31 October 2007

X365: 8 of 365 – Bad Touch* Anthony

I guess you type Ja because you’re Scottish? I wish you didn’t accidentally on purpose find opportunities to make inappropriate physical contact with me. And that you’d wash your hair sometimes.

*as I privately refer to him

30 October 2007

x365: 7 of 365 - Bruce

Christmas eve, the night before our engagement, you asked if you were dreaming. Compliantly I pinched you, but a bit too hard. I’m sorry for that. I love you so much.

X365: 6 of 365 – Rob the Line Producer

You caused me more psychological trauma than my mother and nervous breakdown combined. But even though I’d never work in film again, I still have a soft spot for you. WTF?

29 October 2007

Income tax, leave to remain, call bank

The clocks turned back an hour, or maybe they pushed ahead. Yesterday felt like two days in one and this morning I woke with a panic because there was more light in the sky than what I’m accustomed to. I got to work early and feel more rested than I have in days, but it’s going to be very dark by the time I leave. Nobody can explain these things to me properly though.

Last night we went to see Bat for Lashes perform at Koko. The opening act was one of the strangest I’ve seen – weird in the way of French music, campy minus the gay aesthetic and oddly palatable in spite of its many quirks. I wish I could post the tiny, shitty photo that currently sits on my phone, or even remember what the band was called. But if you can picture a black man in dreadlocks, white tennis socks and a deep pink chiffon skirt rapping in French, well. Good for you I guess.

My dentist appointment was not too traumatising, at least beyond a few bad moments wherein I made an ass of myself by trying not to curl up in the foetal position after the shot of Avocain. Which basically meant that I pulled my knees to my chest and flailed about in a way that would not win over any hearts in England, let me tell you.

He also seemed confused when his assistant handed him some kind of scraping/picking tool, asking her “What’s that for?” and doing a bit of something or other with it after she demonstrated in the air over my head. That wasn’t overly comforting.

Then I nearly passed out at reception (just because), eliciting only an uncomfortable laugh from the receptionist when I told her I was feeling faint.

Yet there was no pain once the numbing wore off. None at all, at least until I bite down on something by accident and then great bloody hands of Christ does that ever hurt. You’d think that the removal of nerve endings would put a stop to debilitating mouth pain but you’d be wrong.

Bruce finally managed to convince me to watch Grizzly Man after confirming for the fiftieth time that no, we don’t see him get eaten and no, we don’t hear him get eaten. And then when the time came to hear him get eaten, I said with some disappointment, “So we don’t hear him get eaten then?” I’ve spent the last several hours trying to envision this sound, as I can’t possibly let a description of what a person being eaten by a bear sounds like stand.

And I’m wondering how come a whack job like that gets to pet wild foxes when I can’t even walk into the same room as our cats without them making a federal case out of it.


Okay bitches, over and out.

X365: 5 of 365 – Jesus from downstairs

Thank you for always politely offering me napkins with my lunch at the till. I can’t stop sniggering about your name, by the way, even though I know it’s pronounced differently.

27 October 2007

x365: 4 of 365 - Mike Leigh

I used to think people were making an innocent mistake before I figured out who you were. Now I've had the pleasure of seeing the back of your head too. Thanks!

26 October 2007


How many times can a short piece of entertainment news include the phrase "dipped in gold and strung on a necklace"?


What the hell was she thinking anyway?

I’ve got some real estate here in my bag

In a twist of fate, our budget flights to Canada over Christmas were cancelled by the booking agency and we had no choice but to book two of the four last available seats with a different carrier. Not only does this mean a potential direct flight from London to Vancouver, but our new dates mean we’ll be spending an extra five days there!

I’m over the moon about this because I’ve been missing home (well, ‘home’) like nobody’s business, and I still don’t think eight days would have been enough of a fix. Now I’ll have nearly two weeks of being carted around, cooked and cleaned for in a fresh, mountainous atmosphere where ten-year-olds aren’t packing heat and the customer service industry is full of eager post-grads willing to super-size my rootbeer with a super-size smile.

How to break the news to work though…

Well, my number’s finally up at the dentist’s so I’m heading off for stage 1 of a root canal shortly after lunch. I’m trying to see the bright side in all of this – an early departure from work on a Friday; an excuse to beg out of any weekend activities including dishes; the possibility of making a new friend (here’s where I ran out of bright sides) – but nothing takes the edge off the horrific reality that very soon someone will poke my gums with a giant needle in order to scrape out my nerve endings with a file.

Poor nerve endings! What have they ever done to anyone except warn us that we’re biting down too hard? Doesn’t everyone deserve a second chance?!

No, I suppose not.

More film festival madness is on the horizon, with a screening of Mister Lonely this evening and Grace is Gone tomorrow afternoon. Given that Naomi Watts bothered to show up for Funny Games, I’m thinking it’s not outside the realm of possibility that I will see John Cusack this weekend.

Is it finally our time, John, now that you are puffy and middle-aged and washed out and I am happily married? Seems unlikely.

