Thursday, 11 March 2010

Thank you

Thank you so much to everyone who has been involved in 100 days. It has been a pleasure and a privilege. To finish I thought I'd put together a list in the style of Elise.

Ways 100 days has made me a better person
  1. I have met lovely people and feel part of a community
  2. I have tried new and different exercises and discovered the joy of spinning
  3. I have learnt about modern art
  4. I talk more to strangers
  5. I have a better vocabulary
  6. I try new things
  7. I have discovered Sam Smith pubs
  8. I am better at technology
  9. I can make a great banana bread
  10. I have learnt that I am creative and that I can do far more than I think I can
  11. I'm new to London and although sometimes it seems big and scary I now know that it is filled with friendly, creative and lovely people who do amazing things (and that probably applies to everywhere).
  12. I discovered magnetic inkjet paper
  13. I've met some lovely people, learnt some great words and am happier than when I started
  14. I search for more obscure ways to complement people (nice pen)
  15. I am stronger now and can count better
Not all of these are mine- some were contributed at the museum last night. Please feel free to add your own in the comments.

And thank you xx

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

Untitled #24

Still, my hands down, absolute favourite 100 days blog is Howard’s art history blog Untitled #23. Howard only did the project up until Christmas. Then he signed off never to return. In the weird way that Twitter lets you get attached to people you barely know, I miss Howard and I hope he’s doing well wherever he may be.

There are only 14 entries for 100 days on his blog but the quality is immense. His posts will educate you, they will entertain you, they will make you laugh, make you cry, make you wish you were a gay man named Pete living in Bristol (or maybe that last one’s just me). If the only thing I had got out of 100 days was to read his first post I still would have left the project a better person.

I know very little about art but part of the reason for this plagiarism project is to challenge myself. I want to be able to look at a work of art and learn about it and really understand it. So it was with this aim that I went to possibly my favourite place in all the world, the Victoria and Albert Museum.

The V&A does something amazing. It focuses on the art and design created throughout history, throughout the world. By looking at the objects created it tells human history in a way that avoids so many of the euro-centric patriarchal interpretations. It is history where clothes are equally as important as crowns, where you can find out as much about the lives of the elite as of the poor, where embroidery from Aztec and Spanish women are placed side by side and valued equally. Through experiencing history through artefacts rather than written facts I feel you gain a huge and overwhelming sense that history happened to real people, how similar and how different we all are.

Where the V&A goes even further is that it allows us to look not only at the past but also the present and how our lives are shaped by and reflected in the art and design of today. Jason Bruges' Mirror Mirror a commissioned work as part of the Decode exhibition of digital art very literally reflects us and the modern world around us. This installation features over 40 panels made up of LEDs and a camera encased in a double layer of acrylic. These units are placed in formation in the pool of the John Madejski Garden. The cameras act both as sensors to detect when there is movement in front of them and to capture the image of what is moving. This is instantly played back on the led screen until the object stops moving and the screen returns to white. These images not only reflect what is in front of them but they, in turn, are reflected in the water of the pool.

Technologically it is amazingly clever. Each LED displays in 250 shades of grey allowing the small screens to display remarkable recognisable images. It even works in darkness with the cameras picking up infra red light beamed onto participants form the balcony. It showcases how far we’ve come. How technology can be manipulated and used by us. How we can create and reflect nature, and how, with each image reflected in the pond, we can make nature reflect us.

With technology playing such a huge part in our lives it is easy to forget that there is a human hand behind it. Mirror Mirror reminds us of the human element of technology- when we interact with the piece we literally make it happen, human energy is the force that drives it.

At the same time there is something sinister about technology. The grainy images that are projected back are reminiscent of surveillance footage and CCTV. It is almost as if we are being watched although we don’t know by whom. The multiple cameras that capture us at every angle as we walk by are a reminder of how often our image is captured every day.

But where is the line between being watched and wanting to be seen? Take a few minutes to watch how people interact with the installation and you will see how they dance in front of it, wave at it, pull funny faces. Almost everyone takes delight in seeing themselves reflected. It is the idea of ‘digital narcissism’: we fall in love with our digital reflection- not only in this piece but all over the internet, we love to see ourselves reflected in blogs, on Twitter, on YouTube, we create and replicate our image in technology in a myriad different ways.

Through complex technology Bruges is showing us a basic human instinct- the desire to see ourselves reflected in the world. The pond itself could have provided us with a reflection of ourselves but the installation offers something more. Walk past the camera and it will play back your image for the second you go past but then will continue to display the backdrop of the museum behind, the stunning architecture of the past, of a museum that houses almost all of human history. We are only passing through. However, if you don’t move out of shot, if you stay still, after a few seconds the screen returns to white- in this world of technology if we stop moving we are rendered invisible.

