels like the beginning (finally) of a long hot summer filled with sunburn and cricket. there's a crate of mangoes in my kitchen (a demand from my father that i eat at least one a day is a challenge i'm happy to meet) and Spike is barking at nothing, as per usual.

but ten years ago, i would have been excited, thrilled, bouncing ready for christmas and presents and the big family extravaganza. now i'm actively avoiding the majority of people that i know because i don't want to have to go through the year's recounting. i'm sick of hearing "aren't you supposed to be overseas" and sick of having to say "yeah, but i ran out of money (and patience with myself)". and i don't want to have to buy presents because i hate shopping.

mother: "you're too old for lots of little things this year"
sister: "but they got lots of things when they were fourteen!"
madeleine: "is it about quantity, claudia prudence?"

jesus christ, i'm turning into my mother.

*the best milkshake i had this year was in manchester, of all places.

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I am going to die.
It will not be a noble death.

I'm only twenty but evidently my hangovers are that of somebody twice my age. I thought I was going to be fine! I was hyped up about going to the Newtown Markets. I was even considering a tipple at the Shakey this arvo!

Instead I am curled up watching bad video clips that my eyes are too sore to follow. I will not be receiving any visitors today and I make no apologies for behaving like a big baby. I'm allowed, because when you drink too much no one is sympathetic, so one has to over indulge in the wallowing the way one over indulged in the white wine about ten hours ago.

At least I didn't end up in Minsk

Saturday, December 20, 2008


i did something very stupid last night, and in the warm fuzzy morning, when the hangover is being kept at bay by enough water to fill sydney's dams, i feel very stupid.

i went out without my phone last night.

ten years ago, this probably wouldn't have been an issue. (although if i did what i did last night ten years ago, well. i would have been one fucked up 10year old) but now, in the dying days of 2008, this is a dumb thing. because i didn't come home last night and i still live with my parents. so i'm feeling a bit guilty. they left the alarm off and were probably wondering where i am. they're pretty cool with me rocking up at all hours, but six am?? i haven't done that since the disastrous macq uni days.

so now that my make up has been washed off, i'm beginning to worry about how much of a hooting idiot i was last night, when the champagne was for free and the people were rather nice. when i'm drunk i become the bastard love child of Patsy (from abfab) and Bernard Black (from Black Books) apparently this is hilarious. but at the moment i feel old. old and a bit embarrassed that i didn't know better.

i mean, you can sprout all the Bret Easton Ellis bullshit about disenchantment and distant, but when it comes down to it, kids my generation (are we still children, i don't know) have everything but we don't want it. sometimes i think we're all desperate to be back in the sixties with the threat of the a-bomb on our heads, or the forties with ration booklets in the supermarket. we've had everything given to us, and that's still not enough. so we drink and we take drugs, we stay out all night and act unrepentant.

so i was looking good last night, i know i was. with my newly brown hair (it's not black, shut up) and my heels that i can barely walk in, my cinched in waist and red lipstick. a force to be reckoned with, bait on the hook. but now that doesn't really mean anything, with my mum coming past my room to give me that look that every under achiever has catalogued. that disappointed, "what are we going to do with you" look. i could play the pity card and tell you that i'm used to this, no one expects brilliance from me, just drunkenness. but that's a lie and i'm an honest hungover harpy. i don't like disappointing people, especially when it's something stupid like not coming home. no, not letting them know that i wasn't coming home.

now wide awake and tiptoeing towards the moment when my stomach grumbles and demands food, but instinctively i know it's a bad idea. i threw up last night, in whoever's house i ended up in. their bathroom was huge, and as i tried my best to puke quietly, i wondered about what makes us, makes me, drink so much. everyone does this when they over indulge. they make promises never to touch the stuff again. i don't do that, because i think about giving up sunday afternoons, or post lecture bevvies or having to deal with family gatherings sober, and i think that it's more about boundaries than denial. as a member of a generation who has no boundaries, learning to set them, implement them is a difficult thing. i know, logically that three glasses of white wine is probably more than enough. but when i'm presented with free alcohol and people that i don't really have anything in common with anymore. well. some little part of me (the Patsy part) goes "yippee" and before you know it, i may as well be Ivana Trump.

some people get angry when they are hungover. apparently i get contemplative and philosophical.

if i'd gone out with my phone last night, would it have been any different? would i have rung and said "i'm going to be staying with Hayley at her boyfriend's house."? or would i have waited for them to ring me? would i have come home and tried not to wake anyone up? would i? but thinking all those things doesn't matter, because i did none of them. i got stoned at Hayley's boyfriends place and was probably embarrassing and ridiculous. and god, it felt good at the time, but now its got me wondering how i can expect to be treated like an adult if i refuse to behave like one.


and then there's hangover music. normally i play Sigur Ros and Plaid for hours on end, but today all i want to listen to is Skinny Love by Bon Iver, which is one of the most heartbreaking songs i've ever heard. (yes, it totally tops that stupid Chasing Cars song.) it's quiet and desperate and the imagery conjures up cold winters waiting for the sun again. it's the bottom of the whisky bottle, when you're wondering why you went to all that effort when it was always obviously going to end like this - a three week beard and nine packets of cigarettes that you haven't smoked because smoking is bad, but it's supposed to help these moments and it doesn't. it doesn't and regrets a bitch, hindsight's a whore. normally i'd be more coherent, but i'm doing my best to think in a straight line here, so trust me on this. go listen to it.

oh god. someone in my house is making coffee. erk.


I told you to be patient
I told you to be fine
I told you to be balanced
I told you to be kind
Now all your love is wasted?
Then who the hell was I?

--bon iver.

Monday, December 15, 2008

shouty bits in songs are awesome. ikea not so much.

gosh. looks like i'll be back at university next year. unless i enter a reality teev show.


jason's been emailing me words every day because i told him that i can't write 'creatively' at the moment. tomorrows challenge apparently involves an album, but i thought i'd put todays up here because. well, because i can. and because it makes me smile, a little. (mostly though im tired from ikea)

summer. basslines, poetry and pimms. pretentiousness without blinking. tripping all the way through the sunrise. brandon flowers mustache. my dog trying to recieve alien transmissions with all four legs in the air. cotton dresses and the stupidity of shoes. the hollow lie of christmas and the promise of fireworks constrained by champagne bottle. the distant memory of the winter chill in bloodshot eyeballs over the wooden tables in the Shakespeare. five o'clock on sunday afternoons where we don't have to tell the bartender our orders anymore, and when we stumble out five hours later, monday morning eons away, he wishes us goodnight and says he'll see us next week.

and because it's summer, it doesn't matter that we're going nowhere.

Sunday, December 14, 2008


mobody tell my grandmother, but.....

i don't have red hair anymore!!!!!

and i bet you someone will try and have me disqualified from being a madeleine because of it

photos when i recover from a night of debauchery, pimms and bingo at the shakespeare.

also, also: i have nearly finished writing about Pukkelpop. almost 4 months after the event. my bad.

go and listen to (We Are Performance) and try and forgive me for William Beckett. it's not my fault i have a thing for stringbeanboys.

Friday, December 12, 2008

acceptable at the time

it's been raining all day. i could almost believe i was back in Reykjavik were it not for my dog snuffling and grumbling about like a furry steam engine. somethings never change. it's nice that Spike's love is one of them. it sucks that Sydney is still in much the same state as i left it, over six months ago. although they've turned Pitt Street Mall into a building pit covered in tinsel. which brings me to one of my least favourite things in the world. christmas.

the christmas count down is on, and we're clearly all on edge. i'm moments away from buy ing a crate of alcohol (pimms or champange or both) to keep me in a tolerably pickled state until this wretched season is over (so, march or something like that). i am not a jolly christmas person. i am like Morrissey during the Christmas period - i scowl at everyone and accuse them of clubbing seals. there's just something about Christmas that annoys me. i think its all the carols. and bloody Bjorn Again, who seem to be a fixture for this time of year. errch.

so obviously travel didn't change me. much. it made me slightly wary of Belgium, and poor Danni thinks that i'm an arsonist waiting to happen. but other than that i'm still grumpy and disillusioned with humanity and hamburgers. i live in hope, but i am yet to meet a hamburger that i like.

maybe i should get a kitten. that might make me a nicer person.

or if i got a job. that'd be all kinds of wonderful. a job, some sort of staying power that enabled me to finally finish my cursed uni degree and um. wings. wings would be pretty awesome.

oh, and for my writers block to finally go away, because it's such a cliche.

