Monday, February 28, 2011

Busyness

Sauntering about in the way a man saunters knowing his play is on tomorrow. Lots of small jobs, including paying a cheque from my bank, who have overcharged me for the last few years on my house insurance and sent me a handsome £200 cheque in recompense. Also designed and picked up a simple one-page programme for the show, went to the gym (more rowing today), sent an invoice, took a few business calls and so on.

However passed The Basketmakers with the programmes having just been to the printer and spied Matt having a pre-conducting cheeky. I joined him in there before going off to the supermarket, talking to John who is off to Turkey in the next few days, and had spent lots of time in Libya last year.

Lots of calls. Talking to Betty about tomorrow, spoke to Mum, Sarah Freems, First Matie, texting Richard and Lorraine. Dealing with French client etc.

Below the programme...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Blue sky in the windows

Lorraine and I off today to Nymans National Trust property. It was a beautiful blue spring morning. Nymans is a nice enough estate but sadly 9,000 other people had an identical notion of how to spend Sunday morning. Still it was enjoyable, although I did radiate ill will towards all the others (except for Lorraine's old colleague we bumped into as we left). Splendid to feel a warmth in the sun, and see crocuses, snowdrops, daffodils, cyclamen, daphne and other harbingers of the spring. I love walking in these places with Lorraine as she is genuinely excited by the signs of Spring, and goes about stroking the fur of magnolia buds and noticing off white flowers everywhere.

Nymans has a recent ruin in it. Slightly surreal sight of windows framing only sky. Also saw a Red Admiral which seemed unfeasibly early to me.

The afternoon rainy, and Lorraine and I back in Brighton. I had a craving for the Venn intersection of the set of noodles and the set of chicken, so we sauntered off to The Giggling Squid for a late Thai lunch where my needs were catered to. Then to our separate homes where I mostly idled, when I wasn't loafing.

Below Nymans today. A magnolia bud, cyclamen, the red admiral perched on some beautifully smelling daphne, and two window frames.
















Saturday, February 26, 2011

Wrongful intent

Off to Lorraine's house this afternoon to see the Beth, Mark and Callum put the show on for my my 'writer's review'. I am delighted with what they have done with the material. The first half which combines my zombie piece A bite to eat, with another fragment of mine Mistake, a piece by Mark Amdram Timmy, and Job Application by Tim Gallagher flow together surprisingly well. Lots of interesting gear changes but all part of an organic whole. I can take almost no credit for this, but they have made it work. Wrong itself is beginning to flow too, although they still need to run their lines more for last ten minutes of it. Beth particularly funny in it. Made me feel very happy as at last this piece might get the decent airing it deserves, and also see Beth with the opportunity to show what she can do with some comedy.

Callum McIntyre is clearly an excellent actor, and Mark his usual ebullient self, breathing real oomph into everything he touches, and Callum's performance of his Amdram Timmy shows the strength of the writing. Very pleased with all of them. Amy sorting out sounds and being supportive too. I am now looking forward to next week a good deal and as a control freak this has been a good lesson for me in backing off and let other people do their stuff.

In the evening superglued to the sofa at Lorraine's house, for the previous night had been lively. Cath came round with a bottle of wine and told L, Beth and myself about her forthcoming massive walk along a pilgrimage route in France and Spain. Exhausting but improving I dare say. I like Cath.

Below a snap of Callum. I made him lie sideways on chairs facing me, and I will corpsify his photo for the programme.

Friday, February 25, 2011

A splash of colour

Lorraine and I took a holiday today, a day trip up to the smoke, and actually the first time we've ever been to central London together. I decided we should go to the Courtauld Gallery, which for some reason I had never visited.

Simply a brilliant collection, in what was for me a perfectly-sized gallery, where you can have a really good look at most of its contents in a few hours. Nourished by a bowl of soup and a coffee in the cafe. It has a wide range of work from Renaissance to contemporary, but its fabulous impressionism collection is the jewel in its crown. There was Monet, Renoir, Seurat and Gauguin, van Gogh’s Self-Portrait with Bandaged Ear, Manet’s great last painting A Bar at the Folies-Bergère plus several works by Cézanne. Found myself unexpectedly falling in love with Two Dancers on a Stage by Degas. Very interesting building too and found myself taking a few snaps of its interior.

