27 December 2010

25 December 2010

socks and pants

The liiiittle-TINY-chiiiild, governments on shoulders, and not abhoring wombs.
Christmas Cake Icing Fail. Made it into a Christmas Creepy Paedophile Cake. And I was redeemed by the Ginger Hedgehog.

I may heart Hareshaw Linn, but our woods are ours. And beautiful. And WHITE.
And SOCKS and PANTS are awesome. Whatever Sandi Toksvig claims.


21 December 2010


Oh la!
Elizabeth Bennets and Mary Crawfords, skinny mochas and a snoring Coco. Gin at lunchtime. Gin to distract from trains of thought (trains that may not take me home tomorrow...). Ice and lime and the old flirts on the phone, and the postcard from Jordan finally arriving, 'la'!
A lovely day with the foxes.

Et vulpes tecum sit!

19 December 2010

Searching Nightingale Wood

It was all enough to break your heart and Viola began to cry.

Hearts turned inside out. Heads stringing words.

"tempest" popular shrek the killers tye tribbett broken dark blue elvis .... noel there you'll be viola solo we are the world what child is this when the .... kreisler george gershwin piano gibbons girlfriend gliere great balls of fire ... we aim for deck the halls dhoom dreaming with a broken heart

16 December 2010

Blue blue electric blue

ill

I sat down and watched the Blue Peter Christmas Special. It has been years and it has changed. A friend was singing on it (full-grown adult I must add), but I watched the whole thing. One of the presenters was leaving, it was their last show. There was a best-bit montage. We emoted. I felt that I had only just got to know this boy-man who was now being untimely ripped from my life-slash-infequent-televisual-viewing. He looked like a Shoreditch Hipster. This is what happens when you ignore a show for a time. Also, they put a baby in a bucket to create a modern-day Nativity scene. Where is Matt Baker and his lovely Northern tones? Where is Stuart Miles and Anthea Turner and botched Blue Peter 'makes'? Where are all the Tracy Islands? Though the badge on the friend's grown-up-coat's lapel is covetable.

I followed this with Rupert Goold's MACBETH. The most awesome of poetry. Soviet, lifts, the Lady's cheekbones, blood spatters, Irish Porter, hubble bubble nurses dancing on corpses, Patrick Stewart's bald severed head. I always dread the Macduff family slaughter and this was killer. All My Pretty Ones. If this had been on the big screen I probably would have suffered cardiac arrest.
UNSEAMED FROM NAVE TO CHOPS.

It is Jane Austen's 235th Birthday. And Colin Firth has publicly dropped his support for the Liberal Democrats.

9 December 2010


[Paoulo and Francesca, Inferno]

I slipped on unseen ice a week ago and no eyes blinked.
It was my tailbone that bore the brunt. But once dusted off, the shock moved up without me knowing. Tailbone to breastbone and a week of dull ache and old-woman moans. Sneezes are the worst, but the saddest thing is that it hurts to laugh. And not like when I used to get exquisite shooting pains in my shoulder when I giggled too damn much with best friends in boy-postered bedrooms.

Gianciotto pierced Francesca's bosom with a rapier, spearing both her and Paulo, flesh close to flesh, splintered bone.

I think I'm Francesca.

6 December 2010

Holidays whilst still at work. Christmas holly-days.

Tying gold ribbons around winter tree-imprinted books with cheesy Christmas tunes on a CD that cost £2 in the background and looking out across mildly snowy London. St Paul's all misty like in Mary Poppins, 'feed the birds, tuppence a bag'.

Christmas decorations up at Yasar Halim on my stocking-up-on-supplies Saturday morning. Do you want tinsel with your tahinli? Baubles with your borek?

Big house in Clerkenwell, camping out, pretending to be grown-ups. Actually buying the Observer. Terribly, terribly middle-class jaunt to Waitrose, half-price bubbly, puff pastry for a pie we make for supper, vegetables that look like spring in a saucepan, wine time at just after 3pm (is the yardarm over the whatsit?). HIGH LIFE.

Reading on the sofas about the Mitfords and how I could stay where they lived and breathed and endured the childhood I inhaled from Nancy's novels.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/travel/2010/dec/05/mitfords-chatsworth-derbyshire.

They may have been everything I turn my nose up at - awful snobs, hunters, the odd fascist, I could go on... - but, oh, romantic countryside lives and jolly adventures. And who am I to talk, residing in Clerkenwell and shopping in Waitrose. I need a tulle drop-waist dress and chaise longue and cigarette holder, and cut-glass vowels to make my wit that bit sharper as I chat and lounge and wait for a sherry.

2 December 2010

O



The way he says 'I love'

A short o, I lov

A short o, shaped like a mouth

29 November 2010

No ifs, no buts, say NO to all the cuts



UCL Occupation, Day 5

Between the meetings, discussions, updates and proposals, we dance a ceilidh. The caller is a music teacher from SOAS, heavily moustached, the other side of middle age, and wearing a bright knitted jumper. He sings in Italian. He sings a song about wallpaper that hails from Bethnal Green. We dance to his fiddle. We all get hot, not bothered, for an hour or so.

But there is something to get bothered about.
But you have to dance too.

23 November 2010

Fabric

Mixing florals, mixing patterns,

I want to wrap myself in prints

and create paisley damask distractions.

Textiles tailored for straightjackets.

The busy shapes fail to tessellate;

they cannot fool my senses.


I wrap myself in prints

as fingers wrap themselves around

the cross-stitch strings inside organs,

plucking fingerprint beats

and pulling pulling gentle persistence,

undoing what was sewn.


Beneath cotton hibiscus bruises

I see the imprint of you.

17 November 2010



At work I've been building forts out of boxes and books and brown parcel paper. (Plus dogs.)

Outside of work I have been trying to build forts out of gingerbread lattes and mince pies (Sainsbury's, sub par and too soon really). I've only managed a fairly flimsy cave of imagined tarpaulin.

Oh. I must read Tom Paulin on Elizabeth Bishop for class.

15 November 2010

Such stuff as dreams are made on


Rainy November Sundays, complete with a little thunder, are for catching up, pubs and museums. Not dusty, musty, boring, compulsory family-day-out museums. But museums of EVERYTHING.



Before a warming latte, we walked to Primrose Hill, by way of Chalk Farm, and found a curiosity. The Museum of Everything. Carnival, circus, fairground, gaudy clowns, marionettes, married midgets, bearded ladies, woman-mountains, stuffed animals, two-headed lambs, tiny leathered dogs, claustrophobic tunnel of boxing squirrels at eye-level, all moth-eaten, dog-eared, the frogs and toads were the worst, I could barely look...far from Beatrix Potter is Mr Potter's stitched up anthropomorphic menagerie, yet not a load of cock robin. Scientific Automatic Palmistry - place coin in slot, read your girdle of Venus and follow your second life line...



This little Sunday life was rounded with strawberry cider.

