Fashion Tips From Rock 'N' Roll Models, in 'Details' in 1987


Details is folding. Along with Sassy, it was my favorite magazine in high school, and probably just as formative. Reading Details in 1992 in 1993 and 1994 made me want to write about music in a way that was weird and beautiful and probably overly preoccupied with rock-and-roll glamour but also funny and sharp and crackly and deep. The Details pieces I remember most lovingly are: that Anthony Kiedis/Sofia Coppola/Debbie Harry/Sonic Youth fashion spread/short film that I already wrote about here, a Blake Nelson feature I remember as being titled "How to Kill Yourself Without Actually Dying," the Nirvana cover story where there's a photo of Kurt with his back all scratched up by Courtney, and the Evan Dando interview where Evan says "The grungiest thing I did all week was pull the tablecloth out from under four place settings and they all stayed there."*

*Actually, this whole Evan interview is gold. Some other gems:

What have you learned from women? I've learned how to put my hair up in a towel after a shower. I never knew how before - it keeps your hair from whacking your back. That and patience.

Do you consider yourself a poet? Not yet. I would love to be, though I don't think I'd call myself that. That's like grunge, y'know. Grunge poetry! Yeah: "I was bustin' my pencil! I blew up the word processor!"

You're prone to saying "No doubt the universe is unfolding as it should be." What does that mean? I just dig it. I think that the universe is cool. I'm at ease with it and I just wanna do what I can do to make sure it unfolds as it should, which is not doing anything. I just wanna have fun and hang out and try new drinks.

Also, the accompanying photo is a beauty:

Anyway. The point of this post is a fashion editorial that ran in the Summer 1987 issue of Details, which I found last year at Avalon Vintage in Highland Park (aka my favorite vintage store in the world; it's run by Carmen Hawk of Jovovich-Hawk and I bought my beautiful ripped-up U2 shirt there and right now I'm dreaming of this dress and this blouse). As the coverline says, the article's fashion tips from rock 'n' roll models, none of which are all that enlightening or useful. Aimee Mann's is the worst: what a bore! But it's still a cool little artifact, and at least Details had the good sense to put the Bangles in the centerfold. I typed in the captions where the rock-n-roll-model handwriting was too hard to read:

Richard Butler: "Check it fits. Make sure your mother doesn't like it!"

Aimee Mann: "Drink lots of water + avoid alcohol. This will keep you thin + clear-complected. Then you can wear anything + look good."

Julian Cope: "Wear black leathers anytime, anywhere. The only clothes I own. Black Lewis leathers wear you as you wear them. There's no fashion to it, just pure style."


A Shattered Chocolate Bar, A Confusing Tragedy, & Hair That Means Something About the Ocean


I finished Eve's Hollywood by Eve Babitz a couple weeks ago. Jen May sent it to me, along with the Cher + cats print I'd ordered from her print shop, plus a bunch of other gorgeous prints and that cheese-sandwich sticker stuck to my book in the above photo. Reading Eve's Hollywood made me feel like I've been ripping off Eve Babitz my whole life, or at least for the past 13 years, even though it's the first time I'd ever experienced her writing. We're both in love with Los Angeles, and the L.A.-love thing takes up a lot of our heads. And I love these few sentences of hers, from her essay "Daughters of the Wasteland," even if I don't completely agree with them:

"It takes a certain kind of innocence to like L.A., anyway. It requires a certain plain happiness inside to be happy in L.A., to choose it and be happy here. When people are not happy, they fight against L.A. and say it's a 'wasteland' and other helpful descriptions."

My prob with that is most people I know who've got attitude about L.A. are actually pretty plain in their thinking, or at least unimaginative. I think it takes imagination to love L.A. and to be happy in it; I think it's one of the easiest things in the world to look around the beautiful-disgusting city and only see the disgusting part. You've maybe got to have a slightly twisted sense of wonder, and if that doesn't come naturally to you, I'm not sure how to twist it on your own. Maybe start by walking around more? It's good to look at things up close. That nobody-walks-in-L.A. thing is a lie.

One night at the end of August, in the bar of a luxury pizza restaurant, I was talking to my friend Christine about my trip to Seattle in July and how Seattle wasn't quite what I'd expected. I told her how I couldn't feel any Nirvana vibes anywhere, which was fine (I loved Seattle!) but so different from my first trip to Los Angeles. The first time I came to L.A., as soon as I got off the plane it was like, "Yes, okay - Jane's Addiction, Guns N' Roses, Red Hot Chili Peppers: got it.'" And I still think that's true: L.A. still feels so mystical/sleazy/cosmic/electric to me, like a beautiful-disgusting amalgam of those crazy bands I just mentioned. What I love most about Eve Babitz is that she absolutely embodies the mystical/sleazy/cosmic/electric dynamic, despite being a writer instead of some guy in a band. Plus she adds a goofy elegance to all of that, along with her whole secret-nature-girl thing of being so enchanted by bougainvillea and lavender and roses and all the other pretty nature growing around us all the time.

(P.S. While Christine and I were talking at the bar, Paul Kinsey from Mad Men walked past us, wearing a white polo shirt tucked into dad jeans, total dad look all around. My celeb sightings have really gone to the dogs lately - I used to see famous people all the time, but now it's just like, "Tony from No Doubt walked past us at Blur. I saw Paul Kinsey from Mad Men at a pizza restaurant four months ago." Where have all the famous people gone?)


