Saturday, November 27, 2004

Saturday finds me working in the office. Or more appropriately having fixed one urgent job experiencing a severe motivation bypass. Yesterday we had our Creative Conference and all the creatives were allowed to have a day of most stimulating activities. We carved clay to make a mould of our faces. We listened to a variety of talks.

One from a man who looks after wolves but who avoided eye-contact with people, and another from a brace of young fashion designers. There was an interesting talk from Professor David Canter styled "the leading pioneer of criminal psychological profiling". He described the geographical patterns that burglars, murderers, rapists etc. make in their crimes, and from this pattern it is possible to infer the likely area they live in: usually somewhere in the middle. I can't say that my hair was blown backwards as if in a wind tunnel by this revelation but it was nevertheless interesting how extremely practical this was. There was no talk about whether the man liked red, or hated his father. What you got was a likely address, which has to be handier in the long run for the Old Bill. He showed some film of an ex-burglar describing his modus operandi. He was drawing a map of his activities and his route was as entirely predictable as that of a postman. My pal Pat made a good point in that the burglar was motivated by fear -- that he had to be near to base and there was an easy escape route for him.

The other speaker of note was Chris Moon who was a former army officer, who survived being kidnapped by the Khmer Rouge and was later blown up while working in Mozambique in mine clearance, losing part of an arm and leg. Subsequently he has run marathons and generally bounced back in an amazing way. He made a good motivational speaker talking about never behaving like a victim, and always being positive and so on. Afterwards I chatted to him briefly wondering if he knew about a pal of mine who had worked in mine clearance too.

This was all interesting. Otherwise I am buried under work, am taking an increasingly hard line with my solicitors but all house moves and so on in cold storage. Having to rely on the good nature of my mum and her husband, which makes me feel like a chump at 45.

Monday, November 22, 2004

Still no sign of a date for moving to Brighton, but the move from Chiswick has been profoundly good for my mood. Despite going back to live with my mother it actually feels like a step forward. And I have been fed porridge coffee and toast in the morning which is a fab way to start the day.

Have been burning the candle at both ends lately. Last week, for example, I went to see pop group Keane in the Brixton Academy. They were inoffensive enough with some tunes. Not knowing their stuff I very much enjoyed watching the keyboard player rolling about about on his stool like someone from the Muppet Orchestra. Worth the entrance fee alone.

Daunting morning, working over the weekend on a piece for some junk mail magazine, which I have been told this morning isn't what they are looking for so back to the drawing board. Meanwhile a tsunami of work is roaring towards me, and I don't feel like doing any of it. Bah.

I don't know whats' going on but Shaila, yet another old pal from school, got in touch with me and I'm looking forward to going out with her next week.

Tuesday, November 16, 2004

Blissful day today. Having moved all my belongings from my flat and put them into storage. Leaving my flat in chiswick was a fantastic feeling. I associate the place with a period of uncomfortable transition and quite a lot of straightforward gloom and misery. I walked out laden with four bags, after the removal guys had taken the rest, and did not look back.

It was amazingly hassle free and I felt tired but cheery all day, even as I was cleaning fridges and toilets and so on. The removal guys were fine and I also got them to pack my stuff. One reeked so strongly of garlic that I could smell him in the flat an hour after he'd gone. I love garlic and eat it all the time, but I don't think I exude garlic like that. Reminds me of when Maddog reeked of garlic for a week after getting home starving hungry and drunk with nothing other than a raw bulb of garlic to eat. Anton was working with Maddog at the time and I remember him moaning about it.

I was absolutely shattered when I turned up at my mother's place like a narcoleptic, albeit a hungry one. As I travelled on the tube to North London my friend Mark called me. We have been friends since we were 11 and were at school together. We'd lost touch some time ago but he found me on the internet and contacted me. This is brilliant, and I can't wait to put the world to rights with him over a beer somewhere. This followed hot on the heels of a University friend of mine Sue doing the same last week. Typically my battery died on my mobile as we were speaking, but he called me again later when I'd recharged.

