Tuesday, May 30, 2006

Today I will mainly be sticking my fingers up at the concept of narrative.

I am doing a meme thing that Mouldy* tagged me for.

I AM twenty-four years old, a girl, a singer. In turns inspired and frustrated. Also way too self-analytical. I could stay on this question for a long time.

I WANT so much. I want to succeed, whatever that means.

I WISH I didn't worry so much.

I LOVE the feeling I get when I sing something I have written.

I FEAR that I am not brave enough to tackle things head on.

I HEAR music from the radio in the background, at the moment. My hearing is fine, I think. Normal. I am, however, one of those people who, at the beginning of a film, turns the volume up even before anything has been said. This is peculiar behaviour.

I WONDER what will happen to me, but I know that whatever happens to me will, with some exceptions, be dictated by my own actions.

I REGRET rarely. The only thing I regret is the time when, as an eighteen year old, I remained in Paris for two months longer than I should've done, on my own with hardly any friends and raging depression, because I was too ashamed to admit that I wanted to come home.

I DANCE crazily. When I'm in the mood. Sometimes I can keep going for hours and hours, provided I'm wearing the right shoes. I love that feeling.

I CRY out of frustration, or because I am overwhelmed.

I CONFUSE people sometimes, because I am totally relaxed with people I've just met. I repsond to people I don't know just like I do to people I do, and this is confusing to some people. Actually it confuses me sometimes, too. I'm an embarrassment to myself and to my friends and family (particularly if you add the crazy dancing).

I TAG everybody (such a cop-out, I know).

I did nothing this weekend. In a lovely way. I had the best pizza ever on Saturday. I haven't had take-away pizza since university, which was about two years ago, so it was much-anticipated and lived wholeheartedly up to expectations. The weekend was lovely.

Bec has gone to Portugal, so it's just the two of us in the flat this week. Well, three if you include the mouse, which I most certainly do. It obviously read my post on Friday as it has been scarce all weekend. It touches me that my humble e-scribblings have reached even the mouscular community, although I am slightly surprised that there have been no apologetic comments or gifts of cheese ordered from Amazon in my name.

I posted an ad on Gumtree last week to find musicians to work with, and have had some responses which I am going to follow up. I'm also trying to organise this weekend in terms of rehearsals for the concert in July. Plan for this week: Sort Life Out.

Also: Start Holiday Diet (probably eschewing pizza as a general rule of thumb.)

Also: Go to Topshop with my Topshop vouchers, which amount to about forty five quid. I have got to the stage where I perform the "I've got nothing to weeeeear" song every single morning, with a bridge of "why do I have no moneeeeeey?" and a few choruses of "how it sucks to be meeeeee" thrown in for good measure.

(A quick interlude while I remember: Pub - I wanted to say that I work about two seconds from the Dragon Bar. I would love to meet your friend! How would I do that?)

This has been a mixed up sort of a post.

I want to finish it by telling you something interesting, but interesting things are insisting upon being elusive to me today.

I will tell you that my eyelash and eyebrow tinting are working very well, and that I no longer feel like the lovechild of Frida Kahlo and Groucho Marx (looking forward to the Google hits on that one). I find that the eyelash tinting is good, but that I still wear mascara for volume and thickness of the lash. I like talking about these things in the singular, it makes me feel like I'm on a beauty programme ("mmm...yah... this colour really complements the shape of the lip/curve of the buttock/hue of the kidney...").

Enjoy your Tuesday, and try not to spend it dreaming of big, thick, pepperoni-riddled pizzas as I fear I might.


Friday, May 26, 2006

Friday Fricassee

How old were you when you got your first credit card?

Eighteen. My pre-university travels, to be more precise. It was supposed to be for emergencies, and it was, if you count really really wanting to skydive an emergency. Which I did. I spent the first installment of my student loan on paying it off, but I think it was worth it. Other things I put on my credit card: diving on the Great Barrier Reef for a week; hiking up the Franz Josef glacier in New Zealand; surfing lessons in Byron Bay. I don't regret whipping out the plastic for those experiences, they were incredible and I would do it all again, like that. (Um, I just clicked my fingers.)

Now, though, I don't have a credit card, because I find it difficult enough managing my money (and by 'managing my money' I mean 'not spending an entire month's pay in two weeks') as it is, let alone having to cope with credit card bills. Money sucks.

When was the last time you felt out of place?

I can't actually remember. I have tried to think and I honestly cannot recall a time recently that I have felt genuinely out of place. Perhaps this is because the question implies that I have some sort of designated 'place', and if I do then I don't know where the hell that would be. Perhaps in bed. Perhaps with Hugh Jackman.

Did you have a curfew when you were a teenager? If so, what time did you have to be home?

It depended where I was going, and how old I was. By the time I was eighteen I didn't have a curfew, and I'm not sure I did when I was seventeen. I'm sure there was a point when I had to be home by a certain time, but I can't remember the specifics. Anyway I was always led astray by one of my naughty sisters, so it was never my fault.

Main Course
Name a person from history with whom you feel you have something in common.

I honestly don't know. I mean, there are obviously people with whom I have things in common, but nobody leaps to mind if I try to think of someone I feel particular affiliation with.

When you read a newspaper, which section do you go for first?

The news bits at the front, and then the rest of it. I never read the sports section or the finance bit.


You'll be wondering about my ongoing battle with The Mouse In The House.


My Mum is terrified of mice. Terrified to the point of standing on chairs and screaming. There has been the odd mouse-related episode at my parents' house over the years, and no matter how many times my Dad has tried to reason with my Mum, she remains absolutely petrified and scared rigid by a mousely presence. He has tried The Perspective Technique ("it's probably way more scared of you than you are of it"), The Relax Technique ("it's just one little mouse, don't worry about it"), The New Pet Technique ("but he chose us! To be his new parents! It's quite sweet, really"). He has tried everything, but my mother's terror is steadfast.

Now, I've always been of the second school of thought. What's the worst it can do? It's only a mouse! Mice are little and sometimes sweet. Except when they manoeuvre drawing pins into step-able on positions in one's bedroom. And really that's only a few clever ones, who've been educated in the art of feet hurtery. The minority, as most can't afford that sort of an education (unless they keep all their money in off-shore, Swiss cheese bank accounts) (sorry). As a general rule though, mice do not scare me. Wasps shake me to my very core, but that's understandable seeing as wasps are the incarnation of evil.

Yesterday evening David and I were in the kitchen of the flat. I had eaten my dinner of tinned tomatoes and kidney beans (Sainsbury's Basics range: a meal for under 50p!) and was in the doorway. David was opening his drawer to get a can of soup.

as he opened the door a mouse leapt out like leapt really far and jumped and it was small and black and whippy and was squeaking like this squeeeeeeeeak squeeeeeak squeak squeak and it leapt onto a tray with high sides and couldn't get out of the tray and was doing circuits round and round and racing racing squeeeeeeeeaking and whipping scraping the wood with tiny claws whip whipping with its tail and then it LEAPT off the tray and whipped under the fridge and was gone.

I have never, never EVER screamed so much in my whole entire life. From the moment the drawer opened I screamed so much that it shook my entire body. In complete and abject shock and horror I screeeeeeeamed to match the squeeeeeeeaking, feeling like my skin wanted to go one way and the rest of me another. As soon as it disappeared I ran into the lounge and jumped up onto a chair and stayed there. I felt like it was ON me and whipping over my feet and scraping me with its claws.

So, yeah, it turns out I am pretty much quite scared of mice.

Thinking about it makes me feel sick. Like in 1984 with Winston and the rats. Oh God. I feel like they're in my hair.

David stood and surveyed the mouse-based scene with distaste and annoyance. After I sprinted to the lounge to clutch at my petticoats and demand smelling salts, David quietly shut the kitchen door and got on with disinfecting his drawer.

I am, I thought balefully, such a girl.

I spoke to my Mum later on and she told me that, when she was growing up her mother was terrified of mice. To the extent that their house in Surrey had been specially selected for its sturdy flooring and lack of possible mouse entrance points. My Mum had never experienced a mouse before she was about twenty-seven, and had previously always regarded her mother's phobia with exasperation. When she experienced the mouse it scared the living bejesus (my words, not hers) out of her, and she developed her own phobia. I am honoured that now it has been passed onto me, in the manner of a lovely, rodent-related heirloom.

I managed to calm down, and we have spoken to the landlord, because there are only so many smelling salts in this world and I am having trouble moving round the flat whilst standing only on chairs.

Later on that evening Lizzie came round, who is giving Bec beauty treatments in exchange for singing lessons, and I had my eyelashes tinted. Lizzie is a scary Hungarian who is very blunt and outspoken ("David! You esmoke? Ees bad for eskeeen!"), but very lovely. She tried to wax Bec's arms but Bec escaped, so Lizzie had to satisfy herself with facials, body wraps and other waxings. So I had my eyelashed dyed. Also my eyebrows tinted. Which, yes, I know, is strange. I have really dark hair and lighter eyebrows, unless I colour them in. So she tinted them for me, and now I think I look like Groucho Marx/Frida Kahlo, and nobody else can see a difference. This morning I have approached three people and, invading their personal space somewhat, have demanded that they notice something different about my face. Apart from "nearer than is usually considered acceptable", nobody could see any different. When I told them they sort of said "Oh, yeah, I suppose. Actually, no. I can't see any difference." This is probably because I usually colour them in with a little brush. My eyebrows, not the people. You knew that, though. I digress.

