Saturday, February 28, 2009

Misery Misery Misery

What a day. We can never see an awful day coming, can we, and then it pounces on us like death on a stick, out of the blue, all-spoiling and heavy-hearted like a funeral. I don’t want to talk about it but I hope that making a note of it on here will help me to look back one day further down the line and slowly shake my head in disbelief at the way in which we can always make life harder for ourselves, especially when we really needn't do so. This has to be one of the worst Februarys on record since tracking began!

Friday, February 27, 2009

Around The Corner

Looks like spring may be around the corner, at least if judging by this.

I am so not looking forward to it and cannot even figure out why, although I suppose that a spring-summer that is really a hybrid autumn, as it always is around my parts, may be part of the problem. The joys of Cheshire.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


I feel like flying high today, even though nothing ground-breaking happened. Or maybe it did and I just prefer to Proceed With Caution. What is it that has made us so scared to broadcast to the world that we had a good day, that we had a good meeting and that something really exciting may be around the corner?

I don’t know what it is, but people seem to secretely rejoice in others’ failure. Have you ever noticed how someone may come up to you with a ‘How are you?’ delivered with a cocked head and a patethically furrowed brow? That’s when they do not really mean to ask you how you are but how you are coping with being ill/ jobless/ poor/ fat/ insert-failure-of-choice-here. And so we tread around as if on eggshells, fearful of our own victories and of talking about them because, you know, it’s just so much better to pretend that it’s business as usual, that there are no news because good news is no news and that everything’s shit. Do you know what I was reading only recently? That it is distasteful to be seen around carrying shopping bags at a time of economic uncertainty. Are they kidding me? So now I am supposed to feel crap because I’ve got money to spend? Do people really care whether the Chanel carrier bag conceals a nail polish rather than the 2.55 to-swoon-for handbag? Should they? Honestly!

And so today I am flying high because I had a fantastic meeting at a local university and because there may well be a potential post for me coming up really soon. That’s all I have ever wanted to do, to be a researcher at a university, and now that it is about to happen I almost feel unsure of myself, my capabilities and even my wishes. It is indeed true that, the more negative the thoughts of those around you, and the more negative you yourself become. Yikes.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


If there is one good thing to keeping a diary, that’s the memories it gifts. Skimming to my first few entries from the beginning of last year, I have very vivid recollections of everything I wrote about and of everything I photographed, of where I was and how I felt, of how I was coping with work and writing and even of how hopeful I was for my knitting, especially after having blown a sizeable buck-budget while in America. And yet, for all of those days without entries I feel like I haven’t lived. Who knows what I was doing just after New York? Who knows what happened at the beginning of March? Where was I at the beginning of April? What was I thinking? Was I happy, narky, worried, serene? No clue, no journal entry, no remembrance. It’s like I skipped right through those months. I have no idea.

Despite the lack of entries, I will remember this week as The One When Nothing Happened, when nothing was planned, nothing got done, nothing, nothing, nothing. I just picked up my paper diary and, look, there was nothing at all for this week, not even a shopping list scribbled on the sidelines, not even a PAY COUNCIL TAX in red letters, not even wedding anniversary. How sad of me. It rather depresses me slightly, for I know that I spent fruitless days wrestling with the same damn piece of writing, a chapter that, it is evident, I just cannot be asked to write. Vague ideas peek into my head and then scurry off into the woods leaving no breadcrumbs behind. And so my days are glassy-eyed shells of their former selves, million of figurative miles from everything I used to do and everything I had hoped my life would be like at this stage.

Yet, there is something exciting on the horizon, for I have a meeting later this week which may signal the end of hardship, whatever that is. Quite frankly, I don’t even know what this meeting is for, and isn’t it a bit weird that I have such great expectations for it when it ain’t even a job interview, but as time ticks away, as my funds continue to deplete and as I’ve already started to live in a hypothetical post-PhD future, I feel fossilised if at all possible, looking at life racing by as I am wading into a black-treacled limbo where hope springs eternal.

Monday, February 16, 2009


It is seven today and it so doesn't feel that long even though, looking back, getting married seems the stuff of absinthe-induced dreams, all vague and light-headed.

Seeing that we couldn't be where we really wanted to be (where we really ought to be), Lake Windermere was appealing enough. So long as I don't do comparisons of course.

Even though seagulls often follow you around...

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Isn't it magical how the city, any city, can burst with life all week and look pretty much dead on a Sunday? And of course, that's the best time to go around. I went to the Leonardo's Drawings exhibition at the art gallery today and I am planning on visiting again, seeing they didn't print out postcards of the drawings and so I should try and imprint my memory as best as I can with, say, the skull perhaps?