After we wandered through Covent Garden and nearby streets (me feeling a bit like a tourist again) and ended up at the Salisbury, a favourite haunt, then moving down to Ye Olde Cheshire Cheese on Fleet Street. Here we talked a good deal to random people in the ancient bar while sampling some rather nice boozes and we met Paul there for a cheeky. Lorraine talking intensely to the already rather intense Paul until his ears wilted. Amazing to watch.

Lorraine and I then had a curry and our train crawled back into Brighton at 1.00am. All good fun.

Below Lorraine on the Embankment, a close up of a Kees Van Dongen canvas, a detail from Graham Sutherland's Study for the origins of the land (featuring a nice dinosaury thing)the staircase down to the cafe at the Courtauld, a random grille in the gallery, and preparations for fashion week outside in a passing London gloom.












Thursday, February 24, 2011

A breath of air

The daffodils out at last in my wee front scrap of garden. And a bright sunny day. Mixed work in the morning and went manfully to the gym where I ventured on the rowing machine for ten minutes before clambering back onto the hulk legs machine. But I think I will add this as it works my vestigial stomach muscles differently.

In the afternoon after a business chats were over (looks like the new agency I have helped brand are coming up trumps) and I had done some work on Skelton, I zipped down to Lorraine's house and we drove down to Brighton Marina where she dropped her car at the carwash. It persists in smelling of Calliope's wee, desite it being weeks since Lorraine drove Calliope and I off to the vet.
Pleasant walk by the boats and then onto the path at the foot of the white cliffs. Lines of flints in strata, wearing their way out of the chalk. The tide high and the waves flinging little stones up onto the path.

Below a snap of the water by the lock, and rust staining the concrete. Arrested by lovely colours. Tiny pebbles on the shiny wet top of the sea wall having just been flung up by a wave.





Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Never let me go

I felt happier today than I have for a long time. To the gym where I felt energised, then working on Skelton Yawngrave. Rereading the new opening I am now convinced it is far better that previous versions.

In the evening Lorraine and I off to see Never let me go. I loved Kasuo Ishiguro's novel last year, and the film is very true to the book. Gorgeous muted lyricism to the film's visual style. Loved it. Really brought out the sadness of the book, and as a metaphor for life in general it was pretty bleak. A proper grown up movie which I heartily recommend. Lorraine liked it too, and got through two hankies.

Below a typical example of the film's muted palette, perfectly capturing the book's feel.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Rebalancing

The dipping scales gradually returning to balance today. Another disturbed night but definitely feeling perkier and less coldy than for some time. Got up and finished the branding work I was doing for the new agency, and then spent quite a while on admin, billing, chasing purchase order numbers and so on. True to form the agency I worked at for seven years are showing few signs of paying without weeks of wrangling: I am not going to work with them again.

Then off to the gym, where I bore up surprisingly well. Felt great to be out of the house. Later I went out again in the overcast night for a walk along the seafront with the lights of Brighton cheerily behind, looking out at a dark sea and listening to the waves crunching into the pebbly shore.

Also picked up The Mind in the Cave again. A fascinating look at paleolithic man. Interesting to think that Neanderthals and homo sapiens rubbed along next to each other in Europe for thousands of years. David Lewis-Williams suggests Neanderthals were dummies whose hunting techniques were of the wandering about scavenging variety while homo sapiens got organised, hunted with method and had a fluent language. Also homo sapiens were the ones who developed art (though I haven't read as far as his description of this yet). I feel sorry for those grunty old Neanderthals who clung on by their fingernails in places like Gibraltar till about 22,000 years ago.

Since The Mind in the Cave was written however there is talk of Neanderthals having contributed to the DNA of modern humans. Look at this on the BBC site. This suggests there was actually some interbreeding of these populations. So maybe those Neanderthals were dumb but sexy.

Spoke to Lorraine, whose house was busy with rehearsals for Wrong, which is good news. For the first show is but a week away. Have replaced Frasier with The Big Bang Theory, Anton having lent me the first three seasons on DVD. A very nicely written series, and very well cast.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Woods Mill

Feeling happy this morning, although the tiredness has far from abated. Lorraine and I deciding to go for a walk in the small wood at Woods Mill. The downs misty and the clouds leaning into the valleys. Signs of spring in the woods however. We sat in the bird hide for a while, looking at the woodland birds darting about, and then sought out snowdrops. Lorraine eagle eyed in the spotting mushrooms on logs and buds on bushes.

