Friday, April 28, 2006

Friday Feastacular

On a scale of 1 to 10 with 10 being highest, how polite are you?

I am polite, I think. I think courtesy is very important, and that there is no reason to be rude to anyone if they haven't done anything to merit impoliteness. I used to be too polite, shy and less willing to stick up for myself. Now I am less likely to hold back, and won't be overly polite if I feel it isn't merited.

Which perhaps puts me at a six.

What was the last thing that made you laugh out loud?

Just now, I think. We were in the kitchen at work and talking about moisturiser. Someone mentioned that perhaps an way to make moisturising more fun would be to smear some it on a window and just kind of rub across it until moisturised. And then did an impression of what that might look like. It was funny. Sounds perhaps peculiar, and it was, but funny nonetheless.

Who is your favorite cartoon character?

I don't know if I have one. Um... pass.

Main Course
Tell about the funniest teacher you ever had.

Funniest. Um. Tricky. We had a Religious Studies teacher at school who was hugely, hugely dizty. She had an odd, greying birdsnest of hair, from which there always seemed to be a single metal antenna sticking up into the air. Straight up, like it was channeling messages from some far reaching civilisation. Which would not have surprised anyone.

My prevailing memory of Mrs RSTeacher was (well, clearly not her name) the time when for, I think, four weeks consecutively, we as a class persuaded her that no, we had not seen the interesting and informative video about Gandhi, and that sounds fascinating could we please watch it now? Then we would proceed to mess around for an hour or however long it took while she would sit at the front, staring vacantly at the big screened TV-and-video-on-a-rollable-stand (that every secondary school is obliged to have two much coveted versions of). She would stop the tape every so often to ask us whether we were following and we would confidently announce that yes, we knew exactly what was going on. We would be perfectly able to demonstrate this because we'd watched it so many times, and she would turn back around and we would get back to messing around/writing notes/smoking crack/whatever we used to get up to at school.

Ah, good times indeed.

Complete this sentence: I strongly believe that

I strongly believe that success is all about tenacity and timing.


I walked for about 4km before 9am this morning. Not intentionally.

I have signed myself up for a number of workshops in the next few weeks, the first of which being on Sunday. They are through this thing called Sing Vocal Studio and the three I'm doing are Audition Technique for Musical Theatre ("Theeese are a fiyeeeew of my faaaaavourite..." etc), Jazz Improvisation and Song Writing. I'm also signing myself up for one in June entitled "How To Market Yourself As A Singer", which looks great.

The first of these being on Sunday I had to get the form and the cheque to the lady today, or I wouldn't be guaranteed a spot on the course. The only reason she had been holding a place for me up until now is because I have been calling her to talk about how I am very keen to be on the course and I will get the cheque to her and do I still have my place and I am so sorry, and she just wanted me to stop clogging up her line so agreed with everything I said.

I had thought that the address was one very near my Dad's office, so when I went back to my parents' house last night to have a family dinner (with all five of us) I planned to give it to my Dad to pop through the door.

Of course, upon closer inspection of the form it transpired that yes, that was the address of the actual course, but payment had to go to an address in West Hampstead.

Fine, I said. I'll magic it there. Oh, but then I remembered from my one-time obsessive Charmed watching that using magic for personal gain is a bad thing. So I put away my magical pony and, with a sigh, tried to work out how to do this by non-super-natural (I know that's a double negative, but just saying 'natural' didn't have the same effect) means.

I got up early and went before work. It would, I estimated, take me about twenty minutes from getting off the train and getting back on.

Oh, magical pony, where were you when I needed you?

It took me forty-five minutes of solid walking with a heavy bag, cold and cross and not-yet-caffeinated, to find the flat which was cunningly hidden away from the world in a most irritating manner.

This had better be fucking worth it, I thought furiously to myself as I posted the envelope. I stamped back to the tube with my getting-heavier-by-the-moment bag and made it to work a spectacular forty minutes late.

Despite this I am looking forward to the courses and the workshops. I like getting involved in things and meeting new people, and despite all this beginning to sound dangerously like a personal ad, I like new challenges. I think it'll be interesting and fun. Hey, I've done nipple tassel twirling, I can do anything (can't help thinking that this would elicit good responses from a personal ad).

I have a fun bank holiday weekend planned without too much stress in it. Tonight I am going out with People I Met On The Internet, which I am looking forward to lots, tomorrow I have to join Clapham Library so I can then join Barbican Music Library to use their facilities (read:illegally photocopy all their music, mwahahaha). Tomorrow night I'm out in central London with lots of fun people, and I plan on dressing up fancy-like and wearing heels. Then Sunday and Monday? Well, there's the workshop, but apart from that? Who knows?

I will sleep, put my A-string on my cello (please, no G-string jokes), record some of the songs that have been swirling around my brain for a while, and generally try to relax.

Have a good long weekend, those of you who are getting one. Those of you who aren't, we'll be thinking of you. Perhaps.

Thursday, April 27, 2006

Of John Prescott and Exercise.

I can't think of anything to write.

I can't believe anyone would seriously want to sleep with John Prescott. I know that this is the least politically important feature of 'Black Wednesday', what with all the hospitals and the criminals, but really. John Prescott? I am somewhat incredulous. It's like being passionately drawn to the dog in the Churchill adverts.

I went for a run last night. I have new trainers to run in, and they are very bouncy and springy. I haven't got a new sports bra, yet, without which I wasn't going to start running again. Last night, however, I felt all frustrated and wound up, and I so wanted to go for a run. In the end I cracked, and just put three normal bras on and went anyway. It's trickier to breathe with all the strapping down that has to take place, but it's worth it for the lack of black eyes and knocking out of innocent passers by.

