Thing of the Week: A Bunch Of Things That Aren't LJ's Head Cold, Dancing to "Typical Girls" Under a Disco Ball While Ian Svenonius Skulks by in His Peacoat

LJ'S THING OF THE WEEK: A Tie Between A Bunch Of Things That Aren't My Head Cold

1. Last Sunday morning I woke up with the beginnings of an agonizing head cold that also might be a sinus infection; I can't really tell the difference between these kinds of things. Then I went to work for fifteen hours and nothing about it was great but then finally it was over! My co-workers bought themselves some wine to drink and they were all "Aren't you so sad that you're doing Sober January and can't drink wine with us?" and I was like "I have literally never been less sad about anything in my life." Then I called an Uber and had such a chill Uber experience. It was warmish and humid out and the driver had the windows down and was blasting "I Wish" by Skee-Lo, which, as it turns out, is the best song I've ever heard. "I love your music," I screeched, in my scratchy gulpy sick person accent, "This is amazing." Next he played "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems," which was equally amazing but slightly less revelatory, since I already knew I loved "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems."

2. The next day I downloaded "I Wish" and "Mo' Money, Mo' Problems" and then worked out to both of them. Skee-Lo is basically a genius to me. I really love the part when he's like "When it comes to playin' basketball, I'm always last to be picked and, in some cases, never picked at all"- I think that in some cases is so elegant! Skee-Lo is Evelyn Waugh. 

3. The one upside to my being deathly ill is that it has been perfectly timed to my becoming obsessed with binge-watching the entire series of The (US) Office. Guess how many episodes of The Office I've watched in the past four days? Forty-six. All of Season 2 and Season 3. I skipped Season 1 because I listened to Mindy Kaling's entire audiobook when I flew from London to Toronto in December and there's a part where she talks about how the general consensus is that The Office "came into its own" during its second season and I can't really be bothered with watching a season of a TV show that came out in like 2004 and hadn't come into its own yet. Anyway, The Office is the best thing that's ever happened to me. I am still reeling from the Season 3 finale, which is when Jim drives back to Scranton from New York City and Pam is in the conference room talking to the camera about whether or not Jim is going to get the job in corporate and then Jim walks in and asks her if she wants to get dinner and then Laura Jane erupts into violent sobs because Jim and Pam's love is the most beautiful love that has ever been. 

4. The part in "Savoy Truffle" when George sings "Coffee dessert- yes you know it's good news" and really just the whole joyful act of imagining cutie-cute George Harrison sitting around and writing a song about a bunch of different desserts. What a perfect boy. 

5. The picture above, which is of a man who is not a Beatle playing the piano at Abbey Road studios, in conjunction with the part in The Beatles by Bob Spitz where he describes Abbey Road studios as having a "library stillness," which is really inspiring to me. I am going to go to Abbey Road on Monday if I am no longer dying of a head infection. 

6. Guess how old I'm turning on June 24th? That's right- thirty. I'm turning thirty. Thirty years deep. I've recently been feeling pretty iffy about my future thirty-ness recently, but then I had a genius and fear-nullifying revelation in the middle of my having insomnia last night, which is that I am going to celebrate my thirtieth birthday by taking myself on a special LJ Turns Thirty adventure to the Loire Valley (AKA "the garden of France"), my favourite wine region in the WORLD, where I will stay at the wildly-Instagrammable Hotel de France and work on my nov and gorge myself on I literally don't even care what I eat because ALL I WANT is Chenin Blanc. As a rule I think it sounds really ugly when people say, like, "I want to drink all the Chenin Blanc," but in this case it's true. I want Anjou Rose and Savennieres in June, to be shared with nobody in the world except my best friend LJ. 

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Dancing to "Typical Girls" Under a Disco Ball While Ian Svenonius Skulks by in His Peacoat

I saw Chain & The Gang twice last week (including at a semi-secret show Friday at Punky Reggae Party at La Cita) and they were the best and wildest shows I've been in a long time. Like I can't even believe how great they sounded - both nights I never wanted them to stop playing, and I hardly ever feel that way about bands. At La Cita the stage is teeny-tiny and instead of staying up there with the band Ian Svenonius mostly danced around the crowd like a madman, or stood at the very edge of the stage like in that photo I took above. Lately I'm into the concept of human energy as a renewable resource, and Ian Svenonius is good at letting me know you can your scream guts out and dance your feet off all the time forever and the more you do it, the more energy you'll get to keep on doing it some more.

After Chain & The Gang the DJ played. And toward the end of the night "Typical Girls" by The Slits came on and I danced the hell out of it, thinking of Viv Albertine who is newly one of my heroes because of her amazing book, and also of Ari Up's fly dance moves in the "Typical Girls" video. We were under a disco ball, I did the pony, and at one point Ian Svenonius skulked by and did a little skulky dance next to Patti and then skulked away again, wearing a peacoat. I've been working so much lately, to the point where I feel like my head's going to fall off and roll away down the big hill I live on, and it's nice that Life was like "Okay, here, you get this moment of dancing to 'Typical Girls' in a Latin nightclub and of Ian Svenonius dancing by you in his peacoat, being a beautiful beast." It was a cool present.

So work continues to be bonkers and I had like zero "downtime" this week but I tried to take little breaks and give myself things that would make me feel stoked and inspired, like LJ's Notes from London writings and like Soft Focus, which is a talk show thing Ian Svenonius used to do for Vice. So far my fave is the Chan Marshall episode; it's got the warmest vibes and she's a goofball and wonderful and they love each other so much. I love her earrings and her story about playing CBGB for the first time, and how she makes Ian Svenonius smile a lot and show his crazy teeth. I like what he says about the power of the U.N.


