Monday, January 31, 2011

Office coffee

Strokes and atrial fibrillation from 7:45 this morning. Made some good progress. Once I could work no more, I still had time to shoot down to the printers as they'd only given me half the flyers (I hadn't stopped to count to 1000 in the shop). Then off to the Marlborough theatre to leave some posters and flyers there. Pleased to be told there have already been some bookings. Feeling cautiously optimistic.

Badly craving some Peter Kenny days to work on my own stuff.

On the way back bumped into Matt by chance, and we went for a quick cup of coffee in a pub called The Office. (Phone call: You're in a pub again, aren't you? No dear. Honestly I'm still at the office.) Matt looking a good deal healthier than of late. Wayne returned in one piece from India. Matt writing a string bit for the Found song we wrote, which will be recorded by the Rainbow Chorus this year.

Lorraine suggested I might need more carbs in my diet. Had a baked potato this lunchtime and felt greatly improved. She'd had a drains day today. It must be contagious.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Righting the wrongs

Up early gripped by the idea that I had to act immediately. Ended up speculatively submitting a something to the Guardian. At least I try. After a slow tea-sipping start with Lorraine Sam came by and we went for a long walk down by the cold and sunny sea. Sam going through a Marxist phase, and so sporting Che Guevara beret, a tee-shirt with a star on it, camouflage jacket, shades, beard etc. He carries it off. Chatting about philosophy which he is going to study. By the time we'd reached Hove I felt curiously weak and shaky and suddenly couldn't string a sentence together, was swiftly revived by a hot chocolate. Wonderful.

At teatime Lorraine and Sam left and I had a Wrong meeting with Beth and Mark. Met Callum who is playing the corpse for the first time, and later Beth and I had a meeting with her pal Amy who has offered crucial help with production lighting, props and so on.

Mark has written a bridging piece which fits very well with rest of the material. Callum, who I have never met, simply got off a train, sat down and completely unfazed began reading the parts right away. Hearing Mark and Beth read through Wrong was great. Lots of comedy in their performance, by the end of it all, I felt a surge of relief as it became apparent the material was really going to work. Wrong particularly suits the histrionic edge that Mark can bring, and he and Beth reminded me slightly of The Good Life - with Felicity Kendall and Richard Briars, except with added murder and corpses. We are also going to use a piece of my old pal Timothy Gallagher called Job Application - as the themes of the evening are being an actor and unemployment with a dangerous undercurrent of zombies and corpses. I have also called the corpse Timmy in tribute to Tim, something I know he would have enjoyed tremendously.

Then gave in to exhaustion. Called Mum and then sloped off to be in bed by ten, which is incredibly early for me.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Scarring the heart

All day writing the website on atrial fibrillation and strokes. Fairly cheerful about it, though this was my ninth day of work without a break. For a workshy dilettante this is something of a strain, consequently felt rather washed out by the end of the day. Learned however about surgery for fibrillating hearts, where the surgeon scores the tissue of the atria, and the resultant scars block the pathway of faulty electric messages allowing the heart to resume a normal rhythm. The ingenuity and practicality of medical minds amazes me sometimes.

I treated myself to his new CD Small craft on a milk sea by Brian Eno which is beautiful and uncharacteristically fierce in parts. Also bought Thursday Afternoon, which is one of his hour-long plinky ambient things that are perfect to work with. An inspiring aural armchair.

Somewhat braindead this evening. Cooked a veggie chilli, watched Frasiers and football with Lorraine and started The Mind in the Cave by David Lewis-Williams, and read a few more chapters from 50 Literature ideas you really need to know by John Sutherland. In each chapter I find something to disagree with, which is fun.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday is the new Thursday

Walked back from Lorraine's house and worked on atrial fibrillation and strokes all day, I have a great brief for this, which makes a world of difference. Which is just as well as I have to work on it all day tomorrow as well. Broke off from scribing in the Twitten at elevenses to paint out a tag which had appeared on a wall near me and send off my Root and Branch poem for the competition. At lunchtime to collect my flyers and posters for Wrong . They look great. Also took the opportunity to print up and frame Ken's 80th birthday poem. I decorated the page's footer with a silhouette of the walls and towers of Carcassonne Castle, near where he lived in the south of France.


Felt exhausted a five when I stopped working. I tried a catnap but Calliope woke me by crawling under my blanket and doing happy feet on me. I have been heartless this week, chucking her off my desk and so on. But I have the cat-shredded toilet roll to prove it, not to mention a marked absence of socks. I must search for the sock nest soon. She is no fan of the cold, so at least it should be indoors.

