Thursday, March 29, 2007

Where You Played When You Were Young

Where You Played When You Were Young

"Light up! Light Up! What's that all about?" Griffin asks, pint in hand.

"Don't mock 'Run'" I poke back, mock serious.

"I'm only teasing" comes the reply. "But what does it mean?"

I'm overwhelmed by Griffin's innocence as to what he has just walked into here. A lamb to the slaughter. Or something like that.

"It means whatever you want it to mean".

I see the flicker of recognition in Griffin's eyes. Now he understands where this is leading. And it won't be pleasant.

If I were sat down, and maybe not quite so under the influence of all that riccardi and coke, I would say more on this. Because every piece of literature, every song, every play, painting, dance - every experience you have means whatever you want it to mean. You bring your past experiences and memories to the party. No two reactions and interpretations will be the same for no people have the same experiences or think in quite the same way. And the better the piece of literature, the song, the play, the more diverse the reactions and interpretations.

For me those incredible odd lyrics in 'Run' are about loss. They are about exhilaration. About carrying on. About making your stand as futile and as short lived as it might be, but making it anyway. They make me think of outdoors, of freedom, of the Yorkshire moors and Emily Bronte. Of Leeds at its most beautiful, raised arms and singing. Of Epics and Prometheus and Byron and my Romantic boys. Of wind, of flying skirts, of your lungs almost bursting with the effort.

They make me think of Stoppard's Arcadia and one of the most glorious and beautiful statements on life I have ever heard: "The procession is very long and life is very short. We die on the march. But there is nothing outside the march so nothing can be lost to it".

"You don't want to start me on this. I won't stop". I think this is what is known as getting off lightly.

"Somewhere the guy from Snow Patrol is having this conversation having sung one of my songs" Griffin adds.

Now it's my turn to blink, broken from my internal reverie.

"He's stood saying, c'mon it's a good song - a bit repetitive, but a good song".

I look directly at Griffin aware we're standing on the border of something rather odd.

"In an alternate universe" Griffin adds lest any of us should be confused.

And I smile because, in this flash, Griffin just made me look like the normal one.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

And this time I wasn't even in the fountain.

And this time I wasn't even in the fountain.

I step on to the platform at York station, Snow Patrol playing in my ears and my bag swinging on my arm in the manner which only occurs when life deals you one of those little quirks that makes the difference between a good and a great day. Because not having to pay for your train ride officially counts as a great day. And before anyone thinks that I have fallen into criminal ways, defrauding the rail network out of the pounds due to it, I live near a small station that is manned only on the second Tuesday of the month between the hours of 7.00am and 7.05am. They - those nameless train companies who every so often come along and give us a new bench - do not trust us with outdoor ticket machines. This is what happens when you live in an area which has a M&S Food Hall and a Militant Neighbourhood Watch Scheme. It is therefore impossible for me to buy a ticket unless the Conductor comes round the train. Which today he did not do. Hardly my fault.

I'm just about to leave the main area of the station - in the direction of the pub - when I feel a tap on my arm.

I turn round expecting to see someone I recognise (this is me after all, I tripped over someone I knew in Budapest) and instead I'm confronted with the bulk of a man in a florescent yellow coat. A policeman to be exact.

"Have you got a minute?" Policeman asks.

"Yes" I respond in my best 'I haven't broken the law' voice whilst starting to wonder how many years you get for ticket evasion even though it was not my fault.

Policeman takes me to one side. Oh brilliant. People are now looking. And not just because I have fabulous boots on.

"Since the London bombings we've been given the powers to search people" Policeman starts.

I do a little take. So this is not about the ticket then. This is worse. They think I have a bomb. This is probably why I need to get a smaller handbag.

"We're searching a wide range of people - male, female, all ages and races".

I nod along like this is the most normal thing in the world and I am not about to be strip searched on a platform at York Station.

"And under Section 44 I have the right to search you".


"Are you happy for me to search your bag?"

What can I possibly say to this? In an ideal world I would not be standing here, a possible bomb suspect, when I should be sat in a pub getting slowly drunk on riccardi and coke, so, no I am not entirely happy with how things are playing out. But if I say this you will think I am being deliberately obstructive. And I've watched enough tv detective shows to know what happens when you are deliberately obstructive to the police.

"Go ahead" I smile pretending that this is the most normal thing in the world.

"Thank you" Policeman smiles back. And then - just as I'm opening my bag - he decides to add "We're not just looking for bombs but things people shouldn't have - like drugs".

