Monday, July 31, 2006


Every now and then a Monday rolls around that whacks me firmly around the head and leaves me nonplussed. Dizzy with the realisation that it will be five days before I stand any chance of getting enough sleep, four more days of being shaken into consciousness by the shrill whining of my phone alarm. Four more mornings of sitting on the side of my bed, covers thrown grudgingly back, staring bleary-eyed at the carpet before summoning the strength to stand up and make my way to the shower. Minutes wasted gazing into my wardrobe looking for something to wear before finally giving in and looking on the floor instead. Wondering why I wake up with a headache every single day. Why, by the time I get to work, it turns into an earache. Sometimes it feels like the beginnings of a panic attack, only it can't be, because that would make no sense. It feels like a nervous nausea combined with exhaustion, which I don't understand.

At the moment I am nervous. I feel like things are slipping out of my grasp somehow. I don't really know what's going on. I want someone to stand in front of me with a big whiteboard and some coloured marker pens and do a big map of my life, just so I can make sure I know what goes where. Perhaps with pictures and sound effects.

I'm going to New Zealand next Saturday. This seems a bit unreal at the moment, because I don't really believe I'm going. I think when Tom goes this Saturday it'll be more real, and when I am actually shoving every pair of knickers I own into a giant suitcase stuffed primarily with toiletries and developing a mild (read: severe) case of OCD about the location and expiry date of my passport it will finally dawn on me that I am actually going. There are moments of clarity, moments when Tom and I are talking about the walking, skiing, sea kayaking, or staying on a remote farm worlds away from the Bank branch of the Northern Line and the nearest Starbucks, when the excitement hits me and I want to jump up and down and dance crazily with glee. It feels like running away, and I can't wait.

I feel a bit that I am on the verge of feeling deep panic, and I'm not really sure what it's all about, which is only adding to it. I must write a big list so I can work out what I'm worrying about, which sounds crazy, but I hate the feeling of walking around carrying an un-named worry, because the longer it goes unidentified the worse it becomes. Panic breeds panic.

On a slightly brighter note, my Impish Little Sister (Sophie) has a myspace, which is very exciting and good and which you must listen to at once. Go!

I am going to go and find some coloured pens and work out what is going on via the medium of colouring stuff in.

Happy Monday.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Mental. Absolutely insane.

The hormones have caught up with me and are playing mercilessly with my sanity levels. One moment I am fine, happily staring out of the window or trying to work out how I can slip the phrase "there she was, resplendent in beige" into a sentence, and the next, WHAM! I am floored, head in hands and incapable of doing anything but wail slightly and curse my diet for not letting me eat. I mean, I can eat, but not the things I really want. Like spoonfuls of lard covered in Nutella with some foie gras perched atop, you know the sort of thing.

The diet as a whole is going, well, alright, but I'm not as miraculously thin as I may have given the impression of being in my last post. This I will also blame on the hormones. Stupid fattening hormones, making me all irritable, unhappy and whale-like (only in fatness, not in being able to spray water out of my head, or swimming lots in the ocean.)

I truly and sincerely believe that they are making me scatty as well. I have been known to be scatterbrained before (for a whole year in primary school a teacher never called me by my name, always referring to me as Miss Scatterbrain/Miss Scatty or something along those lines. I pointed out to her that, as a feminist, I prefer 'Ms', but she paid no heed) but not to the extent I am right now, on this Thursday (I remember what day it is! Good start.)

So it is a cycle. The scatterbrainedness: forgetting to do something; forgetting what to say when I pick up the phone; forgetting that if I walk into things either I or they will fall over, and chances are it'll be me. Then the repercussions of my scatterness: a telling off; a panicked excuse about a 'dodgy line'; a confused and painful few moments on the floor. Then the paranoia: I am going to be fired/I'm a horrible friend/everyone hates me; they know I'm lying; I think I've broken my leg. Then the irritation and self-loathing: I cannot believe I would be so stupid as to be fired from a job I should be able to do with my eyes closed and hands tied behind my back whilst buried in a tin can six miles north of Aberdeen/I liked that friendship and now I've gone and broken it; what sort of a twod (new word) lies about something like that?; who breaks their LEG? That is so mid-nineties I could cry. Then the resulting unhappiness. Rendering me unable to do anything/remember where I am and what I am meant to say/walk around large objects like desks, doors and colleagues. And so it starts all over again.

Hormones, I can only conclude, are knobs.

To add to that I am physically shaky and my hair is behaving in a very odd manner. It is all blow-y. I think it is trying to convey a message to me. I think... hang on, wait, what was that? Oh, yes, as I thought. It wants me to eat cake. Yes. Cake and... hang on, there's more... and pizza? Pizza? Bad hair! It is very devious. Don't worry, music video people, I will not bend to the naughty whimsy of my hair. The only cakes I will eat will be the rice ones.

(Other symptoms of Hormonal Behaviour: thinking one is Medusa. Except with talking hair/snakes that demand fattening foodstuffs.)

I must go now before I start openly wondering whether perhaps my fingernails are petulantly petitioning for some chocolate mousse and chips.


