Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Today, I Am Mainly Avoiding...

...videos. Well, I suppose I am probably safe as, although I was on the radio today, I wouldn't claim to be a star. (I would, but just not in public.)

Actually, I was quite terrified of saying anything in case the listeners texted in and demanded to know why a seven year old girl from the Home Counties was in a radio studio in Manchester and not at school being precocious in an Advanced Elocution lesson or something. I said the odd high-pitched "yes!" and "thank you!" until it was time to sing, but managed to avoid getting tangled up in my own accent.

The DJ was called Lauren, and she definitely had a radio voice. I am not criticising her for this. In her position I would no doubt develop an entirely different personality although I fear the jokes would probably be tellingly similar. I would want to develop a whole alter-ego based on Graham Torrington.

Do you remember Graham Torrington? DJ impressario and smooth-voiced wonder of that classic show, Late Night Love?

Graham had a radio voice. Desperate women called Sandra would call him and tell them all about the various infidelities of the Garys, their erstwhile lorry-driving boyfriends. Graham gave terrible advice in silken tones before fading in the twenty-fifth Lionel Richie song of the hour.

If you do remember him I would like to know about it. Out of interest, partly, but also for A Reason. Tell me your Torrington tales.

Anyway, Lauren was not like Graham. She was really nice and hardly told me to leave my husband at all. Ben, Dan and I (aka Geddes Loom, remember?) were on the radio to promote the show we're doing tomorrow night at Contact, Manchester(the same one that we performed at the festival in Leicester and more recently in Dartington, Devon), so we did a song (February Town) and Ben did a poem. Ben did most of the talking, Dan and I did radio smiles, which are like normal smiles but tinged with the futility of knowing that the people you are smiling at can't see you.

Lauren was a one-woman hive of activity. Pressing buttons and pulling up faders, reading text messages as they came in from listeners (many of whom seemed to be asking her out on dates), introducing tracks and mixes, cueing up things and fading down others. It was fascinating to watch. Reassuringly, though, she was still incorporating my old favourite method, known as the Things Written On Bits Of Paper Technique. At one point she looked at her left hand and said ponderously, "Now, why's my finger pointing at that piece of paper?" before remembering that it was the title of the mix she was just about to play.

Still, my favourite bit of the whole thing was when we were on air and Ben, perched on a bit of desk to get closer to the mic, set off a turntable with his bum and set it revolving (the turntable, not his bum) as he blithely chatted about upcoming shows.

We walked home feeling dangerously upbeat until we remembered that we were really hungry so we all got a bit cross. Well, I did.

Tomorrow we'll be rehearsing and soundchecking at the theatre and performing in the evening. If you're about and you want to come you can! If you like. Not if you don't*.

*Please note my amazing marketing and promotion skillz.

There is plenty of other news, but I am so exhausted from being a radio star (does local radio count or will video only kill you if you've done a BBC session?) so I am currently lying in bed waiting for a decent time to go to sleep. It's nearly nine-thirty now so that's probably legitimate.

(I was not joking about the Graham Torrington thing. Do you remember him?)

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

Not Doing Taxes

My God. It has been ages. It's not that I haven't thought about it. Of course I have. It's just that thinking about it leads to the question of what to write and then it all gets complicated and my brain wanders off for a little cup of Earl Grey and a lie down.

Why now, then? Well, it's mainly because I have a 'to do' list in front of me, and right there, in my own lovingly-crafted biro scrawl, are the hellish words "DO TAXES".

Wow, I suddenly really want to write a blog post.

And clean the bathroom. Oh, and paint my toenails. And write a song and practice my cello and clean the cupboards and call my sisters and put some stickers on my face and plait the neighbour's cat and see what I look like with writing on my eyelids and sit under the stairs.

(You may have noticed that only a couple of things I use for procrastination devices are actually productive in any way. I win.)

I want to write about all the stuff that's been going on, and there has been loads and most of it has been exciting and cool and some of it has involved lying on the floor of an old mill clutching people's ankles, being dragged along as they try to kick me off with genuine force and feeling. But when I tried to start writing about it all I wrote the sentence "last week I did a thing", which is factually accurate but would not score many points in a French Oral examination (not least because it is in English).

It is grey and miserable outside. We have a new sofa. Well, it isn't new, it is second- (or possibly third- or fourth-) hand, but it is new to us. It is massive. About the size of our entire flat. It is blue leather, but nicer than it sounds. It is squatting in the middle of the room, daring anyone to sit on it. It is a monolith, and I can't shake the feeling that it disapproves of me.

The old sofa, the tiny, uncomfortable red corduroy abomination with its cat scratched arms and frankly hideous odour, is cowering in the back of the room. I feel sorry for it. I feel like it is keening plaintively at me, wondering what it has done wrong and why we don't love it any more.

I have got to stop anthropomorphising furniture and get on with my tax return.

Annoyingly I have already planned my workshops for this week, although I could spend an hour or two re-doing it, although that would no doubt send me into a panic and I would then have to relegate it to the towering procrastination pile as well.

I have spent a bit of time ensuring the lighting is exactly right for the task of taxes, and making a cup of coffee which I won't drink because I am already feeling jittery from the first one and it's making me feel weird about the sofa.

The thing is, tax returns aren't even hard. All you have to do is sort stuff out and write it into the form, so actually I don't mind doing it, but I did just suddenly feel that I couldn't possibly do it without writing a screechingly-tedious blog post about it first.

Which I have done. Well done me.