Saturday, August 31, 2002
So last night I went to dinner at some friends round the corner, and the conversation inevitably turned to - as I'm sure it did around many a North London Friday night dinner table - the Sacks-Freedland thing going on in the Guardian.
Someone asked if Jonny Freedland was a self-hating Jew, which surprised me as as a question. I said no, he's a committed Zionist, but left-wing. My friends' kid, who's eight and has just spent three weeks at sports camp and looks at the world exclsuively through football-tinted spectacles picked up the conversational thread and said "I play right wing".
Here's the original interview - non-contentiously sub-headed "Guardian interview will shock Jewish community", so perhaps something of a self fulfilling prophecy, here's the letters page correspondence, here's Michael Harris's response, which he discussed with us over dinner last night, and here's Friday's follow-up , detailing the much prophesied Jewish communal rift.
And here's what I think: I'm as committed a Zionist and a supporter of Israel - even among her imperfections - as I am a supporter of a Two State solution. The Israeli Government has made some serious mistakes, and by the same token, is often misreported, especially in the European press. But the days when all Jews felt they were up against the wall, don't show them we disagree, are over. The war is over. They may well be out to get us, but I don't think a united-we-stand approach gains anything now, if it ever did. There's a well-known saying "two Jews three opinions" and it's just as true about Israel as any other topic. So it's perfectly possible to be a supporter of Israel, while concurrently criticising her mistakes. It doesn't make you any less of a Jew, and it doesn't make you any less of a Chief Rabbi.
This is the first time in my life I've agreed with Jonathan Sacks (although I'm sure he's unaware of our previous philosophical differences) - up until this point, if asked about him, I've always said: "he's not the messiah, he's just a very naughty boy."
I'd like to see Ryman & The Sheik at the Soho Theatre - allegedly "a witty satire examining the nature of celebrity and the globalisation of culture" and Play Without Words at the National which "finds inspiration in cinematic forms, in this case British new wave cinema of the early 60s". Not sure if there are any words at all.
Friday, August 30, 2002
What's good about this story is that (a) I am better at flirting than I used to be, and (b) it's evidence that I have returned to my maximum visibility weight (as in the highest weight I can be and still be visible). What's bad is, if he's a nutter, he knows where I live.
Part of me respects her for her entrepreneurial approach to customer acquisition, and part of me thought she was cheating on her employer.
I take supplier-style relationships seriously: I've had the same optician since I moved to London - brother of a friend - I frequent hairdressers for years, often following them around from salon to salon like a hair-deranged stalker. Basing my loyalty on a small-business-know-your-customers principle, I think these outmoded values count for something. Don't know what. Or maybe I'm just living in the past and it's a dog-eat-dog world and I should brush up my act.
Thursday, August 29, 2002
Sasha: just saw your comment.. had me laughing
Sasha: chicks are weird TOO, you mean, though
Tom: hahah - if only.
Tom: chicks complain about men coming onto them too much
Tom: don't know they're born...
Sasha: well, it's not generally a problem for me
Sasha: anyway... part of me still thinks you should meet my friend X
Sasha: despite his blond locks
Tom: ew. blond.
Sasha: you’ll never meet someone with that strict criteria
Sasha: anyway... must get ready:-) going on like a DATE:-)
Tom: fucking hell....
Sasha: fhell what?
Tom: so not fair.
Tom: go on then complaining woman!
Sasha: barbelite, even
Tom: OH NO!
Tom: NOT AGAIN
Sasha: you have the pick of them, technically
Tom: FUCK THIS
Sasha: hey... calm down
Tom: I'm bored of no one in my cult shagging me.
Tom: I only built it so I could get sex.
Sasha: you make me laugh
Tom: Everyone else bones up like rabbits.
Sasha: can I post this conversation?
Tom: Yeah, if you want.
Very brief word on this: I have been doing this religiously for about a month now... less religiously for the last week or so. I gradually introduced small amounts of wheat or dairy to see what would happen (ie I got bored: it's not really that scientific), and I discovered they both make me feel sluggish and half-baked.
