October 25, 2005

pigeons chickens and other birds

I just made chicken soup! Its not the best chicken soup ever made, but still, its chickeny and I'm sure it had the same medicinal properties as that of my grandmaman. Okay, maybe its not the most exciting news, but it signifies what I promised myself this time in Paris would be dedicated to, learning new things and catching firsts. So I begin with chicken soup, and then hopefully by the end of this week the belly dancing will have started. And then the arabic. And then all the hilarious year abroad stories. Yeah baby.

My friendly neighbourhood builders left today. I am quite sad, I enjoyed having someone to see me waking up in my big white double bed, stretching and then popping a boob back into my red silk nighty, in which they utterly refuse to stay during the night. Not sure if they ( the builders) enjoyed it as much. Mornings in my room are highly glamorous, and I also adore the really strong cup of coffee and morning cigarette in the kitchen, wrapped in a yellow kimono watching the pigeons flying round the courtyard, pooing copiously on the cars below.

Yes kids, small things please small minds…

October 16, 2005


Well, I'm here …. my flatmate is currently trying to have sex with her boyfriend very very quietly so I thought I would leave them to it and go down to the net cafe next to my house. After a week of perfect blue skies, crisp fresh winds and falling leaves, its turned and my hands are feeling all clammy. The pavement outside is all wet and dark and shining and people are walking fast like they have somewhere to get to, as opposed to the slow ambles of the last days of summer. My flat is in the tenth, just off the Grands Boulevards, and its just lush. Big, with a nice hard double bed and windows looking out onto my widow-walk balcony. There is no door, just a big green curtain, and in the morning when I wake up I find myself staring into the faces of the builders next door, since I chose my wndow curtains solely for being aesthetically pleasing as opposed to doing what curtains should do. They are pink toile and billow deliciously when the french windows are opened.

I sit on the balcony and smoke LM blues, watching the gay couple opposite tenderise chicken with what looks like a hammer and I feel – happy. The louvre and the musee picasso are all very well in their way, but wood floors and cold air and smoking on a balcony while listening to zooming mopeds below make my stomach swoop with pleasure.

September 20, 2005


Doing my mother’s filing today ( a literally thankless task, tit for tat for spending her money on shoes and sushi) I came across my birthchart. Three pages essentially trying to write me down on paper, all the little secret, intangible bits of my personality marked up to an alignment of moving planets and burning stars. I often want to ask my friends who I am – at least who they see because sometimes it feels like I am just exploding into bits of self that I can’t pin down and therefore can’t make sense of. Not to say I am a deeply complex person – just that the task of ‘know thyself’ is harder than two words can hint at.
It says I like helping people, that I am clear headed when it comes to others but that I am secretive, particularly in love, and have difficulty expressing feeling unless I am totally secure. Also that I place too high a value on being seen by others as perfect. I’m not sure whether anyone else cares about that, but I found it deeply interesting.
Who doesn’t feel insecure, who doesn’t feel that they need to be perfect? Sometimes I look at the people I know and they just are so – shining, so golden in their different ways, and yet they never realise that. Friends who complain about their lazyness, or their fickleness, or their excess fat, or their mood swings. People who make me so happy with their presence, yet who think that when I tell them they are great it is just lip service. Still, words on a page are easier to believe than real people, ruled by unseen motives and personal ties.
I would like to have a birth chart that says I am too impulsive and don’t think enough of the consequences of my actions.

September 19, 2005

pride and prejudice, massacred

just went to see it. am so shocked, appalled, distraught. i have been like a small child with the prospect of cadbury's overdose for a week, walked into the cinema with a delicious buzz of expectation and an eagerly beating heart (i freely admit to being a loser), clutching my popcorn between sweaty hands. walked out with the words 'load of wank' ringing in my ears.

where to begin? firstly, the utter lazyness of the history, from start to finish. with no useful purpose, they ignored basic historical truths, from the shocking fringe of keira knightly, to the accurate portrayal of the monetary status of the bennets, to the ridiculousness of having someone call once in the middle of the night (to have the door opened by the entire family with not a servant in sight) and be offered tea. who at that period said 'tea', let alone offered it? surely bohea or ratafia… i'm sorry, no matter how much the bennets struggle financially, in no way did they live in a glorified farm, tripping over pigs and geese on the way to one of their endless walks.