Edmund Clerihew Bentley

A shame Jane Austen
Never got lost in
Jilly Cooper's fiction;
She'd be baffled by the diction.

10 November 2010

Write me. Write.

Anna who was mad,
I have a knife in my armpit.
When I stand on tiptoe I tap out messages.
Am I some sort of infection?
Did I make you go insane?
Did I make the sounds go sour?
Did I tell you to climb out the window?
Forgive. Forgive.
Say not I did.
Say not.
Say.

Speak Mary-words into our pillow.
Take me the gangling twelve-year-old
into your sunken lap.
Whisper like a buttercup.
Eat me. Eat me up like cream pudding.
Take me in.
Take me.
Take.

I love Anne Sexton. And then I find that she had an aunt named Anna
who went mad.
She thought of Anna as a mother. She watched her
slowly go mad.
A knife in the armpit.

8 November 2010

Suet pudding and mashed potato, red woolen fingerless gloves, my orange Autumn coat that smells of old ladies, breathing clouds of Heaton weed, flame leaves trodden into tarmac, donating giant sparklers to children, jumpers that have to have sleeves rolled back and almost reach my knees, piling up books for my bag, new poets (to me) and old favourites, the beginnings of a bird poem (don't hold your breath), sitting on a bench between two man-brothers watching cranes to counter hangovers, wine and Downton Abbey and baklava before midnight. AND ACTUALLY READING A NOVEL.

3 November 2010

I am eating all and sundries at the moment. Because I have an appetite? Because a person ALL full is better than a glass half empty? Because I can? What I most crave is a home-cooked meal at my home in Northumberland. I could dine for weeks on this. One of these meals could keep me going more than any amount of snacking, masticating, attacking like a gannet can when I'm away for too long. I am eating so much and so frequently because I am trying to re-create that fullness I feel when in the kitchen by the Aga reading the paper and being told to 'not to smack my lips'. Half-cream hot chocolate heated on the hob with friends, topped with cheap whipped cream that scares him, is most excellent in Autumn. But it acts as an appetiser to the weekend feast.

27 October 2010

Guide to Being a Grown-Up

buy a pumpkin. take out its guts. disembowel it. save the seeds for toasting and adding to a questionable soup-stew. cook porridge in the pumpkin, with milk and apples and cinnamon. spoon out the porridge-pudding when steaming, each eager feaster manned with their own teaspoon. scoop the semi-soft pumpkin flesh, making perfect circles. play with a sparker-lighter, throw shards of spiky light. burn plastic-coated business cards in the holey pumpkin-husk out in the garden. add lighter fluid and burn some more. add phlegm-soaked tissues of ill people to the flames to try and burn burn burn the damned plastic. conduct a voodoo ritual around the burnt-orange, orange-flamed pumpkin. sing 'Burn Baby, Burn' into the dark. smell satisfyingly of lighter fluid all night, the stench stuck to wool jumpers.

a pumpkin should come with the keys to a starter home. they are for grown-ups.

20 October 2010

That Night

My bed in white sheets, strewn with jumpers not all mine. Laptop, notebook, neat-angled. Sock-toasties and balled up in pyjama bottoms eating rhubarb pie and reading all my theory and criticism. Go go biro: myth touch history, sift through whatever flotsam washes up.

Then Ted cuts to the quick.

My love-life grabbed it. My numbed love-life
With its two mad needles,
Embroidering their rose, piercing and tugging
At their tapestry, their blood tattoo
Somewhere behind my navel,
Treading that morass of emblazon,
Two mad needles, criss-crossing their stitches,
Selecting among my nerves
For their colours, refashioning me
Inside my own skin, each refashioning the other
With their self-caricatures,

Their obsessed in and out. Two women
Each with her needle.

17 October 2010

I find nothing in my life that I can't find more of in books. With the exception of walking on the beach, in the snowy woods, and swimming underwater.

That is one of the saddest journal entries I ever made when I was young.

Mary Reufle

16 October 2010

Iambic Pentameter

As I blow dust across the table top
and stack up boxes, counting to myself,
the boy, the gentle man, who hails from far
South Africa reads. He reads aloud, him to me,
from Romeo and Juliet. Sonnet.
The one with pilgrims, all about true love
and that. A bore but for his accent soft.
He counts the iambs and considers well
the metric feet. Oh, I confess I would,
and do, consider more than just his feet.

15 October 2010

10 October 2010

Two Perfect Two-Liners


The apparition of these faces in the crowd;
Petals on a wet black bough.
Ezra Pound


My mind insisted on words
having been promised the imagination
Thom Gunn

3 October 2010

The Rape of the Lock and taxidermied moths make for insect eroticism.
The stuffed ones that once flew have beautiful names that spur me on to write again.
Victorian obsessions with death and biology and discoveries becoming preserved and pickled appeal to my darker side. Skeletons and stuffed specimens now molting crowd my head with moth balls. Write to get them out.

20 September 2010

Stolen Jumpers and Stuffed Marrows

Gin is a devilish drink*. The spirit that harbours dark spirits. But these are soon exorcised (on the bus, orally) and good things can result from knocking back such evils. Like the jumper he found in his pocket. A large jumper folded into a small pocket. A man's, and bearing the date of a dear friend's birth. A jumper that I wear the day after the night before, following the march through the London of Important Buildings, where condom balloons fly and bounce off shiny, bald, liberal heads.

When odd things happen, when chickens lose heads, and when surreal seems to be the norm, I concentrate on little things. Like how I always sneeze when I pluck my eyebrows. Concentrate on little things, and make big things out of Sunday afternoons. Stuff a marrow with bright colours (add mince for the carnivores) and eat with friends whilst listening to Radio 4.

* Though Jilly Cooper gets hammered on sloe gin with her daughter, which sounds sublime. I would like to get a bit silly and giggly and very very tipsy with Jilly. And sloe gin conjures a gentrified countryside idyll of old. Nectar rather than noxious.

13 September 2010

Changing Gears


[Me putting a Harry Potter hex on the Provost]

Graduand sounds rather grand, but now I am a Graduate. Unfortunately Anne Bancroft was not involved in this initiation, despite me having the same nose as Dustin Hoffman.

Now I am a Graduate, I am also a grease monkey. I change inner tubes in the hallway. I re-connect the chain when it comes off over hills. I smudge my A-Z, clothes, bare legs and face with oil. My hands are bathed in the stuff. I curse like a trooper. I get a boy to 'deal with the bike' when not even my Barbie bell can redeem it that day.

I construct bookshelves by myself. Bang bang bang. After watching the women on Madmen. I bake bread pudding. But fork it cold and straight from the souffle dish into my mouth. 'Anna, don't smack your lips'.

I drink Turkish coffee and buy a spinach-stuffed borek. Sweet sludge and savoury stodge.

I invite Iris Murdoch and Alan Hollinghurst to bed on a Sunday morning. We all lie in together.

I read Style magazines and munch apples collected from wind-fall in the conservatory as he types. Tap tap tap om nom nom.

