Monday, April 28, 2003

What? Did I grow a cock overnight and not notice? If I've got a penis now, I want to see it, and play with it. A lot.
That was me, this morning, on receiving my first bill from our new phone company and finding it addressed to Mr Hypatia Avenue.Bwah.

In other news, here's a weekend update, just because I've been slack with updating the Avenue... after a nightmare week at work which has recently turned into the ill-equipped, badly organised and stroppy-staffed frontdesk of Stress Central Inc., I managed to get away from my increasingly horrible office and the increasingly horrible launch of our new website (this Thursday! Waaaah! Dribble! Gibber! Etc!) and get out to a comedy club south of the river at which I caught up with all my post-grad mates. I think I'm the only one who will be doing the walk of shame across the stage at Guildhall come Graduation day: no one is going to it except me. Pheh, how much fun is that going to be?

Still, the evening was great, even though the comedy was not - out of the seemingly relentless and unfunny, heavily stereotyped and cliched gags about Americans, Germans, straight people and Liverpudlians, only a few things stuck in my alcohol-sodden mind as funny: a song from Luke Skywalker to Princess Leia describing how they can still be sister and brother and in love with each other - in Cornwall. Also, a long and protracted gag comparing women and men's skills with blowjobs. Hee and hee indeed.

Then there was a lot of over-excited and drunken dancing to Tony's Mobile Disco and some euphoric whooping and arse-wiggling when they played my favourite ever Stevie Wonder song for the fifth time in two hours. And then the stumbling journey home and my baffling entry into my old flat which has been recently gutted for redecoration and wondering where the fuck all the walls had gone. Managed to get into my new flat (after a lot of struggling with keys and a missing doorframe) and drifted in and out of merry consciousness in front of the TV until it was Saturday and far too late to have some water and Alka-Seltzer to save myself from a rather nasty hangover.

Despite the slightly green tinge to my morning, Saturday was niiiiiiice: shopping, cooking and unexpected but pleasant meetings on the Tube then getting thoroughly spooked watching the Signs DVD with August D. Sunday was spent doing domestic work and then getting wedding plans underway with my folks over dinner... there's a lot of work to do before we can start having fun... but oh! It's going to be fun, French-style. I'm assured that the campsite is far superior to the website and I trust LittleBigSister's taste in things like this. Well, it ain't a buffet in a Little Chef at least.

In other news, it's my birthday next weekend.

That is all. Over and out.

Tuesday, April 22, 2003

She said, "I'm tired of the war,
I want the kind of work I had before,
a wedding dress or something white
to wear upon my swollen appetite."
- Leonard Cohen, Joan of Arc
Speaking of wedding dresses - or dressing for weddings - I finally got an outift for LittleBigSister's summer bash. It's a pink and gold Bollywood-tastic affair; my cunning plan, you see, to avoid all the girlie agonising over whether or not what I'm wearing "goes" with anyone / anything else. I'm simply going to clash with everything, so that's sorted.

Yes, Friday was spent shopping with BigSister which was very pleasant despite the clouds of heated up air pollution hovering over Oxford Street and seeping under my contact lenses. And then dinner in our lovely new kitchen / living room with BigSister, BigBrother, Mumsy and Papa, with all of us tucking into a big roasted leg of lamb around the rickety table in our bay window. After this day of leisurely shopping and dining, I thought I'd be all refreshed and relaxed for a productive day of house work and... stuff on Saturday. I was wrong.

I got up mid-morning. I had breakfast. I made a list of the things I needed to do. I went back to bed with a P J O'Rourke book (which was, incidentally, on my list of things to do). I got restless. I got out of bed again. I picked up my large, heavy mirror salvaged from the dressing table me and my sisters had shared while growing up. I dropped it. It fell out of the frame and hit the floor edge on. This somehow didn't shatter the main body of the mirror but instead sent small glinting shards flying off the corners. As a reluctantly superstitious person, and materially sentimental to boot, I was understandably upset and set about sweeping up the glass. It was a bright day and the sun happened to glint off a particularly large shard and gave me a blindspot in my vision. It was unfortunately exactly the same kind of blindspot in my vision that accompanies a migraine and before I knew it I was back in bed, guzzling painkillers and praying that I'd pass out before it got too bad.

I haven't had a migraine for a while now and it was extra unpleasant. So I didn't emerge from my room until 6pm by which time all my energy for doing Useful Things had been well and truly killed off. Ugh.

Sunday was much better, spent trawling through the few shops that were open for my groceries which was actually a very pleasant walk in the sun around my part of town which, if you know where I live, is a rare thing. And then having made a full recovery from my nasty migraine the night before, I set about entertaining again, this time for just one very special guest (you know who you are...) Mmmmm.

