Tuesday, February 28, 2006

If only passion could be used as currency.

Time to make a quick judgement call.

Do I write what I feel like writing and risk upsetting people close to me?

I evaluate the risk and decide how big it is, how much it means to me not to upset someone I care about. I weigh this against my need for the sort of catharsis that, as I know from soming up to a year's worth of experience, only blogging can bring.

I can say without hesitation that it means a lot to me not to upset someone I care about.

I do, however, feel that the catharsis afforded by writing here is one that I cannot find elsewhere.

I do not dwell on the implications of this fact.

I want to write about my career.

Perhaps with all this talk of uspetting people one might perhaps have assumed I was going to talk about my love life, my friendships or my family. Perhaps my housemates or my work colleagues, the lady in the shop around the corner from work. I would not want to upset any of these people. Particularly the latter. Speaking English might not be her forté, but we have a relationship the delicate balance of which I would not wish in any way to disrupt.

Without going into detail about the specifics of the situations, which I am opting not to at this moment, I feel the need to reassert to myself what it is that I want out of my career. I am only doing this for myself.

I want to sing beautiful music, with real instruments, on stages. Stages with lights and microphones. Which, I suppose, goes without saying. I want people to listen to what I do and what my band does and what WE do. I want them to listen and think to themselves that this is something that means something, that is evocative of something.

Sometimes I listen to music and it moves me. Or, more specifically, it moves something in me. Simon and Garfunkel does that to me, as does Jeff Buckley. Leonard Cohen's Famous Blue Raincoat. Hallelujah. I actually prefer the Jeff Buckley version. The Elgar Cello Concerto. Billie Holiday, Strange Fruit. There's this jazz singer called Carol Kidd who sings Autumn In New York and merges it seamlessly into My Funny Valentine and it makes me want to laugh and cry every single time I hear it. So many different versions of Summertime. There's this band called Feist whose album I was given a copy of, and it is wonderful. http://www.arts-crafts.ca/feist/.

There is all this music that amazes me. All these musicians who are imbued with the capacity to make me feel like my soul is too big for my body and I might just explode, or take off, or disintegrate. Jill Scott, the live album. Rachelle Ferrel.

There have been a couple of times in my life, perhaps more than a couple, when I have felt that feeling from something I've been doing. From music that is coming from me. It's a sort of tantric, circular ecstasy.

I want, for the rest of my life, to do that.

I know I am blessed because I can do it. I have done it.

I know what it is to feel that, and it is so addictive and perfect that I cannot do anything that risks eliminating that possibility.

I simply cannot. I will not settle for not-close-enough.

I am stubborn, perhaps. I don't care. If you had felt what I feel when it is right you wouldn't settle for second best, either.

People encourage me to take every opportunity that is presented to me, to snap up every offer because it's a 'way in'. That, my friends, is utter shit. I refuse to do something that seems from the outside to be in the same ball park as what it is that I want to do with my life. If it takes me twice as long to do it the way I want to, with the dignity and integrity I will feel from having refused to compromise on those things that I hold onto like precious jewels, then so be it. I can see happiness and fulfillment, and I am beginning to be able to to trace the outline of the path down which I must travel to be able to achieve it.

I sometimes feel cursed because I feel like I have a calling, and I cannot waver from that, even if it means compromising in so many other ways.

Deep down, though, I know am lucky.

I will not be moved.

Friday, February 24, 2006

It's quite a spread, this Friday.

Choose one: moving to another state, having triplets, or never being able to eat chocolate again.

I would choose option number three. I love living in London, despite the incessant whining about the tube that seems to go on here. For the moment I wouldn't permanently live anywhere else.

Triplets? Are you kidding? That's like, three whole babies. Whole ones. I couldn't cope with one half a one, let alone three whole ones.

Chocolate I could live without. I would miss it, it would be more on a par with missing a friend, a close friend who makes me feel nice and whom I trust and can turn to in a crisis, but who ultimately makes me fat. That is possibly where the analogy falls down.

Name a news story that truly shocked you.

I remember when Terry Waite was being held hostage in Beiruit, and how horrified I was about it. He was released in 1991, when I was nine years old. I must have gained consciousness of his situation well after he was actually first captured in 1987, because I was five then.

My family aren't religious. Neither my sisters nor I were christened and church-going wasn't a part of my family routine. I do have a clear memory of begging my Dad to take me to a special Terry Waite service they were holding at the church down the road from us. I'm still not sure quite why it affected me so much, or why I was so very desperate to contribute my little girl prayers to that particular situation. I have a very clear memory of standing up in the pew, being dwarfed by grown-ups in a way that is very particular to being a child in a chuch, and praying with all my might that Terry Waite would be saved.

Of course there is plenty in the news everyday that is shocking and horrifying. To start picking and choosing particular events would be to perhaps diminish the significance of ones that are left out. I can still recall so clearly, however, that first time I was shocked to the core about something that was happening to someone else, thousands of miles away. I find it interesting that my child-like impulse in the face of feeling futile and helpless was to turn to a higher power, to ask for help from a God I don't think I even believed in then.

What was your very first job?

When I was seven I set up a stall in my room, offering to do odd jobs in return for contributions to the World Wildlife Fund. I didn't declare it to the Inland Revenue, though, so I won't go into that any further.

My first real job was when I was sixteen, working behind the bar in the local rugby club. I liked pulling pints and the banter, but I didn't like the fact that there was no adding-up mechanism on the till, so I had to remember what someone ordered and add it all up as I went along. I am perhaps not great at pressured mental arithmetic. "Ok, so you had four pints of Stella, three of John Smith, half a lager top, one and a half ciders, a double vodka and Coke, no, sorry Diet Coke, and a pint of lime and soda. That's...um...sorry... three fifty plus... um... divide that by...um... six... carry the four...oh shit...Fifteen pounds exactly, would you believe it! Thanks! Next?"

I sometimes wonder quite how much money they lost by employing me. I had big boobs, though, and that's surely compensation enough.

Main Course
If you had the chance to read the diary of someone you're really close to, would you? Why or why not?

No I wouldn't. When I first read this question I assumed that my answer would be a resounding "hell yeah!", but upon thinking about it I'm going with no.

People show the elements of themselves that they choose to. I don't mean that I would rather not know my friends and loved ones and pets in a complete and intimate way, but I would like that to be of their volition. There is, of course, the matter of trust as well. I trust the people I love to be honest with me in as full a way as they can be, and that's enough.

Also if they had sex stuff in there it might make me feel a bit sick.

People tell what they need to, and I am a very trustworthy person. I don't think that, I know that.

(So far in this post I have bigged myself up the following manners:
- I am a sensitive caring person and have been since I was young.
- I am a trustworthy friend and wonderful and possibly hip.
- I have big boobs.
I am very arrogant, though, and can't do pressured mental arithmetic, so even I am not perfect. Not QUITE perfect. It's a close call, though.)

What's something you're looking forward to?

Oh, loads of stuff. In the short term I am looking forward to finishing this post so I can go and make myself a coffee. Then after that I am looking forward to seeing some people tomorrow who I haven't seen for way too long, at my friend Helen's engagement dinner. Then Sunday, when I am going to have a lovely time doing something fun with my boyfriend.

In terms of that, you know, the boyfriend thing, I am looking forward to seeing where that goes. I am sort of relaxed about it. Hear that? Relaxed! I like him and he likes me. I don't feel the need to see him all the time, in fact I love the fact that we both have such full and busy lives that we are just seeing each other when we can, and speaking on the phone a bit and texting each other. It feels so healthy and fun.

