A good start … I think

So here are some things I’ve said ‘Yes’ to since I decided to start saying ‘Yes’ to things. Some of them are very small. Some of them might not even seem like things at all to some people, but they do to me. Small steps. In no particular order.

  1. I got a ticket to see Lou Reed. On my own, initially, and that was fine, but I mentioned it on Facebook and now I’m meeting a friend there.
  2. I agreed to plan a series of writing workshops for groups to be set up in local libraries. I may end up delivering them too, but I’ll have to be very brave and talk money. Realistically.
  3. I applied for a part-time job that I probably don’t want. And I’ll probably go on not wanting it until the moment I’m rejected, at which time it will become the only possible job that would really make me happy. If this happens (likely), please remind me of the fact that I don’t really want it.
  4. I went into the British Library and had a look round the (free) Treasures exhibition. (Did I mention I’m trying to do things on the cheap where possible, simply because I’m just not sure what my financial situation is going to be in the next few months, and I’m trying to be sensible?)
  5. Tomorrow, all on my own, I’m going to see Purcell’s opera The Fairy Queen, broadcast live from Glyndebourne, and screened at my local cinema, and I’m going to get membership of said cinema at the same time, because it will totally pay for itself as I continue to immerse myself in culture!
  6. I have a applied to do an A-level – adult-education ting, over 2 years. There are a number of subjects I’m kind of interested in, all on a Tuesday night, and the timing should work out just right for me to go there straight from work. Here’s the catch – the administrator said that last year, the one I really want to do was cancelled because of lack of interest so, in a pleasingly aleatoric way, I’ve registered my interest in four different subjects and I’ll allow fate to decide which one I enrol for. This is rather in the spirit of buying whatever is reduced in the supermarket and making a meal out of it. I do that too.
  7. I will be seeing a number of undeniably fabulous friends this week. Some of these meet-ups have been planned for a while, others are more spur of the moment. This is exactly what I want to embrace. This, and the friends too, of course.
  8. I had a cull on my underwear drawer. I’ll draw a veil for now …



I’m it …

The lovely Patroclus has tagged me for a meme. This is good because, to an extent, I seem to have mislaid my mojo. There are all sorts of reasons for this and I’m not too worried about it overall, but it’s still nice to have something to focus on. I’ve got another couple pending too – including one from Mr Locker – which I will get to presently (honest). In an ideal world, this present meme would involve making a podcast but I don’t have the first idea about how to do that (tbh, I’m not even sure I know what a podcast is), so you’ll have to make do with links to …

Anyway, the idea is to list seven songs I’m particularly into at the moment. The only problem has been paring down the list. I listen to music a big lot, and I’m very subject to earworms (please say you know what I mean by that). Like Patroclus, I will throw in – free of charge – some vacuous commentary. Don’t say I’m not good to you.

1) The Cure: Friday, I’m in Love

This is an acoustic version and very lovely too. I’m a big fan of deceptively simple jingly jangly pop and this hits the spot. Doesn’t the bass player (Simon Gallup?) look like David Tennant? My daughter nearly fainted when I played this for her. Anyway, I’m very interested by Robert Smith – he seems to have huge talent and integrity. And his hair is a bit like mine. Really!

2) Talking Heads: Listening Wind

I remember vividly the first time I heard this one. I was living in Paris at the time. I was at a friend’s appartment in Rue Amelot. It was very late. There was a bloke I was vaguely interested in there. Maybe I was a little bit drunk. The bass line – probably Tina Weymouth – is fantastic, don’t you think? I used to have it on vinyl but I recently replaced it with a CD from Tesco – yes, I know, I know. It has a slightly world music feel to it too – although world music hadn’t been invented back in those days. Y’know, if I could have studied anything at all, money (and practicality) no object, I think i’d have done ethno-musicology. Which sort of brings me to …

3) Tinariwen: Cler Achel

This is the song I’ve got on my Myspace profile – that’s how much I like it. I’ve managed to miss seeing them twice in the last couple of years, but I have high hopes for this summer! I can’t even remember where I first heard them, but there’s something about the instrumental part that reminds me of Fairport Convention! How weird is that? Ooh – that bloke in the middle there – that’s what my hair looks like today. Well, a cross between that and Robert Smith.

4) The Clash: Rock the Kasbah

Ludicrous video. Great song. It’s almost disco, isn’t it? This really dates me, of course – I don’t care. Listen to that bass line – so supple! Poor old Joe – a sad loss to British music. I saw them a couple of times – unforgettable. Is that how you spell Kasbah? Totally unrelated (but while I’m on the subject of Kasbahs), I went to Marrakech with my daughter lately – and Essaouira. It was wonderful.

5) Steve Reich: Music for 18 Musicians

Not a lot of people know this, but I originally studied music at university. I am, to all intents and purposes, the most tremendous geek. I’m very fond of minimalism, and Reich is one of my favourite composers. It was very difficult to find a clip that adequately gets over how fantastic this work is. This is made up of lots of little fragments but the whole piece is quite long and very intense. Try listening to the whole thing – really – it’s hypnotic and, I think, very uplifting.