I ran the route that I had intended to do the last time I went running, when I accidentally got lost and found myself pounding the streets of some of the dodgier areas of Brixton. My favourite part, and what has always been my favourite part, is the point when I am nearly home, and I speed up so that I am sprinting. More than sprinting, throwing myself along with adandon and taking longer and longer strides, urging myself on. I love doing that, because I can taste the impending satisfaction of reaching out and touching the front door with the tips of my fingers before bending to hold my knees and suck air in while my heart slows. I also love it because I feel like, at that point in time, I am totally and completely on my own side. I believe in myself totally and wholeheartedly, and for those moments I tell myself I can do it. I have a mantra for the moments that I feel that my body might burst and my heart might rip out of my chest (through the layers of bra, of course). I repeat "come on Léonie", chanting as if I was cheering someone else.

This is something I rarely allow for myself. I am too self-critical to be on my own side, to truly believe and back myself. I have one set of rules for myself and one for everyone else, according to my therapist. She's a professional, she must know. I am cruel and vindictive and callous to myself in a way that I would never dream of being to anyone else.

In this situation, in these moments where I am running my fastest, forcing my body to go harder and be stronger, I am on my own side. If I was telling myself I was weak, useless and powerless I couldn't finish. I would stop and sit. Perhaps cry. I don't do that, though. I tell myself I am strong, that I can do anything and that I have power.

People often say that exercise is good for people with depression and anxiety, and I agree, of course. People, however, often cite the reason as the injection of endorphins that rush through the system.

For me, as well as the endorphin rush, the feeling of being kind and encouraging to myself is so wonderful, because it is so new. I feel it and think simply, oh. This is nice. I feel empowered. I can do this, perhaps.

What 'this' is, exactly, remains to be seen. I know that I will have to work to get it, and I know I will have to change my boundaries and think outside the parameters that I have set for myself. I know I have to be brave and powerful, and it scares me. What, I ask myself constantly, if I am not those things? What if I am weak and pathetic?

I didn't know what to write today, so I started to write about John Prescott and then meandered into a long pontification about What Running Means To Me.

These two are not related, I don't think.

I am going to be brave (read: lazy) and publish this post without reading it through. Spot the typos.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

Older and Wiser.

Yesterday I nearly murdered Blogger. It was my BIRTHDAY (did I perhaps mention?) and I WANTED TO POST but I couldn't. Or at least I could write the post but it wouldn't publish it.

As you can see, it did publish eventually, but yesterday I really didn't feel that 'eventually' was good enough. I felt let down and hurt and not a little bit angry.

This was the second bad thing to happen yesterday.

I was walking to the bus stop yesterday morning, in a daze, eyes fixed at a point somewhere in the middle distance just above the church with the huge neon cross with the words 'Jesus Saves' written on it, just minding my own birthday business. Suddenly a huge man loomed at me. His eyes were crazy-wild and my nostrils were assaulted with the overwhelming stench of urine. I stepped hastily aside to avoid him, but not before he grabbed my hip with a huge great dirty hand. I leapt aside as quickly as I could, stood in shock for a second and then turned around in fury, spluttering with horror at his retreating form. I cannot, I thought to myself, believe that I have just been grabbed by a tramp smelling of wee, before nine am on my fucking birthday.

Oh, the injustice. So when Blogger started playing up I was incensed. I stared at my computer in impotent rage for a good few hours before I concluded that perhaps I could go and talk to some real life people instead.

It might seem peculiar to some that, having just been molested by an incontinent hobo, all I wanted to do was talk about it on the Internet to elicit sympathy from people I have never met.

What an age we live in.

I am secretly quite relieved that it is no longer my birthday, as it had been my birthday for about a week and I was beginning to get a little fatigued.

I have things to think about, projects to plan and dreams to follow, and all that partying made me feel oddly guiltly. For relaxing and letting the world pass me by. It sounds strange, maybe, but I was consciously 'having a good time and relaxing' rather than in a way that made me feel relaxed in any way or, more accurately, in a way that I felt was productive, and it felt strange. I kept excusing myself on the grounds that birthday birthday blah blah whatever, but I am grateful now that I can get back to my daily task of feeling like I could be doing more and going faster. It is an exhausting state to be in, but it makes me do things and it won't let me give up or compromise excessively, and it is therefore something for which I am grateful.

I am going to Biarritz, France in the summer, to go surfing (ahem, in theory) with lots of my friends with whom I went on a weekend away a couple of months ago. They are all road tripping it from here on July 1st, but I have a gig that night so I am flying out the next day. I just booked my flight. Now I have to save up for a bikini and start worrying that I'll look fat in it. I am very excited (not about the fat-worry) (I'm actually not going to worry too much about that anyway) because I haven't had a holiday for about three years.

So, newly twenty-four years old I am facing my twenty-fifth year.

Dan wrote the following in my birthday card he gave me last night after I had called him up to talk about the injustices of the day:

Happy Birthday. Have a great year, and may it be full of wee-smelling tramps. And happiness.

Couldn't agree more.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Birthday Blogging

07.15: Shuffling and scampering outside my bedroom door.

07.20: A knock, and a tentative "...Hello?" from Bec. Some whispering and a little more shuffling.

07.21: Checking I'm decent I sit up. I'm not particularly worried about, you know, flashing, and I know Bec wouldn't bat a eyelid, but I am not willing to inflict that upon David first thing on a Monday morning, as I fear it will be too much for his constitution to cope with.

"Hi...! Come in!" I call, through receding layers of sleep.

Pushing the door open with her foot Bec steps into my room.

"Happy Birthday to you..." they begin, grinning at me in the glow of the candles on the chocolate cake that Bec is carefully carrying. From behind her steps David, carrying a tray upon which are two croissants, a mug of coffee, a jar of Nutella and a jar of jam. Also a promising-looking bag with a card on top of it.