The good news is, I've lost nearly a stone. Which sounds a lot, but probably doesn't show that much to people who see me regularly. What's interesting to me is, that I'm now about two pounds (a kilo) away from the weight where I become visible again. It's an exact weight - which I'm not telling you, so don't even think about asking - where men notice me. So for a while now, a good couple of years, I've been walking around watching, observing, but not really participating. This isn't necessarily a bad thing: I get my fair share of offers, but not on the daily/regular basis I think slimmer people get.
The last time I was this weight, I went to fill up with petrol in a petrol station on Cricklewood Broadway, and the guy in the next car asked me for my phone number. When I smiled and said no, he followed me four exits on the M1 till he eventually lost interest, which was the exact point where I was moving from flattered to scared of stalkers.
And now, when I go out, people smile at me, look appreciatively and "come on to me" - I have no idea if there is a more grown-up word for this - flirt, whatever. I feel like I've just returned to the human race, and what I've discovered is that (some) men can be very persistent. And not all of them have a sense that women might not find them attractive. I'm sure there are men out there who just think it's a numbers game: ask enough women, someone's bound to accept.
Ran into an old friend/former flatmate with whom I parted on bad terms, though I don't actually remember what they were, and we said hi, but I was a little embarassed.
Everything me and my nameless friend talked about is like sub judice or whatever the blog equivalent is: Chatham House Rules? Blog House Rules? Blogger Boundaries. Dunno.
Saw this at the Odeon Swiss Cottage with S - a police car conveniently stopped in traffic as I parked, so I could ask him if it was legal - and it was a true entertainment experience. We had a drink in Ye Olde Swiss Cottage beforehand: there's nowhere in that horrible roundabout to have a stylish yet inexpensive diet coke. Sadly. But it is like the country, I guess; sitting in the middle of a major intersection, with faux-Alpery all around you, talking above the noise and the fumes. It's like The Sound of Music with an industrial beat and a gas mask.
Although the bullfighting scene was a little disturbing, the movie's essentially a discourse on loneliness, although the meta-issue is belaboured slightly by a couple of superfluous conversations. What I like about Almodovar is that he's non-judgemental; he covers a range of slightly strange subject matter, and all with a you-decide perspective.
On balance: beautifully filmed, slightly cartoon-stylee relationships (why is the sucessful journalist intensely friendly with the recluse nurse, for example?) and is laden with coincidence. And wondrous dancing. And Benigno (the nurse) sounds like a car, doesn't he? The Fiat Benigno: it's boxy, buy it.
Why should I write a review? Here's what the Standard said, and the Independent.
Wednesday, August 28, 2002
1: Almodovar review
2: something about this: "a friend, asked at the gym about her training goals, responds: "I'm trying to stay at optimum dating weight"
3: no food diet update
4: other revenue generating options: writing CVs/copywriting. I mean, I can write, right?
and stuff I need to do:
1 apply for consumer direct mail job
2 chase those people I left messages for today (networking is my middle name) CL, RK, DS
3 follow-up freelance leads
4 call some new people
5 catch up with my roommate (it's been three days) and find out what she thought of Talking Cock in Edinburgh, as I recommended it
6 do my nails
OK, g'night. Sleep well.
Other Zadie-isms: a piece she read aloud in Philly, and if you're in New York on 27th September, she's sharing a platform with Dave Eggers at the New Yorker Festival. And her new books out in October. And there's apparently an extract in a recent New Yorker magazine, but I can't find it anywhere...
Hey: new freelance idea: I could be their agent.
This frankly riduclous trend of changing your name to something edifyingly stupid overwhelms me. What's wrong with good, old-fashioned just doing what it says on the tin?
Think I could make it as a branding consultant? I may have a fresh, new approach.
You see this on Channel 4 last night? The witches - or wiccans, or pagans, it was all terribly confused and confusing - were almost without exception scarily middle class: Natasha and Leanne, the aliterative Woking Witches. Even the Essex grrls were the upmarket kind (Elaine, Debbie and Dawn). You can't help thinking that the production team asked around their chums to find the witches; I'm sure their must be witches of all colours and classes out there, but why reflect society in all its myriad complexity? And the bit where Sarah talks to her Mum while she does the ironing? It was soo set-up; "Sarah's Mum, could you just look old and boring for half an hour? There's a love." No-one I know has that much ironing (aside: especially younger people. I have one shirt than needs ironing that I rarely wear for that reason. Life's too short to iron.)