All The Songs We Loved In August


The Beatles, “The Ballad of John and Yoko” (LJ)

Once upon a time it was a zillion years ago and I didn’t live in London and I was really young and I lived in a room that felt like an attic. And in that atticky little place, which I loved, and miss dearly, I sat at my desk with the top drawer pulled out and my laptop, with the broken screen that refused to show me anything but a series of crackling rectangles in saturated pastel, resting precariously upon that drawer and connected to an ugly Dell monitor with a series of cords that always got jangled up in each other and knocked over bottles of Diet Coke, I wrote a thing.
        It was for the dead old blog that Liz and I used to write for. The thing was called "If People Were Beatles Songs," and it was about which Beatles songs all the different people would be if they were Beatles songs instead of people. Like, for instance, Jay-Z would be “Baby You’re A Rich Man,” and God would be “Hey Jude.” I like that kind of thing; I think it’s really comforting. You can’t just limit somebody to being only their name and address and phone number and birthday and personality. People also have to have zodiac signs and spirit animals and spirit Beatles and spirit wine grapes and Spice Girl names from the parallel Universe they were a Spice Girl in. They have to know which Hogwarts house they’d belong to, and they have to know which Beatles song they are. If People Were Beatles Songs is the most important people-category of all, because Beatles songs are just about the only thing that exists that are as complicated and nuanced as actual people.
        Over the years, since I was twenty-four and first thought of the idea, I’ve been Maxwell’s Silver Hammer, Girl, Wild Honey Pie, and Tomorrow Never Knows, in that order. I was Tomorrow Never Knows for longest of the four and I did once believe that I’d be Tomorrow Never Knows forever. But ever since I moved to London and ripped myself out of my comfort zone of being a big fish in a small pond, Tomorrow Never Knows has seemed to have less and less to do with the way I perceive myself— or, more accurately, to the way I perceive the way I’m perceived by other people. I used to feel like I was this, like, weirdo psychedelic, like, guru who came along to shake up other peoples’ perceptions of, like, what life is all about or whatever…
        I don’t feel like that at all anymore! I feel really drab in a cool way. Drab In A Cool Way. I’m so disinterested in psychedelia, and being involved in other peoples' perceptions of things. I like for things to be simple and intense and funny and honest. I wear tortoiseshell horn-rimmed glasses and some variation of plain button-up shirt with either jeans or a miniskirt and black pointy-toed flats or penny loafers. I boringly/elegantly eat eggs and English muffins and white Burgundy and red Burgundy and pieces of fish and coffee and bagels. My favourite weather is: eighteen degrees, grey sky, makes me nostalgic for several Septembers ago. I don’t want a Dalmatian but Mark does so I’m like, fine, whatever, let’s just get a fucking Dalmatian, as long as we can name her Francine. My favourite shape is: rectangle.
        I listened to The Ballad of John and Yoko like twenty-five times over the course of two very grey days at the beginning of August. I became obsessed with the perfection of the bassline, and I thought about how special it is that only two Beatles play on that song. You know which two Beatles? John and Paul.
        Paul really smashes out that bassline. It’s the same little phrase over and over again and you can hear in your head the way you want him to switch it, to satisfy you— it’s some weird bodily impulse that explains why music exists at all in the first place— and he doesn’t, he doesn’t, he doesn’t— but then… he does! And he’s been depriving you of the thing you wanted for so long that once he does it tricks you into feeling like it’s so generous of him. What a classically Paul McCartney thing to do. (Side note: earlier today, I read an interview with Art Garfunkel where he talks about how George Harrison once came up to him at a party and said “My Paul is to me what your Paul is to you.” I don’t really know how I feel about that yet but… food for thought, you know?)
       The day I realized The Ballad of John and Yoko is my new Spirit Beatles Song was- of course- perfectly, gorgeously grey. I was on my way to the beigel store to go buy myself a (chopped herring) beigel, thinking about the bassline, and then hating on myself for thinking too hard about the bassline. What I actually should have been thinking about was the words. The words!
        John Lennon wrote them. They are my exact style and shape of words, perfect words, the way my and/or all perfect words should be. Brown and slack and lazy, like all the chillest John songs ever written by John. I’m So Tired, Mother, Jealous Guy… I love when he just writes the simple, easy truth. The truth is sharp and dull and usually a little bit funny. It’s a shrug, smirk, and an eye-roll. He says they’re going to crucify him because he gets a naughty thrill out of saying it, pronounces “Seines” incorrectly and name-drops the irrelevant Beatles Inner Circle member Peter Brown. Marriage is supposed to be the best thing that ever happens to a person but when it happens to John Lennon it’s just, you know, fine.
        The most important part of the song, to me, personally, is when he sings the word “London.” London is the name of the place where I am, the place where I am always standing or moving when I hear him say it now, and that means something very very heavy to me about the trajectory of my own life. I did it! I got myself to the place where the Beatles were! The place where John and Yoko caught the early train back to.
        And he sounds so coolly indiff, so bored of saying words out loud, when he sings it. He kind of makes it sound like his own last name: “Lon'in.” I feel so proud when I hear him sing that word.
        I am thirty years old and have accomplished so little of what I thought I would have accomplished at this point but I have accomplished two very, very major things. 1) I moved to London, and 2) I didn’t die. I’m thirty years old, my spirit Beatles song is The Ballad of John and Yoko, I should buy something tweed, or maybe I won’t, and I’ve got my whole life ahead of me. I’m feeling very coolly indiff about how intensely Ballad of John & Yokoey it’s gonna be.

