Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Date night outfit, and I really need a haircut!

On Thursday we went out for the evening, for dinner then a film. We went to Dough which I cannot recommend highly enough; their modern twist on Italian fare is fantastic, with unusual but delicious pizza toppings a speciality. They also do vegan and gluten free options, and vegan desserts!

I had a gorgeous garlic portobello mushroom with vegan Worcestershire sauce and rocket, the veg deluxe pizza, and a vegan pear and chocolate torte for dessert. Paul had the antipasti followed by goat's cheese salad with beetroot and smoked salmon.

I wore my yellow skirt again, it's basically been the basis of my wardrobe since I finished it a couple of weeks ago.

With my cardigan and bag - cardigan is Collectif, bag is Lux De Ville, both from Rockers.

A quick hairstyle was needed, so I used hot rollers. I liked the bouncy curls, and my fringe came out EXCELLENT, for once! This is how ridiculously long my hair is now though, I haven't had it cut since last April. My local hairdresser went out of business last month after sixty-odd years in the same shop - the chap who cut my hair had been there since the seventies, and his teacher for years before that - I feel partially responsible, for not giving them my business often enough and instead making do with stupid long ratty hair.

This is what it looked like after about six hours, with only mild exposure to damp air. Terrible. I have booked in with the gorgeous Bethany Davies of The Vintage Beauty Parlour on Thursday for a cut, she did my hair in a Betty Grable inspired style for my boyfriend's award presentation here, so I have no doubt it'll be amazing!

Saturday, 23 June 2012

Art Deco Beauty: Stockport Plaza

Not far from Manchester lies Stockport, a town with excellent charity shops, a history of hatmaking (which will be explored in a future post once I finally visit the museum), wartime air raid tunnels, and a fabulous theatre; The Plaza. 

The theatre shortly after it opened in 1932

The Plaza was built as a performance theatre and 'super cinema' in 1932, erected at the cusp of the arrival of talking pictures, and decorated lavishly in ostentatious art deco style. My mum lived in Stockport in the 1970s, but alas by then the Plaza was a run-down bingo hall, a decayed ruin of its former self. In 2000 a trust was set up to buy the cinema back from the leisure company who had allowed it to fall into disrepair and who had ripped out some of the beautiful original features, and after just six months' intensive restoration the Plaza was back in business and back to its full 1930s splendour.

The Compton Organ

Thankfully, even in the bingo hall days, the Compton theatre organ survived relatively unscathed, and is in full working order today. The glass panels light up in a myriad of colours all around it, and the organ has no electrical amplification - its enormous sound is produced solely by pipes and valves, disguised behind one of the filigree panels in the wall to the side of the stage.

Prior to every film shown at the Plaza there is an organ recital of classic tunes from the 1920s-50s, it's marvellous to hear them, and to watch the old ladies in the crowd singing along.

Lloyd Loom furniture in the tearoom

One casualty was the Plaza tearoom's furniture, which was lost. Luckily, it was all made by the fabulous Lloyd Loom, who are still going strong after nearly a century. They traced and recreated the original designs and colour scheme, so well in fact that when we visited the tearoom I thought the furniture was all original; it was perfect, down to the tiny vintage brass labels on the back of each Lloyd Loom chair.

Stage panorama copyright Njo LEDs Ltd.

In the early days the theatre was lit by 'Holophane' colour-changing prismatic lighs, during the restoration the beautiful rainbow colours were put back into place using modern LED technology. The colour changing light show is captivating, bathing every gilded surface and really showing off every little feature of the interior.

Picture copyright Stockport Plaza

The exterior. The Plaza was built into a solid sandstone rock face, as were many other buildings along the same street, including the WWII Stockport tunnels air raid shelters which I visited recently and will cover in another post.

Picture Copyright Stockport Plaza

Recently I visited the Plaza to see The Artist and, rather aptly, The Smallest Show on Earth, a British comedy from 1957 starring Peter Sellers, in which a run-down 'fleapit' of a cinema is restored to its silent-era glory. It was lovely to see these films in such an appropriate vintage setting. You also get a film before every feature screening, such as a Laurel and Hardy or Harold Lloyd comedy short, and a vintage newsreel! For the traditionalists among you there is also the national anthem at the end of each film, along with a kitsch Technicolor reel of the Queen trooping the colour in the 1950s.

Picture by Steve Rogers, on our outing to see The Artist

The Plaza runs films, plays, dance and variety performances all year round and you can find more information on their website.You can find even more stunning photos of the Plaza here and here.

Stage panorama copyright Njo LEDs Ltd.

Tuesday, 19 June 2012

In which I have a fangirl moment over NOFX, and show you my amazing skirt.

I just realised I haven't blogged in nearly a month! I'm sorry, my dears, it's not that I've had nothing to report, I've just not had much motivation, I must have needed a little break but am back now!

Last week we went to see NoFX at the Ritz in Manchester, they were amazing! They have been my favourite band since I was about twelve, I've seen them twice before but they've gotten into the habit of doing crappy metal festival gigs like Download rather than proper tours, so I jumped at the chance to see them in a smaller venue (the Ritz only holds a few hundred at most). This is where I was standing. Support was from Snuff who are still going strong, Paul was more excited to see them than NoFX, being a child of the early nineties punk scene rather than a whippersnapper like myself.

Curse you, Showsec!

Last time I saw NoFX, in 2006 (or maybe it was 2007) they weren't that good, possibly due to their excessive intake of tequila-soaked carrot sticks and cocaine, but this time they were spot on. I got a place right down the front - see those blue, red and white blobs in the bottom left in front of the speaker? That's our friend Paul, my Paul, and my fantastical voluminous beehive hair. The hair that prompted Fat Mike to take a break from playing and singing to compliment me on it and gaze at it in wonder, and which contained such copious levels of backcombed, hairsprayed fuzz that it protected my head like a crash helmet when I got booted by a crowdsurfer.

Here is my plectrum from El Hefe, he was highly amused by my fringe and eyebrows.

Here's my outfit! Teal Me First and the Gimme Gimmes glittery cocktail print shirt which I bought when they toured about four years ago, this is Mike's other band, punk rock cheesy covers supergroup! This has been in my sewing pile ever since, I have only very recently gotten over my deep fear of wearing colours other than black and red on my top half. This was a man's shirt, I took it completely apart and remade it girl-shaped. (Side note: I've just noticed their UK dates for this year are the sodding Reading and Leeds festivals. Honestly, I will be so annoyed if they don't tour outside those dates, Reading and Leeds are total crud, extortionately priced festivals for gap-year students and stupid girls in Wellington boots and floaty hippie dresses, where you are likely to have your tent set on fire by public schoolboy hipsters off their faces on chemical toilet fumes or get hit in the face by a flying bottle of piss.)

Drunken blur action.
Yellow tartan skirt with braces! This is actually version two, I made one in September and loved it, but I made it a bit too tight and the loose weave fabric just pulled away at the seams. This is hopefully a more robust version that can accommodate the strain of encasing my gigantic rear. This is probably my favourite thing I have ever made, I have worn it every day since, it needs to go to the dry cleaner - there's only so many times you can air something out before it becomes a bit wrong to continue wearing it.

Sweaty! With Kel :)

New fruit hair tie from Clare at Dolly Cool, it's got an AVOCADO on it! My vegan joy knew no bounds when I saw its avocado goodness, and Clare was lovely enough to let me have it after we did a stall together at Big D's Ink, Iron and Hot Rod Show. This was from vintage fabric that she also made into a fabulous circle skirt!