Ice Cream Prize
Topic: Shy Lux
Courtesy of Merc.
Welcome back young grasshoppers..
Hopefully with the assistance of the lesbian rules volume one.. you have managed to procure yourselves a woman for the evening..
Here are a few simple guidelines to ease your passage (fnar fnar) through that hazardous jungle also known as the first date.
This volume is going to concentrate on "the date at the meet" .. the favoured pre luurve scenario for the w.i (woefully inept)
Sunday night, and I've driven out of London to catch a late movie. I missed the start, so opted to go see a horror movie, instead, one that toyed with the premise of going into the past and changing it, and what ripples that could have on your life.
Driving back at midnight, slightly nervy as I don't know where I am, already having stopped once to try to find myself on a map, window down just far enough not to be dragged out through it, radio on XFM low, wondering if men feel quite as nervy as women on the street at this hour, noting that basically there are no women on the streets at this hour, unless they're in a mini skirt on the street corner - I pass a brightly lit fast food burger joint in Thornton Heath. As I pass, I deliberate: pulling over, getting out, getting a kebab? Then dismiss leaving the car as too dangerous at that hour, in an area I don't know - and an odd movement flickers in my peripheral vision. Just a flicker, but it's someone - maybe a few people, moving fast. With something at their feet.
I'd been speeding, slowing as I came towards a roundabout, trying to recall which route on the map translates to the deserted wasteland of a Sunday night in front of me. The glimpse is only peripheral, and it passes quickly by with the rest of the street. As it passes I hear a sound.
Dull. Heavy. Yet reverberant. Like a chair leg quietly knocking against a chamber pot.
If you've ever heard this sound, you don't forget it. If you hear it once, you'll recognise it forever.
It's the sound the bone inside a skull makes when it hits an immovable object.
Today, my grandad died. He was an okay grandad when I was a kid, he was a nice guy. He tried to give all his grandkids aims and aspirations, and that's a good thing. He gave me #10 for every exam I passed, which I still have, in the same post office account, and haven't ever brought myself to spend. (Not spent because when am I ever going to find myself with any other money so honestly earnt?)
As I grew into an adult, I could see that he was belligerent at times, but he had a large family, and a large house, and it was a nice place to sit and read a book you got for Christmas. I guess I'm saying, I liked him, but he wasn't close.
The last time I spoke to him, he was staying at my parents' house when I phoned. He picked up the phone, was told it was me, and because the phone was by a computer proudly announced he'd never chatted on the internet till now, then hung up.
The time before that was when he wrote me a letter wishing I'd find God and someone to spend my life with. I found that letter pretty upsetting, especially as I had a girlfriend of eight years standing at that point, but I guess then I knew that he at least knew, although my aunt had hinted as much, and at his disapproval, but he was pretty old, so I can forgive him for that. I guess. Eighty nine is pretty old.
And I never had any other grandfather, either. I sort of regret that when I was told to attend his ninetieth birthday party with the instruction that I might never see him again, I'd replied "you promised me that when he was eighty". But not really. I didn't mean it like that. Really.
There's no grandparents left now. I think that's the frightening part of it. Everybody expects an old chap to pass on one day. But now he's gone. Who's next? I find that much more frightening. I don't want any of the rest of my family to die. They haven't had eighty-nine years to torment us yet.
Back in Thornton Heath, I'm stuck at a red traffic light on a roundabout, turning right, and realising what the sound is, my memory leaps back in a rush to the other three times I'd heard it.
I heard it in '01 when my car hit a dog running off its leash round Bellingham, hit it in the head. It survived pretty well, but the shock and horror lasted for ages. I heard it in '98 when I was living on a dangerously lawless estate in Kennington, when I looked out of my window and saw my neighbours kick the jaw loose from a passersby's head, because he'd said hi in an australian accent. I heard it in '92 when a group of eye-rolling kids in Brixton smashed glass into my face and then drop kicked my head for the fiver in my pocket.
I'm ashamed of it, but my first impulse is to drive away. Away from the beating, away from Thornton Heath, away from the violence, away from my own impotence to stop it. What could I do? A skinny woman on her own in a car. I turn the corner and drive, trying not to hear the sound.