Perhaps because I am looking forward to so many things. In a couple of weeks I have a day off work and I'm going to meet my friend Andy, who is perhaps the most talented musician I have ever met, and we are going to develop the songs I have been writing. There are seven completed songs, and I'm so excited to see where we can take them. I've written them with just the vocal, recorded them onto my IMac and moulded them to how I want them. When I play them I can hear how I want them to sound as completed tracks, but I need a brilliant collaborator to make it happen. After they are developed I want to showcase them at open mic nights and then set about organising proper gigs for myself, in which I am performing my own songs. I am so very excited about that.

I am looking forward to summer, to the weather being nicer. I'm looking forward to going surfing in Biarritz in France with the same group of people I went on the weekend away with a couple of weeks ago. I'm looking forward to fixing the A string on my cello so I can play it again.

I'm looking forward to this spot on my forehead disappearing.

I'm looking forward to lunch today, because I get paid today and so I'm bloody well going to have something nice.

I'm looking forward to next Saturday, when we are throwing a flat-warming party.

I'm looking forward to doing a musical in the summer with some friends.

I am actually full of looking-forwardness. To the very brim.

Right, time for the first batch of looking-forwarding to come to fruition. The coffee.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

I think I will name my next song "Oh, It Is Thursday And It Is Sleeting In My Heart"

I'm not sure what my views are on the Thursday as a day of the week. Granted it has none of the oh-God-only-halfway-bloody-through-ness of a Wednesday, but then one can't quite imbue it with the hurray-let's-all-eat-Crunchies-and-what-was-that?-Beer-for-lunch-you-say? elation of a Friday, either.

I don't mind Thursdays. In fact, I don't think I have a least favourite day of the week.

This Thursday, though? I don't know about this Thursday. It seems somehow shaky on its feet and I'm not sure I quite trust it yet.

I'm not sure it could quite be classified as a Bad Day in the typical sense. I haven't fallen head first down a mine shaft yet. Nor have I caught my boyfriend in a tryst with his secretary, his neighbour and the entire cast of Cats (original London recording).

There have been a couple of things that have slightly thrown me, though.

The first thing I did this morning after getting out of bed was stub my toe. It was on a shoe. The reason I stubbed my toe on a shoe was because I slightly lost my balance and staggered a bit. The reason I slightly lost my balance and staggered a bit was that the insides of my whole head had been replaced with snot.

I swore for a bit. In case you were wondering, it went a bit like this:

"Fucking fuck. Shit shitting bollocks motherfucking shitknobs."

Except with a blocked up nose.

It was after I had showered and was drying my hair that I noticed something winking back at me from the mirror. A spot. On my FACE!

I'm not going to be overdramatic about this, it's tiny. But it's on my head and therefore visible. It's my fault, as well, because I was idly scratching my head IN THAT VERY PLACE last night.

People are starving in the world. Horrible things happen to people all over this planet, and they stoically get on with their lives, braving it through the trials and the tribulations that they accept as par for the course in their arduous, everyday lives.

I must confess, however, that at that point I seriously considered jacking in Thursday all together and getting back into bed.

However, taking inspiration from those whose lives are riddled with toe-stubbing and avoidable-facial-blemishes on a day-to-day basis, I did not. No, I bravely got dressed, put my coat and scarf and gloves on and courageously let myself out of the flat.

One of the things I don't get (and there are about five or six things, including how to ping a rubber band at someone, long division and why anyone ever wears those horrible peaked woollen cap things) is why sleet is called sleet. As a mixture of snow and rain it really, if we're being linguistically pedantic, should be called 'snain'. Or perhaps 'rnow'. Snrainow.

Sleet is, I suppose, an appropriately depressing name for such a boringly dreary form of precipitation. I bet that, at the precipitation parties they have up there in the skies, Sleet is the one you'd do ANYTHING not to get into a conversation with, because all he'd do is whinge ON AND ON at you about how SHIT his life is and how he feels like he has no direction and is always left out because Snow doesn't want him and Rain won't talk to him and OH MY GOD I HAVE NO IDEA WHERE I'M GOING WITH THIS.

Sleet is shit, though.

Then the tube was packed. It's always packed but this morning the Northern Line was hell. Actual hell. I seriously considered staging an elaborate faint so that people would move slightly away from me, and perhaps stop pressing their armpits into my face. I am not even joking when I say I considered doing that. However, I also once very seriously considered entering myself to be a contestant on 'Catchphrase', so my judgement is not, perhaps, always to be trusted.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of commuting to work on the tube in the morning. It is a place of supression. Supressed rage, supressed sneezes, supressed (sometimes) attractions. If someone is talking loudly on the tube in the morning people glance up at them, shocked. Other people who DO NOT UNDERSTAND (often Australians) always complain about 'tube faces': the sullen refusal to make eye contact or forge any interaction with strangers. Well, that is just how it works. It is a tried and tested formula. I would be immensely disconcerted if someone tried to strike up a conversation with me on the tube. I wouldn't trust them at all. I would whip my head round, searching for the scallywag stealing my purse, phone or kidneys while I am engaging in polite conversation with this seemingly friendly stranger.

Um, anyway. I digress.

My tube journey was a bit shit, to sum up. Nothing happened to make it so, but I just disliked it more than usual.

On the up side, however, I am feeling slightly better today, cold-wise. Stomach-wise, I am beginning to think that I had a little small bit of food poisoning, because I felt ill and nauseous for a couple of days, and teamed with the pain? I think it was that. I didn't experience any of the other things one generally experiences with food poisoning, if you know what I mean, though. This is something for which I am very grateful as those things are not good things, oh no they are not.

Also, I have fun plans for the next few days. Out and about, doing this and that, seeing various people, drinking various people's bodyweights in wine.

I am particularly looking forward to Sunday, when I am spending the day with my boyfriend-who-has-not-yet-cheated-on-me-with-the-original-London-cast-of-Cats, and we are going somewhere fun. Apparently it's my decision, which is ridiculous because I have no powers of decision making apart from to diagnose myself with food poisoning when I have no evidence to base that on whatsoever, and also to know that starring on Catchphrase would do little to improve my street cred.

ALSO: I am going back up to Warwick University Of Fun (I perhaps added the Of and the Fun) to be in a production of the Vagina Monolgues in a couple of weeks.

ALSO: I have nearly finished another song.

ALSO: I bought myself yet another spangly faux-diamond ring yesterday, which makes three big huge sparkly ones and one plain silver. My hands are heavy but pretty. It distracts people from the STUPID spot on my head which I hate but which nevertheless lives on.

ALSO: I know I started out with a path for this post. A 'point', if you will. However it has descended into a meandering jumble of nonsense, only redeemed by the fact that as I type this I am completely naked.

Well, my arms are.

ALSO: I have nothing else to say. Whilst, admittedly, this has never stopped me before, it will now.

Have a pretty, faux-diamond riddled Thursday.

P.S If you are having a bit of a shit day, I whole-heartedly recommend that you go and click on the Miss Doxie link.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Whine. Not as fun as Wine.

The tube has made me ill.

I am fairly sure it is the London Underground's fault that I have a cold and am therefore going to sue them for millions and millions of pounds. They can just get rid of, say, the Waterloo and City Line. I don't think anyone uses that one really.

I also have inexplicable stomach pains.

I think it's because I always secretly hope that the figure skaters fall over, and I am being punished for it.

