Wednesday, 31 March 2010


I wrote this today, sat in a coffee shop in town, on what has been a good and a bad day. My head's muddled and I haven't eaten. But I like this. Buying a new notebook was worth it, even if it is a bit on the bulky side.

I love this city, its hustle, its bustle, the noise, the energy. How it blends the old with the new, the ancient and modern. Museums and libraries, churches and schools.
Houses sit amongst green while the traffic roars past. Sirens scream and taxis twist past buses - red and lumbering. People dash across the street, heedless of traffic lights. It's invariably raining, but no one cares, umbrellas aloft, people weave and whizz along the pavement.
Walking along the street, there's books on a table outside a shop. £5 a book, I won't buy, but I will browse, note some old friends, and a guide to New York - opposite, sister city, city that never sleeps. This city, not asleep, dormant maybe, sparking into life, crackling with its music, sights, smells - petrol and grass, curry and coffee.
Steam rises from my tea, a scent of peppermint. And to think I almost stayed in, where it's warm and watched TV.
The beat of the city, a pulse all its own, echoing forever, through the centuries, since before Londinium, since before it had a name. Following the flow of a river, Old Father Thames.
A sense of home, despite its many faces and voices. Stretching across the world, hailing from everywhere, settling here. Drawn by that majestic chaos, that giant roused.
The wind pushes back, the Londoner strides, head bowed but not deterred. There are places to go, faces to see, carved out of stone or wreathed in friendly smiles.
City of miracles - anything can happen.
My city. Home.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Seasons in reverse

I thought Spring was supposed to be sprung, but apparently we're headed back into Winter, with snow and rotten cold weather forecast. Here's some photos of the crocuses that were as enthused as me last week before it started raining again!!

Friday, 26 March 2010

Party time!

I'm going to my high school best friend's little sister's 21st birthday tonight, and I'm having a hard time believing she's 21. I met her sister on my first day at secondary school, aged almost 11 (I'm a September baby so the first week of school was usually a week or two before my birthday). We were best friends all the way through, I spent a lot of time at their house, and their parents were almost like a second pair to me. After school we drifted, still keeping in touch, but not seeing so much of each other. We'd seen each other pretty much every day for 7 years so it was a bit weird only being together every now and then. We see less of each other now than ever before, and it definitely sucks. We keep in touch through facebook, but I couldn't tell you what she was doing now that's she's finished art school. Partly this is my own fault, we don't have a lot in common anymore and we live quite far away now, but I've made little effort to keep in touch or arrange anything.
Anyway, her sister, who was 8 or 9 when we met, is turning 21, and it's weird, watching someone you've seen grow up, someone who became a friend and a spare little sister (I have a real one, we don't really get along) become an adult. I adore this girl, she's sweet and funny, and she went to the same uni as me, which is random and cool at the same time. She graduates this summer. Happy Birthday Steph.

Monday, 22 March 2010

Music, oh, music!!

Just a little list of the music I've been listening to recently:

Wakey! Wakey! ~ The War Sweater EP & Almost Everything I Wish I'd Said The Last Time I Saw You

Rebekka Karijord ~ The Noble Art Of Letting Go

Glee Soundtracks

Regina Spektor ~ Begin To Hope (it's my favourite one of her albums)

Matt Nathanson ~ Beneath These Fireworks

Augustana ~ Can't Love, Can't Hurt

Ryan Adams ~ Gold

Yeah Yeah Yeahs ~ Fever To Tell

Butch Walker ~ Letters/The Rise and Fall of Butch Walker and the Let's-Go-Out-Tonites

Los Campesinos! ~ Romance is Boring

The Beach Boys ~ The Very Best of The Beach Boys

Nina Simone ~ The Very Best of Nina Simone

Amanda Palmer ~ Who Killed Amanda Palmer

Wicked Soundtrack

Let's hear it for eclectisism!!

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Watching the world

I just watched a really good film, Caramel, set in Beirut, filmed in French and Arabic, meaning I was really glad there were subtitles! It's set in a beauty salon staffed by 4 very different women, telling the stories of their lives and friendship. It's a sweet little film, better than some of the chick flicks around today.
I've got quite into foreign language films recently, two of my favourite films are Amelie and Paris Je'taime, both in French, which is a language I want to learn. Mostly I'm dependent on subtitles, which is annoying, or in the case of my Studio Ghibli films, dubbed versions. In my 'to watch' pile there is Coco Avant Chanel, Pan's Labyrinth, Persepolis and The Castle of Castaglio, so that means a lot more subtitles for me!
At the cinema I quite want to see Mic Macs, by Amelie's director, but it's not on at my local multiplex, I'll have to find a cinema further afield that's showing it. There's a lot of cinema that's not in the Hollywood mould, and it's a shame a lot of it is hard to find at the big cinemas, we're missing out.
When talking about foreign language films (or more accurately films not in English) a lot of people point to last year's triumphant Slumdog Millionaire, which whil filmed in Mumbai and partly in Hindi, is not exactly one of these films. The main actor, Dev Patel, grew up in my home town, and most of the film is in English. It's director and much of the crew are Brits too. Yes, some of the actors were Bollywood stars and local children, and it was based on a novel by and Indian writer, it's a bilingual collaberation at most.
It's a shame that there aren't more films, shot in other languages doing as well as Slumdog did, and getting the audience figures too. I liked Slumdog, it was a happy-go-lucky, fairytale with a dark side, with a great closing musical number that puts a smile on people's faces. But so are a lot of other films, and where are they? Relegated to small, independent cinemas mostly, and not seen by nearly enough people to make a difference. So let's hear it for world cinema, and opening it up to more people.

Friday, 19 March 2010

It's been one of those weeks...

