Blimey, it was fine, I had a great time, then went out to swim in the ponds at Hampstead today and bumped into some of the people from last night. So much for fear.
Do readers really want to know how miserable you are? Yes. But they?re going to want details, the precise odor of your room, why you haven?t showered in a week, or how exactly somebody broke your heart.I'd been wondering what to say today, while my head is thumping thumping thumping with a hangover that was totally self-induced, and absolutely silly. But the odour of my room? My room stinks of garlic.
Tonight I'm going out with a bunch of lesbians. No biggie.
Tonight I'm going out with a bunch of people I don't know. Again, been there, done that.
Tonight I'm going out with some people I've messaged once online. Hmmm.
Might be weird, if I hadn't already spent a year doing that in the hopes of meeting weirdos (some successes there, mostly failed).
I admit: I met up at least 24 different times in one year with assorted people I had chatted to on usenet, between 2001 and 2002. It was a hobby of sorts - well, more of a collection. It became boring in the end, like most collections, and now I only meet up for a drink with people I mostly already know well from online, or people I actually like. But this lot: I have no idea who they are.
And somehow, that makes it feel scarier - like some sort of weird online dating service. More threatening. They don't know me at all. I have something to prove. Christ!
The DH had contacted a load of them at the start of the summer, when she was unemployed, and they'd invited her out to various gay parties in the East End. All sounded terribly flirtatious. Hmmph.
What's good for the goose.... in the spirit of meeting new blood, I signed up to go out for a pizza with these guys, some time back. Pizza then a club. What could go wrong?
Things that could go wrong:To make sure I didn't get the collywobbles and crap out, I dared myself that I wouldn't, couldn't do it. I know myself, an attack of self-recrimination is rare, I usually beat most dares I set myself. A scare dare. Great!
They're all totally self-absorbed, and nobody talks to me.
I'm totally self-absorbed, so no-one talks to me.
They're hideous, facially, and personality-wise, and they all love me and want to be my friend for ever.
Okay, this list is scaring me now.
So I dared myself more aggressively. Are you a woman or a wimp? Knowledge that I'm definitely the latter is enabling; it makes me want to improve.
So, I'm going to go out with these lunatic strangers. And I'm going to either speak too much or ruin their evening through baleful silence, who cares? I'm going.
Passive-aggressive defence strategies that have kicked in so far:
Drinking till I pass out the night before, to ensure HUGE hangover: it's okay, they didn't like me cos I was boring.
Stuffing myself with fried food both in middle of drunken frenzy, and then the next day again, to counteract hangover: it's ookay, they didn't like me cos I was boring and looked shit.
Eating aiioli. Repeatedly. It stinks to fucking high heaven of garlic: it's oookay, they didn't like me cos I was boring, I looked shit, and I smelled.
Spending waaaaaaay too long online writing a blog: it's ooookay, they didn't like me cos I was boring, I looked shit, I smelled, and I turned up late.
Shit, is that the time?!
Contextual info: Next week I start work as a practice manager in Harley Street (for an Ear Nose and Throat consultant). It's going to be such a bloody laugh, that is. The customers are all sheikhs and opera singers.
New jobs I attempted to learn how to do while still pissed: 2
New jobs I succeeded in looking even slightly competent at: zero.
Drunken phone calls to America from a mobile: 1
Insincerity of same: total.
Amount of crucial information relating to the safety and well being of others that will be retained from today's healthcare professional orientation: 1 item (knowledge that I cannot work a fax machine)
Items of knowledge I was specifically instructed to keep from new employer: 3
(do not say: I've never touched a fax machine before;
do not say: it's fifteen years since I did any office work;
do not say: I've decided to pretend to be deaf while I work for you.)
And they're going to give me money for this!
Something to try: lift your right foot off the floor and swing it around in a clockwise circling motion. Then with a finger on your right hand, draw a "6" in the air in front of you.
Can't do it, huh?
Yidaho helped me update some more of the mp3 reviews.
On the CD player right now:
Tricky: Maxinquaye (this sort of 90s trip-hop stuff always reminds me of Gary Clail, OnU Sound and growing up near Bristol *cough*)
Things I've been drawing:
Pictures of eyes, mostly.
My scanner's linked to the dead computer, so you can only see not particularly good digi-photos of them. In the making of which, my hand always shakes.
Ten points to anyone who can tell whose eye?
People I wish I'd spoken more nicely to yesterday:
People I was proud of how nicely I spoke to them yesterday:
2 (could be better)
Things I've been reading:
Phillip Pullman: Northern Lights 5/10
Reginald Rose: Twelve Angry Men (screenplay) 7/10
J.M. Coetzee: Youth 9/10
Paulo Coelho: The Alchemist 8/10
Pawel Huelle: Who was David Weiser 3/10
Malcolm Bradbury: The History Man 4/10
William Irwin: The Matrix and Philosophy 6/10
I may be an English, not a Maths, but book reviews bore me, so all you're going to get is numbers.
