Monday, November 30, 2009

Stir crazy

Worked monastically for about twelve hours today, and apart from ordering some postcards with a picture of Skelton Yawngrave on them, achieved nothing.

Some days are like this, and by the end of it you end up hating everything you have ever written. This gloom magnified by the steady rain. This also means Calliope was hanging about being fractious and creating trouble.

By the evening, even I was feeling stir crazy. Sloped off for a solitary beer in the Battle of Trafalgar to read a book of poems called Perched on Nothing's Branch, by Attila József. An early suicide. A couple of his last works full of train imagery, which was the way he offed himself. Nice.

Mystery fish death. Sat on my gold sofa at lunch, and noticed one of my gold rosy barbs suddenly acting as if it were being attacked, and within minutes it was being grazed on by one of its former tankmates as it lay dying. I dispatched it sadly. Until moments before, it had seemed perfectly healthy, and the water quality good, and other denizens of the tank in robust health.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

In rainbows

At Mum and Mason's house. Drank lots of coffee and had pancakes and maple syrup while chatting for several hours. Raining heavily most of the time but with occasional sunlight, which sent rainbows into Mum and Mason's back room through the piece of cut crystal they have hanging in the window. Mason telling Lorraine all about his family, and Lorraine showing them photos of the house she's going to move into.

Back to Brighton through heavy rain showers. From the motorway, the countryside seemed decorated with rainbows, and Lorraine was also driving into rainbows that seemed to touch the car, caused by the spray on the motorway as people driving at 80mph surfed along under the signs reading SLOW DOWN! 50. Got out of the car, and walked past a small child being shown a complete rainbow over Brighton by its parents.

Battle of Trafalgar for roast lunch, before retiring home to slug on the sofa and watch some Sunday evening TV as the rain fell. Watched Chelsea comfortably beat Arsenal on Match of the Day to retain their top of the division status. All right with the world.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Of gin and vitamins

Up early this morning, Sam called around and we drove off to Lorraine's house to pick up Beth and Mark and then she drove us to Basingstoke. Sustained munching of Harribo sweets, and leg numbing of the young 'uns squeezed in the back. They were all off to a family party, while I was dropped off at Basingstoke station -which I associate with some of my grimmer days at IBM -and was shortly collected by Shaila.

Shaila's home was already decorated with two Christmas trees. Soon, however, Shaila was letting me try lots of things she has foraged from the nearby fields. So, with an excellent home rolled sushi lunch, we had a nip of sloe gin. (Shaila has a degree in biochemistry so explained her decision to make this gin was medical, as it is good against colds.) Also a lovely elderberry cordial, honey with rosehips, and a pinch of nettle seeds. Later we ambled into local fields where she has been working with the local wildlife trust sowing meadow wildflowers. The weather turning very cold as we did so, and the rain beginning.

I also had a long chat with her 17 year old son Chris too, a very bright and interesting boy. He has an interview at Magdalen College soon and he wants to be a writer.

Interestingly he is a fan of tabloid troubling Pete Doherty. I don't know too much about him other than I think he conforms to the yawnsome, self-destructive stereotype of 'troubled genius'. A while ago Chris made his way to Doherty's house and was invited in and befriended, and they have met several times. Chris showed me a painting done by Doherty, spattered with his own blood, which Doherty told him to give to his mother. Instead of admiring someone from afar, Chris simply and directly went to talk to him, which I think shows an unusual level of self-possession, and it does Doherty great credit to be so engaged with and encouraging to his fans.

After these conversations Lorraine came to pick me up, buzzing as I was with gin and vitamins. Then off to Mum and Mason's in torrential rain. Arrived safely to conduct some serious knife and forkwork: a turkey thanksgiving dinner. They'd also invited Ben and Poppy and Robert and Tanya too, and I had fun chatting despite forking down far too much food. Conversations ranging from Robert talking about the financial meltdown in Dubai, to Strictly Come Dancing which Poppy adores.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Cheek

A good day today. Managed to get quite a bit of work done, and my brain reasonably focused, and feeling more energetic and more healthy than I have done for a few weeks. Got a manuscript together for a poetry competition. Also reading some more poems from Richard. Fantastic stuff.