I witness the perfect death of a villain in Castle of Cagliostro. Crushed between clock hands at the top of a tower as it strikes midnight.

Graduates wear red lipstick, become wimpy tomboys, get covered in grease, wish they were a Manga cartoon, and eat in an unladylike manner. I thought this would be enough to attract Anne Bancroft. Maybe I can do without her. I have left-over bread pudding in her place.

8 September 2010

Organ Playing

London was upturned topsy-turvy yesterday. All those who usually dwell underground, beneath the streets, came out into the sunlight and were blinded by it. Dazzled, startled, so the streets became barmy. Sirens, buses screaming right by stops, crammed crowded like the trains in India. Roads jam jam jammed. The monster ignoring the zebra crossing was the beginning of it all. [I should have been wearing my zebra leggings, to hammer home the safari road safety]
After being run over, the city became skewiff along with my flying shoe and crisscrossed nerves.

I gave the boy with the East-European Face an East-European Stomach. I made it with sausage carved from solid meat and herrings in mustard and spiced cheese curds. We ate dinner in a restaurant wearing indoor slippers and inside-out shirts. Men sang Marvin Gaye, thinking him a hot-blooded hunk of male meat. Women knew better, secret-smiling and shaking heads. Hot-blooded males. Tepid results.

Today the tubes are running again, pumping, pulsing under city skin. I listen to witchy playlists [http://fraeuleinzucker.blogspot.com/2010/09/something-wicked-this-way-comes.html] and add REINBOLT to the database. A bolt of rain? Lightning that got damp, then sodden, round the edges as it passed through the topsy-turvy atmosphere of yesterday. Lightning teardrop. Today it rains and Mumford and Sons don't sound so bad with their hands and their hearts and their eyes in every song. They sound laughably familiar. Bodies. Tangible flesh.

Plated flesh food is gifted to us from lovely neighbours. Tempting me with tasty smackerals of aromatic dead animal, filling the hallway, and then our home, with 'mmmmm...' Grilled fish and meat curries. Caribbean blood, string vests, wide smiles. They are large loud solid. Alive! We give them thick sweet honey in return, though they are sweet enough.


[intestine sock]

My shoe flew through the air, no substance to it, but my foot has a thick skin. It is the meat that matters.

2 September 2010

Breakfasts in Victoria Park Village. Lunches in Soho Square. Dinners in Turnpike Lane.

Wine in Hackney Wick. Ale on Highgate Road. Gin and tonics in Kilburn. Red Stripe in Brick Lane. A pint in a plastic cup in Clapham.

Take-away tea on the 236.

26 August 2010

Smile. Your Cheeks Become Apples.

Bus journeys, conservatories, and APPLES. Oh my.

He has a huge house with a dark-red womb room and sofas and an apple tree dropping this year's glut. It's the girl house. The boy house is next door, attached but separated by the colour - blue for a boy, with a boy face above the front-door. The girl house has a girl face, smiling, welcoming.

But I have astronauts and planets and stars and THE WHOLE OF TIME AND SPACE on my floor. Win.

And beautiful Victoria Park, lush with leaves and lush-as-formed-by-Geordie-lips. Where warehouses seem to breed, populating the area with nonchalant artsy coolness. A bakery called Loafing, where the brownies are piled high, the wooden tables are well-sanded, and many a Guardian shall be read. Walking to Broadway Market, London Fields, Museum of Childhood, strolling strolling all over East London, even marching to Roman Road. Cycling to Columbia Road Market on Sundays and bringing back sunflowers in my basket. So sickening the sweetness eats itself up and becomes stomachable. More than stomachable. Lovely. A taste I am learning to acquire.

I make a promise however. I will eat an apple from the little garden at the back of the big girl house each and every time I visit.

21 August 2010

MOOD

I bought myself a mood ring.
So now I know what mood I'm in.

I bought it from my mad relatives' bonkers stone shop in Bridlington.

It's good that it tells me how I'm feeling. It mostly tells me I'm 'very happy'. Dark blue does not mean I'm feeling blue. Apparently.

A rainbow ring that knows things.

19 August 2010

All flails have grease on the balls

'Stop! Let us behold the VISTA!'

Coast, coast, and some more coast. And dramatic pauses, in which to APPRECIATE the vistas.

I appreciate all the jet (not jet-packs or jet-engines, not this time...) that could be polished and shaped into two-pence pieces, useful for the arcades. I'm more addicted to the glorious tackiness and so-called 'faded splendour' rather than any gambling thrill. Though we do win a spiky rubber bouncing ball named Steven. With a 'v'.

I appreciate the warning in the church (distorted and squished onto a wooden board as though the preacher hadn't thought through the word spacing, so instilled with righteous venom was s/he): 'Keep thy tongue from evil and thy lips from speaking guile'. Words to be heeded. And listened to through ear-trumpets linked to the pulpit mouthpieces, introduced when one Reverend had a deaf wife.

I appreciate the Anglo Saxon princess named Hild. I bet she was an armoured beauty with balls, who would think glass slippers, crystal tiaras, and long golden locks both impractical and ridiculous. And she would have slept on something far more character-building than my luxurious princess-bed at our coastal cottage. A cottage where I cannot indulge my inner Catherine Morland - we don't find mysterious chests that suggest murder, rather mini-action figures, chewing gum and cigarette lighters. Whitby Abbey is where Catherine can reign free however. Spying sunlight through the windowless arches, where the GOTHIC is shot to a level beyond. To a level of heavenly-hell, where the eye is drawn...

I really appreciate Ancient Warrior of Scarborough, where 'all flails have grease on the balls'. Thank goodness for that.

I appreciate the lovely man that was Alfo Lieth.

So we pause and appreciate the vistas. Not all of us pause in our verbal discourse however, leading to the gripping whodunit creations soon to be on our bookshelves: 'Nicholas Kirk and the Case of the Missing Consonants', and the sequel, 'Nicholas Kirk and the Absence of the Fingerspace Application'. *Spoiler* The plot of the former will involve bloodcurdling murder, Rabbis and rabbits.

I appreciate Cagoules most of all.


[Mr & Mrs TREAT]

12 August 2010

Thought Foxed

I MUST REMEMBER TO MEASURE MY HEAD. [For the forthcoming mortar board.]

I think my head may have stretched like elastic, about to snap, but my brain shrinks. Shrivelled by estate agents viewings viewings spelling my name over and over K-I-R-K phone calls ring ring ring constantly coming from my now psychedelic screen, cracked like my nerves. Making me shout about the Simon Amstell concept confusion and flail when cooking cheese sauce.

The phone calls also bring baking bagel smells and a whole community of Orthodox Jews. Stamford Hill, skullcaps, ringlets that swing on many ages of men. Wearing black, but not all doom and gloom when I answer and it leads me here.

