The Next Big Thing

It is the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. Migration has begun. Not just the birds; also the people who embraced the summer heat and then looked ahead to the winter and realised that they don’t want to wade through that again. Without thinking too hard I can name four people of my immediate acquaintance who have chosen to jet off to Spain, Italy or Australia before the rain arrives this year. (Or snow. Sometimes we have that, too.) The same sort of migration happens every year. Equally, there are people suddenly coming back to the UK, or who have chosen to stay when they had every intention of leaving. Continue reading “The Next Big Thing”

My stripper name is Carla the insufferable speed freak

Today I have been lying around eating toast and Revels, and reading health and fitness blogs. Also reading a book that I’ll be posting a review of tomorrow – but mostly taking a day out. This is a boring little filler entry, but it turns out that after eight months of doing an entry a week I was genuinely uncomfortable with last week’s entry being four days late, so I need to write something today. Continue reading “My stripper name is Carla the insufferable speed freak”

Summer in the city

It’s that time of year again. School’s out for summer; holiday, celebrate (depending on your choice of singer). As is standard for July to September, London (and pretty much ever other city in the world with history, nice architecture and a live-in population) is swamped with people who have come to see the museums, the buildings and the relatives and friends that live there. Continue reading “Summer in the city”

Procrastination pyramid

When my To Do List looks overwhelming and I’m not getting anywhere with it, I like to restructure it as a Procrastination Pyramid. Today’s Procrastination Pyramid works like this: I should be going for a run, but instead I procrastinate by doing some WORKwork; which I delay doing by noodling about with a song, which I’m not quite in the mood for; so instead I write on the weekend’s blog post (being done early so that I can get on with the WORKwork I should be doing tomorrow); which I haven’t really planned in my head yet, so instead I do the washing up; which I hate doing so I take a break from it by hoovering.

procrastination pyramid
This is a work of ART, people, and it may change your life (for the worse).

It’s a bit of a lengthy approach, but everything gets done eventually, and you reach the apex, or bottom, or whatever. I haven’t thought this metaphor through very well, but the approach does work, mostly. (Apart from when I procrastinate by playing Candy Crush and watching the mermaid show on Netflix. No, of course that’s not on in the background now, how dare you even suggest… Oh fine, it is.)

In other news…

… Shortly after the last blog entry, I received an email from Upsolut Volunteering, letting me know that I’ll be marshalling at the ITU London Triathlon Age Grouper World Championships in September. I’m really pleased to be able to help. The people volunteering at the triathlons I’ve done are the people who make the day and I’m downright chuffed to be joining them.  Doubly pleased to be doing it, in fact, because Upsolut emailed volunteers a couple of months ago warning that there had been so many offers of help that they wouldn’t be able to use everyone. I’m marshalling the day after my own race – it’s going to be a brilliant weekend.

… I’m successfully assembling my dream team for The 48-Hour Film Project – London, and was happily granted a dream location to shoot in. More on that closer to the time, but can we say ‘turret’?

… I totally almost wrangled myself a record deal* with someone in A&R at Sony** last night, but then the conversation was hijacked by the presence of Superman*** who is now my bestie****.


*Not strictly true.

** Actually true.

***Again, true.

****Complete fecking lie.

Jonesing: past, present and future

I’m typing this awkwardly with blistered hands from steam-cleaning the kitchen carpet – because that’s the sort of glamorous, rock-and-roll thing us London girls do at the weekend. The blisters are sort of worth it as, although the carpet is probably not cleaner, the dirt is more evenly distributed. I’m sharing this detail because it’s sort of relevant to the below post which, as you’d expect, meanders through three different subjects before stopping abruptly. Structured writing skills – I don’t haz.

Bridget Jones’ Diary has been the source of a lot of conversation this week. One of my friends was re-reading it, and that prompted me to pick it up and re-read it (actually I picked it up to try and get Coffee Monster to read it, but then I took it off him again). As a result, the book and the character have come up a few times in different discussions with different people.

Back when the book first came out, one of the reasons it was a hit was because Bridget is an Every Woman.  A thirty-something every woman, living in London, working in publishing – to some extent, she is still something of an Every Woman, at least in my circle of friends. One mate commented that her mother pointed out that her career path matched Bridget’s; another related how her friends had (insultingly) pinpointed her as being Bridget when they were all 16 and watching the film. I’m of an age now where I was curious to re-read the book and see how much of myself I recognised in it.