The thing was, though, that everyone else was having an ice cream. Then I happened to mention that I was having a horrible day and the next thing I knew there was Magnum all in my mouth. Which I had accidentally given someone £1.10 to get from the shop for me.

I was good, though. I left the whole stick.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Empty As A Pocket With Nothing To Lose

That title has no relevance to this post, but it is one of my favourite lyrics of all time, and it has been whirring around my head all day.

My Diet. She is going very well. I am considerably thinner than I was yesterday, and have had to buy a whole new wardrobe in order for my clothes not to fall right off me. (Although buy me a drink and we might still be able to arrange that) (Just kidding) (Although make it good Champagne and we'll talk.)

Last night I was in a pub and I drank water all night. Don't get me wrong, it was of the sparkling mineral variety. I may be On A Diet but that doesn't mean I'm not still fancy.

Part of the reason for my abstinence last night was the nature of the meeting I was having last night. It was a discussion about music, about my music to be more specific. The long and short of it is that I am going to have my album produced for me. My album. Written by me. Not some pseudo-big-shot writer/producer/sleaze chap who will allow me to change a single lyric from 'glove' to 'love', perhaps suggest a couple of harmonies for the backing vocals and then cut off any further creative rights. No, the majority of the songs will have been penned and performed by me, and the others will be collaborations. There is more to this project than that, and in fact the album production aspect is my incentive for getting involved in the rest of it. Which is exciting in itself, so it isn't really a compromise to be on board with.

We'll see. It's nothing to do with the music video next Thursday, which I am excited about in a different way. In a well, it's not going to change my life but how very cool sort of way as opposed to a fucking hell this might actually be something one. Thanks, Pimoti, for your useful sneaky tip in the last comments. I shall stock up. My mother would be cross with me (she is a nutritionist, and therefore disapproves of redbull), but I am rebellious and a bit hip, so I will therefore do it anyway. Afterwards I shall confess all to her in a great tangle of snot and tears, but up until that point I shall be just streamlined and svelte, and ultra cool.

I don't understand something, also. People have been commenting less and less, and yet when I check my sitemeter it reports that numbers of people actually reading have not diminished. (I know this is Not The Point and I shouldn't be bothered about comments and things but I am, whatever.) So what is it? Is it that my posts leave people completely uninspired? Or perhaps that people are so overawed by my depth of perception that they are gobsmacked? Or is it, and I suspect this might be the real reason, that I never reply to comments, because I am a bit of a mean and cold-hearted cow underneath this finely polished veneer of a smooth, highly creative and unnervingly beautiful-in-a-fragile-but-strong-way lady from the Home Counties? It's that, isn't it? Not the second bit, although I can assure you that my delicate fragility sometimes stuns people so much that perfect strangers have been known to walk past me in the street without saying a word.

It's just that I always start to write replies to comments and then I suffer from a bout of under-confidence and delete them. Then I feel guilty. For some reason I suffer much more from Isoundlikeaknob-itis when writing comments than I do when writing all kinds of unspeakable drivel here.

I am way too hot still. Luckily this evening I am going for a swimbeque at Tom's house (not the mansion in Islington [read: Holloway Road] but the one in Twickenham). In case you are not familiar with the concept of a swimbeque I will tell you, it is a barbeque where you get to swim because there is a pool. Do NOT EVER swim just after the barbeque because you will certainly get cramp and die, probably. A swimbeque, therefore, is a dangerous sport, like extreme barbequing, but I am going to brave it because I have been hotter than Satan's electric blanket for about six brazillion years now and it's really starting to grate.

My chair is sticking to me. It's my fault, really, because I'm wearing a short skirt, but I can still complain. Mainly because I just can, because I say so.

(Things I am electing not to blog about today, number 7 in a series of 329,758: How there was cake just now, in the office, and I had a teeny, tiny, inconsequential bit just to see what it tasted like. Answer: Oh, dreamy.)

I have to stop typing now because I strongly fear that this blog will slide rapidly from a Diet Blog to an I Love Cake Blog.

(Aside: That whole issue from the update yesterday is all sorted. I no longer want to think about it.)

Monday, July 24, 2006


Starting from today I am On A Diet.

I'm not overweight, and I have no pressing reason really to need to lose weight. I eat relatively healthily. I drink lots of water and do exercise except when it's really hot and there is no air-conditioning to be found except in shops and other people's offices.

However. I had a meeting on Saturday with the people I am doing the music video with and they want me to wear a £15,000 couture dress. Fifteen THOUSAND POUNDS. That is twenty-seven billion US dollars, or thereabouts. Fifty-five trillion Euros. I am determined to fit into that dress. I haven't tried it on, or even seen it, but the stylist thinks it is perfect. Elegant, glamourous and fashionable but classic. I can only assume it's made of pure gold, as on an average day my entire outfit usually costs about a tenner, including accessories.

Things I will not be doing from now until August 3rd:
1. Eating meat feast pizzas in bed before ten o'clock in the morning.
2. Eating the numerous cakes and treats that are constantly hanging around the office.
3. Drinking (much) alcohol.
4. Drinking less than twenty brazillion glasses of water a day.
5. Starving myself.

