Thursday, December 22, 2005

Slip a sable under the tree, for me...

This is, as I might have mentioned, the first year I have spent the run-up to Christmas working in an office. I've been working in this office for long enough to have made real friends, to feel like people know me, and basically to get the in-jokes upon which every workplace is founded. Sometimes I even make the jokes, which, I know, is massively shocking.

This year I feel more Christmassy than I have for years. I think it's the sense of winding down, finishing up, or slowing, um, across. You know. Everyday we've had treats, be it wine, cakes, cheese, children. Some of those you eat, some you drink, some you just play with, and the best bit is that it is up to you to work out which is which! Imagine! It's been nice, though. People are friendly and warm-spirited, although I'm sure that the London version of 'friendly and warm-spirited' would, to people from anywhere else in the world, be 'tetchy, angry and borderline homicidal', it's nice for us. Someone made eye-contact with me on the tube yesterday. If that doesn't deck your halls with boughs of holly I don't know what will.

I am feeling the holiday glow, and I am seeing things in a really positive light. I would make some allusion to the lights of the Christmas tree casting a rosy glow upon my outlook, but there is no way I am prepared to be that clichéd, holiday or no holiday. I do think, however, that things are going to be better in 2006.

I am moving to a flat. My room in the flat is a big double room, and has an alcove-y bit, a walk in space through an archway that I am going to make into a Moulin Rouge-esque dressing room because I am showy and live for exaggerated displays of flamboyance. But then, hey, who doesn't?

I hope you're having happy holidays so far, and I hope that Santa doesn't leave you staring forlornly at a lump of coal on Christmas morning, as I'm sure he will me if I keep acting like a Lady Of The Night and fraternizing with hot men who give me Champagne and strawberries.

Paul - thanks for the gifts I will love them as soon as I start reading them.
Euan - thanks for putting music on my website! Look! Um, I mean, Listen!

Everyone else - thanks for your generous gifts and presents. Oh, and if you are the ONE person reading this who hasn't sent me anything, you may email me and I will tell you where to address the pony. Thanks.

Monday, December 19, 2005

Does anyone have any sleep I could borrow?

I am sulking.

Blogger has gone all funny on my computer and when I type it doesn't look like I want it to look. Also I can't do italics or bold and I feel that I am being repressed. In the last but one sentence I would have put the word 'want' in italics, for emphasis. I couldn't, though. I feel like I've been forced to regress to the Dark Ages, and that I might as well etch some words onto a slate and put the slate in a location just outside Slough and everyone who wants to read it will have to get on their damned mules and go and read it.

Also I am tired and that makes me sulk for no good reason.


There are some things that have happened in the last, well, couple of days. Not, like, massively exciting things, but some stuff.

1. My First Ever Office Party happened. The bill for the night, which I looked at for reference, and perhaps also because I am really nosy, came to more than I earn in a month. I also may or may not have drunk my own body weight in Champagne. There was chocolate mousse, a bit of which dropped onto one of my breasts (they get in the way of stuff sometimes) and someone offered to lick it off, and then suddenly looked a bit fearful at the prospect of me accepting the offer. I did not, however, accept the offer. I think that was the extent of the 'loads of drunken irresponsible sex at the Office Christmas Party' thing. There was an argument, though, which I watched with glee, and which was almost as good.

2. The radio is currently playing 'Stay Now' by East 17. It might be called simply 'Stay'. I hate this song, but cannot stop myself singing along, and oftentimes making up harmonies to the chorus. This is a cause of a deep-seated self-loathing that is only partially remedied by ritually forcing myself to sit through a whole Westlife song without a)eating my own head or b)nailing my hands to my ears. As punishment, you see.

3. I saw King Kong last night. I actually think it is one of the best films I have ever seen. It was beautiful, romantic, fantastical. Naomi Watts was captivating and Jack Black's performance was so moving that I actually stopped hoping he'd burst into a rendition of 'Fuck Her Gently' within about five minutes. Although that would've been cool.

4. On Saturday I went to a surprise birthday party in Wokingham, where I did shots of a drink called Unicum and tried to persuade Paul to do a striptease to the Countdown music. He wouldn't. Prude.

