Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Of Studios And Boys

I arrived home last night from the studio at ten past one. I was shattered, but I had a great time. For hours we sat in the studio, creating a track. Starting work with a new producer is a bit like dating in that it takes a while to relax, for you both to work each other out, but if you have a spark it can feel really exciting. You both have to tap into each other's passions and methods to see whether they match, and if they do then it's partially the element of pure luck that is so thrilling. That, however, is probably where the analogy ends, because there is very little actual nakedness involved in studios. Well, not in my experience, anyway.

The track we're working on is more funk than jazz, with sweeping brass hooks and big fat bass lines. Vocally I am playing about with it, which feels a bit strange because for so long I have been trying to curb my 'showing off' instincts. and now they are being positively encouraged. The lyrics are very simplistic, as they often are in funk tracks, and they are also very dirty. Dirty! Me? I protested. But I am so innocent! How could I possibly sing things like that? (I secretly wanted to, of course, I was just trying to preserve my reputation) The upshot of it is that I am to practice at home and get good at singing about, like, sex and stuff, and then record them soon. If anyone has any tips on how to sing naughtily I would like very much to hear them.

Also this producer is trying to set me up on a blind date with his friend, who claims to have met me one time a few years ago. I, however, do not remember this meeting, which I am not taking as a very positive sign. Perhaps I was drunk, though, or maybe asleep, both of which would explain my memory loss. Whichever it was (and I rather hope it was the former) I seem to have made some kind of an impression ("she gets drunk, maybe she puts out lots", perhaps, or "her snoring is not so bad") on this person. Which is sort of nice.

I'm back in the studio on Thursday during the day, by which time I will have taught myself to sing all dirty-like. A bit like a Christina Aguilera might be if she had been brought up in the Home Counties. I will most likely wear more clothes than she does, and probably be considerably less internationally famous, but otherwise we have a lot in common and I plan on using those links to my maximum advantage.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Saturday, 8pm.

Waiting to start the gig, waiting for the musicians to arrive.

Wearing my long black dress with the slit arching up the side. Sipping Champagne whilst reclining on a sofa in Claridges hotel. Flicking through the words to the twenty or so jazz standards, I rest my glass on a small table upon which three small candles flicker. I can hear the buzz from next door from the voices of the seventy dinner guests, and I watch as the waiters snake in and out of the dining room, bearing plates of elaborate food and copious bottles of wine. As I cross my legs I can feel the dress sliding off them, and the eyes of the waiters flicking over in my direction. I feign a lack of self-consciousness as I slowly pull my dress back to cover myself, shifting slightly as I hear the waiters murmuring to each other in French. I try not to listen as I mouth the words to the songs to myself in between sips from my cool glass. I stand up and walk to the mirror, more for something to do than to check my appearance. I am conscious of my whole physical being as I walk in my four-inch heels. Pushing my shoulders back I feel tall, enjoying the sensation of feigned elegance. I walk through the hotel for no reason, feeling that I am keeping a secret, imagining that I am wrapped in mystery. I pretend that I am enigmatic, that I have excitement in me that I cannot share.

The musicians arrived, we played for a few hours and it went very well. As soon as we began I felt confident. I think I forget sometimes why I am so intent on being a singer, I worry that I have made it up, and that I cannot sing at all. It is only when I actually perform that I remember how it makes me feel, and why I want to spend my whole life doing it.

Yesterday Dan drove over to see me. It was so wonderful not to have to get on a train to see my friends, to not have to worry about getting back or staying over somewhere. We wandered around in the town, regularly moving cafés so as to avoid the armies of screaming infants, and finally ended up eating some pizza and talking about porn, which is quite normal. After that Dan came back to my house where we sat around drinking tea and looking through my old photos. He had to leave to get back in time for the Sunday night viewing of Top Gear then 24 then Lost, which is completely understandable.

Today I am going to the studio in Muswell Hill for four o'clock. Last time I was there for hours and hours and hours, so I suspect that will be the case this time. It is very hard work, because forced creativity in a confined environment is tricky and kind of exhausting, fancy coffee machine or no fancy coffee machine.