He thinks I have drugs! I am to be Bridget Jones only without the Madonna impression.

"Right" I smile back whilst mentally going through the items in my bag. I am to be arrested for non-payment of a train ticket, a lemsip sachet and a Vicks Inhaler. And that is before he finds that I have a Mini David Tennant doll in there as well.

Policeman searches my bag whilst I avoid eye-contact with passers by.

Eventually he finishes. "That's all fine" he smiles.

I smile back realising that I am mere moments away from a riccardi and coke.

"There's just a form I need to fill in with you to say you've been searched".

Great. It is to go on record that I am 24 years old and have a David Tennant doll.

The questions start off easy enough. I know my name (just about). Then they get more difficult when it gets to height. I do not know my height. I know I am short and have to do lots of things on my tip toes. That is usually enough.

"What build are you?"

I eyeball Policeman. If there is disaster lurking anywhere then this might be it.

He reads my look well. "We'll say slim then".

"Yes, lets" I respond. I'm not sure my liver could have coped with the results of of anything else.

"And, in your opinion, what colour would you say you are?"

I blink at this. He needs me to define my colour. He needs me to define my colour despite the fact that I am so white that in some lights I look translucent.

"White" I deadpan.

We finish filling in the form and Policeman supplies me with a copy (so I can remember this moment in all its glory) before saying goodbye and wishing me and my Vicks inhaler a good evening.

There's a moment when I stand there, not quite sure of what happened. And then I move. And when I'm asked if I want a double I say yes.

Friday, March 23, 2007

"If I Lay Here"

"If I Lay Here"

Dear Griffin,

Further to my previous letter: thank you.

I really thought you weren't going to do it. "There's no way he'll do it for the final song" Gayle and I had agreed as we stood on our stools surveying the static indifference in front of us.

And then - the opening line.

'Chasing Cars' was rawly perfect. As I stood, shaking, holding on to Gayle, you managed to transcend the space we were in. I wanted raised arms, soaring voices meeting yours, the flash of lights as the music switches. They didn't come.

But, then, they didn't need to.

Your voice - a voice which, at its best, can break my heart - singing my song. It was enough. It will always be enough.

And I will remember.


Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Did Lady Macbeth Have Children?

Did Lady Macbeth Have Children?

There are some conversations and events that I record on here because they make me laugh. There are some I record because I don't want to forget them. There are others still that go up because they say something that fits in with the current tone of DA (whatever that may be, at whatever point). And then there is that thing, that horrible phrase, the story arc. And I know, just as I suspect other bloggers do, that I select and filter things accordingly. It is always the truth, but it is a selective truth. The edited highlights, fast forwarding through the boring bits (or, at least, most of the boring bits). Maybe with over two years worth of posts together they point to something that may essentially be me. Or maybe not.

Today I had a conversation that probably illustrates a lot of this; when I write my huge academic tome* about blogging it is the conversation I will put at the start of the introduction. Because, in its essence, it is about the very nature of writing a blog. About the strange episodic, soap opera, autobiographical, (non) fictional nature of it all. And one day, maybe when I look back on this (those memoirs won't write themselves) this will make me understand.

"We often read your blog on a night" Director Boy says to me as we make our way to the train station.

"I'm a little worried if that's what you do" I smirk back.

"I'm usually playing about on the internet and you're bookmarked so if I click on it and there's a new entry and Dean's mentioned... he wants to hear it".

"Of course he does, he's all about the fame". There was a point, prior to Dean meeting some of my friends properly, that he intended to introduce himself with the sentence "I'm the infamous D".

"Of course. And he's in it a lot".

I can't deny it. "I do spend a lot of my time with him". So much so that when I was out the other week without him History Boy said that it was "good for [me] to go out without Dean". I wasn't exactly sure what the correct response to that was.

"And" - here we have the crux - "he is very funny".

"Dean is very good for blogging".

"I think he's a little worried that he's not the most famous person in the blog any more. He thinks History Boy is stealing the limelight".

"But History Boy's excellent! He's not [-], he's History Boy".

"Exactly; History Boy's a character". I do not need to add - with a story arc.

"Dean's problem was when he changed from being 'D' to Dean; he stopped being a character and became, well, Dean".

"It was Dean who said I could change the name". And it strikes me that I held off on doing it for a couple of months precisely because I didn't want to disrupt the character of D. The character of one of my best friends.