What does that make you, if you don't care? I ask myself, as I reach the next red light, still on the roundabout. Do you know who that makes you? Is that what you're about?
I pull the car further to the right than it needs to be to make my turn. I know I am going to go back, but I don't want to know that I'm going to do it. Every other time I'd heard that noise had ended in a scene of mob law, with police who weren't interested, were mates of the people involved, or who just wanted me to fit up some black guy, and didn't care who it was, or how correct my statement might be. I don't like the police in the areas I think of as war-zone London, I don't want any more contact with them than necessary.
But I have a phone. He might be dying. I knew it would be a he. And I know that what seems like a heavy roll of carpet, behind that sharp flicker of movement, isn't. I don't want to think about what I will have to do. I just pull the car round the junction and turn back into the road behind me.
There was nothing I could do for him.
You can't go back to the past and change things. The decisions we make in the present are the ones that have ripples. The past is the past - we've already lost the moment.
Very into the audio of a bank holiday.
Today was really awful.
I got out of bed really late because my alarm clock has broken and I cannot afford a new one at the moment.
I feel good because today I getting my lip pierced! Finally! Mom said I could and she's signed the forms and EVERYTHING!
I'm so sad. My kitten got run over this afternoon. I found him when I was coming home from school. His head was all squished. I took some photos. I'll miss him. Poor kitty.
Last night I had to shave my entire body.
Apparently, the lice that I caught from Amanda's friend are really hard to get rid of. I look quite strange with no hair and eyebrows. I'd post pictures, but my webcam is broken.
I want to tell the world that my girlfriend Amy is the bomb! She made pizza last night, and even though I burnt my lips on the cheese, it was awesome!!!
I am really annoyed with those assholes at _are_you_hotter_than_us_?, because I am so much cuter than them, and those photos don't do me justice. They can't reject me, so I'm starting my own rating community. Click here to join (the first five applicants are automatically accepted).
Today, I got a digital camera! Yes! Here's ten thousand photographs of my cat.
I want to say thanks to the world for absolutely fucking nothing! You all suck. I feel so alone, no one ever reads this journal, or even comments to let me know that I'm not suffering alone. It's cold here, and I want to die, but I cannot figure out how many of you to take with me when I go.
I went to the doctor yesterday, and he said I have bipolar disorder, which makes me different enough to be interesting, but the same as all the other cool people with bipolar disorder.
You should all do this quiz! It's amazingly accurate. You just put in your name and birthday, and it will tell you who you're sexually compatible with.
That's enough for now. But I'll leave you with my favourite Buffy fan-fiction piece I wrote last year when I was in hospital.
Courtesy of Merc.
Volume 1 - the art of online woo (trans: pulling that burd you fancy)
First of all young grasshoppers.. ask yourself this..
The War of the WordsWhat's pathetic about the horrific images of what our boys are capable of abroad, is that it surprises none of us. War is all about propaganda, it's all about dehumanising your enemy. It's not as if history hasn't taught us this, over and over again. We send people over there to kill, to maim, to die for
One of the chief problems with the current exciting adventure in Iraq is that no one can agree on what to call anyone else.
In the second world war we were fighting the Germans, and the Germans were fighting us. Everyone agreed who was fighting who. That's what a proper war is like.
However, in Iraq, there isn't even any agreement on what to call the Americans. The Iraqis insist on calling them "Americans", which seems, on the face of it, reasonable. The Americans, however, insist on referring to themselves as "coalition forces". This is probably the first time in history that the United States has tried to share its military glory with someone else.
Hollywood, for example, is forever telling us it was the Americans who won the second world war. It was an American who led the break-out from the prison camp Stalag Luft III in The Great Escape; the Americans who captured the Enigma machine in the film U571; and Tom Cruise who single-handedly won the Battle of Britain (in his latest project, The Few).
So I suppose it's reassuring to find the US generals in Iraq so keen to emphasise the role played by America's partners in bringing a better way of life to Iraq.