I think they make me look like a man, though. So when I leap up on chairs, my needlepoint to my chest and my bonnet slightly lopsided from fright, I will look like a drag queen. Which leads me to concede that perhaps the mice would be more scared of me than I am of them.

Have a fun weekend, everybody. I am off to get a cat, or failing that a mouse-eating magical pony.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

My bedroom: Health Hazard

The best news I have is that my very good friend Chris just called and told me that he got the job as a reporter for the Financial Times to start in January. Which is brilliant. I am very proud of him.

I met up with another journalistically-inclined friend last night, Mark. We had a few drinks in the Jon Snow pub in Soho and caught up as much as it is possible to do in the space of an hour and a half. It was great to see him. He lives in Edinburgh now, which is far away from my house.

I was thinking about Edinburgh today and suddenly thought of something. I would like to do a gig at the Edinburgh Festival this summer. Just one or perhaps two gigs in some bars or venues or something. I need to a) find somewhere to perform and b) decide how to accompany myself. I am starting to learn the guitar in the interests of having more autonomy as a singer, but I doubt I'll be anywhere near good enough by August. I'm not ruling it out. The other option would be to ask someone to come with me. Who, though? Any offers? If anyone has any advice to impart I would appreciate it.

Last night I was walking from one side of my room to the other, perhaps to see whether it looked tider from a different angle, and I trod on a drawing pin. I swore loudly but, because I am brave, did not cry like a girl. I pulled the (fuckingmotherfucker) drawing pin out of my innocent right foot and put it on the chest of drawers where I could keep an eye on it.

This morning I was walking from the shower to my room, and as I walked into my room I started to think about how it was quite lucky that I didn't tread down harder onto the drawing pin. I thought laughingly (is that possible?) about my silliness in leaving a drawing pin on the floor. Suddenly I felt a roaring pain in my left foot and knew, with what was, by this point, tired resignation, that I had cunningly managed to locate another drawing pin and tread on it, but this time heavily enough to drive it right into my foot, up to the flat bit. There was blood and more swearing, in a refined and elegant manner, of course.

Fucking mouse, I thought to myself as I pulled the pin out with all my might. He may have won this one, but I will show him. Tonight I plan on digging a small pit in the kitchen floor which I will line with spikes and then cover with twigs and bracken. The little bastard must pay.

My feet are sore.

My friend Lily the tassle twirling burlesque lady is doing a gig tomorrow night at the Clapham Grand, and I think she might be coming to stay at my flat after. I am planning to go along, provided my own gig finishes in time.

I haven't heard back from the editor of the paper I wrote so vehemently to yesterday. I think perhaps he/she is scared of me because I am tattooed and therefore a bit off the rails.

I have to go an bathe my feet in disinfectant and create elaborate and cunning ruses by which to wreak revenge on the Evil Mouse of Clapham. I bear grudges. Rodents take heed.

Monday, May 22, 2006

A Letter of Dissatisfaction and Complaint.

Read this article:


I read this, trying to remain calm and trying to imagine whether, if I wasn't a young woman with a tattoo myself, I would agree with Melanie Reid on this subject. Then I felt moved to write the following email response:

To the Editor
Upon reading the article entitled "Pain, hurt and self-harm. And we call this art?" I was moved to write and express my considerable reaction to Melanie Reid's patronising and moralistic journalism.

To introduce the article with the statistic about more women being tattooed than men implies from the outset that Ms. Reid's difficultly is not so much with tattooes themselves, but with the fact that women are choosing to have them. For men it has been common practice for years, and while Ms. Reid may not agree with it, she perhaps acknoweldges that those who participate are making a choice. Now these statistics have come to light she cannot, it seems, simply sit by and watch while naive young women are drawn into this most loathsome of practices.

The implication that pervades this article is that this young generation of women are simply too credulous. They are led to think to be tattooed is "cool" and "fashionable" by those female celebrities who, sadly misguided themselves, are driven to this self-torture in the public eye. A whole generation of innocent, wide-eyed young girls being brainwashed by glossy magazines into mutilating themselves with "pretty little designs". When men were doing it, it was something not to be meddled with, but now that women are free to make decisions about what they do to their own bodies, they are making all manner of mistakes. They do not, and here Ms. Reid seems to feel a genuine sense of sadness for these poor, misguided females, fully understand what they're doing.

Her use of some sort of 'teen vernacular' ("It's cool and sexy, innit?") seem to imply that she perceives these tattooed women as being very young, when in fact the statistic upon which she bases her entire article does not specify the ages of these women. She has clearly decided to assume that these women are very young in order to be able to preach more successfully from her Mary Whitehouse-esque standpoint. She mentions that "more than 35,000 people a year are getting laser treatment to remove tattoos", but does not specify whether these people are male or female. The implication that women are the most at risk of being led blindly into this practice of self-mutilation rests upon the suggestion that more women have this surgery than men do, once their bodies, to their considerable shock, cease to be as lithe as they once were.

Of course there are theories that suggest links between body art and self-mutilation. There are those who suggest that wanting to alter one's body is symbolic of a need to alter oneself in a much deeper emotional way. Ms. Reid is saying nothing new by telling us what "psychologists believe". She is merely saying things that have been discussed in depth for years, but just in an incredibly patronising manner.

Which is it to be, Ms. Reid? Are we victims because we are following the fashions set out by the celebrities whose lives we so covet, or because we need to torture ourselves as a means of coping with the "vague, ubiquitous hurt of (our) emotionally damaged lives"?
It seems to me that the only thing we tattooed women are victims of is Ms Reid's misplaced moral judgement, and fearful worry that we will not be able to claim our place in the typing pool.

Try to sleep at night, Ms. Reid. Just as you are capable of making the choice to express yourself through ignorant postulation on subjects you clearly know very little about, we are capable of making the choice to express ourselves however we see fit.
Yours sincerely,

What I actually meant was Fuck You Ms Reid, but then I remembered that I am not a Daily Mail reader and have to use actual words.

Monday Mitherings

"... and there was one of you whose vocal control was just outstanding. Outstanding! That person was..."

I held my breath, daring to hope.

"Dame Edna Everage!"

Oh, I thought, somewhat disappointed. I didn't even know she was here.

Then my alarm went off, and I woke up. Puzzled.

As I got out of bed I took pleasure in the fact that my toenails were painted. Some football match was on in our flat the other day, and while Bec was endeavouring to impress her new French boyfriend with her knowledge of the Arsenal team, I absently drank beer out of the can and painted my nails. Every so often I would ask a deliberately stupid question, ostensibly because I was trying to make her look good when she knew the answer, but actually because I geniunely didn't know it. I still quite enjoy watching the match (whatever match it might be, as long as it's not cricket) but I do find I need something else to do at the same time. Beer is a good start.

On Friday night we went out for David's birthday, which was most amusing. David looked dashing in his cowboy-style shirt and jeans. There was resonation. Wine was drunk and dances were attempted. We had to walk for about forty-five minutes in the torrential rain in order to get our night bus home and we nearly drowned in the process. I couldn't stop thinking about Marianne in Sense and Sensibility. I felt it inevitable that the three of us would be feverishly confined to our beds for about a week, in an elegant if sweaty malaise. We are, however, all fine, and I have come the conclusion that Marianne is a bit of a weakling and should be toughened up.

Yesterday we had a rehearsal for the current bane of my existence, the concert for the Children's Society in July. (I just had to re-read that sentence to check that I didn't accidentally accuse the Children's Society of being the bane of my existence. I think I'm alright.) Harry, Bec and I rehearsed, and I think it was a productive day, we covered some things that we were concerned about, and I feel positive that the concert will be a success. My whole extended family will be there, as will numerous family friends and acquaintances, and basically I want it to be really good. Which it will be. I have faith.

On Wednesday night I have a private gig at the Savoy, and before that I am going to have another music day, doing more of my songs. Unfortunately I haven't got a date for recording them yet because the guy whose studio I'm using, and who wants to film me recording, is in the process of moving jobs and has to wait for a couple of weeks before he can take a day off. He assures me that it will happen, and I'm trying to be patient, call him enough but not too much. Trying to play the game right, which I dislike. I have realised how important it is, though. I have a had a couple of wake-up-in-the-middle-of-the-nights recently. Not panicking, I used to do that and it's nightmarish and scary, no, just worrying that I'm not getting anywhere and it's too late. I know I have to banish those thoughts, but it's exhausting going through the self-reassurance process over and over. It feels like I am so small and what I want to do is so huge. If anyone else said that to me, though, I'd argue with them until they had nothing else to say (read: fucking kill them).

I promised to write about tampons. I cannot believe that anyone actually wants me to write about tampons, and the only tampon joke I know is incredibly rude (funny, though).
Perhaps a haiku?