Toby sent me a link to the new song by the splendid School Food Punishment. Intense Japanse rock with prog undertones and a babelicious singer. You can't go wrong.

In the evening up the road to hang out with Anton, and address a couple of cans of Żywiec that needed drinking. I told him about my new craze for Classical Music (which I have been listening to remorselessly). He put on some Borodin, which I didn't know. Anton likes Russian music, which, as naturally as night follows day, led to Euroman Cometh by JJ Burnel, which wasn't the same thing at all. A song called Crabs, about crabs rather lowered the tone.

Below a photo Kate took of me in Guernsey. Captioned cheekily in facebook "An ancient monument. Oh, and Peter Kenny!" Bah. Phoned her to remonstrate.


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Doggets with Bob

Woke up wrong headed today. Everything seems impossible to achieve. Despite this I have sent Matthew the updated version of the words for our concert today, and went to the gym for a really mild mannered workout.

Pushed off up to London this afternoon to meet Bob. I was early and lurked in the Royal Festival Hall looking out at the river and the pretty lights, and the Millennium Wheel. Increasingly feeling like a tourist these days in London, despite having worked for a couple of years in the IBM building almost next door.


Met Bob in the Auberge at Waterloo. He looking sprightly and we had a few beers, there in the Mulberry Bush, and Doggets which Mad Dog is inextricably drawn to. We didn't play pool but sat on stools watching a young couple playing as we discussed wide-ranging, profound issues. The boyfriend had those fashionable trousers that hang off the bum, and when he leant across the table to take a shot, we got a view of genuinely unpleasant hairiness, which put me off my beer for a bit.

Crossed the bridge looking back at Sea Containers House, and the South Bank, with the trees lit up with little blue lights and the dark sweep of the river towards the Festival Hall, and The Houses of Parliament. London can be a magnificent city sometimes.

Bob and I then walked down Fleet Street and found our usual subterranean curry house for a curry. Bob always asks for the hottest curry, and then demands extra chili with a manic intensity. For some reason this means I often get a much hotter curry than usual too, as I am tarred with the same brush.

Home on the late train, tired, listening to the Silmarillion. It is written in such a lofty way, and crammed with lineage and millions of invented names and races and so on, it all gets a bit much.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A noteable grave


Really bad night's sleep, struggling for focus during the day.
One of my tangents, is that because of knowing Matthew, and writing the words for his piece, I am trying to learn more about music. I can play guitar after a fashion, but would not describe myself as a musician. And classical music (and I am vaguely aware that this is not really the right term for it) is an area in which my knowledge is patchy. Been reading Introducing Music by Otto Karolyi, which has been sitting on my shelf for about ten years. It starts on a rather Biblical note:
In the beginning, we may suppose, there was silence. There was a silence because there was no motion, and therefore no vibration could move the air - a phenomenon of fundamental importance in producing sound. The creation of the world, however it came about, must have been accompanied by motion - and therefore sound.
Later I was listening to the brooding Shostakovich string quartet #8 played by the Kronos Quartet. I rather liked it, and in reading about the piece I learned that he signed his work with a musical motif. I really like the idea of a signature encoded in the music. Apparently Bach did the same thing. You learn something every day.

Below a signature in music on Shostakovich's grave.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Storming

Up fairly early, and had a great morning's session reworking the monologues for the Concert. This proving a lot easier than I had anticipated, which is great news. Feeling less exhausted than of late.

My mood changed somewhat when my emailed MS and carefully crafted letter etc. I sent to an agent last thing on Friday was summarily rejected by 12:15 today. Peeving, but decisive.

I became convinced I could hear the sea from my study window today. Took myself down there this lunchtime, and the sea and wind were exhilaratingly fierce. I was literally almost blown off my feet at one point. The sea whiter than I have seen it. It all helped to put passing peeves about manuscripts in perspective. Walked on the pier and the waves looked huge and occasionally peaking not far underfoot.

Home to hot soup. Not so focused this afternoon. And I broke off to watch Shaun the Sheep for ten minutes, on the recommendation of Lorraine's dad.

