Wednesday, September 25, 2013

A Good Day For Reading....... And Literary Fluids

A good day for reading? I hear you shout. Isn't every day a good day for reading? Well yes, as a matter of fact it is. Every day is a fantastic day for reading, though some days it comes more easily or is more pleasurable than others. And that is because we're human and all these other things get in the way, like jobs and stress and kids and house work and time. Ah....that elusive time fairy is a slippery little bugger. It never quite sticks around long enough.

Anyhoo, I'm getting off topic. Yesterday was a fantastic day for reading. I finished one book (Enchanted Glass by Diana Wynne Jones), started and finished a new book (Geek Girl by Holly Smale) and started another new book (Out for Blood - House of Comarre Book 4 by Kristen Painter). My word it was a good day. And in between all that I managed to edit and polish 4 chapters of my book and do some actual paid work (school pick up). I almost defied that evil time fairy......muhahahahaha.

So today I devoured another few chapters of Out for Blood, took Enchanted Glass back to the library and chose another book from the library (Wildwood by Colin Meloy).

Do you get overwhelmed sometimes at the library, with all those pages and covers and colours and names and plastic covered excitement? Man, I do. Part of me wants to walk out with fifty books (even though you're only allowed 16) just to have a pile that big. Because let's face it, you can never afford to go to a bookshop and purchase fifty books or 16 for that matter. There's just something so tantalising about a pile of books waiting to be read but sometimes I do wish I could absorb more than one at a time.......

"So, what are you hooked up to today?"
"Well, I've got Wuthering Heights in my left arm and Blood Red Road in my right. Then in my legs I've got Roll of Thunder Hear My Cry and The Humans."
"Cool. I've got Captain Underpants in my arse!"

I've been thinking about the idea of books as a fluid, administered intravenously. Is that weird? I just thought it would be immense if you could be absorbing four books at the same time whilst also holding one in your hands. Sometimes I just want more. I crave more.

But then I am a traditionalist and don't really like electronic books, so would I really enjoy a liquid book?

Ooo, I just had another thought. Maybe if you could make them liquid you could bathe in them and drink them and swim in a sea of words.

I often think of books as an addiction, like a drug, just the good kind with no particular side effects other than wanting more, insane giddiness or heart ache or laughter or tears. And of course they are legal. But imagine if you could snort one or smoke one. At least you'd be learning something as well as killing your body. (Not a fan of smoking or drugs, I'm just thinking out loud. Literally. I only came up with this about 3 minutes ago.)

Anyway. That's something to think about on this lovely Wednesday evening. After the Library, the day got even better as I went to the local book shop in Kentish Town: Owl Books and I actually bought some full price books. This felt so naughty and exciting and I spent about 50 minutes in there choosing not only a birthday present for my friends little boy but two books for me. (Breathe by Sarah Crossan and Crown of Acorns by Catherine Fisher. Very excited for both of them.) Well you just have to sometimes, even if you have no space to put them and a back log of four or five to read anyway.

I needed a treat and that was it. A local book store. Some new books. Surrounded by all those words and the September sun shining.

Well, I'm off to create a fictional world where books are snorted in some sort of illegal dodgy drug dealing scam and where hospitals treat patients with IV books. Also marathons are won and lost on account of how much isotonic literature they've ingested and trees grow with a story intertwined within their bark and branches.

More Out for Blood then pizza and a disaster film tonight. Yes!


Wednesday, September 11, 2013

An Interesting Tuesday Night

For those of you that don't know, my partner, the elusive A, works in music. I'll keep it that vague because, well because that's his line of work not mine. Anyhoo. Sometimes he gets invited to gigs to report on them and occasionally he receives two tickets and I have to go too. I make that sound like a bad thing. It's not. I've seen some incredible performers but last night was going to be something completely different.

I was already tired (8pm when we left...I know I'm 30 now it's ridiculous) and reluctant to go. I was told hip hop/rap. So of course I'm thinking what the hell am I going to wear? Someone suggested some $ bling and I did actually contemplate making some bling out of cardboard and tin foil but then I thought......nah.