Well, I'm not stupid.

I have another meeting tonight for another project I am considering getting involved with. I am being taken for dinner to discuss things. Then on Friday I have another meeting. I hope they pay for the drinks (and by drinks I mean slimline water, perhaps with a twist). At some point I'll probably go into more detail about these things, but currently I'm a bit unsure of the details myself, and so am playing my cards close to my chest. By not getting excited about anything prematurely I am being careful, I won't get into anything that I am doubtful of, because I honestly don't think it's worth it. Contrary to how I might sometimes think, I have come a long way since I graduated two years ago, and I'm not about to compromise that just because someone talks big. Witness: Léonie, hardened.

My cello has been fixed, and is playable. I played it on Saturday, and it was so lovely to be able to pick it up and play. It's more of a physical memory than a cerebral one: I felt my fingers finding the notes and moving with increasing ease as I tentatively reached for the scales and melodies that used to be second nature. I can't wait to see where I can go with it.

This blog is now a Diet Blog.

Today I have eaten:

Some cereal
Peppermint tea

It's going well. I estimate that I have already lost about three stone. I am waif-like. Some might say gaunt.

If you have any dieting tips I would love to hear them, as I can't really seem to take it seriously. Everytime I hear people talk about fad diets I inwardly ridicule them, and quite rightly. People deserve to be fat if they decide to eat only grapefruit and gherkins for three weeks because they read about it in Heat magazine, only to find that, oh what a shock, it doesn't work out. I refuse to do anything like this, the Cabbage Soup Diet or the Atkins Diet or the Air Pie Diet or whatever. I am just being sensible.

However now I have decided to be On A Diet, all I can think about is eating, which cannot be constructive.

Also bad for dieting: Boyfriends. You didn't think I ate that meat feast pizza in bed before ten in the morning alone, did you? Boys, it seems, are fattening. Please nobody make any crude jokes about exercising, I have already considered and dismissed all of them.

I am off to the shops now to peruse the salads and feel in turns smug and hunger-stricken.


I wasn't sure whether I wanted to write about this, considering that it a) isn't really of any major consequence, and b) isn't really mine to write about.

Then I thought, well, it may not be of major consequence, but it is exactly the sort of thing I feel the need to write about. As for point b), I had a conversation and it cleared that bit up. So there is not really much holding me back, other than the dreaded fear of oversharing.

I just want to say that I know it's easy to take a high ground, if there's one kicking about. It's simple to dismiss something on the grounds that you wouldn't do it, that you would do things a different, better, and more appropriate way, if at all. It is easy to take that path, and there have been a few occasions in my life when I have been on both ends of that morality, when I have both judged and been judged.

It isn't easy, though, to remain compassionate and understanding of someone else's feelings when they are texting your boyfriend and asking him to come back to them.

Yes, well, I think if it hadn't been for the fact that the possibilty of them getting back together was the reason for things ending last time, I would have more compassion at my fingertips. I would be more able to feel sorry for her, and not to be thrown by it.

I'm sort of in two minds about how I feel about it. This ONE TEXT that means nothing.

On the one hand, whatever. As long as he wants to be with me, which he says he does and I believe him (oh, come on, the man's got eyes), then it makes no difference who texts him. It's like if he was jealous of men coming up to me in bars and attempting, well, anything. Provided I say 'no', there is no reason to be jealous, nothing to be upset or worried about. If he wants to be with me, then great, it makes no difference who pops up and "misses him". If he had wanted to go back to her he would've done. He isn't. That's all there is to it.

On the other hand I am less rational. Less cool. I want to slap her and tell her in no uncertain terms to fuck off, and stop being selfish. There is no way I would send a text out of the blue to an ex-boyfriend with whom I had broken up a year ago, to try to regain some power over him. If you are serious about propositioning someone, don't fucking do it in a text message. What this says to me is 'I'm bored, I feel like messing with your head', and I dislike people who do that. Dislike them immensely. Herein lies the 'holier than thou' dilemma I vaguely sounded off about previously. Perhaps I would send a discomfiting text at 2am, without knowing anything about what the other person was doing with their life now, to hint at a glorious reunion. I very much doubt it, though.

I'm not sure whether perhaps all this anger is about me being insecure that, as distasteful and pathetic as I think her action was, it might in some way win him over. That despite all reassurances to the contrary, he is secretly mulling over the possibility of taking her up on her offer. Who wouldn't feel like this, I suppose. History has taught me to be very, very wary of this particular segment of his past, and so wary I am being. I am somewhere between feeling that it is all alright, and being so filled with doubt that I want just to go home and for it all to go away.

It has suddenly occurred to me what this post is really saying. It is partly a derisive comment on somebody else's ill-advised actions that happened to affect me. It is partly just a rant. I think, though, it is mostly testament not to how much I dislike her, but to how much I feel for him. It isn't about taking the high-ground or being paranoid, it's just that I have suddenly realised how much I care for someone.