Then a man who was waiting for a dealer who didn't turn up had a massive freak out in the Twitten sobbing and raging mainly about how his life was so terrible and that he had ADHD. I felt sorry for him, but I'm afraid I wasn't about to go out and comfort him.

In the evening Lorraine and I met in the station and cabbed around to John's house in Hove for a dinner party with him and Matt, where a lovely crab and lobster soup was my favourite course. Ate a few hunks of bread for the first time in a month, and a few morsels of cheese. Delicious but filling. John's flat rather nice, very tidy and clean with some lovely art. One big abstract by Wayne dominating the living room. Matt still not well after the cold from hell, which he's had ever since Wayne went on holiday. He has spent his free time looking at squirrels, and plotting the set list for the Rainbow Chorus CD.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Quorn

Night of exhausting dreams. But up and working on psoriasis today. Also managed to squeeze in a visit to the gym and popped into the printers. In the evening sent them posters, and flyers for the play, which I can collect at the weekend. Also trying to ready a poem for a competition, with the subject root and branch, before Friday. Not there with one day to go.

Books from Amazon arrived today. Mughal Miniatures by J.M. Rogers, The Mind in the Cave by David Lewis-Williams, and 50 Literature ideas you really need to know by John Sutherland. Started the latter tonight on Lorraine's couch. (She was reading Larsson's The Girl Who Dragged It Out Interminably.) It's free of the onanistic obfuscation that clots most lit crit in all its guises, and will be a good read once I get time.

Richard said that Holly one of his wee dogs is exactly 7.5 kilos (the amount I have lost since Christmas) so am now visualising a Border Terrier's worth of flab capering off into the Vale. Keen to continue however, for it feels like when I became a non-smoker rather than an ex-smoker liable to slip again. Inside I already feel like a non-fatty, and I am just waiting for my body to fall into line. Amazing how much good you feel when you can fit into your trousers again, and the belt goes in a hole or two.

Quorn stew at Lorraine's house tonight. God bless the stuff, and God bless Lorraine who is definitely looking slimmer too.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

1.66 turkeys

I was altogether less histrionic today, and managed to simply get on with work. Not quite sure why everything seemed quite so impossible yesterday. Must have been something in the stars.

I weighed myself today, and discovered there is 7.5 kilos less of Peter Kenny than there was on Boxing Day. This is comfortably over a stone, or 1.66 (recurring) turkeys, which is over a third of the way to my target. After work up the road for some babysitting. Chatted a little to Anna before she had to pop out and read stories to Klaudia (Sleeping Beauty) and Oskar (Mr Rude). They are adorable children.

A short lunchtime walk. The sky darker than the sea, which was rather nice.


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Scatology

It says something about the execrable nature of my day that light relief was supplied by today's drain man, who arrived with a snakey poo camera and monitor. Apparently, he explained, some of the newer set-ups allow people to record the camera's drain adventures on DVDs. I imagined watching it like a poo movie from the gold sofa later, 'while listening to chamber music' as the drain man said. I almost fell into the drain after we'd removed the manhole cover at which the drain man chortled heartily. Shortly after he almost fell in too. Oh how we laughed, until it was time for him to attend to another poo errand, and me to attend to my poo work.

My work today (about various types of arthritis) was so vile I felt after five or six hours like sobbing with frustration. I am doing a job I should never have agreed to, but my sense of responsibility prevents me from simply pulling the ripcord. Eventually I could do no more, and went instead to the gym which after 5pm smells sweaty. I normally go when it is half empty.

Later I popped around to eat a very nice chicken & noodle dish of Betty's devising, and talk to Lorraine. Home again as the vile work must start again as soon as I wake. My next day off may be as much as twelve days away. Bah.

Uploaded details about Wrong the play on my daywork site. If you find yourself at a loose end, why not simply come along?

Below the poo camera monitor, featuring a shot of a mysterious narrowing of my drains.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Yuck

Stressed. Up at seven and soon at work on the website, and all going well. Then an hour's interlude at eleven as the drain clearance man came. Thank God he was able to clear the drain, but only after some protracted work, and the opening of a manhole cover which revealed a disgusting reservoir of fetid corruption just feet away from my kitchen. Thankfully now all drained away. But the visit necessitated me running about filling baths with water and lifting flagstones, not to mention having conversations about drains. I find I am going to have a man come in to send a camera down into the drain to see what the long term trouble is. Perhaps he will spot the money I have thrown down there.

Or my career. For shortly after noon, was called by a new colleague at my old agency. They failed to send me all the information on Friday but sent it instead this afternoon. After looking at until it was evening, I realise it needs a specialist medical writer, which I am not. This puts me in a very tricky position as their deadlines are imminent.