Favourite Quote of the moment: concerns the lack of poetry inherent in modern life
"Yet he cannot accept that the life he is leading here in London is without plan or meaning. A century ago poets deranged themselves with opium or alcohol so that from the brink of madness they could issue reports on their visionary experiences. By such means they turned themselves into seers, prophets of the future. Opium and alcohol are not his way, he is too frightened of what they might do to his health. But are exhaustion and misery not capable of performing the same work? Is living on the brink of psychic collapse not as good as living on the brink of madness? Why is it a greater sacrifice, a greater extinction of personality, to hide out in a garret room on the Left Bank for which you have not paid the rent, or wander from cafe to cafe, bearded, unwashed, smelly, bumming drinks from friends, than to dress in a black suit and do soul-destroying office-work and submit to either loneliness unto death or sex without desire? Surely absinthe and tattered clothes are old-fashioned by now. And what is heroic, anyhow, about cheating a landlord out of his rent?
T.S. Eliot worked for a bank. Wallace Stevens and Franz Kafka worked for insurance companies. In their unique ways Eliot and Stevens and Kafka suffered no less than Poe or Rimbaud. There is no dishonour in electing to follow Eliot and Stevens and Kafka. His choice is to wear a black suit as they did, wear it like a burning shirt, exploiting no one, paying his way. In the Romantic era, artists went mad on an extravagant scale. Madness poured out of them in reams of delirious verse or great gouts of paint. That era is over: his own madness, if it is to be his lot to suffer madness, will be otherwise -- quiet, discreet. He will sit in a corner, tight and hunched, like the robed man in Durer's etching, waiting patiently for his season in hell to pass. And when it has passed he will be all the stronger for having endured.
That is the story he tells himself on his better days."
Okay, this isn't my taste in music, but that of others, to start with: here's some of the mp3 reviews I wrote over the past three years of other people's music choices.
It was part of a game on futb that lasted a few years (would still be going if the notoriously tardy Mushu would get her finger out and post up the latest track!), and the idea was to listen at least three times to tracks of music that you'd never normally get to hear, because it's totally outside / beyond your personal taste^^^comfort zone. I'd have to say that some of the tracks I heard in that game totally changed the whole way I feel about music, got me buyinng music again, going to concerts again, and in doing so, influenced huge parts of my life.
Anyway, there's about 60 or so reviews missing right now, and you'll have to trust me that they were the well-written ones, till I break the safe open to update the page later tomorrow.
Anyway... it's baking again, and I've not recovered sufficiently from drinking too much to cope. Apparently the humidity will drop by tomorrow morning, for good. Spent all of yesterday either driving people around London in boiling heat, or drinking in Dave's garden in boiling heat, or boring people with my drunken revelations about the nature of atheism in boiling heat.
I'm meant to be drinking and eating in Edward's garden in West London, right now, but the thought of both clothing and public transport is too scary to contemplate, so I'm merely going to spend the evening loitering by chiller cabinets in the local supermarket, instead.
Itinerary coming up:
Tuesday: visit Winchester Cathedral and learn to put oil in the car.
Wednesday: go clubbing in South West London with yidaho.
Friday: stalk Seanie. Worry that DH's flight back from NZ is going to land in a jungle and after 20 years lost to civilisation, she'll have to lead the apes out of there.
Weekend: can't remember at all. Sure there was something. Oh, that's it, lightning strikes, I signed up to go out for food and clubbing (Freudian slip, I just typed 'blubbing') with 30 non-straight women whom I've never met before. Yup, quite scared about that one.....
Next Week: do two days of Caroline's job, as a Harley St ear consultant's secretary,while trying to be crap at it, to impress upon her boss that she's a good worker after all. A bit of communist worker type intransigence should do it. Then Suzanne and Simon are visiting, so I need some scary Londoney activity for scaring purposes. Any suggestions? (:D)
This is quite diary-ish, isn't it? I'll knock Alex's Diarist crown off his bonce yet....
Spent the afternoon chatting to Andrew - apparently the temperature in Paris has been in the 40s all week, and calmed down to 38 today. Boy, now do I feel like a whinger.
Although not half as much as when I pointed out that I was bored, and his was the first human voice I'd heard this week; his response: "I read your blog; it shows". This much is also true.... :D
Realised there's no mention of music at all on this blog. This is wrong. Will sort this out tomorrow.