(im really really embarrassed to admit that i really really like mark ronsons music)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008


who thought i was dead, go on, show of hands?

i'm very much alive and well as can be expected. apparently. i promise i'll try and get this up and running again, perhaps this time with something interesting on it. if we're lucky.

in the meantime though, i've discovered this The William Beckett Blog which is providing me with hours of entertainment, as well as insightful things, which i'd tell you about but they've slipped my mind.

other things that i'm doing at the moment instead of being a slave to my computer:

- looking for a job
- drinking heavily at the Shakey with Lizzlefonizzle
- sleeping
- reading Walter Moers books, which are comedic genius
- reading Barack Obama's book, which is not comedic genius
- shouting at everything and everyone
- drinking heavily
- wishing i was back in Berlin and/or Edinburgh
- making lists.

BUT! i have terrible guilt that the last y'all heard of me, i was about to go glacier trekking in Iceland. seriously. terribly terrible guilt. verging on catholic, my guilt is. honest.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

one icelandic horse for christmas, please

this is one of the many reasons why iceland is awesome
the hotdogs are another
so are the horses

weathers a bit shit though

Thursday, September 18, 2008

"ah! the famous maddie barton!"

i made it! to Iceland! without turning into a goose!

although, if i was a goose, then perhaps the flight would have been nicer. most turbulent thing ever. reason being Iceland has caught the tail end of a hurricane. which means the weather is beautiful. raining and pouring and windy. 

it´s awesome. absolutely awesome. 

i arrived at Þórgnýr's at midnightish, after nearly having been blown back to Aus. a considerable achievement on the weathers part, considering my pack weighs nineteen point seven kilos at the moment. He and his cat Freyja greeted me with "Ah! The famous Maddie Barton!" I gave the famous Maddie Barton response "um, hello?" Turns out some French guy who wanted to couch surf with Þórgnýr thinks I'm famous. Am I? 

Today I've pottered around Reykjavik, booked a horse riding tour for Friday, seen some of the original Saga manuscripts and drunk lots of coffee. And had Icelandic food - Þógnýr seemed rather upset he couldn't find any shark to give me, but we had Plokkfiskur, which is spuds and fish mashed up in white sauce with onions, and really really scrumptious. After that we caught the bus to Laugardalslaug swimmingpoolcentrethingymabob. Where I finally finally got to defrost my ears! It's not swimming my mother would approve of - no hard laps done while being chased by sting rays, rather floating in tubs of varying temperatures - we started in one that was 36 degrees c, then 42- which was toasty, then 44 degrees. which was bearable for about 30 seconds. i know i'm from a hot climate, but still. 44 degrees is a bit painful! (i'm a wuss)

Þórgnýr just told me that water is 800 times more conductive than air. So therefore, I'm not a wuss! Hurrah! 

The salt tub was probably the best - it was like being at South West Rocks on a summers evening...only it was 8 degrees out of the water, raining and windy. And no dolphins. 

So Iceland is living up to the hype, which you're all glad about after i ranted for all those years about running away here. bet you're all wishing you were here. 

(i think this might be one of my more positive posts....hrmm)

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

honk if you're terrified.

in a few hours, i'll be in iceland. this is a tremendously exciting thought, however i feel a bit bad as i still haven't written about pukkelpop or the past month in the detail i want to. i've started drafting it - so far the entry is about a mile long.

another feeling swirling around my stomach is a sort of deranged gooselike feeling. i rather suspect this is my parents fault - they keep saying "oh, you goose" and "don't be a goose". i'm worried i'm about to sprout feathers and only communicate via goose noises.

there was a lot more i wanted to say, but my mind has blanked. all i can think of is goose noises.

they're all mad.

So, Sarah Palin, huh? She's a serious politician, yeah?


"The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Boston Globe have also carried investigative reports on claims made by Mrs Palin as Alaskan Governor, and during her six years as Mayor of Wasilla, a town of 7000 residents.
They painted a picture of a tyrant prepared to sack long-time staff and surround herself with ill-qualified classmates.
The New York Times reported that one of these, a former real estate agent, was made director of the State Division of Agriculture after citing her childhood love of cows as a qualification."

(various noises of frustration and annoyance and other. wstfgl)

by this logic, MW should be Director of Lovely Clothes and I should be President of Tantrums.

full article here, by the by.

Monday, September 15, 2008

but wait, there's more!

In order to convince friends family and variouspeoplethataretryingtokillme that I am still alive (ha! ha!), MW has donated a bunch of photos that she's taken of me. They don't really paint a pretty portrait of me as an individual, but at least, in my heart, I know that I smell better than all of Brussels. Oh, and I'm better looking than Pete Wentz. And more creative with my poses.

I'm waiting for the photos to upload, which is taking millenia. And I'm worrying about the fact that my sleeping bag and warm clothes are in Hazel's attic, which I can't open. I'm not going to Iceland in my shorts. MW and I went to buy coats today. Primark is a scary scary scary place, so we bolted out of there. We feel more at home in Topshop, but I like to think that secretly, secretly I want to knit all my clothes out of toothfloss and therefore never have to go into a shop again. Ever.

....Anyone want to teach me how to knit????

We had pie! With sausage! And MW made a mess. But that's alright, because I am a mess. Sort of like a hurricane that doesn't know where it wants to go, only it knows that it wants to go. Somewhere. It just doesn't know where.


We're having CAPSICUM for dinner tonight!!!!

ooh, look. photos.

1) Me having a temper tantrum in Cardiff, back in early August because "We have nowhere to stay in Brussels! Nowhere! Everything is bad!" ....then when we got to Brussels...well. I'll get to that later.

2) Me at Pukkelpop, day 2. After consuming the WORLD'S BEST PIZZA, we then had the WORLD'S BEST WATERMELON. However, the problem with the watermelon, and most of the food I had in Europe, was that MW had to leave me alone with it, as I was whispering sweet nothings into the ears of crepes and such.

3) Are we not all, in some way, the Rhino? - Me being 'deep' in the Pompidou, Paris.

4) Me waiting to meet a man to give him a half completed crossword, which would help him get in contact with an underground organisation which would meet him at midnight and get him safe transit out of Berlin.....the rabbit thing is an accident. truly.

5) Me having a bad morning in Berlin, and deciding to move under the bed and never come out.

um. yes. hurrah!

pretty in a panic

It has come to the attention of my poor poor poor travelling companion, MW that I am
a) mad
b) bonkers and
c) possibly Samwise Gamgee, because my reaction to realising that i will be in Iceland in 48 hours was similar (read: identical) to Sam realising he was going to get to see the elves;

'Me, go and see the elves and all! Hooray!' he shouted, and then burst into tears
(direct quote from Fellowship Of The Ring)

In order to deal with that, have some photos. They are in no particular order, and I'm not sure where i took them. I take bad tourist photos. Mostly it's just shit that makes me giggle.