The purple jumper has been found. Rain cannot enter bandstands. I drink Cava from plastic cups and laugh with boys and go back to being adolescent when my best friend lit my hair with a cigarette lighter to see what happened and cheap cider drove us to spin like dizzy ducks. I return to eating my Barbican Picnics. All this means that I retain my blood as the estate agent vampires suck suck suck it out of me. They suck like Marina Abramovic does when she discovers her Death self, inhaling another's exhaled air for a full seventeen minutes. Then she passes out. I pass out into her firestars and scrubbed skeletons and stomach-piercing rose thorns as respite from the ringing.


[Marina and her Death self]

Other vampires beckon. Original vampires of books, where books will be read and blood will not be drained, but flow, cheeks flushed by Whitby winds. My stake can be left behind for this better sort of vampire.

4 August 2010

Stasis

We bought three bunches of statice on Sunday morning at Columbia Road Market.

Flower-sellers shouting like in My Fair Lady. Throwing their voices hoping that we will throw our money back. A boy being trained up by his parents long in the trade. He is loudest by far. Me with my camera, photographs of petal clashes, views down stalls, two friends outside Wes-Anderson-New-York-style buildings with stoops. Looking out the window of the second floor of a second-hand bookshop, reading blurbs to a backdrop of 'twenty stems for a fiver!'. Discussing and lusting over sweetpeas, a term of endearment I often use, smelling yummy and reminding her of oysters in bonnets. Wandering on to Broadway Market for chai tea lattes and the Observer and being told off for sitting too far out into the street on unstable chair legs.

We buy three bunches of statice, though I want a thousand. A whole sea of statice, blues and purples, with little splashes of yellow like tiny fish fins. At first I hear it as 'stasis'. Stability. Not a word I have been applying to times of late. But this is a suspended moment. Staring into statice.

Split between two vases on our freshly table-clothed kitchen table, it looks as though we picked our flowers out in the field only that morning.

2 August 2010

My megabus bag is full of Kafka, histories of God and Irish poetry.

FOR GOODNESS' SAKE

When all I want to do is write like Los Campesinos.
About punctuation - ellipses, parentheses, correct apostrophes - boys, girls, and accelerated readers.

And I want to kiss this:

28 July 2010

FRUIT



Picking raspberries. A raspberry for each year, month, day, for each moment away. But I eat them. They are tasted, then gone. One for the bowl, one for me. Staining my hands as I pick. Blood smears. But the butchery is over, and the taste is now sweet, only sometimes tart. Over my cotton dress, that I wish was muslin, I wear your hand-knitted cardigan, worn most when pregnant with me. You tell me I look pregnant in it. Slouchy space to fill with raspberries, all mixed up like Eton Mess. We hold out for blackberries, as the brambles were not cut back this time.

Still wearing the cotton thrift store dress, I go on my first proper bike ride in six years. No time at all, when it comes down to it. A blip just like the bumps I test my suspension on. Warbling over these bumps is instinctive. War cries not quite Red Indian. Bridge pit-stops, half pints and opportunities for you to Tell Me Things. Mostly bird-related. Birdseed and binoculars on the way back.

23 July 2010

The Week After the Weekend Before

I met the Serial Schmoozer, who is apparently also an Expert Tweeter, and learnt that there is such an invaluable Business Thing as a Power Clasp. A Hand Clasp of Power. And a Power Stance, which is even more mind-blowing in terms of sheer poser POWER, and must only be attempted when safely at the head of an executive table, sitting in an ugly leather chair.

Anyway, the Serial Schmoozer schmoozed all about augmented reality. At me. At length. A great deal of it went over my head, but parts captured me and basically sounded really COOL. Like you could have a club night in a an awesome hipster venue, where everyone has to wear a plain uniform of black trousers and a bright white t-shirt. So far so dull. But then everybody puts on special glasses (over-sized, black-rimmed, faux-geek, ultra-hipster, natch) that use the technology of augmented reality to reveal the actuality of avatar outfits. Projected onto the white t-shirts. They could be Superhero costumes, or butterfly-colourful, and ultra-glamorous and over the top. The glasses change everything. 'Meh' to marvellous in the blink of an eye. You can be whoever you want to be. Everyone would jump to do this for one night only. Very Cool Idea.

Schmoozing has been a bit of a theme. Lauren Laverne ( LaLa, light of my life, as shiny as the Northern Lights, blooming and bursting of belly) doe-eyed at camera-flash Mercury Music Prize announcements in super-slick basements. Stemming the flow of my rising gushes with free fruit juice the colour of crushed rose petals, downed from gleaming glasses. Company tabs, strong americanos, iPads, Blackberries and James Bond meeting rooms flanked with an intimidating terracotta army. Carl Barat swigging from rum-bottles, slurring his words, wearing a wife-beater and causing mosh-pit nostalgia of four years ago amongst the achingly-cool crowd. He rocked out a number with his actress/indie-publisher/artistic-director/poet/singer sister, the stunning tattooed lesbian, who was my first schmooze. My first personal schmooze.

Carl sang the same Libertine song as I saw Pete sing separately only a couple of weeks or so ago. This was astounding, but made me sad. Seeing them sing it separately. Pete sang it better. That's my penny's worth at any rate. I'm dizzy-pleased that I am in a position to even proffer it.

Aside from this unreality, this schmoozing and silliness, I have been in a mind of moons and gods and kissing-corners and disappearing kettles. Where I fear I feel more at home, for better or worse.

18 July 2010

Weekending

We buy our first ever lottery tickets together - he gets frisked for ID - and we both choose 15. The one number we get right.

I feel like a teenager, a fifteen-year-old, all weekend. Sitting in attic rooms, talking of old love affairs, watching a lovely sex film about humans and humour and fragility and frigging, telling jokes about Spaniards who sleep with goats, making CDs late into the night, eating greasy Chinese takeout, laughing at cartoons before bed, rummaging through charity shop treasures, learning how to fold paper into envelopes for future correspondence, having his mum make us a yummy dinner like I was going round for tea...

Beach hut vibes and seagull song and cries from the three-legged cat poke through my regression blanket, and I pose by Hardy's statue, wax lyrical over peaches (T.S. Eliot and Keats), discover an old black&white photograph of a quaint family with funny facial expressions, eat a sugar-crusted Eccles cake from a warm slab of wood for a bakery-breakfast, sticky flaky sweet, flaking and sticking to my chin and cheek. I drink apple juice from local apples and pink tea that smells of rose gardens. I want to pet the wicker pig whilst I read in the conservatory. I borrow the electric-blue toy accordion and make grand plans of sound in my head. I find a Murder She Wrote board game at the car boot sale and photograph Angela Lansbury because the idea makes me laugh. I am still fifteen. I hang out, I am a teenager. This is what weekending should be. Taking time out from my twenties, and going back to the best of teen years.

On the train back to my twenties, there is a cow on the track that halts my journey. The cow is absurd. I like it. I like that it pauses smooth progress. And that it makes me smile on my way home.