Yesterday's first London flashmob sounded somewhat unspontaneous - perhaps the British need a bit more time to practise such things. And a few less reporters, but they could mostly do with a quick cull anyway.
I'm the worstest cat owner ever. Sophie is not speaking to me, and Megan stares at me in quiet shock at my cruelty.
First off, I removed four - yes, FOUR - of Sophie's favouritest toys ever from the house (these would be: I removed the spare bed, which is for hiding under when people try to lock it back down under the other bed; I removed the six foot four inch cat tree, which was somewhat difficult to manoeuvre around in a one bedroom flat, and hadn't been touched by paw nor whisker for two years - oh but that's not the point, not the blasted point at all; I removed the daily bin-emptying ritual, which allows strictly indoor cats to escape out of the front door, run down the stairs, and to roll in the crap in the yard, before the main point of the escapade, being caught; and ultimately, I removed the DH, the sucker, the favoured owner, the one who lets cats sleep on her head, gives them fresh salmon treats at ten am everyday, and plays the 'high up' game, where you throw annoying cats into deliciously dusty cupboards somewhere near the ceiling on a regular basis, then walk away and leave them there. Who knows where I've put the DH, but they're pretty certain by now that I got rid of her.)
Then, in the blistering heatwave, I developed an irrational dislike of small extremely badly balanced animals climbing out of third floor windows and sitting on outside window sills in the blistering heat. I've been so utterly inhumane as to pick them up off the hardly dangerous at all 2.5 inch exterior window ledge, make loud, insensitively cross noises, and then sleep all night in a total oven, with all the windows closed firmly shut, mumbling about bloody untrustworthy animals.
Finally, today, Sophie managed to climb further out along the ledge than previously, to the point where she couldn't get back into the window. (but of course, hours of watching the pigeon in the tree and daydreaming have convinced her this is no issue to a cat that can no doubt fly, if only her stupid owner would let her.) Not only did I have the temerity to grab the dumb cat, drag her back inside against her will, but in trying to escape the huge raw scratches I now sport across my chest, I shut the window on her left paw.
Appalling. (There is of course, nothing wrong with the paw, but that doesn't stop the Guilt Trip, whereby cat runs away from me when I approach, carefully hiding left forepaw from view at all times.)
I have a feeling only carefully chopped helpings of premium tasty cat nibbles will repay this grievous slight to feline honour.
Heat Repeat: it got waaaay cooler indoors today, was able to turn the fan off occasionally (cheers, global warming! Can you melt the polar icecaps next, and move me a bit nearer Denmark, or somewhere with decent, normal temperature ranges?)
If you go out, though, the air's so dry and hot it's like getting a waft from a fat man's armpit.
Stores, thankfully, tend to be air-conditioned, but this itself only leads to the inevitable "oof!" moment when you get outside again. I remember that feeling from Rio and everywhere in Egypt... but there you had the benefit of being on holiday. Ahh, p'raps my weather whinges are just deluded after all.
Food watch: staying indoors to avoid heat all day results in me making some great food. Spicy avocado, grape and walnut salad, then later on cod pan-fried in salsa yesterday; Greek salad with fresh herbs, s&v crisps, aioli on toast and popcorn afters the day before.
The week before that was mostly cola and popcorn, so it's a taste explosion!
Things that make hot days bad:
(1) Old blokes whose clothes don't fit right
(2) Hairy backs and sweaty necks
Okay, I ran out....
Casting aside such problems as having had nothing to write about for a good long week now, I watched my new, more efficient site stats rise. 10..... 20.... nearly 30 people visited between today and yesterday.
And how many comments?
While I'm here, I'd also like to thank those who emailed or used MSN to send their comments:
"I'm not at the pub, so there."
"ewwwww, they had sex, in your bed .... ewwww!"
"Well, okay, I'll read the thing but only cos it's got a link to Chris B's blog. His is more likely to be interesting."
Movies I've been watching this week:
Solaris: Which had a pants plot, but was a work of genius in terms of everything else: acting, pacing, cinematography, score. Really reminded me of Kubrick and 2001. Not to mention it starred the incredible Clooney (hadn't previously been that impressed with his acting, but loved the imagination and skill he showed as a director, in his directorial debut.) Soderbergh produces my old alumnus Chris Nolan's movies, so I must admit to watching his stuff purely to gain a feeling of sneaking jealousy, really.
My friend Caroline has a theory that most writers feel their art is a basically confessional impulse, but also shows a misunderstanding of the impulse - she thinks they're doomed to eternally confess something of themselves, but never resolve it. This film seems to prove her right.
