Singalong Sunday, November 26th.

Mmmmm. I am just blissfully relaxed. It is amazing what a regular weekend, rather than the snatched one-to-one-and-a-half days we usually get around here, can do for the soul. I feel refreshed, back on form, chilled and ready for the very busy month ahead – my favourite month of the whole year (I can actually find something great about every month, but December is just awesome. Having a festival in it which plays so gorgeously to my strengths and favourite things – giving presents, church, music, sending cards and letters, meeting up with favourite people and spangles – is just the coolest bonus ever).

I have just enjoyed the pongiest lunch ever – really good stilton and white grape on oatcakes with a huge cup of coffee. I’m pretty confident I smell pretty awful right now (but fear not, gentle reader, the Colgate and floss beckons after this post!). I was just thinking a lot about all the antisocial things I get to do at the current time, due to my single and living alone status. These habits include, but are not limited to:

* Eating stinky foods – in the past day I have had garlic, wine, chillies, stilton and coffee. Note to self, make sure any future partners like similarly toxic foodstuffs! I once dated a guy who liked Marmite (my bete noire)… that was interesting. I also do that girly thing of when I’m alone forgoing meals altogether in favour of grazing!
* Reading books in the bathroom. I know, I know, it’s hardly very Debrett’s, but I always have some reading material in there. My ladies group at church would no doubt be horrified.
* My singing sessions. Now, as much as I love my Fratellis and Tilly and the Wall and Muse, sometimes a girl just needs to crank up the Whitney Houston and have a sing into a hairbrush (or an inflatable microphone, ahem ;-)). Now, I convince myself that it’s not quite as bad as I can hit all the notes Whit does, but deep down I am all too aware of the innate geekiness.
* Putting my Christmas tree up on November 25th. I restrain myself till then, but as soon as 25/11 rocks up I am so there. As I type I can see my gorgeous tree, all red and gold and spangly, hung with chocolates and candy canes. Underneath are about three dozen gifts, all ready to be dispatched to lovely people very soon.
* My workout / housecleaning ensembles. At work I tend to look pretty well put together (well, my colleagues and kids tell me that, at least), cute skirts, pretty tops, wide legged trousers, groovy accessories, minimal makeup, tamed hair. My casual clothes are all OK too….but on my ‘me’ days, or when I work out in the mornings? Ahahahaha. Old joggers, teeshirts from shows that have long since past, enormous sweatshirts, outsize PJ bottoms. Glamour, thy name is Claire. Today, for example, I am wearing my ex-fat-jeans (these didn’t do up while I studied at Durham, but are now a little loose and have a comedy habit of falling down completely, thus rendering them useless for wear anywhere other than home), a bright red ‘Anything Goes’ teeshirt (that show was five years ago? Wow. Seems like weeks ago I was breaking out the sequins and wig. At other times it feels like a different life entirely), and a huuuuuge Old Navy hoody. I am the sexy, y’all.
* Some of my TV choices would surely strike fear into the hearts of many men….’Make Me a Supermodel’? ‘Smallville?’ ‘Songs of Praise’? Man, I really love ‘Songs of Praise’. Whenever I remember to watch it it’s always brilliant.

Hmmm. Perhaps I’ve said too much.

On with the tracks.

1. Green Christmas – Barenaked Ladies.

Yeah, I’ve added my Christmas tracks to the playlist. What of it? I get as irate as the next person at the TV ads starting for Christmas in, oh, September, but once we enter the one month to go phase, it’s on. You’re talking to a girl who owns (and loves) the Muppet Christmas Carol Soundtrack Album…I’m a lost cause….

2. Call Me When You Get This – Corinne Bailey Rae.

Man. I haven’t listened to this girl in a while. But I’m still loving the voice.

This song makes me smile. Earlier this year I had a stupid! unrequited! crush! ™ on a friend of mine. Anyway, in a sad and cheesey Claire way I made him a mix CD (shut up, I was being fifteen at the time). This song was on the mix. I spent the summer working on getting over the crush (because, after all, I’m not fifteen) and ding-dong, the witch has gone, but this song really reminds me of that time. Now I spend time with him and I just think maaaan. That would have been a disaster! As friends this guy and I have a great rapport, but as a couple? Hilariously bad – I would have given and given and given, and he wouldn’t have been able to give anything back. I’m afraid the whole scenario was a clear case of NAMS (nearest available man syndrome). There are no guys here (as I’ve pointed out before) so a handsome, fragile, bookish, frankly unsuitable guy was going to sway me for better or ill.

I’m loving the hindsight.

3. Firecracker – Ryan Adams.

I love this song, from one of my favourite albums of all time. Break out that harmonica.

We’ve been bracing ourselves for gales all this weekend. Yesterday was stormy, in that odd, end of November way – hail, then thunder, then shine then rain. The elements couldn’t make up their mind! Today is a clear and crisp winter day, damp and breezy with an Yves Klein blue sky. Hee. The sky is always Yves Klein blue in chicklit, do you notice?

4. As Ugly As I Seem – The White Stripes.

I hope not.

