Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Marginalia Larks

Books are good, right? We're all agreed. But what's...gooderer? Spending thousands of pounds on an English degree and being unable to think of the word 'better' for several minutes? No! Second Hand Bookshops. They, quite frankly, Rock My Socks. I was thinking about making a T-shirt that says "Second Hand Bookshops Rock My Socks" but it's not the snappiest slogan in the world, and there is the inevitable problem that any girl wearing a top with words on has to suffer the indignity of someone basically reading her breasts. I digress.

My Second Hand Bookshop of the Week is without a doubt, Any Amount of Books which can be found in real life at 56 Charing Cross Road, and on the internet here: . They don't make 'em like this anymore - leather so stiff and battered, fifty years old and you can practically still smell the cow. A couple of doors down, in another labyrinth of libris (Latin and alliteration, get me) I stifled giggles at the incredibly super-posh odd couple proprieters, who could have been performing a Fry and Laurie sketch for all I know, with their disdainful commentary on pretty much everything. Flicking through these second-hand gems, you find things you wouldn't in Waterstones - 50 year-old bus tickets fall out of the pages, inscriptions to long-dead lovers are still marked on the front page.

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.

Comedy Ahoy 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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 ... 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:

Monday, 18 January 2010

In 5 years time...

I think I've discovered a fatal flaw in my plan for world domination/gainful employment: I'm very bad at bullshitting. Which is odd for an arts graduate, you'd have thought I'd be used to it what with all the "Oh The Wasteland? I totally read it. The messianic imagery blew my mind." (It totally did).

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:

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

Blogtastic (or similar hilarious title)

So, I just watched Julie and Julia, in which a dejected Amy Adams decides to cook all of Julia Child's recipes in a year, blogs about it and basically has a happy ending. As well as now being extremely hungry, and wishing I could attend cooking classes in 1950s Paris, I have come to the conclusion that writing a blog is the way to fix my life.

I do this with pretty much every film I see - All The President's Men made me wish I was an investigative journalist. Save the Last Dance made me wish I'd never given up ballet and that I lived in a 'hood' instead of Surrey... goodness knows what will happen when I finally get round to watching Avatar - odds are I'll develop a sudden urge to join the Blue Man Group and convey the woes of the planet through interpretive dance. Probably.
Rather than try and complete all Gordon Ramsay's recipes in a year or something, I will attempt to chronicle my quest to find gainful employment/ somebody to love (though preferably not simultaneously, I'm not that kind of girl), detailing the many ways in which both these quests are failing, and how I try and amuse myself and stave off depression along the way. Enjoy...