Tuesday, July 22, 2003

Why do authors always think they know best? Just cos you’re published doesn’t mean you’re any good. Some absolutely atrocious books make it to print; some of them reach the bestseller lists. Being published is, sadly, no mark of quality.

This is on my mind right now because I am going through the book of an asinine author (every time he comes to the office he flirts with me in a sleazy way, and always seems high), and he’s marked all these words to be italicised. The effect this has is that he appears to be talking to the reader reeeaaalllyy sloooowwwlllyyy, cos they’re, you know, a bit thick, and need things spelled out for them. Um, ok. I’ll put in the italics, and you can reap the scathing reviews, dude.
Why don’t I lie down, so you can walk all over me more easily?

Well, today has, officially, sucked ass. Not nice ass, but sweaty, hairy, acned ass. The folks who are buying my family home (a six bedroom house where my mum lives, alone, at the moment) are trying to screw us out of a quarter of a million pounds. They’ve offered 20% below the asking price, and everyone is urging us to accept this. I feel defeated. My dad bought this house 50 years ago when he moved to England from Poland after the war, and it is our inheritance, it is to provide for mum and his five daughters. Have never met this buyer, but I hate them more than anyone I’ve ever known.

What else? Work is for shit: boss has screwed up, and I am left to pick up the pieces and try to salvage two books. I know I seem to bitch about work an awful lot, and in truth I really like both my bosses, and respect them, and we have a laugh and get on very well. But as bosses, they’re just not very good. How do people reach a senior position like this? Is it based on whom you know? Was so tired of this by 1pm, and had had a panic attack (where I hyperventilated and thought I was going to die in a toilet cubicle) over the house thing, that at lunch all I wanted was a large drink. Steve took me to the touristy but beautiful mirror pub, and I had a double whiskey. Felt a lot better. Aaaah, my good friend alcohol.

Other: lovely red couch was delivered, but lovely red couch has hole in it. Boooo! I want her life: www.absolutely-vile.com

Thursday, July 17, 2003

My boss has left for the day, so I’m trying to proof-read at my desk. But I keep getting distracted by nagging thoughts of what I should be doing. Like: perfecting my CV, replying to friends’ emails, looking for pictures of Richard Hell for Marcus to paint from, and making a five-point plan for world domination. Today has been shitty, here in the world of office work. I have had an author asking to make sweeping changes to a book of his we’re reprinting, and my boss has authorised this and then passed it for me to organise. Only this will take ages and cost a ton of money, and the changes are not even corrections, just things he felt like altering. Boss and author are, as my colleague Jane put it, making me “jump through twenty hoops and run round the block five times”.

Last night I got home from work, went grocery shopping, cleaned, did laundry, and made a simple, tasty dinner which I saw Mags
cook last week. Spaghetti, courgettes, garlic, olive oil, parmesan. That’s it. So good. Tonight I go for dinner at Amy’s house, and I will try very hard to be in a better mood than I was last time I saw her, when all I wanted to do was cry, and crawl into bed, and there continue crying. We will drink wine and discuss exciting projects and I will leave her house feeling energised, optimistic and happy. Or just drunk.

Tuesday, July 15, 2003

Summer, and a young woman’s thoughts turn to McFlurrys, finding a vest top that doesn’t make me look like I have a monoboob, and tracking the vintage Diane von Furstenberg dress I bought on eBay two weeks ago which has not yet arrived.

Songs stuck in my head

$1000 wedding – Mekons (think this was Gram Parsons first, but I like their version. Plus, it’s the only one I’ve heard.)

Why can’t I touch it? – Buzzcocks. Love this song. Why? Am I full of yearning?

Alone again or – Love. Calexico did a great cover of this last night. They have the horns and stuff to do it justice.

Vague snippets of Lambchop songs. All that slidey guitar is perfect for hot nights like these.
Picnic obsessed

That describes me. In the last week I have been on two picnics, and plan many more before the summer is over. Last night was an impromptu meal, as Steve and I had a couple of hours to kill before going to Somerset House to see Yo La Tengo and Calexico. A Greek meze, pita breads, mini bottles of screw top wine and scotch eggs (piggyness won out) were purchased at M&S and scoffed in the churchyard near Covent Garden Tesco. I’m sure that Burgundy is not supposed to be sipped through a straw, straight from the bottle, but it worked for us.

YLT were on first, which I think was just plain wrong. They have more years on the clock than Calexico, more albums, and, I’d say, more fans. Calexico may be in vogue (and, ok, really good), but seniority should win out. Whatever, I think it was more a double bill than headliner & support, as they both played for about an hour. Ira thanked us “for coming out on such a shitty night” (blue skies, seagulls, warm flagstones to sit and drink beer on), and Steve and I got a good spot and stayed there. And oh, the joy of schadenfreude. A quartet of people arrived and stood in front of us at about 9.45, half an hour after YLT finished their set. As the many-membered-and-not-easily-mistaken-for-YLT-at-all Calexico took to the stage, one of the foursome said “oh fuck.” A few minutes later, when the projected visual (CALEXICO) and the stage banter (“Hi, we’re Calexico”) made all hope that the band picking up their instruments were YLT difficult to cling to, the same guy turned to his friends. “Guys, we may have fucked up.” Ahahaha. How we laughed. How we loudly reminded each other that this had been the BEST EVER YO LA TENGO GIG EVER and THEY REALLY ROCKED and that we were SURE GLAD WE HADN’T MISSED THEM. Their missing the show made me strangely, wickedly happy. So I drank more, ate a scotch egg, and skipped home.