We push a bit of duvet from the end of the bed David puts the tray down. I blow out the candles, remembering at the last minute to make a wish, and going against my instinct to wish with all my might for just another hour or two in bed. I perhaps wish something about singing. I always do.

I open the card. On the front is a picture of a man astride a very small pony. Underneath is the caption:

"Dave couldn't ride today. He was feeling a little horse."

This amuses me perhaps more than it should. I throw the card aside and dive for the plastic bag, which, I correctly deduce, is full of presents.

This pleases me.

In it are the following items:

One A-string for a cello.
A lovely necklace.
A lovely ring.
A small hardbacked notebook with a picture of Marylin Monroe on the cover.
A blue dress with sparkles on it.

The notebook, Bec informs me, is for song lyrics. So I don't have to have "all those scraps of paper everywhere". I do actually have loads of scraps of paper. Everywhere. No more, though. Now all my brilliantly inspired lyrics will be jotted down neatly in italic pen in my book, as opposed to on ripped bits of paper and the back of my hand.

The dress is lovely with a very, very plunging neckline. I tried it on this morning, just woken up with gravity defying hair and half-open eyes, and it looked lovely. It kind of looks a bit Grecian in style. Bec said I looked like Helen of Troy, but I looked in the mirror and saw a sleepy-looking twenty-four year old girl with messy hair, a pretty dress and lots of cleavage, which I don't think would have sent anyone into war, with or without a golden apple.

I am going to attach the A-string to my cello soon, and then tentatively see whether my fingers still remember how to play.

The necklace and ring are very beautiful, bought from Nice when Bec went there last week.

My presents are lovely and I love them with all my birthday heart. David and Bec are wonderful flatmates and I love them, also.

It is my birthday today. I am twenty-four years old.

I am somewhat tired. Exhausted. I think perhaps I have started going downhill, unable to cope with the years that have passed me by. I am a weary old woman, now. I am considering retiring.

Perhaps that is a slight exaggeration.

I am tired because I have been out every night for nearly a week. It has been so much fun.

Last night was LOADS of fun, and I want to say thank you to Tony* for inviting me to The Spitz last night to see Mr Ben Hudson**. I had such a great time, and it is worth being tired today. I had a lovely chat with the bus driver on the way home, as well as with a Brazilian man who kissed me on the cheek when I told him it had been my birthday for fifteen minutes and then invited me home with him. I declined.

At some point I will go into more detail about meeting someone who knows me only from the words I write on here. I was very nervous, and as a result probably talked way too much and told a very bad joke, but I really enjoyed myself.

Anyway. I have sung Happy Birthday to myself once already. Will you join in, please?

I am going to find some Birthday crisps to eat. They will just be normal crisps, but I will make them Birthday crisps.

Happy Birthday, everybody.


Friday, April 21, 2006

It's not Good Friday, but it is a good Friday.

By happy chance I forgot to do the Friday's Feast last week, so the fact that last week's questions are still up is of no consequence to me. I am doing the questions from last week! See:

What movie soundtracks do you own?

I wish I had a better answer to this question than "none because I habitually lose all my CDs".

I used to have the Almost Famous one, also Kill Bill and Pulp Fiction. I would really like the True Romance soundtrack, as the music in that is wonderful.

How much cash do you usually carry with you?

This would imply I have some sort of system to my money. I do not. I wish I did. I just try not to spend anything ever and fail.

Are you more comfortable around men or women? Why?

I don't know, I am comfortable around both, as long as they're nice and I get on with them. I have male and female friends and I wouldn't actually say I'm more or less comfortable in the company of one or the other. I don't turn into the world's biggest flirt around men, nor am I any more competitive with women. I'm glad about this.

Main Course
What is the most mischievous thing you remember doing as a child?

Perhaps sticking my hand in a loaf of bread and pulling out a massive chunk to feed to the birds that nested outside my window. Then denying it. Absolutely, point-blank, it-was-not-me-I-have-no-idea-what-you're-talking-about denying it. I think that action demonstrates a compassion and love for animals and also a propensity towards deceit and dishonesty, both of which I am exceedingly proud of.

Who is the funniest member of your family?

My Grandad was very funny. My Dad's Dad. There is this sense of humour that has been passed down through the generations as a result. I pity my children, I really do.

I am feeling much better. Actually loads better. I prefer to interpret this as resilience rather than shallowness. I feel alright about it all, now I've had a good night's sleep and had some chocolate buttons. I am VERY looking forward to my birthday weekend, which started last night with a meal with my Mum, Dad, sister Alex and her lovely boyfriend Andy, and my friend Chris and me.

It's supposed to be sunny in London over the weekend, which pleases me greatly.

I am listening to Paul Simon 'Graceland', which makes me happy.

My housemate Bec had a phonecall yesterday from her Man In Australia, which is great and made her so happy. This is a Good, Good Thing.

I have discovered that I can record sounds on my phone so I have been writing songs at my desk.

Happy Friday to you. Also Happy Léonie's Birthday Weekend to you and all your friends, relations and the people you see on public transport and wonder what they look like naked.

Thursday, April 20, 2006


"It's just that, if we were still together in six months and my ex-girlfriend asked me to get back together with her, I couldn't guarantee that I'd say no...."

We had been seeing each other before, a while ago. Not for long, a couple of months, maybe. We started seeing each other again last week and I felt a glimmer of hope. I think that I'd moved on in various ways since we were last together, that the issues that I had with my past were securely behind me. They were no longer lurking, no longer scuttling around on the outskirts of my consciousness ready to leak their poison into my brain.