Holy shit. I cannot believe I'm writing this on the Internet.

I must go and find my cool, ice-queen exterior and return it to it's rightful place, stat.

(Oh, and by the way? I am strong. I broke someone's rib once. In self-defence, of course. But I'm just saying. Strong. Watch it.)

Friday, July 21, 2006

Friday Fig Newtons

Fill in the blanks: I ____________ when I _____________.

I can only think of dirty things to write when I see this question.

Name something you use to make your home smell good.

Scented candles. I like the strawberry and papaya one.

If you could receive a coupon in the mail for 50% off any product, what would you want it to be for?

A pony.

Actually, no, I think maybe some DVDs and CDs. A less grandiose request than a pony (although the pony wouldn't have to be grandiose, just a simple farm pony with a good heart would be perfect) but more practical and easier to get from Amazon.

Main Course
Besides sleeping, what do you spend the majority of the hours of your typical day doing?

Thinking about things. Looking for lipbalm in my bag. Singing to myself. Wishing I had better hair. Checking to see if my hand is tanned enough to leave a ring mark yet. Seeing whether I have new emails. Writing lists of criteria for my ideal pony. Colouring with crayons.

Actually I would say I spend seventy percent or more of my average day thinking about how to advance my singing career, writing lists and making elaborate spider diagrams. Make that eighty percent, actually, assuming I'm not drunk in a pub somewhere. If I'm drunk in a pub somewhere it is safe to assume that I will be laughing raucously at my own jokes.

What can you hear right now while answering these questions?

The strains of Bjork coming from the other side of the office. The whir of my (sadly ineffectual) desk fan. The click-clack-clacking of my keyboard. Someone making Friday night plans that involve tequila.

I deem these questions to be slightly better than those of last week.

Someone has just put Jeff Buckley 'Grace' on the stereo. This makes me happy as a pony, as it's one of my all time favourite albums.

I can't really be bothered thinking of anything else to write, as I am all hot and tired (last night there was gin and some of it accidentally went in my mouth, and while I was trying to get it out I fell over into a big vat of it [also with tonic in it] and had to drink my way out and... oh it was awful). I have found another set of questions to answer.


These ones allow me to talk about how great I am in various ways, which I prefer to do than talk about my particular methods of scenting my home.

1. What about you makes you unique?
This is not a good start. I suppose everything makes me unique. Nothing so obvious as 'well, I suppose the fact that I have an orange for a head is different', but we're all different. People have said told me I'm strange on more than one occassion, but I always take it as a compliment. Even when specifically instructed otherwise.

2. What aspect of your physical appearance do you think makes you stick out from the crowd?

My chest, I suppose, literally. Also I have an orange for a head.

3. What do you always have with you while out in public? (for example, earrings, purse, wallet, watch, etc.)

Purse (meant in the English way, to mean wallet), keys, phone. Ipod usually. A book, my diary. Most importantly, however, lipbalm.

4. Is there anything about your body that you think isn't normal?

Um. Not really. I am not going to make a third 'orange for a head' joke, as I honestly don't think it was at all funny the first time, not to mention the second. I shall avoid flogging a dead pony and just answer that, no, I don't think I have any major abnormalities to cope with. Physically.

5. What are you complimented on (looks, smarts, anything) the most? Why do you think that's the case?

I'm not sure, really. It's a tricky question. I can tell you some things I am never complimented on, though.
My mathematical prowess
My aptitude for video games
My boundless wealth
My keenness for all sporting events
My knowledge of computers
My ability to back down and not have to be right all the time
My skill at being able to have one drink and go home
My immaculate housekeeping skills
My jokes

Actually I am sometimes complimented on my ability to tell jokes, but about an equal number of people have banned me from ever telling another joke again in my or their lifetime, so I'm not sure where to go with that.

Men on the street compliment me on my great personality, good work for charity and compassion for small injured animals.

People compliment me on my singing but only because I force them to by threatening to tell them all the jokes I know, which is a lot.

On another note, I am enjoying the fan sitting in front of me on my desk, as it is blowing my hair back in the manner of an eighties pop video. I am going to go and find some large shoulder pads, backcomb my hair a little more and locate a dove that I can release from my clasped hands in the manner of Bonnie Tyler in the Total Eclipse of the Heart video.

Actually I have a meeting tomorrow about a music video I've been asked to be in, for that track I linked to the other day. We're going to lunch in Portobello Road, and meeting with the producer, manager and stylist, as well as Tom, the singer. I am going to wear a big sign saying 'IT IS IN YOUR INTEREST THAT YOU DO NOT ASK ME TO FREESTYLE DANCE'.

Next week I have two more music meetings. I am being covertly excited about them. By, obviously, writing about it all on the Internet.

I feel somewhat loquacious today so I might update. I am also clearly in the mood for typing words like loquacious, which I think we might all agree cannot be a good sign.

Have a good weekend.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Simmering away nicely.

It is a wonder I can type this, really, seeing as all my limbs have melted and my head is the consistency of warm wax.