Because we were on the guest list we had to go to some shady back entrance (the stage door, though it looked creepy as hell with it's one white light) and we were allowed in at front stage left. We arrived about ten minutes before they were due to go on so I skipped of to the toilet. Never have I seen a gig toilet so empty. Sadly they were all wet on the floor and with no hooks on the door for bags and coats it was an interesting one handed attempt to undo my button, which I had to give in to and in the end shove the handle of the bag in my mouth, gripping it with my teeth to avoid coat or bag wetness. There was also the desperation not to let my jeans wallow in the wet. All in all a rather stressful toilet outing despite no queue.

I guess the first thing you noticed out there was a weird demographic. There were a couple of older people near us that were clearly also on the guest list/with the label etc. A couple of mums that were accompanying younger children. But the rest of the audience were mainly 16-20 year olds. The gigs I go to are normally people my age and above so this at times felt like being in a room full of 4 year olds that had eaten all the blue smarties, snorted icing sugar and overdosed on calpol. Dear lord they were loud and giddy and....did I mention loud? Jeez.

Continuing with the kiddie theme there were streamers ejected over the crowd; ticker tape flashed out a couple of times and balloons. It was only missing the jelly and ice cream and that would have been one pre-school party. Whoop!

I was told the artists only had one album so it was likely to be a short show but they were also cunningly deceptive to their sugar induced fans. In between each song there would be at least a five minute chat or interlude of some description, or some story he wanted to tell you. And that is how you make one album last for 80 minutes. But I did find myself thinking, I don't want your life story just rap for fucks sake. We were given his political stance, stories about rehab and more but it almost didn't matter what he said, the throng of giddy kids would have screamed at anything. Honestly, he could have said, "I fucked my mother whist my sister watched." And they would have only screamed harder. It was irrelevant what he said, just that he was saying something and to them.

Man they can really make a racket. They certainly weren't using their indoor voices.

What often gets me about rap music is that the hook of the song, that melodic wonderbite and usually the song's selling point has nothing to do with the rapper. We were treated to a couple of guest vocalists and their vocal bits were the song. I almost didn't notice the rapping. I guess I'd just find that a bit weird if my supposed 'guest vocalist' actually became the star of the song. Surely these people have big egos? Or maybe they don't mind sharing the limelight? Eh. Who knows.

There were a few times when I closed my eyes and hoped when I opened them I would see Vanilla Ice and find myself in the 90's. Didn't happen.

The whole call and response with the audience. "Can I get a Hell Yeah?"  "Hell Yeah!" It's old now. So stop it. Please. Again I'm thinking....children's party.

There was a big screen at the back of the stage showing a random variety of visuals which were both interesting and distracting from what was happening on stage. The artists herald from Seattle so when they put up pictures from the Olympic Peninsula I was like, "I've been there." Ruby Beach. First Beach. (La Push to the Twilighters out there.) Lots of snowy tree shots and it was like some of the sweeping forest shots in the first Twilight movie. Made me giggle anyway. Some great holiday flashback moments as well though. Love Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula.

Well I thought I wouldn't know any of the songs as I mainly live in the past, musically, but it turns out I knew 3 or 4 of them but again mainly by their guest vocaled melodic lines, not the actual rapper/DJ artists. Ah well. At least I didn't feel completely ancient.

There were of course the three 'attitude' dancers which you would not mess with if you know what's good for you. But all those kids in such high spirits can make for quite a sweaty room. Eww.

On the tube back I found some interesting adverts:

'What if everyone on this escalator was single?'

Fuck off! If everyone were single it would be like some fuckin' meat market, with everyone trying to get a look at you. What a stupid advert. And what was even more funny was that practically everyone on our escalator was in a couple. Ha.

'Looking for donor sperm?'

Why in this, looking for sperm ad is there a baby with a floppy hat on chewing it's finger? The baby isn't looking for sperm or at least I hope not. There's starting young and then there's starting young. Jeez. They should have had a woman looking out, surveying with one hand shielding her eyes (the classic, where are you, searching stance) looking for sperm. That would have been more appropriate.

And the advert next to it said something about 'park bum clenchers'. Bums and sperm right next to each other. Intentional?

Anyhoo. It did make for an interesting Tuesday night. I hope you had one too.


Monday, September 9, 2013

Body Malfunction

Being ill at a wedding is not fun. Feeling sick from the sight, smell and thought of food is not fun. The idea of a sip of wine or beer making you heave is just down right cruel. Being stone cold sober and uncomfortable the whole day......super!

