Tuesday, August 31, 2004

Some of our readers are incarcerated

Today at work we got a postcard from a guest at the South Bay Correctional Facility. Woo hoo!

Weekend was ok. Spent nearly two days working, which was not fun, and about one day drinking in the afternoon, watching Breakfast at Tiffany’s, and baking bread, which was. Made rosemary and garlic focaccia, and as the main ingredient was a 56p packet of bread mix, I am a convert to home baking. It was cheap and tasty, and full of garlicky goodness! Went to a jumble sale with Tim on Monday, and even though we got there before it opened, there was a queue of about 60 people already waiting to get in! Ruddy vultures. I couldn’t get near the clothing tables. And when I did I regretted it… soiled children’s knickerbockers; old, threadbare trousers and unidentifiable rags seemed to be in the majority.

Seeing as I have a swanky new job and am now a proper career woman, it may be time to start dressing like one. So I went to H&M today and bought a pair of brown cords, a maroon 70s jumper, and a pale blue knitted hat. Hey, it’s a start: today I am wearing jeans, old Converse and a blue T-shirt. Am being mistaken for the work experience kid again.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Anyone seen Ny/Lon, the groovy transatlantic romance Channel 4 has been trailing like mad for the past few weeks? I haven’t: the ads were enough to turn me off. Why do TV execs persist in making programmes where the hero, who presumably all the ladies are supposed to fancy, is so damn ugly? Posh, smug, crickly-eyed and with stupid hair: just because most men who work in TV look like this, doesn’t mean it’s attractive. Miles Davenport is the poster boy for this look, although thankfully he does not appear. The woman in the show (the ‘Ny’ half of the duo) is equally annoying, coming across as one-dimensional and prissy: twice in the trailer we hear her whining about ‘not being a crazy person’ and not doing ‘impulsive things’. Presumably sleeping with Americans is a crazy thing; I won’t comment on that one.

Other stuff: my sister is still being detained in Tel Aviv after flying to Israel two weeks ago. It’s a pretty complex case (her basic argument is that as a journalist she has a right to report the truth as she sees it. Israel’s argument is that she’s a left-wing activist and biased, and now they’re saying that she may ‘accidentally get involved with Palestinian terrorists’. Um, ok. Here’s an article on the case.

So that’s taking up most of my attention span today, and I can’t concentrate on anything else. I called the detention centre where Ewa’s being held, and wasn’t allowed to speak to her.

Friday, August 20, 2004

Yesterday was an odd mix of tearful trauma and free wine. In the morning I paid a visit to the British School of Osteopathy for back-crackin’ thrills. I’d read that a visit to the O requires stripping (at 10am! Really!), but when getting ready that morning I hadn’t taken the time to really think about this. So my legs were hairy, everywhere else was, as usual, hairy, and I was wearing bad mismatched underwear. Also, thank you God, I had my period. I had requested a female med student, as the last time any guy except Steve saw me in my pants was in 2002. But there were TWO students, one male and one female, and there was fluorescent strip lighting and there was me, with sock indentations on my ankles. Not only was I made to strip, I was made to bend and stretch. The only funny part was when I bent over to touch my toes and, as if on cue, a bus on Borough High Street exhaled noisily. Har. Then I had to lie on a couch and a doctor came in and prodded me and felt my neck and then got me in a headlock and my neck made loud cracking noises. Call me strange, but I believe the neck is one of those body parts that should be seen and not heard. Silent neck = good neck. Loud, cracking neck = crying and pain. I am going back next week, but have requested they hold off the wrestling moves and just use massage instead.

But the evening made everything better. Went to the launch/exhibition to accompany this book, and there were nice people (and some silly hipsters) and free booze, and a very wonderful vintage store next door having a huge sale. Gorgeous 40s dresses were marked down from £40 to a tenner, but sadly I am not built for fitted clothing: compared to 40s ladies I am tube-shaped. I always thought I had a waist; apparently I was wrong. Anyway, this didn’t stop me from spending twenty minutes rubbing my sweaty face over the dresses as I tried in vain to pull them over my head.

Wednesday, August 18, 2004

Things I am loving today

The film Charade, for Audrey Hepburn’s outfits, the many red herrings, and Paris in the sixties

Watching the above film on Sunday afternoon while eating chocolate tart and raspberries and drinking red wine

The amazing CD Rachel made me, with dozens of tracks that would be perfect for the Actionettes to dance to

My new shoes from Office. Brown, flat, slightly 1930s, and very comfy. Tempted to buy three more pairs

Property websites. Just found a great one for south-east London

Things I am hating today

The bike courier who missed me by a centimetre (yes, I was a foot off the curb, but the bastard swerved towards me) and the white-van driver who called me a ‘stupid cow’ cos I hesitated five seconds before crossing the street. I’m sure all the people lazily watching the event were surprised to hear the words FUCK YOU MOTHERFUCKER!!! Coming from the mouth of a demure-looking lady wearing pearls and a 50s skirt. Or maybe they are used to it, in Covent Garden. Sadly I am used to idiot drivers trying to kill me every day.