Tomorrow evening I am meeting a guitarist I met on myspace (im 16 years old!!! It will B gr8!!! :)!!!) to talk about collaboration and things. Luckily I am rather experienced at meeting People From The Internet so I'm not scared. I think he will probably think I am an idiot who knows nothing about music, but thankfully I am experienced at that, too.

Finally, I would like everyone to send Happy Pony Thoughts to my Impish Little Sister Sophie, because she is going through a bit of a tough time. I know that Paris is quite a long way to send Happy Pony Thoughts, but do try anyway. She is very special and probably the nicest person you could ever hope to meet. Way less of a narcissistic drama queen than I am, generous and funny with very good hair to boot. Send them, quick sharp, please. Thank you.

Friday, February 23, 2007


One of the things I have been struggling with recently is the minor question of what the hell I am doing with my life. I cannot live at home much longer, because I feel constantly in transition. Like I am waiting for something to happen, waiting for a nirvana point at which everything will just start to work and life will take off. This frustrates me, because I know that life won't suddenly slot into place magically. I know I have to build it myself, and I don't feel I'm doing that at the moment. I know I have to change things, but I can't quite work out what to do.

Well, actually I know exactly what I want, but I am not sure I am brave enough to snatch it with my grubby little fingers.

I want to move back into London. To gain some control over my existence. At the moment I don't feel I ever relax. I feel like going out is escaping staying in, and staying in is escaping going out. I want a room of my own.

Virginia Woolf, I think, had a point.

I want to live in Camden or Kentish Town. I want to earn money to pay my rent but I cannot tell you how sick I feel at the idea of office work. I am no good at it. When I've done any sort of office work I have found that my apathy towards it is completely paralysing. It isn't that I need to find something office-y that I care about, because I don't want to. I want to have a job because I need money, but I want to be in an environment where people accept the idea of having a higher priority than the working-to-pay-rent one. Music is the thing I feel passionate and driven about, and I want to work somewhere that has a high percentage of people who understand that. Somewhere I find interesting, of course, and fun. Somewhere I can meet interesting people everyday, but where I will not feel abnormal for having ambition other than within the confines of the workplace. I don't want to have to lie in interviews, because it would make me feel horrible to say that I cared about something when actually I didn't.

(I secretly dream of working in a tattoo parlour. Imagine the people I'd meet! It would be so fun. Obviously the sound of people screaming all day might wear me down, but not as much as the sound of photocopiers and fax machines, I am sure of that.)

I want to have a fun life. I want to sing, but I also want to live on my own, so I must earn money. I am encouraged to just get an office job. It makes sense, because I am (Quite) Intelligent and Have A Good Degree and Can Answer Phones, but I don't want to. I could earn more money doing it, of course. I would honestly prefer to work in a music shop, or a bookshop (or a tattoo parlour).

I could work and sing, make the most of my time by being occupied and busy. Not, though, by being ground into a dust of boredom by a job that makes me feel horrible. I can't do that to myself.

I am feeling very scared about making moves and decisions, because I am scared that my family and friends will think I am lazy and job-shy if I don't go for a nice marketing job in favour of working in a shop that sells rubber clothes (for example). I know I should do what I want and follow my heart, but I am a craver of approval (did the blogging give that away?) and I am terrified that people will think I'm stupid. Stupid and immature and silly. Now don't get me wrong, I am all three of those things, but I would prefer that they resided predominantly in my sense of humour, as usual.

I had other things to write about today, but I have rambled on with my 'blah blah life blah' stuff for too long.

I wanted to write about going to an open mic the other night in Earls Court and hanging out with loads of male and female models. I stood up very straight and told myself I had many good qualities and it isn't all about looks anyway. Also Prince Harry was there. He wasn't buying the drinks, though, so my interest waned pretty quickly.

Also I spent the other morning with a chihuahua. It belonged to one of the models whose house I stayed at (there was cake! In the house of a model! I didn't see her eat any, though) (maybe because some of the cake crumbs got in my eyes when I was shoving it in my own mouth). I got to take the dog on the tube with me and talk to it in a stupid voice for a while, whilst we both enjoyed the attention of strangers. People in London are a lot more friendly if you carry animals around with you, I found. Although I suspect the response might have been somewhat different had I been carrying around a sabre tooth tiger, say, or a great white shark.