The city is still scalding to the touch. Hotter, they say, than boiling water. Hotter, I heard, than the sun.

As my American friend said to me this morning, though "Try not to die of heat exhaustion, it's Britain, it won't last long". Everyone knows that this is not the point. The point is to claim imminent death through heat exhaustion, to talk about it incessantly while it's happening, complain about it in various ways, and then mourn it furiously the minute the UK turns back into the UK and stops being Nevada. I, for example, have got some really good things to say about the particular feeling of a stranger's sweaty bare flesh touching your own whilst crammed into the tube, and how well and truly horribly nauseating it is.

Last night Tom and I went to a gig at The Spitz. It was far and away the hottest and most sweaty I have felt in about ever, but it was amazing. It was a woman called Joan As Police Woman. It wasn't, as the name might suggest, any sort of burlesque or cabaret. It was Joan on keys and guitar, a bassist and a drummer, and both Tom and I were completely blown away by her. Her songs were incisive and beautiful, musically and lyrically amazing. Passionate, at times rock and at others so very soulful. The Spitz is a small venue and it was sold out, I think perhaps there were one hundred people there, not more. The stage is shallow, and from our vantage point about three people back from the front we could see her every emotion and facial expression. I love that venue, it's so intimate. I have sung on the stage there once, it's one of those stages that almost doesn't feel like a stage because it is so close to the audience. Go to her website ( see what you think.

We were quite drunk and I had a cheese and bacon pasty on the way home, and now I feel guilty. Not, of course, guilty enough not to need something equally deliciously fattening to quell the rolling of a slight hungover sluggishness I am feeling today.

This evening I am going to The British International Motor Show in Docklands. As a VIP. Taking into account the fact that I cannot drive and the most I know about cars is that it's bad to be sick in them and you can't eat crisps in my friend Steve's, I think it is a ticket well spent. I am looking forward to it, because I am going with my Dad and also because VIP implies that there might be Champagne and good canapés. Also celebrities whose names I won't know and who I will have never heard of before, but who I will nevertheless watch with interest.

The heat is making me sleepy, and I am struggling to maintain my usual demeanor of hyper-alert brightness with which I grace each working day. Every time I pick up the phone I forget what I am going to say to the person on the other end. Today is one of long pauses.

I am too tired even to read this post through to check for spelling mistakes or incidences of having accidentally admitted to have six illegitimate children hidden in a cupboard just outside of Basingstoke.

I am also trying to sunbathe through the open window to my right hand side, and typing ruins the angles.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Scorched City (UPDATED)

Hotter than Greece. Hotter than Mauritius. Hotter, and this may well blow your mind, than Cornwall.

London is hot. The Northern Line is a torrid mass: crowds being pushed to the very limits of human endurance; furiously ignoring the sticky, cloying sweat of Other People. We stare fixedly above through the gaps between bare shoulders, arms and the rivulets of moisture trickling down the foreheads and engorged necks of strangers. Pressed together, not moving, patiently concentrating on counting down the stops.

We have no air conditioning in my office. A window gapes by my side but no breeze drifts through it to cool me. I am imagining sea. A clear, azure skyseasky. Waves slow and deliberate, serenely lapping over me as I lie, languid in the surf.

In London the pavements bake. People talk about the weather more than ever, because, did you hear? It's hotter than Greece today. Thirty-six degrees, I heard. Read it in The Metro. Thunderstorms later on in the week, though, so we should make the most of it. Can't complain, really.

We do, though.

I feel too exhausted by the non-airconditioned heat to say all I would like to say today. I would like to talk about my weekend, and how good it was. About some music stuff that is coming my way and how, after so long, I can see that the climb might start getting a bit gentler and the path smoother. About how my therapist and I decided that we will have one more session and then, perhaps, proclaim me fixed. About how that scares me a little bit, but also how I know it's not far from the truth.

I am melting, in the manner of the Wicked Witch of the West, except I am wearing fewer clothes, am less green and have more freckles.

I would love for someone to pour a bucket of water over my head, and then hand me a cocktail with lots and lots of ice in it.

UPDATE: I am stuggling out of my sticky torpor to tell a story relating to how I am rubbish at all computer games ever invented ever.

On Friday night I swayed over to Tom's house after going out in the lovely Queen's Park, and happened upon various people playing some sort of computer game sort of thing.

Ever since the age of twelve and an embarrassing Super Mario Brothers-related episode at my friend Emily's house, any mention of computer games is my cue to develop a sudden but hearty interest in outdoor pursuits: hiking, birdwatching, throwing myself in front of buses and the like.

This computer game, I was quickly informed, was different. This was music-related! Involving music! 'Guitar Hero', it's called. This assurance only served to make me more disconsolate, as I suspected that, far from being miraculously and wonderously good at it, the experience would only prove that I am actually not that good at music, and therefore my whole reason for being would be exposed as a complete and resounding fallacy.