6) The Kinks: Waterloo Sunset

Listen to those lyrics. Poetry, isn’t it? So tender and so Londonish. And Ray Davies has GOT to be one of the coolest men alive. I used to live in Highgate, and so did he. And I quite often used to see him walking around the village. And I’d go all wobbly and try not to look as if I was staring (which I was).

7) Matt Weddle: Hey Ya

Please listen to this one, even if you don’t bother with anything else. It’s like one of those optical illusions where one minute it looks like two faces and the next it looks like a vase. You think you know this song – the original version by Outkast is great – but this is like a completely different song. If you haven’t heard of them already, the band Obadiah Parker, of which Matt Weddle is a member, is really worth getting to know. The audioclip on their Myspace is better than that Youtube link, actually, but it doesn’t have the advantage of cutting between Weddle and Andre (Ice Cool) 3000. What’s going on with the timing here, btw? Is it an 11-bar phrase? Say of 2/4 bars? Curious.

Notable ommisions: B-52s: Roam (I’m going to see them soon); Stranglers: Duchess; Bob Dylan: Boots of Spanish Leather; Couperin: Les Barricades Mysterieuses; Palestrina: Missa Papae Marcelli … gosh, I could go on and on.



L’etat, c’est moi (trans. Look at the state of me!)

So, there I was, minding my own business in the middle of Whitehall, the kids were warmly wrapped in a cosy sheet that just happened to have the 1st article of the Declaration of Human Rights painted on it. It was, to all intents and purposes, a perfectly ordinary Sunday.

Through the throng, there came a little man. ‘Quelqu’un qui parle Francais?’ he pleaded. ‘Personne?’

Well, me – obviously. I do. I have a string of translations to my name – fascinating stuff, too. Thirteen volumes. If you want to know anything at all about robot spot welding, I’m your woman. CAD/CAM – easy peasy. Remote control and proprioception – pas de probleme. Of course, this was all about 20 years ago, but still. So I stepped forward.

‘Oui, m’sieur. Je parle Francais. Je peux vous aider?’

Well, it transpired that he was not a Frenchman in distress. What he really wanted was an interview for French radio on what was going on. I was now in too far to get out, so plunged on – recklessly.

It’s amazing, isn’t it, just how blank your mind goes when someone puts you on the spot. Particularly in another language. I think I may have said that Gordon Brown was a ladle. And I’m pretty certain that I expressed nothing but disdain for the people who were carrying the Olympic teatowel that day.

I forgot to ask him what channel the interview was going out on. Probably just as well. But if anyone did hear it – please, don’t tell me what else I got wrong.

Meta blogger. Several, in fact.

Do you see what I did there?

Right. So Billy (whom I’ve never met … yet) wrote a very interesting post – in all fairness, he never writes anything but, and so prolific! – inspired by an article in the Guardian about the illusory nature of social networking websites, like Facebook and Myspace. The thrust (I feel I know you well enough now to use that term) of the article was that you don’t make real, proper friends on those kind of sites. Well, so far, so uncontentious. I’ve got a Myspace and although I enjoy the pick’n’mix nature of being able to see who’s whose friend and what kind of music they’re listening to, and the inestimable joy of being able to pry on people I used to know at uni before deciding if Iwant to get in touch with them again, I wouldn’t say it’s particularly enhanced my social life.

Blogging, though …

Help me with an analogy, would you? Myspace is to Blogging as … what? Coke Zero is to Cab Sauv? Maybe not quite, but you get what I mean. It’s a completely different experience. Much more in-depth.

Y’see, with blogging to get to ‘try before you buy’ as it were. When people are writing a couple of hundred words, two or three times a week, you can really develop a feel for who you’re dealing with. You can, dare I say, get to know them. And, if you like what you read, and if time and contingency permits, you can meet up. Some have even met the lurve of their life this way. And you can’t argue with that. So far, my experiences on this score have been super-duper and I’d have to say that, in that respect blogging has definitely enhanced my social network.

In the last few months, I’ve had coffee with this one when she was on her honeymoon (I know!), had lunch with this, rather petite one, here then with this one, here (that may be cheating, because we’ve known each other for ages – so shoot me). Then just the other day, I went to see Alabama 3 (see post below) with this one (whose bf didn’t particularly seem to be a twat, but I haven’t read her book yet, so I’d better reserve judgement), this one, who had a bad back and went early and this one, who may be troubled but who is vair, vair twinkly and who, I suspect, was probably still dancing as the sun came up.

Missed out a couple of times. Was unable to partay with this one because of an invasion of Venetians, and this one blew me out because she was poorly. Boooo.

Oh, and soon I’m hoping to meet up again with a Band of Wild Blogging Desperadoes – hereinafter to be known as BWBD … but that’s another story.