A tampon is a
Little like a mouse in that
They both have a tail

No, I can't think of a way to write about a tampon that is in any way normal. As you may know, normality is something that has been known to elude me before, but that is not to say that it should not be encouraged.

I'm hopefully going to meet my friend Mark for a drink tonight, but we have a slight problem in that neither of us have each other's telephone number, as he has changed his. I have emailed him, but as he is only in London for the day I'm not sure he'll be checking. It would be a shame if technology had conspired to prevent us drinking together. If it does I shall write immediately to Bill Gates or someone, a strongly-worded letter.

I am going to go and sulk about Dame Edna Everage having better vocal control than I do in my subconscious.

Normality, it seems, has once again slipped through the net.

Oh well. It's Monday. It can only go uphill from here.

Friday, May 19, 2006

Feasty Treats for All

The Friday's Feast today has hard questions. I was going to just sneakily not do them, but then I would feel naughty. As much as I do like feeling naughty, I am going to attempt them anyway.
I want you to know that I think these questions are tricky and that I am feeling very brave and strong doing them.

What is the last thing you had to have repaired?

The bridge on my cello is slightly broken, so I can't put the A string on it. I haven't had it repaired yet, though, but I will. Soon. I think I might be able just to superglue it, but I am scared to try, because with my immense capacity for fucking really straightforward things up (remember the dye episode?) I will no doubt end up with my head superglued to my knees and one eyelid superglued to my lower lip.

If someone gave you $2,000 with the stipulation that you had to spend half of it on yourself and give the rest to charity, where would you spend the $1,000 and which charity would receive your remaining $1,000?

To spend in one shop? I would probably go to Selfridges, because they have everything in there. I would buy new bras, although they might not have my size. Definitely fancy knickers. Lots of things, I would buy.

Oh, yeah, and the charity bit. It's tricky to decide this, because it's like saying that one is more deserving than the others. I would want to give money to hospices, also to Shelter (homeless charity). Then also to a humanitarian aid charity. Amnesty. It's really hard to decide. Sadly this is not a choice I am faced with in real life.

What is one of your favorite songs from the 1980s?

Echo Beach, by Martha and the Muffins. I feel uplifted every time I hear that song.

Main Course
You enter a pet store. Which section do you go to first?

The puppies. I just got an image in my mind of lots of little puppies bouncing and tumbling all over each other and was actually moved to say "aaah" out loud. It's strange to get all misty-eyed over imaginary puppies, right?

Sanity will not be gracing us today, ladies and gentlemen.

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

I love that they stipulate that the number ten is higher than the number one. Just in case of confusion.

Athletic. Well, I have quite a high natural level of fitness. I used to run a lot when I was younger, and have recently started again. I'm rubbish at team sports as a general rule, because I get so angry at myself when I mess up and I feel like I'm letting the team down and then I just want to go home. I like solitary sports (stop being dirty).

Looks-wise, I have althetic legs from all the running, but you wouldn't look at me and think 'there's someone who goes to the gym everyday'. This might have something to do with the fact that I don't.

I'd say about a seven.


Well that wasn't so bad. I dealt with that very bravely, I'm sure you'll agree.

Tonight we are going out for David's birthday, David being my very lovely housemate. Not that Bec isn't lovely as well, you know. Anyway, we're going out in central London to a bar called something or other and then a club called something else. Some foreign name, not sure. Resonation, I fear, may be on the cards. Also dancing.

I have nothing else of interest to impart, other than that I am hungry and trying to decide whether it's too early to eat my lunch. Sorry, that's not interesting.

I saw Pippa last night, my friend who works in fashion PR (darling) and she gave me some lovely earrings and a bracelet that she swiped from work.

Also I suspect mice are following me. We have a mouse in our flat at home, and now there are mice in my office. What are they trying to say? I asked one, but it just mumbled something about cheese and scampered off. Interesting. Perhaps it's like it the mice on Magrathea in whichever Hitchhiker's Guide book it is (I think the first one), and they're trying to alert me to their masterplan. That seems the most likely explanation.

I think now I can justify eating my lunch. I will leave you with a brilliant quotation from Hitchhiker's. I love those books. This is Arthur complaining to his local council planning department about not having been informed of their plans to demolish his house.

" ...You hadn't exactly gone out of your way to call attention to them had you? I mean like actually telling anyone or anything.'
But the plans were on display...'
On display? I eventually had to go down to the cellar to find them.'
`That's the display department.'
`With a torch.'
`Ah, well the lights had probably gone.'
`So had the stairs.'
`But look you found the notice didn't you?'
`Yes,' said Arthur, `yes I did. It was on display in the bottom of a locked filing cabinet stuck in a disused lavatory with a sign on the door saying "Beware of The Leopard".'"


Update: I looked at the time this post claimed it had been published and it said 11.26. It's actually 12.34, which is a much more normal time to crack open one's Postman Pat lunchbox and get started on the salt 'n' vinegar Squares.

Update again:

I have decided to keep adding my favourite Douglas Adams quotes to this post all day.

"Arthur hoped and prayed that there wasn't an afterlife. Then he realized there was a contradiction there and merely hoped that there wasn't an afterlife."

"What the hell, he thought, you're only young once, and threw himself out of the window. That would at least keep the element of surprise on his side."

"Pages one and two [of Zaphod's presidential speech] had been salvaged by a Damogran Frond Crested Eagle and had already become incorporated into an extraordinary new form of nest which the eagle had invented. Itwas constructed largely of papier mache and it was virtually impossiblefor a newly hatched baby eagle to break out of it. The Damogran Frond Crested Eagle had heard of the notion of survival of the species but wanted no truck with it."

From the Dirk Gently books:

"He believed in a door. He must find that door. The door was the way to... to...
The Door was The Way.
Capital letters were always the best way of dealing with things you didn't have a good answer to."

"Richard was loking at the bird as if it was the most extraordinary thing he had ever seen in his life, and the bird was looking at Richard as if defying him to find its beak even remotely funny."

Can't be bothered to do any more.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Contains girl stuff. Tomorrow: tampons!

I have no money. This is not shocking, nor is it a new situation. I struggle to remember a time when I could (truthfully and not as part of some elaborate fantasy game involving faux fur, costume jewellery, too-big high heeled shoes and perhaps an over-application of bright red lipstick) say that I have a lot of money.

I just don't earn very much.

As this is just the common state of affairs it doesn't usually bother me too much. I pay my rent and utilities. I accept that my lipstick costs £2 from some cheap pharmacy, I get most of my accessories from charity shops and nearly all my clothes are coming apart in some way. My favourite dress, for example, cost me £4 from Oxfam. As I say, I accept this. It doesn't really bother me too much. I would like to be able to afford to go out all the time and have expensive dinners and daintily sip Champagne from a silver, diamond-encrusted hat, but I can't.

However. There are some moments when I just think, oh, fucksticks. This poverty lark is rubbish. Breadlines, it turns out, are not all they're cracked up to be.

Yesterday this came in the form of a dress. My day had been unusually stressful and on my way home I wandered into a shop in Old Street station that always has nice pretty clothes to look at. Sometimes I like to try some of the nice pretty things on, and sometimes I just feel the lovely material between my grubby urchin fingers and dream. Perhaps I am taking this 'poverty-stricken' routine a bit far, but my point is I was not in there to buy, just to look.

I have been thinking for the last couple of weeks that what I would really like for my summer wardrobe (I don't have a summer wardrobe. I just wear the same clothes as I do in winter, but just less of them) is a shirt dress. Button down, with a tie around the hips, simple and black. I like wearing skirts and dresses and I have been conjuring up an image of a daytime, mid-thigh length, short-sleeved beauty. I had come to the conclusion that the best I could do was go charity shop shopping and buy a large man's shirt and alter it. By which I mean get Bec to alter it, as I am much more of the staple-it-and-go mentality than the painstaking-needlework one.

However. In this tiny shop in a grubby tube station just inside the congestion zone, there it was. Black. Simple. Button down. A tie around the hips. Mid-thigh length.


Not a lot of money, particularly for something I have spent hours, nay, days dreaming about and lusting after, like a middle aged woman working in close proximity to John Prescott.

I tried it on. I went into the only free changing room, despite it being the one with the swingy door that won't stay shut, and constantly swings in on you while you're hopping around trying to get out of your jeans unless you use your elbow to keep it shut.

Oh, the dress. It was so nice.

It was so friendly and happy to see me, as I was it. "Look!" It seemed to chirp, helpfully. "Wouldn't I be practical? Useful for day and evening times alike? With heels or flats? I would be your friend! What japes we would have! I think I love you."

Reader, I loved it too. I did. It was perfect.

As I got onto the tube five minutes later I thought sadly of my dress, hanging in the shop, staring forlornly out at my retreating form. It didn't understand. It felt rejected, and I don't blame it. The chemistry between us was undeniable.

However, as I sit here in my ripped jeans and faded top, I find myself not really minding. Being poor is a part of my life, part of the way I choose to live at the moment. If I worked in a bank or some big company that paid me loads of money to schmooze and stuff, I wouldn't feel I was doing what I wanted to be doing. I also suspect that I'd be really crap at it.

