Monday, 23 August 2010
I love it when magnets make you reasses your life. I can't say it happens often. These delightful words were found on a door in a courtyard somewhere near covent garden, possibly. I interpret it as a call to drink more but also to acheive more. I'm concerned these two goals might be incompatible.
Tuesday, 17 August 2010
The issue is Merry-Go-Rounds.
Merry-Go-Rounds: The Silent Killer
I find them simultaneously alluring and disturbing. The 'alluring' part is understandable; they evoke a kind of Edwardian charm of fairgrounds and laughter and candyfloss and dodgems. (Yes I know candyfloss probably isn't Edwardian. Don't shatter the dream). Then of course there's Rosie, the Magical Mystical Merry-Go-Round from Playdays; she was neither alluring nor disturbing, but a necessary evil until Why-Bird graced our screens again. I think I can trace my discomfort with them back to my almost-daily viewings of Mary Poppins as a child. Not only did this film form the bedrock of my feminist principles with the classic song 'Sister Suffragette' and inspire the now half-fulfilled ambition to become a tapdancing chimney-sweep, it also had me 60% convinced that if I rode a Merry-Go-Round, the horses would come semi-alive, leave their stifling fairground structure and gallop/bob down a lane into untold danger/excitement. Possibly including some kind of racecourse. I'm not sure what it says about me that the threat of danger we might encounter on our fantastical journey far outweighed any potential excitement and has left me with an almost crippling phobia of Merry-Go-Rounds, and horses, that I am only now beginning to excavate. Perhaps that I have a fear of the unknown and am unwilling to take (equine) risks? One thing's for certain: after five months publishing books on counselling I am no closer to unravelling my own psychoses. Although I did find myself today uttering the phrase "I cannot believe we only have two books on groupwork!"...and genuinely meaning it.
Saturday, 14 August 2010
Sunday, 4 July 2010
Thursday, 1 July 2010
who pays any attention
to the syntax of things
will never wholly kiss you;
wholly to be a fool
while Spring is in the world
my blood approves,
and kisses are a better fate
lady i swear by all flowers. Don't cry
- the best gesture of my brain is less than
your eyelids' flutter which says
we are for each other; then
laugh, leaning back in my arms
for life's not a paragraph
And death i think is no parenthesis
e. e. cummings
Saturday, 26 June 2010
"I have wit, I have charm, I have brains, I have legs that go all the way down to the floor, my friend"
"I drink from the keg of glory. Bring me the finest muffins and bagels in all the land"
"Why should we go to Mars? Cause it's next. Because we came out of the cave and we looked over the hill and we saw fire. And we crossed the ocean and we pioneered the West and we took to the sky. The history of man is hung on a timeline of exploration and this is what's next."
If for the sake of argument in some kind of Greek-gods-gift-bestowing-upon-me type manner I could write like Aaron Sorkin but in order to do so I would have to be a crack addict...it would be totally worth it.
Tuesday, 22 June 2010
I wish I were joking - it seems I'm drawn to it these days; I'm fairly disturbed by the fact that the next book I read also centred around inappropriate adult/child relationships: The Rehearsal by Eleanor Catton. I feel it would be pretentious to suggest that writing about other people's writing is a false echo of the real thing and has something to do with Plato's shadows on the cave - in other words it's totally douchey. That being said, this book is really, really good. The writing is like nothing I've ever read and I wish I'd written more of it down so I could impress people at parties by pretending the words were my own. I go to some wild parties. My only worry it it seems more like a long short story than a novel; what is it about writers that they think if they write stunningly we'll ignore the fact that the plot doesn't really resolve? My other Only Worry is that Eleanor Catton was born in 1985. This isn't a problem in itself, but hark, what's that? She published the book in 2007? This girl wrote this incredible book at 20. I'm trying to teach myself to change my perspective on this; rather than be intimidated by this and feel like I haven't acheived enough and it's shameful I haven't written a novel yet, I have a different perspective. I am motivated and inspired to acheive more and do more and be more. If I say that enough it will become true.
Saturday, 22 May 2010
Art on trees:
But best of all - amusing signage:
Next year you should definitely go.
Saturday, 8 May 2010
The real fun, however, begins in the office. Some professions have built-in excitement - as a doctor, or a fireman, or florist (go with it) - you know every day will bring the ups and downs of life, death, love and loss. And burns. If like me, you're a thrillseeker in academic publishing...you have to seek pretty hard. Which is why it made my day last week when, after handing me a list of herculean tasks (e.g. emailing) my manager picked up an author's file and said this:
"Now this might take you a little longer...I want you to try and get in touch with this guy. We haven't heard from him in a while, I'm not sure we have current contact details for him...also, we think he might......be dead."