Yes this weekend was wedding number 3 of the year and my second wedding abroad, this time in Denmark. The parentals were also present with the first time my mum had her own passport and only her second time of leaving the UK. So it was all very momentous. All I wanted to do was enjoy their special day, be a part of it and eat and drink and be merry. My body had other ideas............

Really conveniently, about 6 hours before the wedding I felt and I quote, 'A bit dodgy.' Then after that I became, weak, achy, developed an inability to eat, became shaky, tired and needed to be sick but knew I wouldn't be. Sometimes it really isn't fun having an iron stomach. Sometimes you think just be sick for fucks sake and then I'll feel better. But instead my body says, 'I can keep it in. Aren't you proud?' Not exactly. I feel like shit and I have to wear a tight dress and pretend I feel fine for the next 12 hours.

Anyhoo, the church service was tricky because yes I could sit down (a good thing) but inside was super hot (not a good thing) and at first I was pressed against a wall, the furthest from any possible exit (disastrous). Before the service started I just had enough time to shimmy past and make everyone shuffle down so I could be on the aisle seat ready to make a quick get away if vomit called.

Relieved and thrilled to be outside again - after a lovely service I might add - in the fresh air, I then had to battle with standing because when your body is shaking and you feel like you may collapse at any moment, upholding a delicate air and grace is chuffing difficult. Like I've ever upheld a delicate air and/or grace. But there were only 8 Brits there and I didn't want to let the side down.

Maintaining an upright position, I even managed to chat to a few people, feign some smiles and be on the group pictures. It's surprising what you can do when you ignore the voices in your head. Crumble. Sit. Fall down. Throw up. ........And faint. No. No. No!

So off to the Champagne reception we went and it was in the bride's uncle's restaurant. Very cute but the fishy smell was playing havoc with my ability to keep things in, if you know what I mean. Sadly no champagne for me - I can feel the shocked faces glaring, the noise of a thousand collective gasps - I was on lemonade at this point and I couldn't eat my cupcake either. Boo! Stupid body of mine.

We then had a short time to kill before the evening reception and a long night of speeches and songs and entertainment and eventually dancing and merriment. But all I could think was: pyjamas, couch, blanket, sleep. So the four of us (A, my parentals and me) went back to the holiday flat we were staying in - literally a stone's throw away - and had fifteen minutes. Shoes off, an A foot rub, eyes closed, glass of water and some ibuprofen. Man that fifteen minutes went quickly.

So the village hall beckoned and it was beautifully set out, every little detail accounted for. The Brits had translations of the Danish menu, everything colour co-ordinated and once again I had to turn down a glass of wine. (CT would be sad). I was doing alright, despite prolonged standing, but I had A to lean on and keep me upright, and then they started putting out the starters. Uh-oh.

I knew I wouldn't be able to eat any of it as soon as I saw it, which is such a pain in the ass because normally I'd have lapped it up. Plus I also had this fear of coming across as a fussy Brit. I'm not fussy, I just feel like poo. Anyway, chatting to others successfully took my mind off how crap I felt and seemed to distract everyone to the fact I hadn't eaten, so much so that I passed mine to A and J and chomped on a bit of bread roll.

Glass of water after glass of water went in but other than my half a bread roll, nothing foody went in. Like I said though, nice people and pleasant conversation can really distract you and because I was sat down a lot except for the toasts and cheers, I was coping well with balance and stability. The speeches went on from around 6.30-11.30 and pretty much anyone was allowed to speak, sing, perform, play a prank, involve you in a sing-a-long or make a game. Really interesting and lovely way of involving loved ones. Actually quite liked the fact that the bride, bride's mother, bride's grandmother and lots of other women spoke. You don't get that traditionally in Britain. But the Danes really know speech equality.

Around the time of the main meal I was starting to feel better but not wanting to push my luck, so still no alcohol (wah!) and nothing too exciting food wise. I settled for some meat, (no sauces which was a shame because apparently the 'gravy was amazing!' - not that it was called gravy but us northerners do have a love of the stuff and this was pretty similar.) and potatoes, which went down and stayed down. After that A said I looked better which obviously meant I looked shit before but at least he had the love and respect not to tell me about it.