"I like the name 'Director Boy'".

This is good. So do I. "I'm not allowed to change that, I've been told".

"Who by?" Director Boy's excitement here is obvious. If he were a character in a tv show who had just spilt his soup he would be flapping his hands. Blog fame is obviously contagious.

"By readers" I smile, unwillingly to divulge more lest it disrupt the source of power that, as Author God of DA**, I have. "You're just after the fame too" I prod jokingly.

"But I'm honest about it!"

"Yes; and I will be blogging about what we did today*** - just not yet".

Because, sometimes, life must be lived before it is blogged. And, anyway, I don't know the punchline yet.

*You think I'm kidding. I'm not.

**The Author is not dead around here, thank you very much.

***And, no, it wasn't that.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

If You're Going To Do Something You Might As Well Do It Properly

If You're Going To Do Something You Might As Well Do It Properly

"You're a stalker!"

"No I'm not"
[Thinks for a second]
"Ok, maybe I do know where David Tennant lives".

"You know where he lives?!"

"We got it down to a couple of buildings at least".

"You're a scary, scary woman".

"No I'm not".
"I'm just effective".

Monday, March 19, 2007

I'm Starting To Think That 'Opera' Is A Euphemism For 'Getting Drunk'

I'm Starting To Think That 'Opera' Is A Euphemism For 'Getting Drunk'

Dean leads us into the room where a small group of people have already assembled themselves and takes us to seats three rows from the front. The fact that I can say with absolute certainty that I am the second youngest person in the room probably points to its general demographic. That the reason we are in the room is for a pre-show talk on Opera North's The Elixir of Love would also be a pointer.

We sit down, my unease growing, before Dean excuses himself.

I turn to History Boy who, whilst he undoubtedly qualifies as an Opera Buff, seems to be as bemused as me as to why we're sat here rather than in a bar.

"I don't even have my music with me to listen to!"

I shoot it out, trying to keep control of my volume switch. It's a good job I've only had one (double) riccardi so far.

"I've got To the Lighthouse on my iPod if you want to listen to that" he smiles.

If there is a moment in conversation that I would like to hit the pause button then this would be it. To the Lighthouse. On his iPod. I'm sure it's not something to brag about at parties but I can't hide my obvious enthusiasm: I'm beyond impressed. Should you not be aware I am so obsessed with Ginny that she is the wallpaper on my mobile. So Ginny on an iPod - beyond exciting.

Obviously I should say something witty or profound to this revelation.

"You've got Ginny Woolf on your iPod!" It comes out as an almost shriek.

Yep, dignified, intelligent. That should do it.

Either History Boy is more drunk than I thought or has excessive reserves of politeness when it comes to shrieking Woolf fans as he explains how he came to have the novel on there. In the course of the discussion it emerges that his iPod is 30GB.

"That's huge!". Again I seem to be having a problem with volume control.

"What's huge?" Dean asks as he rejoins us.

"[History Boy's] iPod!". I know I should stop there but I can't. There has been alcohol. "And that's not a euphemism". Obviously I am finding this funny so I giggle as I say it. If I'm honest, though, the giggle also denotes the line that I have just fallen head first over. A penis/ iPod joke. Involving History Boy. Inside a theatre. What has my life come to?

Dean starts to laugh.

"I don't know - I don't like to boast but..." History Boy smirks.

I start to open my mouth to say something -

"Hello everyone!" announces the Man at the front of the room in his New Zealand twang.

Saved by the Opera. That must be a first.

What follows isn't anywhere as painful as I had expected. Except the bits where there are what I would officially constitute as being 'opera jokes'. I'd mutter something about geeks but I laugh at 'Shakespeare jokes' so I really shouldn't throw stones.

"Donizetti wrote about 70 operas. So he wasn't like Beethoven who wrote one. Three times".

Everyone laughs. Everyone that is except me. And it occurs to me that this is probably what it is like to sit in a Stoppard play and not get the joke.

"The hero knows he loves her straight away - you don't have to wait four hours like you do if the composer's name starts with W".

There is full blown laughter here. Which makes my own non-laughter all the more obvious. I have to think for about five seconds before I realise they're laughing about Wagner. I'd probably be better going back to my iPod/ penis jokes.

The plot fully revealed the talk comes to an end and we make our way to the theatre bar where History Boy - undoubtedly sensing my slight disquiet - buys the drinks and patiently explains the jokes to me.

