Shimura Curves

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Depression Is Best When...

So I've been told not to be "all emo" on this blog, but you know what? It's not like anyone reads it anyway so I'll write what I like.

I'm depressed. It came out of nowhere, and it's like a wet blanket has just been lowered over my life. Everything looks bleak, everything is stressing me out, I get reduced to tears by someone cutting in front of me in the office microwave queue.

I mean, there's physical reasons that I'm depressed. I'm feeling bloody shite, physically and psychologically because I had to do a Morning After Pill at the weekend (the bad, awful downside of actually having a sex life again) and I had forgotten what those do to your cycle and your moods - it's like 10 PMTs at once, and you break down crying if you drop a fork. Add to that endless stress and sleep deprivation and oh yeah, I nearly gave myself a concussion on Sunday afternoon (while preparing for my housewarming party which, although it was really fun, was also quite stressful. That's one of the things about being a hostess - you get so concerned that everyone else is having a good time and has enough to eat or drink and get everything organised that you forget to have fun yourself) and yeah. I'm feeling pretty damned awful.

I took the day off work yesterday. Felt like I was skiving. I forgot that I had made an appointment with Anna to do a vocal session in the evening until she rang and suddenly it was all "panic, argh, got to get up and do some work". She was feeling pretty awful herself, which was a bit of a relief. It's hard to be around someone perky when you feel like death, so we both bitched and moaned and managed to get through it. Producing a record like that is half programming/engineering and half "team coach" - it can be hard work. But it's finally finished, and I'm going to put the record to bed for a week before I start mixing. Hallelujah. It sounds good, it's just hard to have any objectivity when you're feeling rubbish.

I mean, this is what Depression does. It turns everything into a disaster. Sex with a hott young boy = OH GOD PREGNANCY FEAR OH NO. Great party with great friends = OH GOD STRESS, IS THERE ENOUGH FOOD, DOES EVERYONE HAVE BOOZE, IT'S 3PM WHERE IS EVERYBODY?!?!?

Friday, January 27, 2006

All Aboard The Good Ship Shimura

Don't kill me, guys!

Thursday, January 26, 2006

Living Room

Well, some interesting ideas came out of our rehearsal last night.

1) Shimura Pash Fest 2006. No, sorry, ILX Boys, this is not your sexual fantasies about "...and then they all Lez Up!" coming true, but our new club. We all want to play records and DJ more! We all want to hang out with our mates and listen to music! We want to play regular low-key gigs, and maybe invite our friends' bands to play with us. And most of all, we want somewhere to wear our posh frocks. So, clearly, the answer it to start out own club. I know I said "NEVER AGAIN!" after the Sunday Vodka Syndicate, but still.

2) Living Room Gigs. Well, we sort of had an impromptu one last night, when Anna's housemates all came home in the middle of rehearsal. It's always a problem, that no matter how silly and giggly and fun you might be at rehearsals, the moment you have to play in front of other people, you kind of go shy and freeze up. So we need to get used to the idea of other people. Email our manager if you would be interested in the idea of attending, or indeed (if you have a big living room and understanding neighbours) hosting a Shimuras rehearsal.

3) And finally, we have decided that we are in need of a Graphic Designer to design logos, flyers, posters, record covers, that sort of thing. To this end, we've decided to make Mood Boards about what our personal vision for the Shimura Curves is. I've already picked my favourite image, girly and beautiful, but also sexy and scientific and technological

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Gear Fetish

...and I'm not talking about Horsewhips.
This post is purely for me and Frances and Noodles and the other synth lovers to drool over.

Porno For Musos. Go on, click on the link. What are you waiting for?

Friday, January 20, 2006

What A Feeling

Blimey, what a drunkened rehearsal. And all after we said about how we were going to start Being Good and adopting a more professional attitude.

Ah well, it was still good from where I was standing, especially with the synchronised dance moves coming along. There was even some major choreography with AMP dancing on top of a chair a la Flashdance!

We listened to the new mixes of Mother (ooh, pretty harmonies! The double tracking! the Step Delay! Go look at MySpace to hear them yourself) We gossipped like fishwives about rubbish ex-boyfriends and hottt new boy toys. And it looks like there shall be exciting new gigs planned soon - including a Valentines Day Massacre Extravaganza!