Below stormy seas - towards the marina, with waves breaking hard against it. The old pier, and the white sea. Click 'em to make them bigger. Rather pleased with the bottom one.





Sunday, November 22, 2009

Wind and my lucky stars

A fierce wind rattling the sash windows in Lorraine's bedroom woke me up early. Fell asleep again, and had a dream about a huge spider. I woke with an appalled start when Brian, Lorraine's dribbling silver tabby, had placed his spidery face in my hand as I slept. Foul weather today, but at least not the flooding that they are having in the North. Up early (for a Sunday) and off with Lorraine and her parents to have another look at the house she is buying. I really like the place. Pat and Maureen, once they'd got over the uniqueness of the property (a converted church hall, and one time nunnery), liked it too. It's current owner is a photographer and healer, so the house smells nice, and is dotted with interesting objet trouvé and the obligatory large Buddha.

After this, we repaired to the nearby Rotunda Cafe in Preston Park for teas and substantial breakfast while the wind and rain held sway outside, and small children ran in circles making high pitched screeching noises.

A quiet afternoon with Lorraine. Freeview crashed this evening so the TV didn't work (and not just for me). Luckily Lorraine and I can read, so all was not lost. Lorraine then back home, and now I am listening to the wind in the Twitten as I write this, and eager to get on with my writing next week, and thanking my lucky stars that I have the opportunity to do so.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Beth's 18th

A mooch in the lanes with Lorraine where I bought Beth a (hopefully) tasteful silver bangle for her 18th. Then Lorraine collected the marshmallow and chocolate cake from Choccywoccydoodah to deliver to the restaurant. That shop is always crowded and their window is always full of mindbogglingly innovative things made out of chocolate. Their Halloween display for example was spectacular, full of chocolate skulls. After this was done, Lorraine and I had a cup of tea outside in the damp park, listening to a jazz trio.

Met Matt in Starbucks to talk about This concert will fall in love with you. I am very excited about this project, and am going to customise my original concept so that it perfectly fits in a concert setting. I am going to do the writing for it this next week, and Matt is going to start composing. Really enjoying the whole thing.

Home, and a powernap before going out again to celebrate Beth's 18th (which was actually yesterday). Had a drink in an incredibly full The Basketmakers, spotting Matt and John there, before going off to La Strada. Attendees for Beth's meal were Mark, Sam, Lorraine, Pat and Maureen (Lorraine's folks) Mark's family: brother David, his parents Glenda and Richard, and Phyllis, Glenda's mother. The La Strada staff were pleasant, and the food pretty good. Lots of chatting.

I find myself very fond of Beth these days, and was pleased she seemed to be having a nice enough time (despite yesterday's late and lively birthday night). Beth liked the cake and presents. Then off to have a final beer in The Pond (pretty much the only place that we could all fit into) before the younger ones were left to it. Lorraine and I and Pat and Maureen went back to Lorraine's house all having quite a laugh in the cab talking about darts, which Maureen is fierce for.

Below Beth gets her cake. With Mark and Maureen and a random waiter who seems to be mopping wine from Pat's shirt in the background.


Friday, November 20, 2009

Not getting out enough

Finally got Skelton Yawngrave off to a new agent today. Have created what I call a snub-nosed version of the text which explodes into the action like a snub nosed bullet into a brain. Writing the covering letter and re-writing the synopsis a is lengthy and anxious procedure, like a job application. Feels good to have done it, and each time I go through this I think the package is getting stronger.

Otherwise a nice note from Catriona in Guernsey who is liking the slow but steady progress on the Anthology of Guernsey site. Also Richard has been on the radio talking about it too. Meanwhile, in between feeling groggy, I have been writing new poems, which is a very good feeling. My murder my babies mood has actually been very productive. The week's tally is that I have started a new poem, finished another new poem, and fixed three old poems to the point that I like them again. For me this is speedy work indeed. It helps enormously to know that there is an actual point to it: my Guernsey Double publication with Richard next year.

Been dropping eye drops into one of Calliope's eyes which is often sore. She is remarkably tolerant of this, and although she goes rigid she suffers it, and we are friends afterwards.