The Breeders, "Safari" (Liz)

"Safari" is one of those one-in-a-million songs that, whenever it comes on, puts my head into a cool place that's completely impenetrable to whatever's going on all around me. I'm just instantly sunk into the weird world that the Breeders built from those guitars and bass that're so heavy and boxy and blocky and thick, and Kim Deal's voice is a lullaby but for staying awake and warping into some other dimension.
        I'm so fascinated by Kim Deal and the way she puts words together; I don't understand how this woman from Ohio who was a cheerleader and a lab technician ends up writing a lyric like:

I wait for you in Heaven on this perfect string of love, and drink your soup of magpies in a pottery bowl that looks as I am now: brown, round and warm

- I mean that's crazy, right? Those words were from "Fortunately Gone," and "Safari" has words about a safari and a guy, and the vocals are some kinda tropical air. In the video Kim's wearing a bomber jacket and art-teacher earrings and Kelley's dressed like a high school administrator, Tanya Donelly has hoop earrings and a scrunchie. It's too bad that lineup of the Breeders didn't exist for at least three more decades. But it's also neat that it's this flash-in-the-pan kind of situation that's so faraway now, it may as well have been completely made-up in the first place: a band as perfect and imaginary as something from Greek mythology or Norse folklore, or an ancient-Egyptian love poem inscribed on a tomb.


A List Of All The Things I Think Are Cool, by Laura Jane Faulds

Hello everyone! I made a new zine. It's called "A List Of All The Things I Think Are Cool," obviously, and it's made out of poems. It costs either £0 or $0, depending on what country you live in, since let's be real here, I'm not really in the poetry zine game for the money. I truly am in it for the love of the game. 

Anyway, I only made fifty copies of it, so you better act fast or these puppies will be gone for good! Don't miss out on the opportunity of a lifetime, email laurajanefaulds at gmail dot com with your address and preferably a sweet little comment & I'll send you a copy in the mail. It would be cool of you to send me a lil trinket back but no worries if not! We all have a lot going on in our lives and sometimes motivating yourself to get out there and mail somebody a trinket is harder than it looks. Anyway, here are a few of my favourite sentences from the zine, to give you an idea of what a ROMP it is: 

-"I'm gonna circle all the names of all the different dog breeds"
-"I NEED that Halloween back!"
-"Dying in a car crash in a wine region" 
-"Not to brag or anything, but I got the juice for free." 
"I've got a big clock & everybody knows it." 

Okay cool! Peace out everybody. Buy my free zine! 



The Strawberry Fields Whatever International Supper Club, Vol. II: Bao, Hot Dogs & A Berry-Themed Dessert


Welcome to our new (-ish!) column wherein LJ (who lives in London) and Liz (who lives in Los Angeles) will go out to eat and order the same foods and report back on those foods, from their respective continents. Here we are with bao, hot dogs, and berry-themed desserts. (You can read Vol. 1: French Onion Soup, Spaghetti, & Doughnuts HERE


LJ: To celebrate our "one year of living in London" anniversary, Mark and I gave in to the foody bloggy Instagram publicity machine that had spent the past couple months brainwashing us into believing that our lives were valueless and would remain so until we ate dinner at London’s hottest bao hotspot, Bao, by eating dinner at London’s hottest bao hotspot, Bao. Bao was the talk of the Instagram town for most of the beginning of summer, until it was knocked off its pedestal by the jiggly magenta pork fat rectangle immersed in a puddle of different kind of fat dessert from the restaurant everyone calls “Nuno Mendes’ new place” like “Nuno” is a friend of ours who we all know personally and hang out with on the regs. In fact he is sitting across the table from me as I write these words.