Managed to go to the gym and Frasiered later this evening. The twin hulls of the good ship sanity, as Frasier might say. Spoke to Anton briefly, and to Lorraine. During the day Toby sent me a photo of his local Creama Cafe, which made me think of happy times there and briefly lifting my nose from the grindstone and the sewage.

Below some Canadians in Toby's cheery local cafe in Toronto.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

A draining day

Up earlyish, feeling achy and tired, and moaning about how rubbish I feel and all the work I have piled up over the next two weeks. Started work early on the atrial fibrillation website before Lorraine became tempted to punch my head.

Broke off to meet Klaudia and a dozen or so of her closest mates at the cinema. Today was the little sweetie's 7th birthday. Klaudia running up to me and jumping into my arms, and hugging Lorraine lots. Anna, Anton and Anna (O & K's Godmother) there too. Anton buying coffee which was big and clever of him. Anna with a clipboard and a roll call of us all, before we filed in to see Toy Story 3. Children variously boisterous and girlsterous and a good deal of excited leaping about before the movie started. Children all in the front row, adults sipping coffee in the row behind.

Toy Story surprisingly good. I found myself gulping back my manful tears at the end as the toys' owner Andy puts aside his childish things. Anton blubbing a few seats away of course, and Lorraine... Well it goes without saying. As other people have observed this is a bit like the end of the Pooh bear books, and a sad sense of the childhood we all lose.

Walked the children back to their house (no simple matter, and I for one was pleased Lorraine was there) before hoofing it. Home and back on the website after several displacement activities and a stir fry. Lorraine left me to it, appearing a little later with a container of sulphuric acid as one of my drains is blocked. I'm hoping it has done its evil work as I type this.

Nope. Just checked. Time to call in the drain clearance people. Arse!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

A working Saturday

Up at Lorraine's house. Porridge, and then home to do more work on the big wesbite I was briefed on. Subject: arterial fibrillation and strokes - perfect hypochondriacal fare. Also a poem emerged from thin air, which was pleasing.

Spoke to Matt who has had a vile cold all week and, apart from dragging himself off to work, had a reclusive week. However he was talking about setting some of my Guernsey poems this week for our CD due to be recorded later this year. The boy who fell upwards is the first candidate. Be fascinated to see what it sounds like to music.

L and I, after a relaxed afternoon on the gold sofa, off to see Dawn this evening. She is now doing her PhD and is studying how people dealt with fear, focusing on the postwar period and the start of the cold war. She cooked us a lovely healthy meal, finished by delicious stewed plums, which seemed a feast to us. Lorraine also had a glass or two of wine but I retained the moral high ground, for if you booze you looze. I couldn't help noticing, however, that she seemed to quite enjoy it. After a lovely night with Dawn who is a gem, Lorraine and I walked back to my place, the waning moon with a halo around it.

Friday, January 21, 2011

A touch of toe curling

London again, this time to Tavistock Square to take a brief on a big copy job. Took the scenic route there, mooching up from Embankment station through central London near Covent Garden, past the British Museum and the Bloomsbury Square. Though cold, I love seeing London scurrying about at the start of another day. And now I don't live in there, I greatly enjoy my visits to central London. The same can't be said of my excursions to Hammersmith, which I have seen enough of to last me through several reincarnations.

Said howdy to various chums, including Pat and First Matie. Briefed on the big website job by Ann, a lovely French Sri Lankan girl. I last saw Ann in November, and she had just got married. I bounced in asking how married life was treating her. There was an almost audible curling of toes under nearby desks, as it transpires she is divorcing and moving to Paris.

In the evening sloped tiredly to Lorraine's house, fantasising about a curry and a pint of lager in the nearby restaurant. Instead Lorraine got me through it with a spicy mushroom and chickpea dish of her own invention with a little rice. Sipped tea and sparkling water, and was soon pleased I had not given in. Lorraine somewhat cheery as she has got through the next stage in her Leadership course, which is excellent.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Heartland

Sudden glut of copywriting work. Spent the morning billing, negotiating workflows, etc. Sadly Skelton has to take a backseat as it is sensible for me to baleen whale it, sucking down the cash krill while the waters bloom. The next few weeks will be tough, but luckily I can work from home. And I can go to the gym. The gym is good.

To the Marlborough Theatre with Betty and Mark this afternoon. Met David Sheppeard again, and we're now officially booked for Tuesday 1st March, and Thursday 3rd March. It seats 60 and I love the feel of it, a scuffed black stage, blood red walls and a residual dark above the seats. Good for Beth and Mark to jump momentarily on the stage, and see its possibilities too.

