All entries for March 2005

March 27, 2005

I think I may actually be losing it

So I tried. I sat down with my essay plan, and I tried. I thought, how about some stream of consciousness stuff, just to get me flowing. Just to start me writing something, anything. Who knows, with all my notes and research in front of me, it may even be good.

Ahem. Or not. All it seems to have done is prove I'm finally on my way to insanity…

How is the city (and/or the country) represented in the European novel? Is the setting crucial to events and characterisation? (5000 words)

The notion of the city in Victorian literature was an interesting and complex one. The Victorian city was bloody marvellous. It was like Ė woo Ė amazing. And this essay is going to be amazing too Ė I mean, woo. How can it not be, quite honestly, I mean, Iím planning the bloody thing and I have all these little pieces of colour coded paper so I canít go wrong. Come on, woo indeed. La la la. Like Kylie. I could even do a little dance. Watch me dance. Isnít it great? Who needs critical opinion when you can just watch me dance in a swishy swishy skirt. I can jump up and down too, and twirl. Ooh look, Iím twirling, twirly twirly twirl. Like chocolate. Sweet like chocolate. Ooh, you give me so much joy. Sweet like chocolate boooy. God, how can this only be 139 words? I feel as if I have been writing this for all eternity and then some. Maybe this is enough. Can I stop now? I need tea. Tea and biscuits and someone nice to bring them to me. That rhymed. That amuses me. Is that sad? Yes, so sad I might cry, only then my makeup would run, and now that would be a pity.

Oh dear, Lizzie. Surely you canít be this desperate to not write this essay. Hmm, it would appear that I am. Oh dear indeed. MaybeÖ No, I donít know. Forget it. Raaaaaaaaaaaaar work! Come on! Get on with it girl! Write the damn essay! Maybe I should start again. Probably a good idea. Considering. I donít think old Pablo will appreciate this, seeing as he has no sense of humour apparent. Like the heir apparent, but less crowns and stuff. And no waving. Definitely no waving.

Iíve always thought the royal wave was a bit silly. I mean, if youíre going to wave at least look a bit enthusiastic about it. Iíd rather not be waved at if all the person was going to do was limply circle their hand from behind plate glass. Bit crap, to be honest. Bit of a disappointment. Luckily, Iím cynical anyway, so these sorts of things donít get to me. Does this bit count as social-historical content, do you think? Because itís that or literary theory, and to be honest with you literary theoryís a bit pants and I really canít be bothered with it. Leave it to Bennett and Royle. Olí Tin Foil, as theyíre affectionately known. Affectionately being a relative term, you understand. Having said that, they were quite useful last week. I said to them, youíve got to earn your keep around here. I said, this isnít good enough. Said I, this canít go on. Youíre malingering, thatís what. Hanging around on my bookshelf for a year and a half, giving cryptic hints and smiling smugly in your glossy cover. It canít, I told them. Show me what youíve got.

And then they took me by the hand, and led me through their essentialist mirror that represents the self and the world and I and place and the female form and nature and God and the whole of existence (possibly), and showed me all of this and this again, and did not offer me any conclusion but left me there to ramble unaided, and then I sat down and wrote my essay, and gave them a mention on the front page. Absent friends, I think is how I phrased it, because although the book was there they had floated off. I think they might have said their work was done. Watching the movie, the worldís gonna end, and there ainít no place for a boy and his friend-

-To go. Theyíre gone now. Itís just me and the yellow wallpaper. (I chose it though, so I canít use it as a tool of oppression.) I like yellow. Itís sunny and happy, even when the sun isnít shining. Like now. Efilís God is dogís life backward. I never realised that. I just thought the Eels had got all religious cult-esque on me. Itís a bit of a relief. Also a good song. Efil. Ethel addressed by a five year old. ĎAuntie Ehhhfil?í Piss off you little bugger. Auntieís a mad bitter old woman with far too many cats. Hates children. If witches existed, sheíd be one. 741 words. Wow. Funny what happens in the name of procrastination.

March 15, 2005

Are all the people in charge of public transport midgets?