I arrived at Bao a little before Mark and had expected to see a queue around the block but there was no queue! Or so I thought. It turned out that the Bao queue was positioned across the street instead of out the door, which is a deceptive place to put your queue since it tricks people who don’t initially see the queue into thinking they don’t have to queue outside a restaurant that you infamously have to queue for and that gets you extra-stoked to dine there THAT SECOND but then you’re hit with the harsh blow of realizing that you actually DO have to queue, but you’ve just gotten yourself so revved up for it you’ll do ANYTHING… I don’t know, maybe it just relates to zoning laws and I am reading too deep into things. 
        Anyway, the queue was not too long since it was mad early. A nice young Irish or Scottish (I forget- don't worry, I know the diff between the 2 accents) gent was tasked with keeping the queue-peoples' morale up and frequently came by to take our drink orders. He was peppy and upbeat in a really waitery way that I didn’t love but respected. I ordered a Diet Coke and he was distracted so said “Sorry, Coke, or Diet Coke?” and then I changed my order to a cider because that was obviously the Universe’s way of telling me not to get a soft drink, you know? Very cute cider, nice hefty glass bottle with the little apple-tag, the natural kind of cider that tastes like you chucked a bunch of apples into a vat of brown vinegar and then blended them up and ran the results through a Sodastream. It sounds like I am trying to describe something very disgusting but I like that taste. I love a vinegarious cider.
        Mark arrived and ordered a queue beer. About fifteen minutes later, our table was ready, and the Irish/Scottish guy led us inside. The restaurant was tiny, but not unpleasantly so, and paneled in pale wood— teak? I don’t know the names of all the woods but I’ve been calling it teak in my head. Bao is aesthetically neutral in a way that a dyed-in-the-wool maximalist like myself can’t help but respond to with a resounding "eh" (I WANT A STAINED GLASS YIN YANG! I WANT AN AQUA EAMES CHAIR! BE ROCOCO! BE BY DAVID SALLE!)— but I’m not too proud to admit that it’s a decent-enough space to have spent forty-five minutes of my life dining inside. Although, as an extension of the Spartan décor, the poor waitstaff are forced to wear offensively drab labcoat-style jackets as a uniform: they’re white, buttoned up the front, with Nehru-style collars and Bao logos emblazoned on the chest. They would make anyone who wasn’t a one hundred-and-thirty pound dude look like a lump of something. Fabric, marshmallows, laundry, cake. Etc.

We ordered a bunch of little bits and bobs, as one does, in London in 2015. Bao is one of those places that gives you a little notepad and you tick off which dishes you’d like to eat, which I guess is meant to be "authentic"— but the font, and the little graphics of all the different bao flavs, were unabashedly “hipstery little bits and bobs London in 2015 place”/inauthentically the thing I think they were trying to be ("like actual Taiwan"), which I found a bit confusing. But authenticity is a pretty confusing concept, "authentic" a word that begs to be confined by a set of quotation marks and accompanied by an eye-roll and a shrug. But hipsteriness is pretty straightforward, pretty point-blank. 
        On the one hand, I wish Bao would pick one avenue and then go with it, but on the other, I don’t care. Bao can do whatever it wants. It's not really my prob. Bao was good enough that I would eat at it constantly if I worked across the street, but I don’t. It's majorly out of the way for me, and everything we ate there was only kind of good. Or maybe it was properly Good, but I’d been led to believe that it was going to be… not just excellent, but MIND-BLOWING, and that too confused me— were all the Instagram food blog corporate machine bloggers who claimed that these pouchy little dough-wiches changed their lives lying? Do they not love Bao as much as they say love Bao, or do they just have lower standards than I do? Or am I wrong? Was my palate off that day? Is Bao paying them money? Can Bao pay me some money? 

Of all the dishes we ate that day, only three were actual bao. My least favorite bao was the fried chicken bao, which I can only describe as being “forgettable,” because I forget it, and my favorite was the classic bao, which has peanut powder on top. The bun was perfectly glutinous— a chilled-out, manageable level of wet— in a way that reminded me of either sushi rice or congealed white cheese on, say, a day-old baked pasta dish, eaten cold. Another thing that sounds revolting that I mean as a compliment. The peanut powder was cool because it tastes like peanuts and peanuts are delicious but I would have liked it better if it were just, you know… peanut butter. Or like a decadent peanut butter-oriented dessert or something more in that vein.
        I think that if I could have reinvented Bao to suit my exact Laura Jane needs, I would have nixed every single bell and/or whistle, and ordered two plain buns: both served hot with a generous pat of melted butter. And I wouldn’t have queued for them; I would have eaten them standing up, problematically drunk, in my kitchen at three in the morning. I probably would have said, or hummed, “Mmmm” aloud. The butter would have dribbled down my chin, and I’d’ve thought I was going to puke before I ate them, but then I wouldn’t puke. They would have cured me. 

LIZ: My bao day was two Saturdays ago, during the last gasp of L.A.'s disgusting mid-August heat wave. My friends and I had tickets to see Straight Outta Compton in the dome at Arclight early in the afternoon, so at some weird hour of the morning I drove down to Long's Family Pastry, which is a bakery in Chinatown I found by googling "best bao in los angeles." On the way I stopped at Guisado's and got a horchata spiked with cold brew and it made me feel like I could live forever.
        Chinatown was a ghost town. L.A. was hot and asleep. The only other people in the bakery were a bunch of old men drinking coffee, hanging out in the ugly plastic booths. But I'm sure at some point in the day things really get hopping at Long's Family Pastry, since everything seriously costs about a dollar and it was all so yum-looking. While I was there I decided I'd go back every Saturday for the rest of my life, which is a promise I've already broken - though this past Saturday I did go to Big Sugar in Studio City and got the most beautifully gooey/salty oatmeal cookie in the world, oh my god.
       So here's the part where I tell you I messed it all up: I thought I was getting black bean bao at Long's Family Pastry, but really what I ordered was black bean cake. And I have no regrets; my black bean cake was perfect. I don't even know if they have bao at Long's Family Pastry, so who knows what those weirdos on chowhound.com were going on about. Along with the black bean cake I got a pineapple bun and this crazy little can of iced coffee:

