Friday, 30 April 2010

Good News!!

I got in!! Unconditional offer for my Masters course, starting in September. Things are coming together. Now all I need to do, is find a great job, get hired, and be able to buy my books. C'mon Universe, let's keep going!!

Thursday, 29 April 2010

Lit Geeking Out

Here's a little list of some of my favourite recent (and not so recent) reads. All of these books I highly recommend!!

*The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

*The Raw Shark Texts - Steven Hall

*The Children's Book - A.S Byatt

*The Millennium Trilogy - Steig Larsson

*The Girl in Times Square - Paullina Simons

*The Perks of Being a Wallflower - Stephen Chbosky

*The People of the Book - Geraldine Brooks

I could go on forever. All of these books are quite different from one another, and all good for different reasons. I would happily re-read each and every one. What do you like to read?

Brooklyn - Colm Toibin

This was longlisted for last year's Booker and won the Costa Book Award, so it has form. And it was really good. Until the end, which I thought was really weak and didn't really resolve anything. But apart from that, it's a good read, quite short, but interesting. It follows Eilis Lacey, as she moves from Ireland to New York in the 1950s and begins a new life, full of possibilities. Eilis is a likeable, sympathetic character, you feel for her when she suffers from homesickness and loneliness, and as she learns how to be part of the new society she finds herself in. There are sad moments, but balanced out with the happiness Eilis finds in Brooklyn.

Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Stresshead no more

Ok, deep breath, breathe in, breathe out. Calm.

So following yesterday's stressed out moment, I resolved the situation, or at least as much as I can right now. Thank you Universe for finally stepping in and fixing things a little. Hopefully it'll all go smoothly now.

I'm off to the Science Museum today, for another Lates. Should be good, I'll try and take some photos, and post them tomorrow or so. I need a night to de-stress and have fun. Going out for dinner first, with my cousin, who I'm dragging along to the museum. We'll have a giggle and it finishes early enough that I won't be out too late, or be too tired.

I'll be baking brownies this week too, and no, not the 'magic' kind!! We're having a little picnic on Friday in the local park and then, when it gets a bit chilly in the evening, popping to the pub for a drink or two to round off the week. It's all been a bit hectic, and a bit "argh!!!" so a chance to chill with my friends, have a gossip and a glass of wine will be good.

Here's to a good second half of this week. :)

Tuesday, 27 April 2010

Watch Your Mouth - Daniel Handler

I really liked Handler's first novel The Basic Eight, and I was hoping for more of the same. But this is a very weird book. The narrator starts off by explaining that everything you are about to read may or may not have happened and gives a selection of potential openings. It's supposedly set out like an opera, or so Joseph Last-name-changed-to-protect-the-innocent claims. But is anything as it seems. By the end I still wasn't entirely sure what was going on. Most unsatisfactory. And odd.
Trivia fact: Daniel Handler is also Lemony Snicket, author of A Series Of Unfortunate Events.

The Children's Book - A.S. Byatt

I loved this book. I wasn't sure at first, I didn't enjoy Possession at all, and it took a while to warm to this one. But once I did, oh boy! I'm not sure about the title, it doesn't give anything away, which is good, but at the same time, it's not something that adds enticement.
The story is rather epic, covering the late Victorian period upto and including WW1. It centres on several families, the Wellwoods, the Cains, the Fludds, the Warrens and their friends. Following the growing up of the children in these families, Olive and Humprey Wellwood's seven, their cousins, and friends as they try to work out what they want to be and who they are in the early years of the 20th Century. It's beautifully well written, delicious old-fashioned storytelling, with some poignant and tragic moments. Not to be read in one go, but slowly and savoured. It was nominated for last year's Booker prize, and it's a shame it lost. On my 'to read' list is the eventual winner Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall, but I wonder if I'll enjoy that as much as I did this.

"Things fall apart, the centre cannot hold..."

Why, when I think I'm getting it together, does it all fall apart again?

I have a post-it stuck to my wall, it says "Everything will be ok in the end. If it's not ok, it's not the end."
Doesn't feel that way right now, it's not ok, but it might just be the end. For now. Of this chapter. Things are not in my control. But when are they. Never.

My head is spinning with all these plates I have to keep rotating, or they'll fall, and smash, and then where will I be. I need time out from my life. Time out from this horrid mess that has been my existence so far. Just a day off from myself. Maybe that'd fix it. I don't know. One thing's for sure. I don't have the answers.

Monday, 26 April 2010

New Music Monday

So following on from the Amanda Palmer "Fuck the volcano" gig on Thursday, I found myself in a basement underneath The World's End pub in Camden, appropriately called Underworld, yesterday for an Amanda Palmer surprise gig. Down the stairs from the bright Spring sunshine to the cosy venue we went, unsure what we would find.
The excellent Bitter Ruin from Thursday were just getting the crowd warmed up as we arrived, and they were followed by the less excellent but game for anything Robots in Disguise, who were very cheerful. Then Jason Webley, Amanda Palmer's Evelyn Evelyn partner, took to the stage. He hadn't been able to make Thursday's show, so I hadn't heard him before. He's awesome, and rather nice to look at too (minus the beard). Finally the always awesome Amanda Palmer brought her ukulele out to serenade us. Jason joined her for a hilarious song called Electric Blanket that they had composed in Manchester on a previous tour, some Evelyn Evelyn 'covers', and another celebration of the life of Malcolm McLaren, and then Michael Jackson. They did a rendition of Webley's Icarus, and finished with The Dresden Dolls Sing, one of my favourites. An excellent, rolicking show.