Today I had a day's holiday, and was absolutely free. Nothing to organise, and no work to be done.

Had a bit of an Edward Thomas morning. I walked for two hours some of it in woods on the edge of London near where my mother lives called Stanmore Country park. Came across a pond that gave me a sort of haiku moment. White swan ghosting slowly towards me on a surface carpeted with duckweed and dotted with floating golden leaves. The swan made a small wake of black water which was rapidly reclaimed by the green. It stopped about six feet from me and we looked at each other for a couple of minutes till it pushed off again because I wasn't feeding it.

Back to my mother's place this afternoon. Spent time restringing Bianca my guitar and reading a pal's manuscript for a children's book, and it is very good so far. Allowed myself the luxury of more sleep and as a result beginning to appear slightly less cadaverous today.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

Have had a great time over the last few days. Spent time with comedians this week. Saw my friend Di perform in a venue called Pear Shaped in Fitzrovia. I think I enjoyed myself more than anyone else in the room. There were about a dozen comedians and seven actual audience members. The comedians were busy not laughing at one another, and the audience were assailed by a variety of material (with Di's being rather good I thought). After this I repaired to an unremarkable soho dive with three comedians, which was mildly diverting. They spent time talking about who was good, and who wasn't. Bitching like a bunch of poets. I sloped off in a cab after realising that it was gone one.

Following night went out in town again on an agency jolly. I showily consumed snails and had a lovely chat with a lovely woman who'd just started. We all went to the Comedy Store where there was another night of comedy to be had, with a real audience. After this it was to another soho bar and another taxi home.

Crept into work on Friday and, it being Paula's leaving day, went off for lunch at the Brackenbury french restaurant. Ended up partying from then on till gone midnight. Paula told me the best joke of the week... What's the most dangerous insect in the world? The hepatitis bee.

Went off to see Bridget Jones on Saturday night with a lady. The film was mush but Rene Z was watchable and funny.

Thursday, November 04, 2004

Now clear I will have to move from my current flat. The deal for the house I am buying is stalling so I'm forced to put my stuff into storage and stay at my mother's house for an unknown period. This is extremely trying.

Celebrated Paul's birthday at Le Boujoulais in town, in the members-only restaurant. Michel is a member and went into full French mode on entry. Marvellous food though. And Paul touched by a good showing for his 40th birthday.

The night after I went to see Kate and Gavin in Wandsworth. Gavin cooked Brazillian steaks and we gorged happily on these. They appear very happy together in their new flat.

Like most of the world, was plunged into a gloom about Bush being re-elected.

Monday, November 01, 2004

Have started swimming again. Went yesterday and today. Amazing how a stupid flu stopped me swimming for a month, and what unspeakable physical degeneration can happen in this time. Waddled about like a sumo wrestler. Ever since I had the flu I have been feeling run down and somewhat depressed, so swimming again sends a good signal to myself.

Monday very groundhog day. No progress on house. Work marginally less vile, leaving now in darkness as the clocks have gone back.

Dealing with an aberrant stray threat from the tax office demanding money in error, which my lovely accountant says I will not have to pay. I will have to move out of my current flat in two weeks, so it seems that I will have to put everything into storage and rely on friends and relatives for a roof over my head. In moments of abject gloom I can see this dragging on past Christmas.

Watched a wonderful dvd yesterday of the film Cinema Paradiso. Top film. Was invited round to Michel and Matty's place and ate roast pork with the boys, Eva and Maxine. Had met Matty in the North Star an hour or so before where Matt had bumped into an Italian student who lives above him. She had two student friends. They seemed to me like such sulky children. I wonder if Simon and me were like that 25 years ago. Pub was nice, with halloween lights suspended from helium balloons among other decorations, and loudly playing seventies soul and disco which took me back way before these students were ghoulish gleams in their parent's eyes.