I brought the black bean cake home and ate it on the deck. On the ride there I'd listened to "Where Are Ü Now" and I had Justin Bieber's cute sad baby voice stuck in my head, which really enhanced the whole experience. My black bean cake was so fat and heavy and thick; each time I bit into it, my teeth sank so slowly through the nice gummy mochi and then the sweet crumbly black-beany paste. It was floppy and powdery and I held it with two hands and, after a few bites, peeled the top layer off: I like deconstructing my foods; sometimes when I'm eating sushi I take my chopsticks and pluck out the center of the roll, especially if it's an avocado chunk. I liked the textural experience of eating the top layer of mochi on its own, but then I missed the fatness of the intact cake and wished I could go back. I also had a few bites of the pineapple bun, which wasn't what I'd hoped for. I wanted it to be this insane thing where you crack it open and there's a whole world of pineapple inside: like, pineapple that's been smashed up and thrown into the oven until the sugar's crystallized, and now it's all sticky and sticks to your sticky fingers. Instead it was some plain old fluffy bun vaguely flavored with essence of pineapple. Whatever. This is my black bean cake btw:

After about half the black bean cake I felt full of mochi, so I wrapped the cake back up and stuck it in the fridge, then went to meet my people at the Arclight "Cineramadome." My review of Straight Outta Compton is I loved it and I mostly don't care that it's all sweetened up and sanitized. Like Eazy says to Cube: I like after-school specials. It gave me goosebumps at least half a dozen times and I cried a little and was completely unbored for the whole two and a half hours, and that all constitutes a successful movie-going experience for me.
       That night my pals went to see Hannibal Buress at the Bootleg but I skipped it, since I just saw Hannibal Buress like a month ago and really I just wanted to stay home and go swimming and listen to my currently fave band, Spoon. Before getting into the pool I stood at my kitchen counter and ate the rest of the black bean cake and read the pieces about clams and vermouth from the previous Sunday's New York Times, listening to "Holiday in Waikiki" by the Kinks and "When You Dance I Can Really Love" by Neil Young and "Super Stupid" by Funkadelic and "The Bed's Too Big Without You" by the Police and "Pressure Drop" by the Clash. Then I made myself a white wine spritzer with riesling and Le Croix pineapple-strawberry, went down to the pool and put Spoon on, swam and swam and swam and swam. I thought a lot about how every swimming-pool movie scene shot from underwater is beautiful, and also about when Betty Draper says "Night swimming: it's divine" to Roger Sterling in season one. And I thought about how the shimmery-quivery thing that happens on the floor of the pool from the reflection of our Christmas lights matched up really nicely with the synth on They Want My Soul, and how I value and admire Spoon because they're so elegant about being immoderately romantic. I can't remember which Spoon songs I listened to but I'm sure I played "Anything You Want," which is my seventh or eighth favorite Spoon song right now, and maybe of all time:


Brick Lane Beigels Are A Very Important Part Of My Personal Iconography


I work on Brick Lane, directly across the street from Brick Lane Beigel. For the first month that I worked across the street from Brick Lane Beigel, I decided to ignore Brick Lane Beigel. I just didn't have time for it, at that point in my life, like three weeks ago or whatever. I had enough going on, what with settling into a new job and having it be my birthday and having to go to the eye hospital one time and all. Plus, I used to live in New York City, and I'm really loyal to New York City bagels, and I've already been through the experience of moving to another world-famous bagel city and having everyone rave about how much better the bagels are than New York bagels and then trying one and being let down. It was Montreal, and I hate Montreal bagels. They are tiny and hard, like an old person who has lived a crappy life and is sour about it. They are literally sour, sourdough bagels. 

So, I assumed that Brick Lane Beigels were probably stupid like Montreal bagels. I wouldn't expect very much of a bagel from England of all countries, though even at my most skeptical I appreciated the spelling: "beigel." I think New York City should go back to beigel too. It's so attractively reminiscent of old-timey Judaism.  

The first time I ever ate a Brick Lane Beigel I was in a bad mood and one of my co-workers called herself a "cheeky beigel-monkey" and I was like "I want to be a cheeky beigel-monkey" and then I ate a salt beef beigel standing alone on the street and, shortly after, died of happiness. That night I obsessively told every person who crossed my path that I'd eaten a salt beef beigel that day, and then I ate one every day for three days, and they stayed as good as they had the first day, which freaked me out. Things are supposed to get worse and worse with time. Why didn't anybody ever tell salt beef beigels that they need to get worse. 

They're too powerful. 

A couple weeks later, or days later, I can't remember, I ate a cream cheese beigel in the morning and then Charlotte came and got drunk with me in my empty restaurant. I didn't want to eat two beigels in one day because... I don't know, I guess it was just an arbitrary thing. They're not even that big or crazy carby or anything. It's not like eating two, like, footlong Subways in one day. That's something you definitely shouldn't want to do. Beigels, fine. 

