Saturday, November 14, 2009

Saturday Night. In.

The radio is on and Ben is cooking. Apron on, wine poured. My feet ache from a busy day rushing about in the café, but as I sit and sip my wine and flick through the Internet I begin to feel better. In the next house along doors slam and fury slices through the thin walls. This no longer makes us glance up. The cat is sitting on the hairdryer, keeping his enemies close.

My week has been hard work, but heady. I hosted a music and poetry night on Wednesday, which went brilliantly in spite of the fact that I spent the whole night on stage sporting some dubious knitwear, my "comfy" jeans and no make up.

(This was not The Plan. The Plan consisted of Ben nipping home after a workshop we'd been at, and picking up some nice clothes and make up so I could transform before the night started. Unfortunately, we neglected to define the term "nipping", and he arrived well after I had to introduce the first act. By the time he got there, and I could have changed I couldn't be bothered any more. I only care now because there are some pictures floating around of me, microphone in hand, looking like a shiny-faced mongrel in a jumper made of sticks. Bloody Facebook. It's alright, though. I am over it now.)

(Although clearly not "over it" enough to prevent me declaring it to the Internet in a whiny, self-pitying manner.)

There was lots of music and poetry, plenty of drinking and general carousing, and on the whole it was declared a success. There was a dodgy moment when I told a few of my jokes, and was heckled into telling the most controversial joke I know (and love), but at least I now know what it's like to be on the receiving end of a Mass Sharp Intake of Breath. In spite of that momentary lapse of judgement and what will henceforth be known as That Fucking Knitwear, I enjoyed it immensely.

On Friday I had to get an early train for the culmination of a project I have been doing with Opera North, in a primary school in an estate in Leeds. Along with a more experienced vocal practitioner, I have been going into this school for the past ten weeks and doing singing workshops with the whole school, divided into year groups. Yesterday we invited the parents in and the school performed the songs they've been learning, and it was incredible. Four years ago this school was one of the most challenged in the UK, and now, due in large part to the amount of music they have been doing over those years, it has been transformed. Coming in at the beginning of the term, I was struck by how enthusiastic and respectful the kids were, to us and to each other. When one of their classmates got up to sing, they listened and clapped, with none of the sniggering I have seen in other schools. Of course this is due to so much more than the work we did in the last few months, but the teachers unequivocally said that it has been the introduction of music in every aspect of school life that has transformed them. The challenge next term is to set up a choir for the kids and their parents, as well as any other members of the community who want to come along. There thirty-seven different languages spoken in the school, so I hope to be introduced to lots of different music from all around the world. Every time I think about it I feel so excited, and then my brain switched me on to ohmygodterrified and I am forced to go and think about ponies for a bit until I calm down.

(I will now stop writing like I am doing a covering letter for a job application.) (I probably wouldn't put that bit about the ponies.)

The last few months have been great in some ways, and incredibly tough in others. Ben won the BBC National Poetry Slam (you can see why here or here) (when he watched the second one, Ben just shook his head and said "I wish I hadn't worn shorts"). The next day, suddenly, his father passed away. We were there, having rushed down South to the hospital as soon as we heard from Ben's Mum that his Dad was intensive care. It was, and is still, very, very hard for Ben, his Mum and his sister, who flew over from Australia a day later. We, including Laura's boyfriend Rob, spent a few weeks in Hertfordshire. Then they went home, and we came home, and life trickled by. Of course it doesn't stop there. People who have gone through such a thing will know this. I haven't experienced it, so I can only watch and do that thing we are all told to do in times like these: Be There For Him. Strange, though, how the five of us glued together during those weeks. It was extremely painful, I know, for everyone when Laura and Rob had to board a plane and go back to Australia. It was painful for Ben and his Mum when he had to come back to Manchester. So much pain, but so much love and connection that came from it.

I am just writing what comes into my head at the moment, trying to find a way to get Back Into Blogging. I want to write more, but somehow I never have time, and when I do I don't know what to write.

So here it goes with the honest drivel that I used to scrawl. This is a weird, all-over-the-place post, but it will have to do.

I am now going to go downstairs, re-fill my glass and loiter around Ben as he creates deliciousness in the kitchen.


Blogger tomato said...

am very sorry to have missed Knitwear Night and all the song and verse that went along with it. hermit tendancies are bad. but good for unbridled knit wearing.

now that you are back in the typing pool with not one but two posts in recent times, I am linking forthwith.


10:13 pm

Blogger Gillian said...

i've probably never commented before, but i'm glad you are back blogging. so very sorry to read about ben's dad. my boyfriends dad died last year, so i know how you feel. its the old cliche, but it does get easier. hang in there and continue to love and support each other. xx

10:17 pm

Blogger Kelly said...

Oh, I was looking for an old post of mine on my old blog and saw your blog listed in the sidebar and suddenly had the urge to check out how you were. You seem to have had a bit of a break so it turns out I have not missed any posts which is nice!

I am also glad to see that you are well and still talking about ponies.

Well, hope you remember be, used to be Dancinfairy, but have come out of my shell! I have not been blogging about ponies but I have been blogging about babies! Well, one baby ;)

8:53 pm

Blogger Miss Devylish said...

The school thing sounds very positive and very exciting! That's really fantastic how you're involved.

As for Ben, please send him love from another who's lost her father. As the person not dealing w/ that loss directly, the only thing I can really tell you is that when you're in it, you kind of want someone to talk to who's been thru it because losing an immediate family member and especially a parental unit, is devastating. They're the biggest people in your lives. And it's just weird when they're gone. At the same time, you don't want anyone to have to go thru it because it's shockingly paralyzing in ways you don't imagine til they hit you, small and large. It's just hard to describe. Being the supportive you, I'm sure that's what he needs. Having someone there to just be with makes a huge difference. Please pass on hugs from me sugar.. xo

1:17 am

Blogger Peach said...

you are very fab and I love you and your blog

s xxx

4:10 pm


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