Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Footfalls echo in the memory, down the passage which we did not take, towards the door we never opened Into the rose-garden. - T. S. Eliot
Remembrances, for no other reason than having had a quiet week to reflect and indulge in warm and fuzzy thoughts.

- During lunch during my holiday week, my brother, mother and father were recalling the mornings in their flat in NW London when my big sister and brother were very small children, looking out of the window with mother at a perfect view of the train station, waving to father who would be standing on the platform, waiting for his train to work, waving back in silhouette...

- Reading The Wasteland in the hot, red, dusty hills in Crete the summer before I was due to start my degree at Cambridge, and feeling like I was entering a whole new world

- Waking up in the middle of the night in my old bedroom in Brixton, realising with a sinking heart that I had woken again because I was shaking so badly in my sleep from the cold; it was a miserable winter in a room that was impossible to heat up and I would sit at my computer trying to type, feeling my frozen fingers creak and crawl across the keys

- coming back from University for the Easter break in my first year, desperate to see my family and sleep in my own bed again and being greeted by my father who said he had a present for me and I went apprehensively to the dining table where he said he had left it, expecting perhaps an unfortunate jumper with a puppy embroidered on the front or - I dunno, a good Chinese boy village-stock husband, and instead finding two bottle sof vodka and a small pot of caviar

- lying on top of the hill in Cambridge with my head on Former Flatmate A's tummy whose head was resting on M.W's tummy whose head was resting on Taxloss' tummy whose head was resting on mine, the four of us staring up at a crazy full yellow moon that was lilting as drunkenly in the sky as we were on the ground

I could go on. But instead, I invite you to add a nice remembrance in the comments below.

In other news, I have finally purchased: Something Rotten by Jasper Fforde, fourth book in his hugely enjoyable Thursday Next series. In the run up to the release of this fourth book, I've re-read the previous three in double-quick time and am galloping through most delightfully. Huzzah!

Monday, August 23, 2004

Boatie Flatmate, with his mouth full: "Plums on toast must be a euphemism for something else..."
It's the end of my holiday and I will be returning to work tomorrow morning which fills me with no end of sadness because it's been a really swell time. I have...
- run a workshop for on Edward Bond's Saved, using mainly Brechtian alienation techniques to great effect
- seen Metropolis on the flytower of the National Theatre, sitting in a deckchair with friends and fellow film lovers around me; I experienced the most hilarious toilet break so far, running through the deserted National Theatre with Fizzwhizz, pretending to be distressed silent movie stars being pursued by our overflowing bladders
- seen the third Harry Potter film (finally!) and thought it was fantastic and more than made up for the tooth-grindingly twee shite films that came before; I actually believed I was watching a film about teenagers, who were cocky and obnoxious and fun-loving rather the self-righteous, humourless little pricks that the first director decided would be Harry, Ron and Hermione
- been around the British Museum
- visited the Royal Court and met up with various people I used to work with
- had lunch with my parents and Taxloss' parents: the parents were meeting for the first time and things went very well
- enjoyed some thrilling salsa music at the National Theatre which was played by such an energetic and infectiously groovy band, myself and PostGrad N were treated to the most magnificent sight of a sea of people dancing: old, young, mental, babies... a brilliant sight to a fantastic sound
- done some great cooking
- watched table tennis with overexcited glee, squealing with joy whenever the Olympics coverage swung round to this most excellent sport

I don't want this holiday to end. But *sigh* looking at the time, it already has.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

"Chinese. All of this. Definitely."
After kicking Taxloss out of bed and sending him off on his long long loooooooong journey to work, I curled up in bed with a graphic novel and the latest P J Harvey album. (Yeah, that really is my idea of fun.) Thanks to my bro for lending me the book. God, I love being on holiday. Of course, it couldn't last forever: I had to eventually get out of bed to have a lunch of pancakes and waffles with my folks which gave us all a great deal of calories to burn off which we did by taking a very long turn around the British Museum.

Dad: You see those totem poles? The Chinese taught the Native Americans how to do that.
Me: Really.
Dad: The Chinese were in America first. It was the Chinese who taught the Native Americans this sort of thing. Then we left the US and destroyed all traces of what we did there because we had our own civilisation already and it was just something the explorers wanted to give to the people they met there and then the Europeans found America and that was that.
Me: Dad - I don't think that's what happened.
Dad: No, no, that's what happened, but there's no evidence because the Chinese were too clever to be traced as the people who gave civilisation to America. We destroyed anything that would give us away, that's why it seems like we were never there.
Me: Dad... let's go look at the Egyptian stuff.
Dad: Hmmm. None of this is as good as what the Chinese did.
Me: (Pause while I consider pointing out the pyramids are quite impressive)
Dad: They didn't really do anything special did they?
Me: (Pause while I consider pointing out the pyramids are quite impressive, standing next to a display of breath-taking sarcophagi in a room full of tablets engraved with intricate hieroglyphics)
Dad: Look, these vases are all rough and half-finished compared to the stuff we saw downstairs.
Mum: (Loudly) Shall we go home now?

