Tuesday 16 April 2024

Behind Every Smile There's Teeth

Hailstorms, Baltic temperatures and galeforce wind aside, at least we're enjoying a little sporadic sunshine this week.

With the weekend mostly being spent paperhanging (I can't really call it wallpapering as its the ceiling we're tackling) I've been dressed in dungarees for most of the time. It was quite exciting to slip on my Naked Generation dress (eBay, 2020) and a vintage suede jacket to pop to B&Q for more DIY supplies on Monday morning. I did wear the vintage tan leather boots I'd bought from the charity shop on Friday but they pinch my big toes so off to the Kinky Shed they go. 

This midi looks remarkably like a Naked Generation dress but its labelled Mono and was a fraction of the price (new with tags via Vinted). This - with my Anokhi riding jacket over the top - was this morning's choice for swimming, Spoons and a trip to the dentist. My second trip in a week. 

The toothache I'd been plagued with at the beginning of last week turned out to be a gum infection but luckily the antibiotics worked their magic and I've been given a clean bill of dental health. I'm aware of how incredibly fortunate we are to have an NHS dentist, a quarter of all British adults can't access one and most of our friends have no choice but to pay monthly subscriptions for private dentistry. The bill today cost just us over £80 - this included my emergency appointment (examination, X-Rays and prescription), both Jon & I's biannual check-up and two scale and polishes. 

By the way, it appears I tempted fate when last week I mentioned how I'd not being bothered by the menopause, apparently the teeth and gums are extremely susceptible to any hormonal changes that can take place around the time of the menopause...gah!  

As promised in my last post, here's our recently acquired charity shopped vinyl. (The emboldened acts are those we've seen live.)

The first four collages are the latest 7" purchases - Melanie, Sham 69, The Banned, The Mission, George McCrae, Holly & The Italians, Bow Wow Bow, The Regents, The Alarm, The Reverse Cowgirls, The Late Show, The Real Thing, Gary Numan, Japan, Nick Lowe, a compilation comprising The Jesus & Mary Chain, Redskins, Simply Red and The Style Council, Electribe 101 and Elvis Costello & The Attractions. There's some odd choices but when the assistant insists you take 5 for £1 you'll grab anything that isn't scratched to buggery.

Here's the albums: The Osmonds, Fat Boy Slim, Twenty Flight Rockers, Phoneys & The Freaks (featuring Bonehead from Oasis), a 1976 compilation featuring acts that include Candi Staton, Gordon Lightfoot, Fleetwood Mac and Todd Rundgren and Twiggy (still sealed in the original cellophane).

How many of these artists have you seen live?

My beautiful friend Betty took this book with her to Morocco recently (read her blog HERE) and kindly sent it my way when she'd finished it. It tells the story of the year the author, Tahir Shah and his family spent in Casablanca and is a fascinating tale of the Morrocan mafia, dodgy workmen, superstition and jinns (evil spirits). 

We've been to Morocco a couple of times. The engraved metal Hand of Fatima which still hangs on our bathroom wall was a gift from a shopkeeper we got chatting to in the Petit Socco in Tangier when we first visited in 1992.

Here I am on my first trip as a fresh-faced 25-year-old. With my serial killer fringe, Levi's ribbed tee shirt, a Wonderbra and my Adidas Gazelles I couldn't be more 1990s! 

We stayed at The Hotel Continental in the heart of the souk in Tangier where, two years previously, John Malkovich had stayed and filmed The Sheltering Sky, Bernardo Bertolucci's magnificent film based on the Paul Bowles novel. Abdul, the fez wearing head waiter, had worked there since the Second World War, during breakfast he'd wind up the gramophone and play big band tunes. We visited the Bond baddie's Tangier villa in The Living Daylights, dodged a legion of touts who'd line up outside the hotel each morning and attach themselves firmly to our sides as we walked around le petit socco pointing out the obvious and demanding cash for the privilege. 

We sat in cafes bedecked with graffiti supposedly daubed by The Rolling Stones, paid homage to the Marrakesh rooftop where Talitha Getty posed for that photo, marveled at Yves St Laurent's beautiful blue garden, trekked the Riff Valley, swam in icy cold mountain streams, crossed the country on the overnight Marrakesh Express train where we shared a couchette with the locals and accidentally ended up in an illegal strip joint in downtown Marrakesh with the chief of police (as you do!)

Obviously back in 1992, cameras were analogue and all the pictures we took are stashed away in an album in one of our sheds. I made this little slideshow of our thirty-two year old adventure for my blog a few years ago. Jon's got hair and everything! 


I can't talk about books without mentioning my most recent read, The Heavenly Table by Donald Ray Pollock. Set in 1917, the book tells the tale of three dirt poor brothers who, after the death of their deranged father and inspired by a cheap dimestore novel, decide to become outlaws, murdering and pillaging their way across the American Midwest. It's darkly comic, Tarantino-esque in its violence and reminds me of one of my favourite films, O Brother, Where Art Thou? It goes straight to the top of Vix's Best Reads of 2024 followed very closely by Matthew Kneale's English Passengers, a biting satire on the evils of Colonialism.

I had to do a double take as I was writing today's blog post, I looked out of the window and spotted one of our handsome urban foxes sunning himself on the lawn. Despite them having dug up my stumpery to make themselves a den I still have a soft spot for Reynard the Fox (although not enough to cough up £8000 for this rare 1701 publication!)

Up until a few months ago, most evenings Mr Fox would wait on the doorstep for William and they'd trot off up the garden together. Not being a street cat any more, William prefers human company. He can't even be bothered chasing Kitty from next door any more, even when she sits on the windowsill snarling at him.

Due to the antibiotics, I've not touched a drop of alcohol for over a week. I'm almost giddy with excitement at the thought of having a glass of Rioja with my tea tonight! Cheers!