28 May 2011

Bracelets of thy hair, rings, gawds, conceits, knacks, trifles, nosegays, sweetmeats

Earlier in the week I want to see a Shakespearean COMEDY. At a secondary school up at Edgeware Road, Year Seven performed A Midsummer Night's Dream

There was tissue paper and glitter everywhere, and a whole tree crafted from cardboard and sparkles and streamers and probably a tonne of pva glue. It was seriously beautiful. The children had created the set, played the specially written score, made their costumes (or asked their parents to make their costumes), and learnt the whole unabridged wonder of a play. 

I have been to countless countless productions of this most popular of Shakespeares, and I wrote an English A level coursework essay on 'the dark side of A Midsummer Night's Dream' (thinking I was edgy and controversial. Or something). This was probably the best I have seen. I literally cried with laughter at one point. An actual tear ran down my cheek as I watched Thisbe swoon. I hooted so loud the little girl in front swivelled in her chair and stared at me fixedly for the following two scenes. The kids threw themselves into it, crying 'You cankerblossom!' and injecting the two couples with the adolescent energy they should exude. Hermia was unbelievably pretty, and understood every word she was saying, delighting in 'Thoughts and dreams and sighs / Wishes and tears...' 

The glitter encrusted 'love in idleness' was rather phallic, secreting liquid over eyes, I totally coveted the tweed and woolen outfit Peter Quince was wearing, and a few fairies stomped rather than floated, being twelve-year-olds with changing bodies. Puck looked about four, light as feather, and face painted all splendid. The strong London accents, often going at quite a pace, rapped rather lyrically. The fairy glade was sublime and I want to hang out there. There may be a 'dark side' to the play, but the kids were blissfully innocent, and I laughed like a foghorn.

25 May 2011

It has taken me until this week just gone to get my Holga colour films developed and scanned. I took the photos last summer.

Hampstead Heath / LRB cake (with The Guardian) / Brighton Station / Tufnell Park bedroom

And now it is pretty much this summer, and it is odd to look back to these months last year and think that it was not so long ago. And odd that normality is now bagels and bagels and a Pepsi Max a day habit (though sometimes Apple Tango) and using ee cummings as a verb. I must cummings some poems. And also write some questions to a poet who loves much that I love, so I'm using this project as an excuse to daydream about the bleached film palette and adolescent summer of The Virgin Suicides, and lots of other awesome girl things.


23 May 2011

We never should have walked across the heath to Keats’ house.
You never should have read his letter to his star while breathing next to me.
We never should have bought two winter postcards, I his watercoloured frail face,
you his sweetheart silhouette.

Now I watch you sleep I see a death mask.
I watch you hard enough I fancy life.

16 May 2011

O for a beaker full of the warm South!

A week of champagne flutes and popping corks.

Pink fizz at a book launch in the book-crammed downstairs of a West London second-hand bookshop. Bottle drained into my glass over and over. Followed by a fancy dinner I don't really remember apart from hot and delicious, hiccups, and lovely company. Then the worst hangover of my life the next morning. A curled up in a tight ball on my bed with my hair still soaking from a rather shaky shower kind of hangover.

Glasses of prosecco for a birthday after work and before I read at the poetry evening I'd been waiting for, held in the upstairs of a tavern. I was one of six children, reading with my five 'siblings' and our 'father'. The 'father' who used to teach me about homosexuality in British and American poetry of the 19th and 20th century. Now he has a Faber collection the colour of mint choc-chip icecream. My face burned to match my red trousers as I read, and I was told later that I was dressed like Katherine Hepburn. Audrey was always the Hepburn I was drawn to, but Katherine has a sharper tongue, and I'm starting to wish I was more like her; all barbed for protection and witty as hell. So my face was red, and my hand was blue, darker at the nails, stained by diluted biro ink from earlier in the day. Godiva Blue as the South African said. Well, I'm no naked woman on horseback, but I think I know what he was getting at. Romantic tragic heroine, with death at her fingertips. 

Champagne after a confirmation, the service taking place in a school chapel in Brighton. The choir in school uniform, proud mothers in Hobbs and Boden. A sermon mostly about sheep, and I holding back as the congregation took communion. All the wine that has been blessed must be drunk, so the chaplain downed the last of it. I was shown around the old school, all grand and flash where robes would fit right in. Giant paintings of past headmasters lining the dinner hall, especially commissioned and bright, surreal, bold, reminiscent of those Soviat realism portraits. Then drinks on the lawn back at the house, with grandmothers in resplendent purple velvet, a salmon platter, so much asparagus, tomato garlic basil, pavlova, apricot cake, almond maccaroons, the richest chill-set biscuit and dried fruit dark chocolate cake that rivals my mother's chocolate mousse, and food babies. Gin o'clock and dozing to Countryfile with Matt Baker. 

Boozy week.

8 May 2011

Eat the Music

I've been reading Rosamund Lehmann over the past week - a romantic name to suit her romantic works. Her first novel, Dusty Answer, is written from the perspective of young, passionate, ever-so-slightly absurd Judith Earle who comes out with gushings like 'Oh how ridiculous, how sad, to have made one person into all poetry!' and 'You might write a book now, and make him one of the characters; or take up music seriously; or kill yourself'. She has, of course, large dark eyes, is incredibly studious, and loves to swim naked under moonlight. She falls in love a lot. But I'm sure she's every girl who reads the novel.

I'm also reading 'Birthday Letters' by Ted Hughes, despite the embarrassing effect of it bringing me to tears in public. But the more remarkable birthday thing of note is that Kate Bush is releasing her new album this month. My birthday month. I don't have a girl crush on Kate, rather I love her. This may sound like Judith Earle, but the thing is Kate is totally awesome. I heard her on Front Row a few days ago, and she is so straightforward, so matter of fact and the opposite of flighty when it comes to her work. And she loves her family and home life more than any music melodrama. And she's using the prose of Joyce in one of her songs. I love her unexpected accent (south England all over) and that she was known as 'Ee-ee' in her karate class because of her squeaky war cry. I could go on and on about all her lyrics, melodies, music videos, record sleeves, outfits, her whole art... I want to be her, let's leave it at that.

2 May 2011

All Tomorrow's Parties

Though funds may not be glowing with health, this summer should be a treat as I blew my cash on festival tickets.

I don't need exotic beaches or fancy cocktails. I do need awesome bands and warm beer.

The weekend before Hop Farm in July, we're going to tie dye big t-shirts in his garden, creating our uniform for going back in time. Chrissie Hynde, Lou Reed, and PATTI SMITH. In the flesh. I can't quite believe it. And all washed down with cider so sparkly and yellow like the sun.

Then we travel to the End of the Road in September. A Dorset land of Joanna Newsom fairies, Laura Marling pixies, Best Coast wave surfers, Emmy the Great story tellers and Sam Amidon folk legends. Tents and organic vegetarian feasts and bare legs covered in gooseflesh. And not thinking about the imminent deadline of my dissertation.

In the meantime I have evenings such as Flame Proof Moth playing at a night put on by a guy named Frog Morris in a bonkers pub in New Cross to keep me going. They sang songs about selling carpets and how women should be in charge. The drummer had a missing front tooth, and I drank cherry cider and wore a fire-orange dress. But soon I'll be in the open air and dancing to Patti.