Saturday, February 14, 2009

Valentine's At Home

It still manages to be my favourite day, even though it only frittered away into a Bookchase.

Friday, February 13, 2009

Heart-fully Done

I can't help it, I am very much a girly-girl. Little hearts and the colour pink are endlessly appealing to me and so my long week-end has started...

And happy Friday 13th of course.

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Today's Clobber

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

That Won't Do

The people who really know me can easily be distinguished from those who think they know me on the basis of running the little Name The Actor I Love test. Those who think they know me may answer, on a incorrect sliding scale, least likely first, Owen Wilson, Rupert Everett, Jonathan Rhys Myers, Hugh Grant, Joaquin Phoenix, Christian Bale, although I may have to re-think a little after the fucked up tirade of late. Those who definitely do not know me may say Colin Firth or Ewan McGregor. Those very few who have me all sussed will guess right. But this is something that I have, somehow, managed to keep rather private, a bit like the location of my tattoo.

Something that close and not-so-close friends know is that, every year, at around about this time, I jet off to New York. I got married there a few years back, on the spur of the moment, during a Valentine’s break, hence its significance to my life has always been above and beyond the emotional attachment to any other place I’ve ever been to or even lived in. I’ve returned to New York nearly every year ever since, always around the same dates, always back to the same place, only skipping the awful time when I was on sick leave from work, skint and in pain. Last year at this time I was prancing around in my underwear trying (fake) furry hats in my bedroom, humming to myself and throwing silk dresses and treble-knit wooly tights in my suitcase. Good times.

This year I cannot go and everyone knows it. I cannot go because I am in-between jobs, tying up loose ends, as a couple of friends of mine so like to say, or, as someone else told me, making the jump from being a corporate number to someone who is in fact personally fulfilled by her own occupation. All of this makes sense of course but only to them. It doesn’t make sense to me. I know it is difficult to crystallise my convoluted thoughts when I’ve spent an entire week toying with the work I need to do and looking at the sky every time I hear a plane overhead (and I live next to an airport, so, we really are talking about looking up and sighing like... forty times an hour), but, believe you me, I so WANT TO GO NOW, that I am past caring whether I sound spoilt, insane, weird or a combo of all three. I am saddened by this non-development and, yes, I would give quite a lot in order to be able to spend my wedding anniversary doing what I always do, being with Rick, zig-zagging in Central Park, taking pics of the deep blue sky, aimlessly walking up Madison Avenue until we skim Haarlem while chomping on Godiva chocolate-covered strawberries, $ 6.50 a piece.

Naturally, it isn’t all about Madison Avenue or Godiva either, although they are significant in their own ways; it is all about having realised years ago that domesticity is a relationship’s greatest enemy. Stop making time for yourselves in new surroundings and you really are going to slide into the no man’s land of being together just because you are. When we are in New York, far away from the Tyranny of the Everyday, far away from the stupid gripes induced by food shopping, by maintaining a house, by putting the frigging rubbish outside, I can actually get to know two different people again; Rick and myself. I am such a better person when I am away from daily miseries I cannot even begin to tell you.

Valentine’s Day is coming up and although mocked by many and insignificant for some, it isn’t for me, as it is intrinsically connected to my anniversary two days later. I baked some heart-shaped cookies today and I am planning some more themed baking but I must admit that I feel deflated by even trying to act like everything’s normal. Whatever I think of doing (cinema? Theatre? Dinner? Park? Lakes? All of these?) has a that will do vibe to it that contrasts with the person I am at heart. I am not one of those who say they don’t really care about going to New York, they can leave it or take it, just because they don’t want to admit that their inability to do as they would really like to stings them (yes, I am no fox). It stings me and I freely admit it.

Heck it’ll be a miracle if those friends who have been kind enough to face the music this week will still want to talk to me next, narky as I was over the past few days. Furthermore, I see my current predicament as a monument to my uselessness from a work perspective. And I know that I am not useless really but, trust me, there is only so much overall fulfilment you can get from writing and researching when you don’t see a buck for either and, in fact, when you haven’t seen a buck for six months. After all, you can’t pay your bills in intellectual fulfilment currency. Now that really won’t do.

Saturday, February 7, 2009

To Winter

I am re-reading William Blake at the moment and I can tell you that there is no better time of year to do so than the beginning of February. Visionary, fantastic, damned and so damned interesting, Blake's poetry is full of the promise of the sublime Romantic Age. I am so lucky I am writing about this and not hideous Dickens.

O Winter! bar thine adamantine doors:
The north is thine; there hast thou built thy dark
Deep-founded habitation. Shake not thy roofs,
Nor bend thy pillars with thine iron car.