If you got to the end of this post- congratulations and thank you! I didn’t come up with all of these ideas by myself- I went to a talk by Bruges at the museum which was fascinating. If you haven’t yet seen the Decode exhibition and you get a chance do go, it’s incredible.

Monday, 8 March 2010

Sticky notes

Matt Sheret
's writes little notes and leaves them around to entertain and bemuse an unsuspecting public. I've been trying to think of something good to write and somewhere good to stick it for the last 10 weeks. Unfortunately I'm just too much of a chicken to 'deface' public property. Tonight I was making my book for the 100 days museum and I came up with a way to plagiairse without the fear of prosecution.

I'm too much of a wuss to stick this sticker anywhere else.

Sunday, 7 March 2010

A photo a day

The community feel of 100 days has been the best bit for me. I started the project shortly after I moved to London and it's been a great way to feel part of something and not all alone in an uncaring city. And it's been great that the people I've met in real life have turned out to be just as lovely as their online personas suggested.

One of the first people I connected with through 100 days was Mel. Her simple but effective photo a day project provided a snapshot of her life which was both compelling and very satisfying to a nosy parker like me. She also probably gave me the idea for this blog when early on in the project she said that she felt other people's ideas were more creative than her own. I was feeling similarly and decided the best way around this was just to copy all of those fabulous creative ideas! Mel took the very sensible step of finishing her project early to focus on more important things in her life. As we are nearing the end I wanted to remember some of the great stuff from the beginning.

(I'd like to point out this post is also pretty similar to Sophie's photo a day which I also loved)


Today I visited my friend Sammie in Kent to celebrate her 22nd Birthday. Tomorrow is also our 3rd anniversary. We met in Barcelona through mutual friends when we were both living out there. Sammie quickly became one of my best friends and we lived together for a year. After Spain she moved to Argentina while I moved to Scotland. Now we are pretty close to each other but don't see each other as often as we should. It was lovely to see her, to meet some of her friends, to speak some Spanish with her (French) boyfriend and to eat good food and drink cava. The cake in the picture is chocolate and beetroot! Sadly I was good and stuck to my lent resolution of not eating choc so didn't get to try it. I did eat some pretty good cupcakes though.


I have never played a full game of Monopoly, never even got to the stage where you can buy hotels and houses. Monopoly always took too long and my sister would get bored and steal from the bank before we could get a game going.

Despite my lack of familiarity with the game I was very excited to join Ade Brown on the second half of his Monopoly walk yesterday. Ade has been walking an hour a day everyday for his hundred days and you can follow his progress over at his blog where he has some pretty impressive Google maps that chart the over 300 miles he has walked since December. I had never plagiarised in person before. Most of my work consists of ripping off people's stuff from the internet and hoping they don't mind. It was nice to do someone's challenge alongside them for a change.

I hugely enjoyed the walk, the sun was shining, the company delightful and London was on top form. I saw buildings I had never noticed before, discovered some great pubs and generally got to know this amazing city better. A lovely day with lovely people. I don't know if I'm a better person because of this project but there are times when my life's pretty darn good because of it.

Also Ade has a just giving page where you can sponsor him for his very impressive walking acheivements- go to

Monday, 1 March 2010

140 characters

One of the best things about 100 days for me is that it has introduced me to the wonderful world of Twitter. There is something horribly cringe-inducing about talking about Twitter and I can't even bring myself to use the word 'tweet' unless I'm talking about real birds. But as wanky as it sounds to say it- I love Twitter.

I love that I am more informed about news and politics than I ever was before. I love that I am exposed to the best the internet has to offer from the amazing jokes to the joys of fat fashion. I love stalking minor celebrities. I love reading about random people's lives. I love that I can chat with other 100 days people. I love that the 100 days people I have met since in real life were just as lovely as their tweets *shudder* suggested.

Fitting what you want to say into 140 characters is hard though. Especially if, like me, you tend to go on a bit. Re-editing my comments so they fit in the limit has led to no end of horrendously formed sentences where I didn't re-read to check if my sentence scanned. Mind you I'm not much better at proofing blog posts- I wrote 'photo's' yesterday when I only wanted a plural.

The master of the 140 character post though is undoubtedly Greg Wohead who has provided us with a brief yet perfectly formed play everyday for the last 90 days. I got in a quite intense drunken argument about Greg's plays with someone at a party a few weeks ago. I was explaining the 100 days project and used twitter plays as an example of what people were doing. The person I was talking to claimed that 140 characters was too short to be a play. I quite vocally disagreed and dragged him upstairs where I had signal on my phone to read some of the plays and prove him wrong. "Look you only get a couple of lines but they are characters- you get a sense of who they are, you can imagine what happened before or after, they are art, they make you look at the world in a different way, you are better for being exposed to them, there was one about baked alaska, it was amazing" I slurred. I think he probably only agreed with me to shut me up but I was right: Greg's plays are brilliant. In his own words 'themes range from grief to ageism to Jonathan Taylor Thomas and back again'. There is a lot going on in those 140 characters.