I broke up with him last time because I didn't feel that either of us were truly over our last break ups, both of which were painful. I felt that we were playing a game, going through the motions but our hearts weren't in it. My heart was elsewhere, trying to fix itself. I could see someone else's face when I woke in the morning, and felt myself constantly trying to push down the feelings of hurt and loss that I had been carrying around with me for six months or so. I couldn't carry on doing it, it was too exhausting. I couldn't pretend to be wholeheartedly with someone when I still had issues with, if not feelings for, someone else.

I didn't tell him any of this at the time. I was cruel and just drifted away, distancing myself from him until he asked me directly, at which point I told him and then cut myself off completely.

The thing is that I couldn't understand why he was with me. I don't mean that in a self-depreceating sort of a way, but more that I felt like we didn't know each other. That's the thing with dating, I think. Meeting up with someone and immediately being in romantic mode, where you're meeting because you might end up in love. I find it strange and unnerving. I would so much prefer I got to know someone, they got to know me, before any romance occured. By romance I mean a relationship, not sex. That I can cope with. Slut that I am.

We were together, but not because we'd met and over a period of time realised that we liked each other, but because the first date was alright, as was the second, and on the third I put out and it went from there. I know that sounds crazy, but once you're sleeping with someone you're not just two people seeing each other, you have to wake up together, talk in the cold light of day about what's the best route to work and would you like a cup of tea and can I borrow a towel. It's different. Then every time you see each other chances are someone's staying over, and then, even if you're resisting the terminology, you're acting like boyfriend and girlfriend/boyfriend and boyfriend/girlfriend and girlfriend. To say you're still just casual doesn't really mean anything, it's just semantics.

This time I felt we knew each other. We had good fun times, went out, talked, laughed. I felt we were closer to each other. We liked each other already because we knew each other. He liked me. So much, he said, that he had to honest and say that he still had those demons scuttling.

He couldn't sweep me off my feet like he wanted because he wasn't fully over his last break up.

This is something I understand. I know what he means. I more than know what he means, because I understand it in an intellectual sense but I also have emotional experience of it. By telling me this he was doing what is right for him and also what is right for me.

The irritating thing is that it just sort of came up in conversation. He didn't sit me down to tell me, nor did I ask him directly about it. We were having a conversation and it came out. I think that perhaps it was the first time he had articulated it even to himself, let alone out loud. If we hadn't talked about it we would have had a lovely evening, fallen asleep together and woken together and all would've been fine.

Except, of course, that it wouldn't have been. I'm glad we had the conversation. I'm glad he talked to me about how he feels. Last night, though, I didn't really see it like that. I was consumed with my firm belief that it means, like everything else, that I am simply not special enough. I know that's the low self-esteem kicking in, and that this isn't about me. Last night I was rigid with rejection and pain, struck by the confirmation of everything I essentially believe about myself. I felt torn between understanding for him and hurting for myself.

Because I did understand, really. I do. I couldn't properly explain it, but I wanted to tell him that I think he's a wonderful person and that I hope he sorts out what he needs to sort out. It's funny because people have said that to me before in similar situations (but in which I am the one with 'issues') (I'm always the one with the fucking 'issues') and I never believed them. I always felt intimidated and confused by their generosity of spirit, but now I understand it.

This has become a very long post. I am hurting a lot. I feel rejected and sad and like I have lost something.

I felt like I couldn't say it last night, or this morning (um, yes), but I want to tell him that I am feeling all of these things. I want to tell him that I understand, and that I sort of wish we'd never had that stupid conversation. Although I don't really wish that. My impulse is to run away, to never speak to him again, to allow this to become another brick in the wall I want to build around myself. I am trying so hard not to do that.

I don't know what I'm trying to say, other than that it hurts. I'll be alright in a couple of days. As usual.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

You'll never guess what...

Yesterday the most exciting thing happened to me.

I was late for work. This is not the exciting thing, as I am always late for work.

I was at Kennington tube station. Waiting for a tube. Annoyed because I had got on a bus from Clapham North to Stockwell, got on the Northern Line to Kennington and then had to get off because the train had been diverted. For those who are non-Londoners I must tell you that both Clapham North (nearest tube to my flat) and Old Street (nearest tube to my work) are on the Northern Line, and that it is only due to there being a twenty-million-thousand-and-ten people taking that route that I have to get the bus to Stockwell and change there. With no people it takes about twenty minutes. In the mornings it takes about forty. This is annoying when one is habitually late for work.

Anyway. I was at Kennington, right, and a train came along.

(Here is the exciting bit)

There was no one on the train.

Hang on, that didn't come out right, let me try again.

There was no one on the train!

Think! The empty seats! Usually it is so squashed that one must stand with one's face pressed into someone else's shoulder, trying to read another person's Metro which they have bravely attempted to open about two inches from their face and of which they consequently cannot read a word. It is not fun so much.

Yesterday, however? Oh, it was different. The other people on the platform and I stepped onto the train, looking around in wonder like a race of people discovering a new world in which Charmed is on TV all day and Pret Super Club Sandwiches hang tantalisingly from the trees. Settling down in our seats we discovered we could peruse our OWN reading matter, that breathing was an option, and that life was, for that small moment in time, truly blessed.

Has that small and somewhat pointless story distracted you from wanting to know about the person I was being all mysterious about in my last post? No?

Ah shit.

Well, I am cooking for him tonight. This is something I don't usually bother with/attempt, and is brave on both of our parts. He is nice. He is more than nice but I am not going to say anything else for two reasons. Firstly the aforementioned people that READ this thing and who may mock me and call me names, and perhaps steal my dinner money. Secondly I feel the universe will strike me down for being tentatively happy or excited. This is what I ALWAYS say, I know, and is stupid, I acknowledge. Then you ALWAYS say that I do deserve it and I should enjoy it and then I feel silly because I feel like a drama queen when in fact I am more of a drama princess because I am younger. I have changed though, slightly. Regard: I think perhaps I deserve to be happy and excited because yesterday I helped an old lady onto the bus.