Glamourous, flashdancing AMPy, yesterday.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

// MYSPAM //

If you're reading this and you're not our friend on Myspace, what's up with you, kiddo? There are all kinds of delights and thrills therein. Pictures! Music! Gossip! (Ok, no gossip.) Plus details of forthcoming Shimura Curves outings, DJ sets, and gigs. Soon to come: new recordings, featuring our actual voices! All of them! Double and triple tracked! It's a tripplenipplelicious extravaganza, so sign up today for all the fun.


Click 'Add to friends'.

It's so simple!

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Massive Long Survey About 2005

Yeah, so I got this off AMP's Blog but I wanted a go, too. Can you tell I'm bored and procrasturbating at work? I have a date tonight and I can't keep my mind on my job.

1. What did you do in 2005 that you'd never done before?

I bought a house!

2. Did you keep your new years' resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

I didn't make any last year. This year, they're all about less whinging about boys and relationships and not getting laid on ILX, and more talking about stuff I love.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?


4. Did anyone close to you die?

Yes. Pointlessly blown up by terrorists on 7/7.

5. What countries did you visit?

France. I guess we went through Belgium on the way to Paris, as well.

6. What would you like to have in 2006 that you lacked in 2005?

A bit more furniture.

6. What date from 2005 will remain etched upon your memory forever?

Instead of the awfulness of 7/7, I'll pick 22/7, which was the date of Liz's (see No. 4) funeral. Beautiful, sad, emotional, full of both pain and laughter and lovely memories - I'd much rather remember than than the awfulness of London blowing up.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

My job, buying a house, my band.

9. What was your biggest failure?

Magnus. Nuff said.

10. Did you suffer any illness or injury?

Not major, thank the lord.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

MINE OWN HOUSE!!!! Times 1000.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Anna, AMP and Marianna (and honourable mention to Frances). For turning my little symphonies into something real and beautiful and super-cool.

13. Whose behaviour made you appalled and depressed?

The American Government. Followed closely by our own. Then suicide bombers. Yes, in that order.

14. Where did most of your money go?

Mine HOUSE!!!

Honourable mentions to Liberty for their amazing shirts, which I've always wanted and never been able to afford. And Electroharmonics pedals. Heh.

15. What thing did you get really, really, really excited about?

My new job. Well, it's not so new any more, now that I've been here for six months. But it's the first time in, well, a long, long time that I've had a job that I really loved, where I felt challenged, respected, and appreciated.

16. What songs will always remind you of 2005?

Push The Button - Sugababes

17. Compared to this time last year, are you:
a) happier or sadder?

Definitely happier. I was miserable last January, employment woes, shitty living situation, and being messed about by No. 9 up there.
b) Thinner or fatter?
Fatter. Ugh. Nearly two stone fatter. The bad side of desk jobs.
c) Richer or poorer?
Much, much, MUCH richer. I think my salary is now at least double, possibly triple what it was this time last hyear.

18. What do you wish you'd done more of?

Travelling. I should have visited Paris a few more times, and maybe even Berlin, Barcelona. Also, well, snogging and snuggling.

19. What do you wish you'd done less of?

Eating. Drinking. Putting on weight.

20. How will you be spending Christmas?

I spent it in Hackney with the other Waifs and Strays. Emma makes everything into an exciting adventure, and Xmas was no exception. Which was a relief, as I hate Xmas.

21. Did you fall in love in 2005?

I thought I did. But really, it was just some kind of twisted reflection. I think I went through a phase of being "in love" with someone who represented everything that I rejected and ran away from in my youth.

22. How many one-night stands?

None. I kind of gave them up.

23. What was your favourite TV program?

Doctor Who pwned pretty much everything else.

24. Do you hate anyone now that you didn't hate this time last year?

I don't think so. If anything, I think I've patched things up with people I used to hate.

25. What was the best book you read?

Underground London by... erm... I forget who it's by. But it was amazing. And of course, To The Ends Of The Earth by William Golding.

26. What was your greatest musical discovery?

Shimura Curves!!!!! Ha ha, OK, technically that's an invention not a discovery, but still.

27. What did you want and get?

A good job!

28. What did you want and not get?


29. What was your favourite film of this year?

To The Ends Of The Earth. Ok, not a film but a TV Series, but still. I'm still obsessed with it.

30. What did you do on your birthday?

Walked from Cheshunt (where I grew up) all the way down the River Lee or Lea to Hackney, had gorgeous pub lunch, ate Liz's Experimintal Cake, and the best FAP ever.

31. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

I can't really think. It was a rubbish year for most of it, but shaped up to be immensely satisfying by the end of it. Oh, OK, I wish the Shimuras had finished our demo.

32. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2005?

Miss Marple meets Marianne Faithful at Liberty's.

