28 July 2011

I had planned to listen to Elliott Smith all evening long. Instead I watched a BBC4 documentary on the WI and looked and looked at the photographs on this beautiful website and made some Virginia Woolf notes in the margins of notes that make up all notes of my dissertation. I could build a tent out of my notes and sit inside it happily. Quite, quite happily not turning my tent into a thesis. I'd rather gawp at the next episode of The Hour (my mobile phone now knows the word 'Whishaw' through so much over-use). I imagine/HOPE Anna Chancellor is my namesake - wearing wide-legged trousers, producing whisky and cigarettes for her friends after a hard day on a 1950's newsroom set. And, of course, she did play Caroline Bingley to perfection.

This evening I plan to PACK. Packing up my notes and hardback library books so I can pitch my tent in my Northumberland bedroom.

25 July 2011

Scrubbing meat trays on a Monday morning

I love Rosamund Lehmann. A friend who also loves her, and who thinks Rosamund writes the insides of girls' heads (thus mine and my friend's head) in a spot on, pitch-perfect stream of consciousness despite us now being twenty-two and twenty-three years old, tracked down the sequel to the beloved Invitation to the Waltz in a second-hand bookshop. I got a text from her the other day saying 'the weather in the streets is brilliant but sad'. It was pouring with rain at the time, the worst my uncle from New Zealand had ever seen in London. I thought at first my friend was being deep and poetic in regards to the state of the weather. Of course she was actually referring to the novel The Weather in the Streets. I am now taking longer, more meandering bus routes in order to read the novel as much as possible. The term 'sparkling dialogue' gets bandied around far too often. But the dialogue...it really does sparkle.

And so I turn from the cerebral to the flesh. We have so much meat in our freezer. Absolutely stuffed, barely room for peas. It is all from a Sussex farm, animals reared by flatmate's parents. It is not long until we have to move out, so we must eat the meat. And I am a vegetarian. Kelis sang 'My milkshake brings all the boys to the yard' on the radio as pork cooked in our oven. 

We had a roast last night, with yoghurty minted peas, green beans in mustard vinaigrette, rich potato dauphinoise, pillow squares of Yorkshire pudding and red wine. I'd bought Cava, which we drank with strawberries fizzing in glasses (a Smarties mug for me as we've broken one too many wine glasses...) alongside our dessert of burnt butter sponge cake with strawberries, jam, butter icing and melted white chocolate drizzled over the whole summer cake mountain. Our kitchen is small so we filled it with extra chairs, the heat of the oven, music, the smell of  garlic and pork, and our best 'grown-up talk'. We drank to the chef, summer and us. Though, awfully, in hindsight, we should have drank to Norway, to Somalia, to the end of all this weekend's horrors.

14 July 2011

Ellipses, exclamation marks, and cantilevered similes

I was introduced to the American poet Chelsey Minnis this week. Not personally, rather to her poetry. A whole host of local and local-ish poets gathered in the Betsey Trotwood this Sunday just gone, and one section of the day's readings was inspired by Minnis. She is a big fan of exclamation marks and ellipses. As am I. She writes in a surreal and personal and entirely compelling way. Lines like:

If anyone tries to comfort me I will vomit on the balustrade.

I want to put makeup on people's eyes so they can look like damned darlings...

It is sad like a pentacle when I see you. 

Read more of her here.

I've also been reading lots of Toby Martinez de las Rivas. Man, he uses such good words. He's rather the talk of the town at the moment, but I feel drawn to him as, after studying at Durham University, he moved to my own Northumberland. Northern soul right there.

So new poetry and speed-reading 'Norwegian Wood' and watching The Night Watch in the dead of night before falling asleep. On top of spicy Bloody Marys while doing an alphabetic poetry quiz, discussing drunken wedding behaviour over Italian hot chocolate, necking pints of Sam Smith's lager with a friend returned from gay Paris, and so many left over delegate sandwiches in the office I think I may have a yeast-brain. I also wrote a review of a poetry collection that I started out hating but then kind of liked for Eyewear. (Kirk on Fried, ha!). I wrote it instead of doing real work, which ironically is a whole lot less serious than the review really. Oh, and I had the best 'afternoon tea' ever. My flatmate baked scones, produced honey from her mother's bees, along with home-made strawberry jam (also courtesy of her mother) and clotted cream (courtesy of a supermarket) and made raspberry coulis with home-picked raspberries. I supplied the red wine (in place of strong-brewed tea) and chose the malformed scone to start our night-time lesson in etiquette. Such ladies.

Next, I'm going to the zoo for a Friday evening of boozy picnicking. And yeah, I'll probably just hang out with these guys the rest of the time. Same old.

7 July 2011

Tyskie and Diaghilev

My new Pink Floyd t-shirt makes me smile. Pleased as punch. Worn with my orange check-print culottes with an elasticated high waist that I got in a Hexham charity shop for a pound.
Meeting Ali Smith with her wee Scottish brogue in an Exmouth Market bookshop on a rainy/humid night is lovely and amazing.
Working on my poems about Chaucer and Dian Fossey and Janet & John is good and frustrating.
Watching documentaries about Diaghilev and drinking Tyskie is necessary.
And information about the birds of the Loch of Kinnordy in autumn reads like a poem:

Lower water levels provide ideal feeding opportunities for migrating wading birds such as greenshanks, snipe and ruffs. Wintering populations of whooper swans, pink-footed and greylag geese return from their northern breeding grounds. Mixed flocks of tits, goldcrests and treecreepers can be seen along the reserve trails. Winter thrushes such as fieldfares and redwings can be seen feasting on rowan trees along the reserve trails.

So council tax and water bills and pay-as-you-go electricity are simply peripheral nonsense.
I have no ID at all right now. No identity. I won't need it in wetlands. Our birdswamp.

4 July 2011

Hop Farm/Little London

The best thing ever. Patti Smith performed a perfect acoustic set, accompanied by Patrick Wolf on violin and harp. She sang GLORIA out into the sun. The song that we would wake to most mornings last year. Jesus died for somebody's sins but not mine as I rolled out of bed and sleepwalked on autopilot the ten minutes back to my house for a shower.

And Lou Reed put on an epic Ecstasy, but it was the slowed-down acoustic Sunday Morning and Femme Fatale that restored my faith in him. I wish he'd written the latter for me. I have been played a version on the ukulele in a Tufnell Park attic room however, so maybe I'm halfway there.

So Patti and Lou and a glam, glitzy Morrissey, and dog tired limbs as I'd woken with swollen eyelids before 6am. But then mountains of pillows, clean sheets, pancake breakfast with their own honey, a bonkers pack of dogs, hammocks, sunset-coloured rice, the most enormous summer cake, and picking, picking, picking raspberries like we suffered from idyllic OCD.

But now I need a new alarm clock as my phone is gone, along with everything else in my stolen bag. Along with my mind. I wish Patti could sing me awake every morning. I'd be in such a good mood.