there were marriage proposals in the middle of breakfast, a mother whose entire scheming charm was lost in the obviousness of her chararisation (the wit is in her scheming to leave the couples alone, not in her crudely forcing the family from the room), married couples sleeping in the same bed to really make us realise that yes – mr and mrs bennet are married. why turn the lovely coldness of mr bennet into anodyne, over-expressed mush? why place his relationship with lizzy into the forefront at the end, thus putting his change of character over the changes experienced by lizzy and darcy? why fuck with the austen's narrative structure, which is so perfect and clear a child could follow it? the scripwriter cut and cut, which i accept is necessary in a film, only to replace with her own badly-worded, trite, meaningless fluff. did they think someone could write better dialogue than austen? why cut the greatest speeches? where did the sexual tension go? lizzy was dull, dull, dull, all her wit and cleverness smothered behind keira's enormous gums. also, jane was not nearly sweet enough, there was too little difference marking her and lizzy apart. wickham barely appeared, so the villain aspect, the heroism of darcy, disappeared in an asthmatic splutter.

some of it i liked. the three younger girls were wonderful, and the emphasis on their youth was interesting. darcy was also interesting, the way they turned his coldness into an expression of shyness. collins was great.

that was all that was worthwhile in an otherwise pointless, emotion-free waste of 8 quid.

also, did no one notice that donald sutherland's teeth were shining like beacons? surely that is the whole point of airbrushing.

September 17, 2005


I can't sleep. I spend my mornings in bed, my afternoons lethargically trailing through the house like a ghost. The nighttimes are when i feel my blood beating again, relentless, speaking of places to go and things to see. I go to bed with the window open and the sound of the nightime is too insistent for sleep. My room overlooks the garden; we have a pond, with a little fountain – well, a stream my father made – and the sound of the water trickling, the rushing noise, the calls of the birds that begin at two, the changing colour of the city sky from blue to orange and the damp, heady smell of the earth denies darkness and shut eyelids. In the middle-of-the-night silence, where no lights show in the opposite houses, there is a sense of life taking place. I can feel all the people I have ever loved in the wet grass smell, feel their breath as they inhale and exhale in their beds. There is a sense of the shared air of the city, of all cities. I wonder if the people I will love are also awake, the red glow of their cigarettes a dot of light as they lean out of their windows. It is too tempting a thought for me to close my window on them, especially as the autumn rotting of the garden makes all the smells and noises deeper and richer.

September 16, 2005

summer, paris and dead cats

i shall start this blog again.

i'm supposed to be going to paris in like a week, but am totally disorganised, have no where to live and for some reason can't galvanise myself to get excited about it, though it has been a dream of mine to live there since i was little. i feel – rootless, i guess. like i'm floating through a dream world.

there is so much stuff i want to do while i am there. I think I have wasted the last two years of uni, floating by on pleasantness and contentment and eschewing excitement and challenge. so i shall learn arabic and some kind of hippy dancing (as in with the hips). I shall get my hair very well cut and subsist on red wine,oysters, gauloises and cream cakes. well, maybe the latter won't be too challenging but it will be glamourous in a bohemian, hedonistic way. i shall read slim volumes of poetry and spend an entire months wages on a devilishly well-cut blouse.

summers are dangerous. they either are filled with extreme sweetness and delicious memories, or else they are flat like uncorked champagne. this has been a flat champagne summer, hence the floatiness. plus my lovely, beloved and beautiful cat died a few hours ago, so am feeling like a loser for being so upset. she smelt like me at 7, 11 and 17. i keep on seeing her from the corner of my eye and then realising that she's copped it. i take comfort in the fact that this is the age at which everyone's childhood pets are kicking the bucket – everywhere you turn are red-eyed 21-year-olds mourning the loss of Tiddles and Rover. Ha. And their friends laugh at them, as one of mine did today when I told him. Properly doubled-up belly-laugh. I do treasure my friends.