I'm going to go to West Hampstead on Saturday, because there are really nice charity shops there, and see what I can get, allowing myself a budget of twenty quid.

I have also decided that when I get my website all sorted I will allow myself a treat. It's taking a lot of work, a lot of negociating with people and asking favours, the sort of PR shit that I hate. I have a sort of a mantra that helps me and stops the feelings of impatience and frustration bubbling beyond control. I say to myself "tenacity and timing", because I firmly believe that, whilst things take hard work and perseverance, they should not be rushed or compromised on too much, not if they're ever going to be worth anything.

Anyway, my treat that I have promised myself is another tattoo. On my left wrist, of a tiny star in black. People have expressed concern for the location, but it just makes me want to do it more, because I have been thinking about it for about a year now. I love the idea of it, and have spent days with a star drawn on my wrist in black biro, because I am mainly very cool. Don't go to sleep with black biro on your wrist, though, because I heard from someone who is definitely not me at all that you can perhaps wake up with it all over your face.

So, what I'm trying to say is that sometimes I can't afford to buy things that make me feel like a princess, but that I don't really mind. My life is alright as it is, where it is going, and I wouldn't change it for all the gorgeous, daytime-or-nightime, perfection-with-buttons dresses in the world.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Girl, Uninterrupted. More's the pity.

After finding out how to successfully manipulate online personality tests so that they say what I want them to say (see two previous posts), I feel I should write something proper.

Bec has tonsillitis. I found her on the sofa this morning and she told me that one of her tonsils was green. Green is a nice colour, and I do like my trees and bushes (oh, don't be dirty) to be green, but for tonsils I suspect it is not a preferable hue.

We watched Priscilla Queen of the Desert last night, but I doubt that had anything to do with it. If anything seeing Guy Pearce in various states of undress has medicinal qualities rather than the other way around. I myself felt quite uplifted by the experience.

We had a bit of a debate surrounding the relative merits of the man from Strictly Ballroom and Guy in Priscilla. I opted for the latter, as I have only seen Strictly Ballroom once, and feel that Guy is sexier, and the fact that he is not gay in real life is a real bonus. Bec has seen Strictly Ballroom about as many times as she has The Princess Bride (which is about seventy trillion times) (loser) (althought she is ill so I have to be nice) and so feels a certain attachment to the man from it. I may have mentioned my deep, deep loathing of The Princess Bride at this juncture, but that fact was deemed irrelevant to the discussion.

(I hate The Princess Bride. I want to slap Buttercup. I am not sorry if this offends you, so deep and vehemently does my loathing run.)

Last night I also continued recording a new song, which is shaping up to be my favourite so far. I am using my software on my iMac to create it, which is exciting if somewhat painstaking. The new song is laid back jazz-style, which I like and am trying to work on more and more.

I went to the Barbican Music Library yesterday to get the sheet music for this concert I'm organising in July. It is a goldmine for all sort of exciting things. I was weighed down with music yesterday but I will certainly be making use of their extensive CD library. I also ran into my friend Belinda, which was nice.

This is not an interesting post. I am going to continue in the same vein (telling you stuff that seems neither to go anywhere nor be of any relevance to anything) for as long as I can until you throw chairs at my head.

Tonight I am going to go and meet my parents in Covent Garden at six o'clock. My Mum has hinted at a surprise birthday present! Although the hinting has been somewhat negated by us actually having discussed said birthday present at great length and them having told me when they brought it back from the USA the other week. It is more camera-shaped than magical pony-shaped.

On Sunday it'll be my other housemate ( the one with the normal-coloured tonsils) (I assume)'s* David birthday. We are going out on Friday to a place. I can't remember the name of the place, but I think it is a salsa bar. I assume they mean salsa the dance, because otherwise it could be a thoroughly messy experience. Good, though. Especially if they provide the nachos.

For the second time in a month I have turned down someone asking me out for a drink by just ignoring their text. I know this is wrong and mean but I forget to reply and then I put it off and then it's too late and I am a bitch. Hang on, shit, it's the third person. Holy crap. God. I must come across as likely to put out, or perhaps rich. Yeah, it's almost definitely the rich thing. I should stop wearing fifty pound notes as earrings.

I hope Bec is feeling better. I want to call her but then she'd have to pick up the phone and speak, and that is hurty for her. I am instead sending her telepathic images of the man from Strictly Ballroom.

Does anyone have any more good jokes, please?

*That can't be grammatically correct. It wouldn't work if I put the 's before the brackets either, so I don't know*.
* See? This is much in keeping with my promise of writing dull things! I am so good at continuity! Also at being boring.

I like this one. This one loves me. Loads. It's all true, as well.

Your Five Factor Personality Profile


You have high extroversion.
You are outgoing and engaging, with both strangers and friends.
You truly enjoy being with people and bring energy into any situation.
Enthusiastic and fun, you're the first to say "let's go!"


You have high conscientiousness.
Intelligent and reliable, you tend to succeed in life.
Most things in your life are organized and planned well.
But you borderline on being a total perfectionist.


You have medium agreeableness.
You're generally a friendly and trusting person.
But you also have a healthy dose of cynicism.
You get along well with others, as long as they play fair.


You have low neuroticism.
You are very emotionally stable and mentally together.
Only the greatest setbacks upset you, and you bounce back quickly.
Overall, you are typically calm and relaxed - making others feel secure.

Openness to experience:

Your openness to new experiences is high.
In life, you tend to be an early adopter of all new things and ideas.
You'll try almost anything interesting, and you're constantly pushing your own limits.
A great connoisseir of art and beauty, you can find the positive side of almost anything.

I am a red canoe at noon.

You Are Noon

You are upbeat, ambitious, and never at loss for energy.
You have a lot that drives you in life. The desire to be the best, and a secret hope of fame and power.
And while you definitely have a Type A personality, you are still fun to be around.
You have a ton of charisma and a genuine interest in others. You are adored by many.

Monday, May 15, 2006

Raindrops on (sniff) roses and whiskers on (sob) kittens...

I made it through the first round, and then got unceremoniously ditched at the second.

I got up at six. Which, you know. Isn't loads of fun. I had heard Bec get in about three hours before (with a MAN! But that's another story) and was feeling slightly resentful (read: soul-cripplingly bitter) about my early start, but nevertheless arise I did.

Shower, wake everyone up with the hair-dryer, make up, pack bag with snacks (six million carrot sticks and two apples) drinks (twenty litres of Evian) two books (On the Road and some crime thriller) iPod, make up, cardigan (blue), hairbrush (brown), phonekeyswallet, and diary (black with Don't Panic written in large, friendly letters on the front).

Northern Line to London Bridge, Jubilee Line to Wembley Park.

Upon exiting the station at Wembley Park I cast around for the right direction to start walking in, and was helped considerably by being able to follow the groups of girls all walking in the same direction. It wasn't exactly hoardes, but enough so that it felt a bit odd. All these girls in their early twenties, dressed in their nicest clothes and carefully made up, walking the streets of Wembley at about eight o'clock on a Saturday morning. I felt like we would perhaps round a corner, be handed a string bikini each and perhaps some mud and find ourselves in the middle of some teenage boy's wet dream.

There was no such corner, to my considerable relief (it was very early and I had just washed my hair). By the time I reached the queue I had started chatting to another girl (Eloise) and we joined the queue together. Far from the thousands-strong lines of Pop Idol, the queue was only constituted of about ninety people. Eloise and I started chatting to the girls in the queue just ahead of us and discovered that two of them had come up from Plymouth and one from Essex. Looking around I could see that some had come in groups, some on their own, and some had brought people along for moral support. Parents, friends and boyfriends. That's dedication, I thought. I wouldn't ask anyone to come and stand in a queue with me for an indefinite amount of time. You could almost hear the boyfriends totting up the brownie points as every minute ticked by ("tick...tock...blowjob...tick...tock...striptease...tick...").

We stood outside for about an hour and a half, then were led inside and had our names ticked off the list and stickers with our name and number slapped on our chests. Actually we were allowed to do that ourselves, but I imagine the teenage boy from earlier wouldn't have minded that job so much. Into a room, seated in rows, handed printed copies of words to (can you guess?) The Sound Of Music songs.


Every ten minutes or so someone would come in and call out ten names, and those ten would be taken down to an audition room.

Waiting. Chatting and warming up as well, but mainly waiting.

At about eleven my name was read out (".. Leee-oh-nie?"), along with the other girls I had come in with. We filed down the stairs and through some doors, and into another room. To wait.

As we walked into the waiting room we passed a pleased-looking girl being ushered out by a runner, who was speaking into his walkie-talkie. "We have a yes" he was saying. "A yes." The girl smiled at us, relief shining from her face. I smiled back at her and started to feel the nerves spreading through me. The girls in my group and I hurriedly processed the scrap of information we had. A yes from whom? What did that mean? Was she the only one so far? Where was she going? Speculations and theories spread though the group as we desperately tried to create knowledge out of conjecture.