Realised that through not feeling well, and having lots of stuff to get on with I have seen nobody since Tuesday bar the staff at the larder (aka Marks and Spencers). So it was good to see Lorraine come by early this evening. It is Beth's 18th birthday and she was having fun with her mates tonight. Lorraine had been putting up bunting, and balloons and so on.

Went to the pub and had a chat. Still feeling rather shattered, but it did me the world of good to get out. Lorraine and First Matie texting each other while I was in the pub.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Murdering your babies

Ezra Pound said that you have to learn to murder your babies, i.e. be ruthless with your own work. I have had nagging doubts about the first chapter of Skelton Yawngrave, and today I simply lopped it off. Now the reader is plunged straight into the story with no preamble and I think this works better. The babies squeaked in protest when I stabbed them though. Also I have pinpointed my next targets to send SY to.

Have also been brutal with some of my poems, pruning dead wood to reveal some good things below. I have managed to fix several half done poems in the last few days which for me is speedy work. Am making the most of this mood.

I seem to have a mild flu -but luckily as I am working from home, this is not really affecting my productivity.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Duvet day

Woke late, feeling shattered and coughing sporadically. However after some work in the morning, I was lucky enough to be able to spend the afternoon and evening reading The Book of Ebenezer Le Page on my sofa under a blanket, in between bouts of narcolepsy. It's about twenty years since I read the finest novel written about Guernsey by a Guernseyman called G.B.Edwards, who it seems spent the majority of his life in exile from the island.

Otherwise chatted on the phone to Sophie, and briefly to Electra who wanted me to persuade Sophie that facebook was okay. Also called by Matthew who said the percussionists were booked for our concert. Lorraine called too, very tired. I hope she hasn't got the strange tired lurgy I have today.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Dunkin' the doughnut

Yippee. A really good session this morning, making big strides in getting my stuff together for my project with Richard. Also wrote to Edward Chaney who is (among other things) the literary executor of GB Edwards, and pushed on with the Anthology site.

Received some photos of my late friend Tim Gallagher this morning. I'd been contacted by Mo, who was a friend of Tim's and had found my piece on the net about him.

Broke off for a walk. Took myself down to the wild sea. Even at noon the sun was still quite low, and the waves were so big they cast shadows as they came in. Lovely to stand in the gale and blow the cobwebs away. Back home and pressed on with at last being able to add a bit more to the Anthology website. All making me feel less frustrated.

Very tired this evening.

Below the doughnut getting a dunking, and a couple of views from the pier.



Sunday, November 15, 2009

Another man's flowers

Felt groggy this morning. But enjoyed breakfast in the Nia cafe with Lorraine and her parents Pat and Maureen, who returned from a trip to Ireland last night.

Trying not to get tetchy with the poor service and the cold coffee. However we had fun, and I enjoyed a slow mooch through the Laines with them afterwards looking randomly in giftshops, newagey shops, and furniture shops. I like Lorraine's parents, and enjoyed explaining to Maureen that I had left London because the police were after me. They have just bought an aquarium after looking at mine when they were house-sitting for me, so I think my days as a fish consultant are not done.

When Lorraine's Mum and Dad had gone, I spent the afternoon enjoying Richard's poems. Every poem he writes, ends well, and there is a wonderful mix of feelings in them. And it has the added bonus of taking me back to Guernsey in my imagination. Lovely.

Lorraine had lots of work to do this afternoon, and she pushed on with it. I fed her chicken sandwiches, until it was time to watch the new episode of Dr Who, which was busy and chaotic.

After Lorraine left, Calliope, charging after a fly, managed to smash the pot of my 20 year old jade plant.

And so to bed.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Busy doing nothing

Stormy morning. Lorraine drove me and Calliope, who yowled throatily from the moment we stepped out into the gale fiercely blowing down the Twitten, to Top Cats. I don't know if it is the plug-in tranquilising cat pheromones they have, but once there she was happy to be injected, have a pill pushed down her gullet. Once back in the car the yowling restarted and continued until we were home again.

Lorraine and Beth shopping for Beth's birthday present, and returned to my place soaked by the storm.