12 July 2010

Dark Night of the Soul


A most excellent, awesome and affecting work of art has come to light. Into the light from a Dark Night.

A collaborative album of epic proportions is now out there in the ether ready to encompass all those of receptive intelligence with sound waves. Danger Mouse and Sparklehorse present Dark Night of the Soul. And it is not only these two minds of musical genius involved. David Lynch has produced a book of photographs to accompany it, as well as featuring on the actual album. DAVID LYNCH. Yes. Along with Julian Casablancas, Iggy Pop, The Flaming Lips, Scott Spillane of Neutral Milk Hotel, Nina Persson of The Cardigans, Jason Lytle of Grandaddy and... stopstopstop, I can't take the amount of favourite people from favourite bands ALL TOGETHER ON ONE ALBUM.

What makes the whole project all the more poignant and emotionally stirring is, of course, its posthumous release. Mark Linkous, aka Sparklehorse, committed suicide in March. I only discovered his distinctive soundmaking a little beforehand, becoming slightly obsessed as he sent me to dream for lightyears in the belly of a mountain. He has such a lovely voice, steeped in sadness around the edges of his song-smiles. His vocals appear on the song Daddy's Gone on the album, which has lyrics about making cakes - absence and comfort and loss and yummy joy within one song and summing up Sparklehorse as a whole. More heart-wrenching still is Vic Chesnutt singing Grim Augury. Chesnutt also committed suicide, in December. The tortured lives of artistes...

But Pain is a lively treat of a track, with Iggy Pop at his energetic best. And the finale, the title track, featuring David Lynch, is just beautiful. Pink Floydesque, haunting and thought-drowning sinking sighing.


There were problems with the release due to disputes with EMI, but it's now set to be available from July 13th. Thirteen is unlucky for some. Unlucky Mark Linkous. Unlucky, lovely Sparklehorse. But lucky us to be able to experience such a creation.

5 July 2010

Diddley bo diddley bo ALL THE TIME



Festivals are all about shuffling into spaces. Playing people tetris.

They are ALSO about dangling Converse from bags, everyone singing along to 'Lola' on a Sunny Afternoon lalala, children sitting on their daddies' shoulders, Pete Doherty's ballerinas, remembering my teen love affair with 'poetic' Pete and his London vowels and disregard for committed consonants, pretending that Seasick Steve is my grandad or, better still, my red wine-swilling story-telling buddy, weaving weaving through the crowds whilst looking at my socked feet and holding onto a hand, acting out Ballad of the Thin Man with expressive eyes and literal dance moves, forgiving Bob his ravaged gravel-voice as he can still roll stones and stands firmly in rock, following the flame-filled lanterns overhead with our upturned faces, guessing the suit and number of an abandoned playing card lying under dancing toes that pull foot-tapping shapes, discovering that Davendra has lost his beard but not his dulcet-delicious tones, drinking cider two cups at a time as stray hay sticks itself to bare legs, smooching to Mumford and Sons though claiming it's to the sight of horizon hand-claps, planning to make our own diddley bo, battling with hat-hair that actually sits best when unkempt in Kent...

And they finish with a zig-zag parade through emptied cups and polystyrene debris, aweary beatific and aweary, and dosing on a coach as a Denzel Washington film plays in the background of my half-asleep songs that I take with me from Hop Farm.

27 June 2010

Fanny Brawne can only 'flirt and sew'. I think only of 'wool and fairies'.
We both love ribbons and bows and triple-pleated mushroom collars.

And Keats.

But, oh God, the dead butterflies.

21 June 2010

Smudging My Rouge



So she's a consumptive prostitute and he's an idealistic naive who constantly witters on about some vague concept of 'love'. But they get me every time.

I went and saw Moulin Rouge five times when it came out. The only time I have paid money to see the same film more than once at the cinema. I cried each time. I had to choreograph a piece for ballet a year or so later, and I chose the Roxanne Tango music to arabesque and pirouette to. My meticulous tiny tutor with the scraped back black bun and enormous kohl eyes did her best not to bat an eyelash at the fact that my inspiration happened to be damned ladies of the night... I bought the soundtrack and listened to it a million zillion times throughout teendom.

And this weekend I sang 'Come What May' at the top of my voice whilst painting a room in Hampstead, wielding a paint roller and wearing duck egg blue-blotched leggings. We tried to split the parts (are you a Nicole or a Ewan?) but ended up belting out both, swept away by the heady paint fumes and the melodrama.

We watched the film the next night, following my purchase of red satin Satine shoes. It has been years, but I know every word. Except I noticed the line about the 'tantric cancan' afresh, which I had perhaps previously skimmed over...

It is ridiculous, over the top, implausible (how does Christian not end up with TB too?), infuriating, completely fantastical. Etcetera, etcetera. But I love. And weep and bawl and get covered in snot. It's 'Come What May'. That's what does it. A secret song, just for the lovers. Spoken, whispered, sang like a lullaby, given full lung power as it crescendos over the theatre.

Typewriters, sin, red lipstick, Toulouse Lautrec and a secret song. Yes.

18 June 2010

The Amazing Misadventures of... Rectumface aaaaaaand Snaggletooth!

Wheelers and dealers of embarrassment and mortification, imprinting London with chaotic Converse footprints, and taking on the city one madcap antic at a time.

Coming soon to an attic above you.

13 June 2010



Little House on the Prairie is a charm. A charm of my little girl days, that is all plaits and pinafores and bedrooms in barns and perfect fathers and Sunday afternoons in a half-remembered memory montage.

It is a mix of Laura Ashley, the Amish, Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm. I wore my Little-House-on-the-Prairie-dress, aged seven, at my parents' wedding. With a quilted floral Alice band.

Parents that spoil me rotten fifteen years later. Yummy meals (now sincerely enjoyed, and not before time) and high-tops and Nancy Mitford and nostalgia and invitations to my best friends and studying fine and fading Renaissance drawings and saving me from lovely-but-scary camp dressers at Hobbs who try to insist on red dresses that just aren't me. London travel and Robin Hood/Princess Bride/Neil Gaiman geek chat and bringing me Barbara Trapido and impromptu semi-embraces on the tube and indulging my fascination with Gordon Square worms. Being the perfect antidote to staring out the window on the number 4 at midnight, with an adoring young couple sitting behind me, listening to a mix tape over and over as it takes me both years and seconds to get home... They spoil me, and I try not to love it.

Then, on the Sunday afternoon, I track down the best chocolate ice cream London has to offer, with The Observer in my hand and a fellow intrepid ice cream seeker by my side. The scoop is studded with ginger and topped with a thick layer of hardening chocolate sauce, eaten with a wooden spoon, melting into a space that is also filled with a new floral romper suit. A romper suit with a Little House on the Prairie lace bib detail and puff sleeves. I wear remnants of the past on my sleeve, around my neck, and on my chest.