I have a gig tomorrow night, at Claridges. I am looking forward to it, although I think my Long Slinky Black Dress might have a hole in it, which presents me with a pretty serious problem. I might have to wear my Medium Length Slinky Black Dress. Life really can be tricky sometimes.

Finally, I have to say thank you to Kelly (see sidebar) for sending me a lovely card of loveliness to cheer me up. I am such a big fan of her work.

Have a good weekend. Also, if you happen to pass any tattoo parlours would you mind popping in and seeing what the pay is like? Thanks.

Tuesday, February 20, 2007

Love To Love

Last night I was too exhausted to sleep. It was about one in the morning. I was so tired that I couldn't quite bring myself to get out of my clothes and into my bed. What I need, I thought to myself, is a useless and consuming activity. With this in mind I opened my wardrobe and pulled out from the bottom of it a medium-sized grey box. Over the top of this grey box spills hundreds of curling bits of paper, battered cards, grainy photos. This is place I used to put all the correspondence I ever received, including birthday cards, notes passed to me at school and letters from boys. There are letters my Mum used to send me when my sisters and I would go to summer music courses and on school trips. There are my own letters to other people that I have never quite got around to sending and letters to myself from before I discovered blogging.

I was reading through these letters and cards for about three hours. I pored particularly over the love letters, of which there are a surprising number. It seems so strange to have had all these experiences, to have had and incited all these intense feelings which have just floated away as the years have passed. What struck me the most was the extent to which these letters are written with total sincerity, promising eternal devotion, but I'm completely sure that, now, some of these boys would struggle to remember who I was. The youthful expressions of love scribbled ferociously on paper are so lovely, so touching, but so fleeting. I thought I'd share some extracts. Partly because reading them made me feel nice and I like to look at them, obviously. Also, though, I find it strange to think that if I did track these people down and show them their sixteen-year-old passions, they would probably laugh at their former selves. They would probably be slightly embarrassed. And I feel sorry for these former selves, because they do not deserve to be laughed at. They are so sweet, so expressive and so brave, and I love them for it. Even if I didn't at the time.

I don't want to mock these letters and poems, because they're too lovely. They're funny, a bit, but I am so impressed in retrospect that teenage boys set pen to paper like this. Written in such earnest they do not deserve my adult scorn, but I shall nevertheless write some little bits out and hope you understand that I'm not being mean.

Some of them are just honest and nice. I like you, you are nice, will you be my girlfriend sorts of things. Others, though, are so poetic:

"...the grace of your image sweeps through my mind..." (Charlie)

"...the night, the weather, the mood and the girl - never has such perfect things fitted together to make such a wonderful memory..." (Jack)

"...ive been thinking about you alot (dont think i'm a perv or a stalker)..." (Simon)

(That last one I think is Keats.)

"Your beauty astounding, your personality is more
I fell in love with what I heard, not what I saw." (Ben)

(A big fan of the jokes, then.)

"When sitting alone with nothing to do, I'd shut my eyes and think of you.
It sounds so rubbish, so false, but yet it's true.
The buzz, the hype, the adrenaline rush,
It was one little secret, no more than a crush.
So silly it sounds, just a holiday fling
It felt so special, so real, and that's the hard thing." (Pete)

(This poem goes on for two pages. That's some impressive rhyming skills.)

These are ones from the very youthful letters. Most of whom I never went out with, or even kissed (honest). There are also Letters (And Some Poems) From Boyfriends, which I wouldn't paste up on the Internet because that would seem wrong. It is these letters, though, that are the most touching and the most evocative for me. I remember feeling depths of emotion and being so sure that I would always feel them. When I read the letters now all those feelings for those people are so distant. Also what I feel is, well, if I was basking in that much adoration I can't have felt as rubbish as I (sometimes) do now. In fact, though, for many of those years I remember feeling even worse than I (sometimes) do now. Which makes no sense and for which I would like an immediate explanation.

My favourite of all the letters I recieved from girls is this sentence:

"Anyway, let's get off that boring subject and onto BOYS!!!!!!!!!"