Waiting to go into that first audition room was very nerve-wracking. I don't really get nervous going on stage, I did a little bit when I sang my songs for the first time a few months ago, but that was a different kind of nervousness. I knew what was going to happen. I knew what I was dealing with and it was probably about seventy percent excitement. The only thing I can compare the feeling I had on Saturday with is the way I felt on the day I had my tattoo done. I had no idea what it would be like, how painful it would be. It was truly launching into the unknown.

I sat there, trying to convert the fear into excitement. Nervousness and excitement, I have been told, physically manifest themselves in exactly the same way in the human body. To overcome nerves, therefore, all one must do is convince oneself that they're not nerves but excitement. I am excited, I repeated to myself in my head as I was standing by the door. This is exciting. I can't wait to do this.

I think it worked. I walked in and smiled confidently. It was a small room. There was a three sided box thing with lights brightly shining on it and a T marked in white tape in the middle. Facing the box was a panel of four people, and a camera. As directed I stood on the T and faced the camera. I told them my name and which song I was going to sing.

"Alright Lee-oh-nie. Go ahead. Into the camera, please."

I started to sing, looking into the lens and trying to connect with the tiny piece of rounded glass looking back at me.

"Thank you". She interrupted me about fifteen seconds in.

"We've decided to put you through to the next round."

I thanked them and left the room, facing the rest of the girls, all of them staring at me, wide-eyed. "Well?" said Eloise.

"It's a yes! I got through."

They all well done-d at me as another girl, Suzannah, was ushered in to stand on the white T and sing to a machine.

She came out, I was still there, waiting to be taken up to the mysterious place where, I presumed, the smiling girl from earlier had gone. Suzannah was also a yes.

We went up together, accompanied by the same runner. Into "holding room B", where we had our polaroids taken and were instructed to have a seat and wait. We were to let them know if we were going anywhere. An hour or two, she said, we're not sure.

This was at about eleven fifteen.

Sure enough, there was smiling girl, looking slightly less smiley and slightly more bored. There were another twentyish girls, chatting, reading, looking at their words. I noticed one girl sitting next to an elderly man who I supposed to be her father. They were both staring straight ahead, wrapped in their own thoughts, not speaking. Two girls talking loudly about "the industry". A pretty girl with dark hair and a slightly orange hue to her. A blonde girl sitting up very straight, laughing with her mother. Girls, looking variously defiant, nervous, bored.

Suzannah and I found seats, still slightly exhilirated from our recent successes, but feeling it fade in the face of a room full of them. We walked to the place to get coffee, through large, empty, carpeted rooms with slightly tinted windows. Unused bar areas, echoing with the ghosts of a thousand conferences past.

Coffee in hand we got back to the room just as Eloise walked through the door to holding room B. She grinned her way over to us, not yet feeling the boredom that was beginning to set in. Out of the ten we were the only three to be put through from our group.

I would like to say that the next eight hours were a blur, but unfortunately I can remember them minute by painstaking minute.

I ate about twenty million carrot sticks. Talked to complete strangers in those eight hours more than I usually talk to my housemates in a week. I saw two people I know from University, and one I know from home. Discovered connections and mutual friends, degrees of separation leading us to surprising coincidences.

It was a very peculiar feeling. Waiting indefinitely. Not like waiting for a delayed flight or even for exam results. We didn't really know what we were waiting for, and how imminent that unknowable something was. I tried to read my books, but couldn't concentrate. The adrenalin that had coursed through my body earlier on had subsided, leaving me feeling drained and dazed, but everytime I remembered that I was waiting to audition again I would get another flush of fear, which would then subside again until the next one.

Eight hours. In one room.

At about six o'clock Suzannah and Eloise were called, and I went to ask the lady at the desk why I wasn't in the same group as they were, as I had been before. She said something about different people seeing different casting directors. I listened to her but didn't really register what she said, only the tone of assurance she said it in. Satisfied that I hadn't been forgotten, I sat back down. My back was hurting and I was exhausted.

Finally I my name was read out and I went to take my place on the row of chairs designated for the girls about to audition. We knew that it would be an hour and a half after our names were called before we actually got to audition, and that it would take another hour and a half for them to get through all ten of us.

More waiting.

Next to me were the blonde-sitting-up-straight girl and the pretty dark-haired girl from earlier. As I started talking to them I clicked instantly with both of them, and we sat and talked and laughed. The blonde girl was Joanna and the brunette was Meliz. They were both trained up to the hilt, music schools and conservatoires, exchanging information about who they knew and who taught them. I was struck by how much that didn't appeal to me. Overhearing the girls earlier try to out-talk each other about "the industry" made me feel a bit sick, and although my new friends had no pretensions I still had no desire to be involved. They asked me about my singing, and I told them about my songs and my jazz experience. I'm a singer songwriter, I said. Not professional, though. Not yet.

I was so happy to be able to say that and to know it was true, and to know also that it's what I want to be doing. What I want. The way I want it.

Eventually I auditioned. I was exhausted. Another room, another camera, another unbearable build-up of shuddering nerves. Fifteen minutes of audition: singing various things in various ways; vocal tests; technical questions.

I left the room and I knew I hadn't got through. When I said as much to my friends they protested, but I wasn't being self-deprecating. I knew, and it was alright, I didn't really mind. I haven't got the training of the other girls. I don't know what they know and can't do what they do. It's like somebody asking me to run a marathom. I couldn't do it. It's not that I could never do it, it's just that I don't have the training. My body won't do it. That's alright, though. Not something to be ashamed of, just a fact.

We waited for everyone to audition, then they informed us that four of us had made it through to the next round. Both Joanna and Meliz had made it, and they were so thrilled. So very pleased, and I was genuinely happy for both of them. Joanna cried as she hugged her mother, and Meliz looked completely shocked to the core as she processed the information. I left them to their celebrations after hugging them well done and exchanging numbers with both of them.

I went home, got changed into my maid's outfit and went to a party. I arrived at about eleven.

It wasn't a wasted day. I made friends. I found out that I know where my heart lies, and that it isn't with musical theatre. My confidence isn't knocked, I am more resilient than that. I can't afford to treat it as a set back, more as part of a learning curve. I felt slightly disappointed, but when I think of Joanna and Meliz's happiness and excitement I know that I wouldn't have felt that. I would have felt worried that I was getting myself into something I didn't want to be involved with.

I am still tired, because of the party (it was, as predicted, great) and because I went to a song writing workshop yesterday. Which was great and inspired me with lots of confidence, and gave me lots of ideas.

This post has turned into something of an epic, and my fingers hurt now.

Thanks for all the luck-wishing. Also to the people who called me to ask me how it went, especially those phonecalls from far away. I really appreciate it.

Friday, May 12, 2006

Sulking (UPDATED)

I am sulking because I wrote a really long post then accidentally deleted it, and then started again and accidentally deleted that as well.

Other things that have conspired to make this a rubbish day:

1. I left my phone at home.
2. I swallowed my chewing gum.


I will do the Friday's Feast when I am not so filled with anger and resentment, and when somebody has given me the Heimlich Manoeuvre.

Update: I have just found one of those pens with a lady on it, who is dressed if you hold the pen one way, but then if you tip it upside down her clothes come off and she's naked. Naked! Well, naked but for some very dubious eighties-style patent high heels. My day just got way, way better.

Thursday, May 11, 2006

It Has Been Decided...

I am going to do the Reality TV Audition Thing on Saturday. I honestly just can't think of a reason not to. Well, yes, actually, I probably could think of a reason not to, but I'm going to go anyway.

Partially because I worry that someday I'll run out of funny stories to tell and then nobody will want to go out with me anymore.

No, they will. I have really big breasts and I'm really rich.

One of those statements is not so much accurate.

Tangents about huge knockers aside, I have decided to wake up at reallyfuckingearly o'clock on Saturday and go and queue up and sing really high notes very earnestly at people until they tell me to go away, at which point I will get drunk.

Saturday night I am going to a party at Dan, Sam, Mike and Oli's house. It is their housewarming party, and they are the sorts of chaps who know a lot of people (perhaps because they don't go round insisting upon regaling them with stories of ill-advised auditions for reality TV shows) and as a result of this the party will be full to the brim and much, much fun.

The theme is 'The London Underground', which is pertinent because the house is in London. You know? They are that sort of clever, these boys.

My initial idea was to go with a piece of sheer fabric on my head and go as Maida Vale. Yeah, I know. Fucking brilliant.

However, although, yes, it is a genius idea (my God, AND I have huge breasts/am really rich? What a catch!), I have decided that it might be a little boring. Also I really like dressing up.

So. I am wearing my french maid's outfit and the piece of fabric on my head. Which I suspect I might remove at some point (the fabric, I might remove the fabric), but not before I can do the whole (points at maid's outfit) "maid..." (points at piece of fabric on head) "a veil! Maida Vale! See?" thing numerous times. Then I'll drink some wine. My housemate Rebecca is going to procure herself a trumpet-like instrument of some sort and go as, yes, you guessed it, Tooting Bec. Awesome. She also has really big boobs. My God.