As the Grand has no effective method of communicating that their show is about to begin [I don't know, like an announcement or something as every other theatre I've ever been to has] we only realise that The Elixir of Love is about to begin when the bar is almost empty. Consequently I have to run down stairs whilst wearing a dress that I can only just about walk in, never mind run.

I try and catch up to Dean, steaming ahead with the combined weight of knowing the theatre inside out and not wearing a restrictive movement dress, only to pass one of the Attendants.

"You can't take that in".

He motions to my drink. My half full drink.

"You need to get a plastic glass from the bar".

I look at him for a second. I do not know where the stalls bar is. I do not know where the plastic glasses are. I do know that HE IS NOT DOING HIS JOB. I do not mention the fact that last time I came to the Grand - when I got lost because there were no attendants to help - I took a glass into the auditorium. When it comes to DA's Front of House awards I do not expect the Grand to feature highly.

I do the only thing I can do. I walk right past him. He makes no move to stop me. If I were his boss he would totally be emptying the bins tonight.

As I half trot down the corridor another attendant - who is doing his job - comes running after me with a plastic glass. I beam at him. I'm anal after all, I didn't really want to have to go through with the whole glass in the auditorium thing.

"I can't believe he did that - get my own glass!" I mutter to Dean as we enter the auditorium. "I'm a Duty Manager!".

Dean doesn't even need to look at me. "Corinne - be quiet".

And, because I recognise that he might have a point, I am.

Not long after we settle into our seats the production begins. And if last time I'd been somewhat underwhelmed by the incredibly static Orfeo then this time I was utterly charmed by what unfolded in front of me. The Elixir of Love is emphatically a Rom-Com. And if my penchant for Richard Curtis doesn't make is obvious enough, I adore a good Rom-Com. There was a real joy about the whole production, in its wonderful costumes, in its well placed setting and in those little touches in the Chorus when the attention of the audience is supposed to be on the leads. There was also a joke with a banana that had Dean and I rolling in our seats. And if there is to be an award for best placed Red Nose then it has to be given to Andrew Kennedy's Nemorino - so astutely placed was it that History Boy didn't notice it at first.

But if there was a moment that went beyond the sparkle it was in the second act when I cut through the charm and felt what was being sung. I felt it in my core, one of the those utterly euphoric moments that creep up on you every so often at the theatre or at a gig. And even if I had Shakespeare's 25,000 words I would not be able to express it as I felt it - but feel it I did. Every last second of it.

"How can she not love him?" I whisper to Dean.

"He's bald you know".

It's a fair point. But in this moment, with these voices and this music I understood what I hadn't as I sat in the room at the start of the evening. I understood maybe a little of why Opera has such pull for Dean and History Boy.

I understood a little of its magic.

Friday, March 16, 2007

Much Better For You Than The Ear Bleeding

Much Better For You Than The Ear Bleeding

If - like me - you're slightly addicted to reading blogs then you've probably heard all about Troubled Diva's insane incredible idea to put together a book featuring the funniest blogs from UK bloggers in aid of Comic Relief. The interesting part of this is that it's all been done in 7 days. 7 days. It would have taken me 7 days to have decided on the font.

And now, after what is quite likely to have been a a time of blood, sweat and tears (or maybe that was just in Troubled Diva's comments box) the book is ready in all its shiny, new book glory. There is no DA in it - not that I'm bitter or anything - but do not let that put you off. There are some people in the book who have almost made me fall off of my seat when I'm reading their blogs. And not just because I'm drunk.

So go buy a copy, fall off your seat and help Comic Relief. After all you'll look a lot less stupid with it than you would with a red nose.

How To:

How To:
Make my ears bleed.

Have the man forevermore known as Barry from Eastenders sing 'Chasing Cars' on national tv. I know this is in the name of charity but I fail to see who this is actually helping. Certainly not me and the months of therapy I will now need.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Run Away And Chase The Moon

Run Away And Chase The Moon

Dear Griffin,

So today is the anniversary of the You and Me [Tonight] release and, possibly more importantly, the day of what I suspect is [along with a blog about the Boat Race] going to become an annual tradition - the DA blog letter to you.

For lots of reasons - not least because I maybe said a lot of what I might have written here back in December - I'm not sure what exactly to say. I suspect that it is telling that were it not for this blog I wouldn't have remembered the anniversary at all. But, I suspect, that is exactly how it should be.

