In Which I Do Not Mention The Weather!
No, I still haven't managed to get a job. The places that looked promising have mostly decided not to hire staff because of "the current situation". My only real port in the unemployment storm is one place which perhaps might be expanding in the next month or two. The manager/chef is the boyfriend of a friend, so he promised that if they do take on an extra pair of hands those hands will be mine. I hope that they'll want the rest of me as well, but hey, if I'd be getting paid I'd be prepared to compromise.
So much has been going on. I went the Lanternhouse in Cumbria, a few weeks ago. Sumit Sarkar was unveiling two year's worth of work in an exhibition entitled "Ananta" and it was tremendous. Based on Hindu mythology, he took the pantheon and re-created it using various exciting techniques (the explanation of which is a little beyond me, best to check out the website). Through the different rooms were carefully-placed representations of the Gods, some animated, some appearing to be made from plaster, and one particularly impressive one that looked like a giant, shiny, three part transformer. They were like comic book/manga-hybrid heroes and heroines. It was brilliant, and I loved it. Sumit's whole family were there, as well as his girlfriend from Slovakia and her whole family, so after the opening we all got excellently drunk on Champagne and wine and stayed up until the early hours.
I have been to a quite a few other events, in spite of my impecuniosity. (Part of my blogging paralysis has been due to the fact that there seems to be too much to write about.) Ben and I did a "guerrilla gardening for clowns" course last weekend, which was really cool. We spent two days with an eclectic group, exploring the idea of clowning as a form of protest, and guerrilla gardening as a means of direct action. Koogie, the teacher, had some wonderful tales of life in the Clown Army, a group of trained clowns who appear across the world at protests and camps, subverting the notions of authority and turning protests on their heads. Like mythological tricksters, they are powerful and anarchic. We did some clown training, and it was emotional and extremely exciting. Ben and I both loved it, and I came away feeling somehow slightly altered.
Oh, and wow. The Manchester Sing Out choir turned out to be one of the best things I've done since I got to Manchester. Three weeks ago I arrived at the first rehearsal of the year, feeling small and nervous. I chatted to some people until Wayne, the director, started the rehearsal. There were about fifty or sixty people there, a mixture of ages, races and genders. The new people introduced ourselves and then we started to sing.
The thing is, I bloody loved it. I loved singing those uplifting songs and hearing the harmonies ring out around the hall. The more we sang the more excited I felt, so when Wayne asked people to fill the front row, I leapt up like an over-eager (singing) puppy. Since that time I have always sat at the front. I listen intently to every word he says, drink in the harmonies and sing at the very top of my voice. On the first practice I was so overwhelmed by it all that I felt my eyes well up with tears, and sang as if I had just been freed from a silent prison.
This, of course, is a good thing. Of course! It is wonderful to have found something that makes me feel so great. I want to go every day. I want to write music for us to sing, as well, which is something they are more than open to.
However. I can't help but think that all this keen, wide-eyed eagerness makes me look like, well. Like a bit of a twat, really. Part of the reason for going is to make friends and honestly, I really don't look cool when I am there. I feign nonchalance for about five minutes, but I just can't keep it up. I slip into a breathless fervour and I know, I know how it must come across. Twattish, basically. I'm going to have to accept it, though. Embrace it. Perhaps I should just abandon myself to it and make myself a T-shirt that says "I HEART CHOIR" on it. To be honest, if it continues in this vein I think I will need a matching hat.
So, Manchester thinks I am a loser, and maybe I am. For the last few days I have been restless and frustrated. I still live in my Grandmother's house, for which I am very lucky, but I do feel less independent because of it. The other day I made quite a serious, and quite idiotic mistake which could have ended in disaster (but didn't). It was a stupid mistake to make (yikes, it really was very stupid), but adults, as far as I know, make mistakes. The chastising I received, however, from family members, was a very strong reminder of whose charity I am taking, so it is not a situation I want to stay in for much longer. Part of the reason I moved from London was to escape watchful eyes, and I just need to move a bit further. Ben and I are planning to apply to housing associations, so hopefully I can find more independence soon.
(That last paragraph was probably a mistake.) (Another one.)
Life is so good, mostly, but there are a few wrinkles which must be ironed out before I feel like I am settled. It feels, to extend that metaphor beyond all decency, like I have just a very small iron and the wrinkles are pretty big, but I suppose I just have to carry on and things will eventually be smooth.
In the meantime I will just sing my eager little heart out every week, carry on looking for jobs, keep writing my little songs and hope for the best.