Feeling very run down, I confined my activities to having a sleep in the afternoon, going food shopping, and cooking. Sat on my gold sofa watching Four weddings and a Funeral, while experiencing an annoying mix of tiredness and restless gloom.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The dead horse of the week

Up to London for another bout of neuropathic pain concepting. Talking to Lorraine before I got to the office, who gave me a pep talk as I was still self-indulgently gloomy. Although the surveyor cancelled this morning, a replacement was found and at last Lorraine's house buyer had a survey done. Perhaps things are going to move for her now.

Sean and I settled into the now familiar banter, as we gave the now necrotizing horse a good flogging. Was longing to be home all day, and felt decidedly jaded. Was offered some work over the weekend, which I declined. A manly hug from Sean as I left.

Anton persuaded me to download The Silmarillion which I was listening to on the train today, which I have not read for about thirty years. It's a bit mad and obsessional. But interesting too.

Nice to be home. It was very tidy, as I had used my computer rage yesterday to tidy up, defrost the fridge etc. When Lorraine came, we went out to find Matt and Wayne. We found them in the Basketmakers, and I had a fun evening talking to Matt and Lorraine. I have learned something new about myself from Matt recently. I am apparently a classic bear as I am a larger gentleman with a beard. And there is a pub he knows which is full of bears who mingle freely with otters, younger skinnier men with beards.

We three lurched back to the Tavern to meet Wayne, and Linda before floating home to eat cheese on toast. A really fun evening, and a great antidote to the petty frustrations of the week.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Dell sucks

After waiting for Windows 7 from Dell for three weeks, I received a delivery today. I had reloaded all my old software earlier this week, and got the guys in India to help me install the drivers, which the initial guy had left unloaded. Dell's website had informed me the software wouldn't be delivered till the end of the month. But here it was. In a large box. Opened the box to find a smallish DVD sized case inside. This contained nothing other than a bit of smug copy and a key number. Puzzled by this, and the fact the instructions made no sense I called Dell again. Turns out they'd sent me the wrong thing entirely. An upgrade from Windows 7 to Windows 7 ultimate. I had wasted the best part of yet another day on bloody computer stuff. Unbelievable.

Many apologies from the Dell folks in India, and I am getting a refund, and will make do with what I have now, seeing as at last I have a working desktop again. And hopefully drawing a line under three weeks of computer disruption.

Felt very depressed this evening at how little I have achieved this week. But I cheered myself up with the thought that, as I have a working computer I could at least make some progress tomorrow. Cue the agency phoning to ask me up to London for another bout of neuropathic pain.

Below: the sheer absurdity of Dell packaging. All this contained was a key number, and so I just had to photograph it. The keen-eyed will spot that Calliope had already crawled in the box.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Imaginary iron

A day in London. On the train I was gripped by the idea that I had left my iron on, and ended up having to ask Anton to go around to my house to check. I wasn't. Some kind of subconscious desire to return home manifesting itself probably. Still, it allowed Anton to reclaim his turntable which, much to his disgust, I hardly use.

At my old agency got to work Sean again for a last day of neuropathic pain. The new creative director said his client had told him that it was the best creative presentation they'd ever seen, this as much to do with his presentation as the work probably, but at least a nice bit of feedback.

The day spent squeezing blood from the stone of the same brief. We seem to set each other off somewhat, laughing hysterically as we trudged on with the same brief. I took a short walk at lunch along the misty river at lunchtime. Spent the day coming up with really complicated ideas, and in the end did two really simple ones.

Towards the end of the day, Matt called me saying that he has now booked St Michaels and All Angels church for three days next May. There is a deadline now, which is rather focusing.

Listening to Chuck Palahniuk's Haunted again on the way home. More gross-out stuff. I find his psychology quite poor, but you are so overwhelmed by bodily detail that you can mistake this for character. Still quite fascinating though, and well worth a look.

Home to a note from a delivery company who failed to deliver something today. I can only think it is the Dell software. Having checked online with them the day before yesterday when it said the 26th, I wouldn't be surprised. May have to redo all the things I'd done yesterday now.



Below two snaps of the misty brown Thames.



Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Cool for cats

Discovered today by tracking my Dell order that the Windows 7 upgrade is not due until 26 November. Several tiresome conversations with folks in India, now have restored my computer to limp on with Vista, but will be able to work, which is a boon. However in reinstalling iTunes every single one has duplicated, meaning I have to erase about 3000 tunes from it. Good grief.

Was called by the neuropathic pain people, and I've agreed to go to London tomorrow to help out on another concept. This rather breaks up my week, but at least it means a smidge more cash, which is always welcome.

Spoke to Phil today, all well with Ash and the new baby.

Have Lorraine's keyboard in my living room at the moment. Spent fifteen minutes or so noodling around on it, to stop myself from smashing up the computer. At one point Calliope, who had been watching attentively, briskly walked onto it, changed the setting with a swipe of her paw to a sort of organ sound and played a few bars of some free jazz on it. I swear that cat is more intelligent than the average moggie.

Monday, November 09, 2009

A curious coincidence

Cooler today. Donned the socks that Joan knitted. Transpires that Calliope keenly attracted to them and had my toe bitten quite hard at one point.

Also keenly feeling the fact my desktop computer is still not working. If the last Dell estimate of delivery is to be believed, I should have the software midweek. The jobs which are making me feel most anxious because they are not done, such as the anthology of Guernsey stuff, and starting phase two of the Skelton Yawngrave campaign, require me to have that computer.

Got a text to say that Phil and Ash, of my old agency Dell posse, have had a little girl today. An eight pounder, which is excellent news for them.

Otherwise, I worked on three poems and generally made them worse. Sat in Starbucks for a change of scene and tinkered over a large skinny latte. I read Richard's poems for the book, and some of them are wonderful. It is strange that when I read his work there are things in it that I have half thought of writing about but have failed to do so. To see them successfully achieved is strangely comforting.

Phoned late afternoon by John Hamilton of EQ Studios, who was put in touch with me by Wynford. He is toying with putting poems to music, and so I sent him a few to see if they'd butter his parsnips. Seemed like a nice guy. Naturally I told him at some length about the project that Matt and I are doing. Strange how putting my words to music has never happened before, and now there are two people interested in doing so. A curious coincidence.

Lorraine came here at 10:30, as all the beds are being used at her house. She also returned my jams, which was good news. She and First Matie are meeting up after work tomorrow to discuss a pick axe.

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Lorraine saves the day

Coffee and toast and a long chat with Mum and Mase this morning. Made sure I had scored several jams before we left, as Mum's jams are rather splendid. Lorraine and Mum conferring about jam making and looking at old cook books.

Then off to Brighton again, to meet Lorraine's mum and dad who were staying with Lorraine before flying off to Ireland to visit Lorraine's excellently named brother Kenny Peter. When we were driving along, I was struck suddenly by something that I'd never thought before: that the motorway was actually quite a beautiful thing. We were driving on a four lane motorway, and the cars were all travelling at the same speed, almost in formation. Not sure why it struck me as beautiful, but it did.

Anyway, Lorraine parked the car at the road at the end of my Twitten and I popped in to feed Calliope and drop some bits off. Emerging from my house after a couple of minutes I saw a rather disturbing scene. Lorraine was between two cars, one of which had collided into another, and she was supporting a man trapped between the vehicles. Later it became clearer what had happened: the handbrake had come off in a big car that the man had parked on the hill. This had rolled back and trapped his legs.

Lorraine, who had been waiting for me, ran out and helped his support his weight, and also held him and talked to him. He was in a good deal of pain and slipping in and out of consciousness. As the services turned up the firemen eventually freed him, and he was conscious when taken away. Much later Lorraine called the hospital and found that he was okay, and spoke to his wife who she had comforted lots too. I stood about feeling slightly useless, but also full of admiration for Lorraine. People very nice. The family of the man were invited into a house opposite, and the guy from the local cafe came out with a tray of teas for everyone, and offering help. The Battle of Trafalgar emptied out with blokes coming to move the car, but were told not to.

After, Lorraine was rather shaken but okay. One of the policemen said she had been a brick, and the firemen were very impressed with her too. Her old ward sister training kicked in, but it is different going into work expecting to deal with crises, rather than having one just thrust upon her. Lorraine is a splendid person.

