walking in a whirly wonderland

July 14, 2010

I wonder if a yearly update is to become the thing on here now then? I actually forgot I had a blog for a while! The problem is finding something substantial to write about, rather then just inane ramblings about my life, I do that plenty on Facebook/Twitter.


 Aha! Whirl-Y-Gig! I may have gushed about this place before but I really do feel it’s worth the accolade.

 Whirly is a once monthly dance event  held at Jacks nightclub in London Bridge. It’s been going for as long as I’ve been on this planet, and it’s the loveliest club in London.

 The evening begins with a walk down a narrow corridor, lit with ambient psychedelic colours. It opens into the chill out room, which continues the psychedelic theme. There are brightly coloured materials strewn from the walls, ambient lights everywhere, and psychedelic oil lights making kaleidoscopic patterns on the walls. Here and there an image is projected, a faerie, a flower. Around the room are low comfy seats and tables, a stall selling glow sticks, CD’s, and fair trade goods, and a little café bar that provides tea, fruit, and cakes throughout the night. The ambience of the place was the first thing that struck me, it manages to feel both comforting and exciting at the same time.

 The next space is the dance room, with yet more spectacular lighting, really giving the reveller the feel of having fallen down the rabbit hole and into a strange, beautiful other world. Balloons are dotted here and there on the dance floor, some being batted about by early arrivals, who are already chatting to each other, smiles and open body language a positive sign of the night ahead. Towards the front is a stage area and the DJ stand, where DJ Monkeypilot is at the helm to guide us all through a beautiful and uplifting landscape of global dance music. The ceiling above is draped a bit like a marquee, adding to the carnival feel. At the back is the obligatory bar, usually manned by a cheerful bartender in a hat.

 As the venue starts to fill up, the range of people that this haven attracts becomes apparent. The day-glo ravers are bouncing around, luminous and shiny; hippie types drift gracefully in long skirts and baggy canvas trousers; trendy kids in the latest fashion get their faces painted for free in the corner of the chill out room, and here and there jugglers show each other new tricks. Fancy dress is also a staple in this place, I’ve seen faeries by the dozen, toga donning uni students, bugs bunny, a green man with a green ‘fro, anything goes really! And it’s not just the spectrum of night owls that varies, the age range is fantastic, recently legal students party with well established dance lifetimers. I for one am very glad of this contrast, there are people in that club who are fitter than me in their later years, and I am hoping that enough dancing will point me in their direction!

 As the place fills up, the most powerful force in this club shows its colours, the thing that keeps us coming back again and again, the true driving force of the night. The vibe. The people here adhere to an unwritten code, one that you can’t help but adopt once you’ve walked down that psychedelic corridor and into this shiny wonderland. Everyone comes to have a good time, and everyone comes to make sure everyone else has a good time. Strangers will talk to one another with no prompting, minds are open to the variety of life here, and what a variety to discover! I have never left without an email address or number added to my phone after a great conversation in the chill out room, or a newfound kindred spirit on the dance floor, and every time I return it feels more like I’m coming home as the faces of the regulars become more familiar to me.

 The music takes this troupe of happy adventurers along with it as the night progresses. Around the edges of the dance floor, drum beats pound as those that have brought their primitive instruments with them add their own twist to the music. I often fancy that I feel the echoes of our past through their hypnotising beat.

 At 5:30 the dance floor is packed, DJ Monkeypilot is bringing the night to a climax. Dancers are really going for it as the music reaches it’s crescendo, but all the while occasionally glancing towards the stage area, expectant, impatient. Suddenly the people at the front of the dance floor sit down, and as a wave the rest of us follow suit. At the front of the stage, stewards carry on a parachute, the sign that prompted this mass hunkering. Hands rise up to help the stewards pull the chute across the heads of all those gathered on the dance floor, and the music changes pace, pounding beats replaced with a relaxing chill out set. Stewards and volunteers stand around the outside of the parachute, making waves and ripples in the material, and those glorious psychedelic lights are trained onto the top of it. As one the crowd look up, entranced by the moving, swooping, rippling lights. We all relax, leaned up against each other, collectively winding down and coming back to earth.

 After the lightshow, Mary the Faerie (who runs the night along with DJ Monkeypilot and a small crew) takes the stage to thank everyone for making the night, to make birthday announcements, and to do the “lost and found”. I’ve yet to see something go missing that hasn’t been handed in, more evidence of  the attitude that makes this place unique.

 Everyone trickles into the chill out room for the last hour of the evening. People sit and sip tea or munch on watermelon as they find their bags and their friends, and start to prepare themselves for their return to reality. Hugs and goodbyes are followed by the slow walk back down the corridor, the psychedelic lights dimmed out by the bright morning light, reaching to snatch us back to it’s reality. I always leave Whirly feeling uplifted, but saddened that I can’t just live down the rabbit hole forever.