When it came out I was about 13 years old. I knew of it because I was the kind of weird 13-year-old that picked up the Sunday papers book section and pored over the bestsellers list and read the reviews and interviews and was very intent on building my ‘grown-up’ book collection. I mean, I actually had a separate shelf on my book shelves where I put all my ‘grown-up’ books. Stuff by Rick Moody and Esther Freud and JG Ballard separated from all the Jean Ure and Robert Swindells. Roald Dahl occupied places in both sections.

So when the little corner shop down the road had a copy of Bridget Jones’ Diary for sale in its tiny, dusty book section, I eventually scraped together the money (I also had a weekend job at this point) and bought it. Then I went home and snuck up to my room and read it in one day. I don’t know why I snuck up to my room with it – I was fairly secretive about the whole venture. But I read it and swallowed it whole and re-read it several squillion times, and nurtured the thought of a future working in publishing, in a City, writing stuff, hanging with friends.

Bridget Jones' Diary
Cup of tea, good read – way better than steam-cleaning the damn carpet.

The whole boyfriend/fuckwittage thing was amusing, but that really wasn’t much of a concern at 13 – in fact I went through school being a) an unattractive geek and b) very certain that school romances were a waste of time anyway, since school was nothing but a starting point and it would all be left behind in favour of a glamorous future. (And then Facebook came along and destroyed that fantasy for the world.) I was all about the lifestyle. That’s amusing now, because now I’m older clearly the point is that she’s not glamorous at all. She’s awkward and normal and broke and bored at work and has a damn good group of friends, and that is, if you’re lucky, basically life in a nutshell.

At 13 I really wanted to be a writer (I finished my first novella at 14 and it was appropriately dreadful. As has been pretty much everything since). I was reading the media stuff in the Sunday papers in part because I spent a lot of time dreaming of the wider world and writing and films and books and the future anyway, and then along comes Helen Fielding and BAM! Talk about reading (and rereading) at a formative age. Then I got older and, well, a bit bored of the whole thing… and now we’re here, where I find myself reading it all over again, but instead of relating to (or wanting to be)Bridget,  I seem to have morphed into Shazzer. Sweary, ranty, feminist Shazza. And that suits me just fine, because she always seems happy, if with a core of rage at the world, which is something I can totally relate to.  It also suits me because it fits nicely with my comfort zone – always the sidekick, never the star. I like being behind the scenes and helping things work. I don’t like being the centre of anything – it’s far too much pressure.

Some of you might be scoffing at that –yes, I have diva-ish moments. Notably when I’m ranting about shit. But the best way I can think to illustrate how I feel about my place in the world is like this… On university trips to the climbing wall, sat in a mini-van on the way home, driving through the mountains in the dark in the middle of nowhere, I used to play a rather morbid game of ‘Slasher Movie’ in my head. The game is essentially this : if the van broke down, and we were all being stalked by a crazy psycho in the middle of nowhere, who in this van would survive? Who is the star, who is the killer, who is which bit player? Who dies fighting, who dies running and who dies fucking? Apply all the movie tropes and see where you end up. I never cast myself as the star – I figured I’d probably be the one who was abruptly stabbed through the window after we heard spooky knocking at the doors. Quick and easy and out of the way. (I can’t be the only person in the world who considers these things?)

Anyway – obviously reading Bridget Jones’ Diary is not the be-all-and-end-all of why I live where I live and do what I do – I found out about the book in the book section, for heaven’s sake. Even if I hadn’t read it, no one from my past would be shocked that I work with words now. But, in retrospect, it might have genuinely shaped some of my choices. This, in turn, with babies and children on my mind (my sisters’, not mine, I hasten to add) makes me think about how much of an effect all the reading and writing and pictures and games has on kids today, and how much more glittery and how much worse it seems to me, looking at it with adult eyes. There’s nothing for me to be smug about – there was a lot of crap available when I was growing up as well, but it was easier for parents to protect kids from it. Now there’s such an onslaught of rubbish shaping minds. Everything is so photo-shopped and glamorous – really glamorous, not Bridget Jones glamorous. It’s fucking scary.

No additives or preservatives.

NOTE: potentially too much information for anyone who  knows me in real life. Not for the squeamish.

I am lying on the sofa with what feels like the worst kind of period pain (disclaimer: it’s a couple of days later, now, as I finish this). It’s not my period, though. It’s the aftermath of having a copper coil fitted.

Not actually what I’m talking about.

Continue reading “No additives or preservatives.”