X365: 3 of 365 – Devon from primary school

Someday I’ll run into him again unexpectedly and ask him to sign my copy of his novel.

Then I’ll choke him out with a stranglehold. See how you like it, Devon!

25 October 2007

Now you know

Ugh, work politics, life politics, the politics of beauty and love and friendship – my insides cannot conform, even when I ask nicely.

That cluster bomb Beauty sent bits of irritating shrapnel into the meat of my life at a very early age. I think it operates on the same principles as intelligence. When I was young, my parents didn’t like me much. As far as my underdeveloped rationale could discern, it was because I was lacking in brains and beauty.

The school system only confirmed my hypothesis – children did their best to rub salt into the gaping wound that was me while teachers leant a hand by relegating my desk to ever-secluded areas of the classroom. That sense of being singled-out and scrutinized never dissipated.

The Cult of Beauty will forever reign, and although most people celebrate the way in which nearly every single person on earth has a different and equal claim on some of its finest wares, to me it only illustrates the many ways in which a person can fail.

All you have to do is fall short of the mark. Pick a mark, any mark. That one over there with the bigger lips, browner hair, nicer-shaped eyes, better (some) cleavage will do. &etfuckingcetera

University gave me all the free-will necessary to grapple with and triumph over the problem of intelligence. But I haven’t yet found an arena in which to conquer the ever-shifting face of vanity. Not outside and not in.

Have you ever looked at another person and thought, “Gosh, if I only looked like her, my life would be sorted,” even though you know that you’re probably that person for at least one other person on the planet? I have. And you know, I still believe it most days.

I’m not supposed to be thinking these things, given my age and education. I’m supposed to rise above them. Is there a pill?

Hey, if anyone’s wondering what those random wee posts are about, I’ve joined x365. Find out more by clicking the link on my toolbar thingy if you can be arsed.

x365: 2 of 365 – Amanda the temp

Do you know how crazy you seem when you bug out your eyes and gesticulate wildly at your screen and make little muffled cries of dismay like you do? Guess not.

24 October 2007

x365: 1 of 365 - Cousin Melanie

You encouraged me to eat an ant when you were twelve and I was four; you claimed they tasted like candy. You bitch!

S'okay, I still like you. Wherever you are.

23 October 2007

I did this

Hello blank sheet my old friend. How can I write you today?

Just to be clear, this is definitely not a weather report but it’s such a lovely day out there. I can hear it. The leaves are tumbling around on their spiny feet and the air sounds blue and golden red. You go, fall day!

I’m in bed right now, too sick to go to work or even make my root canal treatment and feeling too guilty about both of these things to truly rest. Yesterday I took Lemsip tablets with paracetemol until it felt like the blood vessels around my heart were short-circuiting. So today I’m taking the drug-free approach to wellbeing: plenty of liquids (coffee), vitamins (vitamin Haribo) and rest (hello internet). Why do I feel no better?

Actually, I did fall asleep there for a little while but then became much too aware of the growing puddle of drool beneath my cheek (tmi?) and had to wake up before I was ready.

And now.


I was thinking (shhh) about how much I like everything these days – the city, the strangers, the friends, the flat, the outings, the food, even work – and that maybe this all-around sense of okayness has made a bit of room for me to miss home finally.

There’s nothing in particular I miss. It seems to come from a place of nostalgia, which in my case means looking distantly at past landscapes from a future perspective I haven’t yet reached with something like respect. Does this make sense?

I have a clear recollection of how a certain street corner would look at four p.m. in September, for instance, or the backside of a brick apartment complex on a summer afternoon.

My parents’ house: comforting and menacing, the edges rotting towards the centre where you pace in saccharine light, pick up weightless memorabilia, meaningless archives. The rooms tense - even when they weren’t home, even when nobody was home. Even now. (I feel a bit sorry for its new owners, whoever they are.)

Home. It’s not that you can never go back – it’s that it never existed in the first damn place.

This seems okay to me. Like maybe things don’t have to be resolved chronologically. Maybe getting better happens all over the map, in bright blossoms, or like when those white solitaire cards bounce around your screen, randomly and eventually erasing all traces of green.

Those cards never covered up the whole screen, actually. That really annoyed me for some reason.

22 October 2007

I must be exhausted

Not much to report today, other than I am mothersnotting sick. So’s everyone else, but they did the sensible thing and stayed in bed. I’m not sure why I’m still keeping up appearances now that I’ve been made permanent, but let’s just say I’m going to need all the support I can get from these people some day in the not-too-distant-not-too-certain-yet future.

Last night I got on the banjo and worked out my new pieces with few problems. It feels really good to be able to put together what I’ve learned so far and see (well, hear) tangible results. Bruce says it sounds very professional, and while that may be true for the indie sensibility that can seemingly forgive just about any vocal and/or musical travesty (not to name any names), I don’t think I’ll be booking any shows just yet.

