December 3rd, 2006

pandababy christmas

back for good

This month's Observer Woman supplement is a "fashion and lifestyle special". Except, isn't that pretty much what Observer Woman is about every single month anyway? I despair of that rag, I really do. Especially when you add in the hideously offensive and downright classist and racist article about Coleen McLoughlin in the Review section, which is filled with more patronising generalisations about Irish Catholics and the British working class than you'd think possible in a two page piece. Fuck off, Observer.

I went to see Pan's Labyrinth last night and loved it - the perfect blend of truly amazing fantasy and genuinely disturbing gritty reality. The violent bits are, however, very violent; I had my eyes closed and my fingers in my ears during one of the more graphic scenes. But the whole thing is absolutely fantastic and is strongly recommended.

The weather is very wild and wet and blustery and yet I actually prefer it to the usual damp drizzle. There's something exhilarating about more extreme weather. Today at lunch time Patsington and I donned hats, scarves and boots and tramped through the park to the Horse and Hound pub for a (delicious and snug) pub lunch. Afterwards we stomped back again through the deserted park, surrounded by slightly scarily swaying trees. It was so windy I was almost blown off my feet at one stage (Patsington said he was going to have to tie a string to me and fly me like a kite) but oh, it was fun. And then we tumbled in the door and curled up on the couch and watched the Coronation Street omnibus and afterwards I put on Ella Fitzgerald and read a Georgette Heyer mystery (I'd never read her detective novels until recently and they're absolutely brilliant - character driven and very funny but with genuinely clever mystery plots). Blissful.

And it's Advent! It may be many years since I went to Mass every Sunday and I have no desire (or belief in Catholic dogma) to go again, but I must confess I feel a little twinge when I remember the excitement turning up at the Church on the first Sunday of Decemeber and seeing that the first candle of the Advent wreath was alight. But we develop our own Christmassy rituals, and right now my house's one is listening to Sufjan Stevens's fantastic Christmas album box set. So strange and beautiful and somehow really Christmassy.

And finally - is anyone else strangely charmed by the successful Take That comeback? Because I really am. I've always had a soft spot for the That, even though (or perhaps because) my youngest sister was absolutely obsessed with them back in their heyday, meaning that for a while I came home from college almost every evening to find her watching Take That: The Party, Live at Wembley. I always found the lads themselves kind of likeable, and, call it Stockholm syndrome, but quite a few of their songs broke through my indier-than-thou music snobbery, including, of course, the unashamedly great 'Back for Good'. So I'm glad that after all Robbie Williams's sneering, their comeback has been not only a huge commercial hit, but a critical one too - the album is getting good reviews. I won't be buying it, I might add, but I'm weirdly glad that lots of other people are.

Right, back to the couch and Georgette...