Then on Sunday I have a songwriting workshop. I have no idea what this'll be like, whether it will involve suggesting good and not so good rhymes for the word 'love' (examples for good rhymes: shove; glove; dove, examples for bad rhymes: muff; Swindon; apples)and a small section on "How Not To Be James Blunt" (section one: Why We Don't Hold Our Noses When Singing).

Tonight is the jazz improvisation workshop. I have been mainly imagining lots of people standing around in a room just sort of scooby doo-wah-ing at each other, but there will probably be some sort of structure to the thing. It's being taken by a jazz singer called Anita Wardell, who looks to be pretty cool and experienced. I'm looking forward to it a lot.

Today I have a pain in my left diodes, which is my Douglas Adams-geek way of saying that I have the Pains Of The Curse Of Woman. Ay me. It's not so bad, though. Nothing that some Nurofen won't soothe. I wish I had some Nurofen, though.

I spoke to my little Impish Sister today, who has dyed her hair platinum blonde and cut it to ear-length. She's a cool dude. Just hanging out in Paris with ear-length platinum blonde hair eating cucumber and houmous in her boyfriend's apartment. Cool. She says bonjour.

This is looking to be one of those "my God, she really does write better when she's depressed" sorts of posts, so I will halt in my ramblings and go and practice my 'scooby-doo-wah's and my 'do-re-mi's.

(Also: It's really sunny in London here today. I am going to go outside in a while and put in a good hour of hard graft on the freckles. Excellent.)

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Despite having the Internet at my very fingertips.


I'm so very bored.

My brain is off playing by itself in a corner somewhere while I sit here, idly wondering whether to start experimenting with hallucinogenic, Class A drugs just for something to do.

Please send jigsaws and wine.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

In which I have a horrible left elbow, it turns out.

After writing about my ravishing left-elbow yesterday, I decided to inspect it in order to see whether it was as gorgeous as I made it out to be. It turns out that there is a scar on that elbow. It is not ravishing. It is scarred.

I remember, now. I was about fifteen and on holiday with my family in Corsica. We were with another family who had children about mine and my sisters' age, and one night all of us went to a local discothèque where they were holding a foam party. Which just sounded like the most fun ever.

Dancing away in the foam, I was, blithely getting drunk on vodka procured from the bar by means of a combination of big boobs for my age and a lazy bartender. Some Corsican chap dances up to me. I carry on dancing, moving slightly towards the big clouds of foam and away from the Corsican. He moves towards me, and before I can do anything about it he picks me up, strides into the middle of the foam cloud and drops me. Onto the floor.

Now, I assume that, somewhere in his pea-sized fucking non-brain he imagined that perhaps the foam was bouncy, and that in some way it would catch me and prevent me from landing solidly onto the hard, unforgiving floor and whacking my elbow so hard that there would still be a highly visible scar nine years later.

If he had imagined this, and I think you may have guessed the next part, he would have been very, very wrong. Idiot.

Anyway, to sum up, my left elbow isn't that great after all.

My right one, though? Sexy as hell.

Tuesday is treating me somewhat better than Monday did. I don't know what was wrong with me yesterday, I really don't. I just felt all rubbish and yucky. People all over the world are truly suffering, in misery and torment from having no food or shelter, and I sit and whinge to the Internet about feeling "all rubbish and yucky". Good.

Next Tuesday is the day of recording, it has been decided. I am so very looking forward to doing it and having my tracks recorded. I hope nothing gets in the way between now and then.

This weekend they are holding the Talent Search (Not Pop Idol, Damn It) for the Sound of Music thing. I cannot for the life of me decide whether to go. The pros are: I might get through, and get to be Maria in The Sound of Music in the West End! The cons are: Standing in a queue for a million hours surrounded by strangers; I might get through, and then I'd have to be Maria in The Sound of Music in the West End; I would have to get up really early on a Saturday.

Tricky. I can't decide whether to go. Thing is, I can't go along and not be competitive about it, it isn't in my nature. If I do it I will be Miss I'll Wipe The Floor With You Bitch 2006 for the day, even though I am quite apathetic about it really, and then when I fail I would feel all cross.

I'll decide on Friday. It'll be fun, probably, and I'll meet fun people in the queue, perhaps. Also I can't think of a very good reason not to. Can you? Don't cite 'dignity' at me, because we all know I have none of that.

Before I go, here is an insight into The Thrilling Life We Lead In Our Flat.

Last night we watched Four Weddings and a Funeral (for the [counts on fingers] six billionth time) then we were bored. We have no TV, we'd run out of DVDs and had no money to go and get resonated. We did what any group of well-educated, articulate twenty-somethings would do faced with that situation. We played Mallet's Mallet*.

Unfortunately, despite being all well-educated and clever and possibly brilliant in our chosen fields, we were rubbish at this game and all three of us now have serious whacked-over-the-head-with-a-kitchen-roll-related injuries.


In response to your comment on the last post. I didn't know you picked up a wasp with my tweezers. I forgive you, but you mustn't do it again. EVER. You buggering off to Paris is worse, because I miss you. I forgive you for that as well, though, because you are sweet and sometimes lend me clothes.

*This, for those who never watched kids' TV in the UK in the eighties, is a word association game. There was a man called Timmy Mallet who dressed in fluorescent stuff, and he presented this show in a studio which was fluorescent in horrible but exciting ways. Two kids would sit opposite each other and he would start one of them off with a word ("Sally! Veruca!") and that kid would have to come up with an associated word ("Foot!") until one of the kids stumbled over a word or hesitated, or gave a completely unrelated word ("um... Paleontology?") at which point they would get whacked on the head with a massive foam mallet. This was... very popular.

Monday, May 08, 2006

A minefield of a Monday: UPDATED

On this Monday morning I shall mainly be not thinking too clearly. I don't understand why I can't think very well, my weekend was restful and sedate to the extreme.

The following questions were sent to me by the lovely Miss Devylish (see sidebar) as a New Meme. Lady Miss Marquise has also done them.
I invite you to do them!

1. What is the dish you take to every potluck?

Example number one of things I can't answer. What does it mean that I have never been to a potluck thing? Am I uncultured? Do I mix in the wrong circles? While these two things are undoubtedly true, I suspect that nobody invites me because they know that I would show up clutching a half eaten Pret Super Club sandwich and a two thirds-drunk bottle of cheap white wine.

2. Have you ever seen or felt a ghost, angel, spirit, or some sort of
other-worldy being?

No. Once, when I was at University, I was shaken awake by my then-boyfriend, who was convinced that my room was full of people. He was absolutely petrified. Not being able to see anything myself I leaned and switched the light on, and turned to see him sitting up, staring wildly around the room. They've gone now, he said. He said the room was full of people in Victorian-like dress, all just having some kind of a soirée. He said there was a woman standing next to where I was sleeping, looking at me.

The house was old, at least a hundred years I would say, and my room was downstairs at the front.

It didn't really bother me. If there is some ghostly presence in here, I thought, they clearly haven't harmed me so far. My boyfriend, a skeptical type, convinced himself it was a dream and went back to sleep. He was truly scared, though, I saw. He wasn't asleep.

I don't know what the answer is, but I wasn't scared at the time. I don't know why.

3. Would you rather never workout again and be skinny forever or be able to
work out whenever you wanted to and be a little overweight?

Skinny forever, please. I am interpreting 'working out' to mean in gyms, and I am not a fan of gyms. I would still get to run. Because I say so.

4. What is the hardest thing you think you've experienced so far?

I don't know. Depression is hard, but that's not a 'thing' because it comes and goes and waxes and wanes. Some of the worst bits of my depression were horrible. Being forced into the flat in Hackney and held there and robbed was quite horrible. I think today is not a good day to start dwelling on this question.

5. Do you like Snoopy or Woodstock better?


6. Can you talk and eat at the same time? And if so, can people understand

I'm quite shy about eating in front of people. I get very self-conscious, so if I really had to say something I'd wait until I had swallowed or cover my mouth and probably blush. I don't know why I have this hang up.

7. If you could be good at any profession, which would you choose and why?

PR. Then I could sell myself to anyone and feign self-belief even on certain Mondays when I don't have any.

8. Would you rather be a Playboy bunny or a Hooters girl?

Neither. I would dress up as one or the other for fun, or as a joke, but to actually BE? Yuck. No way.
If I absolutely HAD to I would be a Hooters girl. I think because I see 'being' a Hooters girl as more of a job for a few nights a week, whereas you'd have to actually be a Playboy bunny. It would be your identity and I would hate it.

9. Peanut butter – crunchy or smooth?


10. Bad boys, frat boys, intellectuals or dorks?

Not frat boys. The boys I know who consider themselves 'intellectuals' are often pretentious twats. I don't want someone who's mean to me, if that's what bad boy means. Nor do I want someone who has no confidence and plays computer games all day, if that's what dork means.

To sum up: I don't know.

These are the first ten questions. I don't have time to do the rest at the moment, but I will. I promise I will at some point.

I am feeling very low in confidence today. I am battling against my 'what's the point?' impulse that keeps bubbling up. In order to combat this I am going to write down some things I have planned for myself and highlight some positive things. This is seriously going against the grain today, though.