And then Monday was spent unblocking the toilet (actually, just watching Flatmate A unblock the toilet - I salute you and cannot thank you enough for your courage with that plunger), lying in bed eating Cadburys Creme Eggs and reading the papers, sewing my curtains, writing and... oh, that's it. A happy Easter Break, despite the crippling migraine. How was yours?

Wednesday, April 16, 2003

"Hey you...hello baby... hey, hey, come over here...yeah, baby, you..."
So I was walking along about to turn into my street and get back to my lovely new flat after a long, long, long day at work when this trio of leering teenage boys, covered in bandanas, baggy trousers with the left leg inexplicably rolled up and elaborately corn-rowed hair, started to call out to me on the other side of the road. And there I was, thinking I was *so* hard - I stopped and shouted back at them, "You talking to me? You talking to me?" in my best short Chinese De Nero impression which only encourages these boys to start beckoning me over, "No, you come here baby, you come here to us." So I lost my temper slightly and stood there beckoning them to me, daring them to cross over and confront me and they didn't so I turned away, nose in the air, marching away radiating indignation and wounded triumph, a spring in my step as I walked away victorious. Then the boys played their trump card and shouted after me, down the length of the street,

"You better pull your flies up, girl; I can see your panties and they're black."

One surreptitious fumble at my gaping waistband proved them horribly right and I carried on to my door with my nose still in the air but with my jacket pulled tightly over my exposed crotch.

Oh the horrible, horrible shame of it.

The moral of this story is...don't try to be clever when you've failed to do up your trousers properly.

Tuesday, April 15, 2003

"Why is Jordan's foreign policy so inflexible?"
Because Amman's gotta do what Amman's gotta do.

August Dangerlove: the Unstoppable Silly Jokes Machine. Aw, you gotta love him, really. And forgive him too. He can't help it, he really can't - he doesn't have his own blog. Sorry.

"...soooo hong kong..."
This truly is.

You gotta love that Hong Kong "designer labels or die" (literally) spirit in the face of adversity.

Still, SARS is no laughing matter. All our many, many, many relatives over there are in our thoughts as this mysterioso virus continues to rage through South East Asia - no one can make it over to France or London to LittleBigSister's wedding this summer for fear of contagion. And all the relatives on my mother's side work in schools, right across the board from head of primaries to university lecturers all of which have had to close and keep kids away while this thing is still around, attacking unsuspecting people. Bah. I think North Korea is letting us know in a none too subtle way that they too have biological weapons and are not afraid to use them...

In other news: I have moved from the flat upstairs to the flat downstairs and it is beautiful. All new wooden flooring, cream walls, large, bright windows with long floaty curtains, a proper, functional kitchen with enough room for a table and a TV and sofa... we had fun milling about in there yesterday. I went down to the kitchen and found Flatmates A and B circling each other, flapping their arms because they could. We were all tremendously excited because in our previous kitchen we could barely even cook.

In other news, I am planning an afternoon tea party for my impending birthday / housewarming. Dress code: a) as if you've just come back from chapel b) on your way to tennis / cricket / croquet c) being sent down from college back to Brideshead for your naughty, naughty behaviour. Absolutely ripping! Last one down to the botancal gardens is a rotten plover's egg - and Tarquin, you rotter, don't cheat or you're as much a cad and a bounder as your step-brother Lord Barton-Heralding! Tally Ho!

Friday, April 11, 2003

"...Oh, sorry. Was that the main switch? Sorry, I just need to turn off the lights..."
So said the criminally moronic "electrican" just before lunch, who had come to fix our emergency lighting and managed to turn off main power for the downstairs office by accident. As the place was plunged into darkness, cries of "Fucksocks!" rang out across the shadowy office. And all those bits of unsaved work disappeared like smoke. Then the fire alarm went off...

Thank god (and all other relevant deities) it's Friday - and next week it's Easter which means a four day week! And another one after that! Tally-ho, pip pip and huzzah!

And for more huzzahs and hiphiphurrays, here's some news for Harry Potter maniacs (look, I'm not the only one, okay?) Look out for the news on April 9th - keep your eyes closed if you don't want to know about book 5.

Thursday, April 10, 2003

"How do you turn a duck into a jazz musician?"
Stick it in the microwave until its Bill Withers.

It might be the way he tells 'em, but August Dangerlove has made me fall over laughing twice since Saturday with this and the previous headline. Don't know what's wrong with me; must be the increase in daylight that has made me go slightly loopy. I'm not used to getting out of bed in the morning in daylight and leaving work while it's still light."Bill Withers." Hehehehehehehe.