I'm 5'11''. I'm reasonably tall, especially for a girl. But I'm not some gigantic out of proportion being, who sticks out like a sore thumb in every day life. (Okay, well, maybe I do – but that's not really a height thing – it's more to do with my tendency to trip on kerbs and steps that everyone else manages to avoid, spill anything remotely hot or prettily coloured enough to maim or stain, and you already know my issues with automatic doors…)

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. Basically the point is that I'm not more than an ordinary amount of tall. I may be the tallest girl that I know, but I know lots of guys who have at least a couple of inches on me, and if I have problems with everyday things like buses, then they must suffer a great deal more.

There are a lot of buses where I can't actually sit straight on a seat. Physically, my thigh bones won't fit, unless I'm bruising my knees by ramming them into the seat back in front. Not a problem, except at peak times of day, when, to be honest, if I can't find an aisle seat I'd rather stand. At least then I wouldn't lose all feeling in my feet by the end of a forty five minute bus journey. (Yesterday evening + Liverpool to Heswall + rush hour = almost falling off bus due to pins and needles by the time we got to my stop). I love ancient Travel Coventry buses. The lack of suspension and smell of mould is worth it for those extra miles of leg room between the seats.

The same goes for trains. I used to think that bagging a table seat was the answer, until I accidentally kicked an elderly lady quite hard in the shin when I was trying to get rid of leg cramp. Now, to avoid any more GBH, I stick to the conventional two seat option. Aeroplanes are even more interesting. I'm quite a popular holiday companion as nobody ever has to fight for the window seat when travelling with me.

What is it about tall people? Do the bus companies assume that tall people don't use public transport? Are we just so wonderful that people automatically assume that we have too much money to ever travel with the rest of the less privileged world? Even clothes are more expensive… and don't get me started on the price of shoes… They ought to give tall people government grants, to cover expenses such as large supplies of arnica for constantly bruised heads (on that one, that might just be me – see above re: Lizzie's general cackhandedness).

Ah well, it's not all doom and gloom. On the upside, I never suffocate at gigs, even the most scary thrashy ones; I almost always get shotgun (in order to save anyone else the torment of having to share the backseat with me as I shuffle and fidget in an effort to get my legs in some sort of acceptable position); and if Trivial Pursuit ever included a category on makes of buses and the differing leg room from seat to seat on each particular bus, you'd want me on your team.

I can't be alone on this. There must be tons of people who are taller than me, and suffer the same loss of feeling, bruising and cramps in the name of carrying on with day to day life… it's enough to make me want to get a car – so that I wouldn't be able to afford to go anywhere, but I could rest in my isolation in the beautiful knowledge that if I could, it would be in a comfortable fashion. It's a cruel world… :-P

March 11, 2005

Feeling the Arts Centre love…

I would like to just take a moment to muse upon the greatness that is the Arts Centre… in the past few weeks I have laughed, cried, slept, worked, danced (don't ask), been saved from hypothermia and consumed vast quantities of soup within its breezeblocky walls. Oh, and I also may have gone to a few shows too.

Here is why it is great:

1. It's a place that's quiet enough to work, but not so quiet that its oppressive (like the library… where the sounds of fifty people trying to be quiet is more distracting than if they just talked out loud).

2. It's also quiet and private enough to sleep (up by the Haagan Daaz freezer is the best spot), and you don't get chucked out or laughed at if you seize the opportunity to have a quick snooze… or at least if people are laughing at you, they're generally far enough away from you that you don't notice…

3. If you nab the piece of floor by the window, you can obsessively people-watch. Almost everyone passes through the Arts Centre at some point during their day, and it's great, because 49 out of 50 people never think to look up; and you can also point and laugh at the poor unfortunates who get squashed in the door. NB: This is also a useful spot for the evenings… if you're dying of hypothermia and know the next bus isn't due for 35 minutes, you can save your fingers and toes from frostbite by nipping in there for a few minutes. You can see the bus coming, and as soon as it turns the corner there, if you run like hell you'll get there in time (and have a healthy bit of exercise too).