Star spotting in SE11!

Steve was out in the world over the weekend while I was lolling about at home feeling crook, and he saw loads of celebs! Rachel Stevens in Tesco! Laughing with two girlfriends and wearing lots of makeup! Apparently she is very thin in real life, but Steve neglected to peer into her basket and see what she was buying.

Also! Charles Kennedy, leader of the Lib Dems, watering his front garden, which happens to be attached to one of the vast Georgian houses around the corner from me! Wow.

Monday, August 16, 2004

Wednesday night was a glittering evening of sparkles, diamante-studded velvet booths, and mini-burgers. Heaven! The Actionettes had been asked to dance at a party for this amazing lady. Barbara Ruskin had some success in the 60s, and her early records are apparently now changing hands for $100. She’s just released a new CD, and the party was, I think, a celebration of that. All her friends and family were there, and it was an honour to be invited to dance. We were supposed to be a surprise, but the jig was up when we arrived to rehearse only to find that Ms Ruskin was there too, tuning her guitar and soundchecking! She was very surprised to see us, though, and when her daughter explained who we were and why we were there, she seemed very happy. The high point of the evening was performing a dance to one of her songs, while she sang it. And there was free booze for all (a good thing, as beers cost £4, wine £4.50 and a double spirit and mixer was a whopping £10), and mini-burgers, roasted vegetable wraps, and chips in tiny newspaper cones. I had borrowed a dress from the very chic Miss Roulette, and although it fit when I put it on, after a few hastily scoffed canap├ęs and a couple of glasses of wine I was having trouble breathing. These fifties frocks may look good but they don’t give an inch…

Friday morning I was dozing in bed when I turned my head to the right and heard a crunchy, grinding noise. It was the sound of a muscle in my neck doing something it wasn’t supposed to, and it hurt a lot, and I couldn’t move my head at all. Steve called NHS Direct and gave me paracetamol and coffee and breakfast. I hobbled around the house with my head tilted at a coy angle, because to hold it in any other position was either impossible or agonisingly painful. We both called in sick to work, and Steve went to the doctor with me. I was told to take lots of ibuprofen and not move around too much. Doc said it had probably been on the cards for a while, and now that I’m at work again I can see that the way I sit at my desk may have something to do with it.
Although I had to cancel all Friday plans, I didn’t want to cry off Saturday night dinner and cocktails chez moi with K and A. There was food. There were Kir Royales. There was a liqueur I bought in Bruges called De Klok, and it was drunk. I had a very nice night, despite having a panic attack early in the evening when I realised that K&A thought I was having a cocktail party with lots of guests, instead of a dinner thing with just them.

Some good news

I have a new job, with a swanky managerial-sounding title, more money, and more challenging work. Bad news is that, because my boss helped me get the job, she thinks that I owe her and is making my last month a living hell of menial, non-work-related, tasks. And I can’t complain. I guess we do what we have to in our efforts to claw our way up the career ladder. Now where did I put that vacuum cleaner?

Wednesday, August 11, 2004

There are about two weeks of the year when my job is so unbelievably dull and slow that it’s all I can do not to call in sick. If I wanted to sleep all day, I’d rather do it in my bed.

Today I have: looked on eBay a lot; read magazines; popped out for fruit yet mysteriously returned with half a Mars ice-cream bar in my hand and caramel smeared on my face. The only stressy part of my day was when a set of page proofs appeared on my desk from out of nowhere* and I had to scrabble around writing letters and filling out bike courier request forms. Now it is slack time again.

Yesterday I had a lovely evening out for only £2! True. Went to the secret sushi place (don’t even ask where it is, I am never telling you, ever, it’s my secret!) and got 10 pieces of tuna roll for £2. Sat in Lincoln’s Inn Fields, then tried to find the Old Curiosity Shop, but couldn’t. We ended up on Kingsway and as we approached Bush House we heard Indian music (what sort? Couldn’t tell you. A guy hitting bongos fast, some sort of jingly music). There were dancers in the courtyard, dancing in the fountains (which were on), and not very many people had showed up to watch them, but it was very lovely. As I was walking home I happened to notice that every homeless person in Lambeth was out stumbling around, asking for change for a cup of crack tea, or arguing with a fellow homeless person in the street. The hoodlums in my neighbourhood were enjoying the mellow weather, too: I took a different route to avoid two arguing hobos, only to happen upon three adolescent boys (one about 11 years old, riding bike, one wearing basketball vest, foot-high afro, one wearing hood even though it was 85 degrees). As I passed them I overheard the kid on the bike saying ‘Yeah, well, that kid owes me money. I need to get the money back.’ What? Who owes you money, Mr 11-year-old? Your mum’s late with your allowance? I thought it was quite funny that someone whose voice hadn’t yet broken had debtors already.