This is a true publishing mystery - it has everything: late manuscripts, missing people, potential death, and a large file. I am now keeping my eyes out for a deerstalker hat so I can get to the bottom of the puzzle as Arthur Conan Doyle intended.
I have no real way of linking to this, but I just think it's amazing. Parton sings 9-5 with Minnie Mouse.
Sunday, 18 April 2010
Saturday, 10 April 2010
Once upon a time a sprightly young lady was..(ok it was me)...I..was conversing with a young gentleman who shall henceforth be known as Arty Fringe Guy. AFG was lovely. He talked about art and photography in such earnest yet animated tones that it was clear there were parts of his soul that had not yet been crushed by groaning yoke of adulthood. I tried to keep up and impress him by saying things like "yeah... apertures...darkrooms...uh huh. I love David Bailey".
It was all going rather well. That is, until he leaned in dangerously close...part of me thought "woah there, hun, I mean it's not that I'm not flattered but this is a place of business!" (Did I mention we were in the staffroom at work? Cause we were)..but then again I also thought fair enough, can't complain, he is AFG after all. It became abundantly clear pretty quickly, however, that his intentions were not romantic when he said this:
"Are your teeth...bleeding?"
There are multiple tomes on dating and the best way to attract members of the opposite (or same) sex..none of them advocate bleeding from the mouth in such a way that you look like a vampire. People may say want to bang Edward Cullen but it is not the same thing. (I don't want to admit to watching Twilight, but on the Edward/Jacob debate..maybe just pick a guy who isn't a mythical creature? Just a thought.) Needless to say, AFG pretty much ran away. And so did my dignity.
Tuesday, 23 March 2010
Sunday, 14 March 2010
Having acheived the short term goal of Gainful Employment, I should probably draw up some longer term Life Goals To Make Me a Better Person. I'm considering oragami and re-learning the Cello. Suggestions are welcome.
Wednesday, 10 March 2010
"Critics who treat adult as a term of approval, instead of as a merely descriptive term, cannot be adult themselves. To be concerned about being grown up, to admire the grown up because it is grown up, to blush at the suspicion of being childish; these things are the marks of childhood and adolescence. And in childhood and adolescence they are, in moderation, healthy symptoms. Young things ought to want to grow. But to carry on into middle life or even into early manhood this concern about being adult is a mark of really arrested development. When I was ten, I read fairy tales in secret and would have been ashamed if I had been found doing so. Now that I am fifty I read them openly. When I became a man I put away childish things, including the fear of childishness and the desire to be very grown up."
In the spirit of Lewis and childish things...this place is AMAZING:
Friday, 5 March 2010
Rob Ryan is amazing.
Rob Ryan taught me how to love.
Rob Ryan makes me want to be a better man. (N.B. I'm not a man)
This is Rob Ryan:
Thursday, 4 March 2010
The Sweetshop: Hope and Greenwood
The Comedians: The Penny Dreadfuls
See my interview here
Wednesday, 3 March 2010
There are many things I love about London. I love the fact that it's got so much history it doesn't know what to do with it - did you know there's been a church on the site of Westminster Cathedral since 200AD(ish)?
I love that the one time I had occasion to go into the offices of Vogue, I met the receptionist; who contrary to expectation was an old man who was seventy-plus or I'm a wombat. He called me "dearie".
I love that if you go even slightly off the beaten track you find gems you would never know were there; nothing makes me feel more like a Londoner than being able to say "oh you want a purveyor of obscure cartography? follow me..." My only problem is quite often I stumble upon these amazing places/things/people and can never find them again. I quite like that though; it's like the city is playing hide and seek with me. I thought I'd share some here so you can join the game if you want. First up, my Favourite Bench In All The World:
I know it's on the South Bank somewhere but whenever I try and find it I always end up freaking out the couples who are trying to have a Romantic Moment Looking At the Thames. More Lost London Loves to come...
Tuesday, 2 March 2010
- Arriving to interview with a stye and a limp (see below.)
- When discussing your extracurricular activities, admitting you only joined the gospel choir in the first place because a Certain Gentleman of Your Acquaintance was in attendance, and you hoped that in all the ShoopShoop-ing and Hallelujahs, your eyes would meet across the crowded room and all other voices would fade away as in your hearts you were singing only to each other...(N.B. This did not happen. It should also be abundantly clear at this point that one of my more charming qualities is my rich inner life.)
