Friday, May 30, 2008

I wish I could blame the alcohol but I'm as much of a nightmare when totally sober.

I wish I could blame the alcohol but I'm as much of a nightmare when totally sober.

"Obviously I know this isn't your fault -"

Blonde Girl nods her head -

"Could I speak to the manager?"

Probably relieved to be given an excuse to leave the bolshy woman in purple tights, Blonde Girl nods. I remain, resolutely calm, at the bar. After a minute or so a man in a pink tie approaches me.

"Hello, can I help you?" Pink Tie asks.

"Yes - I wanted to know what the situation with the food is".

He bows his head slightly. "Basically, I've not had a member of staff turn in so we're unable to serve food until after 5.30".

Everything is as I expected. I feel a little flash of sympathy for Pink Tie and what is to come. Not enough though to say thank you and walk away.

"Well, that's a bit of a problem. My group came in just before 4 o'clock and were told that you'd be serving food at 4.30. Obviously had we known that we were going to have to wait another hour and a half just to order food we wouldn't have stayed here and bought drinks".

Pink Tie moves to interject but I have not finished.

"And what's more, after I came and asked about food someone in our group was served chips ten minutes later".

I am particularly mad about the chips. I take these things personally.

"Yes, that was a mistake, it shouldn't have happened".

"But it did".

Pink Tie's head drops again. "Yes".

I smile at him. I am, I know from experience, being resolutely, annoyingly, reasonable.

"I can't arrange for food, but I'm happy to give anyone in your group who was going to order food a free drink".

I smile properly for the first time, mission accomplished.

"Under the circumstances, thank you. I'll just see what they want".

Pink Tie starts to realise that he might just have walked into my trap. "Anything but, erm, bottles".

"Fine". I smile again. This has been almost too easy.

I walk past the bar and back to the area where we'd settled forty minutes earlier. There are expectant faces.

"No food until 5.30 but -" I pause a little wanting to drag out my moment of triumph "there is a free drink for anyone who was going to order food".

There is laughter. "Who was going to order?"

All ten people currently seated put their hands up.

"We'd better make a list".

A few minutes later I hand the list, scribbled in History Boy's writing on the back of a page from the Independent, over to Pink Tie. He visibly blanches.

"Were all these buying food?"

I am prepared. "Yes." I gesture to the corner we have colonised. "There's 20 people in my group, so 11 is only 55% wanting food".

I am not sure exactly why a percentage should solve this matter but it seems to do the trick. I realise that I am relishing just how much of an annoyance I am whilst being safe in the knowledge that I am morally well within my rights. Eighteen months of being the person members of the public complain to may have reduced my already somewhat limited capacity to accept sub-standard customer service. The WYP may have created a monster.

Pink Tie's head droops further when he totals up the bill. I smile as sweetly as I can muster. I suspect it makes him hate me more.

Eventually I settle down with my drink.

"What happens at 5.30?"

"Well, we repeat the process". I pause for a second as a thought occurs to me. "Only, someone has to go order my food because if I do it you know that they're going to spit in it".

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Some time before we went on the hunt for chips

Some time before we went on the hunt for chips

It is Leeds. It is a bar with flocked wallpaper and comfy seating. It is the early hours of Saturday morning. Predictably there has been alcohol.

"Four years".

It has, we have all agreed, been a long time, a sentiment which has been summed up by the phrase of the night, the ironical and slightly desultory, "that's so 2004".

"Where were you four years ago?"

Griffin thinks about this for a second. "One of the nightclubs?"

There is the flash of a grimace, something that is reflected on all of our faces.

"If it weren't for you" - I say, all thoughts of decorum long gone - "I would never have been to a Zanzibars nightclub". Obviously this is an achievement, something for Griffin to be able to say, well all that was worth it if only for the fact that a middle class girl from Leeds got to go to the most questionable nightclubs which the midlands, back in 2004, could offer.

I know as I say this that there are other things I could say. I would never have made it inside a Jumpin' Jaks nightclub either. Or gone to Bristol, or Swindon, or Harlow. No tennis at the NIA or cricket at Bunbury. No slightly freaky knowledge of the local radio stations of the North. And then there are the more important things, for whilst it is not inconceivable that I would be stood in this bar, I would not be with the people I am with now.