That was about the time the dress started to become a little uncomfortable and the amount of water I'd ingested was ballooning the old stomach, so much so that I probably looked about 4 months pregnant. Shit.
Ah, at least I was sat down for most of it. (Water bump hidden under table.) I tried a bit of dessert but then the body started rejecting the food and deterioration was on the horizon.

Sadly we had to leave around 12.30 and the party was hardly even starting. There were hot dogs to come later (supper at 1am) and a cocktail bar but I was just about ready to collapse and had a super long day and early morning planned. The Danes really know how to party though and I'm sure there were probably still going when we got up at 6am.

I'd like to thank my body for it's complete malfunction. It really made my weekend special. Though if it does it again at wedding number 4 on Saturday I'm giving up and trading in for a new one. The weirdness continued up until mid afternoon on Sunday (yesterday) and then I gradually felt much better. Bizarre.

I might have been slightly quieter than usual and sober but I had a fantastic time and I didn't throw up at all, though it might have made me feel better if I had. What a great wedding and some really cool traditions. My favourite being banging you plates with cutlery and that means the bride and groom have to stand on a chair and kiss. If you stamp your feet on the floor they have to kiss under the table. And also if the bride leaves the room all the girls in the room kiss the groom. And vice versa. Bizarrely wonderful. Might try some of these out at CT's wedding on Saturday. Ha ha. Not sure they'll go down well.

Anyhoo, enough whinging about being ill. Now I'm just exhausted and have only 2 hours till first music class of the term. Be gentle with me kids!

A pleasant Monday to you all.


Monday, September 2, 2013

Looking Forward.......To More Rants

A week of being thirty

This has been a week of far too much food, cake, alcohol and not enough sleep.

It's been a week of family and friends; of travelling up and down the country; meeting new people; celebrating other people's birthdays and having to defend my age. (No one believes it, but it's true.)

It's been a week of amazing presents, love and trying to work out if we do cuddles.

It's been a week of mixing alcohol; champagne, rose, white wine, fuzzy sharks, cider, beer, cocktails and vodka.

It's been a week that has literally drained all the life from me, so much so that I can barely stay awake after 4pm.

It has also been the week in which I finally took in a whole day at London's Film Four Fright Fest, with 5 horror/fantasy/gore/hilarious films.(Which was incerdible!)

And most embarrassingly it's been a week with very little productive writing. Ooops.

It's the curse of the thirties and I sure as hell hope it doesn't continue.

But now it's September I feel cleansed of all possible birthday related shenanigans and it's time for the old back to school/work/music class nonsense and hopefully back to some semblance of thoughts and ideas, some control of the mind, which I have been sadly lacking for quite some time.

September is also a month where A will be travelling like a crazy person, leaving me alone at least 2 nights a week for the next three weeks. This could be the best thing ever or the worst depending on what my brain happens to be doing at the time.

It is a month where I have two weddings to attend, one of which is out of the country and one of which I am bridesmaid at (my third time this year, sixth in total). I have a joint 30th to attend up in Newcastle and about 15 birthdays on the calendar.

It is also the month where my actual paid work is increasing three fold, leaving me way less time to write which means I'll have to be ridiculously structured and disciplined. (I won't be using the past few weeks as an example of this.)

It might mean that I have a particular blog day, to force myself into a decent routine. Though as I have often said, you can't always produce a rant on request. They have a habit of railroading you when your head is already bursting with thoughts and ideas and somehow that particular thing that has ticked you off can squirm and traverse in between everything else to find itself at the forefront of your mind, desperate to be written.

Basically, if I can make it to the end of this month with my sanity in tact it will be an achievement. But it's definitely touch and go.

At least the sun is still shining. I have to say I've gotten used to the warmth and not needing a coat and all that. Long may it continue, though I do love autumn. It's my favourite season.

I hope not everyone is going to have a stressful September and that the two lovely couples getting married have not only great weather but a fantastic day. I also hope all the kids and teachers going back to school have forgotten how to write like we used to after summer holidays. I'm sure they probably have as they are all joined to Ipads and computers now, with no use for the archaic pen and paper.

Anyhoo, whatever you're up to, salutations for September and I'll keep updating the sanity meter to keep you posted.