Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Back. Better.

I am less tired and emotional. I have slept for some hours, and throughout the duration have miraculously become less emotional. I was literally moments away from growing a long black fringe, squeezing into some ripped skinny jeans and beaten up trainers and hanging around on corners looking studiously glum.

I would have to start writing about how nobody understands me (which they don't) and how I just wanna be different (which I do) and start using text speak (I luv txt spk).

Crisis, I think you'll agree, narrowly averted.

In big exciting news (for me) this week:

I am moving back into London!

No, I don't have a record deal. No, I have won no lotteries. No, I have not found a sugar daddy who is willing to support my whimsical little fantasies about being a super-duper-star as long as I walk around in a rubber maid's outfit every fortnight and cook him beans on toast on a Friday. No, I have not decided to jack it all in and become an investment banker/primary school teacher/professional dog-walker.

Nothing has changed. Well, a lot has, but nothing really tangible. I am just taking an opportunity and moving back. I will be living with a few friends not so very far from where I was living before. We're moving at the end of this month.

Please join me in jumping for joy.

(Seriously. Go on. I am watching you.)

(Why are you naked?)

So I will soon be a poverty-stricken Londoner (proper) again, and will write endless posts about how broke I am and how crap the Northern Line is. Hurrah!

I want to write a little bit about Edinburgh, because all I seemed to do last time was cry a bit and stretch out my pathetic blogging arms for a virtual hug from you kindly Internet angels. I didn't tell you anything about it, and I feel I should.

I will do it in some bullet points, though, to make the whole thing less arduous for all of us.

- I didn't recover my phone. For a few days I morosely trudged the cobbled streets until I bumped into someone I knew, at which point I shamelessly borrowed their phone to call the taxi company ("Do you have it? You must have it! Please say you have it. Call again later? Fucking hell. No, sorry, not you. Yeah, alright, thanks. 'Bye. Sob.") or the venue I had been in ("Do you have it? You must have it! Please say you have it. Call again later? Fucking hell. No, sorry, not you. Yeah, alright, thanks. 'Bye. Sob.") or the police station ("Do you have it?...")
You get the idea. It wasn't fun. Eventually I dragged myself into a Carphone Warehouse and, through the tears and snot, asked for the cheapest pay-as-you-go phone they could muster and walked out a considerably happier and more contactable woman.

- I saw some fantastic shows. Some tip-top favourites were:

Fat Tongue (sketch comedy)
Reginald D Hunter (stand-up)
Luke Wright (poet and man)
Ravenhill for Breakfast (serious theatre)
Orkestra Del Sol ("brass troubadours with an unruly charm")

There were many others, it's just that I can't be bothered to hang around doing linking and things. I'm sure that you won't want to hang around clicking on all the links, either. You're naked, you'll get cold.

- I had some brilliant nights out. Rarely does a dawn pass at the Edinburgh Festival without many people standing, drink in hand, gazing incredulously at it, then each other, then their watches. I didn't quite reach the giddy heights of my little sister a few years ago who broke many records by climbing Arthur's Seat at sunrise whilst wearing a pair of stilettos, but nevertheless many ace times were had and feats accomplished.

- I did a fair bit of singing. More than that, though, I stumbled upon inspiration for more singing and more writing. I also got back to a message from a guy I've been working with to say he's been working on a reggae version of one of my songs. I can't wait to hear it. I have not (and this may come as a surprise to many of you) always considered myself to be hugely reggae as a person, but you never know where these things might lead.

Edinburgh was awesome. It seems ages ago now.

I was in Norfolk for the weekend with a whole different group of people. We had a barn party, went boating and stayed in tents. I got licked on the leg by a bull.

All good times, as I'm sure you'll agree, but now is the time for dealing with the serious matter of moving.

I am now going to hang around on estate agency websites and give myself heart attacks by looking at how much rent I'll have to pay. Hurrah!

Friday, August 24, 2007


I am home.

I write those words with no feeling of relief.

(I am tired and emotional.)

I loved being up at the Festival. Surrounded by people who place a high premium on passion, who don't demand explanations and insist on practicalities. At first I felt overwhelmed by my relative lack of success, but as I relaxed I began to feel inspired and buoyed by other people's drive to create and started to have a touch of faith in myself.

I boarded a train today at four o'clock this afternoon. Arrived home at about nine thirty.

During the journey I took out my notebook and wrote. Little scraps of poems, ideas of lyrics, disjointed lines of prose. I would write, then read for a bit. Stare out of the window for a while and then write a bit more.

Proudly wearing my re-found positivity like a shiny new pair of shoes I arrived home.

Within about half an hour it had gone. It had revealed itself to be just a piece of fickle nothingness, ready to be pierced by a single shard of negativity.