Then there's the problem of what the Americans are going to call the Iraqis - especially the ones that they kill. You can call people who are defending their own homes from rockets and missiles launched from helicopters and tanks "fanatics and terrorists" only for so long. Eventually even newspaper readers will smell a rat.
Similarly it's fiendishly difficult to get people to accept the label "rebels" for those Iraqis killed by American snipers when - as in Falluja - they turn out to be pregnant women, 13-year-old boys and old men standing by their front gates.
It also sounds a bit lame to call ambulance drivers "fighters" - when they've been shot through the windscreen in the act of driving the wounded to hospital - and yet what other word can you use without making them sound like illegitimate targets?
I hope you're beginning to see the problem.
The key thing, I suppose, is to try to call US mercenaries "civilians" or "civilian contractors", while calling Iraqi civilians "fighters" or "insurgents".
Describing the recent attack on Najaf, the New York Times happily hit upon the word "militiamen". This has the advantage of being a bit vague (nobody really knows what a "militiaman" looks like or does), while at the same time sounding like the sort of foreigners any responsible government ought to kill on sight.
However, the semantic problems in Iraq run even deeper than that.
For example, there's the "handover of power" that's due to take place on June 30. Since no actual "power" is going to be handed over, the coalition chaps have had to find a less conclusive phrase. They now talk about the handover of "sovereignty", which is a suitably elastic notion. And besides, handing over a "notion" is a damn sight easier than handing over anything concrete.
Then again, the US insists that it has been carrying out "negotiations" with the mojahedin in Falluja. These "negotiations" consist of the US military demanding that the mojahedin hand over all their rocket-propelled grenade launchers, in return for which the US military will not blast the city to kingdom come. Now there's a danger that this all sounds like one side "threatening" the other, rather than "negotiations" - which, after all, usually implies some give and take on both sides.
As for the word "ceasefire", it's difficult to know what this signifies anymore. According to reliable witness reports from Falluja, the new American usage makes generous allowance for dropping cluster bombs and flares, and deploying artillery and snipers.
But perhaps the most exciting linguistic development is to be found away from the areas of conflict - in the calm of the Oval Office, where very few people get killed for looking out of their windows. Here words such as "strategy" and "policy" are daily applied to the kneejerk reactions of politicians and military commanders who think that brute force is the only way to resolve difficult problems in a delicate situation. As Major Kevin Collins, one of the officers in charge of the marines in Falluja, put it: "If you choose to pick a fight, we'll finish it."
In the past, one might have used a phrase such as "numbskull stupidity" rather than "strategy". But then, language has a life of its own ... which is more than one can say for a lot of innocent Iraqis.
? Terry Jones is a writer, film director, actor and Python Source
Democracy SongThanks to Casino Avenue and Lemonpillows for breaking the UK blog No Politics Round Here Mate Ooh No hegemony.
It's coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
that this ain't exactly real,
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It's coming through a crack in the wall;
on a visionary flood of alcohol;
from the staggering account
of the Sermon on the Mount
which I don't pretend to understand at all.
It's coming from the silence
on the dock of the bay,
from the brave, the bold, the battered
heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin'
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
where the women kneel to pray
for the grace of God in the desert here
and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.
It's coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It's here they got the range
and the machinery for change
and it's here they got the spiritual thirst.
It's here the family's broken
and it's here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
It's coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we'll be making love again.
We'll be going down so deep
the river's going to weep,
and the mountain's going to shout Amen!
It's coming like the tidal flood
beneath the lunar sway,
in amorous array:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
Sail on, sail on ...
I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up
this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
With apologies to anyone who's tried to talk sense to me this week.
On how to deliver a Killer Chat Up Line (conversation in a pub):
Martin: I never use chat up lines.
Me: You not only used to use them, you used to email them after to everybody with your success rate noted.
N/C: You have to be charming.
Me: Do you mean oily?
N/C: Amuse people.
Martin: Making someone laugh with a corny chat up line can work.
N/C: Yes, make her laugh, then wow her with your amazing personality.
Me: Wow her. With my ... personality. I was afraid you'd say that.
N/C: The most charming man I ever met didn't use chat up lines. He was friendly, rather like a playful labrador puppy.