If I was a figure skater I would fall over. In fact, I know that if I was a figure skater I would probably spend the whole time choosing my costume and forget to actually make up a routine. I would get out onto the ice and then panic and break out into some kind of expressive arm-based movement, then fall over and slide about on my arse for a little bit, hoping that people were sufficiently dazzled by my sequins that they wouldn't notice the gross incompetence.

I think I shouldn't become a figure skater.

Not when my stomach hurts like this.

I have promised to go out this week, tomorrow and Thursday. Tonight I was meant to be going to see Kayne West at Hammersmith Apollo but I feel like shit, and the ticket was a comp through work anyway. I am also at some point supposed to be going to meet this producer I've done some singing with. He's 'checking his schedule' as we speak.

This is good, but I can't help feeling a bit ill and it's sort of stressing me out a little.

Also tired, because the stomach pains kept waking me up last night. Between the pain and the trains roaring by about ten metres from my bedroom window, the sleep was erratic.

Usually the trains are fine, I sleep through the noise provided I'm not woken up by something else.

I am whinger today, aren't I? You shouldn't listen to it, you'll only encourage me.

As usual I don't know how to make it better, and I am turning to you, the pretty Internet, for help and advice. So perhaps don't lurk, and tell me what to do. Don't say figure skating, though.

At least it's not Valentine's day again this week! For that I am immensely grateful.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Imagine this post is littered with sniffles and used tissues.

I was quite busy this weekend.

I sort of want to write a post detailing what I did, but I can't really be bothered and I know in my heartiest of hearts that I'll get bored halfway through and wander off. Then I'll come back to it and think in an abstract sort of a way about finishing it, get bored again and then just end up telling a joke. Like the following:

Q. What did the 0 say to the 8?
A. Nice belt.

This would not be very mature or sophisticated of me, and I don't want you to think I'm immature or unsophisicated so I will try not to let this happen.

I will perhaps write some highlights.

Highlight Number One: Doing Washing Before Going Out On Friday.
I was, for some reason, a bit stressed about how this would work. It's obvious now, though. Just put the washing in and then go out. I'm not sure what the problem is. Stupid Friday Me. I berate and judge you.

Highlight Number Two: Going Out.
To a pub then to Tea Bar in Shoreditch. It was lovely to see Sarah and Tom, and of course Dan. I got on the last-but-one tube home as well! I felt so angelic and smug about not having to sit fearfully on a Night Bus, waiting to leap off it and into some scary part of Brixton and then having to run home wildly for fear of crime.

Highlight Number Three: Hanging Washing Up Before Going To Bed.
I was so pleased with myself about this. Again, I'm not really sure this merits a highlight but I was inordinately proud of myself.
Don't dwell on it too long, though.

Highlight Number Four: Going To Leamington.
Going to Royal Leamington Spa isn't something I would class as being joyous or highlight-status deserving in its own right, although it is pretty in parts and has a good-sized Tesco. It was nice to see some of the people I saw when I was up there, though, and with some of them it was better than nice! It was, like, really nice! I had fun and perhaps got some drunk. Also pizza happened, of which I am a fan.

Highlight Number Four: Learning A Valuable Lesson.
Which was that people, as a general rule, do not like it when you stroke their faces just after you've eaten a packet of barbeque-flavoured Nik-Naks.

Highlight Number Five: The Best Bit.
Last night I went straight from Leamington to my, um, boyfriend's house. I like him lots. That is my version of me wearing my heart on my sleeve, so it's all I'll say. I like him lots. I like him lots*.

*It doesn't count if I say the same thing more than once, because I'm not adding to the emotion, I'm simply reiterating it. Which, as everyone knows, doesn't induce Things Going Wrong And Me Dying Inside.

In bad news: I think I'm getting a cold. The other day I saw a man on the tube sneeze into a copy of The Metro and then put it on the seat for other people to pick up at will. I blame him. I also blame the Baftas, which I accidentally watched last night and was so boring that my body must have distracted itself by finding a virus to play with.

In good news: I have a Snickers bar in my bag, which I can't justify eating yet but I might later on. Also I wrote another song before work this morning.

I wrote a song last Thursday for my friend who was having a shit day, recorded it and took it up to her when I went to Leamington. I think she liked it. It was called Lily's Blues.

I have nothing more to add, except that I would very much like it not so much to be Monday, and for me not so much to be feeling a bit rubbish. I would also like to go and daydream somewhere. If I don't articulate things the Universe won't hear them, which is why I am desperately keeping my happiness and surprise inside.
You know?

Someone once told me to wear my heart on my sleeve and not to be so guarded with my emotions, but my experiences have proven that this course of action leads to pain and pain and just maybe half a teaspoon more of pain, so I cannot.

Friday, February 17, 2006


If you were a color, which color would you be, and why?

Well. Firstly I'd spell colour with a 'u'.

I'd like to be red. The colour of passion and fire, etc. However, I think I would probably say I was blue. I am passionate, but I don't believe that passion is restricted to bright, quick-burning fire. I think I am slow to build up deep passion for something, but that when I do I am steadfastly passionate about it, and am very unwilling to relinquish that passion. See: music career. Also: Pret Super Club sandwiches.

On a side note, I think I have taken the astrological sign investigation too seriously. (See two posts ago)
I keep referring everything I do to the typically Taurean traits, and moulding my every action to what I perceive to be in alignment with my 'ultimate strength'. I find it somehow comforting.

It annoys other people, though, as I have begun to look up the essays about the star signs of my friends and colleagues and point out their traits to them.

For example with my friend Kate, the graphic desginer. I stand behind her desk watching her design stuff, as is her wont (and also her job), and nod knowingly with pursed lips, and then say things like "Hmmm. Ah yes. The capacity to simultaneously use both the right and left sides of the brain to accomplish a creation that is both aesthetically attractive and mathematically sound. Typical Libran."

I think I am being wise. Other people perhaps do not think this so much.

So when I say I think I am blue, I feel I am being honest and true to myself. I am not overly-whimsical, I am someone who makes serious and thought-through decisions and then sticks to them. I am someone who develops deep-seated passions and does not get distracted from them. This is how I choose to see myself and YOU CANNOT CHANGE IT because I am Taurus, and therefore descend directly from a bull and can cut you with my pointy horns. Or something.

When was the last time you went to the doctor, and what was your reason for going?

I had a chest infection which mutated into a sinus infection. I had to go to the doctor's twice in one week.

I have an inkling of a suspicion that I may have whined about it here, perhaps.

What do you collect?

I don't collect anything, really. I like pretty stuff, and if there was a magpie-based star sign I'm sure I would've been born under that. I like things that sparkle. I wear two great big diamond-looking (um... glass and tin) rings, one on each forefinger, and have diamond stud in my nose.

I used to collect elephant-based things (by which I mean little statuettes and pictures, as opposed to elephants'-feet wastepaper baskets and ivory trinkets) but I must have been distracted at some point. Perhaps by a diamond-effect bus or something.

Main Course
What were you like in high school? Name one thing you miss and one thing you don't miss about those days. (If you're still there, imagine how you'll remember it in the future.)

In school I was quite shy. I was in the popular group, but always the designated 'sweet one'. Someone to talk to and who was good at giving advice and listening patiently. I think my sense of humour comes a lot from my friends at school, who were over-achieving, bright and hilarious to be around. It was a girls' school and a very competitive one, particularly in the area of sport and academia. Academia I can do, sport not so much. I did like school, I had good friends and did well so I had no reason not to like it.