Otherwise a quiet day, though chatting a bit to Mark and Sam during the day.

Below lichen, bullrushes among the reeds, waterweed, mushrooms in a moss forest and snowdrops































Saturday, February 19, 2011

Waterproof

Pouring rain all night and day. Woke up periodically during the night to the sound of rain falling on Lorraine's Veluxe windows. I love the sound of rain falling on glass when you are safe and warm. Goes back to the long glasshouse attached to the back of my grandparents house in Guernsey. I loved being in there. It was full of the distinct smell of geranium leaves, and the patter of rain on the glass was like music. Occasionally, when a pane or two needed replacing, strategically placed buckets collected plinking drips too, which added to the effect.

Anton and I decided against a long walk. Those country tracks turn into the Somme after ten hours of steady downpour. Instead Anton and I went shopping for a new anorak. My previous one now readily absorbs water instead of repels it for reasons I don't quite understand. I may have cleaned mud off it with a cloth impregnated with detergent. These hi-tech fabrics are temperamental. Naturally Anton knew the places to go, but unfortunately was snared by the sight of some walking shoes that are put into an oven to soften up, and then you walk about in the hot shoes for ten minutes or so until they mould perfectly to your feet.

I bought a black waterproof and a proper breathable fleece for walking. Then we popped into the Trafalgar for a cheeky beer, before Anton clambered up the hill home. It was really nice to see him, and I am feeling keen for walking again now the knee from hell is functioning again.

I then moved down to The Basketmakers where I met Matt for more beer and discussions. We have pencilled in recording of our CD for July, this will include This concert will fall in love with you, plus Found and In praise of music, two choral pieces Matt's used my words for, plus settings of my poems Clameur and The boy who fell upwards. This is unbelievably exciting, and I am going to seek out some vocal coaching to ensure my performance of This concert is something I can live with when it's recorded. Much excitable talking about this, and then simple gossip. Lorraine came and collected me, and we bought some bad fish and chips, to round of a disasterous diet day, before I boofed out on the sofa and slept till bedtime.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Zombie

Hearing the roaring of drunken people, possibly homeless, throughout the night. Lying sleepless on your pillow, listening to the sound drift up from the station at 3.00am it's easy to feel that you are in a scene from Sean of the Dead and the roaring is coming from the undead lurching about in the night.

Up blearily and lurched right into my study to begin work on the hypochondria-inducing atrial fibrillation and stroke. Till in the afternoon, I had finished at last. A feeling of huge relief and followed quickly by huge flop on the sofa as I gave into coldy exhausted feelings.

In the evening crept around to Lorraine's house and we popped out to our local curry house for a modest curry. Lorraine adored by the waiters there, who see me as mere arm candy. Then a merciful early night, brain dead but happy, with the embers of optimism given a raking, as there is nothing hideous lined up for next week and I can pick up the pieces of my own work, and do some last minute marketing of Wrong, which of course involves my Zombie piece A Bite to Eat.

During the week Beth was been given an unconditional place at South Bank University to study Drama and Performance, which is great news and means she can face her other auditions with a devil may care optimism. Also got a nice note from Carl this week too. He is healthy and cheery which is good news.

Below Romy sent me this picture of Mum receiving a birthday cake in Costa Rica. It is a lovely photo.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Annoying bastards

Off this morning to London. On the train with Bob for most of the journey as I headed off to Tavistock Square again as the amends needed to the website were too difficult to explain over the telephone. But nice to see folks at the agency. Worked all day interrupted only by a short walk with First Matie to grab some sushi (or M&S's version of shushi) to eat at the desk.

Some young attention-seeking soft looking guy was playing music intrusively on the packed train home from his laptop. People took it fairly good humouredly and I put in my hearphones and was listening to an audiobook and successfully blocked him out. However the man opposite me, a testosterone fuelled tetchy type in his thirties snatched his laptop off him and made as if to throw it out of the window, but instead ended up sitting on it as the pair exchanged threats and grappled very close to me. Absurdity with an undercurrent of violence. Still surprised I did not intervene which is my usual wont, perhaps it was because I was unable to decide who I disliked more. Eventually the laptop was returned among various threats.

