Just a quick one to apologise for my slackness in posting new blogs. I am without internet at home for a couple of weeks. Normal service (yes, also slack) will resume at the end of the month…

Hurrah! It’s January 2009! The beginning of a whole new year. I think it’s going to be an exciting new year for a number of reasons;

1) I am almost over the stinking cough and cold I picked up in London before Christmas which put a huge dampener on my holiday.

2) I am starting a new job. Yes. Breaking news! I’ve been dying to mention it in public but my clients haven’t been told yet, so keep it under your hat, won’t you? More details of the new company may or may not follow at a later date, depending on their policy on personal blogs, but I can say that the tech PR world is about to become my oyster (Watch out. Tech companies. I’m after you) and the centre of that world will be based in Manchester. Exciting!

3) I don’t have a free weekend until the middle of February. I’m already a social whirlwind.

3) I’m hitting the big 30 this year. I know most people don’t get excited about that birthday, but I’m looking forward to it. Kind of. Plus, in my head, I’m still about 23 so it makes no difference really, except that it’s a good excuse to dress up, go out and be spoiled (Mr Jolucy; take note. I expect to be treated like the Queen for the day). 

Clearly the numbering system I was using has let me down, so I’ll risk it. I’m going to do away with numbering the points and go “freestyle”. Stay with me now. Deep breath. ready?….

I’m also going to make this my year of sport (or Year of Sport). I’ve already entered myself for a 9 mile hill run (stupidly) in March (too soon) which means that I will need to run more than 40 minutes a week between now and then, I suspect. I’m hoping I will be able to complete a half marathon by the end of the year. I’m also planning to finally go and see my ‘local’ team, Sale Sharks play, go and watch a football match, get up to Old Trafford for some cricket and I’ve got a dance weekend coming up in February which I’m looking forward to. I’d quite like to see Andy Murray play as well if we can get tickets. After his performance against Nadal and Federer this week, I’m hoping this could be an exciting year for Andy. It would be great if we can finally have a tennis player to be proud of in the UK.

Also on the ‘to do’ list for this year is to get to the top of some more mountains. Probably including Scafell. I expect that it will involve me swearing and muttering under my ragged, oxygen-starved breath every step of the way, but I will look forward to boring everyone with the photos when I get back down and to the feeling of smugness that comes with climbing things that most people are sensible enough not to bother with.

And, how could I forget? we’re off to Glastonbudget in May. I’m hoping they’ll soon get their website up and running again. They have got a My Space page, but there’s not much info on there and they’ve used the same colour for both the font and the page background, so it’s a bit tricky to read. However, I did see something to indicate that the antarctic monkeys might be playing. hehehe. brilliant. (I’m already offering up prayers to anyone who’ll listen that the weather will be good)

Then we get to go on our honeymoon – 10 days on the Amalfi coast. bliss. I’m planning on doing a large amount of sitting in the sun, with an equally large amount of walking up and down steps/hills whilst I’m there. I also plan to visit Capri – which I think will be horrendous, but too close not to go and see – and we’re going to go and visit Pompeii, which I expect will be creepy in a fascinating way. 

Phew, any that only just gets me half way through the year. I think I’ll take July – December off, have my self a well earned break and let Mr Jolucy worry about paying the mortgage. I’ll just stay home, put up my feet and drink some tea. I’m sure he won’t mind…

Oh, and another reason it’s going to be a good year? I started out dressed as a red indian, and got a refund on our New Year’s Eve event because they ran out of drinks at the bar. How.

I had a sudden, dreadful moment of remembering last night. I realised that last time I saw a band at Wembley I swore never ever to do it again. We had seated tickets for Pearl Jam and a combination of them trying really hard to sell their slightly rubbish new album, combined with some of the worst acoustics ever conceived meant that I’d have been better looking at a really small picture of them, whilst playing a scratched 7″ copy of Ten with a large, damp cushion over the speakers.

“Oh dear” I thought. “Please, please let the sound be better and please let the venue not spoil this gig…”

As we got into the venue, the first thing we noticed was the lack of men’s toilets. Whilst Mr JoLucy was busy investigating that issue, I was discovering that Manchester bar prices are like a little slice of heaven. And then we realised that there was actual live music coming from the stage area. Which was odd, because the doors had only just opened. The only option was to investigate!

I have no idea who the support band were. I considered googling them, but the only reason I would want to know their name is to help me avoid making the mistake of going to see them again. They weren’t exactly dreadful, but, well, the songs went on and on and on and on. And on. I felt like I was stuck in an uneventful scene from a film in the late 80s, early 90s about teenagers and hacking. The teenagers would probably have been smoking to show that they were edgy rebels.