(I actually didn't help any ladies, old or otherwise, onto any buses, but had there been a lady, gentleman, or even certain breed of dog that looked like they were struggling I would have lent a hand, and I think intention counts.)

(I... am peculiar.)


Bec wants me to remain single so that I can go out and drink cocktails and taunt men with her but I disagree. I maintain that I am perfectly capable of 'going out and having fun' even if I do happen to be sort-of-but-not-really-yet-but-I-wouldn't-pull-anyone-else attached.

Also: My birthday! Is Monday, but I am going for drinks in Camden on Saturday. I am not expecting many presents or songs or poems dedicated to how wonderful this world is for me having been born (or some other, more grammatically correct, subject matter). Not really.

If you want to buy me a pony you may, but only if you train it first. To fetch, and pour wine and stuff. It must also be able to pretend to be a unicorn so it can play Charmed with me.

I am looking forward to this pony.

I have to go now and spend a little time worrying about the fact that I cannot cook and also that I may be more than slightly, well, odd.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Oh, This Is A Terrible Post, So It Deserves A Terrible Title

In the interests of summing up I am going to write a series of bullet points for your delectation. This may be impeded by a) the fact that I have not typed anything since Wednesday and my fingers feel all seized up, and b) I have no idea what I want to write.

Point b) is not a feeling with which I feel entirely unfamiliar.

- When I say 'bullet points' I mean dashes. Just to be clear.

- I have submitted my application form for the Talent Search Thing Which Is Most Definitely Not (Repeat NOT) Pop Idol Or The X Factor Although Yes It Has Certain Similarities. If over the weekend you passed a drunk-looking girl mumbling something about raindrops on kittens and whiskers on roses, you may well have encountered one of my intensive rehearsal sessions. I drink to forget the pain of entering myself for a reality TV show.

- I will not divulge what I put on the form. It was very sincere. Laughter, tears, something for everyone.

- On Wednesday early evening I went to the ballet at the Royal Opera House with my friend Chris, because we are both very cultured and highly sophisticated. In the intervals we stood and drank overpriced drinks on the terrace overlooking Covent Garden as Chris tried to find a suitably shockable old lady to ask whether the male dancers stuff the backs of their leotards to make their arses look bigger. Because we are cultured and highly sophisitcated. It was beautiful, though. I mean the ballet itself, and also the view from the top of the Royal Opera house. The male ballet dancers' arses were just, quite frankly, a little intimidating.

- Later on that evening I went to have some drinks. With someone else. It was (how to put this?) mutually interesting. We got drunk in a pub in Soho and things were said. I think. I was drunk.

- I will come back to that. Perhaps. Probably in a very roundabout sort of a way.

- Thursday I took the day off work. I met up with Dan for A Day Of Fun. We went to a museum. This was very mature of us. There was an exhibition going on about Satire, which was interesting and amusing, particularly because there were silly hats and coats to try on, and also a Punch and Judy puppetty thing to have a go on. Obviously what with Dan and I being so very mature we bypassed that and went straight to the bits where you read stuff and nod interestedly. Then I got bored loudly and we went to the pub. Gently ingesting my bodyweight in wine, I told him all the juicy details concerning the last couple of bullet points. He listened to me, at times amused and at others shocked, whilst ingesting some sort of beer. Then we went to Pizza Express where we ate dinner, where,as I dimly recall, we talked loudly about anal sex (hello Googlers! And members of my family!). After this we went to a hotel in Marble Arch, where I sang some songs and Dan sat at the bar talking to stupidly posh people and an Australian, then we got back on the tube (at which point Dan kindly let me curl his eyelashes), got to a bar and got drunker.

- If you haven't seen Transamerica (TransAmercia? tRansaMerica?) you really should. I thought it was brilliant.

- On Friday evening I went to see trAnsamErica, at the cinema. With a boywhoIlikealotbutthatisallI'msaying. Then went to Soho with him and his friends. I am being coy because some of them read this site, and despite the fact that I have just typed the words 'anal sex', I am feeling shy.

- This entry is long and rambling, with no narrative flow or point. I am not sorry.

- Except that I am a little bit.

- On arrival back to work I discovered that I had been left an Easter Egg containing FOUR chocolate bars and a chocolate egg. FOUR. I looked at them and went up a dress size.

- It's nearly my birthday.

NEARLY MY BIRTHDAY. Don't make a fuss, though, please. Don't like, rush out and buy me shoes and sparkly stuff, honest. Although who am I to be so cruel as to deny you the gift of giving? Give, if you must. If you must give, give to me!

This makes sense. This whole post makes sense. I promise.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Don't judge me.

That is an order.

You are allowed to laugh, but only slightly. You are not allowed to send me derisive emails or call me up to laugh at me down the phone or poke me with jabby sticks.

The BBC are holding open auditions. One of those 'talent search' TV shows. To find the next Maria for the West End production of The Sound Of Music.


The thing is, see, that reality TV shows make me want to eat my own head. Seriously. I hate them more than I hate Tom Cruise, and I hate Tom Cruise a lot. Yes, even despite Top Gun.

Despite this I am sending in an application form, to go to the BBC, along with seventy-billion zillion other 'young hopefuls', and warble through an off-key rendition of Eidelwiess to a panel of deadpan judges whose glazed eyes will be fixed on a spot just over my left shoulder, and who will only be momentarily be distracted by my jerky and spasmodic attempt at a dance routine.