I've tried on several occasions to write my own. This is the best I can do.

Jen: I wish we had more than one saucepan.
Tim: Why don't you buy another then?
Jen: Yeah but I bought the second plate.

Sunday, 28 February 2010

Lego and lost gloves

There are some people's projects that I think about doing almost every day- I am constantly listening for a line I think will be good for one of Greg's twitter plays and I have been planning my introduction for my 300 words about art since before I created this blog.

There are some things that I did before but now am more likely to, like complimenting people, taking opportunities to talk to strangers or being open to trying new things, and I don't really feel I need to blog about them. (Although doing one big new thing before next Wednesday is definitely something I want to achieve.)

Other projects require strategic planning, like taking a trip to Hamley's to play with Lego. I'm no Daniel Weir but I had fun.

I started off simple with some European flags.

Then I attempted something slightly more complex- a tree (and flower).

The little boy next to me put me to shame though. He was making some kind of epic spaceship and the second I stepped away from the table my tree was stripped for parts to be added to his craft.

Neither of us could quite compete with this though.

And then there are times where the opportunity for plagiarism just presents itself. Like today when walking along Regent's Street I spotted this lost and lonely glove. (For more and better photos of lost gloves I direct you to grant_me's flickr.)

With only 10 days left I'm hoping lots more of these kind of opportunities present themselves but I am also doing some planning to try and fit everything in that I want to do. Please let me know if you think there are any projects I really have to do before our 100 days are over.

Saturday, 27 February 2010

Photo fun

Heidi aka Mybitofsky takes photos of rubbish she finds in the street. They are stunningly good and make you look at mudane and discarded objects as works of art.

This is my homage to her, taken on the Kings Road, London.

Monday, 22 February 2010


I love Wikipedia.
I love the idea of people getting together to share knowledge about everything (absolutely everything).
I love that Spanish universities feel it necessary tell students that it is unacceptable to use Wikipedia as your only source for an essay.
I love the Nathan Filer poem about Wikipedia which sadly I can't find online (although I strongly recommend you check out his other work).
I love the random article button on Wikipedia. When I worked in a very boring job, my friend Richard and I, working on opposite sides the city, would send each other links to the best random article we could find. Actually, now my job isn't boring and we live several hundred miles away we still do!
I love the stories Ben Partridge wrote, based on the wikipedia article generated by the random button each day.
I particularly love day three and day 25.
I miss those stories.

Here is my very poor attempt to replicate one.

Based on the wikipedia article:, as generated by the random article button. (And I was good and only pressed it once.)

It had all started when Emma Hardy had given him salty popcorn when he had specifically asked for sweet. He didn’t discover the error until he was sat in his seat and the trailers had already started. He had timed his entrance perfectly to avoid the adverts but catch the trailers and now it was too late to go back and complain. He was so angry he didn’t even take any pleasure in the trailer for the latest George Clooney film. All he could think about was Emma Hardy, giving him the wrong popcorn, mocking him from behind the refreshments counter. Not even George- so rugged yet so debonair- could smooth over that slight. He managed to concentrate for most of the film but when occasionally his hand would stray to the popcorn bucket he would remember and his ire would rise again. He’d have his revenge though.

As soon as he got home he logged onto Wikipedia and edited the entry for the Kettering Odeon, referencing the low hygiene standard and low morals of their food staff. That would show her. His satisfaction didn’t last long however. Three days later the article was amended and all mentions of what Ms Hardy liked to indulge in and with whom were removed from the site.

Since then it had become a challenge, an obsession: John against the machine. He learnt quickly- comments on cinemas and nightclubs got picked up pretty quickly, sexual slurs were detected within a matter of days, UK and US based businesses were a lot quicker to cleanse their entries than organisations in other countries. Tonight though he was pretty sure he had cracked it.

‘Cafe Cartel Restaurants in the suburban areas are infamous for their bad customer service. Snobby managers and staff with no eye contact.’

It didn't matter he had never even left the UK,let alone visited Singapore. Tonight, he was sure, he had acheived his goal. It would be months, even years, before anybody corrected that.

It was with intense smugness and satisfaction that he watched his ER box set that night.

Friday, 19 February 2010

Letter writing

Today I wrote a letter to Sara Pascoe. Sara has been writing a letter a day for her hundred days and very kindly wrote one to me. And being a fabulous comedian type she will be telling us about it at the event on the 10th March (her hundred days I mean, not just the letter she wrote to me).

Sara and I actually went to university together (I am one of her 1500 close, intimate friends on facebook) and she directed me (and also starred) in a production of Alice in Wonderland for Sussex University Drama Society. I played the very important role of frog footman/playing card/segment of a caterpillar and general chorus. Whereas that show for me was the pinnacle of my acting acheivements Sara has gone on to bigger and better things including popping up in the episode of Being Human I was watching this evening. I have great memories from Alice. I met my best friends at uni through that production. I am very greatful to Sara (and Vanessa and Katie) for casting me in the first place. It's been really nice to reconnect with her breifly and in letter form through 100 days.