33. What kept you sane?

Therapy. SSRIs. No, seriously, Cognitive Behavioural Therapy ended up being a godsend.

34. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

Image hosted by

Jared Harris, as Captain Anderson. Oh my god, the hottness. The ginger hair, the pointed nose, the minatory jaw, the ROAR... I am deeply smitten.

Oh yeah, runner up: Boris Johnson. So wrong I can't resist.

35. What political issue stirred you the most?

I don't generally get stirred by political issues. I think politics is something you should *do*, not talk about.

36. Who did you miss?

Apart from the obvious (oh, Liz...) well, I'll be honest. I miss Magnus, but I miss something that was impossible to perpetuate without one or both of us getting very, very hurt.

37. Who was/were the best new person/people you met?

My new colleagues, especially my new boss. Oh, and Terry (and his bf David), our new producer.

38. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2005.

I don't think I can, without starting to sound like my CBT therapist.

Note To My Brother...

Just to make it clear, Boris-fancying and Country Life-reading aside, I am *not* and never will be A Tory. Sorry to dash your great hopes that I might actually read your little lovenotes from the John Birch Society. ;-)

If anything, I think I'm probably closer to the Green Party than anything else, though I don't really believe that politics has any place in a blog about pop music.

When Boris Rubbishes Something, It Stays Rubbished

God, I love this man...
It was like being drowned in molasses. It was like being hosed in treacle. I was lying in a state of after-lunch torpor while the eight-year-old was playing and replaying her favourite track, and through the door it stole, and up the bed and into my ear until it filled the fjords of my brain with such glutinous aspartame-flavoured schmaltz that at last I could take it no more and cried: "Enough!" James Blunt, I thought, it's time to get a grip! Come on, man: stop being so indescribably wet. If she's so beautiful, stop standing there in your T-shirt and floppy fringe, and hush your hopeless falsetto crooning.

Go out and get her, is my advice, and if James Blunt seems drippy next to the rock stars of the good old days, he is positively macho by comparison with the Kaiser Chiefs. These are the weeds from Leeds whose hit single was I predict a riot, a tale about the bourgeois apprehension of a chap who tries to get a taxi on a Saturday night in the centre of town.

"Watching the people get lairy/It's not very pretty I tell thee./ Walking through town is quite scary/And not very sensible either," sing these epic softies. Then the chap meets another chap in a tracksuit, who looks as though he might offer violence, but doesn't, and that's about it. It's pathetic!

When I was a nipper it was standard practice for a rock star to start the evening by biting the head off a pigeon and throwing the television out of the window before electrocuting his girlfriend in the bath and almost drowning in a cocktail of whisky, heroin and his own vomit. The self-respecting British punk rockers didn't get up on stage and start whimpering about how they predicted a riot. They incited riots. "White riot, I want a riot, white riot, a riot of my own," they sang, if my memory serves me correctly.

Let's face it, the rock star role models of yesterday were far more thuggish, brutal and in-yer-face than the rock stars of today, most of whom are almost embarrassing in their niceness; and if one thinks back to the 1970s and 1980s, it is clear that the riots were nastier, too. I make this elementary observation, because we are once again being invited to have hysterics about the yoof of today, and yob culture, and once again Tony Blair presents himself to us as the father of the nation, pater patriae, the man who is figuratively going to put the offending yobbos over his knee and give them a damn good hiding on behalf of us all.
- Boris Johnson

Friday, January 13, 2006

The Cask of Amontillado

So, at last the HMS Shimura is, indeed, a happy ship again.

Long band meeting last night, about sorting out our demo (no one is happy with their vocals, and we've decided to redo them this weekend) and sorting out gigs and all that sort of thing.

There were coordinated dance moves, and lots of boobie shaking. (Perhaps the ability to boobieshake is one of those recessive genes like tongue-rolling because AMP and Marianna can both do it, but neither Anna nor Kate can. Anna claims it's because she has small titties, but Kate is quite well endowed, and cannot manage the least shake, either.) Oh dear, and we were trying to convince our friends that Shimuras rehearsals were indeed *not* drunken, debauched pash fests.

The damage:
-4 bottles pink wine
-1 bottle red wine
-half bottle of Napoleon Brandy
-half a cask of Amontillado dry sherry

Thursday, January 12, 2006

Hey Mr. DJ Put A Record On I Wanna Dance With My Baby

So, in order to show our solidarity in our hatred for VD, the Shimuras shall be DJ-ing at Lovelife at 93 Feet East on Monday, 13th February. DJ Token Girl (who hosts the shindig) is called Anna-Marie, which we thought was A Sign.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Ladies and Gentlemen, The Fabulous Stains!