5. It was a good party, though, in spite, or perhaps because of that.

6. I would have put the 'because' in the last sentence in italics.

7. Um.. there's this guy. I like him and I think he likes me. Well he said he does. He's hot. That's all I'm saying because I am secretive and these things ALWAYS GO WRONG and I am not getting my hopes up.

8. We have a flat! In Clapham! It's not as swanky (by any means) as the one in Oval but it's Fine and we are going to just Deal With the bits of mould in the bathroom. It's five minutes from Clapham North tube station, and if you don't know where that is look it up, because it's CLOSE motherfuckers and I'm going to live there. Except that, you know the thing I just wrote about things always going wrong and not getting my hopes up? Yes, well I am also applying that here.

9. I sang in a piano bar the other day. I sang Hero ("...and then a hero comes along... with the strength to carry o-o-on..."). I sang it with feeling. I am not ashamed. Except that I am, a little bit.

10. My phone is shit and I hate it. I know that hate is not an emotion that we should give in to at this time of the year, and that is one we should try to reserve for summer when we are all hot on the tube and someone is breathing on us, but I don't care. I embrace the hate, and welcome the sick, twisted person I have become as a result.

11. Did I mention I was tired? I am.

12. I am going to meet Dan this evening in Covent Garden where we will look for Christmas presents for our respective sisters and I will whinge a WHOLE LOT because of point eleven. Lucky Dan. I hope he doesn't read this and then cancel.

13. There is no point thirteen.

14. Or fourteen.

15. Sometimes I am not sure there is any point at all.

16. Now is not one of those times.

17. Um...

18. I have no idea why I am persisting with the points even though I have nothing more to say.

19. Somehow, SOMEHOW I can't stop and I feel like I'm in a point-based trance which will continue for ever and ever amen.

20. Except that I'm not and it won't.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Léonie: The Musical!

My back, she is still hurting. I took the day off from work yesterday in order to sit on the sofa and think about how STUPID I am for EVER having thought it was a good idea to jump off a fifty foot water fall, and how, if ever presented with the same opportunity, I would probably incline my head a touch, as if to condsider, and then open a bottle of wine and get comfortable, as if to say NO WAY, DO I LOOK LIKE A COMPLETE FUCKING IDIOT? DO I?

(I would not necessarily wait for an answer to that question, though.)

I had to cancel my plans for last night, which was very depressing as they were fun plans. They have been re-planned, though, so fear not. It's astounding what some dirty text messages can achieve.

I met up with Euan the other night, at the place with the Disturbing Paper Fish and the red wine. Also some very dodgy sour cream, but that's incidental. We only talked about that for a little bit and then Euan drew me a picture of some swans on the napkin and we quickly forgot about the sour cream.

We DID, however, talk about my website (no, not this one, the OTHER one). The fact that I haven't updated it in, oh, ages. I haven't been doing many gigs recently. Except for very little ones, like I did on Tuesday. I haven't really wanted to organise any. Not because I am any less keen for my career, but because I can't help but feel it is a bit futile to be spending my time organising gigs only in order to sing other people's music. I have developed a six month plan, with my friend Jono. Jono and I met up the other week and he helped me formulate a plan. And, obviously, when I say 'he helped me formulate a plan', I mean that he asked me incisive questions about my singing and I mumbled replies through mouthfuls of wine.

I have written four songs in the last two weeks. I am determined that, before I organise any more gigs, I will have a whole performance, rather than just 'um.. just me, singing some songs'. I am going to use the fact that I love performing, I love being on stage, and I am something of an exhibitionist. I want to create an act, a show. The songs I have written are blues-y and jazz-y, but I want the lyrics to be clever, and funny. And also to rhyme. At the moment they are getting there. I am working on it. I have talented friends who have offered to help. If I could get over the hurdle of being too embarrassed to show them my songs for fear of their derisive laughter, it would be much easier. My God, but I am such an intriuging contradiction,
am I not?

(Again, I will not be hanging around for the answer to that one.)

I am confident, though. I can picture it quite clearly: perhaps keyboard, trumpet, double bass. Maybe some drums to give it a fuller rhythm section. Burlesque influenced. A visually as well as an aurally stimulating spectacle. The elements of musical theatre that I love, but with less pretentiousness, and more jazz.

There is this thing going on with a producer who has promised me fame and fortune which I haven't really mentioned on here. It looks to be quite promising, good songs, lots of Big Talk. But I'm not going to put all of my (insert the plural of my least favourite word here) in one basket. If it all takes off, then fine. But I am planning as if that doesn't exist. In order to avoid disappointment, and to plan for every eventuality.