1) Dinosaurs are not wankers. People who don't write poignant-messages-inspired-by-John Lennon on the Berlin Wall are clearly wankers. (as are people who don't understand my humour. ie the Belgish)

2) Signpost in Prenzlauer Berg, Berlin which is where we went to see some bizarre Polish movie in a bookshop. We did have a drink that night. I had a rather large bottle of Czech beer. MW had white wine in a tumbler. The bookshop owner kept watch for the police, and the movie was deep.
3) Don't know if anyone else knows that, but there are Vienna. You have to be careful.
4) The Ferris Wheel in Vienna. That I went on! And I got a compartment all to myself! And it was most circular.
5) Swiss Chocolate. It didn't taste that fantastic, but it was irresistable. Somewhere someone is still laughing about the genius marketing ploy of calling chocolate "Tourist"

(I promise I'll write up my adventure "Europe Experiences Madeleine" tomorrow night when I'm trying to cope with the Iceland thing.)

Monday, September 8, 2008


we have to go back to Brussels.

on a bus.

not fucking happy.


also, what on earth has happened to the nsw parliment????????????????

Sunday, September 7, 2008


Berlin is pretty fantastic, except I just broke the backspace key and am terrified that the german guy will go nuts at me and shout. Germans shouting is a bit scary. Had a fantasticly painful train ride from Vienna, with an Austrian hippy trying to encourage me to join his commune, and then a German man and his German dog both snoring from Lintz to Berlin, which is about 900 miles. I arrived in a bit of a state. I'm always in a bit of a state though, so that's ok.

But I really really like Berlin. I think its the history but it's also the sense of moving forward and developing.

fuck. i just broke one of the arrow keyz. clearly germans know nothing about building keyboards.

I have been to the Brandenburg Gate and accidentally done a walking tour which was really very interesting (and it says alot about communism that the fall of the wall happened because of a bodgy press conference). I braved the UBahn and went to Franfurter Tor to find a bookshop called East Of Eden where I sold some books, bought some books, had some green tea and a chat about the total awesomeness of Sons & Daughters (saw them at Pukkelpop, promise I'll write it up soon!!) This morning We, (American Girl, Jess, The Parisienne Georges and I) went to the Pergamon Museum, and I freaked out about how big and awe inspiring it all was. She thinks I'm a bit weird. But Georges thinks I'm amusing. And apparently the hight difference between us is rather funny.

I'm hoping to get to a few more musuems and art galleries while I'm here, but I've just found out that Jonquil are playing on the 11th, so I'm going to that and then on the 12th there's an Icelandinc guy called Siggi playing, so I want to go to that...and then i have to drag myself back to London, pick up my woolies and drag myself to Iceland

gosh, life is hard!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


The internet here is a bit weird - the smallest amount you can have is 45 minutes for one euro. so that means that after you've done whatever you were supposed to do (email the next hostel, check your bank balance) you really have nothing to do except catch up on Questionable Content Comics.
(by the way, where the hell is my Sven??)

So today in Vienna I have to go out and do stuff, which is cool, I guess. Or I could be like the ninety thousand other bogan Australians in this hostel and sleep all day, then drink all night and tell shitty stories. Seriously. I don't really see the point in doing that, so I'm rereading Lord Of The Rings and plotting my next moves. Feeling very antisocial.

Yesterday I went to Cafe Sacher (by accident) and had Sachertorte. Then I got the tram to the Belvedere and marvelled at the Klimts and the Surrealists. The classical paintings are a giggle also, lots of very serious Viennese people trying to look nonchalant.

I think I'm beginning to get a bit travel weary, which lot of you will scoff at. Which is why I'm looking forward to getting out of cities and into the wildness of Iceland. It's going to be so very awesome.


if i hear one more joke about "wieners"....well. things won't be pretty. and there'll be a few bogan boys who won't ever come home.

urgh. australians think its a grand idea to come to austria and be stupid. and loud. and smelly.

Sunday, August 31, 2008

duex biere

I am currently sitting in a Geneva Internet Cafe, the counter decorated with 'Vote For McCain' stickers. Considering the guy running the place is a stoner playing MGMT, I suspect theres some irony involved. Its difficult to tell with the Swiss.

I've had a nice couple of days in Geneve. It's lovely and warm. Yesterday I walked to the Red Cross Museum. In typical me fashion I got lost and ended up at the Jardin de Maths 'Chromosone Walk' which was very interesting and involved inflatable chromosones spread around the place. Eventually did find the museum, which is less depressing than I thought it would be, although on of the features is a wall that documents the bad things that happened each year. Turns out the year I was born Asia decided to go nuts, particularly the Phillipines. Still, the Berlin Wall came down aruond that time, so I can't be a total global doomsayer. (I'm not sure how much sense that makes)

Haven't spent hours of bonding time with my father -something that suits as both, as bonding is tedious. We meet for dinner most nights and it's certainly a step up from my usual ham and cheese dinners. (Jeremy, my brother, is going to love backpacking) Last night Dad had Poir Williams and told me he'd be happy if I came home with him on Sunday. Drunk Old Fart, but I have two witnesses (witlesses) to confirm that this statement was uttered.

The other thing I've been doing is keeping an eye on Dad to make sure he doesn't buy anything 'stupid'. Like a Bentley pen. Or a watch. Or an Aston Martin. Geneva is a very very rich place, with watch and jewellery shops everywhere. We nearly stole an AM Roadster today, but every Swiss man has a gun. Instead we went and looked at fountain pens, and I have decided that for mz 21st you should all buy me the Octopus pen made by Sailor. You have about 10 months to raise funds. Get to it.

Today I was supposed to do a walk around the quieter part of Geneva, but I got to 'Parc Bertrand', sat down with my book, my bread and my jar of nutella at about 2pm, and woke up three hours later. So much for that idea. Managed not to get sunburnt, and managed to stave off finishing my book for another day - will have to do something about more books.

(There is a very very very pretty porshe with a very pretty boy in it just outside the window. Swiss boys look like theyàve stepped out of a country road catalogue. Very prep.)

My father and I quit Geneva tomorrow evening - he'll fly back to Sydney. And as for me, it was only this morning that I decided I would go to Vienna. I know, I know, what happened to Italy and Greece? Well, the further south I get, the longer its going to take me to get back to UK. And also, everywhere in Italy is booked up. I am planning on looking at spending a month in Greece and Italy in the future. (Anything to postpone responsibility and adulthood!) So to Vienna for 3 or 4 days, then I shall meander to Berlin. Then I will probably have to get back on the wretched Eurolines Bus back to Victoria. After that, everything will be washed, toiletries will be stocked up and I will put myself on a plane to Iceland. I have been informed that its a good idea to bring as much chocolate and dried food (instant pasta and soup etc) into the country as possible, so I will raid all the supermarkets near Chez Hazel.

I'm enjoying Europe much more this time. Have become very zen about spending money - adopted my fathers attitude 'you can't take it with you'. Have found that this makes me semi human. In terms of Maddie Habits, am listening to a lot of (We Are) Performance, The Killers and reading a biography of Arthur Rimbaud, the enfant terrible of French Literature. He was a wonderful arse, who shared my dislike of the Belgish. (I know, Belgians. But Belgish sounds better)

So, Vienna tomorrow, where I will progress from Chocolate Eclairs to Chocolate Torte for breakfast.

Tres Bien!

Thursday, August 28, 2008

apparently so

I write...type...from Lausanne, Switzerland. My impression of Switzerland so far is Hotels & Hills. Lots of hills. And cobblestones. My thighs have never looked better!

Spent seven nights in Paris all up, and am very glad I did so, even though it rained most of the time. One of the best things about Paris is that there's something different to do everyday, even if you don't want to do touristy things. And the hot chocolate was fantastic. My favourite things were probably the gardens of Versaille and the Catacombs. Will go back to Paris, once I have increased my knowledge of the language from 'bonjour!'.