Which pretty much sums up all the interchanges with my school friends. There is also a holiday postcard from my friend Antonia with only the words:

"Oh my GOD all the girls here are so skinny I am like a beached whale compared to them!!!!! Love ya!! Love Ant xxx"

Which pretty much sums up all the interchanges with Antonia.

There is a letter from a friend worrying about her sexuality:

"I can't believe how funny this is! It's actually really, really FUNNY! Wow, this is me - normal upbringing Hertfordshire random who is seriously considering/doubting her sexuality! And talking to people about it! Ah well."

Then she talks about dancing around her living room for half an hour just because she felt like it. I wonder how she would feel reading that letter back. I suspect she would enjoy reading about the turmoil of some of her youth from the perspective of a happy adult. I also suspect that she would enjoy knowing that in the midst of a very, very difficult time in her life she chose not to mope around, but to go crazy and dance around the house, then write to a friend about it.

I love reading all this stuff. Apart from the memories it evokes, it also reminds me that my life has had so many different phases so far and this must be just another one. Also some of the poetry is actually really good so I might make it into a song.

At the bottom of the box I found a card I had made. I remember being about ten and deciding to make and sell Valentine's cards. The little card is covered in red tissue paper and has a dark red heart in the middle. Around the heart is written, in careful childish letters, the words "I Love To Love", pressed deeply into the paper. Over sentimental, perhaps, for a ten year old, but sweet nevertheless. I read these letters from people I haven't spoken to in years, some of whose faces I cannot even recall, and am touched by the emotion that springs from the pages.

I'm not sure what made me write all of this, share it all. I have things to think about that are less enjoyable than looking at my love-riddled past with rose-tinted spectacles. I am getting to work now, but I think I might not put the poems away just quite yet.

Saturday, February 17, 2007


Too many days I feel like I wake at the bottom of the ocean and have to start swimming at once, because I can't breathe and everything is dark. I swim because I have to, because mostly I don't want to drown. I worry that soon I will wake up and decide not to swim.

I go out too much. I spend time with people I don't know because I can lose myself that way. Conversations that swing from the emphatic to the hilarious, but that edge nervously away from meaningful. I drink too much. I cannot resist the lure of parties, of high energy fun, because I need people to take my mind away from the dark places.

In secret I am terrifed of things I cannot articulate and do not understand. I do not want to understand them because understanding might conjure them out of my mind and make them real.

I am weighed down by unknown demons. I worry that the demons will drive people away from me. I worry that people will assume I want them to save me, although I do not. I am no different to how I have always been.

I want to run away. To go to sleep. To forget these demons that trail behind me and shine glaring lights on my failures so that everyone can see. I don't want to talk about it, I don't want people to feel they must check up on me. I don't want pity or support. I don't want anyone to call me. I don't want anyone.

I want to be alone. I go to parties and late night bars and talk and flirt. People give me telephone numbers even though I know I will never call them. People talk to me because they think I am something, but in fact I am not anything that they would want. I am not what I seem. The way I look means I can pretend to be something I am not. In secret I am desperate for something I cannot identify. I annoy and exasperate my friends because I cannot tell them what I want from myself. I am sorry for constantly disappointing everyone around me.

I don't want people to want to help me. I don't want people to think I want something from them. I am not your responsibility. Do not worry that you should help me, or that I expect anything from you. You do not have to catch me just because I have chosen to fall.

I cannot run even though I want to leave. I wish I had a button to press to open the trapdoor beneath me, so I could fall away and all my demons would die. I wish I was better. I am sorry for not being better. I am sorry for my stupid, self-pitying, embarrassing idiocy. I am sorry for calling, for needing anything, for not being normal, like you. I am sorry for my introspection, for not just growing up like I should. I am sorry for being sorry. I am sorry for making you uncomfortable, for making you feel you must respond. I am sorry for making you think I am asking you for something. I am not, I promise. I will not.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Don't Talk To Me About Life

I was nearly killed by Valentine's Day. I was on the tube and some guy "accidentally" whacked me with an oversized bunch of flowers. If they had been roses with thorns it could have cut me. If one of the thorns had tetanus on it, it could have killed me.

