28 November 2008

A Post Named John

I have yet another reason to think Tilda Swinton one of the coolest people that currently graces this increasingly crackers planet with her presence. The current list is as follows... 1. she flaunts her striking red (i.e. the much-maligned 'ginger') locks, 2. wears some truly daring creations and pulls them off with aplomb, 3. holds film festivals in rural Scotland, at which she, as hostess, is pyjama-clad and if you bring a home-baked cake you get in free, 4. has an unapologetically unconventional domestic set-up, in that she lives with her children and their father (who remains a great companion and friend of hers, though no longer what she calls her 'sweetheart') yet also has a much younger lover who frequents her country dwelling and travels with her to foreign parts - all parties are happy with this arrangement, and a glorious one it sounds too.
Anyway, the new reason is that she refers to the father of her children, John Byrne, by his full name at all times. People do not do this often enough, and it makes situations have an air of the comical and absurd, which I love. 'Dinner is ready, John Byrne'. 'Oh drat it, John Byrne, could you please remove your wellies from right under my feet?!'. See, it totally works.

I'm actually thinking of changing my name to John. Apparently little Shiloh Pitt-Jolie (spawn of the glamorous Hollywood couple) will not answer to anything else but 'John'. This is the ultimate form of rebellion, and a big two fingers up at the sheer ridiculousness of her parents' cruelty in naming her something so 'unique' and 'original'. According to my sources (okay, I admit it, I am an avid reader of Glamour online) she has chosen John because of the character in 'Peter Pan' - the eldest, slightly geeky, Darling child who is whisked off to Neverland. Ahh, a wee bit of whimsy in amongst the usual drudge of meaningless, yet addictive, celebrity gossip. That tiny starlet will go far; I hope to the heavens she doesn't end up in rehab.

Although thought of as rather generic, especially in these bizarre times of Tallullahs, Pixies, and anything spelt as oddly as possible with accents and umlauts aplenty, the name John holds a certain solid appeal. There are too many Annas about these days I feel, and being a John would really set me apart.

And I have my pick as to who I was named after. John Keats. John F. Kennedy. Evil Prince John of Robin Hood fame. John Cleese. John Thomas (snigger, perhaps not). Maybe even Jean-Paul Sartre. The list goes on. Yes, that's decided it. I shall henceforth be known as John.

I may go as far as being Sir John... or Dame John.... or Marquis de John...

17 November 2008

The Little'un, the Wasps, and the Wardrobe

As I have now been living in Mat Fleeting for a fair while, the weird and the wonderful no longer faze me. This could be viewed as rather sad and regrettable, in that the enchanted amazement I used to experience when encountering the bizarre has grown to become merely the mundane and everyday. But actually this is rather marvellous in itself. The surreal is now hyper-real. I am at one with madness.

When watching a programme about children's illustrated books, as one does of an evening on board the rickety raft of Old Clem, talk turned to the masterpiece that is Each Peach Pear Plum. Tom Thumb was shown to be, naturally, in the cupboard of Mother Hubbard. And he was eating jam out of a jar roughly the size of himself (incidentally, this is Old Clem's idea of heaven) with a big shovel-like spoon. I went to the fridge for mid-programme sustenance and, what do you know, there was the Little'un himself - Tommy nabbing our extensive collection of jams. The wee little chap was quite at home in the cavernous container of delights that is our fridge, smacking his lips happily and sampling the homemade raspberry conserve, a personal favourite. Of course, I didn't hesitate to offer him a slice of bread and glass of milk to accompany the jam (Old Clem was so proud of my polite hospitality; he has taught me well), then sent him on his merry little way back to the land of nursery rhymes as it was past his bedtime.

This whole episode did not surprise me one bit because we are well-used to unusual kitchen visitors. There is an odd buzzing that emanates from the freezer every so often. Without warning, a violent aural attack descends, a sinister disembodied humming. We have come to the conclusion that there must be some form of hornet's nest built amongst the peas and pizza. There is no other explanation. They can get driven into a buzzing frenzy now and then, shivering their little stripes off in the chilly depths, eager to get out and join our chit-chat over tea and crumpets in the kitchen. Interestingly, it's when the honey is being spread that the buzzing becomes particularly prominent and over-enthusiastic I have noticed. Perhaps one day we shall let them out to fly freely, but I fear they may get too excited and sting us in a flurry of disorientation as they are let loose into the warmth. Best to keep them lying dormant, next to the sausages.