It is resolutely odd how things turn out.

"What was the one in Bristol?" Griffin asks.

None of us know the answer but I do realise, even though I am clouded by dancing and vodka and the untarnished enthusiasm of new Bw(or without)Gs, how special this whole experience has been. A little bit wonderful maybe. And a part of me will always adore the boy next to me if only for the fact of everything that has been.

I hear Gayle’s voice. "Where did you get those trousers?"

"Yes", it is out of my mouth before I can stop myself, "They’re horrible".

Everything is, I see immediately, exactly how it should be.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Wherein I talk about Doctor Who without mentioning David Tennant

Wherein I talk about Doctor Who without mentioning David Tennant

Dear Mr Stephen Moffat,

Hello Mr Moffat. We haven't met yet. I'm Corinne. You may well receive future blog letters from me so I thought I'd get in nice and early whilst you're still re-arranging your new desk and taking down the pictures of Dougie McFly.

For some background - let it be known, I have been a long time fan of Mr Russell T Davies - though he is yet to respond properly to my repeated requests (and indeed campaign) to be the new companion in Doctor Who (undoubtedly I shall write to you about this some time after the end of the season) - so there is, obviously, a little tinge of sadness that he is stepping down from Doctor Who. I have doubted him a number of times (who, back in 2004, thought casting Billie Piper was a good idea? No one but Chris Evans and RTD, that's who. And look how that turned out) but each time he's hit it right back at me. RTD - he did good.

But you, Mr Moffat. You've got a bit of - do not blush now - soul in your writing. Your episodes, they've scared me, made me laugh and made me cry. You created perhaps the most perfect 40 minute tv love story for the Doctor. I am eagerly anticipating your two-parter this season. In the way that geeky Doctor Who fans do - I've been waiting for the moment when you'd get this job. After all, in that wonderful spoof of yours, you not only let me see what Hugh Grant might be like as the Doctor but you also summed up everything that is great, and important, and wonderful about the series:

"Doctor, listen to me. You can't die, you're too nice. Too brave, too kind and far, far too silly. You're like Father Christmas, the Wizard of Oz, Scooby Doo, and I love you very much. And we all need you and you simply cannot die!...He was never cruel and never cowardly, and it'll never be safe to be scared again".

Somehow I think we're going to get on.

love Corinne.x

Saturday, May 17, 2008

There is only one month a year that I do not wear sunglasses. This undoubtedly says something about me

There is only one month a year that I do not wear sunglasses. This undoubtedly says something about me.

I am rushing around, faffing with my handbag and work bag and whether Mini David's head will fit neatly into either. I sit on the armchair, catching the side of my (not just any I don't need a bag bag) but my M&S I don't need a bag bag. Immediately there's a sound of something snapping under my weight. It is not a noise that fills me with confidence.

Tentatively I stand up and put my hand into the bag.

I find the source of the noise immediately. There, perched neatly next to my passcard and on top of my (very recently) annotated script, sits my sunglasses. My sunglasses which are now in three pieces.

I pull them out, any hope of being able to fix them with anything other than super-human powers evaporating instantly. I look down at my lovely Oasis green sunglasses that I have adored since the end of last summer.

It is, I think we can all acknowledge, a sad day.

"Have you seen the little pieces of the people we have been?"

"Have you seen the little pieces of the people we have been?"

My silver penguin copy of Brideshead Revisited, on top of my bookshelf, reminds me of afternoons sitting in the early summer sunshine in Christ Church Quad.

The Oxford Tube tickets, newly folded away in a pink box, remind me of last minute rushes, large quantities of riccardi and coke and gigs where we knew all the words to the songs.

'This Old Heart of Mine', playing in the bar at work, reminds me of driving round Swindon with the windows rolled down, shouting the lyrics and feeling every word.

The smell of Burberry Touch perfume, the bottle recently discarded, reminds me of a blue fleece hoodie, the name of a show emblazoned on it, and sympathy toast in the kitchen of a boy in the year below me.

The large wicker basket on top of my wardrobe reminds me of Ikea Wednesdays, when I would refuse to go the wrong way round the store just so that Dean could get a hot dog first.