Actually there's no dance routine bit in the first stages, but this is how I envisage it. It fills me with dread but I am going to do it anyway.

I thought to myself "I'll just keep it secret! No one will know that I am going to do this! Then if, IF I get through I will tell some people. This way I will save myself the humiliation of people knowing!"

This plan is faultless! I thought to myself gleefully, as I signed into Blogger and started writing about the whole thing on the Internet.

I have been singing that Favourite Things song for about an hour now, complete with Julie Andrews-style expressive eyebrows and excessive enunciation of consonants. "Theeeese are a fyoooou of my faaaaayvourite things..." Oh God.

I need a bit of help, though. I mean apart from obviously needing to see some sort of mental health professional to sort out my apparent need to strip myself of any shred of dignity.

On the application form there are a couple of things that I am having trouble with. Name, age, address I can cope with. There are two questions that I don't know how to answer:
- Describe yourself in ten words, and
- Why should we choose you?

Um. Alright then: I LIKE SINGING AND ACTING (...counts on fingers...) AND CLOTHES MADE FROM DRAPES.


You see? I need your help.

De-lurk and help me! You may laugh a bit first, though, if you must.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Friday! (and a small confession)

Name a trait you share with your parents or your children.

I don't have any children. Although I did have a hamster once (called Apple) who enjoyed sleeping as much as I do. I am aware, however, that there are some key differences between a hamster and an infant. One you keep in a cage and hope you remember to feed semi-regularly, and the other is a hamster.

Traits I share with my Dad:
My sense of humour. One of my housemates at university once commented that hanging out with me is like "hanging out with someone's comedy uncle". I took this as a compliment, of course.
Traits I share with my Mum:
I look a bit like my Mum. Except she's smaller than I am. Personality-wise, though, I think she is like me in sensitivity.

List 3 qualities of a good leader, in your opinion.

Ability to listen and respond to people as individuals and in groups
Ability to make decisions and stick by them

Who is your favorite television chef?

I... I don't think I know any. Why would someone be a television chef? Televisions are not nutritious, nor are they tasty. This makes no sense to me.

Main Course
Share a story about a gift you received from someone you love.

A couple of years ago I was going out with this South African guy called Clint. He looked like a Clint, he was six-six, built like a really tall, strapping South African, and had really good teeth. He was lovely, and at twenty-nine was a bit older than I was. We went out for a bit, but I was still hung up on someone else, and my heart was never really in it. He knew this because I told him. Not in those words, quite, but he knew the situation. We spent time together, going out for drinks and meals in Soho, going clubbing (which I don't like) and sitting in old pubs drinking beer (which I do). His attitude towards life and love, he told me, was to wear his heart on his sleeve. He was tired of hiding feelings because of the effect it might have on the other person. As a result of this he told me he loved me. I couldn't respond in kind, and that was alright by him, he said. He knew that I had been hurt and was still hurting, and just wanted to spend time with me.

I found this peculiar, but went with it. He encouraged me to talk about who I was, about anything I wanted to talk about. I always felt that he was listening to me, really listening and wanting to understand.

This I also found peculiar.

He told me all about Cape Town and his life leading him to London, all about his seven year relationship that ended painfully and made him a believer in honesty and openness. He really made me feel bigger in myself, which is ironic considering he was six foot six and being with him made me feel tiny.

Once we were in a pub in West Hampstead and I started telling him about Haroun and the Sea of Stories, the book by Salman Rushdie. For reasons that I cannot identify, I told him the story, from start to finish. I explained the importance I attach to that book, that I first got a copy when I was about seven years old, and that I loved it then. I explained how it became something of a comfort blanket to me, that the familiarity of those beautiful words have filled me with warmth even when I have been at my coldest and most lonely. I told him how picking up my beloved copy had always made me feel somehow alright.

When I was doing my finals, I told him, I felt so in need of my comfort book. I looked for it, everywhere, and couldn't find it. I searched the house, desperate to see the turquoise cover, tattered and scuffed from years of pages turned, but it was nowhere. I explained my initial panic and horror, and then my deep sense of loss.

I told him all of this and he listened to me. I don't know why I shared with him, other than because I could, and because he wanted me to.

I still hadn't found the book, I told him. I still need it and I still don't have it.

A few months later I had broken up with Clint, to get back together with the ex-boyfriend I had been hurting for and who would, in time, hurt me again. I had been honest with Clint about my reasons for breaking up with him, and he had been upset but understanding.

I was at my parents' house one day when a package arrived through the post, addressed to me. I opened it and inside was a copy of Haroun and the Sea of Stories. On the inside of the front cover was a poem. It told me to always look for the happiness and to always follow my heart. Under the poem was written "For the most beautiful woman I have ever loved, from Clint".

I didn't love Clint when I was going out with him. I love him now a little bit, though, because I think he is one of the most wonderful, honest, and genuine people that I have ever known.

How do you react under pressure?

It depends. Some situations make me crumble and have panic attacks, but in others I am cool, calm and collected. It would be hard to say what these situations are, though.


I have a confession to make, and I am sorry if I have led you on. I don't make up the Friday's Feasts! They come from a website:

I sort of thought everyone knew that. Now I feel silly, like I have accidentally plagiarised.

It is Friday today. I do enjoy a good friday. Also I enjoy Good Friday, because we get the day off work. Hurray!

I had a hot cross bun for breakfast this morning. It was truly a Friday's feast.

Oh! I just thought of a joke!

What do you call a street person in an oven who is not at all happy?

A hot cross bum!

On that note... have a good weekend.

(An aside: I have since found my original copy of my book. I had lent it to Dan, who has since given it back to me. Added to the copy in Italian that was given to me by another wonderful ex-boyfriend, I now have three. I am a lucky girl.)