I think I am too competitive to ever stop with this. I have inner faith* in myself and my capacity to make this happen for myself, although I am only just becoming clear on what 'this' is. I have struggled with decisions. On the one hand, I want to sing, as myself, my own stuff. On the other hand, I love doing musical theatre, and have recently been 'advised' by people from Schools Of Music In London to do musical theatre, and audition for the West End. They really said that! I was like oh! Thanks! But, um, my dancing is shit. Never mind! I just won't do Chicago!

*The phrase 'inner faith' makes me sound like I am listing the 'qualities' of an astrological sign for one of those little fridge magnets, and only really looks right if it's in swirly font and surrounded by depictions of little flowers on vines.

I have decided to play to my strengths, and to combine my favourite elements of both.

How did I not think of this before?

Why did YOU not think of this before? What's that? You DID? Well why didn't you tell me?


So Euan and I came to the conclusion that it would be better to have a 'news' section on, instead of gigs, so any gigs I happen upon I can put up there, but I can also write things about the songs I am writing and the ideas I'm having. So it'll be a little bit more like a blog.

What do you think, oh expert blog readers? Will I be able to maintain TWO blog-like things? Do you have any costume ideas? Or song titles to work with? Or jokes? Or interesting deformities?

Tuesday, December 13, 2005

These are the things I learned yesterday.

  • If you have a back problem that has lain not-quite-dormant for five years, do not take it upon yourself to 'have a good clear out of the stationery cupboard' first thing on a Monday morning, without any sort of warming up, a back brace or tequila of any kind.
  • Crawling around the office whimpering "Anybody? Painkillers? Alcohol? SMACK? Anything?" will just get you largely ignored by most of your co-workers.
  • Do not believe other co-workers when they assure you that 'these drugs are the shit' because they are not strong enough, ever, and will just make you talk a bit funny without dulling the pain.
  • It is scarily easy to be fooled by a South American accent and a prescription packet.
  • Some drinking establishments in London think that a huge day-glo paper fish and a sombrero make appropriate Christmas decorations.
  • You will be disturbed by this. As will Euan.
  • It is ill-advised to pour coffee all over your desk, particularly when there are Important Documents sitting on it, that you are Ignoring because you are reading blogs.
  • It is similarly ill-advised to allow the word 'fuck' to burst out of your mouth so loudly that people frown at you from the other side of the office.
  • If you spill coffee, and it gets on your mouse and mouse mat, ignoring it and hoping it will evaporate does not work. Eventually you are going to have to find another mouse in a dusty corner underneath somebody else's desk and then stand under the hand drier for ten minutes watching with detached interest as bits of your mouse mat melt, and the whole place fills with the smell of the glorious combination of burnt rubber and old coffee.
  • Taking more of the drugs won't help. They will just make you dizzy.
  • Drinking red wine on top of lots of painkillers will cause you to send overly flirty (read: overtly dirty) text messages to the person you happen to be dating.
  • It will be ok, because men, it turns out, do not mind that so much.
  • The day after all of this, you will write a strange post that appears to make no sense, really, and that nevertheless you publish because your brain is so addled by the pain/painkiller combination that it has turned into a huge, day-glo, paper fish.

Friday, December 09, 2005

At least I can sit in chairs with arms, I suppose.

Tomorrow! Saturday! Moving day!

The flat is beautiful. New EVERYTHING. Kitchen fittings, bathroom fittings = all new and shiny with exciting things like floor to ceiling heated towel rail. You can't buy that sort of luxury. Well, you CAN buy that sort of luxury, really, but nevertheless it is luxury that laughs in the face of the Student Houses I lived in, where it was not uncommon to find yourself standing in a freezing cold kitchen, shivering in just a towel, watching with growing perplexity as your feet turned blue as you waited for the kettle to boil for the tenth time so you could have a bath with more than two inches of tepid water in it. This flat? Is worlds away from that. Oh yes. It is the flat of Young Professionals.

So you'd think I'd be excited, right? The exclamation marks at the beginning of this post imply that not only am I moving tomorrow but that I am excited? Right?

(I am so bored of having to talk about potential good things and then follow them with a couple of lines space and then the word 'but' in doom-ridden, capital letters.) (However.)