This morning on the radio, Patti Smith said that it takes far too much energy to be cynical and that seeing her dog running towards her is enough to make her smile. I’m sure it is easier to don bell-bottoms and pretend that the last forty years didn’t take place but some of us don’t have billion dollar contracts or a big home or even a dog to run at us, so. Go and feed a whale some granola beneath an endangered tree, hippie.

Wow, getting a root canal with my sinuses perpetually draining out my right nostril is going to be ‘super duper fun’ (as one ‘super duper fun’ colleague from long ago might have put it). I’m hoping the illness overrides the fear and not the reverse, but I’ll let you know tomorrow or whenever my face lets me form a coherent thought.

In better news, Bil is definitely coming in May and we are all going to ATP before we head over to Iceland for…ice. And mist. And green rolling hills? No idea, really.

21 October 2007

Why don't you just kill us

It’s six o’clock and dark already – the kids still laughing in the chilly autumn air, crows awake and doing their thing, fireworks exploding at various intervals to celebrate the impending Guy Fawkes Day. People here don’t really ‘do’ Halloween and I keep forgetting to organise a party.

We had lunch at the White Hart pub in Waterloo – proper roast dinners that last well into an evening, which I guess it is now. I’m laid up in bed feeling sniffly and sore-throaty and a bit spent despite my continued resolve to avoid alcohol.

Last night we went to see the premiere of Michael Haneke’s remake of Funny Games (aka Funny Games U.S.) which was anything but. The night started off with promise – seeing Ang Lee on the red carpet and then trying to fool paparazzi into thinking I was someone (one nearly lifted his camera and then laughed).

Then Jennifer knowingly lured me into a restricted area above the screens, this fact only dawning on me when I turned to see Naomi Watts bringing up the rear. By then it was too late and some ditzy American PA was telling us off and so back down the stairs we went to get a regular coke at the regular concession stand for regular people. Bah. Naomi Watts was enchanting though, and impossibly tiny.

Michael Pitt was there as well and tipsy producers made their smug introductions before the cast skulked off the stage and the movie began.

I came knowing very little about the film, though Bruce said the Austrian version was about a wealthy couple who get abducted in their summer home and tormented. I wish I’d known a bit more about what to expect because it’s not a film I’m glad I sat through in any respect.

Without giving too much away, I think the introduction encapsulates the experience pretty well. Naomi Watts and Tim Roth are in their Mercedes, sail boat in tow, ten year old son in the back seat, and they are playing a musical guessing game.

Don’t look, now! George, did Daddy look? No mom. Are you sure? It’s Handel. Yes, but which overture?

Then a medium shot of the threesome in full holiday mode: skin dewy and a bit red, they are carefree; joking, smiling and chatting happily while Handel tinkles away.

It’s jarring when the death metal – heavy, empty, poisoned with sickening peals of laughter – replaces Handel at a gruesome decibel and the title appears superimposed over their holiday faces in an angry red font:

Funny Games U.S.

I was so incensed after the film and practically in tears. I’d never encountered anything so vicious. I felt profoundly violated and wanted to take out everything on my aggressor – that arrogant, flippant director who regards his audience with such blatant disdain.

But I thought about it and thought some more and by morning, after very little sleep, I could at least conclude that this filmic assault was likely aimed at the kind of people who typically enjoy a bit of violence with their fantasy. So, nothing personal I guess.

I suppose if you’re going to stumble into the most controversial film of the year, it might as well be at its London Premiere. And there’s really so much to say about it, though I’m not sure it warrants the effort.

19 October 2007


Last night saw the first of many early dark hours, and the evening seemed to have contracted to a pinhole of light by the time I lugged my heaviest ever instrument case up the stairs and into the inviting warmth of Ed’s tiny studio.

Ed’s lesson is a train I can hop anytime, regardless of how much I’ve practiced, and he’s intent on maintaining the pace so who am I to argue? We’ve put aside tablature and I’m learning primarily by ear now, which is the traditional manner by which banjoists learn. The doleful sweetness of an F chord nearly sent me over the edge but I’m good at keeping my cool.

There’s something antiquated about Ed and the way he sings. It’s a persona I imagine most young performers necessarily culture to preserve the old time feel of the medium, though it’s an eerie thing to witness - this sudden transformation from taciturn shyness to weather-beaten self-assurance.

By the time I got home, I’d forgotten large blocks of the new song puzzles and couldn’t decipher the sheet music. But I’m back to enthusiastic and that’s half the battle.

I swear I’m working with a bunch of Hobbits; this is the second time in two days I’ve overhead a conversation about appropriate mealtimes:

“Breakfast, brunch, lunch, tea, dinner, supper.”

“No, it’s: breakfast, lunch, dinner, supper.”

“I thought it was breakfast, dinner, lunch and tea!”

“That’s completely wrong.”


But it’s a lovely fall day out there – bright and chilly – and everyone is in the same phenomenal mood for once.

Oh, and: Houston, we have a contract! I’m now a permanent employee here at Circus Central and even though things aren’t perfect, they are just what I need them to be at the moment.

Internal systems are all go as well. My arms are aching wonderfully from that stupid instrument case, I’ve had some warm soup and I’m looking forward to the weekend once again.