Thursday, April 06, 2006


I have a few complaints, so I will get those over with and then see whether I can think of anything else to say.

Complaint Number 1: (Directed at Old Lady On Tube)

You are old and somewhat incapacitated. I understand this. The grey hair and wispy beard and also the walking stick strongly indicate this. Being old and somewhat incapacitated, therefore, it is your right to sit down on the tube. People should arise and let you sit and rest your old and somewhat incapacitated limbs.

It is not your right, however, to shout in my ear and whack me in the back with your walking stick. Especially if I am standing up facing away from you, so I do not see it coming and might nearly have a heart attack from the shock.

Nobody has the right to be needlessly violent, Old Lady On Tube, and being old and somewhat incapacitated does not exempt you from this rule.

Complaint Number 2: (directed at Sainsbury's supermarket)

Please refrain from selling hot cross buns at two packets of twelve for a pound, as it will cause me to a) buy and b) eat twenty-four hot cross buns. With melted butter and jam. Do not rely on my willpower to prevent me from doing this, please. I am the girl who eats Nutella out of the jar with a spoon/my finger/old ladies' walking sticks.

Complaint Number 3: (directed at my money)

Where are you, please? Come back at once and stop playing these ridiculous games that involve you pretending you are not in my bank account. It's not big and it's not clever.

Complaint Number 4: (directed at Thursday)

I am cross with you because you are not Friday. This is naughty of you, and you must consider yourself reprimanded.

That's it.

Perhaps it's an update-y sort of a day today.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006


Kelly tagged me (again with the problem with the links, but she is on the sidebar). I am a dutiful blogging-friend so I have obliged.

What were you doing 10 years ago?

Ten years ago I was nearly fourteen. I was probably waking up every morning and telling the nearest person that it was only twenty days until my birthday.

I was living in Harpenden, Hertfordshire. In the room with the bay window that had a sill on which you could sit and read a book. There were house martins nesting outside my window. I went to school, walking ten minutes to get on the bus to travel half an hour to get there. My uniform was a navy skirt, light blue shirt and navy blue jumper. Black shoes, and in winter, black tights.

I was shy but had very outgoing friends who I liked. I played in an orchestra around the corner from my house every Monday, had my cello lessons on Tuesdays, drama after school on Fridays. I think at that point I ran in the cross country team, although I imagine that fizzled out soon after.

Still skinny at that point, freckly, with permanently messy hair. I still have the messy hair, but my freckles only come out in summer. Not so much with the rake-like skinniness, not anymore.

I used to sing, but it was with my older sister, Alex, who plays guitar. We used to sing 'Everybody's Talking', 'Killing Me Softly' and 'April Come She Will'. Other ones as well, always in harmony.

I don't remember much from that age, apart from feeling shy a lot. It seems such a long time ago.

What were you doing 5 years ago?

Five years ago it was April 4th, 2001. I was in Australia, just about to turn nineteen. I travelled with two girls: Jenny and Helen. Helen I knew from school and had accidentally agreed to travel with after A-levels. Jenny had called me up out of the blue about two months before Helen and I were due to depart, to go to South East Asia, Australia, New Zealand and the Cook Islands. After a brief conversation that, I seem to recall, involved the possiblility of us being hookers at King's Cross in order to fund gap year activities, I invited her to join us. She accepted. "Are you sure you don't mind?" she asked. "Of course not!" I replied. "The more the merrier!"

Well, it didn't quite turn out that way. What ended up happening was both Jenny and I were irritated by Helen in a kind of shocked, I cannot believe you just said that to me in public sort of a way, and have been best friends ever since. Helen had a good time, I think, but a very different time.

Helen and I no longer speak.

Anyway. Five years ago we were in Cairns and doing a dive course on the Great Barrier Reef. We decided to do the six day Advanced Padi Course, and stay out on the live-aboard boat for that time. Diving was so very wonderful. It is, in fact, difficult to talk about diving without using clichés. Oh, it's like flying! Oh, the fish! Oh, the coral! It is as good as that, though. The least fun part was the night dive. Standing on the dark boat, fully-attired and flippered, staring into the water which was all lit up by a huge beam of light from underneath the boats. The fish, attracted by the light, flock towards it in their hundreds. Then, attracted by the fish...

"Are they...? Is that a...?"

"Yeah, mate, that's a shark! In we go!"

Um, alright then. I heard they were, you know, a bit dangerous. I usually avoid them, on a day to day basis. But, hey, you're the big strapping Australian! You know best!

As a general rule I loved the diving. When we weren't on the boat we stayed in a hostel, which was great except that the owner kept trying to undo my bikini top in the swimming pool.

I would love to be there now. I don't mean in that swimming pool, with that owner, although now maybe I'm more assertive and so would just elbow him sharply in the ribs and/or testicles. No, I mean I would love to be in Australia. With my best friend. Having fun.

What were you doing 1 year ago?

Trying to get over a broken heart. Trying to get over depression. Trying to work out where I wanted to go with my singing. Living at home with my parents and commuting to London everyday. Looking forward to my twenty-third birthday. Or trying to.

5 Snacks you enjoy:

Rice cakes with humous and pesto
Brannigan's Beef and Mustard crisps
Chocolate hobnob biscuits
Salt and vinegar Snack a Jacks (rice cakes)

5 Songs (you think) you know by heart:

My Funny Valentine
Angel Eyes
America (Simon and Garfunkel)
The Fresh Prince Of Bel Air rap (because I'm massively cool)

5 things you would do with a LOT of money:

Set up my own studio and record label
Pay off the debts of my family and anyone who was nice to me
Donate to lots of charities
Buy shoes shoes lots of shoes
Buy Hugh Jackman and keep him as my sex slave

5 Things you would never wear:

Peaked woollen caps
Half tops
Things without bra-support
Once I saw a girl wearing Kappa tracksuit trousers and snakeskin high heels. I would never wear that.
Nasty things. It's tricky to narrow down, really.