As far as I can tell, their "witchcraft" is a hotch-potch of pop-witchery (that stupid Titania spells book), Harry Potter and Buffy-style... hairstyles, at least. The underlying motivation seemed clearly be Heathers-like; almost without exception they talked about being loners, weirdos, on the edge of the crowd. Being in their coven (pronounced both to rhyme with covert and with a short O) gave them a sense of belonging. As one of the Woking witches so incisively commented: "this makes sense to us, I get it." Rather like you might get your trigonometry homework or a particuarly difficult passage of Latin.
And then vampires? Aren't they, like, completely different? That was Julian's plan: "I'm the only vampire in Peckam." I bet you are, sweetie, with that make-up. Anyway, it was such compelling TV I fell asleep before the end. Can't wait for next week's girl gangs one: "no, no, that's my lipstick, give it back." These programmes are giving girls a bad name: we're not all Sarah Michelle Gellar lookey-likeys with slightly vacant stares. Well, I am, of course.
Tuesday, August 27, 2002
I'm kinda unsure what to do next. I didn't get the publishing job, even though I was in the last three. They apparently thought I was wonderful, would love to work with me, but I'm overqualified, and would I like to have lunch to give them some ideas. Oh, and they'd like me to do some freelance work for them one day in the future by which time I'll probably have no money at all.
And these people, who I met on August 1st, I followed up by phone, and was told someone would get back to me. This morning, I realised it was nearly a month ago, so I called again, and was told, sorry we hired someone else. Nothing personal. Poor of us not to get back to you.
So here's the plan: I'm going to redouble (or triple) my efforts to get freelance work. Here's what I can do:
+ business-to-business marketing - publishing, conferences, professional services (especially law), headhunting, recruitment
+ event management: everything from programme creation, marketing, sponorship sales and logistics
+ business writing: copywriting... anything, really
I've made a list of all the people I can contact, and I'm working my way through it. And if you have any ideas...
See, I have no idea what happened at Robyn's place, but I can't help wondering.
How my personal site interacts with people I know is something I've given a lot of thought to.
When I started out, in January, it was me and a couple of mates who read it. Literally a couple. After a little while, other people - more friends, online/weblog-style people - started reading. That was cool, too. If I got forty people a day I thought it was fun, and lots of them were IP addresses that I recognsied when I looked at my stats, and it was a little like having an intimate evening round my house; personal invites, people I knew.
Then two things happened: google started crawling my site, and I got mentioned in the Guardian weblog piece. Both of these things are cool: while I don't want to say that my self-esteem is derived from my stats, there is a certain buzz from a few hundred people visiting your site. It's what every writer wants: an audience. Even if they are only looking for huge boobs latin funk or the latest on Brock Enright or all manner of other disturbing and bizarre search requests. Suddenly, it wasn't an intimate dinner party any more: it was like one of those parties where everyone brings a couple of friends and you look round the room and realise it's your house but you don't know a soul.
People I know but didn't know I have a weblog go in touch with me: I like your blog, it's funny. The first time, it was like someone had found out I have a terrible secret. It's not that it was a secret; it was just something I did. Kinda like a hobby, but slightly more time-consuming. So I never meet people and immediately say "hello, I collect thirties dripware", and I still don't meet people and say "hello, I've got a blog", or at least I hope I don't. I do sometimes find myself talking about it to writeresque people.
And from the second month, I was thoughtful about what I wrote. In January, when it was just me and one other person reading, I was more... honest (and don't bother going back to read that stuff, it's gone). But since then, while what I write is clearly personal I'm mindful of what I say. So I always ask people if I can mention them; either by initial or by what they said. And quite a few times, people have said no, which is cool, and I respect it. So the funniest, most insightful things I hear actually never make it to the blog. Obviously if I think something funny or insightful myself, then there's only me to talk to, so it's different. Except it's a lot harder to judge your own thinking/writing.
