Saturday, July 30, 2005

Tornado Town

So, a tornado hit brum yesterday - just thought I'd post to say that I'm fine, and so are all my family and friends. To be honest I feel a little odd about saying that, since some people aren't fine, and have lost their homes or cars or been injured, but I'm only saying it for info - I am grateful and I send love and good wishes to those who haven't been so lucky.

The house I grew up in (which my mum sold a couple of years ago) has lost most of its roof and front windows, and the car in the drive was flattened, and many of our old neighbours have lost their rooves and windows. Lots of very familiar landmarks to me from childhood are now roofless...EDIT - this is our old house, which now belongs to a friend of pete's.

I've heard a lot of jokes, about how it's birmingham so it'll do a tenners worth of damage, or comments about how it's small potatoes, and I can totally understand the impetus for both of those types of comments, and much worse things happen everyday, but for the people affected it is a very big deal, and they deserve respect...

In other news, we're back on the radio tomorrow night - 7-9 pm - go to and if you are listening drop us a line...

Anyway, love and light to all...

Saturday, July 23, 2005

The Show

Here it is!

Radio GoodGood

That's not a great post title, is it...

We've got a weekly slot on the "Radio" 7pm-9pm saturdays, email us at iamnoidea at yahoo dot co dot uk and click here to listen at the appropriate time...It'll be available to listen to here afterwards, but live listeners are always appreciated!

Saturday, July 16, 2005


I'm back! I will write long posts about the strangeness of the adventure soon but for now I'll just say - hello!!!

Went to Scruffy Murphy's last night to see Fincho's band's storming debut - it was great - StrangeTime they're called and they rock. It was blogger central - Andy, Donna, Ben, Phill and myself all reprezentin' the birmingham blogger massive in da hizouse etc...

Speaking of Birmingham bloggers, this is very overdue - Ben has been added to the sidebar. I really like the blog, even if the first time I met him he flopped a straight which cost me dearly (in chips, not in real money) as I flopped a set of 10s...(top set on the board!).

Thursday, July 07, 2005

So, Russia's really hot...

Who knew? I was getting off the plane fully prepared for the weather to be like it has been in every сold war movie ever...But my first glimpse of russia came along with a blast of warm afternoon air and the site of blue skies through the glass ceilings of St Petersburgh airport...

The day before had seen me feeling even more like I was in some strange film than I already did...Booked into the one 9.30 am flight out of Heathrow the following morning I arrived outside the Russian consulate about 2pm, to discover a sign saying "Visa applications must be completed by 12pm" and a queue of people at least 10 strong on the street outside the consulate. This was not looking promising. I phoned the person behind this whole business (a lovely friend of the family called Katerina) who was already in Russia and who told me I was in the wrong place - I needed to go to the Russian Travel Centre to meet "Anton", who was expecting me. I hoppede in a cab and went to Picadilly where the office was located. I say located, I should really say hidden, because it's well sneakily placed...round the corner from what the address suggests, on the first floor, with a totally random name on the door. But sure 'nuff, I found Anton, who informed me with Russian seriousness that I was too late, but that they would do their best. I was told the price of a last minute visa (which, had I not been on expenses would have meant Anton was left looking at a cloud of dust and a Paul shaped hole in the door.) I was given a form to fill in. I was given the form, my passport, and the photos I'd dilligently brought back in an envelope, which had my name and mobile number on it. I was given a post it with a phone number and a name on it - "Luda". "You go, you get taxi, you get outside consulate and call this number. Luda will come and meet you, and take your papers and you will come back at five pm and if you are very lucky you will have visa." "Thanks so much," I said. "How do I say thank you in Russian?" I asked. "Spasiba," said the friendly lady who had been helping Anton. "It is too early for you to be thanking us," said Anton. So, back in a cab, back to the consulate, I call Luda (after dialing about 4 wrong numbers - next time I see Anton I'll tell him his nines, fives and twos are basically interchangable.) Luda comes out to meet me, takes my papers and seems much much more optimistic than Anton. "Will I get a visa do you think?" "Definately," Luda said. She made me feel a lot better about the whole thing...good enough to go to Waterstones to buy a Russian phrase book. (It's not doing me *that* much good so far - four words and counting.) Having got distracted and bought several other books (one of which, Yes Man, by Danny Wallace I've already finished and I heartily recommend.) I went back at five, and Luda was true to her word. She handed me back my visa'd up passport.

After a lovely evening with my Stepmum, sister and then later my dad, I slept for about 3 hours and then went to heathrow. I had a pleasant flight, thanks for asking, the plane was populated by me, and Americans. Most of the cabin was filled by a dance theatre company on their way to perform at the White Nights Festival, but there was also a group of American business students on their way to spend two weeks studying Russian business. How times change etc...I was sitting between the company manager and one of the students. The company manager fell asleep and after a bit of book reading, I ended up talking to the very anti-bush anti-corporate business student next to me. We talked about Bush, democracy, the meaning of the human condition and ethical business practice. It just goes to show, not all american business students are like you might think they would be.