1. This week is the jazz improvisation workshop. I learned some useful stuff at the last workshop, and this one is much more geared towards what I want to do, so I think it could be interesting.
2. A guy that I know from uni who has a studio in Battersea and with whom I have done lots of music before want me to come and record all my songs at his studio. He wants to film the process, as well, which is fantastic for me. My friend Kate is going to come along as well and take some photos for me. As soon as I work out a date that suits me, him and Andy we can get moving on it.
3. I have been asked to organise the entertainment for a concert in aid of the Children's Society which will take place on July 1st. I have arranaged for four very lovely and talented people I know to get involved with me. Andy on piano, then me, Bec, Harry and Luke (soprano, alto, tenor and bass respectively) to put on an evening of musical theatre. About an hour and a half of singing, which between four people is quite a lot. In terms of sorting it all out it's going pretty well, I have a list of songs and have managed to track down copies of all of them. Having to organise rehearsals for five very busy people, one of whom doesn't even live in London, is proving pretty stressful, though. Oh, hang on, this was supposed to be a list of positive things. Well, we had a rehearsal yesterday with a few of us and it went well.
4. It's raining in London today. This may not seem like a positive thing, but I like running in the rain so I'm looking forward to going running this evening.
5. My parents are back from Austin, Texas and have brought with them a shiny treat for me in the form of a camera. A digital one! I am very excited. I keep seeing things I want to photograph. Including a tiny little bird that I have seen hopskipping around on the roof outside my window a couple of times. He is very, very sweet and small and I have named him Eddie.

Well, this post is long enough, now, and I must launch myself once more into this Monday mayhem.


I am feeling hugely rubbish today. I decided to have a nice lunch instead of the cracker/houmous combination which is in line with my budget. However, eating a Pret Super Club, an apple and a packet of crisps has made me feel fat and over-spendy.

I have decided to do some more of the meme to try to cheer myself up/snap the fuck out of it.

12. This is a two parter, and be truthful – when you are by yourself, do you
get a 6 inch or a 12 inch sandwich from Subway? How about when you are with
your friends?

I've had Subway once in my whole life. I had the six incher. I didn't really like it.

13. What was the worst thing one of your siblings ever did to you?

Left the country to go and live in Paris.

14. Location of the best sex you've ever had?

Oh. I can't think of one specific time. Or place.

15. Oddest place you've ever had sex?

Um. National Express coach, perhaps? Oh, the shame.

16. If you were super drunk, and REALLY had to pee, but all the toilets were
being used, would you consider alternate receptacles, i.e. the mens,
outside, a sink?

Yes to the men's, yes to outside, no way to a sink.

17. If you had to pick, classical or jazz?

Well. Of course I love jazz. I grew up listening to both, though, and playing the cello. My favourite piece of music ever in the world is the Elgar Cello Concerto. Once I got to the level of being able to play that there was really nothing more to aim for with my cello playing. I wouldn't give up that music, though. Nor would I give up jazz.

Tricky. Unanswerable, I'm afraid.

18. What's your favorite kind of pizza?

Pepperoni. With other things on it. I love pizza.

19. Ever flirted with a friend's significant other?

I don't think so. No.

20. What was the blog site or blog post that began your interest in
blogging? Please add the site name and link to specific post if possible for
completely entertainment purposes.

Amalah. I can't remember the post.

21. Have you ever eaten a whole bag of Marshmallows?

God no. Yuck.

22. Last time you drank so much that you had to
throw up?

I can't remember. Perhaps last year? I have a particularly excrutiating memory of someone subtly mentioning that I had been walking around with vomit in my hair for a good hour or so. Sexy.

23. Do you have a stupid human trick you can do if you ever get on Dave
Letterman? And do tell, if so!

I have been sitting here thinking about this and can only conclude that I do not. Which really grates against my competitive nature.
The only one I could do today would be a spectacular display of 'being a bit on the glum side'.

24. Describe your perfect day.

I can't. Not in chronological order, like, get up, watch Charmed, eat,watch more Charmed, go to bed, etc. My idea of what a perfect day constitutes changes all the time. Today I would like to be on holiday, relaxing on a beach and maybe doing some watersports. Other days I want to be singing, other days I just want to be in bed, oblivious.

25. Do you think the concept of a single best friend is outdated and

I think some people have one best friend, and that isn't outdated. I'm not sure that having a friendship hierarchy is very sane. I have a few people I trust above other people, and they are my best friends.

26. What about the idea of one true love?

I believe in that. I sort of wish I didn't, but I do.

27. One of your favorite memories of all time?

Getting my A-level results. I used to be a member of the Venture Scouts, and every summer we used to go on these holidays, called Expeditions. Two weeks in a chalet in somewhere like Austria, Switzerland or the south of France, invaribaly mountainous areas with beautiful scenery. There would usually be about one hundred of us there, aged 15-18.

It might perhaps sound a bit geeky, and perhaps it was. We went hiking for the first three days, and the rest of the time we could do what we wanted. There were activities to do, I went para-gliding, climbing, abseiling, canyoning amongst other things. We went on day trips to towns and cities. I remember re-enacting the Sound of Music in Salzberg, for example.

The social aspect was brilliant. Most of my close friends from home I met through Ventures. Talked to on hikes, elicitly got drunk with and snogged, ran off hills attached to parachutes and jumped off waterfalls with.

It was on my last expedition in Marignac, France, that I was getting my A-level results. I remember the hype, the excitement and the fear among all of us who were getting the results that day. The whisperings "oh my God, Laura's so nervous she's throwing up" "well I haven't eaten anything in three days" that always made me feel like I wasn't being enough of a drama queen when I had the opportunity. Lots of my friends went to the bar to wait and then call home to get their results.

I took my friend Andrew and we went and found a bridge that crossed a little babbling stream near our chalet. We sat in the sun, our backs facing downstream. As we looked upstream we could trace it all the way up to the mountains, surrounded as we were by rich green and azure skies. I held my phone in my hand as we sat, chatting and waiting. As it rang I jumped. I swivelled towards Andrew and stared at him. At that point I remember I dropped something in the river and to this day I have no idea what it was. Answering the phone, my Dad told me my results, and it was exactly what I wanted.

Running back to the chalet to impart the news, spending the afternoon and evening in exhaltation, proud and exhilirated and completely happy.

It was a good day.

28. What is your least favorite physical feature about yourself?

I wish I had a more toned stomach.

29. What's your most favorite?

My legs. This is difficult because I do have a particularly ravishing left elbow as well.

30. If you had one wish for making the world a better place, what would it

There is such a sense of having to be better than one's neighbour, by whatever means. I would wish that people weren't so quick to turn to violence and to anger.

Bloody hell this is long now. Sorry.

Friday, May 05, 2006

Friday! Feast with me.

From which country(s) are some (or all) of your ancestors?

My mother's family come from a place called Stornoway (or Steornabhagh)which is on the Isle of Lewis (or Eilean Leodhais) in (I think) the Outer Hebrides. Which, basically, is really far up North. Norther than, like, Watford. My father's family is in part Irish and in part Welsh, so I am like a big Celtic mish mash. Although, I would argue with some futility, not so much with the 'big'.

This Celtic blood sloshing around my veins would explain the dark haired, fair skinned and blue eyed combination my sisters and I have going on. Luckily, however, in the interests of avoiding any Corrs-like scenarios Sophie took one for the team and went blonde a few years ago, and very lovely it looks too. I am the fairest-skinned of the three, with the freckles ("Sun-kisses, darling! You're the LUCKY one! Kissed by the sun! Well I think they're gorgeous!" - quote, My Mum, many a time throughout my pale, freckled-in-the-face-of-bronzed-friends childhood) coming out in force in the summer. I quite like my freckles now, particularly the one on the bridge of my nose that is, and I am not exaggerating, a perfect triangle. I am convinced that this means that I am a witch. When my powers come into force I am getting straight on a plane to San Francisco to claim my rightful place as a comic cameo part in Charmed. Who gets to snog Alyssa Milano every episode.

I fear I have meandered from the question somewhat.

How would you describe your sneeze?

Dramatic. Attention seeking. Followed by a demand that somebody bless me. Non-blessed sneezes are dangerous. That's how plagues start.

What is the last thing you cleaned?

Apart from myself? I want to be able to recall, I really do. I want to be able to say "oh, let me see now, I think it was the bathroom, yesterday" or "hmm, was the oven this morning or last night?". I cannot, however, do this. I did a load of washing the other day.

I wish I was a domestic goddess, but I suspect that I am not.

Main Course
Who made the strongest first impression on you?

This is a difficult question. I have been trying to think, and I can't remember one specific person who made a stronger first impression than anyone else. I think that if someone makes a very strong impression on me it's because I don't like them, which is much less common than meeting someone and liking them. I've met people before and instantly distrusted them, but this is a rare occurence.

A couple of people I have met recently have made a very strong impression on me, and actually there is particularly one person who has impressed me a lot. Not necessarily from a first impression, more like a gradual and cumulative series of impressions that have built up to create one that is, well, impressive.

Convoluted answer, there. Sorry.