7 June 2010

It's all about Alan Rickman's voice

I eat sausage sandwiches and read Mrs Dalloway. And discover that Barbara Trapido's thumbs bend backwards, just as mine do.
I am asked to kill a wasp at work, I don't think twice, I murder it with a rolled-up Times. I am a vegetarian. And awful.
I have cheesecake for breakfast and drink Red Stripe with boys.
I explore a wizard's attic, in which a wizard sleeps. He must not be woken. He gets grumpy and his spells go awry. We turn like a pair of wind-up toys in a closet of mirrors.
I am followed by Leonard and Suzanne and Marianne wherever I go. Followed to all the best places.
I carry a purple delphinium. She would buy the flowers herself...
I think about writing poetry in which occurs 'in about the proportion of cherries in a cherry-cake, certain words that she described as "of a smouldering nature", such as loins and lovers, the root, the seawrack and the shroud.' Then laugh like a car-horn, and draw half a moustache instead.

I hang daisy-stamped gowns and lightning bolts in my room.

I think about fairies and wool less and less. But fall over my feet and my thoughts more. And use 'I' far too often. Ssshh. Less 'I' and more silent eyes.

1 June 2010

Doves and pomegranates/And peacocks with a hundred eyes

I turn twenty two and wait to use my toothbrush...

Then later I watch Mary Poppins, lying on my stomach in a button-up floral all-in-one. A spoonful of sugar makes the growing old a little sweeter. A french-plaited dungaree-clad girl sugars petals for me, and meringues softly peak all over the kitchen.

Strawberries turn to coulis, seeping into cotton, and chocolate cake is sliced as I become militant over paper plates. We're all beneath a patterned sheet, parading inside a Chinese dragon, and begin to run down Parliament Hill, tripping over our extra wool and licking our lips after the final macaroon.

Words are wrapped in music: proverbs and rhymes in parcel-taped manuscript paper. The perfect present is bound up in the Guardian Review, both Amy Pond and Shakespeare. The glitter-stickered accompaniment shows two old ladies, black and white, wearing hats, me in fifty years... Appletiser and Muriel Spark poetry from a second-hand bookshop in Hampstead are sparks of thoughtful loveliness.

Sitting on the floor, amongst the many chair legs, finishes an evening and makes me feel five years old again, seeking out and drinking the dregs from wine glasses left out by parents' party guests.

24 May 2010

MAD DOGS IN SUMMER

(a summery summary)

I actually used this phrase when talking to a dog-shackled stranger in scorching church grounds today... In fact, this was the ONLY thing I said.

21 May 2010

Purple Riot

THERE ARE NO KNIVES FOR CUTTING YOUR THROAT. I MAKE
MOCCASINS ALL MORNING.
Aging, faded, scuffed, delicate, purple and cream covers of slim Anne Sextons.
I took out two lovely narrow volumes of her poetry from the library. Because I could. Because I was free to do so. And they have irresistible covers.
And contain irresistible poetry...
The parasol girls slept, sun-sitting/their lovely years.
Once you read Lohengrin and every goose/hung high while you practiced castle life/in Hanover.
...the brown mole/under your left eye, inherited/from my right cheek...

My favourite is 'I Remember'. One long sentence of summer perfection. I won't include line breaks.

By the first of August the invisible beetles began to snore and the grass was as tough as hemp and was no color - no more than the sand was a color and we had worn our bare feet bare since the twentieth of June and there were times we forgot to wind up your alarm clock and some nights we took our gin warm and neat from... old jelly glasses while the sun blew out of sight like a red picture hat and one day I tied my hair back with a ribbon and you said that I looked almost like a puritan lady and what I remember is that the door to your room was the door to mine.

One of the collections has $3.95 stamped on the top corner. $3.95 for a bunch of poesy... that will never wilt.


She also kept a scrapbook. ADMIRATION and ENVY. She started it when she eloped. It began with a photograph of her and her betrothed, Kayo, sitting in beach chairs. She labelled this 'us' and taped in the key to their Virginia Beach hotel room... "the young bride pastes in laundry lists, gin rummy tallies, her husband's apology note after their first fight. She also starts to write poetry: romantic rhyming couplets and letters, ripped from a magazine, that spell "Bleat, Bleat."


She begins the collections I borrowed with letters from Schopenhauer to Goethe, or Franz Kafka to Oskar Pollack, or a harrowing extract from 'Macbeth' [All my pretty ones? Did you say all? O hell-kite! All? What! all my pretty chickens and the dams in one fell swoop?... I cannot but remember such things were, that were most precious to me.] Or dedicates them to Kayo.
But she writes to the reader. And to herself. Therapy. It did not save her, but it reads beautifully.

15 May 2010

So long and thanks for all the Antony and Cleopatra, Nightmare Abbey, beat poets and nonsense words.

HELLO dancing, and quilt races down the stairs, and big fat novels and slim poetry volumes, and whole days spent at the Islington cafe with purple sofas and banquet tables and candles lit at 5.30 and a scorched ceiling from flames and warm chocolate cake and colourful nudes on the wall, just reading, reading, reading...

HELLO Star Wars sleepover, and Rome day, and guilt-free Guardian perusal, and picnics, and hammocks, and actual cooking as opposed to pouring cereal, and Tina We Salute You, and exploring Dalston and Brixton and London, London, London...

HELLO Hop Farm, and ale, and Davendra, and Laura, and Steve.

HELLO miles and miles of smiles.

11 May 2010

Makebelieve

Olive: Okay, pretend we're fairies. I'm a girl fairy and my name is ... La-ru...lee. And you're a boy fairy and your name is Teeteree.

Caden: Ok.

Olive: What's my name again?

Caden: La-ru-lee.

Olive: No. I said ... La-ru-la...ay.

Olive: Pretend we fight each other. And I say stop hitting me or I'll die. And you say okay, but you're fibbing. And you hit me again.

Caden: Okay.

Olive: Okay. Let's go. Hit me.

They pretend to hit each other. Olive makes hissing and roaring noises. She stops.

Olive: Okay. You have to stop hitting me now or I will die.

Caden: Okay.

He stops.

Olive: No! Pretend you're fibbing! Remember?

He mock hits her again. She falls.

Olive: Now I have to die. (BEAT) Pretend you say you don't want me to die.

Caden: I don't want you to die.

Olive: (compassionate whisper) But I have to.

Caden: But I'll miss you.

Olive: I have to. And you'll have to wait a million years to see me again. And I'll be put in a box. And all I'll need is a tiny glass of water. And lots of -- tiny pieces of pizza. And the box will have wings, like an airplane.

Caden: Where will it take you?

Olive: Home.

7 May 2010

Chocolate Raisin Revision


'We reap the benefit of a more poetic point of view. A line like the charming "At Godstow, they gathered hazel on the grave of Rosamond" could be written only by a writer who was at a certain distance from his people, so that there need be no explanations.'

A charming line indeed. No explanation needed for such loveliness as gathering hazel, graves, and the romance of a dead girl named Rosamond. Thank you, as ever, for your insight Virginia.