Thursday, 18 February 2010

Carrying On

So last week was plagiarism week and I got a bit lazy. It was brilliant to see everyone else's efforts, I really enjoyed it. But it did kind of take away my drive to carry on with the blog. I wasn't sure whether I would continue now that the whole homage thing had kind of been done and done better by everyone else. Also I'd completely let my original pledge slide (physical exercise or creative writing everyday) having not written anything or gone to the gym since day 62.

But last night, on my way back from the hundred days meet up I felt a renewed sense of determination. I've never been and never will be the best writer, athlete, playwright, photographer etc.etc. but I've really enjoyed trying and I want to continue to do so. I re-read the writing I've done for my own pledge last night and I have over 8000 words, some that I'm actually really happy with. I want to carry on and see what else I can do.

So tonight I have copied a pledge (or several) that I love and don't have the talent to do myself. But I've done it anyway and I enjoyed it. So in the spirit of Vented Spleen, Eddie Ross, and the fabulous Wiggly Mittens here is my comic strip:

And because the photo quality is so appalling (will try and scan it at work tomorrow) here is what it says:
Today I was productive. I fought the CMS and won. I got my boots re-heeled. I baked some sweet potato muffins. I did some washing. I did some writing and drawing. Today was a GOOD day.

I think the next 20 days will be pretty good too. I've got a list of lots of projects I still want to copy and I'm going to try and continue with my own as well. I want to make sure I've got lots for my plinth at the Hundred Days Museum. I hope to see lots of you there.

Sunday, 14 February 2010

Renault 4 Door

I am not a songwriter. Occasionally I am a singer but I am not a songwriter. I thought I'd never be able to follow the lead of The Pictish Trail and his 30 second song a day.

But this week is plagiarism week and with so many people do stirling work on the homage front I'm upping the ante and posting work that's not even vaguely mine and claiming it as my 100 days contribution.

Last night Declan came round with his guitar and we sang some tunes (including a pretty good version of Dancing in the Dark by The Boss) He also made up this little ditty about his first car.

Renault 4 Door

You can hear me say 'go' at the beginning and laugh during the song so it's almost like I wrote it. Right?

Big thank you to fellow hundred dayer Jamie Lickfold for helping me overcome my technical stupidity and work out how to share the song. He has been writing some lovely songs too over at his 100 days of creativity blog.

Friday, 12 February 2010

Plagiarism week!

Josie has spoken and this week is Plagiarism Week!

You can see the video where she explains it all here.

I don't get a name check but I'd like to think when she says it's "in honour of the hundred dayer whose entire project is plagiarism" she's talking about me. Although, the now extremely strong and buff Ryan Millar has been touring pledges long before I started. And Dominic McKenna did a fabulous week of plagiairsm a few weeks back (day 34- 41)

In fact Dominic's whole project is fabulous. He takes photos of people smiling each day and posts them on his blog. And thereby captures and spreads that happiness to all of us.

Yesterday I did a lot of smiling- I went to a Micheal Rosen event with work, I took the afternoon off and discovered a hidden Roman baths just off the Strand, I saw a 13,000 year old sculpture at the British Museum, saw the wonderful Patrick Ness at an event and then met my friend Nicole. Nicole makes me smile a lot. And yesterday she took me to a bar near Tower Bridge. I had never seen Tower Bridge up close before and it made me very happy. I love London. Sometimes I forget this but yesterday I was blown away by how stunning it can be. This is Nicloe smiling in the bar. Apologies, as always, for the bad quality photography!

Wednesday, 10 February 2010


Scotty and Mr Zak have a beautiful project. Everyday for 100 days they are kissing in front of a London monument and taking a photograph. It's simple, it's romantic, it's touching and it warms my heart a little each day.

So while I was in Paris I decided to take advantage of the fact that I was in the city of love and staying with a very loved up couple to pay homage to S&M.

Here are my friends Solal and Lisa and the sights of Paris. Ain't love grand?

Also in case you were wondering Lisa and Solal have a story that would be eminently suitable for one of Lina's 100 love stories. They met when Lisa was studying at law school in Seattle and Solal was travelling the USA. Solal couchsurfed with Lisa for 4 days and they got on really well. The day after he left to continue his travels he emailed Lisa telling her how he felt and asking if he could come back and stay with her again. She said yes and they spent the next six weeks together. After he had returned to France, Lisa went out to visit him there. And after that she applied to study her final year of law school in Paris. They have been living together for seven months in a one bedroom apartment on the banks of the canal. Lisa will be going back to America to start work in June. Solal has applied to study in the United States next year.