It fell through. Oh, not, not literally. And I know it wouldn't suprise you to hear that it was nicked off me by a youth with a hoody with ASBO-LUTELY emblazoned across the front from a pub just off the Old Kent Road, but no, that is not the case.
The landlord owns quite a few three bed flats in the building that our (pretty, pretty) flat lives in, and one of the other ones had a problem with the boiler, or there was a gas leak, or something, and so he decided to move the tennants of that flat into our (pretty, pretty) flat and so we cannot also be there, I assume because we would never be able to decide who would be in charge of the remote.

The estate agents have 'done everything they can' and are trying to sort us out. They have offered us places in Battersea, which is nice, but so much trickier to get to than Oval. They also mentioned that we MIGHT be able to move into the (pretty, pretty) flat in January, once the problems with the other flat have been sorted out, so I am going to phone them today and see what the real chances of that are. I really hope that we can, I don't mind waiting.

It's strange, I haven't been too upset about this. Before I knew about the possibility of moving in January I was upset because HELLO? HEATED TOWEL RAIL! but now it's still within reach I am just clinging to this hope. I am worried about Bec and David (my flatmates) because they're living in a flat at the moment that makes them both so miserable, and the prospect of staying there longer than Saturday is almost too much to bear. They had booked a van, packed boxes, really organised stuff. Whereas I? Was just going to pack some stuff on Saturday morning and get The Commander (my Dad) to give me a lift down there. I don't mind staying with my parents for another month, they have Sky Plus, but it's horrible for the other two chaps.
I would be upset if we couldn't get this flat at all, ever. I think perhaps I'm not that upset because I was so expecting something to go wrong, that I now feel like, well, no, nothing goes right, but that's the way it is. At least I was prepared.

Oh! Such cynicism in one so young.

In other news, I am going tonight to see my big sister in a play at the Actors Centre in central London somewhere, and then then I'm going for dinner with a man. Who I think I like but about whom I have the same attitude as I did towards the flat, so I don't really want to talk about it.

Also something strange has happened here in BlogLand. I wasn't sure how to talk about this or whether to talk about it even at all. I feel like this part of my life, the blogging part, which has become increasingly important to me, has been altered somewhat by the arrival on the 'scene' of someone I know. Someone who, for reasons that are to do with illness, made my life hell for a while some years ago. I have tried to think of him as a different person now to the person who emotionally tortured me when I was younger, but I can't. I can't see him without being reminded of things that happened years ago and I am disconcerted by his arrival. He has linked to people I am linked to, or who are linked to me, and he says it's coincidence. Perhaps it is, but I don't mind admitting that it bothers me. He will never understand what he put me through and what effect it had on me. I know he was ill, but it doesn't change anything from my perspective. I want so much to be able to detach the person who did all that to me from the person who wants to be friends now, who has a blog and who purports to be a 'different person now'. If he's reading this I am sure I will get a response via email. I am not saying the way I feel is the best way to feel, but it remains true nevertheless.

So if my posts are less frequent now, it is because I feel like my treasured world of internet honestly and open-ness has somehow been tainted. I am sorry. I don't care that it might be a coincidence, or that it's just a 'small world' thing. It IS like last time, when he stayed with my family, palled up with my best friends, claimed to know more about my life than I did, and then used it all to make me doubt everything I took to be safe. I can't tell you how much I wish it didn't feel that way, because it probably isn't about that. But I can't help that history has taught me not to believe a word, because someone is always, ALWAYS just about to screw you the fuck over.

I'm sorry if that doesn't make sense. DT, I'm sorry to upset you, or to make you feel guilty. I am going to be resolutely honest about this, though. All those years ago I was too scared and ashamed to tell anyone what was going on, to admit that I made mistakes that might have contributed to the situation, and by the end I was so unsure of myself that I couldn't even trust myself when I was talking the the authorities. I hated it, so, so much. It hurts me now to think about it. I refuse to have doubts about things in silence, I refuse to distrust my own instincts because pop-psycho-babble tells me to do something that contradicts them.

Enough, sorry for the rant. It wasn't intentional. It's just that I am quite quick at typing (quite) and it means that I type as I think and it comes out all rant-y.