Charm is necessary, as I have taken to crying into pages in public. At the sad things. Like babies still trying to suckle from their dead mother's breast in 'A Journal of the Plague Year'. And Mary Shelley writing in her diary 'Found my baby dead. A miserable day' as a single entry. And the love letters of Keats to Fanny. Which I should know better not to read in public by now.

And I had to shout NO to Shelley's elegy for Keats being read aloud to me. A mere word, the mere thought... The Saddest Thing [Shelley's Elegy Shelley's Elegy Shelley's Elegy Tongue Twisting Tonguetwister. Also, if said over and over SEMANTIC SATIATION]

I would rather think of Byron and his petulant distaste for Keats' 'mental masturbation', and picture myself hanging out with darling John as he wrote poetry for me and ate nectarines and I would just stare at him all day long.

And as revision is leading us down this road, strewn with flowers as it is and was for Coleridge, we should spend a little time of each day acting like Christ and Socrates. Though Socrates is more fun. Talk a great deal, receive affirmations from your very own Glaucon, drink MUCH wine, and bugger young boys. Though Madiera is the thing, now that I'm all about the Romantics. Wine to sack to Madeira.

And I know nothing of Yeats, aside from the fact that he lived in a TOWER. Which is all there is to know really. I should like to live in a tower. Or at least have an enchanted garden where we can choose orchids for our buttonholes.
And I can sing Cratylic to Blondie's 'Atomic'.

3 May 2010

A Hazlitt and Lamb comedy sketch, not by Boz.

Londonlondonlondon. Lived here for three years. Three hour exam on London in the morning.

And all that is in my mind is my urchin Oliver, my little Pip, my saintly Esther singing the opening page of Bleak House.

London. Michaelmas term lately oooo-ver...

He has it memorised and set to a choral score. Urban beauty itself. His voice soars on the polluted city winds, angelically cutting through the fog like a swan cuts through the Thames sewage.

Three years of London, and twenty-one years of literature, condensed down to three hours of essaying. I shall end up writing such COCKney. Metropolitan poppycock.

26 April 2010

Having a coke with you is more fun

we are drifting back and forth between each other like a tree breathing through its spectacles

I heart O'Hara

24 April 2010

Such Sweethearts


video

I want to be shot into this video like an arrow from a bow. The target being the awesome party where The Archie Bronson Outfit are rocking 'Dart for my Sweetheart'.

It has everything a lovely perfect party should have. With extra BEARDS.

Black and white makes pretty much anything look cool. But the fact there are brightly coloured felt tip animations puncturing the grainy monochrome makes it SUPERcool. Seven shiny reasons are successfully depicted (which is no mean feat) and with medieval figures! At one point they float through psychedelic colours and out into SPACE. 'Take you how only I can'. And I always love Roman numerals - boring maths elevated to classy Classicism.

The whole thing looks ultra modern, yet also like seventies New York. It becomes colour once the heaving, seething party gets started, but looks like a home video, like faded polaroids. All just jamming in a room, chanting, chanting... DEEP voice/girlish infectious yelps. Closed eyes/WIDE eyes. The best bit is when there are colour shots of girls wound up in fairylights, then it goes dark, the fairylights twinkle in this darkness, then it goes back to black and white. Cool.

And there's a glimpse of a girl holding a goose. As I said, everything a lovely perfect party should have. I want to combine archery and Archie... SHOOT ME INTO THE SCREEN. Into the awesome scene. Let me join the sweethearts please.

21 April 2010



The run up to the ‘xams (ZAMS! – like supercool sci-fi lasers in a comic strip) has, for better or worse, come to equal ---->

Burns upon papercuts, being (un)cool enough to refuse proffered cigarettes, acting all childish NOT child-like, mocking the myopic, chilli-red window glows heating conversation, meat-free meatball feasts, monitoring vegetable patch construction, imagining Bounty women on beaches (wearing scarlet lipstick if the Bounty is dark chocolate), floral long culottes and Indian-print harem onesies, dwelling on outfits for professors of poetry in motion, passing a Dr Who mini-tardis and becoming part of an episode as an enormous rusted box is pulled from the Thames – space ship? gigantic Doomsday book? bigger brother of the Discworld Luggage?, ice lollies, Birthday stamping, profanity stickers, horizontal popcorn and poppotatoes, biro-scrawl tattoos on the backs of hands, bawling loudly, weeping silently, hearing woodpigeons everywhere, sherbet dib-dabs, writing BAD poetry… And hating bibliographies.

But also loving Antony and Cleopatra, The Sorrows of Young Werter, The Tempest, re-visiting a favourite novel and the actual process of READING. Opening the covers of a book need not be akin to opening Pandora’s box. I HOPE.

15 April 2010

Curiouser and Curiouser

'Come, there's no use in crying like that!' said Alice to herself, rather sharply; 'I advise you to leave off this minute!' She generally gave herself very good advice, (though she very seldom followed it), and sometimes she scolded herself so severely as to bring tears into her eyes; and once she remembered trying to box her own ears for having cheated herself in a game of croquet she was playing against herself, for this curious child was very fond of pretending to be two people. 'But it's no use now,' thought poor Alice, 'to pretend to be two people! Why, there's hardly enough of me left to make one respectable person!'

I address myself, just as Alice does, still in the habit of thinking there are two of me. But I keep on taking bites from the Eat Me cake, making myself bigger and bigger, more solid and visible.

And vaguely respectable. Sort of.

But it's hard to be respectable, and not to fly away in a clumsy whirlwind, and have a good grasp of proprioception (this, put simply, is the brain’s knowledge of the relative positions of the body’s parts - the seventh sense), when body parts grow, retract, lengthen and shorten according to how much mushroom is nibbled.

Yet I think I would remember where I keep my body parts, irrespective of reliable proprioception. I trust them not to wander. But maybe this is my mistake...

They crash into things whether I know their whereabouts or not. Maybe they should rearrange themselves into something infinitely more elegant and graceful. Quicksmart. This is the only way to make me even half a respectable person. Though I would have to sacrifice some beautiful bruises.

11 April 2010


How my heart leaps! But hearts, after leaps, ache.
I can’t help feeling Romeo and Juliet, frustrating as that is, but perhaps because of Prokofiev and the effect of necrophiliac ballet, making my heart leap then ache.


I am always complaining or talking about the weather. My penny’s worth that is worth nothing. Penny chews now cost more than a penny, so I struggle to chew the fat.

Butternut squash, sea monkeys, spectacles, enseamed beds of rank sweat.
Record sleeves, sleeve fights, sleeves that cover my hands.

I throw wine, I throw coffee, I allow my nail varnish to chip, I slice up my hands with paper ever since the blood blister popped.

And I brush my teeth. I am always brushing my teeth. It's more fun to brush teeth with someone else. After we sugared our apples. And failed to stew our tea in the proper way. I like tannins.