'Sonnet' appearing on shuffle in my ears reminds me of sitting in the theatre watching the dress rehearsal of SSoB, a mixture of amazement and utter terror flowing through my veins.

The crack in my phone reminds me of sitting at a table in a pub in Sheffield as McFly's support act tried to pull each others trousers down.

A purple hat, hooked over the side of a clothes rail, reminds me of a winter spent with washing up liquid snow, noisy queues and red tinsel.

Adam Duritz's voice, popping up constantly on my itunes, reminds me of confusion, writing blindly and then being a little ashamed because, even then, I saw that it was not fair.

And I realise - as I sit in the back of the theatre that I know better than any other - what the show in front of me will always remind me of. As I listen to the scene that I heard, as background noise, so often that it sends a little thrill through me I am pushed out of this production and back into one that exists now only inside my head. Would it have been better to have left it at that? Neater, certainly. Less fun though too. And it is not that I am unhappy – that was not to be part of the deal – but there is a quiet stillness to the process. My self imposed finality betrays, I suppose, a desire to preserve this memory without it being covered in the sticky remnants of everything that went wrong. Maybe one day I shall be able to watch this play, this scene, without the ghosts who flitter through my brain. Maybe I won't. And if that is the case? Then it's fine by me.

Friday, May 09, 2008

Wherein I do not talk about how drunk I have been since I last blogged.

Wherein I do not talk about how drunk I have been since I last blogged.

I stand in the hallway, my oversize M&S bag on my shoulder, sunglasses in my hand. It is the end of what seems to have been a particularly long fortnight.

"Corinne -" I turn to see Obi 4. "Will you play football with me?"

I look down at what I am wearing. A black pencil skirt. Purple tights I am trying desperately not to ladder in case I do not find any I like quite as much. A pair of bronze slip on shoes that look cute but which have the kind of grip which can turn a normal Leeds pavement into an ice rink. Certainly, this is not regulation Premier League attire.

"Of course". I am, after all, not impervious to the wishes of a ten year old.

I deposit my belongings and troop out into the garden where I am greeted by a ball which most closely resembles a giant clown's nose. It would undoubtedly be the kind of ball that would appear in a Comic Relief kickabout. This is not something I am prepared for. If I am to ever appear in a Comic Relief segment (without David Tennant) then blatantly I am a prime candidate for their Apprentice spin-off. If only for the fact that I am anal.

"Come on, I'll go first" says Obi 4.

I wonder what position I should take as I weigh up the likelihood of my ending up face first on the driveway with a broken nose.


Obi 4 kicks the ball. I attempt to move to get it, only my skirt stops me moving my legs.

I watch as the ball sails behind me into the recycling bins.


I nod my head.

"You kick off".

As my right foot makes contact with the ball, my left foot chooses this moment to skid precariously. I just about manage to stay upright as the ball hits the fence.

"No goal".

It hardly needs saying as I check I haven't dinted the fence that, on a technicality, does not belong to us.

But there is no time for possible insurance claims, we are in the midst of a football match as the ball comes in my direction.

For whatever reason I start to find my metaphorical footballing feet, though if I do manage to score then I also manage to nearly put the ball through one of the windows.

"Now for some skill". It is half ironical, but only half, because, for all my complaints I am better at sport than I usually let on. Except cricket which I am, as can be testified, resolutely rubbish at. And gymnastics. But that's hardly a sport, especially for girls whose body is structured the way mine is.

I play with the ball at my feet for a few moments before I move to kick it. At the point of contact my shoe decides that it too wishes to fully partake of the sport. It goes flying in the air, ending up several metres away from where, bemused, I am standing.

Obi 4 looks at me. It is coming to something when ten year olds have mastered the ironical look.

"So, maybe that wasn't skill" I concede.

We play on for another ten minutes until, with my sensing that I am already pushing my luck, I call proceedings to an end. Neither of us having kept count of the score, we shake hands, Obi 4 the unsaid victor.

We trudge back into the house.

"A new career as a footballer then?" my father asks.

I shrug my shoulders. "Maybe not this lifetime".

Obi 4 turns round. "But Corinne's a good footballer". He smiles. I smile back. And as hard as the past few weeks have been, as much as I have woken up with a familiar knot in my stomach as to what is to happen today, then I suspect everything will, ultimately, be alright.