I was going to write a post all about how Spring seems to have arrived, but since it's been wet and wretched all day I don't feel like it, if the sun shines through tomorrow maybe I'll feel more seasonal.

Instead I'm going to write about phobias. More specifically mine of spiders. Ewwww. Something about their scuttly 8 legged creepiness really makes my skin crawl. Apparently it's a remnant from an evolutionary ancestor, a fear meant to keep us safe from a time when spiders were more of a threat, if you live somewhere like Australia with it's poisonous varieties I guess they still are. However my bedroom does not need spiders. Ever. The flies they keep down are outside not anywhere near where I sleep. Fact. I cannot sleep when there's one in the room. And there's one under my bed right now. It ran along my desk, fell onto my bed and down the side. I've attacked where it might be with the vacuum cleaner and hopefully it's either had a heart attack and died or been eaten by the Henry. I will check before I go to bed, if I see it, it goes.

Enough ranting about spinnen (German for spider and highly appropriate).

This weekend I will be filling in my application for uni, time to get back to studenthood, and possibly seeing a friend (the not particularly reliable A I previously wrote about). Anyway, have a good weekend. Next time I should be posting some photos of Spring things and some other bits and bobs.

Tuesday, 16 March 2010

Getting my life together (Part 1)

So I've made a decision. I'm usually useless at this, I prevaricate and procrastinate til it's too late (hey, that rhymes!). But this time I've decided. My mind is made up. I'm going back to uni. Last night I went to an open evening thing at the uni where I did my BA, to check out their MA courses. And I made a decision on the train home, I want to go back. I miss being a student, my inner geek misses classes and reading lists and even homework!! (I must be coming down with something worse than early hayfever) So the decision has been made and all I have to do is fill in the longest ever form and wait. September can't come too soon. I'm getting out of my funk and back into academia. Oh yes!!

Monday, 15 March 2010


Following on from yesterday's post, A called me, he'd finally got my messages. We talked for a bit, like nothing had changed. But it has, my attitude and opinion has. I'm still his friend but more reserved, less willing to make endless plans. I need to move on from these friends, make new ones, extend my social circle, stop feeling so trapped and bogged down by my past and by the friendships that might not be worth it anymore.

Sunday, 14 March 2010

Being the shitty friend

I've been the shitty friend, we all have. By shitty friend I mean, the one who doesn't call, who can't be bothered, who treats people unfairly and seems to not care. Truthfully I care. We all have shitty friends. The ones we wonder sometimes why we're still friends.
 Take my friend A, he's useless at keeping in touch, loses his phone, never checks his facebook messages, never returns voicemails, emails, pigeon post etc. When you make plans, he's always late, and sometimes just doesn't turn up. And yes, I get annoyed with him. We've been really close, and it feels like we're drifting, mostly cos I never speak to, or see him. He's been through a lot with his family and things.
I get that sometimes the stuff takes over and makes it harder for us to connect with the world. I really do. I've been there, there have been times when I don't want to see or speak to anyone, let alone be a social butterfly. I also know it can be intensely lonely when you isolate yourself from the people you care about and who care for you.
But sometimes being the shitty friend is not being the one who calls, I know he never calls, so I just stop trying and that doesn't make me the shitty friend. It's tough, and I feel guilty. So tonight I'm going to call the numbers I have for him and attempt to check in and catch up, maybe make a plan. It's time to stop seeing how shitty other people are and stop behaving like that myself, it doesn't fix anything and it makes me feel bad.

Thursday, 11 March 2010

The Night's Sky

I took this picture a week ago while visiting my friends at uni. We were sat out in the cold eating chips and shivering. It didn't come out too well, you can't see all the stars. But they are there, just as they've always been, and as most of them will be long after we're gone. I like to think we're all made of a tiny bit of stardust, a tiny bit of the universe.
It's still Winter here, and bitter with it. I'm looking forward to Spring, watching the ground for signs of life, plants forcing their way through the frosty topsoil. Determined to reach the sun. I wish I had their determination, their desire for life.

"The only people for me are the mad ones, the ones who are mad to live, mad to talk, mad to be saved, desirous of everything at the same time, the ones who never yawn or say a commonplace thing, but burn, burn like fabulous yellow roman candles, exploding like spiders across the stars." - Jack Kerouac.

Sunday, 7 March 2010


Stylish, glamorous, beautiful. All of these are used to describe perhaps her most famous role, that of Holliday (Holly) Golightly in Breakfast At Tiffany's. Audrey Hepburn was a sophisticated callgirl in the 1961 adaptation of Truman Capote's novella.
But at it's heart, the story is the classic boy-meets-girl that has preoccupied writers since we started dreaming up stories.
With her ridiculous cigarette holder, glam little black dresses and the 'mean reds' which can only be cured by a trip to the titular jewellery store. Holly may be a real phony, but she's one we all secretly want to be.

Pictures found via Google Images

Saturday, 6 March 2010


"To accomplish great things, we must not only act but dream. Not only plan but believe."
~Anatole France~

Thursday, 4 March 2010

Ramblings of a shut-in

This week I have been mostly re-reading my Isabel Allende books, all of them. Every now and then I decide to do things like this, it's a compulsion I guess. Or a symptom. I don't know.
I've also eaten a lot of porridge, cheese and chocolate (not all together, ewwww!!). This is not necessarily healthy, but I don't want to stop. Even though dairy products can be a bit of a disaster for me (milk is not my friend).
I need to get out more. Staying in, reading, watching tv repeats, movies and eating things that make me ill is not really sensible. I may be losing it slightly. Time to brave the incredibly bracing wind and cold and go outside. For longer walks than the one to the shops for a paper and back. With my camera and notebook, maybe something will inspire me and I'll start writing again. Or I'll catch a cold and have to take to my bed (once upon a time this would have been just what I wanted to do).