"The Ouch bird is famous for its square eggs and its distinctive cry."
August D's comment that I found unfeasibly funny last night, to the point of giving me a stitch in my side from laughing. Ouch. And on to other things that have made me laugh lunatic-style...This is the prize link of joy out of all the fabulous links Devukha so shamelessly spoils us with on his blog. I am hopelessly crap at finding interesting, random stuff on the web as I am woefully unimaginative in the way I surf for stuff (mainly by typing odd words into Google, hopscotching through the stuff that comes up on Metafilter, B3ta and other people's blogs and pouncing on anything that people suggest to me) so am very grateful for to have found this. I particularly love the SWOT analysis at the end, and the insane/sane, clever/stupid matrix: fabulous.

In other news, I have been invited to the filming of In It to Win It, hosted by yucky Dale Winton sometime next week. In fact, we've been given ten tickets to go to this shitty lottery show; it’s still not good enough - they need to pay me money to get me there. Money, and desirable properties in the smarter parts of London. And champagne - lots of it. And chocolate, both of which I have an enormous craving for at the moment. They could give me all of that, and it still wouldn't be enough to get me in there to watch that sickly orange twat prancing about with a load of tracksuit-wearing illiterate early school-leavers as contestants - no way.

So, look out for my entry sometime next week where I describe, in excruciating detail, just what happened at the filming. :: sigh :: I am *so* predictable.

In other news, war is over. Apparently.

Monday, April 07, 2003

"Michael.. you don't want to go there Michael..."
This is what happens when two people who haven't seen each for a while discuss the facial hair that one of them is growing. (Not me, I hasten to add). Kids, don't try this at home...

Hypatia says: gotta go - send me a photo or... or... crayon drawing of yourself and new face fuzz: v. curious.
Andrew says: or I could just see you in a few weeks [snip]
Hypatia says: see you then!
Hypatia says: but send pic anyway - make me smile
Hypatia says: and Ill send you pic of my new full-leg tattoo of David Hasselhoff smoking a cigar
Andrew says: oooo really?
Hypatia says: It's actually quite high up on my leg...
Hypatia says: cos Hasselhoff is a twat...
Andrew says: smokin
Andrew says: haha
Andrew says: now have knight rider theme in my head
Andrew says: "Michael.. you don't want to go there Michael..."
Hypatia says: hehehehehe.

Hmmm. Still, that theme tune in its new incarnation is surprisingly catchy; you gotta hear it to believe it. Mundian To Bach Ke!

Sunday, April 06, 2003

And I mean OUCH. Went to see Becks Futures at the ICA yesterday - sort of by accident as me and August D were actually only intending to attend the bar after a stroll through beautiful St James park in the sun - and found myself gawping in disbelief at David Sherry's amazingly and alarmingly painful piece of DIY prosthesis attachment. Like, whoah. How unnecessary was that little video piece? Contemporary British art just keeps going further and further up its own arse, to the point of it being so self-referential, the self is undetectable in all of it: there was nothing from the artist to explain why the hell he was doing it and why it meant so much to him that he had to do it, no matter how much it hurt. It was just a video, in the end, a video of a bloke sitting in his hideous living room, jabbing a needle and thread into his own feet for this utterly pointless and upsetting art exhibition.

I couldn't watch past the bit where he describes, at the end of the stitching, that his legs had gone numb from the knees down but that he would nonetheless try to keep moving, then stood up and walked out of the room. Holy mother of god. He sewed bits of wood to his own feet. And I watched. And I felt terrible watching; I didn't want to yet had found myself in the context of an art gallery where you are there to look at things and so I looked and wanted to dive into the TV and shake the artist and beg him to stop such nonsense. Whatever the point of the video was meant to be, it just couldn't have been worth his doing it, or my watching it. This was supposedly such an intensely personal exploration of... whatever, I really got nothing out of it as an audience member except nausea watching him walk on this freshly sewn on wood and listening to his yelps as the self-applied stitches pulled at his feet and I left feeling bloody ripped off. So to speak.

I can't wait for the super-ironic video installation showpieces of next year's exhibition: "Web-cam up my Colon: I am a Piece of Shit (ha-de-ha-ha)"

Still, to prove that nothing can affect my appetite - nothing! absolutely nothing! I went out for a curry after seeing the Bodyworlds exhibtion! - August D treated me to a lovely supper in the bar after which we walked through the park again and I went home to my sofa and a completely unexpected and very, very exciting re-run of all the latest series of 24 up til the latest episode. Phew. That was an epic TV watching session but worth it. Oh yes.

More tonight! Must dash! I'll be back after the commercial break...

Thursday, April 03, 2003

”Is v sad, like a little piece of our childhood gone.”
BigSister, on the occasion of the sad news about Leslie Cheung.

We all grew up listening to his music and watching his concerts that our relatives recorded for us in Hong Kong and had sent over, and we watched him from his start as a Pop Idol for Girls then followed him through his slightly odd, “I’m moving into less mainstream stuff” Johnny Depp lookalike period then of course, adoring him in definitely not mainstream films like Days of Being Wild, Happy Together and Farewell My Concubine. He was tremendous in Concubine – after feeling slightly embarrassed for him for trying *so* hard to shed his mainstream Pop Idol image for so long, I finally gained some respect for the man when I put myself through the draining and emotionally wrought experience that is watching this film.