I think, though, that it was always a shame that there wasn't much in the areas of music and drama at my school. I had cello lessons outside of school, and played in an orchestra outside of school as well. I also did acting classes and exams outside. The only play I was involved in at school was a production of 'Annie', and that was only put on because there happened to be a red-headed American girl at the school that year, and the drama teacher wanted to be Daddy Warbucks. I had about three parts, all of which had one song and no lines. They cast the parts by lining up all the audtionees along the front of the school hall and walking up and down with the LP cover to see who looked the most like the characters in the film.

What idiots.

From school I miss learning stuff, although I didn't like having to learn the stuff I wasn't naturally good at.

I don't miss the bitchi-ness of going to an all girls' school, where the competition to look good (read: thin) and have the right clothes, get the right grades and be good at the right things was overwhelming.

Pretend you're standing in front of your home, with your back towards your home. Describe the view - what can you see? Trees? Cars? A zoo? Wal-Mart

Houses. A smattering of trees. Mainly houses. A road, with lots of parked cars and the odd very smug-looking traffic warden.

Hurray for feasting!

Hurray for it being the weekend!

Hurray for being steadfast and tenacious and generally bull-like!

Hurray for me perhaps forgetting about this sudden obsession with star signs!

Have a great weekend, please. I order you.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Situational comedy

You know when it's nearly five o'clock on a Thursday and you're sitting at your desk wearing one sparkly fingerless glove and sipping Champagne whilst writing song lyrics?

I am mainly doing that.

Now read the post below because it's a real post not some namby-pamby, hoity-toity, look-at-me-I'm-wearing-one-sparkly-fingerless-glove-and-sipping-Champagne piece of shit.

I think I may be drunk.


Astrological signs are interesting to me.

On the one hand I think think that star signs are a load of bollocks. In newspapers and magazines they are clearly utter shit. For example:

"Single bulls could friendships suddenly become sexy around the 15th, but all bulls will be extra moony about love - and idealistic about life - around that part of the month. However, make sure you save some energy for the nine-to-five. If there ever was a time to make your career dreams come true, it's now."

('Glamour' magazine, March 2005)

Um, yeah. Knob off, I say. You'll fall in love! Perhaps with someone you know! Or not! Also you will be at work! And thinking about your career path!

I really feel like it is referring only to me. Actually, if I cast my mind back to March 2005 I think I did think about all those things. My God, that Mystical Magical Queen Of The Stars* is a genius.

*some names may have been changed for effect

However, this morning I decided to have a little look at what some typical Taurean traits would be, to see if I matched them.

"The gift of the Taurean is resilience, fixidity and endurance."

Oh, fantastic. Worlds of fun, for me, then.

"...slow to embrace change or mental motivation, but their insights have settled slowly, taking time to mature, and thus carry a strength of permanence that is resistant to superficial movement."

I suppose this is alright, but it's not exactly exciting, is it. Slow and steady. Great. The tortoise may have won the race, but I always felt that the hare seemed to have more fun at the start. All that energetic bounding seems like a brilliant use of energy.

"Although their nature is not aggressive, when locked in combat they possess the ultimate strength - the determination to do nothing at all, except refuse to shift."

The ultimate strength! Cool. I am, admittedly, rarely locked in combat. I'd say not more than twice a week. When I am, though? I am fierce. I say to my opponent "Ah HA! You shall never beat me, for I possess the ultimate strength!" Then I sit on the floor, legs crossed and arms folded, until they get bored and go away. Great fucking superhero I'd make.

Dun-dun-DUUUUUN! "And it is one of the world's most POWERFUL superheroes! A superhero rumoured to possess the ULTIMATE STRENGTH! Yes, it's the Mighty Do-Nothing-Girl! Watch her as she waits for her enemy to fancy a cup of tea or quite need a wee! Now that's impressive, folks!"

"...if a Taurean 'loses it', their instinct is to charge and rage; they display their distress through instantaneous physical destruction, noises and bangs rather than hurtful mental assaults, verbal spears, or the execution of a pre-planned attack..."


*You see? That wasn't physical destruction! That was a cutting and sharply-aimed verbal spear! I did just knock over a coffee cup, though, so maybe that's what it means.

"...relationships are important to the Taurean and so is love, though they may shy away from the frivolously romantic, or what they may consider 'sloppy' expressions of love."

Um... 'sloppy'? Do they perhaps mean 'soppy'? Because, to me, the word 'sloppy' conjures up quite disgusting images. This is accurate, then, this bit. Love is important to me, but I would definitely shy away from the sloppiness. Sloppiness is not key in my relationships.

"...they are often marked by their interest in fine clothing, soft silks, rich velvets, jewels and works of art or beauty.."

My bedroom? In my flat? Is lined with rich velvets, has soft silken sheets tossed across the deep, luxurious bed, and glitters with the tantalising promise of jewels embedded in the walls and ceiling. I also dress in very fine clothing (read: I have been wearing the same pair of jeans for the last six months) and like nice pictures.

"In their quest for harmony they will naturally shun the 'ugly', 'cheap' or 'crude', and others may mistake this as pure materialism, but it is an expression of their sensuous natures, through which adornment and refined environments create an extension of their own inner grace."

If you are 'ugly', 'cheap' or 'crude' I will shun you. Do not blame me, for it is merely an expression of my inner grace. I like the idea that I must be kept in a refined environment. Do not sully me with the real world! It's like when Queen Victoria was travelling through the West Midlands she insisted upon having the curtains closed at all times, so as to avoid the hideousness of Coventry and the like. True story. I wonder whether she was a Taurus? Quite bloody right, though, I reckon.

"It is true that they struggle with abstract concepts and this is not a sign that is known for mental agility, lateral thinking or any particular skill in originality and inventiveness."

I do not like this bit. It is not flattering. I invented something yesterday, anyway. It was... something really cool. I'll tell you about it tomorrow.

"Taureans are never happier than when putting physical form to their concept of harmony and beauty"

I will grudgingly accept this statement. Although there seems to be a slight air of condescension in the phrase "to their concept of harmony and beauty". I will have you know that my way of perceiving harmony and beauty is THE ONLY WAY, thank you very much.

"Taureans are often accused of being too fixed in their opinions"


"Taureans are known for being extremely physical, passionately fond of sex"

I left out the bit that says about how Taureans are not very adventurous and dislike new stuff, because I think this sentence is much, much nicer left as it is. Aesthetically, I mean. I like things to look nice, you know. I am very refined.

"Once motivated to begin a project, they shine through their noticeable powers of endurance and resilience."

Yep, through and through. The only reason I was able to get to the end of this post and though all that copying and pasting was due to my powers of endurance and resilience. You noticed, right? Of course you did.

"More than any other sign, this is one of hidden reserves of power and strength. Of solidity in form and character."

Take note, all ye of whimsical astrological signs. I have HIDDEN RESERVES. You cannot beat me with your spontenaeity and whimsy. I am SOLID. In character. I suspect they are calling me fat when they say that I have solidity of form, but I shall not peer too closely.

This has been a very enlightening study for me. I think that do actually have quite a few of the traits described as being typically Taurean.

Which sort of annoys me.

Well, never mind. I take comfort in the fact that I have the ultimate strength.

What star sign are you? Are you a typical one of those? Do you have any silken things or jewels I could look at? Would you like to enter into combat with me and witness my astonishing strength?

Of course you would. We'll arrange a slot for next week.

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

Good times.

Happy Day After Valentine's Day! I got thousands of cards and letters through yesterday, not to mention flowers. My favourite was the field that was bought for me, with red roses arranged in such a way that it spelled out "This Is All In Your Mind".