Saturday, 24 April 2010

Changes to the blogness

I'm thinking of combining my other blog with this one. The other blog ( called A Book A Day Bookworm) is where I write about my love of reading, of books, and review my last read book. It gets a bit neglected, as I don't always write a review or post for it when I should. Sometimes I leave it for weeks and then decide to write about whatever I've recently been reading. I think I could just do the occasional review here instead and not bother too much with having it seperated out. Reading matters to me, and this is my blog. I write my thoughts, random things, lists and post photos. I guess what I'm saying is, there are about to be a lot more book reviews (although there are currently none here) and a few literature based posts. I might try it as an experimen for a bit, then make a decision as to whether or not permanently switch to just this one blog.
 I also just joined 20-something bloggers, so hopefully more people will be reading my scribbles too. Let's see how it goes.

Friday, 23 April 2010

Once Upon A Time I Left My Hovel And Ventured Out...

Had a terrific night out last night. Went to see Amanda Palmer with Evelyn Evelyn, however, due to the volcanic ash cloud it ended up being an AFP solo show. Which was awesome. The support acts, Bitter Ruin, Robots in Disguise (I don't actually like them, but they were ok) and Melissa Auf Der Maur were fantastic, even though it was acoustic on borrowed instruments!
Amanda Palmer inspires devotion in her fans, people genuinely love her. She's funny, sweary, and talented. She played a selection of Dresden Dolls and solo material, and Jason Webley (the other half of EE) joined her via web cam on his plane to London for a couple of songs. I loved the rendition of Delilah (one of my favourite songs) and I Would For You, with Melissa auf der Maur on bass. The whole show was fantastic, including when she invited the front row onto the stage to help honour Malcolm McLaren whose funeral procession she'd seen driving through Camden that morning, so she rocked out with the lucky fans to Anarchy in the UK. Someone even smashed up their ukulele!! Then she went crowd-surfing, the look of horror on the security guard's face! Her phone got lost in the crowd, but was reunited with it's owner very swiftly, no one there would steal from her.
 All in all it was an fab night. After the show Amanda Palmer and Neil Gaiman were signing stuff, and I got my copy of the EE album signed and Gaiman's American Gods (aka one of my favourite books) signed.

I wish I could remember what she was singing at this point!
Signing my stuff!

Melissa auf der Maur

AFP & Bitter Ruin performing 'Fuck the Ash Cloud' as debuted in Dublin (we had to pretend to be Dubliners!)

Delilah (with Bitter Ruin's Georgia)

I Would For You (with MadM)

Crowdsurfing (much to the security guard's horror)

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Things to look forward to

For a change there's a fair bit going on in my life, and all of it's good stuff!!
This week I'm seeing an old friend I haven't seen for ages, he moved up North and never came back, til now! We've been friends since we were kids, so it should be good to get together and catch up.
Then, on Thursday, I'm going to see the awesomeness that is Amanda Palmer with another old friend. I've needed a night out for a while, and live music's always good. I've seen AFP before, in the atmospheric setting of Union Chapel, last year, just before my birthday. So I'm looking forward to seeing what she's going to do this time round, photos to follow.

I'm hoping that there are more fun things coming my way soon, fingers crossed!!