And there is a new Barbara Trapido book coming out. And it has a ballet dancer. And it will be read after exams. In the sun. In floral dungarees.

And the smell of barbecue is still on jumpers and sheets. I hope I can bottle the scent and keep it.

3 April 2010

How'd you like them apples?

At the moment my head is like a one of those fruit machines you put change into at the arcades, with my eyes being replaced with vertically spinning pictures of fruit.

I'm tracing fruit through the ages...
Eve and the apple.
St Augustine and the pear.
Keats and the nectarine.
T.S. Eliot and the peach.

And now, most prevalently, Jeanette and her oranges, and Rita and her rubyfruit.

'Fruit salad, fruit pie, fruit for fools, fruited punch, Demon fruit, passion fruit, rotten fruit, fruit on Sunday. Oranges are the only fruit.'

Jeanette, I beg to differ. Oranges are plentiful, granted, but they are not the only fruit. Especially in literature. Especially in lesbian literature. And it's turning me into a fruitcake. (Similar to a nutcase, but nuts are not fruit, and therefore not allowed.)

There are also cherries on icecream that are like Greta Garbo kisses. And banana splits, topped with fat cherries bordering on the obscene (that comes crashing down on a misogynist's head). And two raspberries that are ordered alongside a fond female friendship. And Melanies who look like melons. And dried and pickled fruits librerally sprinkled over breakfasts and novels as women age...

And the grapefruit freak. A man who likes strangers to throw grapefruit at his naked body. It has to be a different person every time. He gets off on it (every citrus squelch is described). Fruity.

And of course the famed Rubyfruit. What juicy gossip.

All this fruit has been driving me mad in the attic. Fruit as a feminine and feminist symbol. Gilbert and Gubar would approve.

I think the madness started as soon as I came home, where there are SO MANY grapes on offer. No wonder grapes are associated with ill people. Eating them is like popping pills. Addictive.

People can get lost when diving into fruitbowls, sliding down the spirals of orange peel. Let's hope this fruitcake phase proves fruitful.

28 March 2010

Bard allaying boredom

While I wait for Devon Sproule's Keep your Silver Shined to sound sublime, which it only does when accompanying SUN, barbeques, ice cream and bare legs that stick to chairs, I keep myself occupied with slices and slivers of things that are charming.

Such as dancing on the top floor with a barefoot friend, followed by an impromptu waltz that sweeps the crowd. Three-way waltzing is a treat, if one spins to the right beat.

Another thing that makes everything a little brighter is believing that the second Star Wars trilogy was never made. Then re-imagining them written and directed by Michel Gondry or David Lean, rather than the disillusioned George Lucas.

Perfect escapism also comes in the form of Franco Zeffirelli films. I want to live in a Zeffirelli world. It seems to be perpetual twilight, and looks ever so pre-Raphaelite. His 1968 Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet is all free love, flowing hair and fluttering eyelashes. And Juliet almost looks as young as Shakespeare intended her to be, which is rare, and therefore the tragedy and adolescent emotion is heightened. I only just realised that Miranda in The Tempest is also pretty young - only fifteen. But Miranda is pathetic, a rubbish Shakespearean heroine. If one can even call her a heroine. Granted, her father is a bastard with super powers who won't let her kiss with tongues, but Cleopatra, Lady Macbeth, Rosalind and Beatrice wouldn't have taken any of that crap. And Ophelia always remains a favourite - I don't get Hamlet, but Ophelia fascinates me. Tousled, sing-song, airy-fairy floaty with flowers, ending in a tragic watery farewell. Millais did her proud. Though I don't imagine her in shades of green, rather a faded red or dusky kind of pinkish.

The light may soon be changing to that of a Zeffirelli film set. And Devon will sound as she should. And dancing barefoot will become second nature.

23 March 2010

A hot air balloon of youthful enthusiasm

Sneezes are small explosions that are disrupting my learning. My final learning. Less than a week of learning left...Then I will have learned all the things. Though perhaps not all the Things. That comes later. After university.

Some of my final learning was about butterfly personalities. Being stimulated in all sorts of ways. Indeed.
And about Fourier's manias. Apparently manias are excellent and important. His was for lesbians. He also thought that brackish sea water should be turned into lemonade, into something drinkable. This is a good idea.
And about Sadian logic constructed by Barthes, and that 'obviously' the Marquis de Sade and Fourier are connected. Obviously. Duh. I don't know why these names were said over and over and over, at the same time as books and 'isms' were being thrown about willy nilly. This I still need to learn.
Sodom also seemed to come into things. Maybe I need to learn about Sodom.

Other learning has consisted of watching the first series of Queer as Folk in one happy Sunday, then chatting about it with academics at an ungodly hour. And also discussing the lyrics of So Long Marianne and Suzanne. And also looking up youtube videos with Kiwi tutors of his ukelele-playing colleague in The Penguin Cafe Orchestra.

I don't understand all the learning. But that's fine. The things that matter stick. Like butterflies, lemonade and Leonard Cohen...

15 March 2010

A Victorian Romantic

I have discovered another heroine. I shall add her to my collection. The collection of heroines I keep in a box. It's a bit like those music boxes with the tiny rotating ballerinas twirling on a mini pedestal, but each time I open it there is a different one of my heroines doing whatever they do best to the lyrical tones of 'I wisssshh I could be yooooouu'.

In this particular case, the heroine will be taking photographs as she twirls to the camera flash.

Julia Margaret Cameron was an ugly duckling. Her mother was an aristocratic French belle, and her sisters were nick-named things like 'Beauty' and 'Dash'. She was dubbed 'Talent'. Cutting. But she lived up to this label with flair.

Born in Calcutta and educated in France, she chose to live on the Isle of Wight from 1860 onwards. Then, aged 48, she was given a camera.



Her photographs are like Pre-Raphaelite paintings, all soft focus and fairy tales. She created a series of Arthurian scenes, with many costumes and limp poses and far-away looks. Religion and literature were her inspiration, and her models dressed up and posed in her chicken shed. Feathered angel wings amongst the poultry. She used ordinary people as her models, 'arresting' them in order to make them pose for her creations. Her Arthur was a strapping young chap who made deliveries on the Isle, and during the Idylls of the King photographic process the locals became impatient due to him being kept in his Arthur guise for hours on end.
The photographs are beautiful. They are over the top, romantic, of another era, yet she believed in them as ART. Rightfully so.



Tennyson was a neighbour of hers. They chatted over cups of sugar (I hope). She created photographic portraits of him, Darwin, Browning, Millais, Burne-Jones, William Rossetti, Ellen Terry - all greats of the age, all of romantic sensibilities. And all magically made immortal and ethereal by her intentionally out-of-focus lens.

And, as if she couldn't be esteemed any higher or be any more AWESOME in my eyes, she was the great-aunt of Virginia Woolf.
I would love to escape to her Isle of Wight world. I could do this through reading Woolf's comic slip of a play Freshwater. Or by simply gazing into her photographs.