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

Je ne parle pas francais

So I tried. I really did. And I did much better that if I hadn't studied my phrase book. I still can't speak French though- way too much Spanish slips out. But I managed to order food and drinks and eclairs (they deserve their own category) and people smiled at me for trying. I think that makes me a better person.

Also I had a fab time and did some excellent plagiary while in Paris... will share with you soon!

Tuesday, 2 February 2010


This week I'm a trying to learn French.

I'm joining the ranks of Waves in Warsaw (Neil Milton), Emma J Lannie and I'm sure many others in using 100 days to improve our language skills. I'm not learning anything as complex or exotic as Polish (Neil) or Icelandic (Emma). But I'm hoping that 15 minutes of French a day will make me a better person.

All of this is because I'm going to Paris on Thursday! I know I've just got back from Spain but I promise my life is not normally a European city every two weeks. But I have a friend I can stay with and cheap eurostar tickets and I am taking full advantage!

I have GCSE French but since learning Spanish any French has been pushed right out. Last time I was in France I confused everyone by looking extremely English and babbling in Spanish. It's almost as if I only have one section of my brain labelled 'foreign' and there isn't much space in there for more than one language. However I managed to carve out a little space for Catalan and I'm hoping I can now do the same for French.

As I will actually be in France my challenge for this week is to learn phrases and try them out on real people. I am preparing for the next couple of days by reading my phrase book on the tube. As my book was published in 2004 I now know useful phrases such as 'I'd like a video cassette (Je voudrais une casstette de video) and I will understand phrases such as 'fumeur ou non-fumeur?' (smoking or non-smoking?) which I may hear when booking my seat on a flight. It's scary how much the world has changed in 5 years.

I will let you know how I get on with my language adventures- if anyone has any good French phrases I should try and use, please let me know.

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Facebook Cull

So it's the end of love week and it's been fun. I've really enjoyed keeping up with everyones great efforts on twitter and over at the 100 days blog. It also pushed me into plagiarising one of the project I love most- Lina's 100 love stories. And the absolutely best bit about that was sitting down with the wonderful Gaby and Flavia to hear their story. I've known them for three years but had never asked how they met- it was lovely to find out.

But love week is no more. So what better way to celebrate by axeing some of my facebook 'friends'? Following Jason Graham's example have carried out a Facebook Cull.

Now there is nothing I like more than facebook stalking. I am hugely nosy and I love to know who from school is single, who turned out to be gay, who has been on holiday where etc. etc. I love knowing random details about people's lives even when I would no longer speak to them in person. And actually having lots of facebook friends has been very useful- when I moved down to London I messaged anyone on my list who was living there for advice on where to live and got some very useful tips from people I hadn't spoken to in over five years. And it was lovely to reconnect with them breifly. There are however people I'm friends with on there that I will never speak to again and I really don't care about enough to wan't to know anything about their lives. It's time for a clearout.

I got rid of 11 people today, 3 from a festival I worked at over a year ago, 3 old school friends I actually can't even remember, an ex-boyfriend of my sister, 2 guys I met once while on a night out in Barcelona and Andy. I will tell you about Andy using Jason's Facebook Cull formula.

I replied to Andy's dating post on Gumtree last year. I was new to Edinburgh, working in an office with about 5 men, none of whom were single and living with my sister and so not going out and meeting new people. I decided to have a look at internet dating and Andy's post seemed pretty normal and interesting.

After a few emails back and forth I added Andy as a friend so I could see what he looked like and check that he wasn't a freak.

After checking out his photos and some facebook messaging back and forth Andy seemed like a pretty cool guy. I suggested maybe we should meet up in person and he agreed and asked if I wanted to see a film at the Edinburgh Film Festival. I suggested we go and see Rudo y Cursi. I never heard from him again. Ever. I guess he really must hate Mexican cinema.

I should have deleted Andy within a month of him ignoring me. I kept him as a friend though as I didn't know many people in Edinburgh and wanted to promote my Christmas Book Tree to as many Edinburgh folk as possible. He never joined the group though and this deletion is way overdue.

I feel better for doing something I should have done a long time ago. This will stop me wondering what might have been every time his status comes up on my wall (answer: We would prob have gone on one date and never seen each other again). Also I live in London now and am very happy- I don't need reminders of Edinburgh based failings.

No Status

Nope, Should have been done this months ago

Mmmm Gael Garcia Bernal

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

A Love Story

Flavia and Gaby met some time in 2000 in Buenas Aires. Gaby’s sister, a teacher like him, was working in a kindergarten and Flavia was employed as a teaching assistant to one of the children in the class. They disagree over whether they met first at his sister’s wedding or a school outing but the first time they spent a lot of time together was on a ‘Colonia’ or summer camp.

The first thing that attracted Flavia was to Gaby was how good he was with the children. So good that she was worried she’d lose her job as the little girl she was employed to look after wanted to spend all her time with him instead.