I did have a lovely evening. I sat in the Jon Snow pub in Soho and drank beer. With this person who I really, really like. Like, a lot. I will not harp on about him, though, because I am shy.

Well, perhaps not so much shy, then. I am, however, a bit a-frighted, because I think that so far I have fooled him into thinking I'm quite nice, and if I harp on about him the Universe will suddenly shout "HA!" and he will go off me. Then I'll be sad, and perhaps weep like a lady in a turn-of-the-century romantic novel, and people will have to administer smelling salts and will talk in hushed tones about my rapidly fading health, and they won't know that it is not the influenza that ails me, but a broken heart. I will go about the whole thing in a very elegant and ladylike manner, there will be a minimal amount of snivelling and perhaps a far bit of walking aroung looking a bit pale.

Sometimes I worry about the tangents my brain seems to take me on. It is more worrying that I just type it all out without really thinking.

Well. We were in the pub last night and there was this group of women sitting next to us. We are both the sort of people that enjoy chatting to strangers, and so we got into a conversation with these women, who were perhaps in their thirties (not really relevant, just setting the scene). We were talking about something, I think they were talking about how very off-putting it is when a man refers to sex as 'making love', and then I noticed one of the women staring at me intently.

"I know you." she said, studying my face. "I'm sure I've met you before. I never forget a face."

Well, the thing is that I actually do always forget a face and have quite a rubbish long term memory, so I didn't recognise her.

"Oh, where do I know you from? I definitely know you."

I sort of said "....?"

To which she replied "YES! I KNOW!"

She sat back and tilted her head at me, unnerving me somewhat.

"You sing, don't you?"

"Oh, well, yes..."

A knowing nod.

"Yes, I know how I know you."

She paused, whilst my date and I, and all of her friends looked at her, waiting for the exposition part of the story.

She took a long drag of her cigarette and laughed, looking at me again.

"I'm really freaking you out, aren't I?"

She was.

"Yes! A little bit, to be honest! How do you know me?"

I was actually feeling quite grateful that it seemed to be in a good way, and that I hadn't accidentally slept with her boyfriend or kicked her puppy into traffic or something.

Well. It turned out that she did know me, and I remembered meeting her. About three years ago I went out briefly with this guy called Allan. We didn't go out for very long, but it was quite intense while it lasted and we spent quite a lot of time together. I sometimes even went with him to work.

His Dad was ex-paparazzi and did a lot of celebrity photo shoots, and Allan often went along to earn a bit of extra cash by setting things up, herding people places and generally adding a bit of sexy-snowboarder-chic to the whole affair.

I went along to an Eastenders party (anyone not from the UK, Eastenders is a very popular soap). It was crawling with celebrities, which was very exciting at first. The celebrity thing soon got a bit tedious, and as Allan was helping his Dad I wandered into the garden and was quickly thrilled to discover that I could drink as much Champagne as I liked and nobody could stop me.

As I sat at a table and watched the people schmooze and tipping the lovely bubbles down my throat a lady sat next to me. She told me wearily that she was writing the article for 'OK!' magazine, or perhaps it was 'Hello!' magazine, I forget. Anyway it was one of those God-awful celebrity Jordan-invites-you-into-her-lovely-home ones.

(I hate those magazines)

This woman, Juliette, was bored out of her mind. Bored with the party, bored with celebrity and bored with having to chronicle celebrity as if it mattered.

We sat and talked for about three hours, until I had to go home. We talked about her job, what she wanted to do with her life. We talked about my singing. I told her all about what I wanted to do, how much it meant to me, how I couldn't ever imagine doing anything else.

She got in touch with this guy for me, a producer who did a lot of work in London, and I did some recording with him. I couldn't do much as University commitments meant I couldn't travel from Warwick to London with any regularity, but it was great for my confidence and gave me valuable studio experience.

Last night she told me that she did that for me because she had never met anyone who was so very passionate and certain about what they wanted to do, and who didn't confuse music with show business and show business with celebrity.

How wonderful.

She hadn't even heard me sing, and yet she did this for me.

It was lovely to be reminded of that last night, and in the context of such a very lovely evening.

I'm no Blanche DuBois, but I do think there is something wonderful about the unexpected kindness of strangers.

Happy Wednesday to you, other strangers.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

The Final Installment, I promise: UPDATED

I asked the following questions:

1. How do I know you?
2. Tell me something about myself that you would only know if you knew me personally
3. Have we spoken on the phone or in person in the last month?

The above questions are approximations of what I actually wrote, because I can't remember exactly. This is essentially what I sent, though.

I received this response:

I was going to answer those but I thought about it and there are two kinds of valentines. The one where the sender hopes the recipient will secretly discover who they are and the one where the sender simply wants the recipient to feel special. This is the latter, so if you let your mind run wild this can be from whomever you want it to be…

And just so you know this isn’t spam – your middle name is Kate.

Happy valentines Léonie

Which is really sweet. I don't think it is spam.

I feel a bit sad, really.

How lovely of someone to want me to feel special. I mean, not just special-school-special, like I usually do.

It doesn't qualify as a mystery solved, really, but it's the only Valentine I have (so far, I'm sure that's the tinkle of the Inter-Flora van I can hear in the distance) and so it is sweet.

Hmmm. Is it pathetic to feel sad on Valentine's Day, even though I have a date tonight?



I just got this:

Ok the Kate thing…that could still be spam I suppose so…


You have an irrational fear of eggs -which is odd but still quite endearing

I hope you have an eggcellent day whatever you’re doing and whoever you’re with.


So, I replied to the spamentine (I like that word)(thanks, Lucky).

I said something along the lines of: Alright, give me a clue then. I still think you're spam but if you're not then a hint, please.

In response? This:

A Poem about Spam

When a middle aged Nigerian bank manager,
(with millions in laundered money)
Writes to a young, impressionable and desperate westerner
(with millions in arrears)
There is chemistry unlike any other
(Except perhaps a pill for enlarging male genitalia)

Spam is also a type of luncheon meat…mmmmm

p.s. clue no. 1…I’m not a fake Nigerian bank manager

I didn't reply. Because I think that is a little strange, to be honest. This morning I got another one.

He/she/it (I don't know what gender one refers to spam as) would like me to ask three questions to find out who it is. Presumably it can't be
1. Who are you?
2. Are you spam?
3. Go, on, who ARE you and ARE you spam come on you're annoying me now.

So I need question suggestions.

I was thinking of asking 'how do you know me' would be a good start. To find out whether it's a spammer, I need to ask one about me. Perhaps ask which University I went to, whether I play any musical instruments, have any piercings, or what I look like.

(The answers to those questions are: Warwick, the cello, my nose, and like a mix between Kate Moss and Cherie Blair*)

(*except not really so much)



Did you get the flowers and card I sent you? No? Bloody postal service, can't trust 'em.

Please give me suggestions, thanks. All my love to you on this day of hearts, flowers and grey drizzle over London.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Is it Love? Or just re-constituted meat? Who can tell?

This morning I got an email from www.valentinesunited.com with an e-card in it. It's one of those ones you can reply to.

It was a poem. It went like this:

Life is pretty damn short,
And most of us draw an even shorter straw.
So many people flash past us,
Flickering lights, cutting us up

Nobody knows what’s coming,
What’s hiding around the next dark corner.
How long will our clocks keep ticking?
Which faces will you never seen again?

If our eyes have already locked for the last time,
I wish you more than “just the best”.
I wish you love and health and endless smiles
For you briefly touched my life and I’ll never forget.