Yesterday I caught the train from Gare d'Lyon to Geneve, where I met breifly with my father, who appears to be in good shape (round is a shape, he claims). I dumped my sack with him, before getting on another train to Lausanne. Once in Lausanne I realised I didn't quite know where the place I was staying was, so I rang them. Directions were given to me in a jaunty Swiss accent 'follow ze road to ze sex cinema, then go right!' I did so, and found the lovely Lausanne Guesthouse, which is run by a woman who looks like my Aunty Debbie (if she was given lots of drugs.) The ubiquitous drunk Australian offered me a beer, and the night went from there. This morning I walked up a hill to a boulangerie, bought breakfast (europe is fantastic. I am living on chocolate eclairs) and a few newspapers as I had finished 'The Favourite Game' by Leonard Cohen and all my other books are in Geneva. Wandered around, got the bus to Ouchy, which is nice and water resort-y. Wandered back, napped. Tottered up another massive hill to Collection d'Art Brut, which is one of the best art galleries I have ever been too. It contains works by prisoners, mentally ill and artistically mad. All the works are incredibly detailed and like nothing I have ever seen before - no rules are followed, no conventions. It's brilliant. Go there before you die.

Tomorrow I totter back to Geneve, in order to annoy my father for few days. After that, I'm not sure. My Icelandic Invasion is a little over two weeks from commencing, but I have to admit I'm getting ready to come home - although that probably means I'll have to do something about university and joining the real world........

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

go rimbaud

i have six euros to my name!!!!!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

for reasons unknown

i need to blog about Pukkelpop and Paris. but.

Brandon Flowers has shaved off his Magic Moustache.

this is a style tragedy.


im going to write about Pukkelpop when i'm back in London, so for now i'll just mention that i'm still sick with Martian Death Flu but loving Paris. went to the Lourve tonight and saw Mona - not as busy as i thought it would be. the Venus de Milo isn't very feminine and all the paintings of Frenchmen are very camp. have decided to claim Paris as my city - especially my church, my street, my train station and my cake. everyone finds my name hysterical. i have had nutella and banana crepes, made friends with dogs and small children, been rained on, walked all around the city, been to the Catacombs, the Musee d'Orsay. going to Versaille on Sunday, which i am very much looking forward to. Berlin has been put on hold - my little brain cannot handle it, long story which will bore y'all. going to Luasanne for two nights, most excited. it is grey and tres artistic in Paris, but i am craving sunshine. seeing my Farter in a few days, suspect he's not that enthused.

what a boring blog. i have all these things i want to say, but i am le tired.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Tuesday, August 19, 2008


we have survived Pukkelpop.

it was most awesome. i shall write about it properly when i dont have to deal with bizzarre keyboards anymore.
i think i have martian death flu oncoming and i just saw a pair of pink boots for 85 Euro. slightly heartbreaking as there is no way i can buy them. my mind is everywhere and we are in a hotel hiding from the belgish, watching Top Gear, Long Way Round and this peculiar thing called the Olympics. we have BATHED. lots. oy vey.

very very very very very exhausted and sore.
very very very very very sick of Belgium.
very very very very very ready to go to Paris tomorrow.
very very very very very glad that all my favourite bands are amazing live.
(very very very very in love with Dave Monks and Keith Murray.)

i think by the time i get to berlin, i might be able to attempt coherency.

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

hang the dj hang the dj

everyone thinks we're mad. the man at reception keeps laughing at us because have the same name. the other man keeps laughing at me because my coordination is non existant. i may never be able to go to canada because i keep weirding out canadians with my desperado edge and tendency to fall over their shoes. maddy keeps being eaten by the hostel lift. i nearly had an arguement with one belgian about Tintin and nearly threw myself at the lovely boy in the comicbook musuem. we have seen faaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaar too many smurfs. we have eaten faaaaaaaaaaaaar too many waffles. we have drunk nowhere nearly enough beer or wine or other alcohol. it has rained. we have't put Beatrice up. i had a nightmare last night about being flooded - a concert version of Noah's Ark ("I need two indie kids, two goths, two emos, two mainstreamers, two scenesters, two hiphoppers and two metalheads NOW!") we have bought tickets to Paris and booked accomadation. i have found somewhere to stay in Berlin that is named "Heart of Gold" after Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy. i am going to spend three days zipping around Switzerland, going to places with lovely names like Gimmelwald. our feet hurt and it is raining.

clearly, i'm a little manic. travelling seems to do that to me. it's also made me slightly slightly aware of my surroundings and also where all my belongings are at any given point. however, i currently have no clue where my soap is. possibly i have eaten it.

Monday, August 11, 2008

death in lille \\ 170

Maddie and Maddy spent three hours in Victoria Coach Station yesterday. Because, obviously, London is boring and theres nothing better to do than sit and nwatch swarthy men argue about their pink luggage.

We were, in fact, trying to get to Belgium.

Things didn't get off to a good start. A message about who would kill who first went to the wrong person and death threats ensued. Pizza was eaten. When we eventually joined the queue for bus 170 to Berlin via everywhere else including Brussells, it appeared that every single European in London was going to be on the bus. In the tradition of Victoria, we were not amused.

We continued to be unamused all the way to Folkestone, where we had no choice but to give way to mild amusement (the alternative was to cry from overwhelmedness). Our german bus driver seemed surprised that we wanted to go to Brussells. There was an assumption (thank you eurolines website) that we would be travelling to the continent in a bus on a ferry. This was not the case. in a bus we were, but we were suddenly inserted, probe like, into a train carriage. Very Harrison Ford in the carbonite. lots of yellow lights. Maddie freaked out. Maddy laughed. Maddy wants it known that it wasn't a train carriage, it was a prison on wheels. Still, the German boys (who were possibly French) were cute.

The prison on wheels popped out the other side, we were in France. Much relief until we realised we had to get back on the bus. After a while we ended up in Lille. The bus driver announced that we would be staying in Lille for an hour.

Nobody needs to stay in Lille for an hour.

At this point, I should make note of the fact that the hostel we were trying to get to in Brussells closes its reception at 11pm. Our bus was due to arrive at 10.45pm, giving us 15min to find the bloody thing. We were in Lille from 8-9pm. Therefore, I (maddie) spent the entire hour freaking out about where we would end up that night. Poor Maddy. I wouldn't have been surprised if she'd left me in Lille. Upset, but not surprised.

Back on the bus. frantic. Maddy decides that because we aren't sitting next to one another (the bus is too crowded. I sat behind her and we gave directions to the WC to people all sodding trip), she can have some quiet time with her ipod whilst I fret my little brains out and try to come up with contingency plans. I appear to have the same aptitude for doing so as the Bush government. "something will happen and we'll cope" was the jist.

It was getting darker. And later. The bus was not going fast enough. Personally, i felt we could have jettisoned about half the other occupants, particularly the small children. And the smelly men.

10.20 when we made it to outer Brussells. The temperature outside was falling, according to passing thermometers. Great. Not only were we going to be destitute in Brussells (seriously, who's destitute in Brussells??????) we were going to get hypothermia, cholera and possibly chilblains. The only food we had were skittles, oreos and chocolate.

Maddy appeared calm. She also appeared asleep. Maddie appeared manic. I also appeared a myriad of other adjectives that are all synonymous with insane.

When we made it to Brussells North Bus Depot, I wanted to let off fireworks. Except the German woman I was sitting next to, who hadn't said a word for nearly 9 hours, decided then to tell me about the time she'd been robbed in Brussells. not comforting.

Bolted off the bus with our luggage, resembling a pair of turtles who had gotten lost migrating, we tumbled into a taxi. Our driver was lovely, but a bit confused as to why we wanted a taxi when we could have walked. My response was a garbled "IT'S HALF TEN!!". out of the three of us, we had no idea where the hostel was. the driver parked in a side street and wandered off to find it. eventually I found it, we coughed up 7 euro fare and tottered off. then remembered we hadn't tipped him and felt momentarily bad.

we're staying in 2GO4 Hostel, which is rather nice for a hostel. the guy at the desk thinks we're hysterical because we both have the same name and appeared rather frazzled. we stumbled up to our room and passed out. i dreamt of electric sheep. now im worried i might be an andriod. i feel mildly calmer today, except we have to go and sort out how we're getting from Brussels to Keiwit on Wednesday for Pukkelpop. personally, I think we should try and flag down The Killers or Editors and get them to look after us.

and after Pukkelpop, we're back in Brussells, at Hotel de la Madeleine for two nights, then Paris, Berlin, Lichenstien, Geneva, Florence, Rome, Greece. I think. That's the rough plan at the moment.