Oh, it's Friday, though. So that's fun. I might have chocolate today, I have to buy some for this guy I work with, because I lost a Simpson's-based bet. Damn.

Oh, and there will still be a house-warming party, but it will be slightly delayed.

I might update later on.

Monday, December 05, 2005

I have a hole in my tights. That is not related to this post in any way.

Oh, yes, did I not tell you that I was a dinner lady for a bit? I was. At the end of the summer before I went to university, just after I got back from travelling. It was mighty fun. I got to wear a smock and serve baked beans to deranged adolescents. My fave bit was picking up squashed chips from the floor whilst overhearing spotty youths trying to guess my bra size. They were way off, I seem to recall. No one ever gets it.

Last week, in unrelated-to-being-a-dinner-lady news, my Dad got his CBE. From the Queen at the Palace. I was thinking, wouldn't it have been strange if, instead of it being the Queen, it was actually Queen giving out the honours. Like, you'd be looking around for a small old lady with a crown and instead Brian May would be standing there, looking coy and clutching a medal.


It was the actual Queen, as it turned out. I wasn't there, as my Dad got to take three people to the ceremony and he chose my Mum, my Grandma and then constructed an elaborate lottery-based system to allocated the other invitation. For a while he was going to cleverly hide a golden invitation in thousands of chocolate bars, sell them around the house to me, Alex and Sophie and see who was the little girl lucky enough to happen upon it one cold morning outside the plentiful sweetshop, but then he changed his mind. Or... um.. something.
Sophie went, anyway. She can tell you about that, maybe.
Afterwards, though, we had a room booked out at this private members' club in Belgravia (which is London-speak for Much Too Posh For The Likes Of You). There were thirteen of us, and Alex, Sophie and I had been given £150 each to get a new outfit and our hair done.
(I am electing not to tell you the story about the night before in Topshop spent trying to find an outfit for Sophie because she hadn't done it before and I was supposed to be going for dinner with Dan and he had to sit on the seats outside the changing rooms for THREE HOURS while I got crosser and crosser and Impish Sophie and I raced around THREE FLOORS OF TOPSHOP HELL trying to find something that wasn't too Bohemian or Racy or Spangly for Brian May, I mean the Queen, and I tell you, heads nearly rolled. Dan was patient and nice about it, me, not so much because I am a bitch who gets CROSS. And, in case you're wondering, no, we didn't find anything by 9 pm when the shop closed. And no, I did not kill my little sister, but only because she is Impish and can run faster.)
It was a lovely day, for there was Champagne and lo! That is good. Lovely food, as well. And my aunt made a very funny speech, and we took turns wearing the medal and Alex was silly with it for a bit and everyone thought she was maybe drunk but she wasn't, she's just funny. We had our own private room. It was very fancy indeed, the place, and the whole day was really very special, and we toasted my Dad (um.. by which I mean we raised our glasses to him, not held him over an open flame until he was brown and crispy, it really wasn't that sort of a day) and it was jolly. The only thing that confused me a little was the fact that the Ladies' toilet was called the Boudoir, which I have always taken to mean the bedroom. Which could lead to some embarrassing mistakes, I reckon.

So now I am officially the Commander's Daughter (CBE = Commander of the British Empire) and can get married in St. Paul's Cathedral. I haven't had any offers yet, but I'm sure that once word gets out the offers will come flooding in, like a flood.

I am moving into a flat with Bec and David on Saturday, in Oval. We haven't talked about the flat-warming party yet, but I really am in favour of one. You are all invited. Unless I don't like you, in which case I will still let you come but I will tell you it's a fancy dress party when it isn't really and you will look REALLY STUPID and I will LAUGH like this HA HA HA.

I have to go and sort out references and things. Um... you could be my referee if you like? Unless you don't like me (don't gasp like that, it has been known to happen) in which case you would probably write a reference that seems like it's nice but if you take the first letter of every line it spells out SHE'S HORRIBLE DON'T TRUST HER and then I'd be screwed.

I wrote a song this weekend, and I also went out and had fun in Soho.

Also I wanted to mention that the other day I spent quite a long time thinking up shop names you could make out of Nirvana songs. So far I've got the following:

In Bloom: Florist
Lithium: Chemist
Smells Like Teen Spirit: Parfumerie
Nevermind: Funeral Parlour

That's all so far, but I'm sure there are more. Can you think of any, kids?