- Letting slip that the only reason you joined the staff of the university magazine in the first place was to meet comedians you Find Intriguing (N.B. This is Meedja Slang for "Find Devastatingly Attractive"). I still maintain that this is not stalking, it is journalism.
In short, what I have learnt from this is to LIE MORE. And don't limp so much.
Tuesday, 23 February 2010
Answer: Volunteer! CVtastic and free theatre.
For me this means The Rose Theatre in Kingston, where I saw Dame Dench in Midsummer Night's Dream. There was a lot of hoo-haa about The Dench, which is understandable, but even without her it was pretty good...and funny, which is odd for Shakespeare; even when the dialogue is genuinely witty and great I always get too distracted by the middle-aged men laughing heartily just to show they are clever enough to get the joke.
Particularly funny in this production (and also particularly handsome) was the chap playing the weaver. This made the play quite difficult for me to focus on, as I was stuck in a fantasy world of the day we will eventually meet....we both reach for the same e.e.cummings volume in the library and because of the library's Rule of Silence, we conduct an in depth discussion of contemporary literature through mime. Once out of the library, the first words out of my mouth would be "I liked your Bottom", he would shoot my a shy and confused smile and I would clarify that I meant Shakespeare...and of course he loves rubbish jokes and innuendos, two things we go on to share for THE REST OF OUR LIVES. In the Cotswolds. With an Aga.
So, long story short if you want to know what happened in the second half you'll have to ask someone else.
Friday, 19 February 2010
Thursday, 18 February 2010
I left my last post on the glorious teetering cliffhanger of "hunchback with limp approaches job interview through the hail"...which, incidentally, is the first line of my screenplay, Unemployed and Undead...but let's ease your suspense. Addressing the major problems of the day in no particular order:
1. The stye healed up nicely and I can see again.
2. The hail stopped pretty sharpish after I delivered a strongly worded missive up to the heavens.
3. The interview went better than anybody expected and I'll be returning shortly to convince them they can't manage without me.
4. My leg, however, swelled up like a bastard and I ended up in hospital getting IV antibiotics. Which is no great shakes in itself, but it did enable me to hear the following coversation between two pensioners on the same ward...
Wife: Don't leave me here! Why can't I come home with you?
Husband: You know you have to stay here, don't make this difficult...
(I say husband/wife...I'm basing that on the fact that they seemed affectionate towards each other, though of course that is not definitive proof. They could have been lovers having an octogenarian extramarital affair. We'll never know.)
Wife: You don't know what it's like here! It's the worst place in...England. Probably.
Husband: That is not helpful Ingrid. I do know what it's like; who's been here for every hospital visit? Who's sat by you? You're just confused now - and don't say you're not cause you didn't know your own address earlier. You didn't even know who the Queen was!
Wife: I know who the queen is it's Elizabeth.
Husband: Maybe on the second go you knew but not at first you didn't!
Wife: I hate this place.
Wife: Why can't I come home with you? Why do they have to keep me here?
Husband: They need to do some tests...
Wife: Fucking tests.
Husband: Yes they need to keep you here for fucking tests, you're staying overnight for fucking tests now stop complaining
Wife: What would I do without you?
If someone had told me a week ago I would find eavesdropping on sick pensioners swearing at each other in a hospital an hilarious and heartwarming experience, I wouldn't have believed them. It may not fit a Richard Curtis definition of a heartwarming moment, but hearing that old man swearily berate the woman he had stood by in sickness and in health about her tests....well it was fucking romantic.
Thursday, 11 February 2010
My top tip for job hunters? No matter how smart your interview outfit is, a tailored skirt and sensible heels will always be overshadowed by a swollen eyelid and a limp - they just scream "Hunchback of Notre Dame". As luck would have it I had listed campanology as an interest on my CV, so at least that looked authentic.
Not to be deterred, I set out for the interview, limp and all. After over an hour on the train and a rather harrowing unexpected train change, I finally arrived and promptly turned the wrong way out of the station. After walking through a lovely park for some minutes, and wondering why none of the adjacent roads matched my map, I approached a kindly looking stranger for help. After pointing me in the right direction, he told me I needed GPS on my phone. I told him I needed GPS on my LIFE, as currently I have no direction apart from an inevitable downward spiral which is making me dizzy, and furthermore I told him to shove it. Well, actually I thanked him for his help and hoped he would have a nice day, but my eyes told a different story... or rather, the non-swollen one did.