Monday, July 14, 2003

The weekend was spent sitting with open arms, and having people pile presents into them. It was my birthday on Thursday, and this was cause for a 4-day weekend: long lunch on Thursday, a work party in the evening, sitting in a basement bar on Friday night for five hours, and a champagne picnic on Saturday. Lovely gifts included:
candy floss machine
50s wall clock for my kitchen
clock with a bendy stand
Superman mug
book of retro food graphics
bedsheet (by request)
flip flops
picture frame
a great notebook made from an old novel
pencils that double as bubble blowers
Phew! Gifts I bought for myself included a couch (I don’t have one yet. Cannot live any longer without a couch. Will surely die etc. etc. You get the idea: it’s really important to me), cute pink slip-on trainers (£12.99! Probably bought in China for about 50p a pair, but still! £12.99!), and a nice bottle of rose.
But now it is post-birthday, and I am no longer special. Plus I feel old… but I felt really young when I watched this! These people are the class of 1992, which was when I left high school (in the UK we don’t ‘graduate’ high school, we just leave), so they too are 28, but either I look freakishly young, or they are prematurely middle-aged. Yay! Sensible shoes? Check! Unisex linebacker haircuts? Check! Identikit Gap wardrobe? Check, check, check!

Wednesday, July 09, 2003

In other news, I am on the lookout for a tooth guard. Apparently I am grinding my stupid teeth (probably while I sleep. Stress? Could also explain the habit I have of waking up with claw hands, sometimes hovering dangerously close to sleeping Steve’s throat), and the only way to cure this is to get a plastic thingy to wear while I sleep. Went to Superdrug after work, but unsurprisingly they do not stock them. Tim made dinner for me last night, and very nice it was too. There was wine, there was asparagus, there was good conversation and the smell of the downstairs neighbours’ chronic pot habit. This all made for a most pleasant evening.

Hmmm… nothing to do in August, you say? Bored, are you? Well, this is gonna be great, and worth going to for the Arts Barge alone, I reckon, although the other bands, workshops, films and exhibitions they have lined up mean you’ll be kept busy. Click on the great illustration of the dreamy ladies for more details. I love this new grassroots, non-corporate, non-profit festival culture that girls are creating, and the more the merrier. There’s also a Ladyfest in Manchester this year, and many others all over Europe and the US.

Some good sites (don’t think I have a links thingy on this blog, so you’re just going to have to cut and paste, my friend. You’ve been spoilt long enough!)

www.thefword.org.uk – great features, links, archived writing, and most of all, a relief to discover that thirdwave feminism isn’t the exclusive domain of US ladies.

www.goldtop.org – a sweet blog, beautifully designed, also serves as a portfolio of Emerald’s work.

www.absolutely-vile.com – another blog written by a web designer (no fair!), updated regularly and with a community feel, as people comment on each of Anna’s entries.

That’s all for now. There are plenty of others, but I’m hungry and want to go get some lunch. You can amuse yourself for a little while, ok?

Monday, July 07, 2003

Yes I am still pissed off at my job, but I also realise that most people do jobs they get no thanks for, and at least (praise Jesus) I do not have to work with the public.

Today I am sporting the World’s Shortest Ponytail, and I am filled with glee, for it’s about six months since I’ve been able to wear any kind of ponytail at all. It’s held in place by greasy hair, gel and about 17 bobby pins.

Strange! Just googled the phrase “Croydon claw”, and there was nothing! Has no one outside my circle of friends heard of this tuff-girl hairstyle? It was first brought to my attention by Victoria, a sometime wearer of the Claw, and a Croydon girl through and through. Despite being more like the Milton Keynes of the South West, rather than the Manhattan as it claims, Croydon has nevertheless spawned underground talent. Some of Huggy Bear and, I think, Blur (I can’t be bothered to fact check. You can, if you really care) are from there. This entry was going to be full of links, but I don’t have the time or the research skills for that, but I would urge you to find a pic of the Claw, it really is worth it.
Well, it’s been a weird week. Am feeling very down about work, and this was not helped by the events of Thursday night, when I went to a book launch and got all sad. Keep reminding myself that it’s a very bad idea to let my job define my sense of self, and to get all bitter and “everyone is out to get me” about work, when clearly no one is out to get me. Anyway. So I went to the launch and the authors did their thank-you speeches, and everyone got thanked except me. I was actually crying in the toilets for a long time, and looked all blotchy when I came out, despite splashing water on my face and practising a cheery smile in the mirror. I do the gruntwork on my imprint, make sure things happen on time, chase contracts, artwork, page proofs etc, but as this work isn’t visible, unlike, say, publicity, I don’t get any credit. Do I sound bitter? Well, that would be because I am. The Boy knew exactly why I was upset, and as neither of us was now in the mood for free booze, we left.
The weekend was better, as it involved babysitting my twin nieces. They’re 21 months old, and one calls everyone “mummy”, and is a scrappy little thing, and the other is bigger and on Saturday morning managed to steal six Farley’s Rusks and hide them in the conservatory, before being dobbed in by her sister. While I disapprove of the theft, I gotta salute her stealth and enterprising nature. A chip off the old block.
Sunday the Boy and I went to Greenwich market, which is full of lovely antiques and edgy 20th century furniture, but a tad overpriced. £250 for two chairs that look like they came from MFI in 1987? Let me think about that for a moment… However, I did buy a lovely 1960s telephone table for £3, and my living room now contains not one, not two, but three items of furniture with those characteristic splayed screw-on legs.

Tuesday, July 01, 2003

God. Am having one of those days when every word I write looks wrong, and I am not sure I spelled it correctly. ‘Won’t’? An apostrophe in the middle of a word, are you sure? ‘Beside’? That looks French etc.