Really, I'm just glad we didn't get stuck in Lille.

Friday, August 8, 2008

is this how adults feel, all the time???

"Maddie, are you sure that was entirely legal?"

Dear All.

I have been in the TARDIS.

teehee. Legally speaking, it may have been a bit of an infringement of copyright or something to stand in the TARDIS and eat jellybabies. But someone has to, and that someone may as well be me.

At the Earls Court Doctor Who Exhibit, the TARDIS is actually in two bits, one you're allowed in, and one you aren't. I went in both because the security guard could see that I was about to wet myself if I couldn't pop inside the blue police box for five seconds. Wish I'd remembered my camera. After that, I went into the 'allowed' TARDIS - a greenscreen that lets you see yourself inside the set that's used. I was accosted by a small child pretending to be a Dalek when I did this, so of course my response was to offer them a jellybaby and search for my sonic screwdriver.

And then then then they direct you into this little room with three Daleks, one of which screams ELEVATE ELEVATE and then actually ELEVATES!!!!!!!!!! Then I met K-9 (complete with tartan collar) and the Ood, and the Pilot Fish and oh my.

You can scoff all you like, but Doctor Who makes me genuinely happy. Its a childlike thing, plus the problem solving and the intricacy in the plots that you don't recognise until the last second. Flipping brilliant.
And there are jellybabies.


Things That Happened In Cardiff Apart From Doctor Who.

1. A Conversation between two tired girls about somewhere in Spain
Maddie: I was thinking I'd quite like to go to Valencia. Stand in the town square and sing The Decemberists Song
Maddy: Me too. But then I thought, what do I know about Valencia? I know about the song, and the oranges. There's probably not a lot else there. I'll go to Barcelona instead.
{Long Pause}
Maddie: (sotto voice) ..... I like oranges.
{hysterical laughter for about 20 min. welsh people looking for the joke}
Maddy: I think this is how adults feel. All the time.
Maddie: .......That's it then. I'm going to be three forever.

2. The Dyeing of the Hair
It came to my attention in Manchester that the colour of my hair was gross. So by the time I got to Cardiff, I was determined to do something about it. So we dyed my hair at about 11pm at night, much to the amusement of the New Zealand Girl Whose Name I Never Knew. She took photos. These photos are apparently on her Facebook. The hostel bathroom went blood red, like in Psycho, and my hair is now a much nicer shade of auburn.

3. The Drinking Of Cider.
.....I don't really remember much beyond Caerwyn (the incomprehensible Welsh girl) saying "you've never had Cider? quick, to the pub!". I'm not even sure she said that really. Still, cider is quite nice.

4. The Raining of Rain.
Speaks for itself.


So now I'm back in London. Not staying with Hazel, instead around the corner from Regents Park in a small single room that just screams "write a novel here! write a novel! wear a silk slip and write a novel!" I own a cotton slip and am reading a novel because I haven't got the energy to do anything else. Going to see the Hadrian Exhibit tomorrow. Saturday Maddy and I have to practise putting up the bloody tent. I have named the tent Beatrice. Long story that involves cider.

I'm reading "The Golden Notebook" by Doris Lessing, against my better judgement, but its not half bad. So far. Also just finished The Book Thief, which was the best book I've ever read about World War Two.

In terms of the music, I'm psyching myself up for Pukkelpop with lots of Editors, Sigur Ros, We Are Scientists and The National. I'm starting to get ready for new music, so if you've any suggestions, let me know.

Monday, August 4, 2008

exterminate! exterminate!

OK. Right. in Cardiff. Which is a nice little place with a castle and the people have indecipherable accents. Still, I'm having a nice time. Managed to end up in the same hostel as MaddyWatts and have spent today with her.

We went to see Doctor Who!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I stood near clothes that David Tennant has worn!!!! quite a cool exhibit, lots of noise and lights and Daleks. I wanted to buy a K9 shirt, but they didn't have one in my size. Thus I am determined to go to Land's End's Dr Who exhibit and buy one there. Thinking of going to Lands End for a day anyway, before the big stuff starts to happen.

Big stuff being Pukkelpop, which is less than 14 days away. Maddy and I have booked ourselves on a bus from London to Brussels. We had a brief discussion about buying a TARDIS wardrobe thing to sleep in. This idea was discarded in favour of proper 'accommodation'.

We have bought a tent.

Yes, a tent. A ridiculous psychedelic patterned tent. A tent which we have little/no idea how to assemble. A tent which, after Pukkelpop, we are never going to want to see again. It wasn't stupidly expensive, which made me feel a little bit better about buying it.

The next month should be very interesting indeed. Watch out for bloodshed on the news.

Other things I should tell you all is that I'm better (than ever? jury's still out) and that I went to Stratford-Upon-Avon last Friday, which was lovely except I got menaced by a swan and a goose. David Tennant is performing in Hamlet and Love's Labours Lost, so I'm trying to work out how to get there. Went to Shakey's Birthplace, Grave and Pub. also trotted along a field and got tackled by very friendly brown puppy. Rather like fields.

So I've nearly been away for two months. Doesn't feel like it - feels like I simultaneously left yesterday and have been away for years. I'm getting used to looking after myself, and being nicer to myself. But not so nice that I buy those ridiculously bright trainers or the bag I saw today.

I'm listening to The Epochs alot, as well as Bright Eyes. Am reading a fantastic book called The Raw Shark Texts, which you should go and read because it's more interesting than this blog.


p.s. this keyboard is so weird.

Friday, August 1, 2008


"don't write anything too angsty." my father tells me. so here's my attempt to tell you all what i've been doing, angst free. i won't tell you how homesick i am, how sick of snoring i am. i'm not going to write about my passport paranoia or my headaches. i won't write about how antisocial i'm becoming. oops. instead i'll tell you that i'm learning alot about myself, primarily that introspection is boring and that if i never see vegetable soup again it'll still be too soon, that i'm quite happy in the countryside traipsing through fields and startling sheep. i'm learning that cities are pretty much all the same. i'll tell you about my big Glaswegian indulgence - a genuine lace 1950s navy dress that makes me look fantastic (considering i didn't buy anything in Edinburgh, barely even food, and also because i didn't meet Sean Biggerstaff, i rather thought i deserved to spend £20 pounds on it) (also, i was running out of clean clothes) i'll tell you that my favourite song at the moment is "June On The West Coast" by Bright Eyes because of the mumbling and the stories and the solitary nature. i'll tell you that i'm doing my best no tto buy a hideously glaringly bright pair of reeboks, that the unicorn dress i saw in Edinburgh doesn't look as good as i thought now that i've seen it in every city i've been to. i went to the Hacienda Club where Ian Curtis and the rest of Factory used to muck about. i'm thinking that i want to learn guitar, that maybe i should buy an acoustic one and be a troubadour. i'll tell you about how every hostel i've stayed in has been playing Top Gear, and that i've now seen the North Pole episode 5 times. i have developed a love of sour skittles, a hatred of lucozade (it was the only thing i could keep down for three days). i have danced with a crazy Melbourne girl in the GOMA. i have played chess with Canadians, and won. i have done my best not to be rude to a self absorbed film director. i have finally read "the naked lunch" (and been underwhelmed.) i've learnt to identify (and avoid) Americans. i've climbed to the top of the phenomenal Arthur's Seat (and been sick). i've been mothered by the lovely Lorna and taken in by the darling Gerry & Jenny. i've pushed myself and bullied myself. i've tried my hardest not to drown in introspection, not to be pretentious and self centred. i've forgiven Irvine Welsh for how boring his new book (Crime) is. it feels like i've not done a lot. it feels like i've done heaps. i dunno. i am having fun, honest. it's just i make contact when i'm feeling low. i'm not ready to stop yet.

there dad, was that ok???

