24 April 2007

Life Lessons a la Musicals

Knowing, as I do, that we all worship at the altar of St Julie Andrews, and that it is the Sect of The Sound of Music's holy light that is bathed in and revered above all on high in particular, converting multitudes from all backgrounds, creeds and sexual preferences who join the Musical Theatre flock to the sacred word (or should I say song) of Our Lady, Julie, I thought I would pay my respects by sacrificing this blog post in benediction. In short, the theme will be These Are a Few of My Favourite Things.

First of all I would like to state that I do have a certain fondness for raindrops on roses, whiskers on kittens and the like. A tear can even be brought to my eye (glisteneing upon my eyelash as dew clings to grass, sparkling under the sun's warm glow) by the arrival of a brown paper package tied up with string.
However, in order to prevent nausea and the need for sick buckets I shall swiftly move on to things that are marginally more stomach-settling and that actually are My Favourite Things...

Bohemian dressing rooms.

Being in the darkness of the cinema and forgetting where I am, that I am actually in public, due to being so totally immersed.

The warmth that comes with slightly sweaty pyjamas under the duvet.

Brushing my teeth the morning after the night before.

Having my feet prodded.

The view from the sitting room window just after it has been raining (that is a soppy one, granted, but only because it is like some vivid drug trip with all the colour and blurred edges).

The first sip of a glass of red wine when really comfortable and sleepy.

Green eyeliner.

Heated intellectual debate, usually regarding literature, when it doesn't bother me how pretentious or arsy I sound.

Proving people wrong when in heated intellectual debate.

Watching Sex and the City on my laptop at half 2 in the morning when the rest of the house is silent.

Looking through old photos.

Memories of Simnal cake.

Storms, with me on the inside.

Crying at some relentlessly weepy film so much it hurts to swallow and I have no inclination to wipe away the streaming tears.

Reading The Guardian, especially at the weekend.

Seeing people at those moments when they have no idea they are being seen, and they are all cute and childlike and look like they are a snuffly four year old again.

Our kettle.

Books. Fiction. The smell of old, yellowing paper. Feeling like I never want a novel to end.

Sitting on battered leather sofas.


Drinking Sally's Mum's special blend in Sally's house, with Meg the dog finally ceasing her growling and sitting on my feet.

The unity between siblings when fighting against parental authority in common cause and rare affinity with one another.

Clean sheets.

The list goes on and on...
I could provide endless material for the Von Trapps in The Sound of Music II. No doubt, after having tackled Nazis in the first one, the War on Terror would be solved by a problem like Maria. She would soften the opposition with images of warm woolen mittens.

18 April 2007

Geek Chic

There are times when one* mooches (or even, if being positively wiiild, skulks) about doing the same old things in the same old way, with it never ocurring to oneself that the mooching through the quotidien of life would be regarded as odd, bizzarre or disturbing by any other party that may happen upon said mooching.

Then there are those times when the realisation hits that other people may not do things in quite the same way, or have the same priorities, principles or inherently held belief sysytems as oneself. In fact, they may even think one a wee bit anal or obsessive or just downright weird for carrying out these certain mooching rituals.

I am of course referring to Dr Who.

And this is so much more than a mooching ritual (the definition of which is most clear if I define through example: reading the Guardian Weekend magazine before late afternoon on a Saturday is a mooching ritual, as is using the half hour between The Simpsons and tea time to catch up on the blogs and witty websites). It is a fully established institution. It cannot be carried out in isolation, but must be watched by the family en masse (though in near complete silence naturally). It is an absolute priority, and the closest thing the Kirks are likely to ever accept as religion.

I had never even entertained the thought that every other family was not like mine in its true, dedicated following of the Timelord. But when I explain that I can't possibly go out to the pub until after the sacred programme I am met with either a little chuckle at the joke I have so evidently made (followed by an embarrassed cough as they realise I am deadly serious), or just wide-eyed bemusement. And so the lesson is learnt once more: not everyone is like the Kirks.

There are two types of people in this world. Those who realise that everything must, and should, be put on hold for the 45 glorious minutes of Dr Who, excepting nothing, and that totally get that nothing above the faint sound of necessary respiration can be uttered during this time, and understand the all-consuming shivery awe the theme tune invokes as the hypnotic title sequence hurtles us to other dimensions. And those who just don't.

Dr Who really is a unifying force. One that should not be underestimated. One that should not be missed by going to the pub. And one that is so cool it even advertises converse.

*By 'one', I of course mean me. But I am trying to be inclusive, and tar everyone with the same grubby brush as I tar myself. For this I apologise.

12 April 2007

School Holidays

I face another moral dilemma.

There are so many throughout the day that one loses count, but this one is particularly pertinent. Mostly because I am reminded of it whenever I sit at my computer, or recline on my sofa (which, I am ashamed to say, now bears the imprint of my backside, rendering it even more difficult to peel myself off). The DVD of the book I am reading is positioned alongside my laptop, tempting me, imploring me, downright yelling at me to watch it.

To watch the film version before reading the novel? Sacrilegious! It is a Thing Not Done. I would regret it straight away.

But It's not like I wouldn't read the book. It's not a case of either/or. Just which to do first. Yet I know I couldn't bear to complete the book with my images of the characters, places etc besmirched and tainted with those of the film.

However, reading the book first prolongs the excuse of not doing any work whatsoever. If I have to read the book before I watch the film that is crying out to be viewed then getting down to anything else is prevented due to my ever-increasing list of Things To Do. Dilemma.

Somebody asked me yesterday, in a conspiratorial whisper, how the 'work' was going. I had absolutely no idea what they were talking about, and looked bemused for some time. Then it dawned on me. They meant the pre-exam work I was expected to be doing. As in the life-defining A-level exam work. Ah.
I changed the subject.

The very same person, however, passed on a huge pile of Style magazines to me. It is cruel. Absolute cruelty to tempt me so. Will the constant stream of distractions and much more preferable occupations never cease their vicious, unrelenting attacks? Oh, the anguish of sunny afternoons! Oh, the torment of enticing literature and trashy magazines! What did I do to deserve you?!

Oh dash it all. I'm watching the bloody DVD. Glass of wine in hand, and chocolate accompanying me. If one is to sin, it will be in style.

8 April 2007

Gno life like the Gnome life

I used to wonder how the streetlights would all light up at around the same time, and seemingly without any warning or human intervention.

It had to be magic.

The only explanation I could come up with was streetlight gnomes. Little men who were small enough to be settled in the base of the light, where it is slightly wider, and who had long poles that they would use to switch on the light at the top of the column when a pre-set alarm went off.
There would be a little community of streetlight gnomes, all using their poles to light up the country at the same time. In all likelihood there would be walkie-talkie system going on.

People often say that they would love to be a cat as it is such an easy life just to laze around all day, occasionly stretching and being stroked. But surely it would get a bit dull, not being able to read, converse etc (though I'm sure our cats do watch the t.v when it's on; nothing can resist or fail to understand Neighbours). No, I would much rather be a streetlight gnome. They have big squashy duvet covers in which they are swaddled cosily in, piles of books around them (both classics and lighter froth), the occasional glossy magazine, endless period drama dvds, hot fresh coffee on tap, with a thick and clunky mug to drink it out of comfortingly. And the only responsibilty they have is to twiddle their pole to activate light at a particular time.

Sometimes a streetlight is on in the middle of the day. Just the one, and for no reason. That's when I imagine the little gnome inhabiting that particular streetlight was so engrossed in his novel, all cosy and sleepy, he failed to hear the tuneful alarm alerting him to the time when his one job must be done.
And I sigh and think of how lovely it would be to be a streetlight gnome.