We sloped off to the Little Red Roaster cafe afterwards, all cheerful and gulping coffees. Doing things in theatres again feels wonderful. It confirms this feeling I am getting every now and then that I am glimpsing my own heartland after a long journey. A little later Beth and Mark have confirmed a corpse actor, who I will meet next week, and one of their pals has agreed to do the lights. There is work to be done in the next five weeks, but there is no reason to suppose it can't be successful.

To bed after talking to Lorraine, who was falling asleep in her childhood bed again.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Stains

Frost in the fields as the train chugged through them.

In the Guardian: 'January is a miserable month and yet so many make it even more miserable by trying to give up some of life's great pleasures – such as alcohol. Three weeks in, how's it going?' Rock solid, thought I, sobbing. Noticed how I have replaced boozes with black coffee. This can't be right.

Did my usual walk through the graveyard at Hammersmith, and the familiar off-kilter graves pleasingly rimed with frost.

A long day. The pitch materials I was writing were about the very unpleasant pulmonary hypertension, and there was - even more than usual - far too much required in too tight a time. (There was, I thought privately, some last gasp material.) Simon the designer had yesterday worked half the night last night trying to design all the stuff we'd come up with. Feeling vaguely guilty, I stayed late rewriting lines over his shoulder on the three websites we'd designed. Rather warming to Simon, and liking his combination of Eeyore-ish fatalism and quiet flare.

As I left the office, the full moon in the cold over the river, and I spoke to an upset First Matie who has taken the tough decision to give Puffin to someone who can provide the high-maintenance pup with the constant attention it craves. Sometimes doing the right thing is hard.

Just missed the Brighton train at Victoria again. Discovered it is impossible to buy a book of poetry in or around the station. Tedious slow journey home brightened by a Great Lives podcast about Samuel Beckett, whose work I greatly admire. Doodling as I listened my pen suddenly gouted ink and gave me Dalmatian hands. Every word is like an unnecessary stain on silence and nothingness, as Sam would have said. What draws me to Beckett, a master of two languages, is his suspicion of words and a keen awareness of their limitations. Sometimes (when I am not personally holding forth of course) I think there is something vaguely repellent about the shtick of people like Stephen Fry or Will Self who rub your face in their "clever" use of words, almost like people who give you too much detail about their sex lives.

Once in Brighton, transgressed my diet and bought fish and chips as it was 10 o'clock and was far simpler. A bag of greasy evil it was too. Spoke to Lorraine who is sleeping in her childhood bed at her Mum and Dad's house as she is doing a her head teacher leadership course in Kent for a couple of days.

Gloried at bedtime in the knowledge that tomorrow is a journey-free day.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Deskbound

Showered, dressed, squeezed drops into Calliope's eyes and off to London. Have seen half a dozen people on the tube reading amazon kindles. I have been busy scorning them, but find there's a small part of me that wants one.

A beautiful blue-skied January day, which I spent manacled to a desk. At lunchtime, after an appropriate pause to fondly think about my packed lunch 55 miles away in my fridge, I chatted to Laura the writer I was sitting next to who showed me some of her excellent paintings online, which she mainly does to commission. Then a long afternoon of slogging, with Rick appearing looking slightly wired with the stress of it all. When he briefed me and Simon the designer yesterday he said it was the most difficult brief he'd delivered for 20 years. Sadly it's not even the worst one I've received this year, and nowhere near as bad as the useless brief.

After three days of travelling and agency work, feeling hungry for a bit of culture. Caught the 7:36 from Victoria and was had just randomly downloaded The Waste Land onto my Blackberry when by chance Reuben got on and sat next to me. We'd not bumped into one another for a while. Glad to hear he is doing well on all fronts.

Then home at last, a large moon spotlighting the Twitten. Calliope inside full moonish charging me playfully with an arched back as punishment for my absence.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Blue Monday

Off to London, pausing only to grip Calliope underneath my arm like bagpipes to eyedrop her. Today a candidate for the most depressing day of the year and the rain was certainly hosing down when I trudged from Hammersmith tube station. Once in the agency, however, things were tolerable and it helped to be briefed by Rick who is an old friend. There are far fewer people I know there now, which makes me feel more neutral about it as I worked on three websites for a pitch about a ghastly disease with a glum designer.

A brisk solitary walk along the river at lunchtime, after my peck of hummus and tomato for lunch. Met another old colleague Helen for a coffee. She is leaving the agency soon, but persuaded me to write some brochures over the next couple of weeks. These, however, can be done from home and will boost the Kenny coffers.

