Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Because I am a girl who likes good dresses and good hats

Because I am a girl who likes good dresses and good hats.

"I would like to pop into the hat shop" I say, trying to make it as casual as possible.

The eyes do not quite roll but there is some movement.

"I'll be quick, I promise".

"I'm willing to bet that you won't".

"No - " I protest. "It'll be quick. Either they have something in the right colour or they don't. Easy".

I get the sense that I am deluding myself rather than the person sat opposite me.

"And - " I continue because I want to sell this idea "It's in a shop next to the building with the wonky beams and potentially wonky floor".

The wonky floor doesn't attract me, I admit, but who am I to judge the inner five year old in a twenty-something male? I, after all, have a Mini David Tenant doll.

"Ok, we can go if we buy marbles on the way there".

It is a fair enough compromise.

We eventually enter the hat shop. It is full of hats of varying hues and shapes. It is a little bit wonderful.

"Ten points if you spot something in royal blue" I say, as I start scanning the wall covered in fascinators.

"Here you go -" comes the reply a few seconds later.

I look round. I am being offered a royal blue flat cap. It is safe to say it would not go with The Dress for The Gay Wedding of the Decade.

It is not a time for polite response. "Get lost".

I go back to looking at fascinators. I discard one for being too big. I am in the process of trying on another one.

"That one's even bigger!" comes the slightly exasperated response.

I decide that it is also not the time for me to try and explain how girls' shop. It is obviously logical, after all, that a different style may be ok for being larger. I do decide, however, that it might be time to concede a point.

"You know when I said I was going to be quick..." I trail off, the rest of the sentence obvious for us both to see.

There is a slight smirk. "I already knew you wouldn't be".

"But I still haven't been as long as you were in the music shop". I counter for I am not one to lose an argument unnecessarily. Just as there is only so much time that a non-hat wearer can spend doing non-hat wearing things in a hat shop there is only so much time that I, a non-musician, can spend doing non-musician things in a music shop.

"Not right" I say.

"Too many feathers" I say.

"Too bridal" I say.

"But there's a space going for a bride!" comes the response. I discount this immediately.

I decide to state the obvious. "You really were the wrong person to do this with".

There is no need for a direct response.

"I think I'm going to get one of these". It is a brown flat cap. "It will go with my brown suit".

The brown suit acts like Boris Johnson, Student Loans and Deck Shoes: it is a cue to annoy me.

I do not take the bait, however, feigning deafness because of the feathers instead.

"I'd say there's a 70% chance that you're going to come out of here without having bought a hat but with an umbrella or a handbag instead".

It is a moment of clarity, possibly the sign that I am understood a little too well for my liking.

"Well, the umbrellas are beautiful..." I concede. But I do not need a new umbrella, at least not for now.

Eventually I pick out my choice, watching it being wrapped and boxed with a curious glow whilst acknowledging that I probably owe a beer because of this. The glow manages to persist for some time until, several hours, much vodka and a couple of cocktails later, the realisation dawns that I have left my beautifully wrapped headwear under a table in Evil Eye.

Friday, August 22, 2008

August and Everything After

August and Everything After

It is August I thought in one of the few seconds I have had for contemplation when I have not had to be somewhere or doing something, organising, visiting, clearing, interviewing, marking, booking.

It is the festival I thought as I picked up my post, tearing the plastic wrapping and looking at the glossy brochure as it tries to tempt me with this year's offerings, the odd writer catching my eye, resonating because of something else entirely.

It is the aftershave I thought as I sat squeezed on an over full bus, handbag at my feet, Gary Lightbody in my ears.

It is the bar I thought, my head woozy with vodka, my nose taking in the mixture of red wine and candle wax which fills the air.

They have moved the toilets upstairs now. There is a worrying step between cubicle and the main body of the room. It is a drunken ankle injury waiting to happen.

I did not expect this I thought. Decision made, it has been so long since I have glanced this way. I know, though, why it is here, why it should be now, that these thoughts should form.

Oblivion. You were always good at that.

Three months ago, I removed the dedication, you know. I did not mention it in the emails which have shrunk to almost nothing of importance. Why should it be yours when there are others who have held my hand along the way more than you ever did or ever could. More than I would, if the truth be told, ever want you to.

And then, a couple of weeks ago, I put it back. Because I saw it for what it was. I wouldn't have written it if it wasn't for you, as I took the route I take so often, bashing my feelings out on to a blank page. You did not aid the months of painful re-writes and edits and long conversations about killing one my favourite scenes. Others did that. And it was not you who made me hold my breath as it was read, waiting for what I came to realise was some form of, if not forgiveness, then at least acceptance. You were, if truth be told, something of an impediment, getting in the way more than once. It only flew once you had gone.

It would be easy to text I thought. A few well placed words. It is a game I play as well - if not better for I know how to use a semi-colon - as you.

I saw the photos. You have not (to my mild disappointment) shaved your hair, or broken your nose or grown a second head. You are simply you, echoing with ambivalence down the camera lens.

I cannot understand why this feels so acute I thought. As if it were last night and your ghost is on the stairs, awaiting its entrance.

It is time for me to leave I thought. I say my goodbyes and walk back into the August evening, its coldness stinging my skin.

And, to my surprise, you evaporate entirely.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

A Fleeting Visit

A Fleeting Visit

Next week, hey?

I am pleased to note that I am still alive and have been busy doing the following: camping at Latitude, visiting London, non-stalking David Tennant's feet in Stratford, camping in the Dales, almost breaking my leg in the Dales, eating (Lovely) Tour Guide's homemade brownies at her housewarming, visiting London again, getting a strange rash that looked like chicken pox when Dean and I googled for pictures but which clearly wasn't as it has (almost) gone, seeing three different friends strut their stuff on stage (in the musical rather than theatrical sense), tracking down every picture of David Tennant as Hamlet that I could find in the papers, being mocked for tracking down every picture of David Tennant as Hamlet that I could find in the papers, drinking pimms and vodka (though, obviously, not together), reading 124 applications from people who would like to work in my theatre and, erm, doing a maths test and being arrogant about it.

Obviously I have more to say about all of the above and I will be back. Back, that is, after I've gone to Liverpool tomorrow to see the Klimt exhibition and then popped down to London (again) for a fleeting visit wherein I am doing more secret things that I can't believe I haven't had the opportunity to tell you all about yet. Trust me, it's worth the wait.