Nobody thinks of the innocent victims.

I got a card, which was nice. It was in a red envelope, which was also nice. I also ate some Maltesers and watched CSI (two episodes) so all in all it was a successful day. I could have rounded the whole thing off nicely with some cheese, but everybody knows that cheese after chocolate is unethical.

Speaking of cheese, I am going to Paris soon. My Impish Little Sister lives there, of course, and the other day she sent me a text message saying the following:

"Hey miss léonie head how are you? What are you doing from thurs 29th march until 2nd april? Can i send you tickets to paris? Love impish xx"

Partly I love her because she doesn't use text speak. Partly because she is my sister and I can sometimes borrow her clothes.

Primarily, however, I love her because she says things like "can I send you tickets to Paris" and she isn't even toying with me to be mean. Hurray!

It will be her birthday on the Sunday, and she is organising an event entitled "Cabaret Trash", with bands and acts, and I will sing! I want to do dirty lounge jazz. In a long black dress whilst lying on a piano. With martinis and men fanning me and perhaps stroking me, although maybe that would be taking the 'trash' element slightly too far. To make matters considerably better, my older sister Alex will be coming as well, and we are booked onto the same Eurostar there and back. What larks shall be had! My friends and co-conspirators Chris and Dan are hopefully coming too, provided that I hassle them enough.

I met up with bloggers the other day. For drinks. Betty and Mr Angry and Greavise, all of whom are twinkling away prettily in the links section. Also present was Bec, of ex-flatmate fame. She counts as a blogger despite not having written anything on her site since the dawn of time. For the sake of nostalgia I keep her linked as well, and she has recently resolved to write some more so I am hanging on for that. The drinks were very nice, and the company delicious. There was slightly less talk of nipple tassels than last time, although more talk of big plates that vibrate and whether a Valentine's Day text message is quite getting into the Proper Spirit Of Things.

Tonight I am going back to see New Producer. Well, I am going back to look at the coffee machine, really, but if there is some music going on then that'll be all the better.

Today, I have been informed, it is sunny in Paris. Sophie is happy, and I am trying to make plans. I shall go running and make them. Then tomorrow I get to go for coffee with Andre, which is lovely. On Saturday it is the birthday of my friend Max, who is delightful and in whose honour I shall drink wine.

I am hoping that this Sunday the silence won't get me, but, as always, I wait and see.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sunday Silences

Recently I have been finding that whenever I sit down to write a post on here, nothing comes. My brain as blank as the screen, I sit and wait for some words to find me. Many times in the last few days I have started to write something then impulsively closed the window rather than publish anything. Perhaps this is because I watch too much television and my attention span is diminishing by the hour, or more likely it can be put down to the fact that I simply do not know how to write about the things I want to write about.

Whenever I think of something to write about I suddenly am hit with a wave of reasons not to even start.

Today I was sitting on the pavement at in Angel staring out at the traffic. I had stayed at Paul and Lidija's house after the party the night before, had drunk my bodyweight in wine and vodka and woken up to be hit by a painful regret and an even worse hangover. I left the house and walked up and down the high street, trying to decide which café to sit in and contemplate my mistakes. As I passed each one I looked in. All of them were teeming with people in their Sunday clothes, reading papers and drinking coffee, laughing with each other over shared brownies and frothy cappuccinos. The image of myself, last night's make up slithering down my face, hair unbrushed and clutching a tattered plastic bag full of clothes, staggering through the door to ask for caffiene in husky tones was too much for me to bear. Instead I sat on the steps above the kerb, next to a car with an "I Love Whitstable" sticker in the window, and started writing in my notepad. I wrote six sides of scribbled words, tears making tracks through the smeared make-up. I won't re-write the whole lot here because it goes around in circles and doesn't really move off the one central theme, but I thought perhaps I would share an extract.