Talking of cold places, my wardrobe seems to have its own micro-climate. No matter how toasty it gets in our humble abode, it remains 'Brrrrrr!'-inducingly chilly. I have to brace myself for the snatching of clothes each morning, often hastily grabbing whatever is nearest, making for some rather eclectic outfits. It does mean that it doubles up pretty well as a larder - one to rival Mother Hubbard's in fact. I like to believe that it gets so cold due to it actually being a portal to Narnia. The eternal winter that reigns in that magical land is bound to cause the entrance to be a bit nippy. Alas, there are no glamorous fur coats at the back like there were hanging in the original wardrobe, only green silk pyjamas and red Princess dresses. Nevertheless, I am honoured to have a doorway into such a supercool other world in my bedroom. I'm sure I hear Aslan growling from within sometimes (though, admittedly, this could just be C from the next room), and I expect to be visited by a talking faun bearing Turkish delight any day now. Of course in my Narnia there is DEFINITELY Christmas. What is winter without Christmas after all?

I love that this all seems perfectly natural and normal to me. The bosom of Mat Fleeting is a comforting yet extraordinary place in which to be nestled.

11 November 2008

Are You There Rene? It's Me, Paranoid Pre-pubescent

Just in case I never get to the end (or even the beginning) of 'Troilus and Creseyde' and therefore monumentally and spectacularly fail my degree (which unfortunately seems to rely rather heavily on good old Uncle Geffrey, the prolific dullard) meaning that I would not be able to go forward with further study and become an eccentric Academic specialising in the subtle nuances of all the 800 year old's begetting like nobodies business in Genesis, I have a back-up plan. Well, actually it's a back-up back-up plan, as my first back-up career path is obviously being window dresser at Liberty. That goes without saying. However, if it turns out I get fired from that esteemed mecca of elegance and sophistication, for causing carnage amongst displays of Liberty-print luxury and shiny chandelier opulence and am driven to iridescent peacock feather frenzy, induced by a haze of splendour and sumptuousness, exploding expensively like a fountain of the best champagne, then I shall have to earn my keep by other means.

I shall write teen novels for young girls growing up, helping them come to terms with the gritty issues they will inevitably struggle with and preparing them for the harsh realities of adolescence.

They could be in diary form.

'Dear Rene,
Today was a friend oriented day. I met all the girls for a milkshake. I wore my new sparkly pumps. They gave me a blister, but I didn't care! It was worth it as they are so cool and I'm sure I got some very envious looks. They're almost the same as Cheryl's from Girls Aloud. Anyway, Stacie had big news. She went to a party at the community centre last night and actually got kissed! I am so jealous. The guy, Mikey Roberts, is nothing special, but I guess it's the luck of the draw when you're playing 'Spin the Bottle'. She said it was on the lips. I really wanted to ask more details, like if her brace got in the way at all or if she was worried about getting the wires caught or if there was much spittle, but we got too giggly.
I cannot wait until my first kiss. If only it could be with Matty B. He is so sparky and dreamy and he wears those scarves with such flair. I am sure I sensed a moment at our last meeting. Even though I had that pimple the size of Pluto on my chin, which I bet he noticed. I knew I should have resisted squeezing it. He definitely caught my eye whilst telling me to watch my grammar. He is such a perfectionist! I would give anything, anything (even my new GHD's), for him to have a game of 'Spin the Bottle' with me. I would just DIE if I got the chance to play '2 Minutes in the Closet' with him. Could you imagine? Bliss!
Had chicken and chips for tea. Stupid Danny threw a chip covered in ketchup at me and mucked up my favourite Mackays t-shirt. He is such a BOY. I hate brothers. Why can't they just be normal for once in their lives?
I've just done twenty rounds of my 'We must, we must, we must increase our bust!' exercises and cannot wait for a long sleep after reading 'Sugar' magazine. I've plaited my hair extra tightly tonight so it will be really wavy for tomorrow. I hope Matty B sees it.
I'm exhausted after laughing so much with friends, so...
Good Night Rene xxx

Top of the best seller lists around the world methinks. Universal themes of heart-ache and yearning, laughter and woe. No doubt I would have read it when young, fancy-free... and illiterate.

3 November 2008

A Spear By Any Other Name... Would Kill As Brutally?

Everybody is acquainted with Excalibur. Everybody who is worth knowing at any rate. The sword that is inextricably fused with peril, legend, myth, grand battles, knights, chivalry, gory warfare and mystical adventure. It bears an illustrious and regal name, befitting of its status and reputation. Excalibur. Poetic, evocative, rolls off the tongue.

It may interest you to know that King Arthur also had a helmet by the name of Goswit, and a shield called Pridwen. Archaic and paganistic titles, exuding a sort of rugged magic. One can well imagine such weapons facing the likes of dragons in order to save damsels in distress.

Probably even less familiar to you will be King Arthur's spear. His spear whose name was Ron.

Yes, Ron.

'The bold Arthur took Ron in his hand, the valiant king advanced the stout shaft'

This is why I took Middle English. As if the idea of naming weaponry wasn't ridiculous and mad enough. Ron the spear. Ingenious.

But, hey, if it does does the job and is plunged into the breasts of the heathen hordes, cleaving their hearts in twain, hacking out guts and entrails, and making the battlefields run red with blood, then what the hell does it matter if it's got a less than resplendent name? It could be worse. It could be called Wayne.