(Tired. Emotional. Did I mention?)

One argument, just a lack of understanding, and I rush to the computer with wet mascara picking out words of self-loathing on my cheeks.

Such a fucking drama queen.

Well I did have a wonderful time in Edinburgh. So many little wonderful times made one great big one.

Tomorrow I am going to Norfolk for the weekend to stay on a big farm and go to a party, so I can escape once again.

I am tired and emotional. I am going to bed.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007


I am exhausted. I have been in cobbled, hilly Edinburgh for only a few days but I feel that during the course of those days I have sliced approximately fifteen years off my life.

In, of course, a brilliant way.

I arrived at about midnight on Saturday after a six hour train journey of stops and starts, of over-priced buffet snacks purchased out of boredom alone and conversations with strangers that varied wildly in their entertainment value.

I was met from the train by the guy in whose flat I am renting a room and his boyfriend. They picked up my shoe-laden luggage and we made our way to the taxi rank and then to the flat. A few glasses of wine and telephone calls later I was back out into the rain-whipped dark, heading to the Pleasance Dome to meet friends who had already been lurking around the festival for a while and who were therefore already intoxicated with the heady mix of cheap alcohol and sleep deprivation. We stayed until about five in the morning, when, instead of finding my way back to the flat I had so briefly touched down in earlier on, I went back to my friend Kirsten's flat on the other side of the city. Tea and toast then bed, to be buzzed awake four hours later for Kirsten to make her way over to a venue for the first of the five shows she stage manages per day for these four weeks.

I walked home. Armed with a map I walked and walked, my head pounding along with my feet on the pavements. Once in the flat I unpacked, placing my shoes neatly along the walls (I won't wear them, it's too cobbled, but I would feel discomfited if they weren't nearby) (I acknowledge that this is extremely odd) and hanging my dresses in the wardrobe.

Three hours later I was on the streets again. I walked back into town, up hills with tourists swarming around shops called things like "Ye Olde Scottishe Shoppe" and "Bagpipes Galore!" to pick up the flyers for the job I found before coming up.

I flyered. For ages. Standing in carefully chosen spots pitching the play to passers-by, trying to persuade them to spend their much sought-after money and time on this play as opposed to on the one next door. All over there are people doing the same thing, some hired-in street teams like me, some representing their own shows. Over the last few days I have have countless conversations with those people out on the streets like me, swapping flyers and stories and sometimes numbers. More times than I remember I have been part of nonsensical banter exchanges or empassioned discussions covering an enormous range of topics. There is nothing quite like standing shivering in the rain with someone on grey streets, both clutching dripping bits of paper and seeing the funny side, to create a bond.

I went to a jazz jam the other night at The Jazz Bar with my friend Steve. We both got up on stage to play with the house band at the same time and it felt like magic. My favourite was Georgia On My Mind, because there was a guy with a real Hammond organ and it sounded exactly how I think that song should sound: a rich aching blues.

I've met amazing people. Kirsten is staying with some sketch comedians and they had a house party the other night. I had an awesomely fun time and met some truly super-ace people. I have seen some fantastic sketch comedy. The play I am flyering for was great. I went to a karaoke cabaret (which is just karaoke in a cabaret bar) last night and sung an empassioned version of Black Velvet in between shots of vodka. I haven't yet slept more than four hours in a night. It's been fantastic.


My feet hurt. I hate the fact that my flat is so far away from town. I am constantly suspecting that everyone else at the festival is having a massive party just around the corner. I am pleased to have sung and will certainly do more, but I am spending all my time with people who have actual shows up here and it is highlighting my own lack of achievement.

Also I left my phone in a taxi last night and have not yet retrieved it (not through lack of trying). I am deeply, deeply upset about this, as I have had it for a mere two weeks.

(I might just have to reiterate. TWO COCKING WEEKS.)

I had a little cry into my friend Max's sympatheic hug this afternoon.


I cannot dwell on this too much. There is still a possibility I will get it back, but my luck rarely swings in such directions. I will buy a cheap one tomorrow if not, because being here without a phone is not a possibility I am prepared to entertain.

I am exhausted and my feet hurt. I am having an amazing time. I have drunk my bodyweight in wine and coffee (at various times of the day) over and over already. I have lost my phone and cried about it. I have been handed a doughnut in the street and eaten it.

I am here until next Friday. I read somewhere today someone that someone said that, at the Edinburgh Festival, every night is like a Saturday night and every day is like a Sunday. I think that's a perfectly apt way of summing it up. At this rate I will be but a hollow shell of a person by the end, but I will have had more experiences than I will be able to count or recount, so I will find the Internet as often as I can to write down my future memories here.

Friday, August 10, 2007

Tomorrow: Scotland!