"I remember this feeling. Everybody else has somewhere to go, something to do, someone to see. I sit here and put off going home because there I feel even more isolated than I do here. At least here, on this kerb, I could be anyone. I could be about to go somewhere and see someone. It is only me who knows that I am not, that this is where I am because I have nowhere else to be. I am writing to do something, to say something, but I would give anything to be able to speak this feeling instead. I watch other people. Clean, busy. Better than me.
A man sits down about five a few metres from me. He looks out over the traffic as I do, and for a moment I imagine that he'll talk to me, that he'll ask me why I'm crying. I wonder what I would say if he did. Of course, I romanticize my own image, and have to quickly remind myself that I am not an intruiging, crying girl but just some ordinary girl, crying for no reason.
He gets up and walks off, joining the throngs of other people, who live their lives while I sit and imagine things that aren't there."

It carries on in this vein for six pages. My alternate self-pity and self-flaggellation, scrawled in blue biro, keeps going after I move inside into a café and sit opposite a woman I don't know. I see her watching me as I take an unenthusiastic bite of a humous and vegetable wrap. I stop myself crying because I don't want her to feel the need to comfort me, as I would if a stranger was crying two feet away from me.

I wrote for a while, before picked up a discarded paper and scanning it for something distracting. Then I called my sister in Paris. She was at a flea market with her friend (not buying fleas) (I asked) but nevertheless she listened to me and told me it was all going to be alright, and that I am not, as I attempted to assure her "completely fucking insane". Which I am, obviously.

I wandered home at some point after that. Trying and failing to keep my thoughts out of the shadows and think positively, something that I have never been very adept at. I think I am insane and narcissistic, but for some reason I cannot make the insnaity or narcissism go away. I do not want more therapy, and I don't want drugs. This state of mind, although increasingly common, is certainly a response to certain events in my life recently. People, other people, cope with things that are far more intimidating and scary than anything my life throws at me, and they don't all end up sobbing on kerbs on sunny Sunday afternoons.

My brain slips into these thought patterns without me even noticing it. All of a sudden I cannot for the life of me imagine why anyone would want to be my friend, why anyone would want to date me, why people, other people, would put up with me at all. I don't know what's wrong with me, and I don't know how to fix it. I don't want a magical solution, I want to know why I'm like this, why I can seem normal but actually be completely fucking insane.

When I lived in Paris I went for days without speaking to anyone. Not out of choice but just out of having nobody to speak to. Often I would sit places and cry, like I did this afternoon. Perhaps there is some sort of catharsis in it, in a big city I can find somewhere to wallow in my own woes, safe in the knowledge that nobody passing by will care enough to make me talk about it.

Maybe this is what I have been wanting to post about. Maybe it isn't, I'm not sure. I'm not sure about anything.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Love is: A Fancy Coffee Machine

Last night I went to see another producer. This time in London. He's a friend of the Impish Sister and a really nice guy, His flat was one of the nicest I've seen for ages. He was also in possession of a really fancy coffee machine and a lovely, lovely fiancée. Actually that was the only slight down side, they were so in love and happy it made me feel firstly a bit sick, and then predominantly bitter. I walked out of there with the firm conviction that all my relationships have been absolutely wank and nobody will ever love me like they love each other. Because I have too many issues, am a bad person and cannot sew for shit. Then I thought that perhaps I was just a bit sad at not having constant access to a really fancy coffee machine and a bathroom with really fancy products in it. So I went to Sainsbury's and got myself a ham sandwich, which cheered me immensely.

On the music front, though, it was ace. I took with me some of the stuff I have been writing and we had a good chat about where it could all go, then started work. About an hour later we had about fifteen seconds of something that is more of a guide than anything else, but nevertheless is a starting point. He is going to send the mp3 of it through to me today so I can start thinking about where I want it to go from there. I will work on it for a week, put some more vocals on it, decide a direction for the verse and take it back to him. It was also nice to be able to spend an hour at the studio (in a beautiful flat overlooking the whole of London) and then come home and work on it some more on my own.

In other good news, my iPod has started working again.

In bad news, I have lost my camera, so I will no longer be able to take photos of myself in pub toilets and put them on the Internet.

Also next week is Valentine's Day. I am hoping somebody buys me that flower from the Eden Project that smells like a rotting corpse. It would just seem so appropriate somehow.