Frailty: I love Sam Raimi movies. They remind me so much of Tales of the Unexpected. Bill Paxton loves Sam Raimi movies, and this is the first film he's directed. Liked this when I saw it at the flicks, and this week I bought it.
Primary Colors : I loved the book of this film, because its elegant prose reminded me of Gore Vidal. It's an effective movie, starring the admirable Adrian Lester, who really should have been given an Oscar vehicle by now, but it's not the best in the world.
S1m0ne: Just frigging awful. So bad it gave me nightmares. From the director of the Truman Show, who has apparently not snorted his way through the profits of said Show yet, as he can't even be arsed to get himself in focus on the dvd extras interview. Oh Mr Pacino, how can you do this crap?
Harry, Un Ami Qui Vous Vuet Du Bien: Another one I caught by accident at the cinema and loved. It's just incredible. Watch this, then watch Vertigo or Psycho, and see the parallels.
Alice Adams: Katharine Hepburn is patently 43, but in this movie she's the teenage daughter of a local crabby working man who refuses to allow himself to become upwardly mobile, to the horror of his grasping children. Hilarious, but unintentionally so.
Just reminded of another summertime horror: the way people insist that the one thing that would complete the perfection of their brain boilingly moronic perfect day is to open the windows and blast a bit of R n B out (or in this area, some Bhangra Techno [copyright Chris B] as often as not).
Why must they bless us with their execrable flabby taste in mood music when it's hot and I can't suffer grumpily in silence so easily?
Finally, a link for Looby. Does blogging ever serve a useful function, or is it "hardly anything to do with telling the literal truth; and everything to do with fashioning an authentic persona from bits of alibis and consistent lies" ... ?
It's too bloody hot, and I can't cope with the heat. Thirty three degrees yesterday, when I had the hangover from hell. It's going to get hotter and more humid all week, apparently breaking all records. I'm only leaving the house to go to cinemas with air-con, in protest.
pretending you can't see the dirt
oh god it looks murky
counting the dead insects
measuring how many weeks dead insects can hold on to a ceiling tile after death
pathetic attempts with a bit of tissue
realisation that it's making it look worse
pretending it's a political issue; one must make more of one's leisure time than to be some twentieth century slave to a 50's perception of 'clean'
neat bleach (the gay male /Dutch readers will know what I mean)
realisation that it's making it look worse
getting out the scary products to do it properly
railing against the crappy builders who never bothered to clean the stray grouting from the tiles three years back
realising this particular rantation means you haven't wiped down the bathroom wall / kitchen floor for three years now
aiming to do too much (ie, begins to retile the bathroom)
trying harder, for ten minutes, to get the filth off
burning the skin off your hands because you forgot that scary products need gloves
pride and industriousness
realisation that it's making it look worse
deciding that those ten minutes are more than you've done for three years, so of course it's enough to stop there
clearing up the steaming chemical mess from the floor
blackmailing family to provide you with several hours of cup-of-tea-related servitude in honour of your unerring will and derring do in the face of a bit of grime
realisation that the contrast of the bit you did with the bit you gave up on, makes it look worse
pretending you can't see the dirt
I have to clean the flat because a load of women* who all have cleaner fingernails than me are coming round for a kinda reunion on Saturday, and if anyone realises the true extent of my filth, they'll point and laugh.
*- and one bloke (Chris, whose blog is over there < = on the blogroll), but his fingernails look pretty manky to me, so he's not such a threat.
Besides which, whenever DH goes away, I have to tidy endlessly, to prove that I'm not the utterly filthy one.
It's two weeks into my holidays now, and it's time I started getting out of bed before 4 in the afternoon, attempting to achieve something from the day, and avoiding drinking every single evening, simply to change the pace.
DH news: She's going to Australia for 7 weeks, from tomorrow.
Computer news*: it died totally, wiggling things inside helped it resurface, and it now drags itself slowly along while I spend hours trying to back files up onto god-damn zip disks (the CD drives don't seem to exist any more). This week, the washing machine also decided to break down, and the freeholder decided to undertake #9K worth of repairs on the house, so I'm not feeling too wealthy... :D .... another 5 weeks of counting my toenails beckons.
Am going to try to install a cracked copy of XP over it all, then if that doesn't work, try insurance. After all, the cat puked on the mobo, that's gotta count for something.
The whole dreadfully tedious story documented here.
* = circumscribed cos my mum complained about the amount of geekery on here...
Joe suggested installing XP over the top of the Win 98 system that's there at the mo, insisting it would retain all my stuff / proggies / files .... but I dunno. He's pc-literate enough to retrieve things, and I'm not.
FBB4: I lost! (grrrr) Well done to Ayrmale (/grrrr)
No idea how to fix this. Gonna be a long, dull summer, now!