Here I sit, in a bikini with a towel wrapped around my head. My eyes are streaming tears and my ears are stained a rich, luxurious brown.

A peculiar combination, you might think.

I am not, however, crying because some miscreant has snuck up and dipped my ears in a small pot of brown ink, nor am I weeping because I have so few clothes on.

No, my eyes are simply reacting to recently having blinked their way through an arduous application of amonia-ridden hair dye, and my ears were the sad recipients of a few splashes of toxic-looking orange gunk, which has now darkened to a deep brown. I carefully used the gloves as instructed by the instructions, but that didn't stop me from getting dye pretty much everywhere else. At one point the bottle of dye slipped out of my hands whilst I was contorting myself to reach a particularly hard-to-get-at bit, and dye went on the walls, shower and on some towels which were sitting innocently by, just minding their own business.

I shouldn't be allowed to take on such projects unsupervised.

My hair has recently turned itself a peculiar shade of reddy-ginger in the sun, so I resolved to at least try to make it look uniform all over before my Edinburgh jaunt. I have used this shade before, and I keep using it because it is two packs for £4.49 at Superdrug. This is what it looked like before:

(I was drunk in that picture, can you tell? Also: is this your car?)

I haven't yet packed, but I have written lots of lists, most of which I have lost. They mainly all say "Shoes. Phone charger. Tea." at which point I get distracted by Facebook or chased by a wasp so I am forced to abandon the list and hang around idly for a bit.

I have had some cards made by my graphic designer-lady friend (not lady-friend, it is not like that) and Euan is updating my website. I have lots of music and a list of places to maybe sing. I am nervous, though, because my friend Lily doesn't come up until next weekend and I will be all alone for a whole week. Despite the fact that actually most of the people I know in the world are up there, I am a little intimidated by the thought of getting there, putting my (mainly shoe-filled) suitcase down, saying "right" in a firm manner and then promptly having no idea what to do next. I'm sure it'll work itself out, but I wouldn't mind having some sort of a plan.

(I have just realized that I didn't actually look to see how long I should leave the dye on for. I should probably check that.)

(Thirty minutes. Ok.)

It is sunny here. I have to pack but I have foolishly put on a bikini which means I am drawn unavoidably to the garden on an alarmingly regular basis. I do like hanging around in my bikini, though, it makes me feel really rather pleased not to have a job.

Oh! My thirty minutes is up, so I must abruptly leave and rid my hair of this noxious yuckiness.

Goodbye, until after Edinburgh! I will update if all my hair has fallen out. I will be crying, but this time the tears will be very, very real.

(My hair hasn't fallen out!)

I thought I'd post an 'after' picture. I liked it better before, but such is the inherent uncertainty of dying one's hair. Ah well.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Boredom and Excitement

I have been busy. Super-busy.

At least, I think I have. It seems that things at the moment swing dramatically between being horribly static to being utterly frantic in such a short space of time that it causes my head to whirl right off into the paths of bemused passers-by.

Today, for example, I had lots to do. I wrote a big, long and complicated list in my neatest scrawl. I put some things on there I had already done, because that is allowed ("Write list. Check!") but even with that aside it was fairly substantial. Yet somehow I still found time to be bored, wonder where my life was going and feel a bit confused. If I could use the time I spent worrying about how I am spending my time in a useful manner I am sure I would have a considerably more pro-active existence. I am sure that once you untangle that sentence, throw in some decent grammar and work out what it means, you might just feel the same way.

I spoke to my Impish Little Sister (at some point, when she has developed a French accent from living in Paris for so long, I will begin to call her my Eeempeesh Leettle Seester, but this point has not yet arrived) today. She was lying on the floor of her apartment drinking coffee and enjoying the fact that she is not at work for two weeks. At any minute, she claimed, she was going to get right up and do something useful, but not until the coffee kicked in. Her friend Emily is staying with her at the moment, and I very much suspected they were going to have a fun day in Paris, possibly involving music and parties, so as soon as I got off the phone I took the dog for a walk to see whether I could pretend we were in Paris. Unfortunately the dog didn't seem to understand the spirit of the game as she seemed a little baffled when I attempted to engage her in conversations about philosophy and make her drink absinthe.

This weekend I am heading up to Edinburgh to hang around enthusiastically at the festival for ten days. I will almost certainly have died of sleep deprivation by the end, but I am hoping it will be worth it. Plenty of my friends are going up, and those who have already arrived have been sending tantalising missives from the Fringe front line, detailing the fun that is being had at this very minute.

I have not much to tell, really. I will leave you with this picture of a band called The Haggis Horns, whose set I saw at the Innocent Village Fete on Saturday. They were excellent, and I very much enjoyed dancing to them.