Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Breakfast at Cox and Baloneys

In Breakfast at Tiffany's Holly Gollightly say her cure for the "mean reds" is to jumps in a taxi and head to the eponymous jewellers for some quality time among the diamonds.
"It calms me right down," she tells Paul Varjak, "The quietness and the proud look of it; nothing very bad could happen to you there".
I've never felt that a jewellery shop is a particulalry soothing or uplifting place - full as they are of items that cost more than my yearly salary and assistants who look at you (or me, anyway) as though you're going to nick the lot.
But I think I've found my alternative.
I first came across Cox and Baloney when they had a stall upstairs at the Woolies Indoor Market on Whiteladies Road, and I thought they had something good going on then.
I knew they'd moved to a shop on Cheltenham Road, but hadn't had a chance to visit until this weekend. But once I'd finally made my way there it was difficult to drag myself away.
It was as though someone had reached into my mind, taken out all the vague ideas I've ever had about what my perfect shop would be like, stitched them all together and made them reality.
It didn't even feel like a shop, but more like the quirky, cluttered home of someone who I definitely wanted to become my new best friend. I was in heaven.
As well as vintage clothes and accessories, they also stock vintage and retro homeware. There's a seamstress downstairs who makes and alters clothes to order. And the shop includes a bookspace selling old and new books, and a gorgeous, comfy tea room whioch serves homemade cake.
In short, once you're inside, there's absolutely no reason ever to leave. If I could have set up home there, I would have done.
So the next time I get the mean reds, I know where I'll be heading.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Live fast, wear short skirts

Live fast, wear short skirts, that's my motto. Well, sometimes I've got a bit too much on to live fast, or I'm feeling rather tired. But I stand by the short skirts bit. Or short dresses, or shorts. Basically, I like to show a bit of leg.
My thinking is, I like thigh-skimming clothes, but I'm not going to be able to wear them forever. There comes an age where it's just not appropriate, and I don't want to get to that point and regret not getting my legs out more when I had the chance. So I'm doing my damndest to make sure that doesn't happen.
Cleavage I'm not so bothered about, but I know I'll miss those high hemlines when they're gone. Having said that, I came up with this theory a good ten years ago, when I probably thought that 25 plus was pushing it a bit for anything above the knee, sartorially speaking. Now I'm heading into my late twenties (although trying not to think about it too much) and I reckon I've still got a few years in me yet.
So I was a bit perturbed to read about the latest advertising campaign from New Zealand-based boutique chain Suparette, which put plaques advertising their shorts sale on public benches, imprinting the message on to bare thighs. 
Thankfully, it doesn't sound like this marketing ploy has made it over here yet. But I'll be keeping a keen eye on Bristol park benches this summer. And if I can't sit down in public for fear of becoming a free advertising billboard, at least it gives me a good excuse to strut around in my short skirts while I still can.

Last week I liked...

Lists - for bringing a modicum of order to my life. And for the satisfaction of crossing items off.

My button and bead collection - the plan is to transform a plain high street dress into an eye-catching one off. Just hope it catches eyes for the right reason.

Sunday, 6 March 2011

Last week I liked...

Hot drinks, and lots of them, while I felt sorry for myself with a cold

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

I saw you, Venue

When I was deciding which universities to apply to, more years ago than I care to remember, I got the coach to Bristol for the weekend with a friend whose older sister was studying here.
It was a good weekend. I remember sleeping very little and getting very stoned in the kitchen at a house party with someone called Ollie who, for about 12 hours, seemed like everything I’d ever wanted in a man.
I also remember that my friend’s sister had a copy of Venue in her impossibly glamorous student bedroom (glamorous to a sixth former at an all girls’ school anyway). It was intelligently and wittily written and I read it avidly, imagining it would become my bible if I moved to study here, leading me to smoky evenings at gigs and open mic nights, and exciting new art exhibitions.
Most of all, I imagined one day flicking to the I Saw You pages and seeing myself. I was hooked on those microcosms of love stories. The longing and hope and regret. I could think of nothing more romantic than discovering that someone who saw me every day from the top of a bus was secretly in love with me. Actually, one thing would be more romantic - if he then wrote to Venue beseeching me to get in touch. 
So yes, I chose to study at Bristol based on a hazy night with some bloke I never saw again and the egotistical hope that eventually someone, anyone, would be moved to seek me out in the I Saw You pages of Venue magazine.
I’ve since graduated, moved away for a few years, and moved back again. But Venue still sums up everything I love about Bristol. It‘s stylish in its own way, different, irreverent and informative. I buy it for the good old-fashioned reason of wanting to find out what’s going on in the cultural world here. But I also buy it for the features and interviews. For the letters page - Venue readers are opinionated, perhaps a little pretentious at times, but usually very funny and smart. And of course, for the I Saw You page.
I still haven’t seen myself there, though I live in hope (not that I would respond these days, I’m in a very happy relationship. Still, it would be nice…).
So I was devastated to learn last week that Venue might have to close down. Apparently a downturn in readership and decline in ad revenue means it’s no longer sustainable. It’s depressing news - not only as someone who works in the media but as a Bristol resident who can’t imagine the city without the magazine.
There is a campaign to save Venue. I don’t know what the chances of success are but I really hope it succeeds. Not least because, if it closes down, my bus-top admirer will never get the chance to tell me how he really feels.
To lend your support to the campaign to save Venue go to the website