From Bre:
Hey maddie! got your text. here's a list of stuff you can do:
chase ghosts - did that in Edinburgh. the ghost of Deacon Brodie nearly wet himself when he saw me.
open mic at a pub - planning on going to one in Cardiff
get naked in a shopping mall - does trying on new bras count?
pretend that the madeline show was made after you and you really are a french orphan (she was ab orphan right?) - funny that, i bought a navy dress. madeline wore navy. i'll start faking a french accent.
shoplift - i steal postcards. they're free, but i have a moral code to abide by.
stencil shit in manchester banksy style - i drew all over brendon uries face, as practice. will steal some charcoal and leave poignant but utterly useless comments everywhere.
dance in a manchester club (without taking any drugs) - done, even though the club was closed and it was daytime. dancing in art galleries is more fun - people ask you if you're a performance artist.
get a stupid tattoo - according to everyone over 40, i've already got two.
make a stop motion film with your camera that's dedicated to your dog - working on it. its going to be very existential. or existcanine. something like that. so far i've got lots of footage of trainlines. maybe i should find Spike some bones.
eat a crazycow-meat burger - did so in Manchester - oh, beetroot!!!!!

if anyone else has suggestions, they're very welcome.


Playing: Lots of Bright Eyes and Man Plus.
Reading: Bret Easton Ellis and Alexandre Dumas
Staying: with the wonderful Gerry & Jenny in Sutton Colfield, which is outside of the Birmingham bustle
Going: to Stratford Upon Avon tomorrow, Cardiff on Saturday

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

this ain't a scene, its a goddamn arms race

they want me dead. there's no other explaination for it. who 'they' are is yet to be confirmed, but i have my suspicions. alright, i know names, i know dates and i even know where they live. (al pacino couldn't do it better) they want me dead, but i won't go down without a big fight.

there is a poster of pete wentz to my left. above the window avril lavinge and patrick wolf are pouting. to my right is morrissey and mick jagger. the killers are in the bathroom (i can now say that brandon flowers has seen me naked. um.) its not a bad hostel room, its just covered in posters. its fine, some i like, some i don't. big whoop. or so i think. when i go to put my head down, i turn to face the wall. and come face to face with Panic At The Disco. a loud curse fills the room, waking the woman from Venezuela. i clutch my copy of Trainspotting protectively. I really hate that band, and they seem to really hate me. But stalking me across England? Ridiculous.

Other than that, Manchester is alright. Bit hot. The Lowry is awesome, doing my best not to spend any money!!! Have run out of books, which may cause crisis. Visiting old school friend of my grandmothers. Need to do some laundry. Need to draw all over Panic at the Disco's faces tonight.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

glasgow lies, bleeding in the afternoon

the title of this mornings blog comes from an Idlewild song, "In Competition For The Worst Time". i'll let you draw your own conclusions.

my stomach seems a bit better, erplaced insted by horrid headache. perhaps i should have taken myself to hospital but the prospect of spending friday night surrounded by drunk scots wasnt appealing, so i spent it with two hysterical people from, of all fucking places VEGAS. Sydney and Laine were happy to spend all evening talking about Brandon Flowers 'tache. and playing scrabble. and bitching about glasgow. they left this morning. i have another 24 hours to kill here. looks like i might have to go to the cinema or something.

sean biggerstaff citings: none. bummer.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

the city that the light made

something very strange just happened, and being a member of 'generation share everything now' i decided to spend my last 70p on an hours internet in order to tell you all about it.

i had a nap in Princes Street Garden, doing my best not to attract dogs and small children. failed miserably, attracted a black puppy called Miles and a small child called Siobhan. gave up on my new book, and decided to walk back to the hostel to challenge my Canadian roommate to a rematch of last night's chess game. was happily plotting my opening move when i saw someone i didn't expect to see. Michael Patrick Lloyd. commonly known as Mickey, Purple Sneakers Favourite Leprechaun. we embraced and were confused. turned out he's nipped over here for his girlfriend's 21st and i've come here to try and throw up all over Edinburgh. it was great to see him - his hugs are always awesome.

my quest to throw up all over Edinburgh is going well. this morning i climbed up Arthur's Seat, which stands 823ft above the rest of the city. it's got no real connection to the fabled King Arthur, but derives its name from "Ar-na-sied" which is scots for "that lump of rock that we make tourists climb." no Scottish person would do this walk, they're all too busy dying of heart disease. instead they watch stupid Australians climb it. i stopped every 50m to try and convince my heart not to explode, my stomach not to projectile, my head not to fall off, my lungs not to collapse. in short, i was trying not to die. i didn't, but when i reached the top, i appreciated the view for a good five seconds before lurching over the edge to chunder. very glamourous. once i'd recovered (theres nothing in my stomach but bile.) i took some photos, appreciated the view a bit more, and made note to drag Emma up there at sunrise one day. she'll kill me, but the view is spectacular - you can see all of the city, and all the way out to Fife. on a clear day you could probably see the ocean and the English border.

once i'd climbed back down, again trying not to die, i wandered into the New Town, took a peek at the Oxford Bar, where Rebus and Rankin drink. didn't go in as i'm not quite Rebus when it comes to drinking alone. still, its what i expected. wandered to Fruitmarket Gallery, which was nifty and full of postmodern Scottish works, then back up to the High Street via Fleshmarket Close. grabbed lunch from tescos, wandered through Grassmarket, then down to Princes Street Garden. managed not to puke up lunch, grand success!!! (small plain bread roll.) Napped, saw Mickey. decided to blog about it.

i'm doing my best not to buy that unicorn dress - for starters, its got a white background. disaster. for seconds, money is needed for living, not dressing. for thirds, i'm about tothrow all my money away on a £50 Blue Nashville acoustic guitar. it's sooooooooooooooo pretty. the fact i can't play guitar is a moot point.

it's a good thing i'm leaving tomorrow morning. otherwise i'd do something very silly. i feel like i should buy something touristy, like a bobble hat. but that feels a bit naff, so i'll just hoard postcards that i keep meaning to send but probably never will. expect to be handed them in five months time.


The Remote Part by Idlewild is one of my favourite albums. they're an Edinburgh band and i've always considered the album to be about their home city. still, its not till i was on top of Arthur's Seat, listening to "You Held The World In Your Arms" that it hit me how much of the city is in the album. then i had some wanky thoughts about how i've been carrying bits of Edinburgh (idlewild, rankin, welsh, etc) around for years, and thoughts about how cities make people make cities make people etc. then i thought i was going to be sick again, so i stopped thinking.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

two steps from misfortune

Death Cab For Cutie's "Transatlanticism" will forever remind me of puking my guts up in Edinburgh. I've got a stomach bug, and so far have thrown up the bathrooms of the hostel, princes street garden, the art gallery, the Scottish museum, the royal Scottish museum and the surgeons hall. it's not as bad as it sounds. Edinburgh has very clean bathrooms. And it means that I'm seeing a lot of Edinburgh. I don't feel that sick, I just can't keep anything down.

Apart from my gastro adventures in Scotland, what else is happening? Before i left London, I spent a few days with ms watts, went back to the natural history museum (I want to move in there and live with the stegosaurus), read lots of books(Persepolis. You all have to read it) and did my best to behave. Then I got on a bus at Victoria Coach Station, and nine hours later found myself in Edinburgh. I'm staying on The Royal Mile in a hostel started by Deacon Brodie's son. I went to bed early on sunday night, so that I would be ready and raring to go on Monday morning. Unfortunately a few hours later my stomach rebelled and I- became intimately acquainted with the hostel toilet. Wasn't going to let that stop me, Monday morning found me in The Museum Of Scotland. Saw the Lewis Chessman, who are possibly the funniest game pieces ever, and the Maiden, which is smaller that I thought. The view from the top of the Museum is amazing. The bathrooms are immaculate.