There is always so much to look forward to now and I can scarcely remember that time in my life when absolutely everything ground to a sickening halt.

18 October 2007


Headless fingers open boxes, releasing musty ghosts and trapping them again between the pages of an infinite book - flipping fast so that the meaning can’t sink in and instead cuts the soles of its dancing feet on razor sharp edges.

When did I become so afraid of words?

17 October 2007

Yes, teeth are certainly at the forefront of newsworthy interest these days. It seems a root canal is not the end of the world however – just a more invasive filling really – so if it must be done, it must be done. Though I wish that people with PHDs would just leave my cavities alone already!

It seems my deceased friend’s mum was quite intent on seeing me, at least according to my own mother (who I trust about as much as that guy over there whose name eludes me) and yet there’s been no response to my tentative rescheduling. And so it goes. But as I mentioned to Bruce, most of what took place after high school does not make for good conversation in polite society. A happy ending hastily tacked onto a tragic farce is probably not conducive to the kind of safe anecdotes one would request in that type of situation.

Last night Ariel and I had one of our marathon chitty chat sessions over Skype, though the first 45 minutes were dedicated to fussing around with our touchy mics. It felt very good to talk to her, and I’d been missing that close-girl-friend vibe thing that girls need more than once in a blue moon. Short of putting a frock on my husband and then squinting my eyes a bit as he pats my hand consolingly, there’s no real way to achieve that effect here.

I seem to be backsliding in this respect, as I’m braving a lunchtime stroll with my ex-walking partner when likely all she wants to do is grill me about my future dental plans and then tell me in urgent tones that I am making a big mistake. It’s not that I never learn so much as I tend to lose the lesson.

But I’m taking my first all-girl holiday with Bil in May (Iceland!) and then Lizzie has promised a visit at around this time as well. So do your worst, congested metropolis of repressed individuals! I can wait.

16 October 2007

Leggo my ego

Any time I need a reality check about my work and where I’m at with things here, I just look at the new temp. She’s in her fifties for sure and has a kind of reticent self-assurance that’s almost convincing at a distance. But since I’ve moved desks I can now see straight through that ruse.

I was typing away the other morning and looked down to find her shuffling through personal items in my stand-alone desk drawers. Assuming she’d made the mistake of thinking I’d moved but the drawers associated with my new desk hadn’t, I told her that perhaps she was looking in the wrong place. She said, “No, I have this list of stationary items I need to buy but I thought I’d just go through people’s drawers until I found them instead.”

Sounds reasonable, I guess. If you’ve got foetal alcohol syndrome or something I mean.

So after that weird moment, I’ve noticed more and more that she’s either completely incompetent at what she’s doing or simply too scared to ask the appropriate people whatever she needs to ask in order to get things done. As far as I can tell, she’s spent the entire morning stressing out about it and refusing to make phone calls.

I don’t know what her circumstances are but I’m very glad it’s not me.

I received an email from my darling Ariel and something in it finally loosened this niggling sliver of uncertainty I’ve been having about my circumstances. The whole not being able to own my experiences, the feeling that I’m not really ‘here’ or anywhere for that matter – it all stems from the same place. (Drum roll please.) I seem to have lost my ego. And I don’t mean that obscure place inside that tells me I’m the most important person on the face of the planet, either. I mean that in the direct Freudian sense, the requests volleyed in turn by my Id and Superego seem to cross in the air over my Ego’s head, whilst it sits cross-legged between them with its fingers in its ears going
“hmm hmm hmm hmm little star, how I wonder hmm hmm hmmmm!”
It’s a bit bizarre, really.

There’s some unknown something I’m in the midst of working out to be sure, but maybe it won’t ever become apparent, what that thing is. Maybe one day I’ll just wake up and realise I haven’t felt anxious or angry or envious or any of those other things a person shouldn’t feel on a day-to-day basis for a very long time. That is my hope. Here’s to hoping.

Last night I had a very funny dream wherein I was invited to be a stand-up comedian in an outdoors club. I haven’t been the centre of attention in my dreams since probably university. It was a nice dream too because I started off being really funny and everyone loved me! But then I sort of forgot what I was doing and everyone lost interest and started talking amongst themselves while I read my notes and you’re not really paying attention anymore either because this is a boring dream description so never mind.

My mother was going to send me a £300 note in the mail, which is a bad idea on more than one level so I’ve told her to hold off for now. We’re going to have a discussion tonight; about life, teeth and unnecessary surgery.

Also, the BBC seems to have tapped into my subconscious or something. The morning of my dentist appointment, I woke to a broadcast about how it’s very difficult to find a dentist that offers NHS care and how people are resorting to pulling their own teeth out rather than spending the money on private care (and thanks Stuart, for the inspirational link). This morning there was a report on how adult health in Britain was suffering due to too much alcohol consumption, directly following my decision to cut out alcohol entirely.

Do I control the BBC or sumink? Maybe tomorrow they will report that people who eat ham and cheese every day should switch to something different so that they don’t get bored and consider eating that communal packet of biscuits at work. Yeah maybe.