Thank God to be home. Then more annoying bastards. Warmed up some bean jar, then noticed four black youths employing my front garden as a toilet. Sourced my extra large global knife but then dithered, eventually deciding against seeing them off as the odds were not in my favour. Disliked myself for this, but they simply went away and no harm was done.

Feeling stressed generally. Must be the full moon a'comin'. Wrote to Betsy who is in the US and Carl who is not. Chatting with Lorraine. Then an early night.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Ha, ce n'est pas vrai!

Up at the crack of dawn after a terrible night's sleep. Woke up sweating (my cold is still with me) and having dreamed about atrial fibrillation and stroke. My last atrial fibrillation dream ended with me waking up with Calliope disconcertingly vibrating my chest with her food-encouraging morning purrs.

Nice then to get straight out of bed and work like a mad thing on the atrial fibrillation and stroke website all day. Rushing to meet impossible deadlines. Then at the end of the day asked in to the office tomorrow, meaning the whole process is dragged out and I get to spend hours on the train and an extra £35. Bad news from my French client too. The pitch I'd worked on like a slave through several days of flu was completely wasted time. Only one of the concepts I'd generated was presented (the wrong one) and it was given a paltry one hour in the studio to visualise it. Unsurprisingly we did not win. Why did I bother?

Bob came to stay as he was training solicitors in Brighton today. Had a reviving walk by the sea, and a nice chat. Bob particularly loving the starlings flocking before they settle with a magical synchronisation onto the old pier.

Home to a bowl of rather good bean jar, and eventually we popped into the Batty for a quick beer where we were joined by Lorraine, who was on unusually talkative form about data of all things. I was brain dead and we all pushed off to bed fairly early. Nice to have Lorraine with me on a Wednesday.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Out of the box

Up before the sparrows at Lorraine's house and trekked sullenly home to start work at 7:40 as there was ground to be made up from yesterday. Bad night's sleep as I was overtired. Lorraine telling me about the dream she had about boxes that contained sleep, and how I didn't have them all.

Grey morning and I worked on atrial fibrillation almost all day and half the evening. Of all the gargoyles in my chamber of hypochondriac horrors, palpitations and heart events are what puts the willies up me most. Good then that I have to spend all the hours God sends for the next few days writing about them in loving detail.

Exciting news from Guernsey. Jane was asked to do a day's photo shoot as a Camilla, Duchess of Cornwall, lookalike, necessitating an exciting trip to London last weekend with Richard. That Jane is a woman of many talents.

Chatted to Betty today, thanks to her efforts people are busily reserving tickets for Wrong. I am veering toward optimism again. Forgot to say that Matt told me over the weekend that was setting two of my poems to music, which is exciting. If I don't get time to do some of my work again soon I am going to explode. I have already yessed my way into some more work in London next week for a couple of days... And then... A week off to watch the play, and try to pick up some of my creative threads.

Meanwhile Chelsea slipping miserably. Anton keen to talk about football as the despicable Manchester United are top of the league again.

Finished my last episode of Frasier tonight. What now? Bleakness. Wind like the creaking of coffin hinges. A few crows. Perhaps I will have to go outside.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Monday Valentine

The Monday Valentines: a great name for a band.

I met Lorraine this evening coming out of her choir (or quire as the Hullaballo Quire styles itself). Home and a nice cup of decaffinated coffee. Lorraine got me a book about Zombies in Brighton, and a Michael Morpurgo book. I got her the CD of PJ Harvey's new album Let England Shake, and a small blue glass heart. Today was the date of release for Let England Shake and I felt like a fanboy buying it on its day of release, and was given a print of PJ Harvey dressed in black with black feathers in her hair.

Otherwise sadder and wiser after lively night. Working on atrial fibrillation and feeling shattered, with hangover piled on top of cold. Nobody but myself to blame.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

An outbreak of liveliness

Lorraine and I met up with Matt, Wayne, John and Wayne and Matt's pal Kate for lunch in the Shakespeare's head. Decided lunch was such fun that we carried on partying into the evening. Lorraine sensibly ducking out to do some work. We ended up in various bars, playing pool and drinking. Our group gradually accumulating people and we ended up in Kemptown, watching a poor drag act before pushing off to a mainly lesbian karaoke club hosted by another older gentleman in drag. Jolly good fun it was too, generally altogethery. Lurched home on autopilot, feeling as if some much-needed steam had been let off.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

An open house

This morning off to see Janet and Ken. I took over Ken's poem which I had framed. Ken chuckling when he reading through the poem again, which made me very pleased I'd done it.

When I arrived Janet was taking possession of a Brighton Open Houses banner. She is going to be curating an open house, her own, for the festival. She will be exhibiting some of her own work too, and showed me some more of the fabrics she has been making, which really are rather beautiful. She is also working on laptop cosies, which is rather a good idea for folks who carry their laptop about.

I also suggested she might consider using some of Mum's paintings.

A relaxed afternoon watching rugby on TV. In the evening around to Lorraine's house and then out for a guilty curry, which this time I could taste.

Below a detail from one of Janet's bags.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Mr Bottomsley's message

Snuffling up to the agency I am working with in Tavistock Square. First Matie now works there, and Matty boy is moving there soon too join Pat and the French Bloke, as well as several other old friends and colleagues. Feels very familiar when I pop in. Today mostly about business however, and a long conversation and feedback on the atrial fibrillation and stroke work I'd done with a nice woman called Ana, who was similarly snuffling.

Home on the train and was at last able at 3:00pm to boof out. Mubarak has gone in Egypt, which is good. I turned on Radio 4 and they were relaying the sound of the huge crowd in Tahrir Square. Wasn't sure how to interpret the sound at first, as I hadn't heard the news yet. Eventually I worked out that it sounded joyous.

A chilled night in again, Lorraine out with her girlfriends, and me watching the inevitable Frasiers. Encountered the episode with Mr Bottomsley in it again. Frasier is taking care of his neighbour's cat, Mr Bottomsley, and is wrapped in a shawl eating vegetable soup. I am almost done with 11 series worth now, wrapped in my blanket on my sofa, stroking my cat. What will I do with myself when I've seen them all again? Perhaps I should get a life.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

A day of distinction

More nightmares. Note to self: do not re-read Ecce Homo by Nietzsche before dropping to sleep slightly feverish. This rather contradicting his assertion in Why I write such good books that "It seems to me that to take a book of mine into his hands is one of the rarest distinctions anyone can confer upon himself", yeah Friedrich, if you like mad nightmares.

But a new day. And my brain was miraculously re-engaged, and I entered into what self-hypnosis tapes refer to as a flow state. Yesterday having been such a bad day I needed to reboot. Wrote myself a list first thing of the things I was going to achieve and how I was going to achieve them. It seemed to work as I produced 16 concepts for French tourism, wrote a home page for a website, and had a long chat with new discussion with Natalie about her new agency.

In the evening I saw Anton and we popped into the Batty. Anton rather impressed when I ordered myself a half, which of course he claims credit for as someone with a more sophisticated continental approach to drinking. Nice chat with him though, and some more walks in the offing.

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Gah

Torrid day. Woke up panicked and ill. Wretched streaming cold and looming deadlines, and clients needing attention. Can't remember a time when my brain was so resolutely set to off. Jobs that should have taken minutes took hours, with no amount of coffee helping. Too ill to meet Matt for his birthday drink.

Eventually did the bare minumum which allowed me to crawl off to the sofa, and pray for feeling more compos mentis tomorrow. Then unbeknown to me a facebook virus began sending birthday cards from my ID. Self-loathingly ate a bag of fish and chips as walking twenty yards to the chippie was easier than cooking. Frasier. Chats to Mum and the lovely Lorraine. Early bed.

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Man cold

Sorry for myself with a serious man cold. Heroically kept working despite my brain only functioning at 50% of its customary brilliance, meaning everything seemed to take twice as long to do. Working on French things and Agency branding things. Walked briefly down to the sea for the purposes of brain oxgenation at lunchtime, bumped briefly into Fingers on the way back, who said another boy's music night was in the offing. The weather was beautiful, sunny and warm for the time of year and barely a cloud in the sky. The sea shining.

In the evening down to Lorraine's house to eat a nice meal Betty had cooked. Mark there and he showed me a TV sitcom script he'd just started writing. Excellent dialogue. After a quick chat with Lorraine, I left before Beth, Mark and Callum were to start rehearsing and recording their dialogue for Wrong. I walked home noticing the crescent moon lying on its back. Worked a bit more, thinking how bored I am of snuffling and feeling dull.

Monday, February 07, 2011

Annoying cluckers

Infernal night. Calliope speared a claw into the sole of my foot, then instantly hid out of grabbing range under the centre of the bed. Full of an Old Testament wrath as I seized the appalling weasel and once free she hared downstairs like Lucifer plunging into the dark. Being woken this way at 3:55am made me furious, and I ended up reading for some time afterwards before slipping into series of nightmares. The cat keeping a rather low profile for what remained of the night.

Work all day. French work this morning trying to brand a new tourism campaign, then a couple of chats about atrial fibrillation and strokes, plus a teleconference about the branding work I'm doing for the new agency. All fine, but increasingly full of cold and jadedness as the day wore on.

After work went to the supermarket where I was looking at a piece of smoked haddock, when two women near me started clucking like chickens. One searching my face as she clucked if looking for inspiration. Were they laughing at me? What did they mean by it? Such are the Pooterish incidents in my life.

Otherwise read more of the 50 literary ideas etc., and an episode of a new BBC SF drama series called Outcasts, filmed in South Africa, which was moderately interesting. No sign of anything looking remotely alien in the flora and fauna though. Then spoke to Lorraine who had been singing as she has rejoined her choir.

Pleased to see that my pitbull plecs are still uneaten. They are rather fascinating, being able to bury themselves in gravel, and also change the degree of their mottling to hide better.

Obviously I am not getting out enough, and feeling decidedly all-work-and-no-playish.

Sunday, February 06, 2011

Meh!

Lorraine and I both slightly subdued with colds. Lorraine reading about leadership and cutting up pieces of fabric while I did some work for one of my clients - an interesting job, helping a new agency develop its tone of voice - and we took a walk in the drizzle, and I ended up buying loads of good tee-shirts at ridiculously low prices.

Reading the interesting 50 Literature ideas you really need to know by the admirably clear John Sutherland. Surprised to realise I know more about current literary ideas than I thought. Although eagerly turned to the pages on Reception Theory, because I wasn't sure about what this meant. But it simply means how a literary piece is received by people or societies encountering it. A sort of phenomenology lite.

Looking for an opportunity to use the word 'meh', but haven't found it. It signifies supreme indifference, and is being used self-consciously by some of my middle-aged UK facebook friends.

A slow evening. Reading and eating a delicious mostly vegetable stew Lorraine made. Unenthusiastic about football. Chelsea beaten by Liverpool. Bah! And after Chelsea had just signed Liverpool's £50m striker Torres too. Oh wait... Meh! To football.

Saturday, February 05, 2011

Jesus heads

Dreary weather, me coldy and slightly hungover but cheerful. Lorraine drove us off to Lewes. We sat in the car park listening to end of The News Quiz on R4. I really like how Lorraine likes the same stuff as me. Although when she went to a shop specialising in fabrics, buttons etc. I realised that this was a world of pain and went instead to a flea market, a misnomer as I saw no bartering parasites. After some time Lorraine came to collect me, armed with fabrics, and then drove us off to the garden centre by the racecourse. Here I bought new plants for my aquarium, and two new fish called pitbull plecs, which my unspeakable angelfish tried to eat when introduced to the aquarium later. Without success, so far, but their thoughts are persistently evil.

In the evening to Lorraine's house. Saw Betty, Mark and their pals Jo and Kayleigh, plus a tired-looking Sam. Chatted to Mark about writing for a while, and the monologue he has written for the Wrong nights. I think he has an obvious talent as a writer. He also showed me his personal statement he is using for applications, and he mentions me in it which was touching.

Lorraine and I went out for a curry in the usual restaurant around the corner. I had long fantasised about this moment. We chose slimming choices and confined ourselves to a single beer, but my cold made everything taste odd. Lorraine who befriends people, was told by one of our regular waiters he has just finished his PhD and now has a job working in environmental science for an important university. I like the idea he is moving from waiting tables to saving the planet.

Below... Busts of Jesus for sale in Lewes in a back room. Made me wonder where the convention for portraying Jesus like this came from.

Friday, February 04, 2011

Off the leash

After a couple of hours, was able to cast aside the chaffing desk manacles and wandered happily about doing laundry, hoovering and washing up, and feeling as if a huge weight had been lifted from my shoulders. Took the afternoon off, and went to the gym for a long Hulk legs session, despite what seemed like noxious chemicals leaking from the air conditioning.

At five o'clock met Matt in The Basketmakers and simply had a few beers, which went to my head, but did not prevent us talking about the arts at great length. Matt wistful about the joys of the Huddersfield Contemporary Music Festival, and of Yorkshire in general. Home early rather frayed around the edges, for I am not used to this booze. Lorraine who'd been at a leaving party, discovered me some hours later fast asleep on the sofa. All well.

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Meltdown

Blew a fuse today. I found myself with eight files open on my desktop trying to cross reference between them all and feeling like weeping. I couldn't do the job. Then I remembered I was my own boss, and could simply say no. A tricky client conversations followed, but luckily my charming Spanish client Helena was philosophical about it. I had warned them repeatedly I had the wrong skill set for the job (which has been shunned by all-comers for months).

I had a disproportionate and very stressed reaction to the whole thing. My desire to please everyone and a profound need to wrest back control of my own life grinding against each other like tectonic plates.

Luckily I still have plenty of work but will be able to enjoy the luxury of a two day weekend. Amazing!

Escaped to the sea. Beautiful day with the sun shining. Talking to Mason as I walked. He is an upbeat mood. Then to Mum later, who'd said that they'd seen Black Swan and hated it. Off to Lorraine's house in the evening for supper, and an early night. Drained.

Wednesday, February 02, 2011

Two Legless Ramblers please

Sore throat. Muesli. Work. Quorn-based stir fry. Haircut. Waiting for work. Work. And in the evening, after a chat with Lorraine and a read of the fascinating The Mind in the Cave.... A beer.

Ah beer. Beer, beer, beer. Went to the Evening Star where I met Fingers, Richard, Steve and a few others including a nice flautist called Claudius with whom I found I could talk about Negritude poets. As the Evening Star is a home of real ales, I drank a beer Steve recommended called Legless Rambler. A nice thing. And I had another one to keep it company. And then a half.

What I realise is that although beer is certainly a pleasant drink, my love of pubs is 90% about the people. Booze tastes nice, is undoubtedly a relaxing social lubricant, but it does get fetishised. I'm worried that I am in danger of developing a grown up approach to boozes.

My mission is to lose weight. But in the next week I will have a few more beers, before I climb aboard the waggon again till the play finishes. I weighed myself, and disappointingly my weight loss has reached a plateau. Brief trips to the gym seemingly not enough when I am at my desk for 12 hours a day. But the mission continues.

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Thinking of Spring

Bad night. Calliope conducting a protracted screaming cat fight and then appearing full of purrs. She instantly went to sleep, while I lay awake for two hours cursing her furry head.

Most of the day on strokes and AF. And I took another more interesting brief from a colleague I met while freelancing. Went to the gym, though was low on gas, and felt a bit shattered after. Someone said hello but I glared at him coldly for I shall have no friends down the gym!

Two pieces of good news.

One, which my legendary discretion has prevented me from mentioning before now, is the excellent news that Richard and Jane are going to be married this Spring in Guernsey. This will necessitate a jaunt over in April. Very flattered as they have asked me to be best man. This is lovely stuff, and they make an excellent couple.

While Mick Ginty texted me today to say he is now a dad. Lucy has given birth to their daughter Olivia Elizabeth Rose this morning. Both well.

Keep being distracted by interesting ideas. (I don't know whether this is just a trick of the mind, when confronted with the monotony of writing dozens of website pages on subjects I feel particularly hypochondria-provoking.) Reading about the psychological concept of displacement today. Partially because I have had to consciously fight to quell displacement activities in the last couple of weeks. Displacement is when, for example, you get angry at a passerby who accidentally bumps into you, because you can't get angry at the target of your real rage.

It is like metaphor and talking of one thing in terms of another, which is a displacement too. I am beginning to wonder if the arts aren't just one huge displacement industry.

Went to bed reading The Mind in the Cave. I think it will change my life.