But I'm acutely aware that choosing to have a personal website means a few things. First; people think they know you. So there's a few comments about me online from people who don't know me that aren't very accurate. But I guess if I want to make it as any kind of opinion writer I should just get used to that. Second, readers who know me presume something is about them or someone they know; J was convinced I'd gone to lunch at a mutual friends' house, but they just shared an initial. But he read a whole lot into it that just wasn't there. Third, people think this is all I am: acerbic, to-the-point spade-calling truth-teller. Which I am, sometimes. But I'm also way more sensitive than you can tell from here, I'd imagine. And I do lots of things I don't write about. I have a sudden urge to say I help old people and children, but actually it's just not true. But I'm... inevitably more rounded than the snippets you get here.
This is all a roundabout way of saying this: riffing off whatever did or didn't go on in Robyn's life that required an apology - maybe there are things here people don't like, but I feel a strange balancing act of not wanting to apologise for who I am, and not wanting to hurt people. Go figure. And mail me if you have an answer. I need one.
Monday, August 26, 2002
We wandered round Shoreditch/Hoxton for a while, trying to find somewhere not-too-loud we could go for a drink, but the guy on the door at the Spiral was unfriendly, Home was closed, and eventually we repaired to J's place for a peppermint tea and more gossip. Not, of course, that I could repeat any of it here, anyway.
When you don't have a job, every weekend is like Bank Holiday, so I gave Carnival a miss - had enough dancing and groping for one weekend - and just hung out at home today, popping over briefly to M's to retreive my trainers I left at her place when we were getting ready Saturday. I know, but there my favourite trainers.
Saturday, August 24, 2002
Cal's citycreator: I like.
Haddock blogs: from those wonderful folk who brought you, er, haddock.org. I really like.
The Mr Men Generator; it's my childhood all over again. via Luke.
Heard two phrases that bowled me over with anger at the damage being done to langauge.
On CNN, reporter talking about Jennifer Short's parents being buried:
"After her parents have been funeralized tomorrow..." Funeralized? Funeralized? I'm speechless.
Overheard in a restaurant:
"So we'll effectuate the change Monday." Effectuate? P-u-lease. Don't you mean "we'll do it Monday"?
We've got our own Holly and Jessica. They've got theirs. Jennifer Short, Elizabeth Smart, Nicole Timons.
I'm not denying that this is a terrible, terrible tragedy for the families and parents. I hated seeing Jennifer Short's family ritually abused on TV; making statements, zoom-shots on crying grandparents. Way more intrusive than anything you'd see here, for sure. What's interesting though, is that the kids that get the coverage seem to be; girls, white, pretty (often blonde) and attractive. There's unfortunately a huge raft of missingkids in the States: why don't the black/Asian/Hispanic/male/less cute ones get on TV?
Frank Furedi has interesting views on how "our culture readily incites parents and the public to outburts of panic." But then, he does have his book, Paranoid Parenting, to promote, so he's bound to be in the Golden Rolodex on this one.
Obviously I could just watch CNN at home - if I had cable - but here's what I found out in three days: West Nile virus is sweeping the States, and there have even been offers from Cuba to help contain it. Seems like a cross between Legionnaires and CJD, the way it gets reported.
The States truly is a talkshow nation: Clinton has been offered a talkshow for $35m. Actually, on CNN they said $50m. I tell you, I'd do it for a lot less. The CNN reporter's main question was; "what does Jerry Springer say?" Little known fact: my Dad looks remarkably like Jerry Springer, so maybe he'd do it for less than $35m.
I saw The Terror Tapes played every morning on CNN, with reportage by Nic Robetrson, who found them. Apparently al-Quaida fighters are preparing for another big, urban attack, according to their carefully laid out cities in the mountains of Tora Borah. What I want to know is, why's it got like the Middle Ages: no-one knows what the King looks like, so we can't kill him. It's hard to believe that we have such fabulous technology and intelligence, yet Osama is probably wandering around somewhere with a fake beard or something. The hook was very much the coming 9/11 anniversary, and lots of coverage was given to Lisa Beamer's Let's Roll about her husband Todd Beamer and the guys on flight 93. It really feels like people in the States are looking for something good in this whole mess.
And, really, Miami is very nice.