'Guitar Hero', in case you are one of the few who has not been initiated, involves standing in your living room (I have been informed that it is more rewarding if you haven't washed for a while and are wearing only greying underwear) with what can only be described as a fake guitar slung round your person. Adopting a suitable pose (legs apart, body at a jaunty angle) you must watch the screen of the TV. You select a song. Using the buttons on the 'guitar'. Say you choose 'Killer Queen' because you have been told it's easy enough for a leaden-armed, myopic primate to master. The introduction sounds, and on the screen appears a guitar fret. Except it looks like a cartoon road. On the guitar you have a number of buttons. I want to say five, but I can't remember. As the song progresses, you must press the appropriate buttons with your left hand (these are the 'notes') and strum with your right (this is the 'strummy bit'), as dictated by the big cartoon road on the TV.

(I know I am describing it with all the aptitude of a five-year old explaining quantum physics in yellow crayon, but this is the best I can do.)

You get points for pressing the right buttons and being good at strumminess, basically, and there are lots of songs to choose from that are rated by difficultly. They range from "You Are A Proper Spacka If You Can't Do This One" to "Perhaps You Should Get Out Of The House Sometime, See Some Friends, Maybe, Or Catch A Film".

In my defence, I had had lots of wine. Also my arm fell off on the tube and I only have one eye. As you maybe have surmised, I was not suddenly the 'Guitar Hero' champ of Holloway Road. In fact, the highlight for me was having one person* one on side doing the 'notes' bit and another on the other doing the strummy bit, and therefore only being repsonsible for adopting a suitably rock 'n' roll stance, and still fucking it up and being laughed at by a computer game for being a loser.

Tom forgave me for being inept in front of his friends. I am still muttering darkly to myself about "if it was karaoke..." but that is a whole new feast of humiliation and I'm just not sure our relationship is ready.


Friday, July 14, 2006

Friday Feta

The Friday's Feasts questions are just getting more and more rubbish. In a few weeks it'll be things like "what's your name and why is it important to you?" and "if you had to be made of gold or silver and sing a song about it, which would you be and what would the rhyme scheme of your song be?". Actually I like that last one. Silver, and iambic pentameter.

Last night Tom and I went out and got mildly resonated in a bar in Angel. There was wine, tapas and ice-cream. On a Thursday night! Imagine! Throwing the Weekend Ice-Cream Laws to the wind! I shock myself sometimes with my daringness.

I have begun to get over my post-holiday blues, by means of arranging a website overhaul, and some other things. I am excited about the site re-vamp, because I don't think it's comprehensive enough as it is. Also it is very jazz-orientated, and I am less and less jazz these days. Far more hardcore punk rock. I will still keep the jazz tracks on there, but there will be other things as well. Photos, a blog, other recordings, video clips. A more comprehensive and accurate biography. Loads of stuff, and the look of it will be revamped as well. Euan and I are meeting next Thursday to discuss it all in fine, beer-addled detail.

This weekend holds delights in store for me. Tonight is Dan's housemate Mike's birthday so I am tagging along for more mild resonation in Queen's Park. Then tomorrow night I'm going to the housewarming party of my friend Sophie (a member of Surf '06, which is what we called our trip to Biarritz because we are all so cool, hip and down with the kids) on the King's Road. Tom is also coming, and will have an exciting evening spent listening to in-jokes and then having to smile politely as someone tells him in detail where exactly the game 'Cock or Foot' came from. Then on Sunday there are some options, all of which involve parks and fun therein. Also possible beer.

Also I must organise getting my cello fixed. Again. It was fixed, and a shiny new bridge was put on. I excitedly rosin-ed up my bow (that's not a euphemism) and set to work tuning it so I could finally scratch out the Elgar Cello Concerto with vigour and enthusiasm, and as I tuned it the A-string snapped with a triumphant 'p-ping!'. The A-string, for the uninitiated, is not supposed to snap with a triumphant 'p-ping!'. I cried a bit, and then set to work assuming that the bridge is wonky. So back I must trawl to the lady on Denmark Street (nicknamed 'Tin Pan Alley' for all the music shops on it) near Tottenham Court Road to demand a good re-fixing. I am having a rehearsal with Janie (Bird) next weekend so I need to practice and become all swooshy again ('swooshy': a technical, cello term meaning 'not really shit') before then. Oh, the pressure.

Thanks for the comments on the last post. I wasn't fishing for compliments, not really. Thanks for the compliments anyway, though. I wrote them all on my hand so people can see them and know what a hyper-cool blogger I am. I won't give up because I have a flourishing addiction and I relish it.

I feel the need to answer one Friday's Feast question, so I have chosen the one most directed at people who have a sunny outlook on life and collect pictures of kittens in baskets.

Name one thing nice that you could do for someone else today.

I could make up some better questions the Friday's Feast. Or I could actually do some work. Or I could stop spreading rumours about people leading secret double lives as exotic dancers called Chad. Or maybe smile at someone in the tube. Actually every Londoner knows that smiling at people in the tube is tantamount to wearing a sandwich board with the words 'I AM A FREAK AND MAY EAT YOUR FAMILY' written in marker pen on both sides, and therefore is probably something to be avoided.