We met her parents Pat and Maureen in the Basketmakers some time later for Sunday lunch and for Lorraine a much needed glass of shandy. I thanked Maureen for organising my airing cupboard when she and Pat were housesitting for me. Organisation is an excellent thing.

By happy accident that Matt was in there too, with a friend John, and we all sat on a table and had a really nice roast. The Basketmakers is rapidly becoming one of my favourite Brighton Pubs. Eventually Lorraine and Pat and Maureen left, and I hung about with Matt and John, discussing our project and also, at some length, death. I really like Matt which is handy in a collaborator.

Home to chat to Lorraine by phone, and delight in Chelsea beating Manchester United on match of the day. But shortly before I went to bed, I realised with horror that Lorraine had used all the drama of the day to steal the jars of jam Mum had given me.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Mick Ginty's wedding to Lucy

Very tired today, but after I scored a much needed haircut up to London in Lorraine's car to stay with Mum and Mase. Or, slightly more accurately, to treat their place like a hotel.

Was phoned by Wynford, who lives next door to Mum and Mase, before we left saying someone from a recording studio would be getting in touch to record some of my poems. Not sure what this completely out of the blue business is all about, but it seems quite interesting.

After a pitstop, up to Hatfield House where Mick Ginty was having his wedding reception. An amazing place, and I'd never been inside it. In our banquet room were huge tapestries hanging from the walls, and centuries old portraits, where everyone was depicted with disproportionately small heads.

Mick and his bride Lucy, who I'd never met, but who seemed very pleasant and attractive, were naturally having a lovely time. It did my heart good to see Mick at such an excellent moment. He and Lucy disappeared and re-emerged sporting some interesting clothes, Mick in a fetching red hat decorated with feathers. His new father in law, garbed temporarily in Elizabethan clothes, supplied a brief discourse about the history of the building, how Elizabeth I was there sitting under a tree when she learned that she would become Queen. The father in law misspoke at this point and actually said "shitting under a tree". Cue stifled snickering.

Mick and Lucy did the obligatory first dance. Then a young but very versatile covers band got going, after which Mick and Lucy seemed to do a good deal of dancing. Lorraine and I got talking to several people, including one ex colleague called Paul, who is now successfully selling mortgages.

Melted away into the night, with big drops of cold rain ending what had been a lovely sunny day. Home to Mum and Mase, who fed us a large Mason special sandwiches before we slid off to bed.

Below poor photos... But they give you an idea. Mick and Lucy, the hall, and the famous speech.



Friday, November 06, 2009

No place like it

Home today: sadly the place looked like a bomb had hit it. Oh the constantly depressing absence of servants.

Calliope thoughtfully woke me at 6:30, so had an early start, tidying up, laundry, shopping, paying bills (prompted a text from Southern Water on my mobile phone about taking further action) paying my glamorous accountant etc. Calliope content having been given frozen prawns, which seems to be the only food she actually likes.

Met Klaudia and Oskar's Godmother Anna while zooming about. Anton says that makes her my Godwife but surely this is wrong. Her little daughter India looks really cute. Anna's mum had been taken ill last week, but seems to be recovering excellently, and she was going home to Bristol see her tonight. Anna said that after she heard the news she stuttered for four days.

Bought a new kettle. My expensive kettle simply stopped working. But at least it didn't suffer the same fate as its electric predecessor: being melted on the hob by the Tobster. Caught up with correspondence and tinkered ineffectually with poems. Richard sent me some really useful feedback on my latest offering, however. The afternoon, a blessed hour's nap on my gold sofa, with Calliope making happy feet as she slept on top of me.

Got feedback from the agency about the work Sean and I had done. Apparently it went down so well with the client, that they won't need me there next week to do amends on it. Talk about being too skilled for your own good. However very happy about having a PK week, as there are a million things that need doing.