On Monday night, as we were eating in Ha Ha, you happened to come up in conversation - I have graced Dean with some of the not-quite-edited highlights and, maybe to put the final piece into the jigsaw, he wants to come and hear you sing. To see a little of what I can't quite convey through words but which, I suspect, I will always feel. When I used to tell people about you, when it was to encourage them to see you, to buy your songs, to be part of (whisper) the army it was quite different. When I tell people now it is because you are part of my past, one of the stories which make me the way I am. As the whole experience of those 12 months recedes I know I will never feel it again as acutely as I did then. But it is still there and we - those of us who were there - will never be able to fully explain it to those who weren't. It is forever a secret kept between ourselves, half heard in words and photos and newspaper cuttings but never quite fully articulated.

This is not to say that the new songs have not become part of my internal playlist or that I will not get the familiar thrill when I hear you sing. I do and I will. I will continue to come and see you sing for as long as I so desire. And when I'm at your gigs I will sing as much as I like, dance as much as I like and pay those in the audience as much courtesy [no less and certainly no more] as I would for any other audience at any other gig [though maybe slightly more than in the mosh pit at The Holloways gig I went to last month, I must confess]. I will continue to sit in the beds at Evil Eye and, along with Gayle, make the international signal for...well, never mind what for. I will continue to remember and I will continue to forget. You will undoubtedly continue to wear deck shoes and I will continue to disapprove.

Albion? Good name; not quite sure on 'Happiness' but adore 'Naked' and 'Silent Suicide'. And I'm much happier now that your myspace bulletins are properly punctuated. It means I've started reading them again. And studio diaries - very cute. Obviously I think you should get a proper blog, but then of course I would.

If I could put in a request for a repeat performance of 'Chasing Cars' next week then that would make one rather soppy girl very happy indeed. You should consider yourself quite honoured here - hearing Gary Lightbody sing 'Chasing Cars' live was one of my top five musical highlights of last year and I wouldn't let just anyone mess about with it. I'll even forgive you when you get the words wrong. That's how nice I am.

Is there more I should say? Possibly, possibly not. All I know is I'm still here. Albeit with a Mini David Tennant doll.

Griffin & Mini David

But then we were the girls with the paddling pool. In HMV. I look forward to the next year and whatever it may bring.


P.S. From a phone booth in Vegas...

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Because it really should be marked...

Because it really should be marked...

As of 17:03pm today I - officially - finished the third draft of The Four Right Chords.

Over the past month I've managed to chop off over 3,000 words, taking it from a slightly chubby teenager to a more sleek twenty-something. Needless to say the diet hasn't been entirely stress free. When I start work on the second draft of 'Corinne's New Play' I fully intend to stick a post-it note next to my computer banning me from using the words 'because', 'well' or 'actually'. And I'm sure that when (tonight) I read-through Four Chords in its entirety (something I haven't done since I made my annotated revision notes at the end of January) I will find niggles and gripes and podgy bits that the exercise hasn't managed to shift and which I will have to deal with by resorting to support knickers.

But there is - at least for the next hour or so - a feeling of relief. And a desire for chocolate cake.



When the three minute call for the end of the interval comes I am the first person up to the doors. As I am nice - not to mention obsessed (on a par, if not with David Tennant, then maybe with the goings on in Neighbours) with glass not going into the theatre - I pick up a supply of plastic glasses. As I do this two of the tops ones go flying out of my hands, stopping only when they collide with the doors, narrowly avoiding decapitating a couple of audience members in the process.

Though maybe this is not all bad; tonight is Macbeth. They were warned to expect moderate violence. At least there is no blood.

I bend down to retrieve my missiles and realise, just at the moment that I do so, that the combination of the bending with a pair of trousers which are becoming slightly too big for me as I lose weight power-walking across this theatre for 26 hours a week and the man-radio I have clipped to them tonight as my dinky girl radio has broken is resulting in my showing my knickers to anyone who should choose to look in my direction. They are nice knickers (obviously). All cute frills and pink spots.

But they are still my knickers.

On show.

At work.

I straighten up as fast as I can and notice a man with a half full glass of beer. It is not a pint glass but some warped shaped wine glass (at least in my opinion). I make a mental note to ask one of the boys about this in a bid to understand why it is socially acceptable to have beer in such vessels. Aware that Warped Wine Glass Man has probably just seen my underwear I want to get this over with, I go to exchange his glass, proffering a half pint plastic one instead. He looks at it (and me) before taking it, making the swap and going into the auditorium.