Well, have a lovely weekend, my friends. I am off to lie in a park somewhere and top up my freckles.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

More meta-blogging (UPDATED)

I think I might have forgotten how to blog.

I have been moping around wondering whether I have come to the end of my blogging road, questioning my every thought to test how blog-worthy it might be.

I know that everyone who is cool, hip and trendy enough to have one of these things experiences similar crises from time to time. I sort of imagined that there would come a time when the real world would crowd out this little piece of virtual reality I so depended on for a while. I thought that one day I would pause in my busy, singing-based life and think, oh! I remember. Once I wrote stuff. People sometimes read it. Then my life picked up and became this perfect, wonderful, ideal existence and I didn't need it any more.

Now, before you reach any conclusions, let me just tell you that no, my life hasn't suddenly intertwined with all my hopes and dreams. I have no such perfect existence. The reason I am beginning to wonder whether to carry on is, in fact, the polar opposite. I am STILL struggling, I am STILL going from one project to the next, wondering what I'm doing. I still have exactly the same questions and worries as I did when I started this, and I am beginning to wonder whether or not it might have become a little boring.

I am a little bored, to be honest. Yes, I know, I have just been on holiday. I should be all rejuvenated and ready to spring into action like a ready-to-spring spring. The thing is, though, that I do feel ready, but suddenly I've realised that I'm not entirely sure where I'm meant to be springing to. I thought I knew. Before I went away I thought I had a plan, and now I feel like maybe I don't so much. It's like coming back to an essay you'd been working on, only to discover that you've only written four and a half words instead of the 1,500 you had been imagining.

It's such an uphill journey, particularly when I am not even massively sure a) what I'll find at the summit or b) whether there will even be a summit to find.

What I am trying to express in my simile-ridden prose is that I am bored of being scared, of being unsure about what I am aiming for. I wish it were clearer cut, and that I could just say, well, I want to be a pop-star. Then I could just go to the gym twelve million times, have a quick personality-ectomy and get on with selling out. I don't want to be a pop-star, though. I want to perform and record my own songs. With people who are as keen as I am. With people who want to make music and who want to be on stage to entertain and touch people in some way. Not in a dirty way, necessarily, but who knows? That may be one of the perks.

Actually I know exactly what it is that is standing in my way. I need those people to work with. Or person. I value my autonomy in every aspect of my life (sometimes to rather a destructive extent) but I am not so stubborn as to not acknowledge that I need another musician (or more) to make things happen.

I can identify the problem, then. A hurdle that is not insurmountable, but that is tricky and difficult to negociate.

I have put ads up, but I don't have a clue how to audition people. I suppose I could get them in a room, sing one of my songs to/at them and just instruct them to improvise, but that seems a bit harsh.

Although actually, when I write it down it doesn't so much, because that's what I'm looking for. I could give them a standard beforehand and ask them to prepare something, as well.

I could just test people out and see what sort of sound I like best, see which people seem easiest to work with, see which people have the best balance of musicality and personality. I would have to, for a whole day, pretend to be someone who knows something about music, but that's not so difficult.

(When I was at school I was quite shy, and I disliked doing presentations, French oral exams, saying things in class and the like. There was this girl in my class called Harriet who was so confident, always courteous and articulate with teachers, never blistered with blushes when called upon to answer a question. She took her time when responding, didn't stammer out the first thing that came into her head, just coolly smiled and gave the best she could. One day it occurred to me that if I could just pretend I was Harriet, mimic her and adopt her poised aura of calm, then I could carry things off as well as she could. In my A-level French oral, in my Spanish and French orals at University, I pretended I was Harriet. In interviews, in situations that made me want to run and find a book to shut myself away with, I pushed aside my shyness and forced my inner-Harriet to shine through. It might sound strange, but it actually works. I no longer pretend to be her, but sometimes, when faced with a situation that scares me, I find the person I think would deal with the situation the best and just 'be' them. Not in a schizophrenic way, nor in a wearing-their-underwear one, but just in a borrowing the best bits sort of a way.)

I am scared of auditioning people as myself. The 'what-ifs' span from 'what if they think I know nothing about music, that my songs are rubbish, that I am a jumped-up, know-nothing loser who will never make it anywhere', to 'what if they think my hair's rubbish'. Actually for the latter they would get points for having even the most rudimentary of senses of perception. Anyway, I am my own Harriet now. I will have to ignore my sense of inadequacy and pile up the confidence and self-motivational speeches before I enter in on such an experience, but somewhere, deep down I know I can do it.

I started off today wondering whether I should continue to blog. Wondering whether there was still a point. I started off over a year ago wanting to make people laugh, to be entertaining and share anecdotal, sit-com-like humour with people on the Internet. Somewhere along the line it has become something I use to order my thoughts, to rearrange all the crap that builds up in my brain and try to understand it. I would like it to be more "you'll never guess what happened on the bus"-based, but I think I have lost the knack for that, if I ever really had it. The sharing thing still applies, though. On some subjects, I truly listen to myself way more than I do to anyone else, simply because I am the only one that has a chance of knowing exactly what I am looking for. The only subject, in fact, where this applies, is my singing. Everywhere else I can take advice. Just about. Here is the only place I can sort my thoughts out sufficiently to be able to identify what I actually want/need to do.

