20 August 2011

'Now a major motion picture'

For two days I was a cliche. I was a woman reading David Nicholl's bestselling 'One Day' on London public transport. It made me really self-conscious. But then I got into the novel, and all I could think was 'I must read and read and not stop until I finish'. A guy at the back of an empty no. 30 on Thursday night tapped and tapped my chair saying 'Excuse me' for a good long while before I realised he was part of reality and I was too and that he was trying to ask me the time.

In my defense, I needed narrative after Stevie Smith's 'Novel on Yellow Paper', a novel so evidently written by a poet...

But now I've finished 'One Day'. Phew. I finished it all alone in my flat, a snivelling wreck, a tear stained mess in pyjama bottoms and my UCL hoodie now dyed pink in the wash. I have the flat to myself and have so far: drunk down a bottle of pear cider in five minutes last night, eaten cereal out of mugs, listened to the cool neighbour's music come through both my window and the gap under the front door - summer classics that deny the rain, well and truly sustained my Pepsi Max addiction... I rashly bought 12 cans the other day, thinking this would save me money as I buy at least a can a day anyway. But it means I guzzle it pretty much continuously. I may make things out of the empty cans: a truck, a dress, a rehab centre for those who abuse caffeine, phenylalanine and fizz, my DISSERTATION.

15 August 2011

Scotch, Pipe and Slippers...

The high point of my Dream Weekend (Isle of Wight whisky grins, a golden 57% straight from the cask, tastings by the sea, ginger ale and whisky cocktails on a catamaran, free umbrellas/scarves/hip flasks/radio ear pieces, stolen whisky glasses, quail eggs thrown from canapes, a perfect firework display launched from a barge only metres away, hot toddies with cloves, mugs of tea and crosswords after midnight, cake straight from the oven for guests no matter what the time, wandering along Keats Avenue and past Rivendell where Tolkien wrote his trilogy, sea winds, Kevin Spacey being all kingly and captivating, hokey-pokey ice cream in little tubs, Lebanese food in Marylebone, bites of baklava, Sunday morning flower markets and chai tea lattes while walking through the park) was a Friday night drive from the harbour to his home. Roof down, blanket on my knees, dark night, over 80 mph, hair flying and knotted, head back and eyes watering, looking up to the stars and shouting loudly along to John's '8os Mega Mix'. Power ballads at the top of our lungs.

7 August 2011

Dream bedroom
After going to see Harry Potter at the local cinema then eating pizza and drinking beer and chatting with my parents, I went to bed and instead of trawling the internet for pre-sleep entertainment, as is my habit of recent times, I read until I dosed off. In my childhood bed with its elephant bedspread and pillows piled high. I read The Virgin Suicides, having dug it out from my bookshelves that I stocked through my teenage years. I didn't quite finish it so had it in my bag on the train this morning, but that's where it remained. I just stared and stared out of the window as I hadn't got to bed until after 4.30am and more than a dozen superstrength cocktails, pre- and post-lash lasagne made by a best friend and a nostalgia playlist on a loop. I did not want to be the virgin suicide girl in amongst the crowd of very young Scottish men who crashed my solitary seating arrangement and who were dealing with their hangovers in a much more chirpy way.

A week of books and my queen-size bed. Stevie Smith Penguin paperbacks and strawberries. It turns out that Stevie attended the same sanatorium in Kent as my mother did. They were both seven when they were sent there, but in different eras of course. It was where they both developed an obsession with death. My mum had a pair of her knickers stolen by another girl. This is still a sore point.

My bedroom shelves are crammed with Judy Blume. I loved her, and got stupidly excited when I discovered that there is girl band called 'Judy and the Blumes', kicking myself that I didn't think of it first. Are You there God? It's me, Margaret is a particular favourite novel. A friend was convinced it was called Mister God, this is Anna, which I found weird and hilarious, and she was immediately chastised for such an error. HOWEVER, it turns out the book does exist. It's by Sydney Hopkins and on the first page it states:

"At five years Anna knew absolutely the purpose of being, knew the meaning of love and was a personal friend and helper of Mister God. At six Anna was a theologian, mathematician, philosopher, poet and gardener. If you asked her a question you would always find an answer."

I think I'm going to have to track down a copy.

This week has been books and many many cans of Stella. Which is rather lovely, as there has been an awful lot about Stella Gibbons in the literary news of late. There's nothing nasty in the woodshed round these parts, but there are very loud woodpigeons. I've learnt to drown them out while reading, just about...

2 August 2011

Home-made hummus and so much garlic bread

Brie as big as my head
I say I look like a middle-aged male American tourist. My father says I look Pre-Raphaelite, but the morning after. Rough round the edges.

I walk downstairs and there's a man I've never met in the kitchen. My mother says 'This is Anna. She doesn't always look like a bag lady. She's locked in her room writing her dissertation'. The thing is, I do always look like this.

I drink Stella and sit in gazebos that we gradually turn into a Bohemian den. My brother wears a poncho following a diet of too many spaghetti westerns and an overdeveloped Clint-lust.

We use whole bulbs of garlic for a feast. Anti-Vampiric with health benefits.

I eat leftover trifle for lunch in front of my computer screen and say aarrrrggghhh. I say it, not quite screaming. Yet.

I actually buy blue suede shoes. For reals. They are little boots with embroidery on the outside and a check-print inside. Not really quiff and snake-hip shoes, but blue suede nonetheless. Don't you step on 'em.

I am told that relationship equilibrium is getting a cleaner. This is both decadent and dull. No equilibrium for me just yet, hence too much diet coke, procrastination, panic, sleeplessness, back-ache, red wine and watching Benedict Cumberbatch on Terence Rattigan when I should be doing pretty much anything else. But equilibrium is for squares, yes? I'm a bit too skewiff.