Back (hobbling) on the right track, I began mentally rehearsing my 5 Years Time answer: "I'm committed to a career in [insert field here], in a company like this one where I can develop my skills."...don't judge me, it's a work in progress. My knee was hurting, my eye was hurting, and I was about as likely to impress these people as I was to spontaneously sprout wings. Which would definitely solve the limping problem.
But all was not lost.....it started to hail. Big chunks of ice fell from the sky. Still, glass half-full...you're supposed to put ice on wounds, and at least it didn't rain. There's nothing less employable than a freezing Hunchback lookalike who is also soaking wet.
Thursday, 4 February 2010
Sample Tweet: "STOP apologizing. You're sorry, he gets it, Jesus. You spilled a glass of wine, not fucked his wife."
It probably says more about me than I care to examine but this is exactly my cup of tea. And I like tea, a lot. I once made a comic about the process of making a cup of tea that's how much I love it. (Yes, it was for a college project and yes, I know this is weird.)
If it wasn't for the fact that they practically make you get a tattoo saying "Plagiarism is Bad" across your forehead in the first week of Uni, I might be tempted to try something like this myself. I'm not sure it would really work though - my dad hasn't yet reached the Really Old Man stage where he just says whatever comes into his head, for one thing - and for another, when he's funny, it's because he tries to be. Really, really hard.
Sample Joke: "I have a Norwegian friend who only likes to eat 50% of his meals... he's a Lars Half-full kinda guy".
Think what you like, but I think this is hilarious. And I'm not ashamed to say so. (I'm a little ashamed).
Wednesday, 27 January 2010
This message for example - who is Philip? Was Miranda his lover? Why is her name in sarcastic quote marks - is it a code? Were they spies?! Ok probably not. But it's still interesting - is he in the forces, still off on a post-war peace-keeping thing in '49? And if so, is what he really needed a copy of "Three Plays for Puritans"?
What all this boils down to is that my books have had lives and loves before I was even born. Which, in my jobless, loveless state, just makes me feel more inadequate. My books are more accomplished than I am. That is depressing.
So...by a very loose interpretation of the word 'professional'... I am now a professional comedy writer. As they say in Malory Towers, Jubliate! Ok, so, actually I got one joke on radio show that invites submissions, but let's not quibble over facts. It interrupts my pride/boasting. This experience has reinforced two things for me:
- My Radio Comedy Geekery Radio comedy is awesome. Anyone who says different is an idiot. If you don't know who Laura Solon, Clement Freud or the Penny Dreadfuls are - shame on you. You have brought dishonour upon yourself and the house of your father.
- My Respect for Topical Comedy Writers It is not easy to think of jokes about the week's news when most of the news coverage is either about an earthquake which has killed thousands, or the attempted suicide of a Prime Ministers wife. Of course, there are some who would say this is what comedy is for - to make the unbearable, bearable - to shine a light into the darkest of places. Thankfully I did not have to grapple with such deep issues as I wrote a joke about tits.
Talking of radio comedy - one of the very loose aims of this blog was to discuss how I stave of the dispair of living a directionless existence, and radio comedy definitely fits into this category. If you didn't know that you can see recordings of BBC stuff for free by going to http://www.bbc.co.uk/tickets ... well you do now. If you've not seen a dwarfish Danish lesbian attempt to make jokes about the news whilst getting off her face on fortified wine made by monks, you've really got to take a good look at your life and ask yourself what the hell you are doing. I love Sandi Toksvig.
Just so you know I'm not delusional: http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00q0771
Monday, 18 January 2010
It would seem, however, that although I can blabber on quite eloquently about the etymological significance of... words... when it comes to things that actually matter, like job interviews, I can't do it. First they butter you up with all the offers of cups of tea - clearly they want you to burn yourself. We both know this. They just want to see how well you do in a crisis - I do not need a hot beverage to look like an incompetent fool, thankyou very much.
Then, they go in for the kill..."Where do you see yourself in five years?"
Let me tell you this, the answer "I have literally no idea" does not go down too well.
Honestly, in five years, all I know for sure is I want to be no longer living with my parents (no offence) and to be happy...but if you say that you sound like a directionless hippy (no offence to them either.) Also, when you hear the words "Five Year Plan" who do you think of IMMEDIATELY? Exactly. I do not want to be compared to Stalin by potential employers. Although it would give me the chance to whip out my stellar knowledge of Stolypin's agrarian reforms - thanks, AS History.
Having thought this through, I now have a plan for next time I get asked this question. I will climb on my chair (employers love assertiveness) get out my ukelele (they also love miniature guitars) and give 'em a startling rendition of this: