jeudi 31 décembre 2015

New sh*t.

I just came back from my traditional new year's eve run in brand-new Christmas-present leggings (thanks to my sister).  It was sunny, then cold, and then I got rained on and I picked up a pretty stone, and some jolly people said 'happy new year' and then I nearly got run over - bit like 2015 in microcosm form, maybe?!

Anyway.  I ran through the front door and this song was playing on the radio.  I hope it's a sign for 2016.  Maybe.

(MSCL has nothing to do with it, but Angela is so sweet.)

This year is ending completely differently to how I thought/hoped it would.  To everyone for whom this is the case today, I will be burning sage, drinking Champagne and saying a little prayer for us all.

Then again, last year ended a bit differently to how I expected it to as well - you'd think I might have learned my lesson by now.  Against all better judgement, I remain unshakeable in my faith that 2016 will be the best year yet.  Maybe.

So, here's to old endings, new beginnings, exciting possibilities and the triumph of hope over experience.  Right?

mardi 22 décembre 2015

Stuff this year.

Well...  It's been a bit of a year, hasn't it?

Some very un-favourite things have happened, but some good ones too.  Here are some of my favourite cultural things of the whole year.

BOOK: The First Bad Man by Miranda July.

I have long loved pretty much everything that Miranda July has ever done - well, since I went by myself to the Curzon in Soho to see 'Me and You and Everyone We Know' and then worked backwards.  I loved her book of short stories, and had high hopes of her first novel.  Well, reader, this surpassed all of them.  I read it with not much idea of the story/premise, which was probably ideal.  I have never read anything quite like it.  Literally life-altering.

FILM: Another game-changer, I have to say 'Diary of a Teenage Girl'.  I saw it by myself (bit of a theme emerging here?) on a weekday afternoon.  Question: is there anything more decadent than going to the cinema alone on a weekday afternoon?  This film, and all of its performances, are so incredible - I walked home in a daze, my head spinning.  Bonus points for the lovely 70s San Francisco aesthetic.

MUSIC: Of course, of course it has to be 'Divers' by Joanna Newsom.  Is that too cliche?  I know some people who would think so - apparently my taste in music can be way too 'middle-class white girl who has a fringe and tattoos and lives in Brighton'.  I don't care.  I love her love her love her.  This is still going to be on my record player throughout 2016.

TELLY: I rarely watch stuff on 'actual' telly, and then I feel all superior about it.  For years I really enjoyed saying 'actually I don't have a TV' but now everyone watches everything on computer, that doesn't really have the same cachet any more.  But lately not so much no-telly superiority on my part.  A big reason for this was 'Catastrophe'.  The premise doesn't sound that great: couple get pregnant after casual fling and decide to make a go of things (sounds pretty standard, right?).  But the writing, acting and general charm plus LOL-ness really elevate it.

Oh shit, and I nearly forgot 'This Is England 90'.  And probably loads of other stuff.

vendredi 11 décembre 2015

Tattoos are like songs (and vice versa, so I've heard)

Today - right now - I am being tattooed!  My third tattoo.

So, here is a little story I wrote about the last time I was tattooed.  It was originally in Cassiopeia magazine, and I have posted it here before - but I am still very fond and quite proud of it.  It all still applies.

Yes, again I am amid turmoil.  I wonder how many more times in my life I will be tattooed.

Footsteps in the Snow

I suppose we have tattoos because we want to be more like snowflakes – unique, special, unlike any other.  We can kid ourselves.

My tattooist, Francisco, has the skin of someone who did not see snow until last winter.  Nearly every inch of it is tattooed.  He is from Brazil and saw grey London snow for the first time in December – a sight that delighted him beyond my comprehension.  Not unrelatedly, he has a tiny sprinkling of freckles across the bridge of his nose that elevates his face from really nice looking to beautiful.

It is not coincidental that Francisco is tattooing me today amid turmoil – to mark and erase all at once.  Footsteps in the snow.  Firmly planted, for me, myself, where only I can see them.  He knows this instinctively and he looks after me; our conversation on the tattooist’s table is worth a year of therapy.  I am so happy that he will always have been involved in my body, a part of this permanent reminder.

What a strange job – such responsibility and permanence.  I wonder if he feels the weight of it when he goes home at night.  I want to ask him, but we have had to stop our incessant talking because it is making me move around too much and he cannot work.  It is hard for me to stay still.

With no other distraction from the pain, I recite mantras in my head, force myself into a rhythm.


DaddyyoubastardI’mthrough.  DaddyyoubastardI’mthrough.  (Like a train, that one.)


Above Francisco’s whirring gun: the sound of footsteps, crunching in the snow, where nobody will ever see them.

jeudi 10 décembre 2015

Always knows best.

'Your Voice In My Head' by Emma Forrest is well documented as being one of my very favourite books.  I have come to regard it as a life essential.

While out running along the South Bank today, I found myself thinking about a letter - short, to-the-point and wise - from her mother about her recent and horrible relationship breakdown.

When I got back from my run, I had to go and look up the exact wording, because I had the strongest feeling that it might be just what I needed to hear today.  If you exchange the word 'movie star' (I haven't had one of those) for something else (all sorts of other things), this advice applies - beautifully - to the end of so many relationships.

"It will get better now. You can allow the whole thing to recede. You've had your movie star. He's had his smart, funny, sensitive girl from something like the real world. You'll find someone more grounded. He'll find someone tougher. Done."

Not cool.

Occasionally, I will wake up with an essential burning question in my head.

Today: Hmm, I wonder what Dido is up to lately?

I never said I was cool.  And obviously such questions take on disproportionately major importance when I have lots of work and Actually Important Stuff to do.

However, my Googling efforts threw up this song, which I had entirely forgotten about and which I actually think is really great.  You know, in an of-the-moment, slightly dated sort of a way.  It has a morning-after sadness to it that still appeals to me a lot - see also Central Reservation by Beth Orton.

I seem to remember that it was in a film or TV programme when I was at university.  (Although I just Googled that, and apparently it was something called Roswell, of which I have literally no recollection.)  Oh well, at least that put a stop to my Googling black hole of a morning...

mardi 8 décembre 2015

I could skate away on.

I spent the weekend by the river.  Then I travelled back home, by myself in Sunday gloom; trekking through London, it is little wonder I was reduced to tears by a brass band at Victoria station playing Christmas songs.

Of course - of course - I am put in mind of this song.

mercredi 2 décembre 2015

The Sky Lit Up

My hair is officially longer than it has ever been.

So, this song - because it is great and it makes me feel infinite (in a The Perks of Being a Wallflower way, of course).

And, very tenuously, that's how the words go.

And this world tonight is mine,
A world to be remembered in.
Think on a faded photograph,
My hair longer than it's ever been.

And the sky lit up...