And now I'm in Russia. A driver met me at the airport, holding one of those signs up with your name on it (I think that means I'm officially a grown up now...) His sign said "Ms Ansorge" but you can't have everything. He didn't speak much English, but he pointed out every major tourist attraction on the way, and for some reason, every car dealership as well ("This is yaguar...this is porsche"). He seemed reassured when I repeated what he'd just said, so I made a determined effort to get my pronounciation right. The drive in takes you through a Stalin era section, which has that Futurism vibe you sort of expect into the heart of Old St Petersburgh, which is extraordinary. The architecture is a brilliant example of the *coughmumble* era, built mostly in the time of Tsar *coughmumble* (actually I think it's Peter, hence the name and then Catherine)...It's mindblowing stuff. I've been trying to work out why it's been slightly unsettling me, and I've come to two conclusions. One is there aren't many trees. There are, but they are all in the litte parks and enclaves that seem dedicated to them - they don't line the streets like the do elsewhere...and the other is that all the buildings are about the same height - about 6 or 7 stories, or 3 massive ones in the cases of the many palaces.) There aren't *any* skyscrapers. This is undoubtedly a "good thing" but it's unusual, in the way that being in New York is unusual because *all* the buildings are skyscrapers...It's just different to what I'm used to. Anyway, it's beautiful and the Russian Orthodox church (which I'll dig out a picture of when I work out what it's called) is the single most beautiful building I've ever seen in my whole life.

So, I arrived at the very nice hotel, had a bath and then went to a head of department's meeting at a different very nice hotel - yep, this is a party with departments, big enough to have heads...I filmed about 10 minutes of the meeting and then got driven back to my hotel. I read, and then slept for a long time in the HUGE bed...It were grand. I sat around my hotel till 4pm today when I finally heard from Katerina, which was when I found out about the bombs...It's crazy, and I'll write more when I've thought about it a bit more. I was able to find out that my London family were ok which is good to know, and my heart goes out to all those who can't say the same. I watched about 5 minutes of news, went for an hour long walk to a closed art gallery (with the wrong shoes for walking) and lost my credit card. I came back to the hotel called my mum who called the bank who did their thing. I've since found out the card fell out of my pocket in the back of the taxi I took back from the closed art gallery and the driver found it and brought it back, so that's good PR for St Petersburgh cabbies. I also saw Uri Geller in the lobby of my hotel, which was odd. I was then driven out to location 1. The Saturday night party is being held in an old disused stately home, which in the "good" old days was used as a worker's club and is now run down and sad and privately owned...Tents have been built outside out of thin bark covered trees and khaki hemp-ey canvas. Fake cobwebs have been draped all over the ceiling and chandeliers in the main room. There's a big mural of Lenin and some workers sitting in the conservatory of the building. It's amazing and odd. Me and Uri (not geller now, the chap who was showing me around) were accompanied by a slightly sozzled security who seemed to be trying to get across the vibe that this was an amazing building and should be being used better. Like it was in the old days, I guess. Why he chose to do this by showing us the walk in wardrobes (with a determined cry of "Kabin, kabin!") I'm not sure.

I'm back in the meeting room now, typing on a laptop which can do this фззкурп. If you can't see that it's because you haven't got enough fonts. Or enough Russian ones anyway :) I've just spoken to a russian dj who has told me he'll be playing downtempo Manchester House at the brunch on Sunday (which we're going to by boat apparently). I got given the job by being the only person in the room who knows what that means, and to be honest, I'm not 100% sure how that would differ from say, downtempo Berlin house, so I hope I have made a mistake in saying that I reckon that sounds cool, because you can't go wrong with Russian manchester house...

And now I'm going back to my hotel, to sleep, and go for an explore in the morning, before my work starts in earnest tomorrow afternoon when I film some rehersals. I'll tell you the rest when it happens...

Love and light to all,


Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Da Svidanya!

In what can only be described as an unexpected turn of events, I'm off to Russia tomorrow! I'm filming proceedings at the 18th birthday extravaganza of the daughter of a friend of the family. (Is it me, or was that a really unwieldy sentence?)...So, so long as I remember to keep calling it St Petersburgh and not Leningrad, and avoid singing "We'll keep the red flag flying" I reckon I'll be alright...

Back early next week with no doubt over-excited annecdotes of the Russian high life...

Monday, July 04, 2005

Another Radio Show

For those of you who enjoyed the first two, or didn't but for some reason are prepared to bare with us, here's the latest edition - 2 hours this time!!! Would love any comments you might have...By which I really mean compliments ;)

The first 20 minutes are a little random, we had problems connecting and it took us (/me) a little while to regain composure...I think it gets better after that though!