I decided to try a tuna-sweetcorn-mayo bagel that night. It had been calling out to me all three weeks or two days or however long it was. It's kind of a gross thing to order, but I like gross food. I like tuna salad, a good soggy tunafish sandwich on whole wheat. Here's some fun UK gossip for all the North Americans out there: in England, they pronounce tuna like "chew-na," and it's really gross. Sorry, that's rude of me. I guess to be fair about things every English person I know is now allowed- no, encouraged- to tell me which thing I say is disgusting to them. Anyway, my tuna bagel sucked. Charlotte was eating a salt beef bagel next to me and I could smell it and it smelled so good and I was so sad about how stupid I was for choosing that moment, of all moments, to not order salt beef. The next day I woke up thinking about salt beef and then I kept thinking about salt beef and I got to work and sat down with my laptop and started writing emails and then was like "What am I even doing?" and went across the street and got a salt beef bagel. There was this one really special strand of particularly fatty, stringy salt beef on that particular salt beef bagel. That was probably, like, seven salt beef bagels ago. The strand of beef fell out of the bagel and it was stuck inside the paper bag and I was sitting at a table with a bunch of co-workers and I felt self-conscious to pull the fatty hunk of meat out from the greasy, crunchy paper bag and feed it to myself like a satyr feeding a Greek god grapes or whatever, so I took the whole bag out of the room and ate it alone sitting on the staircase and it was, like, fucked up how special that moment was. 

I've since come around to tuna sweetcorn mayos. They're a good Monday lunch beigel. They're not appropriate for being drunk or when someone is eating salt beef next to you and especially not for both at the same time, unless you are a for real masochist who has given up on the possibility on ever being happy and relishes in experiencing bleak, fucked up levels of misery. Ten days ago I gave myself the assignment of eating every kind of Brick Lane Beigel there is and writing about it but I failed at it. I had a chicken bagel last week. The chicken was a cross between boiled and roasted and I was obsessed with it even though it blatantly sucked and was boring. I ate it with lots of salt and pepper alone in my restaurant and it was texturally unique. The chicken was sleek. Brick Lane Beigels come in waxed brown paper bags and the feeling of crunching up that bag in your fist is part of it. When you have salt beef the grease soaks through the bag and nothing is better than that bag, that grease. A smear of mustard on the greasy bag. People have been smearing mustard on those greasy bags since 1900. So many restaurants try to be cute and special but they will never be as cute or special as that bag so sucks to be everyone, all of us, everyone who isn't that bag. 


Okay. Now it's Tuesday. Tuesday, July 28th, 2015. I was going to eat a herring beigel today, but then my afternoon escaped me and by the time I had a second to eat a bagel I felt too hungry for a herring bagel, which are kind of weenie-looking, so I had a salmon & cream cheese bagel with salad. "Salad," at Brick Lane Beigel, means they shove some cuke & tomato slices onto your beigel: it's 20p, a decent deal. The tomatoes they use are so red, so unnecessarily high in quality! I would not be that appalled by the presence of a mealy whitish tomato slice on a scrappy bagel I payed like a pound for. 

The salmon & cream cheese Brick Lane beigel is not my fave. It made me think of a conversation between a stupid person and a smart person, where the stupid person is trying to convince the smart person of something, and the stupid person is being very loud and aggressive and weird about it, and then the smart person is just sort of sitting there smiling and nodding quietly and clenching their entire body very tightly with the tension of wishing so deeply they could do something to make the stupid person be quiet. The stupid person, in this metaphor, is the salmon. The smart person is the beigel. The smoked salmon makes such a stupidly big deal out of itself to a point where every non-salmony beigel bite I ate was a really joyful experience for me. It made me appreciate the beigel on a new level. 

The cream cheese and salad didn't hugely factor into my issues with today's beigel. They were innocent bystanders, extras in the film. 

Oh BTW I'm going to eat a different kind of beigel every day this week, until Friday, when I post my beigel-themed blog post. So only for the next three days really, which is not too out of character for me anyway. Here is a beigel-themed self-portrait I took: 

Hey! Wednesday here. Wednesday LJ, who ate a chopped herring bagel todayl! Wowie wow wow wow. What an adventure of a beigel the herring one is! I woke up this morning and settled into existing in the ways that I normally do (eggs, vitamins, coffee, Internet), and then my brain was just like... WHOA! HERRING! It was so clear to me, from as soon as the texture and narrative of this day became a Thing, that a chopped herring beigel was demanding to be a part of it. It was my only goal in the world for about five hours. I was so directional about it. I just needed to get myself to the bagel. 

I had no expectations. I didn't know what the herring was going to look like, on the bagel. I forgot that it was "chopped herring," and was imagining the herring as being real little herrings, individual fishies, laid out on the surface of the bagel like sardines in a tin. "Will they be salty?" I wondered. I was so curious! Even a bit naive. And I was nervous to order the beigel, like it was too "legit" of a beigel order for my weird North American-accented self to be ordering. Every time I buy myself a beigel I feel like I fuck it up somehow. The ladies who work there are all about eighty billion years old and we don't communicate too well. Plus, they are assholes. The other day I paid for my £2 bagel with a ten-pound note and the one lady, the brunette, the meanest, was like "You have £2?" and I was like "No, obvs," and then she basically told me she didn't have change to give me and I was like "What the fuck do I do" but then it turned out she did, she was just trying to hoard her change. And once I asked for "pickle on the side" and they were like "PICKLE?!?" and I realized you have to call it "gherkin" so the next day I asked for "Gherkin on the side" and they were like "ON THE SIDE?!?" And then I was like "Yeah, just throw it in the bag," and they were like "It's going to soak through the bag. Make sure the bag doesn't break." Like OKAY don't worry guys I'm pretty sure I can handle carrying a pickle in a paper bag across the street without my entire life falling apart. Thank you for your concern.