*from the production dept, who gave me a month’s notice on the proofs’ arrival

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Work is pretty slow today. I have things I could do (write rejection letters, do some filing, tidy my desk), but I don’t feel like doing any of them.

Last night we had a rehearsal for the summer club, but at the moment we’re not sure if it’s even going ahead, as the Water Rats double booked us (even though we booked in 2003…). They’re not even acting like they’ve done anything wrong, either.

Nothing really to say, so here are some links:

The symbol of Poland now has it’s own website! Send someone a bison e-card today.

http://www.zubry.com/ has all you need to know about our shaggy pals.

I am looking forward to my trip to Poland, as I want to explore the primeval forest (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) and view the wolves, deer, birds and, yes, bison.

Monday, August 09, 2004

This was actually written on Friday, but Blogger has been playing up...

It’s still hotter than hell. Last night I could not face cooking, so dinner was a salad and water. Then a cold shower, and hiding in my bedroom, the only part of my flat where the temperature was under 30 degrees. There was no breeze, and as my bedroom window only opens four inches, it was pretty grotty. BUT great news is that I got a letter from Tesco and a £10 voucher! The letter acknowledged my trauma at finding a dingleberry in my quiche, and my blood ran cold (which made a nice change that evening) at the sentence ‘We could not identify the item, so we have sent it to our laboratory for testing.’ Eeeeeeerrrk.

Thanks to Therese for this great article. Germaine Greer isn’t my favourite polemicist, but she makes some interesting points about the Catholic church’s refusal to see women as anything other than wives and mothers, or potential wives and mothers.

Tonight I am looking forward to lots of food and various vodka-based cocktails at a Polish colleague’s house. Apparently she is a great cook (every Christmas she invites her department round for a giant traditional Christmas feed), so I am bringing gifts: a bottle of Zubrowka and an empty stomach.

Friday, August 06, 2004

It’s still hotter than hell. Last night I could not face cooking, so dinner was a salad and water. Then a cold shower, and hiding in my bedroom, the only part of my flat where the temperature was under 30 degrees. There was no breeze, and as my bedroom window only opens four inches, it was pretty grotty. BUT great news is that I got a letter from Tesco and a £10 voucher! The letter acknowledged my trauma at finding a dingleberry in my quiche, and my blood ran cold (which made a nice change that evening) at the sentence ‘We could not identify the item, so we have sent it to our laboratory for testing.’ Eeeeeeerrrk.

Thanks to Therese for this great article. Germaine Greer isn’t my favourite polemicist, but she makes some interesting points about the Catholic church’s refusal to see women as anything other than wives and mothers, or potential wives and mothers.

Tonight I am looking forward to lots of food and various vodka-based cocktails at a Polish colleague’s house. Apparently she is a great cook (every Christmas she invites her department round for a giant traditional Christmas feed), so I am bringing gifts: a bottle of Zubrowka and an empty stomach.

Thursday, August 05, 2004

I wrote the entry below last week but have been too lazy/busy (pick one) to post it until now. Also, today I am oversalted: just ate loads of taramasalata and now heart is beating a bit funny and feel like I need to run around the block a few times to calm myself.

Reasons I don’t want to stay over at Steve’s (sorry my love)

Shower has only three settings: freezing, icy cold; hot enough to brew coffee; off.

Bathroom is home to all manner of weird, tropical creatures: centimetre-long flying ants and large black moths.

More moths have set up housekeeping in the kitchen (we think that’s their real home, and they venture to the bathroom every night for a wash, and that’s where we find them and KILL THEM! Ahahahahaha.)

It’s just too damn far away, compared to my place.

OK now here’s the really old post…

More surreality:

Walking down Shelton Street past a building site and hearing a builder singing ‘Don’t cry for me Argentina’.

Going to Cybercandy, the shop which boasts of stocking sweets from all over the world, and seeing Twinkies on sale for £1.46. FOR ONE.

Toda I am so tired I feel like crying. Feel dizzy, haggard, and cannot form a coherent sentence. Last night I was out late again, working on the door of a friend’s club night. It was pretty busy, but it reminded me too much of the crappy jobs I took when I was 21, and not in a good way. I am glad that I don’t have to work with the public any more, and I am glad I have a job where I can use my brain. And I am especially glad my day job doesn’t involve being harassed by evil homeless guys who yell at me, and as there is no bouncer and the club is downstairs behind a closed door no one can come to my aid, and I can’t go anywhere cos I can’t leave the door unattended, so I just have to sit there and pray they leave. I finished at about 11.30 and went to Tesco for a few groceries. Got in at 12 and ate, set up my new Britta water filter (set to become a family heirloom. I love it), and then lay in bed reading this, the best book in the world. Well, truly, anything by Cynthia Heimel is the best book in the world, as she is a goddess. If President Kerry (fingers crossed) is looking for an advisor on women, he should look no further than Ms Heimel.