 My last Whirly was on the first weekend of July. I am already suffering from withdrawal from the happy vibes, and I can’t go back again until October!



Resolutions revisited

June 11, 2008

I think it’s about time I revisited my resolutions for the year and did a bit of an update on my progress:

Eat healthily: This one comes and goes in waves, for the most part I think I am a lot healthier in my eating habits than I used to be. I’m happy with my progress in this resolution.

Get rid of overdrafts: Well I’m working on one, but the other may have to wait a little while until the first is paid off, I should have got rid of one completely by the end of the year though!

Get Rid of credit card: I’m now set up to pay the minimum amount by direct debit every month so that if I forget to go into the bank and pay some off I don’t get hit with charges, it’s a start and I’m definitely making a dent in it, so by the end of the year maybe it’ll be gone for good.

Stop Smoking: This one I am ashamed to say I’m still working on. I’ve cut right back but I haven’t kicked it yet, more through laziness than anything, actually seeing this again today I think I will start again as of now, sorted.

Sit-ups: another shameful underachievement, hopefully I will have more positive news on this the next time I update, though with 6 months of the year gone already I should have a flat stomach by now!

Go to Reading: Tickets booked and ready to go.

Go to Glasto: crap line up, this one has been dropped.

Go to Amsterdam: The Wizard and I are hoping to get away in October around our birthdays.

Read my backlogged books: Since I’ve started reading as I walk I have made great progress through my bookshelf… but I have acquired a few more books to add to the pile… not my fault though, they were practically forced on me!

Pay more heed to my appearance: I have come to the conclusion that I’m just not the sort of girl that cares about make-up and tidy hair. I will make the effort when I feel like it and the rest of the time people will have to put up with a scruffpot

Get my totem tattoo: There have been too many things recently that have cost me money so I think this will have to go on the back burner for now, plus I’m finding it very hard to find good drawings of the totems I want to have tattooed to me, and there’s no way I’m going in without everything 100% as I want it

Go to Portugal: all booked for this September, I’m going to pack 5 books and see how many I can devour

Start a Japan account: unfortunately this resolution is very much dependant on my company’s share price going up a bit by the time my sharesave scheme ends. If I’m not happy with the price I won’t sell and the Japan account will have to wait a little longer.

Learn something new: Hopefully, as long as Ryan gets his bum in gear, I should be starting basic Japanese lessons in September. I have also learned some basic origami.

Visit the Fat Duck: I think I will try and get this sorted in Autumn sometime, I really want to try the tasting menu.

Get my nipple pierced: done and dusted and I’m really rather happy with the result! It’s healed up beautifully, I’m pleased I decided to get one that’s pointing down instead of across, it looks really good.

Get one of the burlesque pics printed off and framed: I haven’t had the time or the money to do this yet, but by the end of the year I will have a photo of the three Graves sisters all corseted-up on my wall, choosing one that I’m happy with could be hard though, the photographer was excellent but I just don’t like the face I pull when I have a photo taken.

See a Shakespeare play at the Globe: Not had a chance to think about this one yet, I’m hoping I get to see a Midsummer Nights Dream, it’s my favourite of Shakespeare’s plays.

Sort out storeage: All done and dusted, I now have all my books at home!

Medieval Banquet: another one I haven’t even thought about yet.

I think I’ve done fairly well with the list so far, I’ll keep soldiering through and stick another update up in a few months.

Brain Dump

June 9, 2008

It feels like it’s been an age since I last posted… again. I have no excuse, I just have an aversion to blogging sometimes, plus recently despite yet again having done tonnes of stuff, I still feel like I have nothing of note to talk about.

I’ve been in one of those odd philosophical moods recently, it’s been hovering about since the end of May and it’d be great if I knew what the hell I was philosophising about, I mean, I know the whole point of philosophy is perspective but give me a break!

Anyway, it’ll pass I guess, it’s just a nagging, itchy, antsy feeling that something is coming, or going, or maybe it’s already here and I just can’t perceive it yet, perhaps it’s nothing and the weather is just making me feel odd, who knows?

Tonight I shall mainly be chilling, ooh the excitement.

Scientology is a Cult…

May 20, 2008

…but we’re not allowed to say so:




May 12, 2008

Saturday night I experienced the most enjoyable club night of my life. Today I’m feeling the pull of that place and longing for the next big night out, it’s an experience to remember.

We travelled up to London Bridge and made our way to a little pub for a swift one before heading to the club itself, Whirl-Y-Gig. The entrance was quite nondescript and you wouldn’t have known there was a club there at all if it hadn’t been for the banner above the door.