Gaby was attracted to Flavia from the start. He was too scared though to ask her out though in case she said no and they would have to spend a long awkward summer together. Instead they had lunch together everyday and did the crossword. One day Gaby asked Flavia what her favourite foods were. The next day he brought them in for their lunch.

On the last day of the camp Gaby asked Flavia to the cinema and she said yes. Flavia had been living with some friends in the city. After that date she only went back to the flat to collect fresh clothes.

10 years later and Flavia and Gaby are living together in Bacelona. They came over with Gaby’s Spanish passport, a promise of a job through a friend of a friend and just 300 Euros. They were married in 2006 so Flavia could stay in the country, before her Italian nationality came through. It’s not all been easy and they separated briefly with Gaby going to Andorra to work for the ski season and Flavia staying in Barcelona.

Now though, they are happy. They are both part of a cooperative that works with disabled children. They are looking to move into their own flat in Sitges. They kiss on escalators.


This love story idea is based on one of my personal favourite 100day projects- Lina’s 100 love stories blog.

I’m plagiarising it today as part of love week


Friday, 22 January 2010

Love does exist

I am in love with the city.

Walking the streets of Barcelona for the first time in 18 months I am so overwhelmed with affection for this place. I love the architecture, the atmosphere, I have friends here I adore, I have so many incredible memories, I hear people speak Catalan on the street and jo tambe soc Catalana. I learnt so much in my time here and it feels wonderful to know I still feel at home. In the spirit of Mel, Sophie, Emerson and I´m sure many many others, and to fit the theme of love week, please find above my photo of the day.

This wasn´t taken today but some time in 2008 while I was living here. It sums up a lot of what´s fabulous about the city, the creativity, the positivity, the vibrancy. I was so grateful to return to that today. Love does exist.

Tuesday, 19 January 2010

Dia 50- felicidades a todos!


Hoy hemos llegado al dia 50. Para mi ha sido una experiencia increible. Felicidades a todos que han cumplido 50 dias hoy- me han gustado mucho sus ofertas. A ellos que empezaron tarde- felicididades tambien por estar en cualqier dia que esten. A ellos que hemos perdido por el camino- gracias por la compania y suerte con lo que estan haciendo ahora.

Hoy- como pueden ver estoy escribiendo en castellano como lo hace Linda Fuller. Debo escibir mucho mas en espanyol- como pueden ver no se como usar los acentos y seguro que hago muchos errores. Linda sabe que la unica manera de apreder y mejorar en una idioma es practicar- lo que esta haciendo ella muy bien.

Tambien estoy escribiendo en castellano por que el jueves voy a Espanya! Vivia en Barcelona para 18 meses y no he vuelto alli desde entonces (hace unos 20 meses) Estoy super SUPER emocionada! Voy a quedarme con amigos muy buenos y ver a gente que quiero. Y tambien voy a hablar mucho Espanyol (y tanto Catalan como puedo) Se que mi nivel de castellano ha bajado muchisimo pero como sabe Linda la unica manera de mejorar es intentar!

Un besote


Sunday, 17 January 2010

All my own work

As promised/threatened here is my 100 days writing from tonight. Not the best I've ever written but it will have to do. I've been getting a lot of my ideas from The Writer's Block and this weeks idea was to follow a $5 bill through the hands of 5 different people. This is the 4th person I've done and being English I made it a £5 note (don't worry, I won't bore you with the other three). This is the first time I've put my writting up for all to see so please be nice. Also apologies for the bad formatting- if anyone could let me know how to copy and paste from Word without Blogspot getting cross at meta in the html I would love you forever.

Arun £5 note #4

Fivers were the easiest to take; those and twenty pence pieces. Larger notes were hidden under the coin tray and his mother always knew how many pound coins there should be in the till. Plus five pound notes were the smallest and normally the most battered, easy to slide out and crumple into your palm while you were picking out the rest of a customer’s change. Or equally easy to hide in your fist while you went through the motions of lifting up the metal arm, placing an imaginary note under it and slamming it back down and the till draw closed in one fluid, aggressive motion. Sometimes Arun lifted so much he barely remembered it all. His mother would find crumpled notes in his trouser pockets when she went to wash them and return the cash to him with warnings to keep all his money safely in his wallet- after all there were thieves everywhere nowadays. This evening though, Arun had been more cautious; deciding to cut down for a couple of weeks to avoid suspicion he had taken only £5.80. It was enough though. Tonight was Thursday, Revenge was free entry on Thursday. At 11.30 he pulled the metal shutters down early, crept upstairs to his room, changed his underwear and t-shirt and headed into town. At 1 a.m. euphoric from the dance floor he went to the bar to get a drink. It didn’t take long.



You looked good out there. What’s your name?


Aaron- what are you drinking Aaron?