Friday, February 02, 2007


February, in all its non-January glory, is upon us. On Thursday I woke up and felt it. Well, actually what I felt was very, very hungover, but through the dense fog of "two-for-one cocktails! Aces!"-induced pain I sensed that changes had been made. Month one had fallen by the wayside, shed its skin to reveal a new, fresh month, full of promise but beginning with a hearty dose of Alka-Seltzer.

The night before had been very fun, if somewhat cocktail-orientated. I met some very nice and interesting people, and talked rubbish at them, therefore ensuring that, whilst I might describe them as "nice and interesting", they probably would not return the favour. A few buses and some chips later my friend Kirsten and I collapsed into her bed, carefully lining up hearty cups of water in precarious places, which I knocked over all over my pile of discarded clothing only a short time later.

Later on the next day, after recovering to the best of our abilities, we headed back into town. Kirsten was going to Piccadilly and I was going further, so to alleviate the boredom of the journey we had a quick game of Carriage Marriage.

I don't know if anyone else ever plays this game. I don't know whether it has been around since the dawn of the Tube Age and everyone knows about it, but if you haven't played and ever use the tube you should try it. To my knowledge it was invented by my ex-flatmate Bec, but correct me if I'm wrong.

Here's how to play.

Each player looks around the carriage at the people in it, and then each must pick out someone to marry.

(It has to be proper, restofyourlife marriage, not a quick fling or a weekly Scrabble game.)

When approaching the next stop you must each declare whether you wish to 'stick' or 'twist'. I'm sure this doesn't need explaining, but I will do it anyway. If you stick, you are saying that you wish to stick with the person you have chosen, and you cannot change even if someone super-dreamy gets on. If you twist, though, you MUST choose someone different at the next stop, even if your person was the sole other person in the carriage and a hunchback with one tooth and an ominous-looking sythe is the only person to get on.

If you stick and your person gets off the train, you lose (but you can keep on playing).

It is simple, see?

You win if the person you have chosen gets off at the same stop as you. Especially if they are really, really hot. The game is more about judging your fellow passengers than gaining points.

There are ceratin factors to be taken into account with Carriage Marriage. You do not base your marital decisions solely on what someone looks like. This, of course, would be fickle. Think of other things. Do they, for example, look rich? Like they would be good in bed? What are they reading? Would you say they washed regularly? All these things are important.

Saying that, it is also important to remember that, in order to win, the other players must deem your prospect attractive, so don't pick a complete minger just because they happen to be reading a clever-looking book or have expensive-looking shoes.

My biggest victory was last summer, playing with Bec and David. They had both stuck, I had twisted. A man got on who was so wonderfully and incredibly hot we all just starting laughing. He was stupidly, unbelievably gorgeous, and probably used to being touched inappropriately by strangers than being laughed at quite like that. Nevertheless, he was mine, and what's more, he got off the train at Kings Cross. As did we. I won on so many levels.

Also useful is good tube knowledge. At weekends, for example, it would be foolish to twist when approaching Moorgate, because it is a business area and not many people get on and off there on weekends. Same applies for Bank. Angel is a good one to twist on because lots of young attractive people go there. Same applies for Old Street. Maybe you could do some research into the areas in London with the most ugly/poor people? I'm sure that would stand you in good stead.

Next time you are on the tube you should play this game. When Kirsten and I played the other day I ended up talking to the person I had chosen, although not about us maybe getting hitched. Talking to your person is not supposed to be part of the game, and it turns out I don't think we would have been very compatible in marriage anyway. I would not want someone who talks to people on the tube, it is firmly against the rules and I do not approve of it in the least.

There. I hope it will take off very soon and everyone in London will be simultaneously evaluating everyone else's marriage potential everytime they step onto the tube. Or the bus, which could be called Bussy Hussy, and maybe should be changed to who you would most want to have a one night stand with.

Today I am going to dye my hair and then go and meet my friend Steve for a coffee (by which I mean beer, but I want you to acknowledge my good intentions) after which we might be going to a gig.

Tomorrow night I am going to a cabaret night (http://www.myspace.com/fingerinthecabaret) which promises to be very much fun, and at which I might be doing a bit of singing.

Firstly, though, I am going to do some work and drink some tea.

I hope you're having a lovely weekend.