You’ve never just been a face to me (even though you have a very nice one - well apart from the lazy eye thing)


I immediately assumed it was spam, and hit the reply button. I wrote a little message saying something along the lines of, "this is spam, right? Otherwise, who is it, please?"
I felt a bit stupid writing that last bit, because it was so obviously spam.

(NOTE: I do not have a lazy eye. I... I don't understand that bit. It feels familiar, like maybe I had a conversation about lazy eyes, which admittedly does sound like the sort of thing I'd have a conversation about)

Then I got a reply.


It would appear you receive very eloquent spam mail...

...Or very poor valentines

So, does that mean it's still spam?

Or not?

I don't receive enough valentines to know, really.

Also it was to my hotmail, not my leoniehiggins.com email, so that's unusual.

I'm going out for Valentine's Day drinks tomorrow. I don't want to do anything fancy, it's too soon for hearts and flowers. I think I'd just be embarrassed, and he would, too.

Anyway. Does anyone have any ideas about this e-card/spam?

Answers on an e-postcard/comment please.

Detention for the lot of them, I say.

SCENE: Clapham North Station, Friday night.

One of those whiteboards they have in the stations to write updates about the running of the tubes.

In neat, careful handwriting, the following:

"The Northern Line has been slightly disrupted, due to local vandals causing problems at London Bridge.

They have since been caught.

They said they were sorry."

That's so very English, don't you think?

I have an image of some cross-looking policemen in proper policemen helmets and carrying truncheons, standing over some young scallywags with scabby knees who are hanging their heads in shame and shuffling their feet; the policemen extracting a mumbled and red-faced apology from them and then letting them go, satisfied that justice has been served.

Friday, February 10, 2006

A feast fit for a Friday...

What was a class or course you took while in school that you realize now was a total waste of time?

Um, I'm not sure. I don't think any of the specific courses I have ever taken have ever offered me any truly Valuable Life Skills. If, for example, I was stranded on an alien planet and had to re-start civilisation from scratch, say, I doubt that my knowlegde of post-modernist French Literature would get me very far. My degree wasn't massively useful, but I enjoyed it, so it wasn't a waste of time.

Thinking back to school, now.

A-levels, GCSEs. Well, all not used on a day-to-day basis (except Science. I regularly bandy about my GCSE level knowledge of the reproductive organs of a flower. Actually, wait, hang on. I have just realised that I know everything I know about that from the song 'Reproduction' in Grease 2. That is... possibly not good.) but certainly not a waste of time.

I've got it. SEWING. I had sewing classes at school until the age of fourteen. The only thing I remember completing was a fabric pencil case, and I stapled the whole thing together. Not a stitch in sight. As I recall the teacher still gave me seven out of ten for it. I must have cut the material really well, I can only assume.

Yes, sewing class was wasted on me.

Who is the tallest person you know?

The tallest girl I know is Pippa, who is pehaps six foot...one? Taller than me, anyway. I am five foot six, though, so that's not a massive challenge.

The tallest man? I don't know. I just think of people as being 'really tall' without bothering to find out how tall they are. Anywhere over the six foot four mark and you fall in to the 'really tall' category. Tall people don't like other people asking them exactly how tall they are, it annoys them. I don't like annoying people. Except for my love of tickling people and then getting really upset with them if they tickle me back.

What's your favorite midnight snack?

Well, if I have been out getting resonated and come home, then probably something carb based. I like rice cakes and oat cakes with cheese and pesto. My impish sister (who lives in Foreign Climes and whom we therefore Do Not Quite Trust anymore) likes to have cheese and pesto and tomato sauces and things as an oft-quite-elaborate snack. These are Good Things.

Main Course
Have you ever found money somewhere? If so, where did you find it, and how much was it?

I once found a wallet with a tenner in it, when I was at University, but I gave it to the police. Who doubtlessly spent it themselves. Perhaps on vests.*

(*This is a reference to the "What did the policeman say to his stomach?" joke. The answer is, of course, "You're under a vest".)

Where would you like to retire?

I don't know. I'll need to look around a bit further, first. If I retired right now, which I wouldn't for the world, I would travel.

I like doing those Friday Feasts. I'm full now.

I am feeling actually better today. Really back to normal. The accuracy of the decision to use the word 'normal' in relation to myself is, obviously, somewhat questionable, but we will go with it nevertheless.

I'm meeting up with Dan tonight, and then we're going to meet Maya and some of her friends and go out in Soho. I will not be aiming for resonation, because I have to be in Ealing (West London) for eleven, which is far away from where I live, in Clapham (South West London). It shouldn't be far away, but due to tubes being a bit funny around there and also buses being a little confusing, I reckon it'll take me at least an hour. I am going to meet whatshisname. You know, thingy, the object of my ex-paranoia (I am no longer paranoid). He is a good one, I think. Perhaps.

I wrote and recorded one and a half new songs last night. Not before sitting in my living room with Bec and David singing along to Dina Carroll's classic hit 'Don't Be A Stranger' at the top of our voices. There are some really good moments of drama in that song that call for hand actions and head bowing. The joy is incomparable.

I pity our neighbours. Not enough to stop singing, though.

I sent Sophie a present in the post yesterday. I wanted it to be a surprise for her, but I am fearful that something might happen to it between now and her little Parisian flat.

(Remind me to, at some point, tell you the story of Sophie Moving To Paris On A Whim Aged Nineteen And Three Quarters. With nowhere to live, and only two [admittedly fucking MASSIVE] suitcases of clothes to sustain her. Oh, and no job. Also I will tell you of how there are some people who want her to represent France in the Eurovision Song Contest. If you're not familiar with the Eurovision Song Contest, it is exactly what it sounds like it would be, but about six million times more cheesy. You'd love it! Unless, of course, you have any taste or fashion sense.)

Anyway, the present is nice, and when she receives it I will tell you what it was.

This is a better way to feel. I am feeling better. I would like to extend a Formal Apology to my housemates for being perhaps a bit withdrawn in the last few days, and to the people in the downstairs flat, who no doubt are walking around today not quite being able to get the phrase "whhhhhyyyyyy? I don't kno-o-o-o-ow. I'm in to dee-eeeep....to say no-o-o-o-o..." out of their heads.

The sky is very, very blue today in London.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

When I started this post I thought I was back to normal, but as it went on I began to reconsider....

Oh, thank you for the comments and emails. It genuinely helped.

On one level it made me feel less alone. On another level it made me think, oh, this is too much, I don't deserve this much sympathy. As a result I sort of, felt a lot better.

I went home last night and was silent for about an hour, much to the bemusement of my flatmates. They tentatively offered me tea and asked me if I was alright, while I did washing up and told them that no, really, I was fine and then I cooked myself dinner and tried to chill out.

I chilled out to an extent, helped by a few phonecalls, one from Dan and one from, well, one that laughed shrilly in the face of my ridiculous paranoia. Basically I am a knob, and yesterday I was just having an attack of the crazies.

Not that I wish to diminish the shittiness of it, because it was nasty. When you spend ages explaining your mental state to a friend, not mentioning any names (DAN DAN DAN) and, after the conversation has veered around to normal things again (perhaps...alcohol) and then begins to come to a close and before he hangs up he sings down the phone "BYEEE! CRAZY LADY!", you know things have gotten a touch out of hand.