He had an epic hangover as he did the walk of shame home at 8 a.m. Even the noise of the change jangling in his pocket was unbearable. On the plus side with only three pounds spent (condoms from an all-night garage) it had been a cheap night. Maybe he should lay off the thieving for a bit. Although, thinking about it, next weekend was Pride. He’d need at least £50 for that.

Done (almost)

Items 1-6 ticked off my list and I feel pretty good about it. Although the majority of my tasks were completed at 10 o'clock at night after putting them off all day, they still got done. As Emerson said earlier in the week: "there's no better way to keep yourself going than the threat of letting down a (probably) non-existent internet audience"

Most things on my list were actually pretty hassle free, it was just a case of getting them sorted- especially after I advertised to the world that I had no contents insurance and was going abroad- Oops! For those of you that were planning to rob me I am now fully insured, my housemates will be home and unfortunately I really have nothing worth stealing. It's a pretty close call for the most satisfying item on my list. Scrubbing off the mould was actually fantastic (I should have taken before and after photos) but I think writing my letter to Andy wins. It was lovely to really take some time to communicate with someone, to dedicate that hour to them and really think about them and what you want to tell them. Also I can claim it as a plagiarisation of Sara Pascoe's pledge- win!

I'd like to say a big thank you Beth for letting me steal her pledge for the week, it's been great. Loads of luck for the rest of the list and advanced Happy Birthday to J-cub.

And finally the eagle-eyed amongst you may have spotted I have 1 more item on my list to fulfil. I was actually pretty happy with my 100 days writing yesterday but I did it at 11.45 out of guilt so I'm not sure if I can really claim it. This evening I will dedicate my evening (after dinner and before Being Human) to writing. Depending how I feel about it I might even share it with you all!

Monday, 11 January 2010

To Do

Not only are other people's 100 day pledges more creative than mine, some are a lot more useful too. Take Beth. On December 1st she wrote a list of 100 things she wanted to sort out before her baby turned one (coincidentally on March 10th- day 100) She has been steadily working her way through her list doing all kinds of useful, productive things like baby-proofing the kitchen, making mobiles, fixing curtains and baking delicious food (and providing the recipes- try the banana bread, it's delicious).

I'm a huge fan of to do lists but I also like to waste my life watching 4OD. So in an effort to ensure my week is as productive as it should be I'm signing up to Beth's pledge. Here are the 7 things on my list I'm going to do this week:

  1. Write a letter to my friend Andy- he has sent me two letters and a Christmas gift since I moved to London- I really need to reply.
  2. Sort everything for my trip to Barcelona next week!!! This means travel insurance, confirming with the friends I'm staying with, organising when I'm catching up with friends and ex-colleagues.
  3. Tackle the mould in the bathroom with a scourer and bleach- then let the landlord know.
  4. Sort out evaluation for the Children's Book Tree project I ran last year. Email all the organisations involved and get stats and feedback from the bookshop.
  5. Sort out contents insurance for my new flat, try and find one that will cover my new phone as well.
  6. Post the Christmas presents I still haven't sent to Andy (see no.1) and my friend Rosie.
  7. Actually spend some time on my 100 Days writing so that it's something I'm pleased with, not a hurried 100 words at 11p.m.

Hopefully by sharing these online and making it official I will actually acheive them all.

Wish me luck!

Sunday, 10 January 2010

You know a gay

A new but very welcome addition to the 100 day camp is Andrew Phifer who, from the first of January, has been coming out to one person a day. In his own words:

Easily, one of the most important and rewarding events of my life thus far was telling my friends and family that I am gay. In the years since, I have become increasingly more active in the LGBT community, recently attending the National Equality March in Washington DC. At that rally at the foot of the Capitol and others I have attended, it has been repeated that in order to create change, you have to tell people you’re gay. Friends, family, coworkers. You have to let them know that they know someone who is gay. You have to put a face on who the inequality is hurting… Therefore, for my Hundred Days project, I will tell one person daily that they know someone who is gay – me.

I love that this is a project that not only benefits the participant but also goes towards making the world that bit nicer and more open for the rest of us (something my angsty creative writing is never going to achieve).

Now it's going to be pretty hard to plagiarise this pledge. Contrary to what my family assumed I am straight. Although it was utterly lovely that my mother and sister both (seperately!) told me that if I was gay it made no difference and they still loved me, sadly I'm not gay, I'm just a bit rubbish with men!

So not being able to come out to friends and acquaintances I thought I'd just share some videos with you. I expect I'm probably preaching to the converted here but I will do my best to publicise this blog so as many people as possible see, and hopefully share, these brilliant videos.

The first I actually found on Jason Mraz's blog. It's the most brilliant speech I think I've heard in a long time. Inspirational stuff.