Anyway. I’m waffling. What can I tell you about the band I went to see. Their name? Kings of Leon.

THEY. WERE. BRILLIANT!

I know my last post was all about highs and lows of 2008, and I have to say that in all honesty, this gig was the highlight of my year. And yes, that does include my wedding day. I was (and remain) excited about this band in a way that I haven’t experienced since I discovered Nirvana, The Pixes and The Lemonheads as a teenager.

I had already decided I would blog on this when I went to the gig last night, and had intended to make a note of the set list, but I failed. I think they started with Use Somebody but I couldn’t swear to it. I know they did play Molly’s Chambers, California Waiting, Charmer, Knocked up, Sex on fire, On call, Arizona, Be Somebody, Closer, Cold Desert, Crawl, Notion, Revelry. (LET ME KNOW IF I MISSED ANY?)

Oh, and my favourite; Fans. At which point I went a bit nuts and may have enthused so loudly that a) I deafened the woman in front of me (sorry about that) and b) managed to destroy my voice. I’ve been croaking all day. I don’t know quite what to say to describe the gig. I keep wanting to use words that I would normally run away from as fast as possible, like “wicked” or “awesome” or “fabulous”. gah! I will stick with “it was rather fine indeed.”

I think I’ll avoid talking about the actual performance, because you know when you’re at school and you have to pull books apart, word by word, for English and it ends up ruining the book for you?… I’ll leave you with these slightly blurred photos to tell the story:

dscn00201

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It’s almost the end of the year, and I’m sitting in my friend’s living room in London, wondering what to write about that anyone might find vaguely interesting or amusing.  And then I thought I would follow the example set by so many editors and publishers at this time of year, and think about highs and lows of 2008 and make a few predictions for 2009.

And conveniently, the “I’m a PC” add has just appeared on the TV, so, to start off, my top five best and worst adverts for 08 will be my first area to review:

Top 5 worst adverts

1) As I mentioned in the work blog, I took a dislike to the Citroen C5 adverts, and I would extend that as I can’t think of a single car advert that made me want to go and invest in some form of transport this year.

2) All perfume adverts, which become more frequent and more annoying as we get closer to Christmas. I don’t need to see naked models skip through fields of photographers whilst pulling stars out of the sky and ripping off films they once appeared in [Moulin Rouge, anyone?]. Just tell me what it smells like . I certainly don’t want to smell like Britney, Jordan, Kate Moss or any other crazy celebrity, thank you. Oh, and I preferred it when we still pronounced it “Fraygrunts”. When did it become “fraggrance” for the British consumers?

3) David Beckham in the Sharpie pens adverts. Come on. Who’s going to believe that he can write?

ghome_08a4) The new Mr Muscle ads are EXTREMELY annoying. What happened to the weedy guy in the specs? Why have we got the terrible, badly dubbed CGI thing?

5) Then there’s the “I’m a PC” adverts. A very late reaction to Apple’s “I’m a Mac/I’m a PC” ads with Mitchell and Webb. My biggest issue with these adverts is that they were so reactionary. There’s nothing new, nothing that actually tells you why PCs are better than Macs.

And a special mention also goes to EDF Energy for the “this advert is 100% recycled”, which has been nominated by my very Wise friend.

Hmm, a bit trickier…. Top 5 Good ads

1) I think the new Barnardos advert showing how a teenage girl gets into drugs and ends up in prison is very powerful. It almost made me set up the direct debit to donate… [note for New Year's Resolution list]

2) I love the Christmas Tesco adverts wth Des 0′Connor where the price labels keep appearing. I know the concept has been done before with the prices, but Des is very Christmassy.

3) The Ask Frank ad I blogged about last week is still excellent.

4) Oh. The Cadubry’s Gorilla. Nothing to do with chocolate, but BRILLIANT. Got everyone talking about Cadbury’s and as we all know. You talk about chocolate, you want chocolate. [excuse me a second....]

5) I’m struggling. I can’t think of a 5th advert that I’ve liked this year. Give me your suggestions?