15 October 2007

"You can relax with nitrous oxide"

"For those who are anxious about treatment we offer happy gas(sedation)which is extremely safe and a fantastic way to have a relaxing experience at the dentist.

DVD virtual reality glasses are also available so that you may watch a movie or documentary while undergoing treatment.We also have an hygenist available to ensure a clean and healthy mouth."

I'm scared

12 October 2007

Lucky stars, vague charms

Last night, after a most awkward game of bowling on a broken lane, we went to see Control at Surrey Quays. Bleak, beautiful and with plenty of stunning moments, it’s a film I won’t soon forget.

There was something overly distancing about the story and character portrayals and so I felt very little for the characters except vague pity. I imagine this is what was mainly intended, unless of course you’re young (in which case inexperience causes you to romanticise and even misgauge tragedy) or, as Stuart intimated, totally into Joy Division.

When I got home, I found a terse email from my mother about her unreliable email service - her sentences cut short as though the perceived fickle nature of the email service itself had somehow infected her composition, preventing her even from typing a proper amount of words into the content field: Things go missing. We shall see. Looking forward to Christmas! My mother specializes in locating conspiracy in the most neutral of circumstances.


Sometimes the “Don’t look down” maxim can apply widely, as occasionally I’ll see through the fog and think Good lord, am I really heading back to the lift in an office in London where I work? With ham and cheese on a rustic bap? Why do they call buns ‘baps’ here anyway? Oh whatever, whoopee, I’m…going to be sick. And then I snap out of it and go back to being the insensate automaton that I have to be in order to function here.

Straight after work, we’re going for charceuterie and then to some home buying seminar in Covent Garden. We’ve found a few nice prospects in Plumstead Commons and must now determine if we can sell our soul for a mortgage. All things in due course.

We’re going to have to start cinching our belts immediately, especially in the face of an upcoming dentist appointment that is going to clean me out of entertainment funds for a good long while. My toothache isn’t going away but because I’m a private patient, they’re charging me £50 for the initial visit and then additional charges for whatever it is that needs doing. Since it can only be a cavity, and cavities require ex-rays whether you’re going to fill them or not, I’m not sure why they want to break it out into two expensive and time-wasting trips.

Okay, I know exactly why they’re doing it, but must they be so blatant about exploiting migrants? (Yes)

I feel a bit better about socialising since referencing my book on English customs and behaviour, though mostly it just confirmed what I already know/subscribe to. Like men complain about things out in the open whilst women make a special trip to the toilet to complain in private. And the weather – just agree with what everyone says about it, or at the very least acknowledge that a difference in opinion is just a charming quirk of yours. And never tell an acquaintance your name or ask them what they do, even if it seems prudent – people here prefer to guess! I guess.

Oh, here’s some more good news: I’ve moved desks. So I’m no longer the target of obnoxious banter and sexist commentary. All of that happens over yonder now. Lucky stars.

11 October 2007

You can crush us, you can OWW NOT SO HARD!

I wonder when I’ll finally be able to look at something in my environment – some tunnel or cityscape or storefront – and feel a true sense of ownership/belonging. Because certainly it’s all familiar in that things I see every day no longer surprise me, but none of it resonates in that particular way of home.

Skittish is a good way to describe my handle on London. The cats, my colleagues, friends, high streets – if not terribly cuddly, at least these elements seem to have accepted my presence. Now I have to work on my charm because nothing and no one will do your bidding unless you’ve mastered this essential quality.

After getting horribly lost for a while yesterday, I took a more direct route to work this morning only to find that the front door was locked. This forced employees to use the rotating door instead, I guess for some statistical purpose that involved a headcount. But being channelled in this way only strengthened the illusion that I’m working in an ant farm.

I ate my lunch at 11:30 despite my philosophical quandary, which went something like this:

I’m hungry – I can’t eat cold fruit because I have a toothache – my sandwich is soft and not cold so my upper molar won’t suffer if I eat this - I can’t eat my sandwich now because I’ll be too hungry later – but the fruit is cold – and my tooth hurts – and I’m hungry

In the end, I ate the sandwich. Fuck consequences! Yeah, right in the *ss.

Um, so here’s some good news. I haven’t had a glass of wine in about four days, and after severe headaches and some deep, obscure hungry feelings, my mood has improved greatly. Tonight we’re meeting up with friends to bowl, have a few drinks and see Control, and I think I’m going to substitute beer with a coke or something. Because there’s really no point in destabilising my overall disposition for a single glass of wine or beer (which is about all I can stomach these days).

Does this make me a straightedge or what? I’m hoping my rampant atheism will somehow preserve my badass reputation, though I’m not holding my breath (that would be juvenile, which I’m ANYTHING BUT).

Last night I got sick and tired of sucking at banjo and decided to go for speed over accuracy. And you know, it doesn’t sound perfect or anything but it does sound like I’m playing banjo finally. I wonder if I can keep up the appearance of being able to play for long enough to convince my teacher that I’ve been practicing much. My next lesson is on the 18th, so we’ll see if I can accomplish a new trick by then.