We got caught in the most dramatic burst of heavy summer rain... EVER!(tm) when we left which meant I was too wet and miserable to spend any time at the Roma Festival in Trafalgar Square - a shame, as it looked like cracking good fun from the top of the bus when I went by but never mind: plenty more free events to attend in the next few weeks...

...including the final free open air screening at the National Theatre this Saturday: The Cabinet of Dr Caligari - who's coming? Myself, Fizzwhiz, Taxloss, Devukha and (briefly) Prandial had an unofficial blog meet-up at the last screening which was Metropolis (which was brilliant) and we are now well-practised in the way of these things so get in touch...

In other news, we are now file-sharing across our mini-home wirelss network and have been sitting in the living room with our laptops, swapping ridiculous and nonsensical mp3s of, amongst other things

- a female choir's version of I Touch Myself
- classic Abba songs sung in Hindi
- ragtime Eminem
- a Norwegian choral version of Nirvana's Nevermind

We love the internet. Oh yes we do.

Friday, August 13, 2004

"Let not the bad colour be seen; it attracts them."
I've just watched the trailer for The Village and I'm all alone in the office (hence my viewing of movie trailers at my desk...), the sky is clouding over out there and I AM SCARED. Goddammit - what I saw of it looks like The Blair Witch Project crossed with The Crucible (NOT the pissy Winona Ryder film version but the stage version with all its ghastly, deadly, small-village-in-the-middle-of-nowhere paranoia), a dead-cert recipe to make me scream out loud and cry like a girl. And it's directed by Shyamalan! I wonder if he will try to cameo in this... can't picture it really.

There are footsteps out in the corridor. It's either the line manager returning with a sandwich... or THEM.

Either way, I'm off to hide under my desk.

By the way, did you know I am Mother Teresa...?

Monday, August 09, 2004

"Life out of balance."
Yet another weekend spent wandering around London in the sunshine and enjoying all the fabulous free events on offer at the moment, in particular, an absolutely breath-taking showing of Koyaanisqatsi at the National Theatre. This could be the most extraordinary film experience I've had so far: the top terrace was absolutely packed with people who had camped from early on, hogging the rows of National Theatre deckchairs with strategically placed jumpers and bags, gazing in awe at the projected image on the enormous Lyttelton flytower. The queue for the bar was phenomenally long and slow. The middle terrace was a much smaller place and was even more crowded with people staring in awe at a considerably smaller screen and on ground level, it was quite a sight to see so many people lounging on the astroturf, on cushions, on plastic bags, on each other, all crammed together to watch this amazing film on a hot summer's night.

And guess what is showing next weekend? Metropolis. We've learned our lesson now and will be going super-early to bag some seats - who is coming? Let us know and we'll bring extra plastic cups and a corkscrew...

In other news, I mentioned the strange thing I had about waking up with first light no matter what which was robbing me of a decent, unbroken night's sleep... well, with the heat and humidity at the moment, I can't seem to stop sleeping - I think I've been genetically warped and become a cat because every time I go near a sun beam, I just curl up and fall asleep. It's not as cute as it sounds: do you know how cats keep themselves clean?

Friday, August 06, 2004

"I could have saved more.This tiepin... this diamond... I could have saved two more people... this car... five more... I could have saved more... why didn't I?"

I was very touched by this and not a little surprised - I thought I might be Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? or something of that "faded filmstar" bitchfest ilk. Or maybe Toystory. But no! I turned out to be Schindler's List, this top-quality, meaningful film and quite like the implication that I am far more compassionate than Bette Davis in her "without HRT!" performance in scary little-girl ringlets and pancake makeup, being mad and bad in a way only she knows how. Though I'm sure if I took this test at some other time during the month, Baby Jane would come up with bells on.

I LOVE these tests (mostly on a quiet Friday afternoon, I've noticed.)

Sunday, August 01, 2004

"I love this city!"
Now this is what makes a perfect sunny summer Sunday in the city...

We didn't know what was going on out there when we set out to do some shopping but we wandered along, enjoying the sun and the quiet streets and discovered Trafalgar Square filled with steelbands playing in the sunlight, the closest band bursting into a cracking version of Abba's Dancing Queen just as we approached. A bunch of skinny white girls started dancing in the space in front of the band and there was a distinct lack of interest from the slightly more substantial looking black girls going for it on the drums who would no doubt have been more impressed if a crowd of big-hipped proper dancehall queens had come by to shake their thang.

On our return trip, they kind of got their wish: we saw the truly joyous sight of an aged Indian lady in a fabulous red and gold sari dancing solo in the sunlight, throwing some seriously cool traditional Indian dance moves to the uplifting Caribbean beat...

And we went shopping in Chinatown which was strangely empty for a Sunday afternoon and sniffed at durians and marvelled at the silkworm cocoon-like Dragon's Beard sweets then strolled back through St James Park and saw the pelicans, the squirrels and the ducks. The City of Bristol Brass Band was playing sedately to a mainly stationary audience of old people in deckchairs and the contrast to the foot-tapping, arse-wiggling beats of Trafalgar Square made us smile. An ice-cream and a quick trip around the ICA bookshop completed the day.

Ken Livingstone: I salute you! We saw London today at its marvellous, mad and magical best.