Longing on the train to be on the gold sofa scarfing a bowl of bean jar and watching Frasier. I don't ask for much in this world. Spoke to Lorraine who got soaked returning from her choir tonight. And now to bed.

Below a grey and dreary Thames.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Up to Edgware

Calliope squinting like Bryan Ferry this morning, due to her eye infection now affecting both eyes. After muesli Lorraine drove us off to see Mum and Mase, her car only slightly redolent of cats.

Mase was much improved after his illness, fit enough to cook us salmon and green veggies, and tell us about some of the wonderful hotels they had stayed at in Costa Rica. Mum gave me a wooden Costa Rican frog, which you run a stick over and it croaks, while Mason re-gifted me a bottle of beer called Cat Piss. Charming. Mum unimpressed that I was thinking of calling myself Peter X Kenny, persisting in the middle name she gave me, which is St. John.

Home to Brighton through the dark and spotting rain, cozy in the car listening to Lorraine's music. I like being a passenger in cars. It makes me thoughtful. In contrast Lorraine, who quite a placid character normally, uses cars to shout at people and gesture with her hands.

Home to ready myself for London and drop things in the eyes of my strangely-compliant cat.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

The aliens are coming

Last night Lorraine had a dream about an alien invasion, only their flying saucers were weighing scales. This is how deeply the diet goes.

Up for kippers then off to take Calliope to the vet, itself a feline version of alien abduction. Whisked away out of all your known territory, to be injected and intimately examined, and returned to the exact spot from where you were abducted, with only a nasty spraying incident in Lorraine's car to register your protest.

After some shopping, I sloped off to the gym. Today Calliope was weighed, and she is 4 kilos and I have lost 4.5 kilos in two weeks, so I have lost a entire blubber cat. Not bad eh?

Then after a futile session of shopping had a long rather mentoring chat with a guy called Steve about life as a copywriter.

Then met the maestro in the Basketmakers for an overdue catch up. I drank soda water and lime, and black coffee, the annoyingly sleek Matt stuck to a pint or two of Seafarers. We were discussing the recording of This concert etc. and discussing what else will be on the CD. The Rainbow Chorus are going to record Found this year too, so the Pollard & Kenny star is in the ascendant. Also discussing a sample Matt sent me of a young singer called Rowan who Matt knows, and may be a possible for the Opera when it's finished.

Home and Lorraine had been doing some work towards her Leadership things, and then cooked us a delightful turkey curry. A restful evening, and Chelsea won today too. All well.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

All smoke and no fire

Working hard as a looming two weeks in London forced me to fix a lot of loose ends. Poems for a competition, finalising a small companion Sketch to Wrong for Beth and Mark. It is called A bite to eat and is a glimpse into the domestic life of a zombie couple, one of whom is a bit of a hypochondriac. Also a quick squiz at Beth's personal statement for her University entrance plus some business admin. But in the evening when the agency finalized the details, I was told the two-week sentence has been commuted to three days - which barely interferes with anything. Yippee!

Off to gym, sweaty and with less energy this time. Trundling on the hulk legs machine still better than braving the persistent grey mizzle outside.

Guernsey is calling its errant son again. Especially after having a long gossip, full of chuckles, with Richard and Jane. They have big plans this year, which my famous discretion forces me to pass over in silence. Meanwhile Jane has been seeking another writer for the Literary Festival, she has made two choices, both apparently resulting in the sudden and mysterious deaths of the invitees.

To Lorraine's house for supper with her and Beth. Curly kale, and carrots, a smidge of potato and onion stovie and some grilled lean pork. A hearty meal. Lorraine now saying she has lost half a stone. Lorraine, Beth and I hanging out in the kitchen area of their big open plan downstairs. Beth glammed and teetering on heels to be snapped as entry for a Lorraine Kelly curvy model competition. As I took some snaps, the grill, which is inside the oven, started gouting smoke and the three of us ran about ineffectually waving things under the fire alarms. Added a certain smouldery lustre to the photoshoot.

Home to look after a forlorn Calliope who is moping about with one of her eyes closed. Off to the vets with her this Saturday.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Grey mist

Gloom-inducing greyness, mist and rain all day, mood made worse by me agreeing to do a job in London for a couple of weeks, neatly throwing out my deadlines. However, I did manage to make some very good progress on Skelton. In the evening I got an entry together or a poetry competition, and found myself managing to improve an already good poem. Worked till late, interspersed with the odd Frazier for sanity's sake.

Below a few snaps of a sodden Brighton pier.












Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The sober equation

Working on Skelton Yawngrave this morning, cutting away like a maniac. Have changed being a painter splashing on colours to being a sculptor chipping nervously at a block to release the form inside. After a while of this stuff time to slope off to the gym. Noticed my brown hoodie top I wear there is a mite looser, a tiny thing but it all counts to feed the dream of the new willowy me.

Home to a warm and restoring bowl of bean jar.

Lorraine working from home today, so I popped over late afternoon for a cup of tea and to watch her cooking a potato and onion stovie to take to her girl's night at Jan's house. We discussed managing difficult conversations, which she is reading about now for her leadership business. I am slightly anxious she will become a leadership ninja to whom I will have no choice but to slavishly comply. L has also lost five Xmas pounds and is quite cheery about it. We are encouraging one another.

An equally cheery Betty came back from working away from home for two days, sporting new turquoise converse boots and having been working on her personal statement for University applications.

Home again. Bizarrely ate what I fancied. And what I fancied was smoked tofu and raw red onions on oat biscuits (no sugar etc. just 100% oats).

I have decided I need to enter poetry competitions more. It is a nice profile raiser if you win. Have been trying to ready a couple of competition winning poems (which are a slightly different species to normal poems). Annoyingly the first poetry competition I entered, admittedly only a small one, I won first prize in. Since then nothing but tumbleweed and crows. Must try harder.

Otherwise all quiet in the Twitten apart from Calliope having a noisy punch up with a small and fierce tabby version of herself. Watched several Frasier episodes and noticed again that they are constantly helping themselves to sherry. I found myself fancying one and I don't even particularly like sherry. Luckily there is an equation in my head which goes like this. Drinking = giving up my diet = an early (and capacious) grave. So far this has proved highly effective.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Worms and seabirds

Hacking bits out from Skelton Yawngrave, which feels good in a slightly masochistic way. Have given myself the deadline of the end of the month to complete the revision, as it is with some sadness and head shaking that I realise I need to work to a deadline, even if it is self-imposed. Then a long call with Alex. Apparently some people in France ridiculed the work I did on the useless brief. After some discussion I suggested to Alexandra that these people were worms, and she said 'yes, dangerous worms', in her French accent which cheered me up. Clearly, though, not an ideal response.

A long walk down to the sea at Hove, and then home again along the seafront. Cobweb removing wind. But it was sunny and the rough sea had pushed the pebbles back up the beach. Then a bit more Skelton at home, and then spent most of the afternoon and evening doing mundane admin, billing, bidness of various kinds and catching up with correspondence. Thank God for the refuge of my Frasier DVD as January as ever is ugh. At least I am taking positive steps with the diet.

Below seabirds blown inland.





Sunday, January 09, 2011

A railway set

Up early to cook a Guernsey bean jar to freeze portions to eat here and there. I have decided this is quite a diet food if you don't eat it with a loaf of brown bread. Spoke to Mum this morning and thankfully Mason was in better shape today.

To Anna and Anton for Sunday Lunch. When Lorraine and I arrived Anton was in the study with painful fingers. He and Anna have bought a beautiful Hornby railway set for Oskar, and was nailing down onto a large wooden base the size of a double bed. To secure the track, and other railway furniture, he had to hammer in tiny panel pins through microscopic holes in the tracks. In practise, however, it was considerably easier to hammer your own fingers than the pins. Anton offered me a go, and I obligingly hammered my own fingers for a bit. Oskar already quite knowledgeable about what to do with the trains, about switching the points and reversing and so on.

Thankfully lunch was soon ready, and I ate moderately of veggies and a lightly of roast chicken and sipped sparkling water. A small amount of apple pie as my sin of the week. The children delightful as ever, and I played a game of Supermario carts with Oskar on the Wii, and Klaudia quite huggy with Lorraine and I before we left.

Lorraine and I home to our separate abodes. I cleaned my aquarium and mooched about looking at pictures of aboriginal art, and reading of Chelsea winning 7-0 this afternoon, till Toby called this evening for a long chat. I like the sound of Costa Rican stick birds, which are simply birds that look like sticks. Toby's description of how he Romy and Dick went zipwiring down through thick mountain clouds sounded highly adventurous and rather beautiful.

Saturday, January 08, 2011

Fearing the Wurst

Off to the gym this morning, head clear as a bell, and felt very cheery. However learned from Mum that Mason is unwell at the moment, and Mum is worried about him. Lorraine and I munching muesli (me with soya milk). Jumped on the scales after almost a week of not drinking, eating sensibly and exercise, they told me I had lost 3kg, which is around 6.6 pounds since my most alarming reading, which admittedly was with my clothes on. I am now at what was my worst weight, which I have previously nudged from time to time. So the real work starts now.