Yesterday on the bus, I came up with an idea for a screenplay. Instead of letting it go, I wrote down a brief synopsis when I got home. Now I’m mentioning it here so that I have no more excuses not to follow through with an idea. Working in the film industry has given me a pretty good idea of what’s required to make a film, so if it’s any good, I plan to put together a development proposal and send it off to someone.

Someone like my writer friend, who isn’t really a friend if we no longer communicate or live in the same city, but what’s the point of superficial acquaintanceship with influential people if you can’t pester them with your latest Big Idea, hmm?

Next week is the Times BFI 51st London Film Festival. We’ve booked four films so far, though I somehow talked myself out of seeing the new Wes Anderson and instead am going to some dubious French flicks and an American remake of some other dubious French flick. But Bruce assures me there will be plenty of time and space to book the ones that float my boat, as expensive as this whole business can get.

Hey, watch this:

If you like what you see, have a look at his other bits.

Look that way. No, to your right. And up. Up a bit more. Right…there. Limmy.

10 October 2007

Fright of the navigator

I’ve recently discovered (again) that my metabolism has a tight leash on my appetite, making it nearly impossible to eat unthinkingly unless I want to fill out like a schoolgirl with a bad donut habit.

It’s not that I make poor choices when I’m hungry or even that I eat past the feeling of fullness – it’s just that unless I’m eating the same sandwich day in and day out and feeling excruciatingly hungry and/or unfulfilled, I gain weight.

To be fair, I’ve been a bit more careless about food these days and haven’t been consistent in my walking either. So a few days ago, I walked to work for the first time in ages after Bruce dropped me off at an appointment (secret appointment!) located along my route. Now instead of walking up Bermondsey Street towards London Bridge, I head up Tabbard Street and turn right at Borough High Street, where I would end up anyway.

Then this morning, Bruce found a better and (in theory) easier route for me to follow and suggested I try it. I told him I might save that for another day, since I was likely to get lost. Ever patient, he didn’t push the issue and I started off to work as usual.

But coming up Tabbard Street, and having spotted one major landmark he’d mentioned, I had the sudden inkling that I might be able to do it after all. Those bloody inklings of mine.

I’m not sure what made me think I could follow a route I didn’t take much notice of map-wise in the first place because I’d never intended to follow it. But I did think this, and it wasn’t very long before my elated sense of accomplishment turned to dry-mouthed panic when my shitty sense of direction conceded with my fantastic sense of being lost that I was definitely not on the right track anymore.

Christ knows how, but I zipped along uncharted territory until I stumbled smack onto the street where I work. But I had no idea which direction would take me to the river and I was much too embarrassed to ask a stranger. So instead I called Bruce and used the familiar landmark of his voice to calmly point me in the right direction, which I eventually found, much to his mirth.

So I’ve had my sandwich and - with the extra fifteen minutes tacked onto my usual walk - I’m feeling confident that in another week the scale at home will begin to tip in my favour once more. I’m also confident that I will never again try to go anywhere I’ve never been without a map in my pocket or a local at my side.

Speaking of which, I am adapting horribly to the new content management system I’m required to use for another piece of work I’ve acquired. I’m also incredibly awkward about admitting defeat and just asking the team for help. This is okay though, because according to this book on British behaviour, my general disposition – awkwardness and all - fits right into their social code of ethics. Whoda thunk it?

Hey, so how about that photo? That was me, steering a small fishing vessel on the Adriatic moments before a look of panic registered on the otherwise impassive face of Bojana's father and he instructed her in hurried Serbo-Croatian to take over for f*ck's sake! (he probably didn't say this, though he said something to cut my piloting short).

09 October 2007

Next door to the what?

Last night we saw a programme about a boy with a rare muscular disorder that will kill him before he turns 20. His body emaciated and failing, the kid nearly died from breathing in a grain of rice. When he couldn’t swallow food anymore, a team of specialists had to surgically implant a feeding tube in his stomach via his mouth without anaesthetics because even the sedatives could kill him. And this guy still managed to drag his ass to university.

So we made a pact never to complain about anything ever again.

Um. Hello. I’m at work right now. And.


07 October 2007

All you turkeys

It becomes more impossible to pin anything down the longer past and present embrace like wet transparencies - the eternal Then stamped into photographs, typeface running the same line over and over again, jumbling the meaning, and dreams that pull through filiments of lives you have no business waking. A song you thought you knew gives your heart a brand new pair of concrete shoes and pushes it overboard - that waterlogged ticker you lost last summer still trite except now you know too. Everything fits together so suddenly, sweetly and painfully, as it pushes you from the frame to complete its circle.

Croatia's turned down the sheet, put out the lights; it sleeps in a twinkling shoebox beneath the bed. Bojana, BoJANA, BoYana, however you get it wrong, she belongs here. She chews food pensively, shakes her head in slow-motion, smiles disbelievingly - could food possibly taste this good? Every morsel of her native land rolls over her tongue with that same allegiance.