It's alright though, because I know and am comfortable with the fact that Dan considers me to be a little crazy. I consider him to be irritatingly normal and/or cheerful, only redeemed by the fact that he often laughs wildly at my jokes.*

Um... anyway. I am feeling a million miles better today. I think it was perhaps hormones, and as it is not by ANY MEANS OH NO the first time I have had days like that I know I can get through them.

I was touched, so touched by the comments and the emails. It sounds faintly absurd but it was lovely. Thank you.

Oh, and Mark, yeah cool, I'll come to Edinburgh. (Note to self: Iron kilt.)

Right, I'm going to shut up with the gushiness (gushiness is a disgusting word, if it is even a real word) and tell you the following:

I set up sitemeter yesterday! From the bottom of my Pit Of Doom and/or Gloom! I love looking at the map of the world and seeing where people are reading from. Hello Sophie in France, Ile-de-Paris! Hello person in Canada! Hello people in London! And Birmingham! And other places!

My eyes have gone funny from all the exclamation marks in that last paragraph.

I wanted to say that I don't think my strange day was related to paranoia about the guy. I am going to dust off my best pseudo-psychobabble and say that I think it was me projecting my demons onto the nearest object, and that happened to manifest itself in totally irrational concerns about something and someone I had no cause to doubt.

Yesterday's post represented my mood, in terms of style and tone. This one does the same. I feel slightly surreal, and my thoughts aren't really linking together properly. As a result this post is very sporadic and jumpy. I am feeling worlds better, but still not quite right. Which is why I have no way to end this post.

*Dan is wonderful, really, I don't mean to imply that he is insensitive. He isn't. He's wonderful.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Not so much with the funny, today.

It's a beautiful day today in London. The sky is icy blue and the sun is shining.

I have hit a low, I think.

I have no idea why. I feel suddenly unhappy and vulnerable. I am paranoid and over-sensitive. It's a circle of paranoia: that my friends don't like me, that my colleagues think I'm shit, that the guy I've been on three dates with doesn't actually like me that much.

It's largely the last one that is feeling the brunt of my self-critical depressive mood.

I know, very recently things ended with another guy I'd been seeing. I am fickle. Except I'm not, I promise. Please don't call me fickle, please. I am too fragile today.

There is no reason to feel worried about this guy. That he doesn't like me, I mean. For the following reasons:

- I have been out with him only thrice. This is not long enough, surely, to be something that can really hurt me. I have not invested enough. Except maybe I have.
- He has asked me to go out with him on Valentine's Day. Which is nice. Well, I think he asked me out. He sent me an email asking me if I had any plans for Valentine's Day. I replied no, and then he hasn't responded. Since yesterday at about six.

It isn't enough to silence the demons circling in my brain. What if I set a precedent that I cannot live up to? What if I made myself out to be funny and cool, when actually I am a depressive lunatic who is self-obsessed enough to need answers and turn to the Internet? What if I'm boring? What if he has seen that and is removing himself?

I cannot cope with investing in relationships, I just can't. I have felt how much it hurts and it is too much for me to bear. I can't text or email this guy, let alone call him, because the fear of immediate or eventual rejection is just way, way too strong. It makes me feel sick even just to think about it. I feel like he (and when I say 'he' I mean 'anyone') will suddenly do a double take and go "oh, hang on! you're not who I thought you were! I expected funny, upbeat, happy! Who is this over-thinking, sometimes-depressive, sometimes paranoid and insecure, over-analytical creature? I don't want her! Be happy! You're better that way.'

Unhappy is boring.

This is one of my main worries about myself. What if, underneath the outgoingness and the sociability, I am boring?

It isn't really about this guy, the way I'm feeling. I am concentrating these feelings on him because I like him and I am pretty sure I always fuck everything up. The rational part of my brain insists that I don't, and it is this part that allows me to go about organising my life: gigs, recordings, nights out, getting to work on time(ish) etc.

It is the familiar feeling of a blanket of, well, something like heartbreak, shrouding everything that is making me paranoid and insecure and lost. I should be used to it by now, I know the signs: the way it takes me those three seconds longer to get up out of my chair, the time spent staring into the distance without coherent thoughts, the sadness of looking out of the window and seeing clear blue skies.

When I talk about the 'circle of paranoia', I mean that it starts with paranoia and slips into me despising myself for over-thinking, for being unhappy. Which leads to more paranoia that I am a horrible, self-obsessive person. I hate being so self-obsessed. Self-involved. I think it's truly disgusting.

I don't know what will make it better. I wish so much that I did.

I don't know how to make it better on my own, basically.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

Less tassel-talk in this post.

Yesterday lunchtime I walked to the Tesco store to buy my lunch supplies for the week. The nearest one is just near Liverpool Street station, about five minutes walk from my office.

Liverpool Street and the surrounding area is an area dominated by businesses, so at lunchtime it is heaving with people hurrying to supermarkets and sandwich shops, keen to grab a sandwich or salad and rush back to their desk and get crumbs on their keyboards.

I was walking along in the obligatory blinkered London manner, listening to Jill Scott live on my iPod and pulling my jacket down over the top of my jeans as the icy wind whistled through the thin leather.

Just outside Tesco a bundle crept into my line of vision. A girl, perhaps fifteen years old, sixteen at the very most, sat motionless on the pavement. Her blue eyes stared out at nothing, not seeming to see the legs of the endless people streaming into the shop and then back out again. Her blanket was pulled up to just below her eyes, her forehead was smeared with dirt and her hair was tangled.

I continued into the shop and picked out my food, trying to be minimal cost-wise. I stood in the queue, paid for my items. All the while thinking about this girl.

On the way out I looked at her again, and then made my way to the nearest Benjy's, where I bought a sandwich, a KitKat and a large tea. I walked back over to her and put the things beside her. For some reason my heart was thumping and I stumbled on my words as I said "I just bought you some things. Tea, and a sandwich and a KitKat.". She pushed herself up on her hands as she took the sandwich and smiled, her eyes fixed somewhere just right of my right shoulder. "Thanks..." she muttered, as I stood up and walked quickly away.

AS I walked back to work I listened to my iPod and cried a bit, thinking about how very, stupidly lucky I am. To have a family who love me and whom I love, to have such wonderful friends and the capacity to earn enough money to feed myself and to not have to rely on strangers to provide me with cheese and pickle sandwiches in order to get through a day.

Today I walked to Tesco again. I looked for her, and there she was. Huddled under the same blanket, with the same smears of mud across her face. I went straight into Benjy's and bought another sandwich, KitKat and cup of tea, and put them down next to her on my way into Tesco. She smiled again, not recognising me I don't think, but recognising my formula of gifts. The smile was somehow, different, I thought, today. I walked into the shop, queued and bought, and then walked out. There was a part of me, a large part, that wanted to see the girl happily chewing on her sandwich, or with her cold hands wrapped around the cardboard cup of tea.

She was empty-handed, sitting up and grinning at a man, a shabby man, granted, but a man with a coat and shoes and a packet of cigarettes in his hand. Also a cup of tea and a sandwich.

I went back to the girl and asked her "did that man just nick your stuff?". She laughed, not looking at me. "Nah, that's my boyfriend. I gave it him." I laughed as well, as if to convey that, oh, of course, that was your boyfriend, sorry. She looked around quickly, and languidly settled herself back into her blanket, a smile playing around her lips.

I walked away, and I HATE so much to admit to this, but I felt cheated. Somehow I had given this girl some food because she seemed so alone. I was buying into fuzzy image of homeless girls, forced to leave home because of circumstances beyond their control. I wanted to have made that a bit better, and tell her by means of a small, pathetic meal that I hadn't ignored her, I hadn't walked past like everyone else. That I had noticed her, acknowledged her existence.