Ex Hex's "Don't Wanna Lose" Video Is All Lips & Legs


There's a new Ex Hex video out today and it's a remake of Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains, which is a movie I watched once in like 2007 and have no memory of and should probably revisit. The video's for "Don't Wanna Lose" and it's directed by Lara Gallagher who also did the "Hot and Cold" video that I love so much, plus that beautiful Mikal Cronin video starring Mary Timony as a sad-eyed maid in Portland. Big spoiler: Timony's not sad-eyed at all in "Don't Wanna Lose" - she's having the most fun! Just yesterday I had a moment of being super-thankful for Ex Hex for letting me know that my 40s might be the best fun yet (I turned 37 a few weeks ago, gotta think ahead), and then I realized that Ex Hex are like the opposite of that goddamn joyless This Is 40 movie. So waking up today to a video where they're roller-skating and doing choreographed dances and wearing punk makeup and generally being hot beautiful goofs was totally reassuring. Not that I needed to be reassured, but that's what Ex Hex does for you: takes the good vibes and intensifies them until your heart and head just burst into cool blue flames that burn forever. Here they are, being fashion heroes:

My fave part of "Don't Wanna Lose" is when they're at the photoshoot and Laura Harris whispers to Timony to get rid of her gum, and Timony makes her adorable "Oh no, my gum!" face. Mary Timony is a great actor; she really killed it in this little beautiful short film from 15 years ago. Also: perfect pink jeans, Laura Harris.


Notes From London In December: Vol. 2


November of 2014 was one of the roughest and ugliest months of my life. Writing is a really therapeutic thing for me IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED so once December rolled around I forced myself to keep really intense journals as a means of distracting myself from the general messiness of my everything. Plus December is a really large and descript month and generally my favorite month to write about. In December, everything feels like something. This is the second of three instalments in this series. Here is Part 1. 


My eye problems are flaring up again so I’m wearing my glasses and I’m riding the tube and I’m praying the ride will last forever. I’m drinking a venti skinny peppermint mocha (I’m not capitalizing “venti” anymore, I just decided. The time it takes to press down on the shift key to make the V isn’t worth it to me; what's the point, it's not a proper noun) and I’ve got If It Makes You Happy by Sheryl Crow on my headphones; that’s just how I’m rolling these days. I am too tired to chew and 1997 was an amazing year for popular music. I want to sit forever and never stand.
        I’m giving myself a pep talk about my glasses. John Lennon wore glasses. He wore glasses so goddamned well they named an entire style of glasses after him! That’s something to aspire to. I’m going to buy myself a pair of the sickest glasses. Big fat sick fucking glasses.
       The tube ride doesn’t last forever which is cool because it means I’m not dead. At work I ask my boss if I can wear red lipstick during service or is it too flash for fine-dining and she says “Go for it!” so I “Go for it!” But at the end of the night my sommelier tells me I can never wear red lipstick during service again. It’s too flash for fine-dining.
        Now I’m pouting. I’m doing other things too. I’m using every tool in my physicality handbook to communicate that I find this censorship unjust. It is two-o-clock in the morning. I have recently finished polishing seventy-five wine glasses and am about to crack on with the second polish. I am not at my personal best. In fact it could be argued that I am floating around somewhere dangerously close to my Personal Worst.


Notes From London In December: Vol. 1


November of 2014 was one of the roughest and ugliest months of my life. Writing is a really therapeutic thing for me IN CASE YOU HAVEN'T NOTICED so once December rolled around I forced myself to keep really intense journals as a means of distracting myself from the general messiness of my everything. Plus December is a really large and descript month and generally my favorite month to write about. In December, everything feels like something. This is the first of three instalments in this series. 


Yesterday one of the producers of the TV show Desperate Housewives ate dinner at my restaurant. I leaned against the wine glass cupboard with my hands clasped neatly behind my back because I work in fine dining and when in doubt clasp your hands neatly behind your back. When you clasp your hands neatly behind your back people believe that you are a person who works in fine dining and not just a person pretending to seem like a person who works in fine dining by clasping their hands neatly behind their back. Guess which one I am.
        I listened to him tell his friends a story about how just before Desperate Housewives got picked up by ABC or whatever he was broke and feeling like crap about his life and he went to see a psychic and the psychic told him “You’re going to be very successful, but you’re going to have to work hard for that success. But at least the prospect of success is open to you— some people work as hard as you do, but success just isn’t in the cards for them.” The story had a kind of “Worship me” vibe to it and he kept going on and on about how hard he had to work to get to where he is now, dining with Ian Fleming’s grandson at a fancy tiny restaurant in Notting Hill, and I kept on standing there, kept my hands clasped neatly behind my back, gazing toward the front door so that guests can’t tell I’m secretly watching the levels of their water glasses because if a Michelin inspector happens to be secretly dining in the restaurant and the water glass goes empty we’ll never get a Michelin star, and then we’ll all have to kill ourselves, unfortunately. I listened to his story about the hot young thang who roped him into wakeboarding in Malibu which segued into a little bit about how he’s a Pisces in Western astrology but an Aquarius in Vedic astrology and Ian Fleming’s grandson nodded Mm-hmm Mm-hmm Mm-hmm like it was the most fascinating thing he’d ever heard in his life, which is probably how he reacts to everything, and I sort of wanted to go pull up a chair and have my sommelier pour me a glass of Larmandier-Bernier that I’m sure I would have fucked up pouring if I’d poured it and be like “Oh that’s cool that you’re a Pisces, give me money, I’m a water sign too,” but instead I kept on standing there and hoped so hard in my head that I’m one of those same kinds of people as he is. That at very least the prospect of success is open to me.