4. Bored? I can guarantee there will always be someone you know on the sofas. Personally, I'm not a sofa fan – they're always quite populated, and I quite like to be able to stretch out, so I prefer the carpet. Plus, there's a lot of dodgy stains on them, and you have to watch out for the sofa with the dicky leg that tips over backwards if you put your weight in the wrong place. Ooh, but if you want to arrange a secret transfer of a spy briefcase or something, I recommend using one of those big pouffe things – you can lift up the top and hide things in there. Sadly, you can't fit a person in – we have tried, but you'd need to actually be five to manage it.

5. Soup and roll – £1.50. 'Nutritious and Delicious' as it says on the side. These arts centre people, they don't lie… Today it was mushroom and capsicum flavour, and very good it was too with a sundried tomato roll. I can also recommend the triple decker choc fudge cake if you're feeling a bit special.

6. The eighties decor – pink carpet with those little geometric dashes and stripes, and the red hand rails. Ooh, and the breeze blocks are such a good look… It's just so kitsch and retro, and therefore very cool. Well, I've learned to like it anyway. And if you sit by those neon tubes up by the Mead Gallery, you can pretend you're doing your reading on a tropical island. That or a sunbed, which is probably less fun.

7. Sozo. They always have some sort of sale. Every birthday present I've bought for the past year and a half has come from within its hallowed walls. Thank god they change their stock fairly regularly…

8. You can cry undisturbed in there… in a corner, and nobody will notice… but usually someone will turn up just at the right point to give you a hug (thanks, by the way)

9. There's a see through glass lift. Enough said.

10. Oh, and the shows are pretty good too. :-)

All in all, it's a pretty great place… (do you think they'll pay me for this? I could use a bit of money…)

March 08, 2005

Thought I'd share too…

Writing about Due to popular demand from My name is Layla, I'm not a showgirl

All right, so I never felt like that about the fox in Robin Hood. For one thing, he was a fox. For another thing, green really isn't my colour. But seeing as Layla has seen fit to confess her first crush to the world, it makes mine look normal in comparison, and it was…

Caspian, in the 1989 BBC adaptation of the Chronicles of Narnia (i.e 20 year old Sam West, skipping round in doublet and hose and a big shiny gold helmet). Graced with such costars as a giant fluffy mouse with an earring and a couple of chubby kids straight from drama school, how could he fail to look good? He was the king, I tell you, the king, and he ruled over his clunky polysterene ship with a wonderful authority and a shiny plastic sword. Whether facing monsters made out of cardboard and stickyback plastic, or giving his all to the wooden dialogue he was given, he was the king.

But alas, his story has as tragic an end as that of Robin and Layla's – after six weeks of swaggering round in tights,within two minutes of screen time he wooed and married a lurex wearing fairy with the worst eighties hairdo in the world, and the last I ever saw of him was sipping out of a goblet evidently fashioned from empty washing up bottles, and trying not to get entangled in the mass of frizz as he kissed his bride.

And there endeth my sad tale.

March 03, 2005

Why was nobody in the 19th century happy? (apart from Jane Austen)

Or How EuroNovel is the Most Depressing Course You Can Do

Right. So as not to spoil the ending of these books for anyone keen enough to actually want to read them or take the course next year (think hard about that), but yet still prove my point, here, in no particular order, are some of the joyous endings to some happy shiny euronovels you too can enjoy:

Dies horribly of a fever.
Jumps under a train.
Lives, but only after pretty much everyone else has died and his dreams have been shattered.
Marries Mr Knightly and lives happily ever after in a blessed union of love and friendship.
Takes an overdose.
Lives and eventually marries, but only after they're both old and there's been a lot of rather dull stuff about property law.
Goes to prison for many years.
Just dies, in a somewhat indecipherable fashion.
Lives a short and chaste life of penury (then dies).
Lives, but only after his lover has died in his arms, he's split another man's skull open, someone else has been strangled and there's been an unpleasant incident involving castration. I wouldn't be surprised if he did die soon after that, as he's got next to nothing left (literally).

No prizes for guessing which one Jane Austen wrote.

What's wrong with Euro-novelists? Was there not a single person, apart from dear Jane, who led a contented and fairly happy life?

Or maybe it says more about the tutors who picked the texts for this course. Hmm… I think I ought to make this entry student-viewable only, just in case I have accidentally alluded to the fact that some of the English staff might be somewhat depraved…

March 2005

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