Me: So when I meet her I should jump on her chest and lick her face.
N/C: That might not work so well now you mention it.
Martin: It would allow you an appropriate moment to ask about the handcuffs.
On how to Race To Lose Weight (conversation via text):
Yidaho: Did you get hold of any weighing scales yet?
Me: I managed to lose the key to my other flat, so I haven't picked them up. Still, I'm sure I've lost weight - my 'fat' clothes feel loose on me. But the normal sized clothes still provoke unsightly rolls of fat.
Yidaho: Then I've clearly won the competition
Me: No way. You haven't even mentioned that you lost any weight. How do I know you're not fatter?
Yidaho: I feel lighter when I jump.
Me: I bet I can jump higher than you. I win.
Yidaho: I was jumping with lead in my pockets. The beers are on you.
Me: Bollocks. I bet you've ballooned like Hedwig.
Yidaho: Ballooned is half right. Heck, I'm so light I have to be tethered to stay earthbound now.
Me: Beyond the bounds of realism there a tad. I'm going to blog you for this.
Yidaho: Bah... Fell for your evil plan to overcome your obvious blogstipation. *shakes fist* I'll get you back, I swear...
Yidaho: Mrs J.S. McCorkle?
Yidaho: Hah. 1-1.
On how to Prevent a Burglar from Entering the House (conversation via telephone):
Duch: This old drunken irish guy keeps turning up and wanting to do jobs in my garden. He says he's the last remaining emember of the Birmingham Four. I'm quite scared of him - he breaks everything.
Me: He's a convicted terrorist? You could tell him not to fix your garden.
Duch: Well he's terribly charming and articulate. He offered to mow the lawn, but mowed over the cable, then broke the lawnmower into pieces trying to fix it when he was too drunk to stand. Oh shit, that's him at the door now.
Me: What, now? This minute? That's a bit of a coincidence, isn't it?
Duch: Oh dear, he's banging on the door. I'm a bit worried he's going to break the door down.
Me: He's someone you barely know, you said. Why would he do that?
Duch: Should I answer?
Me: No, you're talking to me, not entertaining the local drunkery. You're on the phone.
Duch: He'll be awfully upset if he thinks that I'm ignoring him. I shan't answer. I'm in bed with no clothes on, anyway. But what if he can see the light from my bedroom?
Me: What if he can? You're not under an obligation to answer the door.
Duch: I don't want to seem rude. Oh no, he's still banging on the door. It's getting louder. I think he might break it down. I'm actually quite scared.
Me: Hang up and ring the police then, if you're that scared.
Duch: What if he breaks in? I'm too scared to hang up.
Me: You've got two phones - ring on the other one. They'll come over and tell him to stop banging on your door, and he'll get the message that you don't want to answer it right now.
(hammering sound increases)
Duch: Oh my god, he's breaking in! Oh my god!
(loud crash as door relents to pressure)
Me: Duch ... ?
Bestmate: Why the *hell* aren't you answering the door?
Duch: BESTMATE! Oh my god! I'm so glad it's you.
Me: Oh for God's sake.
Duch: Ohhh, I thought it was the drunk Irish guy breaking down the door!
Bestmate: Do you think you can come outside and tell all your bloody stupid neighbours who are lined up in the street that me and Flamboyant aren't burglars? They're convinced we're breaking in.
Duch: Don't be silly, sort them out yourself. I'm on the phone to Vanessa.
I can't even begin to explain to you how tired I am, now. I reckon I've worked forty hours of overtime this week.
Despite being so sluggish that I keep catching myself sailing along in charge of a lump of dangerous metal at 60mph while looking somewhere right and thinking about cloud formations, I'm going out to have a blogmeet now (I was toying with the idea that every time I go for a jar with someone I know who happens to have, or have abandoned, or heard of blogging, I have to hop around overexcitedly and call it a blogmeet - could get confusing when I visit my blogfamily), with Martin and Looby, who no doubt will be terribly polite about how I'm too shattered to actually form anything but excruciating run-on sentences - although I do have a plan, see, I haven't drunk whiskey for 16 years, perhaps now would be a painless time to see if it restores sanity; I mean, the odds are doubtful, but it may be enjoyable trying - anyway, I'm late, and although I've lived in Lamb's Conduit street, my overstressed brain won't let me remember where it is, and I'm not going to get very far asking strangers if they know the way to Jo's house, am I (they'd helpfully point out that she moved to China years ago, I'm sure).