All eyes are on me all the time: yours and hers and theirs and theirs too. Everyone that ever lived and knew us is watching, their furtive glances eating up hours of our film and it's not my best angle. So many boxes in disperate basements to lift the lids off of, so many angles to shake the dust from and try on again.

I don't know how long this thread pays out, if it's even the same thread, or if all threads are pulled from a single dream coat that is never quite finished. Or something else entirely.


This weekend we went to see Control except the guy sold us tickets to see The Kingdom and we didn't figure it out until we were already crazy glued to our seats and the film had started. I'd have never gone to see it otherwise, and I'd have been right.

Other little things here and there. Happy Thanksgiving, Canada.

05 October 2007

Hold out central

I don’t know if it’s the product of being an insignificant one in a city of millions that has challenged my individuality. But more than ever now I find I’m unable to own experiences, always looking at myself from an outside perspective and thinking, “This could be happening to anyone, anyone at all.”

And for the longest time I guess I’d been feeling like a pair of training-wheels for the novice dater. Someone you can only go so far with before you have to trade up, or out. These are certainties I’m slowly learning to unlearn. It’s difficult to be a good wife and a productive member of society when you’re always disappearing on people.

Anyway, Bruce is expecting an entry on our evening and that’s just what I’m about to do, though there’s a sense of urgency in this office today that’s nearly impossible to ignore, even whilst on lunch and inside my headphones. We’ll give it a try though.

So last evening we met up at Embankment to have a relaxing few hours before the New Pornographers show. We’d already agreed on dinner and a drink but we hadn’t come up with the particulars of what or where. After a while of wandering, we decided on a restaurant chain that’s been very good to us in the past.

La Porchetta is probably best known for its wide, floppy pizzas of various fresh ingredients. Now we know it’s because everything else on their menu sucks.

Just to be different (and costly), I ordered the most expensive dish on the menu, which turned out to be two small fowls covered in tomato sauce and a side of rice swimming in the same. There was nothing particularly wrong with it (other than the fact that I could scarcely scrape off two full mouthfuls from those tiny birds) but it wasn’t dazzling either. And I’m fairly certain they water down their wine, which I sent back in exchange for a pint of beer (which also turned out to be watered down).

But the real kicker was an incident that took place shortly after we’d sat down. We were shown to our table by a host who greeted us with the kind of jovial banter that belied the service training he’d had back in 1955. A few minutes later, a pair of young women walked in and the host turned his attention to them, exclaiming with a flourish, “Table for three!”

The two girls laughed uncertainly and gave him an odd look.

”Why’s that?” one of them asked.

The waiter gazed beatifically at the larger of the two and said, “For the baby!”

And then the horror of the situation dawned as it became perfectly evident that the woman in question was not pregnant.

Gauging by her appearance, I still can’t think of a single reason why one would even make this assumption. She wasn’t disproportionately bigger in the midsection and she wasn’t even particularly overweight. If you make the assertion that somebody you don’t know is pregnant (never do this), you have to be pretty darn sure. And I was pretty darn sure this was the worst prediction in the entire history of mistaken pregnancies.

So the girls hemmed and hawed a bit about whether or not they should even sit down - deciding finally that they’d have their dinner anyway, to the discomfort of us all. The restaurant was now empty save for four of us: two scowling (them), one with a dislocated jaw (me) and one with pop-eyes, his sleeves clamped firmly over his mouth in utter disbelief of what he’d just witnessed (Bruce).

The New Pornographers were fantastic though. It could have been a bit more fantastic had Neko Case been there, but nobody complained. In fact, after crew had disassembled the complicated pipe organ used by a nameless band that sounded like Genesis but looked like they’d just won first place for hydraulics at the high school science fair, the crowd was in such hysterics that a few of them even deigned to make some spastic hand gestures at the stage.

This is how otherwise reticent Brits let loose at a good show – by spazzing out within the narrow confines of their standing room. Some even gathered in a huddle to jump straight up and down in time to the music. But mostly there was the awkward spastic hand gestures, which elicited smirks from a few band members.

Wow, this entry is suddenly way too long; I bet you’ve already forgotten where you are and who I am and if you’d promised to have lunch with your mother.

04 October 2007

Whiskers on kittens

Our friend Jennifer managed to take some quality photos of our elusive cats recently. She’s in transit at the moment and camped out on our living room floor, so she’s had ample opportunity to engage with them. As much as you can engage with a pair of pea-brained trauma victims.

Meanwhile it’s just another day at Club Work. Conversations about ex girlfriends have gained steadily in self-indulgent elaboration to the point where I want to scream OH JUST SLEEP WITH HER ALREADY SO WE CAN FINALY MOVE ON! Except the point of ex girlfriends is that they taunt you from afar so that you have something to fantasise about on your lunch break or whilst you’re involved in a particularly tedious project. Or so I’m lead to believe.