Apart from hanging out with family, and eating in just about every Spanish/Cuban restaurant there is - my family there is mostly Cuban - we had time to do a walking tourof South Beach, learn the difference between the mediterranean revival, tropical deco, nautical deco and depression moderne styles. The definitive book is by Barbara Capitman, who founded the MDPL with Leonard Horowitz.Oh, and I'd really like to go back for the Art Deco Weekend in January; I'm sure it'll be full of people like me. Omigod: I just found out there's even better decoin California.
We did a bus tour that took in Coconut Grove, Port of Miami, Key Biscayne, Coral Gables - home of the rich and famous, including Madonna and Shwarzenegger, Calle Ocho - Little Havana - Brickell Avenue - the downtown financial district - and South Beach, of course. We stopped off downtown, had a little play on the Metromover, the inner-circle subway system, that costs 25 cents flat fare, which bowled us over compared to UK mass transit prices. Did some shopping - I bought five t-shirts in the gap for $50, and that was about it. Not bad for three days, eh?
I read a great trash-book on the trip back, and saw two unmemorable movies: one about a black family trying to get healthcare on medicaid and resorting to hostage taking, and one about a Catholic boy trying to help Jews get to heaven. Both helped me sleep.
Though the jetlag is still getting to me.
Friday, August 23, 2002
So yesterday morning, I woke up in Miami-Dade County, switched on CNN and saw this: concourse B (the main American Airlines terminal) closed due to some kind of security incident which involved passengers coughing and spluttering and men in white suits sweeping the area. Just my luck, I thought; I'll be stuck here forever. And me with only one pair of jeans.
Got back yesterday morning, but feeling definitely a little jet-lagged; like I took very, very good drugs but can't remember what they are.
Special thanks to Luke and Stuart for holding the fort and admininstering high-voltage electricity - I always get off on that - and I will tell all as soon as I find out what day it is.
Thursday, August 22, 2002
sashinka is going to be rather disappointed with my contributions when she returns
Wednesday, August 21, 2002
It's been a pleasure, feel free to pop in for tea and scones at my own site any time you're passing. Take care.
Sashinka is currently leaving on a jet plane, don't know when she'll be back again
Sashinka is currently checking her weblog from an internet café and resolving to book an earlier flight home
Making sperm fun, huh? Was it ever otherwise?
Sashinka is currently having her calls directed to her suite
The current state and mores of the British road system occupy more of my thoughts now I work outside of London than they ever did before. Yesterday evening I saw several examples of the summer phenomenon of motorway drivers holding one hand out of the window and flexing their fingers sensually in the velocity-induced wind.
I'm completely attuned to the need to air those awkward little nooks and crannies inbetween the digits - frankly we get so few opportunities - but I can't help thinking that while they're driving directly in front of my car at 70+mph, I'd like to see both hands on the steering wheel, please.
Sashinka is currently exploring the extreme limits of art deco therapy
Tuesday, August 20, 2002
More importantly, where's all this alliteration coming from?
Sashinka is currently sipping cocktails with Will Smith
It's all very well describing the bottle that you don't recognise as "cheap red plonk" because you assume it must be some £2.99 thing that you casually threw in the shopping trolley, but there could be an alternative explanation.
It could be the bottle that your guests just brought round.
Sashinka is currently in a Miami hotel nail bar
Monday, August 19, 2002
"Hi, this is Stuart. I'll be out of the office on holiday next week and this week I'm dealing with a variety of projects that you all consider to be jolly important. I'm already working ten hours a day and at the moment the only trend I can discern seems to be upwards.
"Therefore, please consider whether you really need to leave me a message. If it's about something that I'm supposed to be working on for you, I'm working on it. If it's about something else, I won't be working on it in the near future (at least not until human cloning has been perfected).
"If you do leave a message, please don't just say 'This is [X], please call me back' - give me some information and a little context. I don't have the time to play telephone tennis with you, but I might be able to leave a simple voicemail answer to your simple voicemail question. If I don't call you, respect my ability to prioritise appropriately and trust my judgement that the other stuff I'm working on is genuinely more important to the business.
"Please bear in mind the unalterable laws of physics. No matter how many messages you leave me, there will only ever be twenty-four hours in a day until we start to colonise the outer planets of our solar system. Spare a thought for the fact that every minute I spend listening to your messages is a minute that I'm not working on the thing that you want me to work on.