Oh fuck, where did that full stop come from?
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In other news, I finished work at midnight today, and got a kebab on the way home. Slavering and wolfing, I spilt a drop of chilli sauce on the back of my hand. I was at that messy, wet, meaty tasteamonguous bit where you can't stop to lick up what you drop, you have to keep on shovelling, so I allowed it to sit there.
Four minutes later, the stinging of the raised, purplish weal gets my attention. Did I cut myself? A scratch? Inspection. It's the sauce.
Angry red welt forming on the back of my hand, swollen and painful.
The stuff is smeared all over my mouth, nose and chin, that sauce. Uh-oh.
Gullible Twat: Oh. Um, it's Vanessa.
Innocent Victim: Hi.
GT: Yeah, I met you the other weekend at < mumble mumble > ... and you said to phone you.
IV: So now you're phoning me.
GT: Yeah. So now I'm phoning you.
IV: So ... how's your week been?
GT: I'm in a supermarket.
IV: Er ... what?
GT: Oh. Yeah, you know. Okay.
IV: Did you say you're in a supermarket?
GT: Yeah. How was your week?
IV: Fine, great. I've had a good week. You know?
GT: Erm, yeah, I'm in a supermarket. I ... er ... never mind.
IV: Right... So, what -
GT: I wondered if you wanted to go out sometime this weekend?
IV: Oh. Yeah. Erm ... sure. I'm busy. Bank holiday weekend. Looking after my nephew, out of London. What are you up to?
GT: Staying in London, as usual.
IV: As usual?
GT: Er ... yeah. Parks, forests.
IV: Parks are good.
GT: No they're not. Forests.
GT: What about the weekend after?
IV: Oh. Well ... it's possible. I have more time then.
GT: Okay, so we'll meet. < mumble >day.
IV: Okay, yeah, that should be possible. ring me again next week, and we'll sort out an arrangement.
GT: An arrangement.
IV: Oh dear, I'm useless at making arrangements.
GT: Know what you mean. Yeah. So. < mumble >day, eight o'clock at the < mumble > Bar. We'll decide what to do after.
IV: Oh. Okay. Not this < mumble >day.
IV: Sure. Have you -
Disclaimer: in the case that anyone real ever finds this post, ever ever ever, I made it all up, alright?
March 03, 1804 Meriwether Lewis
The Commanding officer feels himself mortifyed and disappointed at the disorderly conduct of Reubin Fields, in refusing to mount guard when in the due roteen of duty he was regularly warned; nor is he less surprised at the want of discretion in those who urged his oposition to the faithfull discharge of his duty, particularly Shields, whose sense of propryety he had every reason to believe would have induced him reather to have promoted good order, than to have excited disorder and faction among the party...
... The abuse of some of the party with respect [to the] prevelege heretofore granted them of going into the country, is not less displeasing; to such as have made hunting or other business a pretext to cover their design of visiting a neighboring whiskey shop, he cannot for the present extend this previlege.....
March 09, 1804 Meriwether Lewis
(Louisiana was officially transferred from Spain to France at St. Louis, with Lewis as the chief witness)
March 10, 1804 Meriwether Lewis
(Louisiana was officially transferred from France to the United States at St. Louis.)
April 01, 1804 William Clark
(Orderly book lists the permanent detachment "destined for the Expedition through the interior of the Continent of North America")
(Three squads formed, each headed by a sergeant who was elected by the men: Pryor, Floyd, Ordway)
May 04, 1804 William Clark
("Memorandum of Articles in readiness for the Voyage" lists what the food they're taking, how much they weigh, etc.)