In the afternoon I went on a three hour walking tour of Edinburgh. We mostly stuck to the Old Town, meandering through Grassmarket and various Harry Potter locations. I nipped into a pub to be sick, and confirmed my suspicions that Edinburgh is my kind of town - bookshops, pubs and chippies everywhere. The pubs not on the Mile tend to be quiet pubs, like my beloved Shakey. I'm looking forward to Emma being here, and I'm determined to come back one year (next year?) for the festival.

Today I went to the Art Galleries, had a nap in Princes' Garden - which used to be a Loch and is now a quiet haven in a city rife with prefestival construction. After that I went to the Surgeons Museum, which. Well. Gross and fascinating. They have a pocketbook made from William Burke's skin. And all sorts of embalmed body parts. Awesome. Again, lovely bathrooms.

Tomorrow I'm going to attempt to get to Holyrood, and do the Arthurs Seat walk. I also want to nip into the Oxford Bar, home of Rebus & Rankin. Then I'm off to Glasgow for three days, during which my prime objective is to nab me a Sean Biggerstaff. After than, Manchester, Birmingham, Stratford-upon-Avon, Cardiff.

And then, back to Europe for PUKKELPOP, quite possibly the most awesome festival line up ever. All my heroes (except Idlewild and BRMC) are playing, and I'm going to be there!!!! Don't have a tent yet, but still. I'm on my way, and maddywatts is coming too. Anyone else up for it?

Man Plus - My Kind Of People
Idlewild - Century After Century

Ladies Of Grace Adieu - Susannah Clarke
Hallam Foe - Peter Jinks

trying: not to buy a dress with unicorns printed on it.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

wet wet wet // take two

all these photos are out of order and jumbled because i take after my mother when it comes to computer literacy. and because i didnt want to use up hazels bandwidth, i spent ages resizing them and they still do the weird thing where if you click on them they get bigger. 
i don't know, ok? computers are a mystery. 

1. The Giant Fork I Walked Into At Sudeley Castle
Part of the castle's sculptures with no identification range. I wasn't paying attention and walked into it.

2. Rapunzel, Rapunzel, let down your hair
Her hair has sparkles. 'Nuff said. I really wish Sudeley Castle Admin had seen fit to put some sort of identification somewhere. I spent ages looking.

3. Stairway To Heaven?
I think this ones my favourite, because. because it's a nice juxtaposition of nature and man-made and because it goes nowhere, but everywhere. It's almost pretentious, but its really quite cheeky. I think so, anyway. The little sign you can see says "don't touch the exhibit." (cos the nameless artist may appear from the maze and maul you)

4. Macmillan Way, Bourton On The Water.
I did an eight mile walk from B-ot-W to Upper Slaughter to Lower Slaughter to B-ot-W again. This was on my one sunny Cotswolds day, and was lovely. If we ignore the three times I got lost, the incident where I got stung/bitten by something that caused my left knee to double in size and coming face to face with a big big big big cow. Actually, those were part of the things that made it great. English countryside is so pretty. Just after this part of the walk, I went past a Manor that my father apparently stayed in, although how he managed to convince them to let him in, I'll never know. If I'm even in position to retire to the countryside, it'll be in the Cotswolds. Along with everyone else in the world, I'm sure.

5. Patisserie, Luxembourg
Funnily enough, there were a whole bunch of skinny jeaned, be-hoodied, scowling emo kids in this shop. The croissants and brioche were brilliant (and cheap) but the coffee was enough to make you want to listen to Morrissey.

6. Street that my folks and I used to live in
You can't see the photo of me in front of the house until I've touched it up with photoshop for a bit. Typical of my parents to live in a street with a Roman name. Corinium was what the Romans called Cirencester, and at one point it was one of the biggest Roman towns. I went to the roman museum where they had superimposed a map of Corinium on top of modern Cirencester. The Romans had brilliant ideas when it came to town planning. I doubt you would ever have gotten lost back then.

7. Cirencester High Street
A lot bigger than I thought it was going to be. I wanted to try cycling from Cheltenham to Cirencester, but it was far too wet and windy for that.

so, there you go. photos! hurrah, and such.

As for Oxford and Cambridge, well. I spent time with a couple from Chicago, pretending we were students in an effort to get into Christ Church for free. Didn't work, but loads of fun. We drank too much in Eagle & Child, which is where JRR Tolkein and CS Lewis used to do exactly the same thing. Went back to the hostel and watched Love, Actually. Three of us ended up bawling and falling asleep on common room sofa. Loved Oxford, am inspired to return to Sydney, get university degree with honours & first then do post grad in Oxford. 
Or go back when it's not raining as much. That might be more feasible.

And next stop?

Scotland, och aye!

by request // takeone

Lizzle keeps reminding me that I took my camera with me for a reason. Blogspot is being mean and not letting me post lots of photos at once, probably a good thing for Hazel's bandwidth. So here are photos from Amsterdam and Luxembourg. 

and the formatting is being stupid, so look at the pictures and then read the bit about it at the end. 

1. Cannabis Starter Kit. 
These are everywhere in Amsterdam. Exactly the same stuff is in each kit, but depending where you are, the price fluctuates between 5 and 10 euros. I was tempted, but you can't even bring Bees into Australia, so it probably wasn't worth the risk. Besides, you have to be stoned in order to think that you'll have the patience to grow the stuff. And then when you do, you'd probably eat it. 

2. Sinking Building, Amsterdam.
I walked past this place a few times without noticing, until I realised the reason I felt strange about a building was because it was lopsided. I think that the council have left it that way because it's a hotspot for photo takers - I kept bumping into stoned Americans who were pointing and laughing at it while trying to take photos. When I took this photo, I was standing in the way of some tourists who were trying not to get hit by a tram. 
(I'm not a very nice person when I've had two hours sleep.)

3. Fluro Man Thong.
There was an mans underwear shop that my grandparents and I kept walking past. This was the coolest one in the window. The gold lame one was kind of tacky. Despite bicycles being allowed everywhere in Amsterdam, they aren't allowed into male lingerie shops.

4. View of Luxembourg from Um Bock
It's like being inside a fairytale. Or a chess game. This is the view of the area I was staying in, the name of which I can't remember how to spell. I was standing at Um Bock (the castle) looking for the bus stop when I took this. My three days in Lux consisted of looking for bus stops and post boxes. The Lux's seem to think that if they congregate around a pole, a bus will appear. Also, the reason people in Lux are slim is because they all live at the bottom of hills, and put things like supermarkets, churches, train stations, shops, museums, castles, etc at the top of hills. Get it? If my family lived in Europe, I bet we would have taken a family argument, sorry, a family holiday to Luxembourg. My dad would have dragged us through the Casemates, my mother would have embarrassed us in the centre square by dancing to the band that only knows three songs, Claudia would have had a tanty at the bottom of a hill, Jeremy a tanty at the top and I would have done my best not to buy the very expensive necklace I saw. 
Seeing as my family weren't there, I did all of the above by myself.

5. View of Luxembourg from Bus Stop
Once I'd walked up the hill/mini mountain to the bus stop, I wanted to record my achievement. The red building in the distance is the hostel. The German Pub is the very very very small pink building on the same line as the hostel. Other buildings are a Hospice and houses. The bridge has been there for ages, and a woman in the pub told me she thinks it might be Roman, although she's not sure. It looks Roman though, doesn't it? 

coming up next: Cotswald photos!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

in retrograde

ok. so. i really should be telling you all about how i hung out with emo kids in Cambridge and walked 8 miles to chocolate box villages. but. but. 

easily one of the most intelligent cerebral political bands out there at the moment and they know how to get the party started. fuck. i didn't just say that. they totally don't get the party started. Bloc Party are the band that set the party on fire and say "yeah, well. i don't really like parties that much anyway. didn't i see you eating chicken tikka at the protest last week?" Bloc Party are the band that scare Americans, according to my new friend Billy (who's planning on marrying Brendon Urie, Lizzle) because they have a clinical edge to them that makes them warm - check songs like Cavaliers & Roundheads with its rapid fire "sometimes I want to hurt you" chorus, juxtaposed with the fantastic Waiting For The 7.18 which begs "let's drive to Brighton on the weekend". not many bands have the ability to reach out to everyone and start sparks.