Saturday, 17 April 2010

Getting Political

Here in the UK, we're gearing up for the General Election next month where we get the dubious honour of trying to work out which pack of liars we loathe the least to run our country (can you tell I have no faith in our politicians?). There has been plenty going on in this country over the last year that sapped all the belief in the political process I used to have. From the expenses scandal to the Government's inability to stem the flow of chaos resulting from the banking crisis (bankers are still making a fortune in bonuses and there are millions unemployed, what the f?). Basically I'm fed up.
Labour has been in power for the last 13 years and from where I'm sitting, not much has improved. What has personally affected me has been being a member of the most over-tested generation of school children ever, university tuition fees resulting in a mountain of student loan debt I don't anticipate paying off any time soon, and the loss of my job due to the recession. None of those things have been within my power to stop. But they were within the Government's.
I consider myself a politicised person, I believe strongly in democracy, the importance of voting, the role of government to do it's best to run this country, and in fairness. I stayed up all night watching Obama be elected President over the pond, online, desperate to see America change things for the better. Now it's our turn. Unfortunately we don't have Barack, or even a Hillary, instead we have Gordon 'same old, same old' Brown, David 'shiny faced' Cameron or at an outside chance Nick 'the alternative' Clegg.
I watched part of the first ever leadership debate on tv the other night (elections have been around for ages, as has tv, it's taken a while to combine the two). I didn't watch the whole thing because after a while of listening to Brown and Cameron exchange lies, I could feel my blood pressure rise and I was shouting at the tv (poor thing, it's not it's fault), so I turned over and watched Outnumbered (which is hysterical and brilliant, watch it on BBC iplayer) so I could calm down. But what I did see incensed me a lot. Brown has been PM for several years now, Labour has been in power over a decade and the reforms he kept talking about, have never been implemented, the only thing Cameron said that I agreed with was that. They've had plenty of time to reform the House of Commons and the House of Lords, to change things, and they just haven't.
Now I don't like the Conservatives, I don't like their policies, or their ridiculously privileged shadow cabinet, and their absurdly shiny faced leader, he has a face I just want to smack. When he talks I hear "blah, blah, blah, tax the poor, blah, blah, duck houses, blah blah" etc. I don't think I would personally benefit from having them in power.
I did like how Nick Clegg, Liberal Democrat leader, came across. He's been presented as the dark horse of the election, and he was quite funny in the debate. But is funny a good reason to vote for him? His party has positioned itself as the only real alternative to the two parties who, as he said, have been playing pass the parcel with the government for many years. But I'm just not sure who to vote for. There are two more debates to go, and I hope someone raises the issue of higher education funding (it's very important for me!) in one of them. At this rate, I'm going to the polls on May 6th just as confused as I am now. Oh dear!!

Thursday, 15 April 2010

Personal Statement Dread

What do you put on a personal statement? This is my current preoccupation. I'm getting my act together and filling out my Masters application, and I've got to the dreaded personal statement section. I have no idea what to write. Apart from "I never know what to write here. Please, please, please give me a place on this course." Do you think that'd do?
It's not just academic forms that require one, most of the job applications I've filled out while on my quest to find gainful employment insist on one too. I worry about how I come across. Me in real life, and me on an application form are so completely different. Real Me is slightly manic, talks a mile a minute, is outgoing and fun (I think!). Application form Me is a bit flat, struggles to describe herself and definitely doesn't seem to be saying Employee of the Year material right here folks!! Which is of course, exactly what I'm trying to get across. I just wish that someone would get my CV or application form (all 3 million pages of it!) and ring me up to either interview me there and then or to make an appointment to actually meet me and speak to me before dismissing the form I spent ages sweating over.
So, now all I have to do is work out what to say this time round. The course is at my old uni, and the convening tutor told me not to worry too much about the personal statement, but I do. I want to write something that expresses why this course is important to me, what Roehampton (the uni) means to me and why they need to give me a place ASAP, all without sounding a bit pathetic and weird. Well, weird is a word I hear a lot in conjunction with myself so I might let that slide. But I definitely don't want to sound pathetic. Argh!!! I hate all these stupid forms.

Wednesday, 14 April 2010

Blah, blah, blah

The previous 2 posts have been sitting in my post list for a while. I wrote them when I was feeling pretty rubbish. I don't really know why I'm sharing them now when I clearly didn't feeling like sharing when I first wrote them. I think sometimes I have this compulsion to overshare, to pour out all the things I'm thinking and feeling even if no one wants to hear. I do this verbally all the time. To my friends, my mother, and now random cyberspace strangers. I probably need help.

All the things I'm thinking

I want to grow, mature
To write
Just what is art anyway?
I wish I could remember the poem I composed somewhere between waking and sleeping
Sonambulent state
Rain stains the glass
Voices in my head
Dreaming of poetry
Regurgitating words
A burst of glory
Or a scrawl of shit
The Greatest
Trying to roar what's inside
Pull it out, gasping for air
Stepping on syntax
Caught somewhere
Neither dream or real life
And what is it you want to do with yours?
Feeling stuck in the rut at 23
Where is this going?
Best Years of my life
Right (note the sarcasm)
Searching for answers
Signs, a map to wherever it is I'm meant to be headed -
this state of gracelessness
Almost a grief.


Sometimes it feels as if I'm surrounded by Death,
A little further up and farther out,
Higher than the angels
But sullied by grief
Beset with thoughts of this and that
Trapped behind darkening glass
Held within a devil's grip
Filled with life
And yet remaining static
Trembling on the edge of joy
Maddened by the onset of darkness
Seeking a glimmer of light
Somewhere on the other side of sky

Thursday, 8 April 2010

Absence explanation

There's been some stuff going on with me recently that I've needed to process away from this blog, or even writing down what's been going on. I've been thinking a lot about my friendships and the way things that have happened have made me feel. Re-evaluating my relationships with the people I care about has not made me feel particularly cheerful about things, I really hate this feeling, when it's time to call it a day on something that was important. The end of any relationship sucks, and sometimes friendships are harder to end than romantic entanglements. I've decided to call time on one friendship in particular. I've been making all the effort to keep in touch and arrange get togethers etc and I'm done. It's not fair and I don't need a friend who behaves like that. I don't like feeling like this, and I don't like losing a friend, but I don't know what else to do.