May 13, 1804 William Clark
River a Dubois opposet the mouth of the Missouri River
Sunday May the 13th 1804
...all in health and readiness to set out. Boats and everything Complete, with the necessary stores of provisions & such articles of merchandize as we thought ourselves authorised to procure -- tho' not as much as I think nessy. for the multitude of Inds. thro which we must pass on our road across the Continent &c. &c.
April 14, 1804 William Clark
Rained the fore part of the day...
I Set out at 4 oClock P.M, in the presence of many of the neighboring inhabitents, and proceeded on under a jentle brease up the Missourie...a heavy rain this after-noon.
May 14, 1804 Patrick Gass
The corps consisted of forty-three men ... part of the regular troops of the United States, and part engaged for this particular enterprize.
The best authenticated accounts informed us, that we were to pass through a country possessed by numerous, powerful and warlike nations of savages, of gigantic stature, fierce, treacherous and cruel; and particularly hostile to white men. And fame had united with tradition in opposing mountains to our course, which human enterprize and exertion would attempt in vain to pass.
May 14, 1804 John Ordway
A Journal commenced at River Dubois
Monday May the 14th 1804.
Capt. Clark Set out at 3 oClock P.M. for the western expedition. one Gun fired. a nomber of Citizens see us Start, the party consisted of 3 Sergeants & 38 Good hands, ... we Sailed up the Missouri 6 miles & encamped on the N. Side of the River.
Having done my seven hours of unpaid overtime for the day, and hoping for a break before I crack on with the last two hours of stuff I've brought home, I'm sitting on the loo, blogging while:
Overtly critical comments welcomed.
- texting Harv, whom I forgot I was to meet tonight,
- picking the dirt from my thumbnail with a nail file,
- listening to Tybalt trying to over-complicate things on the voicemail,
- having a poo,
- stripped to my push up bra , old socks and too small knickers,
- chatting to my bored under-stimulated cats,
- composing my pick up lines for a phone call to someone I fancy,
- browsing blogs on kinja, particularly ones with cute pictures of kittycats,
- planning what to eat, and trying to motivate myself to include large amounts of vegetable matter in it,
- picking my nose,
- skim-reading 152 e-mails (Quote ":) I remember reading that even into the Victorian age to spell uniformly was considered crass. Spelling uniquely made you fashionable.
Or should I say fashenebel."),
- wondering if I have time to wash the dishes before I fall asleep on the sofa like yesterday,
- trying to suck in my gut,
- realising that several doors and curtains are open, and I can be seen by any passersby.
- who will not only see me on the porcelain, but blogging from there
My verdict from Turn Off TV Week: As I don't usually watch TV (having split up from a long term partner, I'm in the I Need No Material Goods phase that indicates she won in the divisions of spoils), it's embarrassing how much this experiment is teaching me, actually.
Firstly, I realise now how often I put the radio on, not to listen to it, but put it on slightly too low to hear distinctly.
Secondly, I come from Oop North in England, where tradition dictates you leave the tv on, which makes it seem ubiquitous - whereas the fashion in the posher South is to switch it off unless it has your full attention - but with the result that it's louder and more intrusive when it's on. I think I tend to associate television with the worst aspects of both halves of the country, whereas it is actually possible to have the thing on only occasionally, and at a reasonable volume.
Thirdly, choice of tv listings magazine is all. It's dawned on me that the mag I usually get (for the paparazzi shots and gossip, natch), actually foregrounds the rubbish tv, whereas if I get a more expensive magazine, there's actually lots of decent, stimulating stuff on that isn't publicised in my usual rag. So my normal anti tv snobbery is actually more of a statement of my sorry choices of reading material.
Fourthly, I realised all these things just two days into the experiment. So there's limited point in forcing yourself to not watch tv, unless you never watch tv in the first place.... (makes sense inside my head ... mumble, mumble)
Humiliating to say, I think I might actually take up watching more tv as a result of this 'speriment.
Oh the shame! Turned on by Turn Off Tv Week...
I have not written anything good.
I have not looked at anything with a different eye.
I have not been anywhere and woken from my daydream to notice the world around me.
I have not spoken to someone who made me want, need, laugh, cry, or recoil.
I have not curled into my knees, wishing that something were over.