I think, at least, I have rescued the situation - until I notice smirking from the direction of the fellow plastic cup holder who has joined me. I wonder if the smirking has more to do with the missiles or my knickers. I suspect it is the latter. Though obviously this will not be mentioned because the minute that my knickers are mentioned the world will cease to exist. And we both know it.

Still smirking he leans towards me. I brace myself.

"Never give a man a half pint glass".

I blink. He smirks. I momentarily forget who is in charge.

As I move to catch the next glass I get the distinct impression I have just lost a battle.

Monday, March 12, 2007

I put my new shoes on

I put my new shoes on

One by one we pour out of Sela and into the street.

"I need you all to wait whilst I change my shoes!"

I try and make this sound as normal as possible in the hope that this will pass without comment. In reality I know that this is about as likely as my becoming a deck shoe convert.

"Your shoes?"

At this moment, from the depths of my very distressed, very silver Oasis bag, I pull out a pair of pumps. Like Mary Poppins. Only more useful when you've been drinking.

"You've brought another pair of shoes!"

The hilarity with which this is greeted would suggest that I am possibly the first person in the world to do this. In response I try and maintain as much dignity as possible, something which is somewhat hard to do after three hours of vodka and cokes even when you're not stood in the street with one shoe off and one shoe on.

Possibly on account of the alcohol I decide that reason is the way forward.

"These shoes " - I demonstrate my utterly lovely, silvery, bronzey, peep-toed, high heeled shoes - "are beautiful but they hurt when I walk in them. These shoes" - holding out one of my slightly scuffed, slightly worn out of shape, black ballet pumps - "are not as beautiful but I can walk in them".

The reaction to this lesson seems to be split along gender lines. I get admiring ooohs from the girls and claims that they too may do this in the future. The boys, however, are much less enthusiastic about the whole issue, choosing to stand and smirk, possibly on account of the fact that none of them have ever walked across Leeds in 3 1/2 inch heels. This, I feel it is safe to say, is the gender gap in action.

With as much dignity as I can muster - I am 24 and their boss afterall - I calmly put away my heels and fasten my bag.

"I'm ready to go now".

I say it as if I've been in control of this entire thing, when the fact that everyone has waited undoubtedly has more to do with their bemusement than anything to do with me.

Five minutes later we arrive at our next destination - just after J has finished furnishing everyone with the details as to why she has labelled the dress I am wearing my "mischief dress" and I consequently spend the remaining time of the walk trying to convince everyone that I am not morally bankrupt. Given this there's no hope for any dignity in the whole shoe swapping process.

"You've got to wait for me whilst I change my shoes back!"

It comes out as a shriek. I don't need to look up to know that History Boy is rolling his eyes.

"All this time it's taking". This comes from Currently-Bleached-Attendant. I wonder if it's morally wrong to put him on toilet duty on his next shift.

"But it would have taken 20 minutes to get here if Corinne hadn't changed them" J interjects, the reasonable-ness of the shoe plan clearly being only understood by girls.

"Plus I would have moaned. All the way here. And you wouldn't have wanted that - trust me". I smile at Currently-Bleached-Attendant in my best don't even go there smile, aware as I am that only a couple of people in the assembled group have heard me rant.

"Next time I'll know what to put in my man-bag - another pair of shoes!" History Boy smirks. This is allowed. He used to term 'man-bag' after all. I suspect he is spending too much time with Dean.

"You should do" I smile back, one shoe on, one shoe off.

"You know - I prefer you in those". History Boy gestures to the the right ballet pump which is hanging forlornly in my hand.

I do a little double take. History Boy giving me footwear advice. This really is turning into a surreal night.

I stand in my silvery, bronzey, peep-toed, high heeled shoes and look at him.

"Now you tell me".

Saturday, March 10, 2007

One of the best questions I've heard this week...

One of the best questions I've heard this week...

"What Good Are The Arts?"

Though mainly my other questions have been about where the toilets are and if I'm contiguous and stuff, so I'm not sure how much competition there's been.

I'm about two thirds of the way through the book and it's had me in raptures, and in knots, and in an almost fit of despair. It's also made me laugh whilst still leaving me room to get emphatically indignant. Which, in layman's terms, means I'm muchly enjoying it.