Anyway, I got my bagel and ran across the street and a bunch of my fun co-workers were sitting around doing laptop work and everyone seemed to be in a really cool and hyper mood, so I set up shop in my little spot, and I tucked into my beigel, and it was the most CRAZY MAGICAL thing! (Not "crazy, magical"- "crazy magical.") I loved it SO MUCH! The herring, I realized then, as we all know now, is chopped. It's sort of like a relish, a sweet brown paste, with an extraordinarily fishy undertone. Nope. Overtone. Eating one would be a good way to explain the concept of "umami" to someone who didn't understand it, AKA everyone- it's a tough one to wrap your head around! At wine school they explain it to you by making you eat powdered MSG, which is sort of fucked in my opinion. 

You know how sometimes people say "bagel nosh"? I don't really know what "nosh" means, in that context, but I feel like maybe I do, viscerally, now that I've eaten a chopped herring beigel. I noshed it. And, at the same time, it was a nosh. We all were.


Happy Thursday! Today I decided to really go apeshit on Brick Lane Beigel and try a salami bagel. I initially wrote that sentence as "go ham on Brick Lane Beigel" but then I remembered that salami is probably made out of pork (right?) so it kind of became this half-pun half-non-pun and I hated it. But still wanted to honour it. 

I did not enjoy my salami bagel. It was by far the worst Brick Lane Beigel I have ever had. The salami was weird, and ugly, and creepy. It just looked like a thick round block of pinkness on the bagel. It was a shade of pink that I would traditionally associate more with lipstick than with meat. I had a plan that I would order it with mustard and gherkin but then I shook things up at the last second and had it with "salad" and mayo instead. It sounded "fresher" to me that way. I took it into work and people weren't in chirpy fun moods like they were yesterday. One of my co-workers was on the phone with BT and kept saying "I'm going to kill myself." Then I juiced a case of lemons while wearing a leopard print dress and knew there was a Tweet in there somewhere but I didn't have the energy to find it. 

My beigel was nice in that it was food and I was hungry. But a really strange thing happened, midway through my eating it: I realized there was butter on it. Butter. BUTTER. How fucked is that??? 

I fought through my initial impulse to passionately hate on myself for eating a sandwich featuring both butter and mayonnaise, but "It's not your fault," I reminded myself, in a Good WIll Hunting way. It was true. There is a zero percent chance I would have ordered mayonnaise on my beigel had I known it would come equipped with a thick-ass splatula-ed slab of butter jammed into the back of it, not even evenly dispersed across the whole beigel. Thankfully they did such a shit job of spreading condiments onto the beigel that I never had to eat a bite of beigel that was salami, butter and mayonnaise at the same time. That would have killed me. I think it would have broken my heart. 

The salami didn't taste like anything. I was barely even thinking about the taste of things- I was mostly thinking about regret. Though I did develop a new emotion somewhere along the way, the journey, which was: deep respect. Deep respect for the beigel shop owners and their commitment to the insane belief that butter should be on salami beigels. One of my colleagues asked me what kind of beigel was having and I was ashamed of the answer so skirted the issue by saying "My thing this week is ordering every single kind of beigel on the menu," and then he asked me "White or yellow?" to mean "At the beigel shop with the white sign, or the beigel shop with the yellow sign?" and I said "White" and then he told me that at the yellow sign beigel shop they have different fillings, different options. 

"They have bacon," he said about the yellow sign place, "Bacon and cream cheese, that's the ticket." 

"I guess I know what I'm doing next week," I said, implying that what I'd be doing next week would be eating a bacon and cream cheese beigel. But it was a lie: I'm beigeled out. I'm not going to be eating any beigels next week. (Except for the tuna one I'm obviously going to eat on Monday, since let's be real here tuna beigels make for perfect Mondays and no amount of salami butter grossness is capable of fucking with that.) 


Thing Of The Week: LJ's Vouvray, A Glass of Champagne with a Shot of Chambord

LJ'S THING OF THE WEEK: My Vouvray. My Vouvray! 

I wrote a wine list! And not just, like, for fun: it was work, or rather, "work." Work goes in the quotes there because it was really, barely work, as what I know work to be- it was definitely the most fun I've ever had doing something someone was paying me to do. I really want to figure out a way to swing "only writing wine lists" as being my job- I don't want to be a sommelier, since sommeliers have to polish glasses, and I ain't got time for that. I just want to swoop into every restaurant in the world, write them a magnificent wine list, and then swoop out as quick as I came, never to be seen again. Is that a thing? Can I make that a thing? I want to be that, and then also be "Kanye West's personal wine consultant," and "a novelist who lives on a vineyard." Let me know if you have any suggestions for how I can turn these dreams into a reality AKA do you know Kanye? Please tell Kanye about me. 