I have not stood gaping at a half chopped potato, realising something about myself - something simple but true, something that's always been true.
I have not avoided a mirror, not wanting to meet my own eye.
I have not reminisced.
I have sung the same lyric over and over and over and over, trying to make the words hurt enough to stop.
I have not measured my success by this or that or the other.
I have not been your sounding board.
I have not telephoned you.
I have not done that brave thing that still waits for me to catch up to it.
I have not hidden from myself inside a habit that dulls me.
I have not tried something new.
I have not travelled, and if I did, I did not arrive.
I have not blogged for you.
I have a task that will take me twelve hours of each day this week and sixteen of Thursday so the blog, the stories, the tales of piteous woe, and -snif- the mad random dating, will retire until Friday sets me free.
Till then, I advise you to close your eyes, think of something pretty, something you feel obligated to keep or to possess, examine it, turn it, let your mind touch it, hold it slightly too tightly, turn it this way and that, see how it looks back at you, look for fear in its eyes, feel how your touch warms it, wonder if you'll be able to let go.
I got my car fixed! Temporarily - it still needs taking to a garage for (deep breath, it took me four weeks to learn this term) 'glow plugs'.
CarMechanic said sitting in the car park for eight weeks solid meant the battery was dead, and given the battery was apparently the size of a red postbox, I'd have to keep the car running for an hour or two to charge it up again.
An hour or two? My projected Saturday activities - dvd of Kill Bill, washing dirty knickers, cuddling cats then trying to let them excape, hoovering, picking toenails, etc - misted over. After eight weeks of becoming a pedestrian again (and it is a mindset, believe me), I had to drive for two hours.
It was a gloriously sunny warm day. Where to go?
Easy. Epping Forest.
I like South East London - I like the sort of Blitz mentality of being The Area That The Rest of London Forgot. And there are some pretty bits - Pett's Wood, Eltham Palace, Blackheath, the view from the golf course at Beckenham, Greenwich, Dulwich, the view from Crystal Palace - but you Sarf Easterners have *no idea* how beautiful the edges of Essex are. The Hollow Ponds at South Woodford, High Beach, the view on the way to Epping Green - there are so many spots where you can't see a single building. Stuff your poncey Hampstead Heath, you haven't the faintest of a fuck what a city forest is like, till you've been to Epping Forest.
The thing about charging a battery up for two hours, though, is that you can't stop. Therefore, MacDonald's drive-through ice cream and coffee were the only food groups available to me.
The thing about not having driven for eight weeks, though, is that your weakest faults are a little more noticeable than usual. In my case, that's spotting traffic lights on red.
So, hurtling along the A104 at speed, working without a map, in a car where the windows, the seats, the mats, the controls, me, everything is covered in an explosion of emergency stop coffee and runny ice cream, I bombed through the Forest, past the Chingford reservoirs, and into the rolling Essex farmland, looking for deer.
It was gorgeous. Really sunny, breezy, beautiful. After twenty minutes I was in love with driving all over again. I know as a pedestrian, I felt increasingly belligerent at drivers, but in a car, alone, not knowing or caring where you're going, you don't feel like a gas guzzling lazy polluter. You feel like a pilot.
It was so cool, and great and wicked, and class, and top, that I almost didn't mind bumping into Tybalt as I stopped off at my flat in East London on the way home. I'm not going to ruin it by blogging that. Or the mad catholic congregation who kept trying to hit me for chatting too loudly. Or blogging the annoying Goldsmith's twats on the train later, or the mad evening out at a Cuban bar, or the failed attempts to see Kelis, or the thimble fulls of tequila in an empty club, or the Officer I snogged, or how I fucked things up, or the pervert taxi driver who thought I was well up for it by seven this morning. None o' that, mate, none o' that.
Turn Off TV Week ~ I'm spending a week living an imaginary life as a couch potato, to see if it's any more fulfilling.