Shimura Curves band outing!!!!!!!

Ladies and Gentlemen...The Fabulous Stains + Three Minute Heroes
Introduced by Bob Stanley
7 February 2006
Cinema 1

Rarely seen in this country, The Fabulous Stains follows a fictitious punk girl group (featuring Diane Lane and Laura Dern) touring with a washed up Glam band and an up and coming English punk group - Sex Pistols Paul Cook and Steve Jones, The Clash's Paul Simonon and Ray Winstone.

The film was acknowledged by the likes of Bikini Kill as an influence on the Riot
Grrl scene.
US 1980 Dir. Lou Adler 87 min.

Three Minute Heroes
BBC Play For Today
Five Midlands kids on the dole play in a 2 Tone band.
UK 1982 60min.

Ladies, I think this is a must. This film is brilliant. Are you up for it? I can book tickets if you want. Check your diaries!

Thursday, January 05, 2006


So, hot on the heels of Alex James' announcement that he is going to start collaborating with Betty Boo, the Shimuras have decided to spearhead a revival. Yes, we've finally chosen a cover that we all agree on.

Rehearsal last night was fun. A bit rusty at first, but soon we buckled down to work and surprised ourselves with how good we sounded. AMP's new plan of rehearsing to iPod rather than Reason forced us to crack on and do the songs quickly, with a minimum of fuss between. Also, the "no, honestly, not drinking, dry January" policy of sobriety had a lot to do with it as well! (A bottle and a half of wine were consumed last night, but *after* the singing, not before.)

Everybody sat on Marianna's bed, giggling and trying on fur tippets and telling ghost stories (terrifying both Kate and Anna when an ACTUAL NEIGHBOUR walked by outside the window, and we both nearly jumped out of our skins). Random kinky fact: Marianna has a HORSE WHIP pinned to her wall next to her mirror. Ssshhhh! You didn't hear that from me.

And then we sat around and compared "scenarios" whereby we planned what we'd wear on TOTP, what our costume changes would be, and especially how, when we played our stadium gigs, we would come up onstage popping out of trapdoors rising out of the floor, to the accompaniment of FIREWORKS. We like these scenarios loads.

Tuesday, January 03, 2006

A Day Like This

So I went to see a gig by everyone's favourite Hackney-Canadian-Yanksters, the The Kissing Time and it turned out that their support band had failed to show, and just for a laugh, I suggested that I could play an acoustic solo set ha ha ha, but the KT's actually took me up on it!

So there I was, up onstage, playing Aphrodesia, the first song I ever wrote, with extremely GOFF lyrics by Mika Eve, and The Shoegazer Song With No Key, and Canadian College Radio Chart Hi, Channel Heaven (for which Catty joined me on harmonies) and an utterly ramshackle version of In Yer Room with Ruth and Cat, for which I completely forgot the guitar riff (besides, my uncalloused fingers were killing me by that point) so we sang the whole thing a capella. And it was glorious!

So shambolic acoustic solo gigs are actually muchos muchos fun. Must play more.

The Kissing Time are growing more and more into their new, stripped down arrangement, ditching the sequences and drum machines for live percussion. Ruth stands at the front of the stage, and bangs a stand-up tom, like a cross between Moe Tucker and her out of Low, lazily flicking tambourines off her hip with one hand as she plays trumpet or sings with the other. It suits them. And the harmonies... oh, the harmonies, gentle and unexpected, sending shivers down my spine. I couldn't help but sing along.

Leaving the KT was a hard decision to make, nearly a year ago. But as I watch them grow, I realise that I enjoy watching them even more than I ever enjoyed being in them. Especially in such a lovely, laid-back place like the Windmill, that totally matches their voibe.

And Cat gave me a copy of their new demo/single. I cried the first time I heard it, it was so lovely, and perfect and crisp and beautiful. I listened to it over and over, on endless repeat, the next day, utterly entranced. Honestly, when friends give me demos, I try to listen to them once or twice, and to offer positive criticism, but I could not stop listening to it.

A Day Like This is sad and majestic, but ultimately uplifting, something beautiful to come out of the horror of 7/7, even though I wept and wept like a baby, and stupidly, drunkenly sent a text message to Liz's phone, even though I know it was probably blown up, hoping that the sentiment, that I missed her, would reach her, somewhere in the ethersphere, or heaven, or wherever she is.