On entering the club the first thing you see is a stall opposite the door selling glo sticks, t-shirts, and providing a UV face painting service. The first room is the chill out room, it’s walls are adorned with colourful hangings and there are comfy seats, sofas and padded benches everywhere. The music is just the stuff from the main room but quieter and more muffled.

Up some steps and there’s a lovely little niche room with a few little café style round tables and chairs, the theme of wall hangings continuing. This little space was a really good place to begin the night with a couple of drinks from the bar.

A couple more steps up and you’re into the main room. The ceiling had two large rounds of material hanging from it that looked a little like the roofs of two bigtops, the walls familiarly covered with sparkly streaks of coloured material. The music had a rave type beat but with very ethnic and hippy style melodies over the top which resulted in people picking either the fast or the slower pace to dance to. I opted for the drifty slower pace and was told I spent a lot of the night with a dreamy smile on my face, twisting and floating to the beat, waving my glo sticks about merrily.

Around the edges of the room were several people with bongo drums, so depending on where you stood you had yet another layer added to the music. In other places were people with poi, and a guy juggling glowing balls. The clothing in that place was brilliantly eclectic. There were ravers in their baggies and little tops, hippie types in gypsy skirts and earthy tones (I opted for this look myself), people in fancy dress, and some D&B style revellers.

I danced that night more than I think I ever have, I must have lost about half a stone in sweat! Everyone was friendly, I hugged so many people and chatted to loads more, so many lovely people!

At the end of the night the music lulled temporarily and everyone sat down on the dance floor. A large parachute was passed over our heads and held at various points by staff members. They started to make waves with it as some lovely chilled out tinkly music began and a soothing light show was played onto the canvas, I could happily have drifted off! Once the light show was over and the chute had been taken away we all drifted into the chill out room to sit, chill to the mellow music, eat water melon and oranges and generally mong out. By this time I was using Dopey John as my PLP, he was a little gem and looked after me for the last couple of hours of the night as it goes.

At about half 7 the club kicked out and we made our way back to Romford. The trains were pretty good and I made it to bed by around 9am. I woke again at half 2 feeling incredibly hot in my stuffy room, and managed to stay awake for the rest of the day, although admittedly I wasn’t much use for anything! Today I still feel a little zoned out, but I’m working away and keeping myself going with some happy hardcore courtesy of youtube. I can’t wait to go back to Whirly!

Be Afriad, Be Very Afraid…

April 29, 2008

This person is the head of science at a school in the UK:


Who let him in then?

Red red wine…

April 24, 2008

Roll on the weekend and roll on payday, I cannot wait.

I had a beautiful red wine hangover this morning, after an impromptu trip to the pub with my sisters last night. It was really good to be out and not stuck at home worrying about surviving til the end of the month, I feel like I’ve missed out on a lot of social stuff since I started being more frugal.

Various people were out, Jon turned up with a mate of his, both dressed in red and white from head to toe, singing England til I die and other patriotic tunes at the top of their voices. They’d been drinking since 1 in the afternoon and were quite, quite drunk. Various other people arrived and somehow I ended up wearing a plastic bowler hat with the England flag printed on it.

After some serious pubbing, a little dancing from my sisters to some tunes they put on the duke box, and a lot of natterings we all headed to Eddies for a little while where we discovered that Lando had left 18 cans of beer. A few of us nicked one then we hid the rest so that when he turned up some time later he had to go foraging to find them all. I wonder if he actually found them all in the end or if Eddie will be discovering beer cans in odd places for the next month. We watched the big bang theory then myself, Vikki, her Alan, Jenni, America and Dopey John all headed back to mine.

At mine we played some GH3, watched a few youtube videos, Vikki and America disappeared into the loo for aaages to sit in the bath and chat, then eventually we all realised it was stupid late and we had work the next day so everyone made their way home and I went to bed.

I woke this morning about half an hour before my alarm went off with a mind-splitting headache. I stumbled to the kitchen and got a cup of water before crashing again and then pressing the snooze button repeatedly for half an hour. When I finally did get up I had barely enough time to get ready, rushing like a nutter here and there, then somehow managing to knock a half bottle of red wine all over the floor and my jeans 5 minutes before I had to leave the house. Somehow I managed to change my jeans, put the soiled ones into the washing machine, and scrub the kitchen carpet (god knows why there’s a carpet in the kitchen) before belting it out the door.

My haste was unnecessary however as the bus was 15 minutes late and then took a convoluted route to Brentwood because of some massive traffic jam, so I got here about an hour late for the second time this week, the last time I was actually stuck in a massive traffic jam and it took me 45 minutes to get round one poxy roundabout. My head really didn’t need the hassle.