5 Things you should have never worn:

Cycling shorts
High heeled jelly shoes
Pink shell suit
Tapered jeans
Half top/hotpants combination

5 Things you enjoy doing:


5 Bad Habits you have:

Being anxious
Drinking too much coffee
Spending money on things I don't need (I very very nearly bought the Charmed series six box set last night for £45. I don't need that and will not succumb. Except that I do and I will.)
Loving Charmed too much

5 People you would like to do this:

Everyone. I know this is cheating, but my server won't let me create links within words and I am too tired and oh, whatever.

Just quickly:

Last night's CBT was good except that I had a panic attack at the beginning. She said that this was to do with facing my fears, and being confronted with the things I am really struggling with. I think she's right. I feel like I am getting closer to being brave enough to make the changes I want to make in my life. This sounds all a bit cryptic and mysterious, but it's not. Nor is it actually as exciting as it sounds.

Also, I hope you're having a nice day today. It is sunny here and I am going to make Important Phonecalls. I also need to work out what to do for my birthday, which is April 24th. I will be twenty-four years old. Please suggest things.

Perhaps things will start changing. Perhaps today.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Monday Melée

Today it is Monday. The sun is shining intermittently through the white clouds that are scudding across the sky. It is a damp but bright April day. I am on my second cup of coffee. I am listening to Feist.

My sister Sophie turned twenty-one on Saturday.

She came over from Paris on Friday and went to stay in Ealing with my other sister, Alex, on Friday night, accompanied by five of her friends from Paris.

The whole night was lovely. It worked out really well, and I think Sophie had a lovely time. The other bands were great, and my friend Lily twirled her tassels and peered through her feathers, much to the delight of everyone in there. There were lots of people there, some I knew, some I didn't. Sophie was charming, a wonderful hostess. It was a cool venue, in the crypt of a church in Camberwell. It's dark and has a cave-like feel to it, with alcoves and tables with candles on them. The stage is low and there is an upright piano on it, and it is this combined with the stone walls and flickering candlelight that lends the place a timeless, jazz-esque charm.

I spent most of the night trying not to get too drunk whilst simulatenously attempting to deaden my nerves with wine. I am not sure whether I managed to achieve this delicate balance, but after nearly having a panic attack at about eight thirty and acknowledging that I had three hours before I went on, I felt that wine was probably a good course of action.

At about eleven thirty Andy and I got up to do our set.

I was drunkish. This turned out not to be too much of a problem, however. Not so much drunk as relaxed, I think.

I sang four of my own songs and two jazz standards.

I can hardly describe the feeling of standing on stage singing words that I have written, in a way that came from my very own head. I cannot articulate how terrified I was that, in spite of all my hopes and aspirations, my music would turn out to be just, well, not that good.

In some way that moment was the most crucial in my music career so far. What if people listened to my songs and weren't moved? What if it didn't stir them? What if everything I had been aiming for had been for nothing? What if all I'm capable of is singing other people's music?

I took the microphone from the stand and turned to Andy. He smiled reassuringly at me, and I smiled back, nodding slightly. Slowly I scanned the faces of the people watching me. I smiled at them. I looked at them, trying to work them out, and watching them try to work me out. I watched my family and friends look at me, hoping, I imagine, that I would be good enough in my own eyes.

When I go on stage, whenever I go on stage, I like to try to understand who is where, audience-wise. To work out what the situation is and what my place is within it. Whether they want me to prove myself or whether they are on my side. To understand who will participate and who will just watch.

There are the people who understand that they themselves are being watched and analyzed by me, as well as other way around. These are the people who visibly react to the music, who smile and who move, or who nod at a lyric or open their mouths at a note hit or sustained. Then there's other type of audience member, who does not want the attention, they want to blend in and watch quietly, they don't want the limelight. I like to know who is who, and where they are. I like to interact with the former and not embarrass the latter. I like knowing exactly who is where and what they want from me. I like gauging the reactions of individuals as well as the group.

This sounds perhaps a little pretentious, but it's what I like doing. I don't know whether I can do it with success, yet. I think it's an important skill, though, and one that has to be learned.

It's strange, actually, because as a result I don't think I'm aware of myself very much when I'm singing. I almost wouldn't even be able to tell you what I look like or what I'm wearing. I wouldn't be able to say how I was feeling. My sense of introspection slips from me, there. It's the only time it goes.

As I clicked my fingers to give Andy the tempo I think I just thought "Right then. Here goes."

We started, Shades of Blue, an upbeat blues, and I saw people react.

I think they liked it.

I think that the whole set went better than I had hoped.

I think perhaps it was a success.

Bloody hell.

I was relaxed (ahem, drunk). I felt so comfortable. I chatted into the microphone at points. I was not quite 'relaxed' enough to tell any jokes, a fact for which I am very, very grateful. Not that my jokes aren't great, of course, but, well, basically, my jokes aren't great. This doesn't stop me telling them on a regular basis, as you know, but I am nevertheless very relieved that I managed to stop myself saying them into a microphone to a room full of people.

It was brilliant. The experience, I mean.

Yesterday, when we went to Camden, Bec bought me a beautiful bracelet, a big one like a cuff, with a lovely green stone in it. To say well done.

I think Sophie had a good time. I saw her flitting about, looking happy.

I have another CBT session tonight.

I'm looking forward to it. I want to make changes in my life and I want to learn how to be brave enough to do that.

Before I go, I just want to share with you this bit of graffiti I saw in a pub on Friday night, on the back of a cublicle door:


Well, it made me laugh.