So new song, "Mercury." I think it came out a month or so ago. It picks up where "Flux" left off. Flux being one of my favourite songs from this year with its hysteria and its global focus - it felt like one of those songs that made you part of the rest of the world, made you think you weren't the only one but you could be the only one (coherency, Madeleine. work on it) "Mercury" is a classic disco edge, looping Kele's voice to create a prophetic alarming opening. It's lacking in Bloc Party's traditional jagged guitars, but the synths and what I think are trumpets build a fantastic post 9/11, 7/7 soundscape. Bloc Party seem fascinated by the culture of surveillance and terror that we're wrapped in. The drums. Oh. My. God. African in origin, warped to something post modern and paranoid. Lyrically we have a global setting that jumps from Sydney to London to Williamsburg. We're entreated to "run away from all the cynics" which, I suspect, would mean running away from ourselves - as Kele discovers when he tries to ask us to run, but "all I could say was hey". I'm bouncing around incoherently, I'm sorry. This is pretty much the perfect song for walking down dark alleys to. This is a song for dancefloors filled with the disillusioned. This is a song for believers and fighters.

And if the song in original form isn't enough, then Telemitry have to go and fuck it all around with more synths and lasers and make it even cooler. It becomes a leviathon of heavy beats. You can practically feel the heat radiating off it, the desperation. Telemitry are doing some seriously heavy remixes at the moment - the other being Coldplays "Viva La Vida" which takes fairly simple Brian Eno glossed strings & vocals song and turns it into something that you could use for one of those New Years Eve retrospectives. if you wanted to confuse everyone about what had happened that year. the thing i love about remixes like this is the way they give the songs a new bite, they tease out something that you knew was there but couldn't quite hear. 

So. Yeah. I hope that makes you look at Coldplay and Bloc Party, two of the UK's biggest bands, a little differently. 

I'll write about Cheltenham, Oxford & Cambridge later, promise. I'm off to Scotland on Friday, I think. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

"left at the dead badger" // drowned rat

there are few people who can manage to get lost, drowned, sunburnt, bruised, sheep-ed and nearly electrocuted in the space of four hours. i happen to be one of them.

i'm currently in Cheltenham, which is home to the hospital in which i made my grand entrance into this world twenty years ago. staying with Sue, Ian, Ryan & Bethany Kelsall, friends of the family who despite not having seen me since i was four have taken me in for the week. Ian picked me up on his way back from Dublin (via Acton) on Friday. they took me to their local Thai place that night where we had the hottest Green Curry ever. i was hiccoughing. saturday i wandered around (saw the hospital where i was born and where dad worked. looks like all hospitals - inhospitable). yesterday we went to 67 Corinium Gate in Cirencester. my parents (and i, for all of six weeks) used to live there. it was strange. i have no memory of it, obviously, but it means something. i was a bit miffed that there wasn't a small memorial there. perhaps i should leave one - something tasteful in bronze "maddie woz ere".

i woke this morning to grey sky and wet grounds, but i was determined to get to Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe. so i bundled up (i stand out like such a tourist because its cold. all the english think its warm and are wearing hot pants. most of them really shouldn't) got the bus and then managed to lose the castle. found some sheep instead. sheep are not very good at giving directions. "maaa baaa baaa"

when i did finally locate the castle, the sun came out. Sudeley Castle is where Katherine Parr is buried. she was the 6th wife of Henry VIII, and outlived him (unlike 4 of his other wives. i think Anne of Cleves outlived him too) the castle is gorgeous and the grounds are impeccable. there are peacocks wandering about. peacocks, for all that they look lovely do not sound lovely. they sound like disgruntled cows. there were also lots of modern sculptures everywhere, including a giant pink fork that i crashed into and a mirror maze. the chapel where Katherine Parr is buried is freezing but ornate and old and makes one feel quite small. everything in England is either over 400 years old or less that 0.4 seconds old.

once i'd tramped around the castle, i decided to do a walk around Winchcombe and the castle. i had directions! in a book! sadly, i'm an idiot and decided that i would do that walk backwards because it ends at the castle and thats where i was. english bushwalks are not like australian bushwalks. there are no paths. i quote from page 75 of 50 Walks in Gloucstershire "Cross the field to an overgrown stile. Cross another field to a gate. Continue through the following field, go half right to another (possibly overgrown) stile. Go halfway along hedge to find well concealed gap."

the rain was pretty fierce. the grass came up to my armpits (Ryan says that it only comes up to his knees. Ryan is a smartarse.) i don't know what a stile really looks like. i was soaked. and lost. and possibly close to being drowned, either by grass or water. or both. it was pretty pathetic. wind howling, nothing but fields and one maddie who started to wonder what would happen if she never came back from the walk. things couldn't have gotten worse.

and then the thunder started. the lightening hit the field next to me and i flung myself down. there was mud and grass seeds in my bra. "bring it on, god" i thought "why didn't i bring my copper armour?". i stayed there for ten, fifteen minutes, a storm right on top of my head. the pages of my guidebook were soaked and i had no idea where i was. all i knew was that i missed the reliability of Sydney weather. and that there was grass seeds and mud everywhere.

eventually the thunderstorm stopped. but the rain carried on. i picked myself up and tottered along, full of new understanding as to the British peoples love to talk about the weather. my mind has a tendency to let my feet take control of the hard stuff (walking) and drift off to sunnier pastures (pun intended). this is perhaps why what happened next did indeed happen. all i really know is that i came to a plank laid across a river that i had to cross. so i crossed it. but when i went to step off, i misjudged the step because i slipped and flew off the plank.

and landed on a sheep.

a very disgruntled surprised wet sheep. a sheep that went "baa!" which i presume is sheep for "what the fuck!" before scampering off. dazed and pissed off, i sat in the rain for a bit, trying to process what had happened. surely the sheep would have heard me coming? what the fuck was a sheep doing in a field anyway? .....right. sheep don't live in homes. ergh. i smelt like sheep. i picked myself up (again) and staggered off. people do this for fun, yknow. every weekend.

people are mad.

the sun came out again. eventually. didn't really help dry me out that much. i was soaked. a human sponge. queen of the drips. there were momentary fears that the bus driver would not let me on the bus. i could have wrung myself out and the water salvaged could have been used to refill the murray darling basin. human prune.

the bus driver did let me on. when the bus finally turned up. i stood at the bus stop for half an hour. it rained twice. the pub opposite was closed. (that was painful) but by four thirty i was back in Cheltenham. Ryan opened the door and said

"hello! i've been in A&E all day! burnt myself! tea? how are you, bit wet?"
"i met a sheep. no milk, thanks"
"sheep's milk isn't that great really."

Ryan had managed to burn his arm and eye with boiling water. he got to sit in A&E for three hours before they told him he was fine. as he was telling me this, Sue (his mum) asked why my face was all pink. "are you sunburnt?" they asked incredulously.

sunburnt. in the piddling twenty minutes of sun that i had been graced with today, i had managed to get sunburnt. only me.

all in all though, it was a pretty nice day. hysterical moments aside (oh my god, i'm going to be electrocuted and drowned) i had fun. i think today i learned not to freak out, but to laugh and keep plodding. the views are pretty nice, and managing to do a 4 mile (6.4km) walk all on your own is a pretty impressive achievement. even if it does take you longer than a normal person with direction. it's such a pretty area, so quintessentially english. it's also currently a very wet area and due to stay that way until next week. so it looks like cycling might be out, but i'm sure i can get some more walking done.