When I finally stumbled into work this morning I really felt worse for wear, I’m still a little groggy now but I had a sausage in a bun and a lucozade for brekkie so I’m starting to feel a little more chipper. America (Paula) met me for lunch and tuna sarnies which was cool. Tonight I’m gonna go home and have a really nice quiet night in, followed by a massive lie in tomorrow morning as I have no work, then it’s off to London for Eddies birthday!

Just need to get through the rest of today…


April 21, 2008

It’s been a fair few days since my last update, recently I’ve not felt the motivation to do anything even vaguely energetic. This really needs to change today or I fear my carpet may be lost forever beneath the layer of mess that’s accumulated.

So… what have I been up to? Well the film unfortunately didn’t get handed in on time, which is a real shame. It was great fun to make though, and we have learned some important lessons for any future projects… the main lesson being to get a decent microphone sorted before you start filming. Hopefully we will get a master copy of the whole thing made up and put on youtube, I will post the link up here if anyone ever gets round to doing it as it’s quite daft!

Not a great deal has happened since that weekend. I’ve been to the pub, visited friends, played poker, I started line dancing again… that was pretty cool. I haven’t been in around 3 years and was actually a little nervous as I walked back into the hall. The first person I saw was an old friend, little Gary.. Who is now 20! He still looks very young though bless him. We had a catch up and gave the abridged version of all the changes that had taken place in both of our lives over the years. He’s now in a full time job and with a lady that seems to be making him very happy, long may it last! I have realised just how unfit I’ve let myself get this past few years now, I am getting out of breath just a couple of sings in and I actually can’t remember any of the dances! I’ve printed off a load of sheets to practice with so hopefully next time I’ll be better.

Soon things should start to pick up again on the social front. This Friday I will be going out in London with various other people to celebrate Eddie’s birthday. It should be the first time we all meet his new girlfriend too so I look forward to that 🙂 The following weekend we’re back in London again for my sister’s birthday at Sin in Tottenham Court Road… loadsa clubbage!

Getting creative

April 7, 2008


This weekend I have mainly been doing this:


Hayley and Jon went to get the brief Saturday morning and Alan, Gilley and Eddie all gathered at mine so we could start brainstorming as soon as we got our instructions. A little later Mike turned up with half a tonne of computer equipment and software for editing.

Jon rang by about 11 with news of our title: Back Alleyway, our one line: ‘OK, this is weird, I just typed your name and you appeared’, and a prop: an A4 piece of paper which someone needed to write N, S, E, W pm and rip into 4 pieces. I won’t tell you what we came up with because I’d like to post the youtube link up on here at some stage when it’s been uploaded.

We bounced a few ideas around then wrote a few down each for fleshing out. Hayley and Jon returned and we discussed our ideas and eliminated any that weren’t good enough, that were too complicated for a 5 minute film, or that we didn’t have the resources to pull off.

Once we had an idea of where we were going we started working on a script, it all seems so long ago now it is hard to remember the process we went through! I know we were all very awake and enthusiastic at the beginning, Jon was recording ‘The Making Of’ on his little handheld camera and there was lots of laughing and joking.

By early afternoon we had scripts and we were running through our lines and actions until nightfall. Hayley wanted to do all our filming in the dark because the ambient lighting was less likely to change. Cue a montage of us running around dressed in outlandish garb on the streets of Romford until the wee small hours and that’s Saturday gone!

Sunday I woke late to find people still going. I didn’t have much work on the second day but Hayley and Mike worked pretty much non-stop, as they had since it all kicked off the morning before. When it got dark we had to film a couple of scenes again because the lighting didn’t work for everything, or because we didn’t have time the night before. We had to dub a load of stuff too because the microphone didn’t pick up everything.

This morning I awoke to find Hayley still sitting at the PC after an hours sleep, Mike had finally decided to get some kip too and Hayley was going to give him half an hour before waking him for the last push. All they had to do was get the music sorted and get it onto DVD to hand in.

A few minutes ago I found out that they were still trying to finish it. There was a mini power cut at the house and now it won’t do the final render, I’m so worried it’s not going to happen all because of one stupid little thing right at the end, and I can’t do anything to help, all that work… it’s awful 😦

Hopefully I’ll update this very soon with news it all worked out OK…



April 1, 2008

As of yesterday, after an hour of clicking refresh with one hand and redial with the other, I have Reading Festival Tickets!! The line-up this year is epic:


I’m so glad I’m all sorted for tickets now and don’t have to worry anymore. Though I didn’t manage to get early entry tickets so I need to try and get them on the second wave.

Also, I have a new piercing 🙂