Daily Selection: I might have watched ~
1. 5.45pm, BBC1, Historyonics ~ Nick Knowles presents a new slant on historical events using reconstructions and imaginary conversations. He takes an alternative look at the truths and myths surrounding the most famous highwayman of all, Dick Turpin. Oh now, this actually sounds cool. Perfect rainy Sunday afternoon blob material. Bag of crisps and some chocolate milkshake, a sofa, maybe a blanket, and this. Great.Verdict: There's so bloody little to do on a Sunday that I'll put up with much. I like that these programmes are diverting, and set somewhere else. Will I be upset if I don't see it? We-e-ell ... the Dick Turpin and the religious prog ... maybe ...
2. 8pm, C4, Children of Abraham ~ Mark Dowd, a Catholic who trained to be a Franciscan Friar, embarks on a very personal journey to the Holy Land, Egypt, Turkey, Bosnia and the USA to explore the shared roots and deep enmities of Christianity, Islam and Judaism to try and discover if there is any hope of a shared future. Last year I had to do some research into comparing attitudes of the seven big religions, plus the multitudes of minor atheisms, on topics like blood transfusion, funeral rites, genetic experimentation, the Six Day War, etc. I found, to my extreme surprise, that anything comparative about religion is eye openingly revealing, and often teaches you much more about cultural history than my usual jaded agnosticism allows credit for.
3. 11pm, C5, World's Wildest Police Videos ~ Amazing footage of reckless criminals engaged in a range of illegal and often highly dangerous activities. Featuring the pursuit of an 81-year-old driver with Alzheimers heading the wrong way down the freeway, and the rioting students who turn a campus into a war zone. Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy!
I know it's actually in itself a compliment that someone should want to, but does anyone else feel like someone's walked across your grave when you notice that someone is busy reading your archives?
[Pssst! The whole blog is archived in text format over to the left, without comments or that annoying sitemeter box that takes an age to load - if you prefer to download, read it offline, and in the right order, my sitemeter won't prickle the back of my neck about it. :D ]
[ P.S. Before anyone gets para, there was more than one person reading. I was imagining them communicating: 'oh holy crap, she's moaning about her gf again' / 'here, look, she's posting up pictures of her dinner now' / 'man this girl likes taking photos of cats', etc ]
Turn Off TV Week ~ I'm spending a week living an imaginary life as a couch potato, to see if it's any more fulfilling.
Daily Selection: I might have watched ~
1. 7pm, C4, Russia: Land of the Tsars ~ Exploring Russia's royalty, beginning with profiles of Ivan the Terrible and Peter the Great. It's been becoming increasingly embarrassing that my entire knowledge of Russian history has been derived from watching the bloke cavort on Boney M's song 'Ra Ra Rasputin'. This must be corrected, and quickly, before anyone realises I was making it all up.Verdict: Well, I'm stunned. Stunned that there's actually anything at all watchable on any of the five channels on a Saturday night, in an era when even the broadcasters admit the programming on offer is so execrable that the vast majority of viewers are renting a dvd or replaying a video. And it's all from channel four, the minority taste channel that tried to become populist, missed, and just became supine. Well done, mate. Still not unmissable, though.
2. 9pm, C4, Sex, Secrets and Frankie Howerd ~ A look behind the public persona of the troubled comedian. I quite like finding out that all the big comedians are manic depressive paranoiac lunatics - it makes me feel better about the jammy bastards finding it so easy to crack a joke. Howerd should be particularly good - sixties era, he should have an anecdote or two about Hancock, Sellers, Sid James and the like.
3. 10pm, C4, Rod Hull: A Bird in the Hand ~ Documentary profiling the turbulent life of Rod Hull, who with his anarchic emu puppet, became a top-ranking star of British showbusiness and a multimillionaire. The programme details both his enormous success and his subsequent downfall, and the life he led before his premature and tragic death. See what I mean? A premature and tragic death. What more could we ask of a family comedian?
I had an emu puppet toy as a kid - the thing is meant to go for anyone at the throat as Hull tries to hold a conversation. Brilliant. There IS no other toy that licenses - nay, encourages - you to viciously attack and punch other kids and even (especially) adults. Not to do so is to desecrate the spirit of the puppet. My dad rued the day I got that damn bird. And Rod always had a better fake plastic arm than any mere ventriloquist.