"If all else fails, please remember that I'm English and therefore I'm deeply, deeply sorry."
My actual voicemail message:
"Hi, this is Stuart. Please leave a message after the tone and I'll get back to you as soon as possible."
Sometimes real life can be so dull.
Sashinka is currently away with the fairies
Is this thing on?
Uncharacteristically, I've been quiet of late. And so, it's at my most terse that I'm asked to guest-blog; kind of like hosting the Oscars. Stop me if I start doing that "Oprah... Uma!" thing. Hmm. Keeping in line with the feelin' quiet mode, though, I have an idea.
Think something quiet.
Lose the cooling fans and the static cling of the monitor. Devoid of Blondie, car noises, the exploding of bombs, the whizzing of food processors or the chirp of mobiles.
Just switch off.
sashinka is away
People don't take care of hire cars. The boot has been bashed (or, for our American readers: the trunk has been trashed), which makes me look like one of those spacially-challenged people for whom the word 'oops' is invariably preceded by the sound of crunching metal.
I'm used to a graceful Swan Lake dancer, but temporarily I'm driving a hippopotamus in a tutu. It accelerates like a sloth on valium, corners like an elephant with its feet tied together and provides the bone-shaking ride of a camel with delerium tremens. With all this and its distinctive just-valeted aroma of plastic lemon, if I spend any length of time in it I emerge feeling slightly nauseous.
The worst thing however is the seats, dahlinks, the seats. We don't condone the mindless slaughter of dumb animals purely for upholstery purposes either over at Hydragenic or here at Sashinka-dot-Blogspot. Nevertheless, we do enjoy the cosy minimalism of our regular grey (faux-)suede interior. Sadly the courtesy car's seats have been covered more with economy in mind than aesthetics. Nylon may have its place, but my ass requires more class.
Sashinka is currently up, up and away
Sunday, August 18, 2002
On a tenuously related note, a friend of mine did a modelling assignment for Cosmo a few months ago, so I nipped out to the shops one lunchtime to buy my copy. As I wandered back into the office, a colleague pointed to the plastic bag in my hand and enquired if I'd bought anything interesting. "Oh, yeah, just a girly magazine - my friend's appearing in it this month," I replied absentmindedly. My colleague gave me a strange look, which I interpreted as meaning that they didn't expect me to have such glamorous friends.
Only when I'd climbed the second of three flights of stairs did I realise that the phrase 'girly magazine' (i.e. full of 'girly' things like how to find/keep/pleasure a man whilst applying stage-perfect make-up and wearing the ultimate next-season shoes) sounds exactly like the phrase 'girlie magazine', which means something entirely different.
Sashinka is currently in Miami
Anything interesting, profound or of long-term worth that I feel like writing over the next few days is going on my own site. Those entries will be dragged out of my soul in a tortured fit of existential agony. Here, on the other hand, I'll be dishing out a whole load of frothy, anecdotal journal-lite. Fair enough? We all know where we stand now.
Sashinka is currently away
There's every chance I'll addictively want to post something before I leave in the morning; but in case I don't: I'm leaving. It's not you, it's me. You know the stuff people say. Blah blah blah.
But seriously, folks, I'm just going to Miami (though I keep humming Going to Barbados), flying visit and all that, family business. Back Wednesday night or Thursday morning, I can't remember which.
And... I leave you in safe, capable hands - I have guest bloggers: Luke and Stuart. They are both witty and insightful, and I have no idea what they're going to say, as this whole thing is a bit of an experiment, and it'll be as much of a revelation to me as it is to you.
I will be without laptop and cellphone (just discovered my tri-band phone is buggered), though I will have my trusty Palm PDA. I will resort to checking messages from my calling card; I'm supposed to hear about The Job on Tuesday. So it'll be something of a tech holiday too. Which I guess is good for me.
You be good now.