If it wasn’t already almost midnight, I’d continue this post. However, I’m sleepy.  So I’ll call it a night, and make a promise to finish my thoughts on this subject before the year is through…

(P.S. A few predictions are; that adverts for any product targeted at women will continue to be patronising and aimed at making us feel crappy, ‘they’ will still be trying to convince people that ordering a “SoCo” in a bar won’t make you sound like a tit, car adverts will never make me want to buy a car, mobile ringtone aderts will remain annoying, Iceland won’t catch on that assosciating with Kerry Catona doesn’t make us aspire to shop there, Cillit Bang will still be do bad it’s good, and the product still won’t actually work)

untitledProctrastination. Pro. Cras. Tin. Ation. To procrastinate. hmm…. “To put off doing something, especially out of habitual carelessness or laziness.” or “postpone doing what one should be doing”

I have the house to myself this evening and a list of jobs so long that I could turn it into wallpaper and use it to redecorate the living room. Especially as that would help put off doing the jobs that I need to do. I am meant to have finished wrapping the Christmas presents that have been sat on the table for a week, I was meant to do laundry, hoover the floor and rug, wash up, put the ironing board away, and, most of all, I was meant to write a blog. But I’ve been thinking about things to blog on all week and keep coming up blank.

I toyed with the idea of blogging on the Google 2008 Zeitgeist – maybe something about Heath Ledger beating Barack Obama in the most searched for list, or how creepy I find the Jonas Brothers.

Then I considered writing about the plans to hide cigarettes from view in shops – to make them “under the counter” goods so that they would be out of site, out of mind for kids. The comment on that would have been something along the lines of “how @£$^ing stupid. Since when has making something forbidden, mysterious and hidden made it LESS appealing to children and teenagers? If you want to stop people smoking make it illegal for parents to smoke in front of their children, and make sure that only tramps and really ugly people are seen to do it. Then increase the tax on cigarettes 200%. some of those measures might help. Also, you could run an ad campaign to make kids terrified that their mum will die of smoking…. oh, yeah, done that one…”

I love the new “Frank” advert with David Mitchell’s voice over and thought about writing something about that, but could really only come up with “good advert” and “poor dog” and “glad that was never my cup of tea”.

This morning I saw a story about the British postie being asked to walk faster on their rounds to get the Christmas post delivered quicker. It must have been a slow news day I think because the BBC dedicated really far too much time to this non-story. To the point where they managed to create some footage which really lost the posties any sympathy I might have had. The footage was of a postman wheeling a trolly full of letters from door to door. The problem was that the ‘between door’ part was the same bit of street each time. My immediate thought was that, nevermind speeding up their pace, they could get more delivered if they didn’t spend all day walking back and forth along the same 5 metre stretch. stooooopid.

So. Here we are. and I still can’t think of anything to write about. Oh.

Here’s one what I wrote for work today about the ‘invasion’ of Stansted Airport and why transport companies are so bad at communicating. Super!

Wise one, you are my ‘friend on the inside’. ‘Tis like you’re famous! :D

I kind of fell on this story today – it wasn’t featured in any news programmes i watched, it wasn’t in any newspapers that I read, It was an RSS feed from the BBC’s tech pages that drew my attention to the fact that a European online library had managed to open and close within the blink of an eye and nearly pass me by completely.

monalisaApparently, the website will include images of paintings, photos, films, books and maps from 1000 museums across Europe. Unfortunately, so many people visited the picture of the Mona Lisa on the site last week that its servers crashed and took it off-line within hours of going live.

Clearly, it’s a pity that the system was not set up to deal with more than 10 million visitors at once. It’s not like we didn’t know that there are more than 10 million people in Europe with internet access, right? plus this site, being one the WORLD wide web, is actually open to anyone in the world who wanted to visit, and that’s DEFINATELY more than 10 million potential visitors…. however. There are two things that really astound me about this story:

1) Enough people knew about this site to crash it.

2) Even Americans knew about this site before me.

Am I just really culturally backwards, or was there no information or promotional activity in the UK to announce the imminent launch of this site? I’m a library member, there hasn’t even been any info in our local library about the site, as far as I could see. I mean, it’s just as well – imagine the chaos that would have occurred if more people had known about the site!

Anyway. I’d like to ask the developers of the Europeana website to get hold of some lottery money and appoint a UK PR company before they go live again in December, because I’m sure I’m not the only person who’d be interested in visiting. I imagine that there might be a student or two out there that would find it helpful for a start….

I know, I know, it’s not even December yet, I shouldn’t be talking about Christmas shopping yet, but I felt compelled to comment on a story I’ve just read on the BBC website. According to this story, Deloitte is ‘suggesting’ that consumers are “planning to spend 7% less this Christmas than they did last year”. 

I take issue with this story on a number of counts:

1) Bloody media and analysts and their bloody scaremongering are NOT helping the economy.