January 25, 2005

warwick, oxbridge and uncomfortable conversations

had a bit of a weird weekend. went to this interview thing, and there were all these random students there, and of course when you are sitting around waiting for the actual event to start, you have to make polite conversation. which always rolls round to, 'so, what uni do you go to?' so I reply, 'warwick' and then add hopefully 'its kinda near birmingham…' in case they haven't heard of it. but then the responses tended to be very odd, awestruck breaths of, 'wow!' said really respectfully. i hate that at the best of times, because you aren't quite sure what facial expression to adapt. rueful nod? smug smile? and then there's the slightly confused one where you're wondering, 'whats so impressive about that?'

what made it worse was that with most of the people i had this conversation with, i of course replied, 'what about you?' and the answer was 'oxford' or 'cambridge'. having heard their responses to warwick, i wasn't quite sure what they would now expect from me. gasps? possibly a little faint? i felt quite sorry for them, because clearly they felt the need to demonstrate their appreciation of universities other than oxbridge, hence their 'wow's, which i then suspected even more strongly they can't have really meant.

one girl, who i then started talking about my course with, charmingly said, 'you really sound like you should be at cambridge'. cheers. made me feel special. like the 'damaged' cousin who gets a pat on the head to make up for the fact that the family likes talking about how unfortunate their little incontince problem is.

January 13, 2005

romance novels and gaping voids

am writing an essay on whether or not romance is causes submission in women. it is driving me insane, quite apart from the ridiculous reading it requires, i have a horrible feeling that it is going to spoil my reading and watching of telly for a really long time. why is it that media aimed at women puts love and romance as the main goal, the reward for good behavior? no wonder i feel so bad about myself cos I haven't got a bloke. the romances tell us that we have one true love, one soulmate, and when we meet him he will reveal to us the mysteries of the world, what good sex is and generally how to be happy.that puts such pressure on all men, to be this amazing mesmeric figure, who responds to all aspects of our personality and satisfies them all.

i'm torn. i like to think that a great love can change a person's life, but then the other side of me is screaming, 'what a load of old mouldy bollocks!' if i never find a great love, does that mean i will never achieve true maturity? i like to think that i'm a pretty confident person, not bad looking, happy-ish life, but watch more or less any film marketed at young women, and you can be the coolest, most fulfilled girl ever but still its not enough if you don;t bag the man. other things are missing in my life – the faintest idea what i want to do with it, for example, so why does the lack of man thing feel like the gaping hole? (i could make a crude, unnecessary joke there, but i won't). is it because not having someone to share your life with really does create a void that the other people i love, friends, family, can't fill, or have i just read too many books and seen too many films? it really irritates me that i gloss over the fact that i do have great love in my life, its just not the sweaty, gasping kind.

November 22, 2004

goblins and heartachyness

i'm feeling heartachey. maybe its like the mumps, spreading in coughs and sneezes and salival fluids. anyone else got lumps in the throat, a little goblin twanging at the heartstrings like the heart is his own personal double bass, and a long term memory that is far too active, while the short-term one flounders and flails before eventually collapsing, coughing weakly and fumbling around for a cigarette?

this is the goblin. sometimes he stays quiet, and i think maybe he has decided to go for a little wander, and then i check again, and there he is, playing ben harper and percy sledge and chuckling nastily.

November 19, 2004

letters/piano music

*Letters/Piano Music *_

I’m writing you halfway across the world.
Are you catching my thoughts swimming the seas,
Though tides and waves and fishes-tales unfurled,
Big rainbow gusts, us written on the breeze?
In letters, words, lines, are the words unsaid.
Can you see words in invisible ink?
Its been so long since I last saw you. Head,
Read, Loss of you is all I breathe and think.
At night I breathe in out for the shared air.
Late,holy, your song-breath fills my lungs.
Hear my voice like your grand piano, swear
To me you can hear the note singing softly:
The quiet underscore that cries for you
Too late, too long, too far, in notes too few.

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