It's getting to that time of the summer when my annual Jilly Cooper re-read begins. I'm currently on Rivals (possibly my *actual* favourite, or at least tied with Riders for that honour).
However, it's reading the retro 'name' romances again, when I am (as always) struck by how brilliantly witty they are. It makes me think I should definitely try to talk more like a Jilly heroine at all times.
'Are you superstitious?' Pendle asks Prudence.
'No,' she replies, 'just super.'
My mission: to work that into a conversation at the soonest possible opportunity. Seriously.
To my credit, I *did* remark 'now that's what I call hardcore prawn' whilst eating a particularly large crustacean at a barbecue on Sunday.
There is something about late August that always draws me back to the comfort of Jilly. I guess because it's getting to that time in the summer when, although we all want simply to enjoy the remaining days of sunshine, we can't help thinking that the days will be dark again soon. That back to school feeling. A tiny edge of dread, even though I actually like autumn (soup, crumble, reading indoors!). An ending, hanging around in the air.
In the meantime: Jilly, making the most of summer dresses, swimming in the sea, reading in the garden.
I don't have many thoughts in my head right now. Just feelings and songs floating about, really.
This one is summery and joyous, as (at time of writing) am I.
It's funny, according to the Internet, this song came out in January 2000. However, I would have *sworn* (straight up and down until I was blue in the face) that it came out during a summer. My memories of it are all sun-dappled and dreamy.
It's a silly pop song, of course, but I couldn't agree more: you must decide to risk your heart for love to find you.
Today is my mum's birthday, and I am joyous to get to spend the whole weekend with my family. Definitely my favourite thing in the whole world to do.
Leonard Cohen is basically always on my mind (as well as my body, via my Cohen tattoo, of course). Just safely assume that he's taking up about 4% of my brain at all times (the same bit that other people probably use for parallel parking, or making organised shopping lists). It's always there, playing The Future on a loop.
At the moment, he's there more than ever (like, maybe up to a good constant 7%). Like everyone, I cried at the beautiful letter that he wrote recently to the dying Marianne. I've been reading it again and again. I hope that I can leave behind similar feelings one day. Maybe in all those men who I've made laugh and cry and laugh about it all again.
I am also of course delighted at the exciting news that he has a new album coming out. Pretty good going for an 82-year-old, of course, but mostly I am absolutely in love with its title.
You Want It Darker
Yes, Mr Cohen. Yes please. I want it darker.
As such, I have been listening to his darkest works of genius (always, I feel I must point out, with a seam of humour running through them at all times). Humour, and sex. Always with the sex.
These lyrics are with me and blowing my mind at the moment. Perfect. He himself is the master.
Then I think you're playing far too rough For a lady who's been to the moon; I've lain by this window long enough To get used to an empty room. And your love is some dust in an old man's cough Who is tapping his foot to a tune, And your thighs are a ruin, you want too much, Let's say you came back some time too soon.
So, this song currently brings me total joy in the same way that certain Elliott Smith songs do. Honestly.
This is probably (I sincerely hope) the first time that Elliott Smith has been associated with the early 90s teen pin-up Joey Lawrence, of Blossom fame and a short-lived and (in my opinion) underrated solo music career.
I know this is purely due to a weird sort of rose-tinted nostalgia, but I woke up with this song in my head a few days ago and now can't stop listening to it. The longer this goes on, t's almost like I genuinely (slightly) believe it is actually a good song. I mean, I know it's *not*. And yet...
It’s hardly possible that there could be more of a pile-up
of my favourite Sunday morning things than Jilly Cooper’s appearance on Desert
Island Discs a couple of weeks ago.I
have listened to it several times since, and it does not fail to bring me a total joy about
I want to live in Jolly Super World, where everyone is
‘terribly sweet’ and we all have a lovely time (but it’s OK to be bitchy).We all know that I’m basically Janey
Lloyd-Fox and that’s where I belong best.
On DID, Jilly delighted me by choosing a Bob Marley song –
rationale: because her favourite thing to do is to get drunk with her (adult)
children and dance about the garden to Bob Marley.
My mum came to visit me in Brighton at the weekend.We drank rosé on the beach in the sunshine,
then drank more around my kitchen table singing along to records.Total heaven.As Jilly might say.I am very
I think I even knew at the time that Soul Asylum weren't the coolest. They were no Nirvana. At the time, I was also really into Beck and Björk (and Madonna and Prince and the B-52s). Also, 4 Non-Blondes and Spin Doctors, but we don't need to talk about that. Anyway, I had 'Grave Dancers Union' on cassette and I listened to it a lot. Like, A LOT. I still know every single word, even to the not-so great songs (of which there are a few). It's a really good album for singing along with. I woke up the other day with the first song in my head, and since then I've been listening to it a lot again. Sometimes just this song, on a loop. Sometimes the whole album. Most often, the first three songs, which are by far the best ones. I have absolutely no idea if it sounds good to me at the moment due to nostalgia or because it actually holds up as good music. I suspect the former, so I would be interested to hear any other thoughts on this matter. What I do know is that it feels perfect for me right now, just as it did in 1992, when I was 11. Frankly, right now, I seem to be around people who need a fucking shove. I may well be one of them.
Amid Monday mornings, train strikes, sleepy eyes and too much work to do... sometimes only Springsteen will do.
My ex-boyfriend used to say it was funny that a multi-millionaire rockstar was still going for the 'working all day in my daddy's garage' schtick, but I say that's not the point.
Also, I think it was my favourite writer Emma Forrest (a true Bruce lover), who pointed out that 'mister, I ain't a boy, I'm a man' is the most immature phrasing ever, totally something a boy rather than a man would say. Which only adds to its charm.
We love him. Well, women do, anyway.
And when you're leaving the house before 7am on a Monday, it's Bruce that you need in your ears. For such times 'The Promised Land' is still the best.
Working all day in my daddy's garage Driving all night chasing some mirage Pretty soon little girl I'm gonna take charge
The dogs on Main Street howl 'Cause they understand If I could take one moment into my hands Mister I ain't a boy, no, I'm a man And I believe in a promised land
I've done my best to live the right way I get up every morning and go to work each day But your eyes go blind and your blood runs cold Sometimes I feel so weak I just want to explode Explode and tear this whole town apart Take a knife and cut this pain from my heart Find somebody itching for something to start
Slightly belatedly, I would like to note here that I had the BEST time at YALC. (That's the Young Adult Literary Convention, for those readers who are not familiar with such things.) It's part of the London Film and Comic Con at Olympia and it's BRILLIANT. Please excuse overuse of capital letters: I just want you to REALLY UNDERSTAND how JOYOUS I am about this marvellous event, dear reader. I already can't wait for next year.
Seeing such wonderful people there, hearing some inspiring talks and buying some exciting new books has left me feeling INSPIRED. So, since then, I've been working hard, making plans, keeping my head down and generally scribbling.
When not doing that, I recently adored 'You Know Me Well' by David Levithan and Nina LaCour. Highly recommended. Relatedly, I *may* have met them both at YALC, been a bit starstruck and got my book signed. It's Brighton Pride this weekend, so t's the perfect time to read a book that's set during San Francisco Pride Week (I swear those two cities should be twinned, anyway) and is SO GORGEOUS I wept at the end through pure joy.
I've also, like everyone else, been watching 'Stranger Things'. At time of writing, I am only two episodes in, but I fully expect to have watched the lot by the end of the weekend. Pleasing shades of Stephen King, Donnie Darko, Stand By Me and other great stuff.