The saddest thing of all about his death is the fact that none of the official news about him from Hong Kong and South East Asia refers to his non-mainstream work, mainly because he chose to play a lot of gay roles. For all the forward thinking and Western culture in Hong Kong, homosexuality is still a big taboo and much ridiculed still. As well as being pretty damn good as an actor, he was a point of reference for anyone who wanted to say, “Look, Chinese people can be gay, it does happen” and his death, his suicide is a very serious sign of how deeply rooted are the taboos and ridicule surrounding homosexuality in South East Asia and it saddens me more to think that for all his courage in coming out as openly gay, it just wasn’t enough in the end.

As stressed on the excellent Metafilter (which has an unexpectedly long and heartfelt thread about Leslie which has been of great help and interest as I try to get my head round this sad event), it would be inappropriate in the scale of things to concentrate on his homosexuality only. But as a British born Hong Kong person who understands Hong Kong’s social taboos and attitudes as a native but sees them through Western eyes, it’s an issue within his sad death that I think is hugely significant. And very sad too.

For press outside of Hong Kong and for myself, he is remembered and respected for his films and his choice to go from frothy safe Pop Idol for girls to become a serious actor who wasn’t afraid to change or compromise himself. Even in the very end.

Farewell, my popstar. Rest In Peace.

Wednesday, April 02, 2003

”Sadly, Widdecombe's stilted, arid prose fails to ignite the couple's supposedly passionate relationship and something about Catherine reminded me irresistibly of Gwendolen Mary from Malory Towers. There is more stiff upper lip than grand amour about Catherine's whole story: the only surprise is that no one pops up wearing a gymslip to tell her that sleeping with the enemy is simply not cricket.”
So opines Flatmate A in The Observer. Aw, ain’t she clever?

And ain’t Flatmate B clever? She’s had her work on Restless Leg Syndrome published, including her beautiful pencil drawings. It’s just me in the flat who hasn’t had something put out in print to the public this week, but the screening I mentioned in my last post went so well, I’m not bitter. No, really I’m not.

Yes, after all the worry and grief surrounding the sodding screening, it did actually go well. The kids turned up and were overjoyed to see their films and get their (hastily put together) prizes and everyone had a great time scoffing the BBC’s cold buffet. I managed to overdo it with the mini-quiches and rolled home exhausted and bilious but fabulously relieved that the whole frickin’ thing was over. It was a bit like doing a play; bums on seats, latecomers, reaping the results of my much laboured hype about the whole thing, breathing a sigh of relief as the lights dimmed and the evening kicked off and then meeting and greeting over drinks and nibbles afterwards, finally relaxed enough to look around and enjoy myself a little bit.

Then I had myself a four day weekend in which I…

1) slept
2) ate
3) watched TV
4) fell asleep on the sofa watching TV
5) went to Boy Toddler’s second birthday party and ate trifle for the first time in several years and more mini-quiches
6) then went straight to a mad Polish restaurant to treat my Mummy on Mother’s Day and ate far too much mad Polish food including pepper vodka, coconut sponge cakes, dumplings, herrings, smoked eels, pork knuckle, white cabbage, red cabbage, green cabbage, duck, blinis, smoked salmon and rum-laden pancakes and vanilla cream. Daddy is usually a bit sniffy about Western food and doesn’t often approve (of anything, in fact) but he was mysteriously quiet throughout the very heavy meal, which was in Daddy’s particular language equivalent to 5 Michelin stars.

Hmm. Judging by my diet from Sunday evening onwards, it is no wonder that I have been so austere with myself and my vegetables. Still, nothing beats eating pie. Mmm, pie… spicy brains pie…

"What I eat is healthy but the amount I eat could bring down an elephant."
As anyone who has dined with me can testify, the above is true of my diet. So far this week, since Sunday, I have eaten: half a sweetheart cabbage, 3 carrots, about half a pound of French beans, 3 shallots, a little gem lettuce, some spring onions and new potatoes, pita bread, a bag of Lightly Salted Kettle Chips, croissants, coffee, wine and cigarettes. You may ask why I am compiling such a detailed list of my victuals – I don’t know why. I’ve been keeping a food diary for weeks now and it’s compelling stuff, done out of a mixture of morbid fascination to see exactly what and how much I am consuming and to track exactly where my tiny salary is going. Frighteningly, I once had mashed potatoes everyday (and it wasn’t a small amount each time) for two weeks. And I managed to work my way through two pounds of minced beef in ten days, all by myself, because it was buy one get one free. Oh, the shame of it. The meaty, meaty shame of it.