To the Battle of Trafalgar this evening, where Lorraine and I put the world to rights over beers and peanuts. The large pub dog sitting with its chin on my thigh for some time, which would have had Anton spilling his beer. Home to cheese on toast, and snoozing on the sofa.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Held responsible

Up to London. Popped in to see my glamorous accountant and hand over things I'd signed. Then into the agency. A long and slightly trying day. But all well when I left at sevenish, the first neuropathic pain work coming to a raging climax today. Interestingly, Richard the visualiser was using a Tablet PC, allowing him to draw directly onto the screen of his computer. Really cool, and makes amending the image really fast, without having to start again like traditional visualisers. Slunk off leaving the ever suffering art director (in this case Sean) to see the work through.

Feeling tired on the train home, half looking out at the occasional firework bursting in the sky while listening to Haunted by Chuck Palahniuk. It is a series of linked short stories, in a style the author calls Transgressive Fiction. The opening story, Guts, which I mentioned the other day is without exaggeration, and by some way, the single most disgusting thing I have ever read. Apparently people faint when he does public readings of it.

Got this email from Carl today, its subject was "I hold you responsible".

I have been very disturbed to find that my own dear sweet daughter has secretly been indulging in a dangerous pastime. Not drugs, not alcohol, not cigarettes. Far worse - writing poems!

So far she has only written 3 (that I have seen) but who knows where this habit could lead. I have been racking my brains where she could have been exposed to people who do this sort of thing. And then I thought of YOU.

If my daughter continues with this habit I will hold you responsible. I have shown her some of your work as a warning to where this could lead but it seems only to encourage her.

Incidentally she has read Skelton Yawngrave and she said it was really funny and easy to read. I really hope you get it published.

Hoping to get some pigs in with you soon. Your OCP* Carl

*Old China Plate

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Untaxing

Up to London for another day on neuropathic pain. Refreshingly, the new creative director reframes things interestingly, and stretches the creative work. Sean and I have been asked to work Thursday too, and then have a long weekend off before a few days next week.

After work I met Mark Hill and Robbie in the Blue Anchor for a few swifties. The place redesigned from when I used to go there. But done quite tastefully. Heard about Mark's tour of Europe, which he is hoping to get a book out of, and discussed ways to get agents. Robbie on good form too, telling us about his new Swedish girlfriend. Made off fairly quickly, and bumped randomly into Paul on a platform at Victoria, returning from visiting his son.

Home to my accounts sent by my glamorous accountant, and a calculation of the tax I need to pay. Luckily, it turns out I have saved quite a bit more that I owe. This means my financial cushion is suddenly a lot plumper that I'd thought. Went to bed feeling lucky, and more secure than of late.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Train time

Back in the train limbo. Working on poems going up to London, looking afresh at my old Guernsey work for the project I am doing with Richard next year. Fortunately there are several improvements that leap out at me right away. The stuff I've done about Guernsey is surprisingly coherent over the years.

Into the agency and working with Sean again, getting blood from a stone on the neuropathic pain brief. Nothing much to report, although we had a few laughs as we struggled with it.

The train home, obsessionally playing the brick breaker game on my mobile phone, and listening to a disgusting audio book by Chuck Palahniuk called Haunted. First story featured a boy masturbating underwater, having his small intestines sucked out by the pool pump. I have rarely felt so revolted by anything. I can't decided if it was depraved or brilliant.

Monday, November 02, 2009

A singing school

Up to the smoke yet again, after bribing Calliope with prawns. Absurd, but I feel quite guilty about leaving her alone during the days.

A long mondayish Monday. However still managed to have something of a laugh with Sean, while we worked on the interminable neuropathic pain. After work I bumped into Craig on the street on the way back to the station. He had Eva with him, and they were waiting for Matty boy.

I however was unable to stop, as I had to shoot home as I was due to meet my other friend Matt the composer. Went to where he was rehearsing his choir, who were learning Handel's Messiah. Sitting there listening to them made me feel Christmassy, and as if I were in an episode of Inspector Morse.

They were rehearsing in a room next to St Michael's church in Brighton, where we are thinking of staging This concert will fall in love with you. There is an area in the church which will be perfect, and room for 100 seats. Chatting to Matt about all the possibilities of the venue, which seem many and various. Tried to picture myself in there doing the biz, listening to Matt's music. The vision not clear yet.

Home at 10 chatting to Lorraine on my mobile phone, and then had to do some work before slouching into bed past midnight.