So after spending all morning bearing witness to the cheating hearts of corporate Britannia, I was happily made aware of the fact that Sales Guy has been demoted by way of a completely separate promotion. This has nothing to do with anything except that maybe now he will work more and talk less and, well, that idea makes me extremely gay.

By the way, I’m re-appropriating the expression ‘gay,’ because why should the bi-/homosexuals have all the fun? They shouldn’t, that’s why! So today I am gay! GAY!GAY!GAY! Eat your heart out Julie Andrews!

Tonight we are making another brave attempt at the extradomesticular and will be seeing the New Pornographers on their Challengers tour. I am hoping against hope that Neko Case will be with them, though she has a busy schedule of her own.

And wouldn't you know it - so do I. G’bye!

03 October 2007

Look out upon the myriad harbour

This day started off weakly, my mood a bit off, and then some minor detail in a news story we’re publishing caught my eye and drew me further into my funk. The story uncovered all the ways in which people avoid work, particularly on Mondays, and how businesses were suffering because of this initial lag.

I find this Dickensian outing of unmotivated staff really depressing. It’s not enough that a job eats up huge chunks of your week and most of every day in between; now they want to forcibly squeeze every last drop of productivity you can reasonably muster in that suffocating timeframe.

Sometimes the only way I feel like I can keep walking in the direction of work rather than turning on my heel and walking straight back into bed is the notion that everyone feels the same fatigued apprehension about turning themselves on for another eight hour slog. Or most people do anyway. The rest saunter into their £100,000 per annum seats at 11 a.m., juggle their gaseous strategies and then have a four-hour lunch meeting about it.

Then maybe they’ll read that bit of news and furrow their brow and wonder how they can determine who in their organisation might be trying to cheat them of precious revenue.

As always, though, the motivation to actually care about your job is self-driven, and the only thing it’s driven by is a slow climb up the hierarchy and a promotion. What on earth am I doing here?

Earlier on Friday Films

A production company was filming a crowd shot along the South Bank this morning. They were making use of pedestrians heading to their various offices, indicating by way of a large sign that we should avoid looking directly at the camera whilst they were filming.

So I negotiated the narrow passage between a park bench and the filming camera, taking great care to avoid looking at the director. Part of me liked the idea that all I had to do to ruin their shot was turn around like some dumb asshole and smile into the camera. But an even bigger part of me wants to see my pill-balled black tights and crumpled a-frame skirt on a screen one day so that I can say, “Hey, that’s me! Well, part of me anyway.”

Just now

I looked down at my shirt and noticed some soup there. I said a bit petulantly “Nobody told me I had soup on my shirt.” Some random someone apologised and handed me a wet wipe. I guess I’m still in a bad mood.

01 October 2007

People to see

We had a very harrowing evening at the theatre this past Friday. The theatre is the very last place one would expect to be harrowed (unless you’ve been misfortunately cast in a Martin Amis novel) but on a Friday night in the west end of London anything is possible.

It was the second performance of David Mamet’s Glengarry Glen Ross at the Apollo and as subdued theatregoers milled about with a modest glass of wine in hand, the swinging doors suddenly flung to and a gaggle of gassed up lads walked in bellowing WOAH, THIS PLACE IS JUMPING.

As sardonically observed, the place was perhaps not ‘jumping,’ though surely a few patrons jumped a bit at the unexpected commotion.

I guess it wasn’t much of a surprise when, after Bruce and I had settled into our seats, this obnoxious troupe took up residence in the row directly behind us. What did surprise me though was the interactive enjoyment these boys took in the script, which tickled their funny bone via the connecting ‘foul language’ and ‘racist commentary’ bones. It was a nightmare.

The play itself was alright, in spite of an actor appealing backstage for a forgotten line and a few lacklustre deliveries of some of my most fond filmic recollections of the play. The boys had done their homework too, though, and like a sonic boom they emitted catch phrases in Tourette-inspired helplessness minutes before the actors could voice them onstage.

All this annoyance was thankfully contained within a few rows towards the back, but the actors could certainly tell something was amiss due to the excessive shushing that filtered through.

Bruce has asked me to write a letter to the theatre in the hopes that they’ll give us free passes to see the play again. We think they should have attempted to do something to uphold convention, if only to show that it matters.

Anyway, we made up for it on Saturday by going to see Yella at the cinema, which I’d recommend to anyone looking for a subtle intellectual thrill. I also recommend watching Half Nelson if you haven’t already. Ryan Gosling does a very convincing performance of a cracked out school teacher and the soundtrack of well-known Broken Social Scene tracks scarcely pierces the invention.

Coming up tomorrow is Lightspeed Champion at the 100 Club and then New Pornographers on Thursday, which – between dinner parties and a houseguest - makes for a very full week indeed.

I heard somewhere that the power dynamic is always unequal between two people in a relationship, in the sense that one usually loves the other more. Not in the saccharine ‘no, I love YOU more’ way but in the tragic manner of a less enthralled lover who can only bear or take advantage of the overwhelming attentions of his/her counterpart. So I count myself very fortunate in that respect, since I’m almost certainly matched in love.