He hears me not, but o'er the yawning deep
Rides heavy; his storms are unchain'd, sheathèd
In ribbèd steel; I dare not lift mine eyes,
For he hath rear'd his sceptre o'er the world.

Lo! now the direful monster, whose skin clings
To his strong bones, strides o'er the groaning rocks:
He withers all in silence, and in his hand
Unclothes the earth, and freezes up frail life.

He takes his seat upon the cliffs,-the mariner
Cries in vain. Poor little wretch, that deal'st
With storms!-till heaven smiles, and the monster
Is driv'n yelling to his caves beneath mount Hecla.

Friday, February 6, 2009

Badman Eats Pie

PR-led damage limitation? Sincerely heart-felt apology? Worry over reputation and future takings? A lot of necessary bullshit? You be the judge. Here's the Badman eating humble pie on Kroq radio.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Badman Returns

Remember last summer when it was reported that Christian Bale had been arrested while promoting The Dark Knight in London, apparently having had a spat with his mother and sister? Nothing came out of that and charges were dropped. It later emerged that mum and sis had turned up at The Dorchester and attacked the guy themselves; mum is apparently an alcoholic and had shown up asking for money while insulting Bale's wife. I didn't think much of it at the time but latest developments cast that incident in a completely different light. This is what happened on the set of Terminator Salvation when the director of photography stepped into Chris's sight-line during filming.

Did you listen to that? Did you pick up on how real the rage is? Good because I'll tell you what guys, it doesn't just cast new light on The Dorchester incident, it casts new light on fucking American Psycho. I speak as someone who is very much f-happy when talking, as all of the people in my circles can testify. Yet, I am also very much like Shazza from Bridget Jones on this one ('Likes to say fuck. A lot') and do so un-maliciously and have certainly never launched into such a tirade to another person. So I am both shocked and disgusted and I hope that Chris will re-listen to himself full blast and maybe think of his little daughter next time he decides to play diva and of the example that he sets for her. Yet, as is often the case in such instances, some quick people have already jumped on the Badman bandwagon by producing a piece of catchy popular music already known as The Christian Bale Meltdown Remix. This one:

Nice one, no? I suggest they play this over the end credits of Terminator Salvation.

Monday, February 2, 2009

Groundhog Day 2009

Today it’s one of my favourite days of the year, the one that I love to celebrate by watching Groundhog Day. Did you know that Phil predicted another six weeks of winter early this morning? Same as last year, when he was very nearly spot-on. In my part of the world we had longer than an extra six weeks of winter. There was snow on the ground at the beginning of April people!

And today was a very appropriate Groundhog Day for the whole of England, as snow came down thick and fast from the deepest south to the north. Of course I am a bit peculiar about snow as I am about winter; there is never enough and it is never cold enough and, really, once you’ve been to North America in the depths of winter and worn tights, long johns, thermals, pants and boots and that’s on your legs only, well my friend, you need more than three inches of snow and a gust of +1C breeze to get excited.

But a lot of people had a good time and although I cannot say to share the cataclysmic fears of apocalyptic proportions as depicted by the news (honestly, arctic conditions? I mean, do they even know where the arctic is?), sitting on the sofa, toying with my new chapter and starting a new cashmere scarf made me feel like I don’t have a care in the world. Snow has this effect on people, let’s hope it sticks around, preferably for longer than six weeks.

Sunday, February 1, 2009


I was talking to a friend the other day, discussing my new bookshelves. There is a fundamental problem with these bookshelves you see, they are from IKEA and if you are a friend of mine, or even an enemy of mine, you will know how disgusted I feel for having bent to the Law of The Skint, for having caved in and bought the cheapest of the cheapo, for having shifted my weight the wrong side of the aesthetic fence.

I had no choice my friend (or my enemy), for I had books covering every flat surface of my small abode, and that included floors. I have spent the weekend re-arranging everything and taking forgotten texts down from the loft and onto the shelves and, finally, I feel like I’ve moved in, almost seven years after having done so. I’ve got all my books (and Rick’s books) at arm’s length (especially Rick’s books I should say) and it feels great.

And IKEA or other, I had underestimated the Power of Book Order, which is a bit peculiar considering I am a Virgo and like any good Virgo (or is it Virgoan? I don’t know, but I surely prefer the former) I am clean and tidy and often go completely ape when my stuff has been moved. Now I am sitting in bed, looking at one of the new bookcases, a little white one at my feet, and I am mesmerised by the beautiful spines, by the typefaces, by the colours, by the sizes, able as I am, for the first time since I bought all of these books, to really see them and to really look at them. I have strung up fairy lights on top of them and for the first time they make me feel all serene as opposed to narky for having yet again stubbed my toe on them. Gosh, I feel happy. I never thought that serene and happy and IKEA could go together but I guess they do.

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