Of course this was a ridiculous assumption. How could I possibly know what her circumstances were? There is no doubt that, whatever her situation she would not choose to sit on the street all day looking, and probably genuinely feeling forlorn. Seeing the man walking away from her somehow shattered this illusion that I had fabricated to make myself feel better, that was all. Somehow I felt wronged, as a consumer, as if I had been misled by the advertising. How very, very horrible.

So now I feel unavoidably cheated (I can't help it, somehow) and hugely guilty for my middle-class assumptions and naivety.

What is worse is that on the way back I actually thought to myself "I'll blog about this".

Oh God.

Monday, February 06, 2006

From Sport to Stripping in one little post.

This weekend I have done the following:

- Watched a sporting match (rugby) (England vs Wales) without falling asleep, dying inside or asking stupid questions to entertain myself and annoy others (examples: "why is the ball the wrong shape?", "was that a goal?" "why do you care? It's just a game.") I did drink beer, though, which I feel helped. Every so often Bec (Wales fan) would turn to me and tell me useful-but-guaranteed-to-go-straight-over-my-head information about the game and the players and I would look blankly at her and think about shopping until she stopped being useful. We ended up having a really nice afternoon, and we made some new friends in the pub. Three guys, one of whom was really into the rugby, and had conversations with Bec about, like, balls or something, and another of whom had no interest in the game but liked drinking, so we had enough in common to have some good chats. I think that my ability to talk utter shit helps in these situations, and also my fondness for inappropriate jokes mostly goes down quite well. At one point we were discussing the possibility of picnicking on hillsides and how it might work. My position is that as long as you steer well clear of round things (satsumas, for example, or particularly round bread rolls) you'll be ok. This may have been after one or two pints of The Kronenbourg.

- Went to a Sex Variety Cabaret. This is way, way better than rugby. There was wine, as well, of which I am a big fan. My friend Gemma (stage name Lily Dumont) was performing. She is a burlesque performer (those not in the know: burlesque is kind of vaudeville, music hall performance, involving things like nipple tassels and big fans. It is kind of tongue-in-cheek saucy in a Carry-On style, and really, really cool) and she is FABULOUS. Her performance on Saturday night was great: funny, saucy and brilliant. It was at Battersea Arts Centre in a studio-type theatre, and the audience loved her. Her act involved stripping and nipple tassels, as well as comedy. Oh I loved it. The other acts were good (a belly-dancing man and some stand-up being examples) but I am not being biased when I say that Gemma/Lily was the best.

- Tried the nipple tassels. I can TOTALLY do it. Make them twirl. I showed my housemates and Gemma said it was good, so I was rather pleased with myself. I obviously sat down and put it straight on my CV.
I am going to get some of my own, though, and go on a workshop that Gemma is running in London to do it properly. I have toyed with the idea of incorporating burlesque in to my own perfomance-style and I think I'm going to run with it and see what happens. That's not to say that I would do whole burlseque performances and strip all the time, but I would like to add the knowledge of it to my frame of reference and see how I can incorporate it into my singing.

- Had loads and loads of fun. Something fun is happening tonight, as well, but I will tell more about that soon.

If anyone else had a nipple-tassel based weekend I would be fascinated to hear about it. Bet you're not as good as I am, though.

Look! Here is the workshop my friend Gemma (Lily) is running!
I am signing up, definitely.

Friday, February 03, 2006

Friday is for Feasting!

From: http://www.fridaysfeast.blogspot.com

On a scale of 1 to 10 (10=highest), how sociable are you?

I am a very sociable person. I feel like I need an example of who might be a ten, so I can compare myself to them. I am trying to think of the most sociable person I know. Maybe Dan? Or perhaps my little sister?
I'd actually give myself a nine on this. Even a nine and a half. No, just a nine, actually.

Name 3 DVDs you currently own.
Kill Bill 1 and 2. Um... Shaun of the Dead.

If you were to win a superlative award now (such as most talented, class clown, most likely to succeed), what would it be?

Right now? Person Doing The Least Work But Who Is Busily Pretending To Be Busy And Also Important.

It is possibly not the first time I have won this award.

Main Course
What is your favorite radio station?

I like Xfm, Magic and Radio One. The fewer adverts and fewer pop songs the better. Sometimes Smooth FM can have some rockin' tunes on it, but nobody would admit to listening to Smooth FM so I won't, either.

Complete this sentence: I believe __________ because __________.

I believe that I am made of small pink hankies because I have taken copious amounts of hallucinogenic drugs.

Let's keep talking about underwear.

Once I went out with a guy who periodically wore y-fronts in various shades of blue, green and burgundy.


Thursday, February 02, 2006

More on the vests and pants issue.

Now. Just wait a minute there, campers.

There seems to be some disagreements in terms of what is acceptable, underwear-wise.

The comments section from the bras-and-knickers-based post has revealed that some people think that:

a) red underwear is slutty and whorish.
b) white underwear is unacceptable.
c) both are fine.
d) it's not the underwear, it's what's beneath the underwear that counts.

Well. I think:

a) sometimes it's a fun to be a bit slutty and whorish. In the right context. Not perhaps when standing on a street corner and twinned with a pair of patent thigh-high boots.
b) white underwear is fine, and can be sexy, but you have to wash it separately and that is just HASSLE and I am not a fan of hassle, you know I'm not.
c) um, yeah.
d) absolutely. That's why I go to the gym every morning and do yoga every night before bed.*

My FAVOURITE kind is black and lacy. But I would like fun and racy, as well. Leopard-print, maybe. Or sparkly. Or made from the hides of sparkly leopards.

I have two things to say in regards to two specific comments, though.


"Boyshorts (as they are called here in the States) are wickedly hotttt.

In my express personal opinion."

Yes, I agree. If there ever was a good use for a sparkly leopard, it would be this.


"I picked black and/or white because they are the standard classic colors. I would have never said red. Red just screams "Leave the $50 on the nightstand before you go"."

Um, I don't pretend to know much about this sort of thing, right, but FIFTY DOLLARS? Isn't that like...not that much money?

(starts to do some maths)
(gets distracted by a pretty flower and/or own hand)

Twenty-five or thirty pounds?

That doesn't seem right. As I said, I'm not massively experienced in this area, so correct me if I'm wrong. I just would've thought it would cost more than that.

Then again, London prices are high. You can hardly get a pint of beer for that nowadays.

Well, let me know what your opinions are on this subject in more detail. What would one choose if one wanted to come across (ahem) (oh I am so sorry, that was filthy) as being, I suppose, racy and naughty but actually nice as a person and with dignity but not so much that it gets in the way of the fun stuff?

Adam, don't say bloomers, please.

*Some parts of this sentence may not be strictly aligned to what is true in real life.

(ALSO: I'm sorry I haven't done links on the names but my Blogger is funny and won't let me do anything, and frankly I can't really be bothered to work out why or how to fix it. Come on, I can't even be bothered to separate my whites, give me a break.)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

An email exchange for Wednesday

From: Mark
To: Léonie
Subject: okay, how about this then...

why did the chicken cross the road?

From: Léonie
To: Mark
Subject: Re: okay, how about this then...

I don't know. Enlighten me...

From: Mark
To: Léonie
Subject: Re: okay, how about this then...

because of the threat of ethnic cleansing by russian forces in eastern europe

From: Mark
To: Léonie
Subject: hang on a minute...

maybe that was 'Chechen', not chicken. My bad.