I suppose that "writing an actual wine list for a functioning, operating restaurant" is a good first step on the road to becoming Yeezy's swoopy wine guru. It's a really sick wine list, but it's also very functional, and only about 3% self-indulgent. Too many wine lists in this world are just a big chaotic mess of some crackpot sommelier jerking himself off. Nobody wants your weird wine that tastes like basement, loser! I'm the people's sommelier. You can't ask every single person in the world to care deeply about wine, or even care at all; I want the people to have chill, delicious wines that taste like fruit and get them drunky drunk, and then they can try out the weirder, cooler shit if they're balling harder than usual or feeling a little experimental that day. I judge the excellence of a given wine list by the quality of their house white and red. It's about a billion times harder to find a solid, good value house wine then it is to curate a list of sexy and expensive stunnas. 

No disrespect to sexy and expensive stunnas, though! When I started working on my list I had a vision of what I wanted my sexiest, most expensive stunna to be, and then I found it: it's my Vouvray. My Vouvray is called "Cuvee Pere Lucien," which means "My Dad Lucien's Cuvee," which is cool. Lucien is such a good name for a dad who you named your Vouvray after. Lucien's Vouvray tastes like honey, straw, macadamia nuts, chantilly cream, steel, and flowers; according to the Internet, it also tastes like quinces, but I have my doubts about that. Anytime a tasting note says a wine tastes like quinces, I'm like "Shut this down, you're making shit up." Nothing tastes like quinces. Quinces taste like nothing. 

Last week, I had a bottle of my Vouvray that I took home from a wine tasting and every night I'd get home from work and pour myself a generous, restorative glass of it, which I would then proceed to drink "with great ceremony." There is no wine in the world more expressly tailored to my palate than my Vouvray, and I have decided that I am going to start buying my Vouvray by the case (I get to buy my wine at cost now BITCHES), so that I can drink a restorative glass of Vouvray every night of my life. I know there are people in the world who would argue against drinking your favourite wine in the world every single night of your life, but I'm really not afraid of "ruining" Vouvray for myself; worst case scenario, I'll get a little bit sick of the Vouv, switch over to exclusively drinking my second-favourite wine in the world (a white Burgundy, no doubt) for a couple months, then get back on the ole Pere Lucien once my palate has been effectively cleansed. You just can't live your life sitting around drinking crap wine when the Vouvray of your dreams exists and is accessible to you. What if you died in the middle of drinking a crap glass of wine? You'd be filled with regret! If you died in the middle of drinking a glass of Vouvray, you'd die happy. Or I would, at least. 

LIZ'S THING OF THE WEEK: Gregg Araki's New Short Film, A Glass of Champagne with a Shot of Chambord

Gregg Araki made a short film for Kenzo's fall/winter line and it's my second-favorite Gregg Araki movie after Smiley Face. It's a mini teen soap opera set in some bad year like 1996 and it's got glitter eyeshadow, Slowdive, a flying cheeseburger, a joke about Silver Lake, a boy named Dark, a coffeehouse that looks like every coffeehouse I ever went to in the bad year of 1996, grunge clothing, a nun. My favorite line is: "Is it possible to be so sad that your brain actually melts?" I want it to be a TV show, or at least 10 more little movies. This is it:

And these are my other Things of the Week:

-On Sunday my friends and I saw Magic Mike in the special part of Arclight where they let you drink in the theater. I got one of the cocktails made especially for the movie, a glass of champagne with a shot of Chambord. It was called The Main Event, and there was nothing transcendent about drinking it, but I appreciate the poetry of "glass of champagne with a shot of Chambord" and also of mixing champagne with a liqueur made of raspberries and vanilla and cognac. Whoever thought that up is a sweetie pie and very much attuned to the spirit of Magic Mike and its big cute heart.

-This is actually a Thing of a Few Weeks Ago, but look at the wine I drank on the Island Queen ferry from Cape Cod to Martha's Vineyard last month:

It's a little plastic mini-carafe with a gold foil top that you peel back, like Yoplait - only so much better than Yoplait, because it's wine and you're on a boat to Martha's Vineyard where you'll eat a clam roll and visit the Flying Horses and the gingerbread houses and the classic Strawberry Fields Whatever haunts Our Market and Book Den. I'm truly considering buying a case or two of Copa Di Vino so that "drinking chardonnay from a mini-carafe with a gold foil top" can be this thing I do at parties, so that every party is an Island Queen party.

-Last night I went to see Morris Day & The Time at Santa Monica Pier. After Magic Mike, it was the second most outrageously joyful thing I experienced this week. At one point between songs Morris explained how if you take a bottle of champagne from the fridge and set it out on a hot day, the moisture on the bottle will start to condensate, because that's what happens when you're cool from the inside out: you condensate, not sweat. Later on when Shaz and I were waiting for the valet at Loews Hotel, Morris Day walked past us in his sparkly suit, drinking a can of soda, accompanied by a hot woman and a little kid whom he addressed as "buddy." I don't know, it was just really nice for me to hear Morris Day call a little kid "buddy"; it was sweet and made me feel like the world's a sweet place. On the way home I got weirdly lost and ended up in Bel Air and then in the tunnel in Less Than Zero where Blair hits the coyote. I also drove through the Valley, Griffith Park, Venice, West L.A., downtown, other places, and got home and reread the coyote part of Less Than Zero, which I'd underlined for teenage reasons I don't remember:

Probably I just liked how L.A. sounded tragic and evil. L.A. is absolutely tragic and evil, but it's also not, it's nine million different things and I love how there's no way I could ever get to know all of them.