The next two videos about the fight for marriage equality in Maine are by New Left Media (I strongly recommend you check out their other stuff too). I was a high school exchange student in Maine for 5 months in 2003. It's a great state and I made some amazing friends there. I was however, shocked by the level of homophobia I found there. Two of my best friends had come out to me just before I left the UK and then in my first few days in Maine friends of the family I was staying with, and the pastor of the church I was obliged to attend, made some of the most horrible homophobic statements I had ever been exposed to. I knew there were some people who thought like that in England but I'd never been in a place where it was acceptable to express those sentiments freely. Fortunately there are also incredible, sensible, rational and loving individuals in that state too. Mr Baldwin, my English teacher, and I were involved in my high schools first Gay-Straight Alliance. He is the man in the videos wearing glasses who is interviewed before and after the results are announced. Unfortunately seven years later Maine still isn't as tolerant as we'd hope but it's getting there.

I'd like to thank Mr Baldwin and all of the others involved for their dedication and passion.

Saturday, 9 January 2010


1. the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one's own original work.
2. something used and represented in this manner.
1621, from L. plagiarius "kidnapper, seducer, plunderer," used in the sense of "literary thief" by Martial, from plagium "kidnapping," from plaga "snare, net," from PIE base *p(e)lag- "flat, spread out." Plagiary is attested from 1597.

( I don't actually own a real dictionary)

So thinking about it 10 Weeks of Plagiarism probably isn't a great name for this blog. Yes to the unauthorised use and close imitation of someone elses work but I'm not trying to pass anything off as my own original work. I'm all about credit where credit's due. And today credit goes to Chrissy Williams for improving my vocabulary with a new exciting word everyday. I'm yet to use pigsney in a sentence but I'm glad I know it exists.

So today, in the spirit of Ms Williams, here is a new word.

the act of throwing a thing or esp. a person out of a window: the defenestration of the commissioners at Prague.

1610–20; de- + L fenestr(a) window + -ation

(again credit to

I just love that there is an actual word for this. My challenge for the week is to use this in a sentence- this may be quite hard without resorting to actually throwing a person out of a window just so I can describe it but I'm going to give it a go. Who's with me?

Monday, 4 January 2010

Sit ups, press ups and not getting beaten up

Today I did 35 press ups and 35 sit ups. So did
Ryan Millar. Tomorrow we will both do 36 of each. He is intending to carry on right up to 100. I'm going to try and make it until Saturday.

Millar's was one of the first 100 day pledges I saw and wanted to copy- it's so simple and you really get to see the difference- in 3 months to go from an easy 1 sit up a day to an epically impressive 100. I'm planning to get to 40- as well as a pledge I wanted to plagiarise it was one that I wanted to copy in the first few weeks! I should probably also mention that my press ups are the girly kneeling kind- I'm still counting them though.

Having read Millar's blog again today I've noticed he is also 'touring' other people's pledges. I promise that I didn't steal the whole idea for this blog from him (although given the title of it I understand if you don't believe me)!

It's probably a good time to start doing press ups as I'll need improved upper-body strength if the lovely people at the London Word Festival keep on stirring. I'd be grateful for the mention in their blog today if they weren't trying to get me beaten up! How fair is a fight between me and James Clayton going to be? He's been developing an army of mythical creatures for weeks now, give him a couple of months more and he'll have a hundred! All I've got on my side is a furry pig that runs away from people and tired arms from doing 35 press ups.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Mythical Creatures

Today I thought I'd try and be James Clayton. James has a fabulous 100 days project where he writes a haiku about a mythical creature, draws a picture of it and writes a little bit about the history and legends behind it. I love this project because it's creative, informative and interesting- not only do I get to read a poem and look at a drawing but I also get to learn things- Did you know there was a killer unicorn rabbit in Islamic scripture? Well there is and you can read a haiku about it here

To find inspiration for my mythical creature I turned to the font of all knowledge: Wikipedia. And it didn't let me down. I found a complete list of legendary creatures and began to scan for a good one. I was particularly impressed that their description of an angel already fitted the haiku pattern- Heavenly being/ usually depicted as/ a winged humanoid.

However I figured that would be cheating so instead I decided on the Barbegazi, a Swiss snow dwarf with huge feet who whistles to warn humans of avalanches. So I wrote my haiku and drew my little picture only to realise that James had already beaten me to it back on day 9.

So instead, ladies and gentlemen, let me present the Arkan Sonney.

Come here lucky pig
Stop running away from me
I want my silver

A hairy fairy pig from the Isle of Man. According to legend (according to Wikipedia) they bring luck if you can catch them but they flee from humans. Also if you catch a lucky piggy, you will always find a silver piece in your pocket. That's the kind of mythical creature I like!

Friday, 1 January 2010


A whole brand new year
Not the best way to start it
Aching head, in bed.

I have lots of plans for 2010. I think it's going to be a good year and I'm intending on being very pro-active. Today however, I will mostly be drinking water, taking parecetamol and watching 4OD. On the plus side the last night of 2009 was pretty rocking.

Happy New Year everyone xxx