2) I don’t have the vaguest idea what I spent on Christmas pressies last year and

3) even if I did know, I’m certain I wouldn’t bother to sit down and work out how much 7% of that would be so that I could ‘plan’ to spend that much less! 

I expect I will, as usual, buy presents on impulse as and when I see things that I think people will like and pay absolutely no attention to how much I’m spending right up until the point where the cashpoint starts laughing at me…

manchester-big_santa

Hurrah! deck the halls!

It’s been a long time since I blogged last, and I feel bad for that, as I promised to keep it regular this time. But, be assured that I’ve not even had time to comment on the work blog, and I sort of get paid for that. So, you may ask what’s been keeping me so busy? where have I been? why have I deserted you? Fear not. Here is a summary:

July – went to London, met editor of VanillaPlus (not about cake, sadly), met some clients, stayed with the Wise One, met Bridesmaids so they could try on their dresses (one was late. If you know who they are you’ll know which it was)had the gas meter read (which they promptly lost) had the work summer party (lunch – good, 10-pin-bowling – lost, pub – drank, mexican – ate, drank, wore silly hats, sang along with Gypsy Kings), got lost in the shopping centre in Leicester, almost took the bumper of a ford Ka trying to squeeze Tank into a small space, picked up wedding dress, took to Norfolk, miscalculated ribbon and organza with Zoe, went to the dentist for the first time in ??7?? years, had sore mouth, learnt some Italian, went to France (canoed lots, camped on a mountain, they don’t speak Italian there though). *takes deep breath…*

August – came home from France, got cold, paid for wedding, got more cold, learnt more Italian, spoke to more clients, got hair cut, had hen night (not quite what I’d got planned, but definitely what my ‘sisters’ had got planned), avoided my local pub in shame, went to London for meeting which was cancelled (swore some, but visited the Wise One, so all was not lost), arranged wedding ceremony with registrar, went to London for cancelled meeting (yes, again, swore a bit more) had wisdom tooth issues, ‘broke’ my jaw, got even worse cold and hacking cough (not the blog by Chris Edwards)

September – Won battle with above mentioned idiot gas company, when they admitted that I do not owe them £570, but they in fact owe me £215, went to Party, managed to accidently be rude to a few guests, encouraged drinking of birch wine and pear liqueur, ate vegetarian kebab, went to Chester with blonde and ginger children and rode on a small train, rode larger train to London with something of a hangover promising not to drink again, went to press event with client, took journalists to Vinopolis (where there’s really nothing to do but drink) went for chinese with Wise One and Sarahthegreat (drank more wine) went to happy Cider pub, drank cider, did not steal kittens, reflected that bid to give up drinking had not, thus far, been wholly successful, bought drinks for work people to celebrate up coming wedding, didn’t make a cake or a guide book, had curry, saw Mr Poi Hoo and rejoiced in his company, spent too much time in Jury’s Inn in Heathrow, (a godforsaken place), ate very good roast dinner (mid week!) decided wedding is off and that I’m actually going to move in with Wise One and let her cook for me (and teach her how to bake cakes) realised that it has been forever since I blogged, so though I’d best do so.

Now – I think that brings us mostly up to date. If you’re interested I can tell you my next plans are:

Go to the office, speak to work people, get on the train to go back Oop North, tut at state of house after a week of boy alone in it, get hair cut, pick up freshly cleaned engagement ring, finish writing cards for wedding, pack suitcase, do 2 days of work, get on plane (with Nearly-Mother-in-law), go to Norwich, show NMIL the sights, have BIG massage, organise venue, pick up suits, get married, do a little dance, climb some mountains, change my name……

That’s mostly it, I don’t want to do anything else after that. oh, except Win lottery. phew.

I drove down from Manc to London this afternoon. I don’t drive often – maybe once or twice a month – and I’ve come to wonder upon something. What happens to the radio in the middle of the country on a weekend?  Firstly, why does everyone suddenly think we all want to hear rubbish anecdotes about what a strangers nan did last week? But more importantly, why do the midlands suddenly turn into Nashville? Nothing but “my wife stole my dog and shot me in the foot, then crapped on my hat” for hours on end. why? I will (secretly) admit to singing-along-a-Dolly every now and then, but does it have to go on for the whole of Sunday?

I also had the misfortune today of driving along the M40 as Silverstone started throwing out. It was raining, there was heavy spray on the road and I do believe i was the only person with any lights on. Also, apparently, everyone on the road was Lewis Hamilton. Of course, if you’re Lewis, and you’re on a race track, undertaking is the done thing, and indicating is frowned upon. Not so on a busy motorway. Really.

Scary.

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