We were having a big chat about ugliness earlier this week. It’s a subject close to my inner core – I think I’ve mentioned before how I really struggled with this growing up. Yep, right up until a few years ago I was thoroughly convinced that I was ugly. Not funny looking, not fat, not ‘an acquired taste’, no. I genuinely thought I was ugly. I fished for compliments that I would then destroy or dissect. I saw beauty, prettiness, grace…everywhere but here. It was a dark and horrid way to look at myself.

5. Tomorrow Tomorrow – Elliott Smith.

And now? I think I’m safely in the OK band. I’m not going to launch a thousand ships, but nor am I going to break mirrors or scare babies. I’ve learnt to see the good things about myself, as well as those of others. Ok, I’m never going to be a size 4 blonde with a face that stops traffic, but I have grown accustomed to my looks, grown more comfortable with them, more aware of the good bits as well as the flaws.

For example, I have a wide smile, a smile which children find infectious…it draws people in and makes them want to smile too. I have friendly, kind eyes. I have clear skin and rosey cheeks which make me look all kinds of healthy and bucolic. I have a figure that is certainly never going to win any prizes, but it has its advantages – it’s curvy and proportioned and strong – muscles earnt from dancing and lifting children and climbing mountains…the best kind. Children and friends describe me as pretty or beautiful now and while I know they’re biased, I take the compliment for what it is now, an extension of their esteem and love.

So I say thank you.

6. I Will Follow You Into The Dark – Death Cab For Cutie

Is it Deathcab, or Death Cab? I’m never sure.

I love this song. It’s amazing how powerful one man and a guitar can be. I love the lyrics as well, so visceral and emotive (haha, how many ten point words am I racking up today?).

7. Love Is A Sweet Thing – Faith Hill.

Haha, the country rears it’s head! Did you guys see that video on YouTube of Faith’s reaction to Carrie Underwood beating her to a CMA? Absolutely classic.

I really have no opinion on Faith Hill. She can sing, and her music doesn’t offend me, but she’s a bit too glossy and packaged and watered down and marketed for me to take seriously. I bought the album this is from for one song alone – a simply gorgeous ballad called ‘If I’m Not In Love With You’, which is currently on my ‘to learn’ pile (yes, I have a ‘to learn’ pile. Got to get ready for the next reality TV audition J). It’s an amazing song, very pared down, lots of jammy notes…I love it.

8. The Man With The Child In His Eyes – Kate Bush.

From a singer that leaves me cold to one I adore. Aptness abounds.

This time in three weeks I’ll be on break. The time before that stretches out, full of business and action – visits and plays and reports and concerts and parties and birthdays. Then three weeks of chilling. Mmmm. I’m having a Christmas drinks thing here which should prove comedic – 20-odd people in my wee flat?

9. Put It Off Until Tomorrow – Dolly Parton & Loretta Lynn.

The harmonies in this kind of remind me of the MacDonald brothers on the X-Factor….I can’t believe they are still in this season! Maybe that’s what I need to do for next time I try out for something – grab a comedy partner to do some harmonies….

And the final song is:

10.What Good Is Love For You? – Dusty Springfield.

Hehe. Breaking out the Dusty to close.

And now I have to go brush my teeth.

Have a great week, all!



  1. Anonymous
    27th November 2006 / 1:09 pm

    I have to check out some of the songs on your list.My workout clothes are also like yours. Old tees that have seen better days. nike shorts that have been going strong for 7 yrs, why throw them out if they look ok?Have a good week.

  2. Anonymous
    27th November 2006 / 3:12 pm

    Tis the blissful season that is always fun but hard on the wallet.

  3. Los
    27th November 2006 / 3:40 pm

    I gotta agree, Claire – I can’t wait to put my Christmas decorations (and tree) up – we are planning on doing it on December 8. We are having a “tree decorating party,” which should be a lot of fun.

  4. ruby
    27th November 2006 / 6:25 pm

    i hadn’t realized how much i needed a break until it dawned on me how much better i feel this Monday! glad to hear all is well!

  5. Anonymous
    27th November 2006 / 8:30 pm

    Claire- you’re a hoot! I find it very difficult to get in the ‘spirit’ of things when it’s 85 degrees outside, but at least this year, we get to spend Christmas in the northeast with my mum! Hope it snows!

  6. Anonymous
    28th November 2006 / 3:17 am

    oh claire. just love you. LOVE you. can’t really explain it more than that, but hope that’s enough.

  7. Scott
    28th November 2006 / 2:27 pm

    Firecracker is such a great song… i am a big Ryan Adams fan.Gotsa have reading material in the bathroom. It is a staple.Scott

  8. Anonymous
    28th November 2006 / 8:14 pm

    I have one thing to say to you girl: QTS file. Bleugh. wish I was interesting like you, instead I spend 3 hrs planning a 1hr lesson on the past tense – go me. When is it the holidays?Mlle WilsonPS Christmas is banned until after my birthday dammit, have I taught you nothing? 😉

  9. cruisin-mom
    29th November 2006 / 3:39 pm

    great post as always Claire. You give me lot’s of new artists to try out!

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