Name one thing you want to accomplish in your lifetime.

Bloody hell. This feast is riddled with tricky questions.

There are a million things I want to accomplish. I'm not sure yet exactly what they all are but I know there are a lot of them and I know that I should really get cracking.

I suppose what I want most of all is to accomplish success, whatever that ends up meaning for me. I want to sing (oh, have I mentioned that?) and sing and sing and I cannot express enough how much I want to sing. I want it so much that I will not take anything less, anything that masquerades as singing but that is actually an infinite distance away from it (that is in reference to a particular occasion that I can only talk about in obscure terms here for fear of hurting someone).

I want to be happy and feel fulfilled, comfortable in my own skin and satisfied that I'm doing what I feel I should be doing.

Everyone wants that, right?


I have been thinking ferociously about this website thing, or, as my friend Chris put it, The Merger. I think that it will change something about my writing (oh, the self-importance of a blogger! Ha!). I do feel like I need to change, though, because all of a sudden I somehow know what next steps I need to take. I'm not sure I could write a post that didn't somehow mention my singing, because I think about it for the majority of everyday. It takes up a major part of my consciousness and I think will, as a result, seep out in some way regardless of whether I'm trying to write about the six glasses of white wine I sunk last night or how I'm being stalked by a delivery man*.

I think to merge them will be, as Hen put it in the comments section of the last post, pretty damned tricky. Not impossible, though, and I think the move away from writing here would be exciting. Also I think that writing on a site that has all my singing stuff on it as well would be a truer reflection of what goes on in my head day in day out. I will still be writing for myself, and if people don't like it they don't have to read it.

I am really, really on it. I have a good feeling about this.

FINALLY: My friend Chris has a Very Important Interview this afternoon, as he is a real journalist and has a meeting with the editor of a Very Very Important Newspaper. Everyone wish him luck, please, although he really doesn't need it. Polish your shoes, Chris. Go forth. You'll be brilliant.

*Both of these things are true. The delivery man had been hounding me non-stop EVEN AFTER I SAID NO (WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU?). I said no, no and no again. Hound hound hound, was the response. I have never understood the 'persistence to the point of desperation' form of wooing someone. Yesterday I told him, in no uncertain terms, to fuck off. I told him politely, but very, very firmly. "When" I said, slowly, and looking at him levelly, "someone says 'no', do you know what that means? Do you? Well, I'll tell you. It means 'no'. So please stop calling me." He tried to speak. "No." I interrupted him. "I don't want you to say anything. I just want you to stop. It's getting to the point of being weird, and I don't like it. Please go away."
He hasn't been in touch since. Oh, the victory. I was initially going to hide and get someone else to tell him off, but then I thought hang on a minute. I can fight my own bloody battles, and win them. So I sat in wait for him to deliver a package, and then gave him a bollocking he won't forget in a while. I am, perhaps disproportionately, proud of myself.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006


Upon reading and re-reading the comments from the last post I have been doing some careful thinking about what I want from my other website. Thank you so much for the advice.

Ideally I would like to phase out this one and somehow fuse it with the other. I would like it to be a site about my music, primarily, but also I would like it to be a diary about my life as someone who is trying to be a musician, but who struggles with self-esteem. As someone working to make ends meet whilst simultaneously remaining motivated to follow her dream sometimes seems all too much to bear. I would like to be as honest there as I am here. I don't find that a daunting prospect, because I have been being honest on the Internet for over a year now, using my own name and face, and I don't really mind so much. In fact I quite love it.

I would like everything to be in one place, but I don't want to diminish what I so enjoy doing here. I am way to narcissistic to stop sharing (that can perhaps be a tagline for my website).

I want to record my struggles. I would call it 'Portrait of the Artist as a Young Woman', except that I'm not sure I could cope with the Joycean legacy of that title. People would no doubt be expecting obscure, Modernist prose and excessively long passages about Catholic upbringings and The Fury And Wrath Of Hell, and I'm not sure I could quite deliver.

(I'm not a Joyce fan. The hours at university spent wringing my hair and tearing out my hands over that bugger and his chums nearly killed me, I tell you.)

I would like to record my life and my attempts, failures and successes. Like I do here, but in a musical context. Sort of a 'this is what I'm trying to do, and this is how I'm trying to do it' thing. Make sense, at all?

I am getting a digital camera for my birthday (slightly belatedly) when my parents get back from Texas, so I would post pictures of gigs, mine and other people's, and write about them as reviews, perhaps. Also have a gallery, and video clips (which I have, I just need to upload them), and of course more songs and my OWN songs, which are coming along rather nicely thankyouverymuch.

I want to write about a techno-phobe's endeavours with the GarageBand software, experimenting with using my cello on my tracks, listening to incredible jazz singers I haven't heard before (see: Mina Agossi) (Google her, she's amazing) and saying how they inspire me.

I also don't want to stop writing about how I feel day to day, how sometimes it feels like exactly the right thing to be doing, to be holding out and taking my time and doing it my bloody way, and how sometimes I just think oh, fuck this. I have no money, no brain space, no idea what the hell I'm doing.

I want to write about going out and making ill-advised decisions about resonation and the subsequent ingestion of many, many twirly crisps.

All of it, basically, but just in one place.

Does that sound crazy? Because to me it doesn't. I just need help with it all. It sounds so oddly within my grasp that I think I might need a cup of tea and perhaps a twirly crisp or two.

Tuesday, May 02, 2006


Today I have mainly been feeling very cross with people who are ignorant, arrogant and self-important.

I felt buoyant this morning, like I had achieved things over the weekend. However as much as I tried not to let it, an interaction I had with someone today sought to bring me down and deflate me.

It wasn't a huge deal, to be honest. I think that perhaps the nature of what I'm trying to do means that I am very protective of my victories and feelings of success, and when someone is dismissive of them it makes me angry. This comes from me, obviously. It is my interpretation of what someone has or has not said that engenders such feelings in me, and that isn't their fault. I shouldn't take things that other people do and say as a reflection of myself, that is self-defeating and self-centred.

It is ironic that when I slate people who are self-important and place too much stock in their own view of the world, I do it on my blog, O Place Of Self-Aggrandisement. We shall not dwell too long on that.

Crikey I used the word 'self' as a prefix a lot in those last few paragraphs. Self-obsession, anyone?

Over the weekend I wrote two songs, recorded one, and re-recorded another one that I wrote about six months ago. I am very pleased with the re-recorded one and quite pleased with the other one. I will go back to it tonight to see if I can make more sense of it. I haven't yet affixed my new A-string onto my cello, but I am planning to do that tonight as well so that I can start experimenting with that. I have been listening to a lot of interesting new (to me) jazz recently which has given me some ideas about where to start with the cello/voice combination. I'm so excited about it, I really feel it's the right time to be opening that door. I've been instilled with a bit more confidence in my own ability to write, and I think that has given me a lot more freedom to make mistakes and to take my time.

The workshop on Sunday was great, very useful. It was given by a guy who's currently in the West End production of The Producers, and he was lovely. Absolutely bloody gorgeous, as well. Camp as a row of tents, sure, but lovely to look at and very nice. Perhaps part of the reason I liked him so much was because he was so very complimentary about my performances, recommending me some post-graduate musical theatre courses to take should I want to get into musical theatre as a career. At this point in time I don't, but it was interesting nonetheless. He said he thought I was fabulous. The man is clearly a genius.

Friday I went out with, um, PIMOTI, I think is the acronym to use. People I Met On The Internet, that is. I had a wonderful, great time.

Saturday night I went out and got resonated with friends from home which culminated in a very post-resonation-esque taxi journey home, during which I vaguely recall making the taxi driver stop at a service station so I could stumble out for some salt and vinegar twirly crisps. It was a lovely evening in Shoreditch where all the trendy people like to hang out, with their hip eighties-style clothes and asymmetrical haircuts. I have neither of these things, and neither do my friends, but we had a good time anyway and nobody launched themselves at us with some sharp scissors or thinly disguised shoulder pads, so we were safe and had a great time.

This week I am going to meet up with Lucy on Thursday. She doesn't know this yet because I haven't replied to her email as of yet. This isn't some deliberate, tricksy game I'm playing, I'm just a bit scatty.

Tomorrow I have another one of these workshops, this time on Jazz Improvisation with an acclaimed jazz singer whose name has escaped me. I hope to learn things and all that sort of crap, but primarily I just want to be told I'm fabulous again.

I also need your help. Not with the telling me I'm fabulous thing, although it couldn't hurt. Really what I need help with is ideas.

I need to update my singing website (see sidebar) and I'd like to put interesting things on it. I want to put my tracks on, obviously, and I need to record those. Also, though, I want cool stuff that's interesting. Perhaps photos, links, things like that. I don't know exactly what to do, though. If you have any suggestions it would be really useful.

Please de-lurk and suggest some things! What sort of photos? Action ones or posed ones? Tasteful and artistic or just downright slutty?

Suggestions in a comment, please.

(ALSO IMPORTANT: It's my sister Alexandra's birthday today. She is 26 years old and lovely and pretty. Happy birthday, Alex.)