A chat with Matt who wants to bump the This Concert performance to later in the year, and tie it in with the recording, which make sense and slightly unclutters February. Lorraine and I went out shopping, where I bought some Tupperware, and Lorraine bought a book on servant leadership. Who says I'm not in touch with my feminine side?

In Waterstones I glimpsed poets John Agard and Grace Nichols in the bookshop. We had a mutual friend called Beverley well over twenty years ago, and I met them both a couple of times, and went to a party at their house in Lewes once. But but I didn't say hello as I am certain they wouldn't remember me. I remember them as lovely people, however, and afterwards realised it was only my inner gloom weasel that stopped me saying hello.

A text from Richard walking at Fermain to remind me of the cliffs.

Lorraine cooked us a turkey stir fry, and I suddenly felt very tired indeed and dozed on the sofa. Woke up to discuss leadership with Lorraine who was reading her leadership book.

Below a cartoon by Berger & Wyse in the Guardian. It's silly, and I particularly like it because it ridicules fear.

Friday, January 07, 2011

There's only two Peter Kennys

I decided to write to Peter Kenny. The famous, good looking Peter Kenny the actor I mean. I wasn't having a Fats Waller I'm gonna sit right down and write myself a letter moment. After doing yesterday's blog it occurred to me that when it comes to plays I ought to differentiate myself from Peter Kenny, because when it comes to things theatrical I am the Peter Kenny who? of Peter Kennys. Later in the day, and slightly to my surprise I got a friendly and charming note from him.

This raises the conundrum of what to call myself. Should I be Peter St John Kenny. St John being my unloved middle name. I am flirting with the idea of using a random initial such as Peter X Kenny. Or adopting a completely moniker altogether. I am seek advice and inspiration on this vital issue. Otherwise worked a little on the extra sketch (a glimpse into the homelife of Zombies).

Lorraine came around this evening and we ate a moderate amount of brown pilau rice and a very low fat turkey and veg curry and a good deal of sparkling mineral water. Listened to some free short stories by O Henry The Cop and the Anthem and The Gift of the Magi I downloaded from Audible before Christmas. Rarely have I hated any short stories more.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Economy sized

Worked on a corpse dialogue which I have had for some time but never finished, as a companion sketch to Wrong. Then to the gym to waddle on the Hulk legs machine for another half an hour, envisioning a Peter Kenny that wasn't economy sized. Then home to rewrite a line for the doppelganger piece with Matt, then think through some marketing for This concert will fall in love with you, and have a discussion with a former colleague about a pitch.

Sam bought me a CD called Merriweather Post Pavilion by a new-fangled combo Animal Collective from Baltimore, which I find I rather like in a busy and layered way. Reading about them on Wikipedia reminded me of Baltimore, a town I couldn't leave fast enough during my American adventures. Nice crabs though.

Off to Lorraine's house this evening where, watching an improving BBC programme about the brain, we ate a variety of vegetables and some fish, and drank sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon. For if you booze you looze.

Below I spent an hour or so enjoyably tinkering with the picture of Beth and Mark (blogged yesterday) to mock up the poster below... The details, such as who is playing the corpse, are still to be confirmed. I may have to also use my middle name for my new wave of theatrical stuff however, as there is a rather excellent English actor called Peter Kenny.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

Jabba

Wide awake half the night. Finally fell asleep shortly before it was time to get up. Then Calliope infuriatingly bit my hand hard to wake me up, then hid under the bed so I couldn't kill her. Tetchy morning working on the useless brief, which I had to complete before midday. Luckily the client liked the results.

Off like Jabba the Hut to the gym. Cross trainer for half an hour. Home and was phoned up for the 30th time by an Indian call centre. Today they were the 'cheque clearance' department. Lost my rag and swore at them. The man called back shortly for round two. Coming off worse in this, he called me for round three, which I did not answer. The number is always of course withheld.

Beth and Mark came around to discuss Wrong and I took photos of them, which I will treat and redesign into the poster for the play. Also got some dates in the diary for reviews etc. Felt good to have the first project of the year underway.

After they left, and I cooked myself some Quorn-based food then repaired to the Evening Star to have a quick chat with Fingers and Richard Gibson. Slightly joyless, I drank sparkling mineral water with a squeeze of lemon. And I wasn't the only one off the pop. Richard said January was the English Ramadan.

I left after half an hour and, as it had started to rain heavily, within seconds I had been soaked by a white van driving through a puddle. Home to watch footie on TV. Saw Chelsea loose to lowly Wolves, and brooded on the end of civilisation as we know it. As Yeats wrote: The best lack all conviction, while the worst/Are full of passionate intensity. In short, bah to football.