So, having started off wondering whether I had it in me to continue blogging, I think I have reached the conclusion that I don't have it in me to stop. I still need this outlet for the questions only I can really answer.

I'm just hoping something funny happens to me on a bus soon, so that it still remains at least vaguely entertaining for everyone else.

UPDATE: A couple of weeks ago I did some vocals for a friend's track and it's up on his myspace. My vocals are on 'Luckiest Man', but the whole lot is great, I reckon.

Monday, July 10, 2006


I am back in the UK, tired but in tact. Bruised, also. With a slight cold. Also somewhat burn-y shoulders.

The holiday was fantastic. I arrived on the Sunday, was collected from Biarritz airport after a no-hitches flight from London and sat in the villa in a state of shock for about half an hour. Processing the fact that I was 'on holiday' after the stress of the preceding few weeks, and that now I could just relax. The villa itself was perfect; airy and tiled with huge sliding doors. Decorated thoughtfully and with care; lovely big sofas and nice bathrooms. The decking at the back was spacious, with deckchairs and little tables, and a large wooden table with benches at either side that easily seated the ten of us.

It was on one of these benches that I sat and gazed out over the view, with the sea in the distance over the terracotta rooftops and wisps of green trees. As each person came in from the beach they kissed me on the cheek and enquired about the flight, and concert the night before. Which I will get to, but which was even more of a success than I could possibly have hoped. Finally someone had the good sense to make some gin and tonics, and I began to settle into the relaxation mode that my friends had already mastered very quickly on the ferry ride over.

There were ten of us, five girls and five boys. Two couples. No arguments, no personality clashes, no scapegoat for the jokes. More than amicable, more than polite. So much more. A villa full of confident people who were comfortable with company they were in.

We surfed, we went wine-tasting, we hung out on the beach and messed around with bats and balls. We went on a day trip to Spain. We drank our collective bodyweight in gin and tonic, and then again in beer. There was another team in Biarritz at the same time, people we knew who were staying in another villa, so we had an inter-team barbeque one night (on our decking) and then another day we had an inter-team quiz and an egg and spoon race, with twenty-two twenty-somethings. On that day, after the other team had left, we discovered some face paints and drew copiously on each others' faces, generally with no discernable pattern or reason, and then went to the beach. As one paintee said "I look like a kid who's just eaten a whole pack of crayons and then vomited all over his own face". He was, I must say, not far wrong.

It wasn't sunny the whole time, but there was at least one day when the sun/hangover combination would have been too much of a killer anyway. That was the day we went wine-tasting, as I recall.

We went to a casino, a club and numerous bars. I spoke French quite a bit, and Spanish a tiny bit. We listened to the Anchorman soundtrack pretty much non-stop, and there was rarely a moment when someone wasn't mumbling "Afternoon Delight" in a drunken haze, waiting expectantly for someone else to fill in the "woooop!" bits. Catchphrases and in-jokes were born, and games such as "Punch or Cuddle" and "Cock or Foot" were played endlessly. I took plenty of photos, graciously allowing people to delete the ones they really, really hated, so that we can have a nice collection of memories without anyone cringing with horror at the one of them with the triple chin and snot all over their face.

I have a tan of sorts, in that I am browner than I was and my freckles are threatening to form their own system of government. I have made some friends, gained some awesome memories, and am twenty billion times more relaxed than I was went I left. Surfing was loads of fun, and appealed to me in the sense that you get battered and twatted in the face by the waves, end up face down in the sand, but you can just get back on your board and have another go. Each small victory builds you up for the next time, but each non-victory is just as amusing in its own way. My hip bones are bruised, as are my knees and arms, but it was completely worth it.

The concert the night before not only went smoothly, but was a huge success. My whole family were there, friends and my lovely boyfriend. Afterwards we sat out in my parents' garden and ate and drank until we were just too tired to keep our eyes open any more. I was so proud of my friends who performed with me, they were so fabulous. I even allowed myself to feel slightly proud of myself, for getting through it and not exploding completely.

I have things to be doing this week. A friend has asked me to do a live set at his birthday party in a few weeks time, so I have to start sorting that out. Also my cello is still broken so I have to get it un-broken quick-sharp so that I can rehearse with Bird.

I am going on holiday again in about four weeks. To New Zealand. Which will be oh so completely different from Biarritz, but wonderful, and I am so excited. I can't quite believe I'm allowed to go away again, so I'm keeping a low profile in case anyone points out to me that I am simply not nice enough to have all these wonderful things.

This post is gushy. By the next one I will have honed my sense of bitter-London-cynicism and write something terribly witty about the Northern Line or the weather, but for now I am just in too much of a good mood. I sent you all postcards, but I sent them quite late and the French postal system might have eaten them, or they might have been stolen, so don't be too surprised if you don't get one.

I am off to apply more aftersun now, and to daydream about gin and tonic and Ron Burgundy.