Posted By Sandra Alland

Well, it's still touch and go as to whether there will be a summer in Edinburgh this year... last night was freezing again, but today seems promising...

In other news, I must whinge a bit more about the shoddiness of the National Health Service, particularly the Department of Rheumatology at the Western Hospital -- who booked me for an appointment in May (after a 3-month wait) and then sent me a letter saying I had missed an appointment in April (that I never had) and therefore was kicked off the waiting list and had to be referred all over again. When I phoned they admitted their mistake, but refused to give me another appointment and insisted I must go back to my doctor and start again anyway. Sometimes I really wonder about Scotland... especially this strange business of communicating only by letters (which almost always contain incorrect data). The phone was invented quite a while ago friends...

In continuing NHS rage, one of my many shoddy doctors (avoid the Toll Cross Health Clinic) recently told me he is qualified to give acupuncture under the NHS. How cool is that? (I thought.) But when I arrived he informed me the acupuncture had to take place in 5 minutes (impossible) and then proceeded to just shove needles into "where it hurts the most." My ankles were bleeding, and remained swollen and bruised for three days. Plus, the guy was supposed to write me a prescription during my visit, but had me leave the room and come back so he could double-bill for two visits! Sneaky. And freaky.

In better news, I saw a lovely show that's on into June at The Owl and Lion Gallery in Grassmarket. It's called Story Motel, and features over 50 hand-made artists' books. There is some stellar stuff there, and most of it you can read on the spot if you want. Though there are plenty you'll want to buy!

Also caught the cracking Raise Your Hem at the fabulous Itsy Kabarett on Friday at Voodoo Rooms. Despite one homophobic comic (I started to heckle him but he was bombing so well on his own I just let it happen...), it was a lovely night, with loads of steamy burlesque. The Itsy folk just keep doing it better and better.

What more? Oh yes, Y and I got treated to L'empreinte de l'ange (The Mark of an Angel) at The Filmhouse yesterday. Safy Nebbou's film about the true story of a woman who becomes convinced someone else's daughter is her dead child is surprisingly good (I say this because at the beginning it seems like a stereotypical psycho flick). Catherine Frot is stellar as the lead, and kudos to Nebbou for creating a taut thriller without falling into tired old traps.

In still other news, Zorras have finished recording our first CD, thanks to the lovely and talented Andy Duncan! More on that soon. Today we are off with the dashing and talented E, to take some foppish pics.


Posted By Sandra Alland

Just a quick note to say the gang at Suck My Left One (on Glasgow's Subcity) rocks the universe! Zorras had a great time on the radio last night.. made me nostalgic for the days when CKLN in Toronto was still a community radio station... thanks to Kate and Liv for being so lovely, and also for giving me that Sister Spit cd! Listen to the show (which is called Lesborific, and I guess I don't entirely qualify for oops...) at

In other news, I'm on four different waiting lists for doctors, and will probably wait for at least three months to see one. But I had my first appointment yesterday (because that waiting list was started months ago)... it was physio and I was psyched. And guess what? The guy called in sick! And can't see me for a few more weeks... Yay, NHS. Sigh.


Posted By Sandra Alland

I forgot to update you on my oh-so-hopeful trip to the NHS to do something about my ever-worsening chronic pain. If you recall, the doctor told me she was going to do some research and get back to me. I almost danced home, thinking: Well at the very least I'll get a referral somewhere! Hope, sweet hope.

But her "research" arrived in the post, and well... it appears she searched "fibromyalgia" on google and photocopied the results! What brilliant investigative work my friends. I've only had it for 6 years, thanks for telling me the symptoms! Argh. Ah, Britain and the 3-minute-per-patient limit. Ah, modern medicine...

Speaking of fibromyalgia, Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore has written a stunning new novel, So Many Ways to Sleep Badly, that contains the first accurate descriptions I've read of what fibro feels like (and what it's like to have pigeons in your ceiling). Honestly, that's enough to recommend the book alone. But it's also a brilliantly-written account of life in San Francisco during the invasion of /war on/occupation of Iraq, and of a writer trying to flourish and love among anonymous hook-ups, sex work, messed-up friends, the hope of a boyfriend, incest flashbacks, and various infestations in her apartment. It's written in a strange journal-like stream-of-consciousness, with no real plot to speak of, but I was turning the pages faster than in any thriller. Sycamore is funny, smart, has kick-ass gay shame and anti-fascist politics, and can even pluck your little heartstrings with descriptions of fuzzy sea lions without making you puke. Not for the faint of heart, but then if you were faint of heart, why would you be on my blog? Now go buy the book! It's a balm in these bad times, and a relief from the bad writing that clogs up bookshops.

Lucky me is hosting the Toronto launch, and reading with Lady Mattilda November 3rd. Get tickets at This Ain't the Rosedale Library for free before November, they're $5 at the door. The door is The Boat, on Augusta in Kensington Market. Also reading are the wonderful Tara-Michelle Ziniuk, Stacey May Fowles and Hal Niedzviecki. 






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