Below: One of the shots of Betty and Mark.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Troglodyte day

Stared balefully at the sky from my study. Above the thick blanket of cloud an ominous partial-eclipse created a new benchmark in grey English mornings.

Worked on two French jobs. One turning a Franglais business article into smooth English, while profoundly disagreeing with its contents. This done moved on to work on a job with a useless 'me-too' brief.

A brisk lunchtime walk by the sea, trying to figure out the answer to the useless brief. Home again, and in the course of my research found myself looking at ancient cave paintings, which suddenly seemed like the most interesting things in the world. Annoyingly I ended up sketching Peter Kenny cave paintings, as time frittered down the stalactites. Bah to the useless brief.

Calls from the lovely Lorraine, who was walking at lunchtime and eating lightly too. It is going to be a long road.

Monday, January 03, 2011

The cycle of life

No sleep thanks to final curry and beers. Lay awake on Lorraine's Tempur pillows thinking about work, and I got a surprising amount done. Finally fell asleep at 7ish to wake up shortly after to a cup of tea, and a listen with Lorraine (who blames me for her new Archers addiction) to the 60th anniversary issue of The Archers on BBC's play again. Archers regular Nigel Pargetter was slaughtered on the altar of sensation and fell Buster Keatonishly off a roof. Meanwhile someone somewhere else had a baby. It's the cycle of life innit? Yawn.

Lorraine and I discovered that the hash tag for discussing this on twitter was #RATTC. This means rocking Ambridge to the core (Ambridge is the name of a fictional village the unfortunate Nigel and the rest live in) and was adopted ironically by tweeters after the BBC had trailed the anniversary issue as something that would 'rock Ambridge to the core'.

Slightly zombified I left Lorraine's house to snow falling in single crystals. Home to pack away my Christmas tree, and do numerous unglamourous chores. However I managed to fix my computer issues. It was iTunes: simply switch off Genius and the computer worked perfectly again.

Spoke to my Indiana Joneish mother, now with Mas safely back home. Sounds like they all had a wonderful time in Costa Rica.

Otherwise quiet, interspersed with morale-boosting bouts of Frasier. Lorraine got me series 1-11, so this will get me through January. Drank green tea, ate lightly. Liver and kidneys giving little quivers of appreciation. Standing now on the shore of the year's work which surges in like a tsunami on the beach. There's no point running.

Sunday, January 02, 2011

A last curry

A walk by the sea this afternoon, with Lorraine and about 20,000 others discussing plans and schemes for the new year. Good to get some fresh air.

As this was my last day of boozes for the foreseeable future, it was handy that Wayne and Matt were having a drink near my house with their friend Kate. A few beers followed this as naturally as leaves to a tree. Those two are splendid company. After a last beer in the Basketmakers Matt and Wayne went home, and Lorraine and I shot off to our curry house to meet Betty and have a last meal. Home, feeling sated of all boozes and foods, and ready to take on the year.

Below a blue sky with one or two heavy rainclouds creating some dramatic light between Brighton and Hove.








Saturday, January 01, 2011

Resolutions

I like the idea of New Year's resolutions. Why not reaffirm your choices and take a helicopter view of life? I made mine several days ago. First is that I have decided to forefront my own health, and the single best thing I could do for myself is to lose 20kg. I am making this declaration as public as possible so as to encourage lip curling sneers if I don't stick to it. Jan 4th is the day my new regime begins, and if I could achieve anything by positive visualisation alone I would already be there. I am approaching it three ways. Steady exercise, reduced food intake (especially my 10pm snack attack) and taking an extended holiday from boozes. Luckily Lorraine is thinking along the same lines so we will, hopefully, be gauntly healthy in due course.

Even someone who can be as blithely oblivious to the bleedin' obvious as me, has noticed that if I have achieved anything recently it has been with the help of other people. Lorraine apart from her many other qualities, is the most supportive person I have ever met.

I have also been incredibly lucky in my collaborators Richard Fleming and Matt Pollard. So many of the good things artistically that have happened to me in 2010 have been through these two. Being a writer is essentially a solitary job, and to find like minds is a boon. My resolution is to mingle more with other writers and artists. I have historically had a chip on my shoulder about myself as an artist, but as someone who has a book behind them, an ongoing and fruitful collaboration with a composer, and half a dozen other irons in the fire I need to get over this.

But mainly I must remember to count my numerous blessings. I am solvent, I work at things I love, I have a lovely partner, delightful family and some fabulous friends, somewhere nice to live in the best little City in England, and a pleasant cat. These are untold riches.