Thursday, October 21, 2010

Three Minutes and a Power Ballad

I can hear the cat scritch-scratching about upstairs. It is a worrying sound, given that recently we awoke to him performing what we could only assume to be some kind of protest wee on a flannel. Yesterday I found him weeing on a pot plant, looking at me with wide eyes and an expression of resigned satisfaction. I shouted at him, but didn't want to shoo him off in case I found myself holding a fountainous feline. I would have ended up putting him in the kitchen sink like a burning saucepan, which would have been less than hygienic. I have worked in kitchens, so I know for a fact that animal urine + food preparation area = major breach of health and safety regulations.

My fingers are freezing. I have been sitting all morning here at my desk, sedentary and concentrating, and only now I come to type have I started to notice how cold I am. I have been arranging versions of various Christmas carols for the show I am working on in Halifax, and it is making me chilly. Trying to work out how much harmony I can expect a group of young people to hold and sing a cappella, that is confusing. It seems pretty easy to me, but I am supposedly "good" at, like, music and stuff, so how much less do I put in? Or do I expect loads from them and be like in a film, where I am hard on them and a bit scary at first but they grow to love and value me as I push their singing to the limits and they end up winning the All State National Championship after getting implausibly better in the duration of a three minute montage sequence?

I would like my life to contain more montage sequences and less actual work.

Things I would definitely do if I could have a montage sequence to do them in:

1. Drive
2. Do exercise
3. Release an award-winning album, produced myself, against all odds
4. Train the cat not to wee in plants
5. Train the cat to make tea
6. Train the cat to dance on demand

What things would you have a montage sequence for?

Sunday, October 03, 2010

The Other Day and Today


Out of the train window the valley is bluey-silver and shining. (I am on my way back from Huddersfield.) As I trudged up the hill to Manchester Piccadilly earlier on the rain was swooping across the pavement, sending people scurrying into doorways like damp mice. It's thick, intrusive rain. The kind that pokes at necks, spits in eyes, and makes people hunch their shoulders and complain gleefully.

I like the bright, gleaming clouds over these valleys. They make everything look mysterious. Yorkshire looks magical in the rain.

I'm so busy. Scampering this way and that, from one thing to the other, making constant lists which I inevitable lose within about half an hour. Every so often a lost list turns up and prompts a few minutes of frantic ticking before it gets (recycling) binned. I am doing lots of things, jobs in various places doing various things. I keep saying yes to stuff, so pleased I am to be working in the field I enjoy (music/theatre) and mainly doing non-office stuff, I forget that I need to do things like sleep, eat, and sit slack-jawed in front of CSI.

There is a woman sitting opposite me. She is in her seventies, and is round and pleasant-looking. She has careful, discreet eye-make up on and pink lipstick to match a rose-coloured scarf. One hand is holding her ticket and smoothing it with her thumb, while the other clutches the table. She has just finished a plastic cup of white wine and is now gazing hard into the distance as if she is plotting something dastardly. I like her.

A few weeks ago I played my guitar in public for the first time! I was pretty crap (it went like this: strum strum strum str... (sorry) strum strum strum) (oh, and this: sing sing sing si... (sorry) sing sing sing) but I did it so now I can do it again and be equally crap only without those first time nerves. Ben and I did a cool gig together. It was a night for Manchester Peace Festival (yes, we are bloody hippies - pass the houmous) hosted by Single Cell Collective. It was at Night and Day, and we loved the sound man so much we wanted to take him home and keep him in a box. It wouldn't be a bad life, he could share the cat's biscuits.

Speaking of the cat, we let him out of our new flat the other day, for the first time. He was so! excited!, but unfortunately then quickly got stuck on a roof. Ben woke me at about 3am to tell me. From our flat we could see him, a little, hunched figure, miaowing in anguish. After various foiled rescue attempts, we took a ladder down four flights of stairs and propped it up against the wall. I held it steady while Ben teetered up to drag the protesting cat (who seemed to have decided that he liked it there, thanks, and could we just bring him some biscuits?) off the roof. I was wearing Ben's dressing gown and my running shoes. I felt like Arthur Dent, only with less travelling through space and time and more small, cross cats. The following day he went missing, which is another story. He is back now (and grounded).


It's Sunday and I am having a Day Off. Ben is fixing my bike and making biscuits and I am blogging and wondering about the rain. (Division of labour fail, I think.) Yesterday I was holding auditions in Halifax for the Christmas show I am doing the music for. The auditions largely involved trying to get eleven-year-olds not to try to sing like Beyoncé, and being positive about their performances whilst trying not to get their little hopes up. I succeeded in one more than the other, I think.

I am staring down the barrel of another busy week. It's all good, but I can't shake the feeling that when I was trapped behind grey desks in muffled offices, surrounded by men in ties and women with expensive yet practical shoes and proper haircuts, when life was boring and to be rebelled against, I used to write more. I think I obsessed about it in a way that I just don't have time for now.

Ah, whatever. It's Sunday, the radio is on and I will soon be eating a homemade biscuit. (They smell amazing. How many is too many?) (Four, I reckon.) It's stopped raining but the clouds are swelling and shining in the sky. I'll think about it all tomorrow. Monday is for thinking, Sunday is for lying comfortably somewhere and popping (at least four) delicious things into one's mouth.

Let's all eat biscuits.