I suspect that I will return to the book and its subject matter - because its central question is one that I think anyone who cares about the arts - in any respect - needs to answer. When there is global poverty, and war, and famine what good are the arts? I need not go that far - outside the very theatre I work in there are people selling the Big Issue. What does that say about us? I will - to my last breath - argue that the arts do matter. But why? And how?

On an almost related note - I'd direct you here. Regardless as to what you think of the project I think it raises some very interesting points. And yes, Distant Aggravation has bought a word.

Friday, March 09, 2007

My Medicine Says I Am Not To Operate Machinery. What A Shame

My Medicine Says I Am Not To Operate Machinery. What A Shame.

I've tried to be subtle about it but I can hold it in no longer.


The noise spills out of my throat, bringing with it the layer of my right lung.

The taxi-driver eyeballs me through the mirror.

"Are you ok?"

I'd respond but that would require normal breathing and words and stuff. Everything that I am incapable of at the moment. I settle for nodding as my eyes water and more involuntary noise comes out of my mouth.

Taxi-Driver starts to drive faster, undoubtedly worrying that he has a plague victim in his car.

When we arrive at my house I've just about finished demolishing my lungs.

"Go get a drink" Taxi-Driver says whilst pondering where he is to get disinfectant from at this time of night.

I don't bother to say that a drink will not aid the process and settle instead for more nodding. And more involuntary noise.

The next day I'm half watching Doctors. I know there is an issue here but it is on after Neighbours and I am ill and therefore lazy and so have not turned over. A woman in it starts to make my involuntary noises.

"She sounds like you!"

I nod, pleased at the relevance that Doctors clearly has. How thoughtful of them to base an episode around my cough.

I'm less thrilled when it turns out that the woman in question has TB.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Where I Get To Marry Hugh Grant

Where I Get To Marry Hugh Grant.

"I know a game we could play"

I look up from my mountain of programmes.

"Go on".

"Marry, Shag, Push off a cliff".

I can't help but let a little squeal come out.

"You know the game - I put that in the first scene of my play* and everyone who read it here didn't have a clue what was going on!"

"Of course I know - it's brilliant!"

I beam. M continues.

"You first - boys or girls? Or a mixture?"


"Ok - Jude Law"

"Mmm, Pretty Jude Law to give him his correct name".

"Javier Marzan"

I giggle. Javier was an actor in Hound of the Baskervilles and a certified comedy genius.


"And - erm, Matt Damon".

There's an air of expectation now as M looks at me. History Boy looks up from his pile of programmes and stickers.

"Ok - easy bit. Matt Damon off of the cliff. For no other reason than that I have no strong feelings about him whatsoever".

"Good choice".

"I do love Pretty Jude Law - but he's not exactly the marrying type is he?"

I heart Sienna Boho-Princess after all. I've read everything there is to be read.

"That's true".

"But as nice as Javier was - marry Pretty Jude Law".

It's triumphant.

"Well done, I agree".

I've just married Pretty Jude Law, therefore I can smirk.

M turns to History Boy.

"Now it's your turn".

History Boy stops laughing.

"Kate Winslet".

I can't stop myself.

"Oooh, I'd marry her!"

"So would I!" M chips in.

"Well, you've ruined it - I can't choose her now!"

"Yes you can. Kate Winslet. Cate Blanchett".

Again it falls out. "I might marry her as well". It is true. She's friends with Paddy Marber after all.

"And - Salma Hayek".

I look across to History Boy, attempting to work out his level of mortification.

He's stalling. "My options are?"

"Marry, shag, push off a cliff. Though the pushing off a cliff might not actually kill them. If it was a small cliff".

"I'd make sure it's a big cliff".

Even though I'm a professional woman, I snort.

"Guess it would have to be - push Cate Blanchett off of the cliff, marry Kate Winslet".

I'd have pushed Salma off but he gets points for chosing Kate Winslet. I love Kate Winslet. She has beautiful dresses.

Because History Boy and I are rubbish at thinking of people and M is pulling the Master of the Game Universe card it goes a few more rounds with History Boy and I progressively getting more and more disturbed (the round where I realise that I have to see Tony Blair naked being my lowpoint, probably matched only by the implications of History Boy chosing to marry Judi Dench because 'she looks like she'd cook you dinner'. He does, though, redeem himself by knowing which college Hugh Grant went to at Oxford).

We continue for a while until History Boy interupts.

"You know what would make this game even more interesting?"

M and I look at him.

"If we played with people we all know. People who work here".

M claps. I am torn between the utter hilarity and the possible world ending nightmare of such a game.

"That's Sunday night sorted then" M announces with glee.

I see Sunday night sprawl out in front of me, making the whole taxi incident of last time seem like a walk in the park.

"Well done" I aim it at History Boy.

He has, at least, the grace to look vaguely sheepish.

"You know what we should do now? Your favourite swearword".

And before I know it my mouth has run away with me:

"I don't think you can beat a well placed fuck".

M and History Boy laugh.

"I think I'll go back to my office now".

*The Four Right Chords, baby.

Good point, well made

Good point, well made.

"Whose idea was it to put a Rabbi on a stage with two giant crosses?"

Saturday, March 03, 2007

I'd Get Someone Else To Cook Though

I'd Get Someone Else To Cook Though

At the meal to celebrate Billygean's birthday conversation turned to which ten people (dead or alive) you would invite to your ultimate dinner party. And before you say anything - it's harder than you think. Because you need to get your mix of guests right - you don't want uncomfortable silence, or a fight, or a coup, or a really badly dressed collection of people. Because it's not going to reflect well on you, the host, is it?

Having now committed serious thought to the matter (my train got delayed by signal failure somewhere north of the Armpit of Yorkshire) my dinner party might look something like this:

Will Shakespeare
Sorry to be so obvious, but hey-ho. Clearly I'd have lots to talk about with Will, he'd probably be very entertaining in an after-dinner speech way and you know that he liked a drink. Or several. Which all adds up to the fact that he would make a very interesting - and fun - dinner guest. He'd get bonus points if he actually looked like Joseph Fiennes.

Byron liked to party. He liked to drink. He liked to do lots of things that a family friendly blog like DA can't mention. And if this didn't clinch his place at the table - he also liked to dress up. All in all, he was a bit of a Drama Queen. In my head we'd get on fabulously.

Oscar Wilde
How we would laugh. And then laugh some more. I don't think any dinner party - real or imagined - would be right without Oscar.

Ginny Woolf
I'm aware that Ginny isn't probably the most obvious contender for Great Dinner Party Guest, what with the introversion and the depression and whatnot. Not to mention that she would probably go home afterwards and write moderately cruel (but funny) things about the party in her Diary. But this is my party and, erm, I'll have Ginny Woolf if I want to.

Sienna Boho-Princess
Arty? Check. Good outfit? Check. Possibility for getting drunk and dancing on the table? Check, check, check. And you know she'd flirt with Byron.

Alan Rickman
If there's anyone I'd like to turn and see when I sat down at a Dinner Party then this would be the man. The voice. The stories. The fact he knows the truth about Severus Snape. It's almost too much for a girl to handle.

Ted Hughes
Because I want to know what it was all about. Enough said.

F Scott Fitzgerald
I've seen the photos of him and Zelda dancing in fountains which officially makes him a perfect Dinner Party Guest. And I'm sure he'd bring a bottle.

Kit Marlowe
One of the great enigmas of English Literature. He probably wouldn't confess if he was a spy or not but you can bet that he'd probably get incredibly drunk and tell inappropriate stories.

David Tennant
Because the sooner he realises that he should hurry up and marry me, the better for everyone involved.

I realise that the male/female, sane/insane, sober/drunken ratio of my Dinner Party isn't ideal and I've sacrificed a couple of historical figures (Lenin, Elizabeth I) at the alter of having a literary/dramatic dinner.

Now I've just got to work out what the heck I would wear!

Thursday, March 01, 2007

"Is That Another Leek?"

"Is That Another Leek?"

I started yesterday on a train fielding texts about my last blog *(ooo, you gossips - though don't think I'm not aware of the sub-standard rom com storyline** which my writing on here is undoubtedly helping to fuel).

I ended yesterday with my arms above my head singing along to 'Chelsea Dagger' as the (quite magnificent) Fratellis felt the love in Birmingham.

There was some stuff in between - not least the moment, as I sat in a pub and The Verve started playing***, that I realised that I knew that the twiddly bits of the 'Bittersweet Symphony' introduction kick in at 47 seconds - but that is stuff for another day, another story.

So now I will simply say: Happy St David's Day. I hope you all got leeks.

*The answer is, not very excitingly, no.

**In no way have I thought about the story arc, or how it fits a five act structure.

***On the stereo, natch. Because that would merit more of comment than a mere aside, not least because I don't think they even talk to each other any more let alone turn up to play in random pubs during a Wednesday lunchtime. Though they should.