The show is amazing; it's old fashioned cabaret at its best, true performance with an outrageous, post-modern pop-culture twist. It's Woody Allen (the Early Nightclub Years era) meets Rocky Horror and Dame Edna. They're funny and loud and scary and wild all at the same time. It's a little bit stand-up, a little bit music hall and a little bit subversive. The Wu-Tang peice - tell me the last time you saw a faux-seventy year old woman in her nightclub best rapping, ferchrisakes - was magical. The guys were all on to see the second show at Duckies at the Vauxhall Tavern at midnight, but as I'm getting up at stupid o'clock to meet my Dad at Heathrow, I sadly had to give it a miss.
They've just been extended (and they're not a kitchen in North London) and they're on twice nightly for another six weeks, I think. So really go. Although I imagine that the theatre setting inhibits them some, and they may be different/looser in a club vibe, so if they do any other club nights, I'd go there first.
Seems like every time I go to the Soho Theatre I see someone famous. And tonight was no exception: J pointed out Pete Burns from Dead or Alive in the bar beforehand. He was wearing the kind of pantaloony-trousers that MC Hammer wore in the eighties, that I always figured he'd stolen from Arabian Nights. Pete was not himself - although we've not stayed in touch - he was looking a little Michael Jackson with collagen-style lip enhancements, plus some hair extensions and a rather fetching camoflage print headscarf. He had a look about him that was slightly cleaner-bought-her-clothes-in-thrift-shop, though he was in good shape, I grant you. His theatre companion looked like Bepe out of East Enders and had the whole facial topiary thing going on in a big way.
Saturday, August 17, 2002
I don't usually like serious boy-action movies, and I'm not an Arnie fan, but I do have a 35% desire to see XXX, not least because Vin Deisel looks very cool. Hollywood has apparently dubbed him the action hero for the hip-hop generation. Which is strange, because that's what Hollywood calls me, too.
Other films I must remember to see when they come out: Blue Crush, Tadpole, Le Chateau. Oh, and Bamboozled, because I'm a huge Spike Lee fan.
And the ultimate in self-referrential meglomania? Adaptation, follows the story of Charlie Kaufman's attempt to adapt the novel "The Orchid Thief" into a screenplay. Cage's brother Donald (also played by Cage), turns him on to Robert McKee's book "Story" and associated seminar, and Cage actually attends the seminar in the movie. McKee is portrayed by Emmy-winning actor Brian Cox.
Does that mean there are no stories left, and we are reduced to writing stories about writing stories? Sheesh.
Friday, August 16, 2002
So I'm leaving early Sunday morning, and have arranged some guest bloggers for your delight and delectation.
But that's not what this is about: I'm in Miami for four days, and will be mostly doing family-type stuff, but hope to fit in some other things (especially dollar-style shopping, though all I really want is a t-shirt from the Gap). All I know so far is (a) there is great art deco stuff, and (b) it's a good place to get a manicure. But isn't that true of the whole of the States?
Any other guidance?
I just called my Mum's landline, and it was answered by her neighbour. I was a little confused, and asked if she was at my Mum's house. She told me a long story about how her line doesn't work, and she's waiting for the operator to call her back on my Mum's phone, which she's lent her.
"I don't understand all this new stuff. Have you called me or her?"
"But you phone doesn't work. I called Mum."
"Well, you must have called her mobile, it's very small."
However insistent I was that I had called the landline, and that my parents have the latest in miniscule DECT phone technology and it just looks like a mobile, she was equally insistent - possibly more so - that it was a mobile. Not that it matters. Though I did confuse her when I said I'd call Mum on her other phone.
I wonder if when I get old there will be some new thing that I just don't get and I will exasperate young people with my old-fashioned mores?
Walking to Kilburn station this morning, I saw the strangest sight; three people queing to use a telephone box. How last century is that, then?
Apparently 68% of UK adults own a mobile phone (and it's 88% in the 18-24 age range), and that doesn't include people who have a spare pay-as-you-go for making untraceable no-strings calls to their lover.
Thursday, August 15, 2002
It's the next Trainspotting. Allegedly. Don't you hate it in these pomo times where everything is just a reduction of something else: the next X or Y meets Z? And I'm fairly sure I've come across that plot before (person A steals novel from dead person B passing it off as their own) but it was before I had a blog so I have no idea where that tiny piece of information is in this huge information-laden world of ours.
One day soon I'm going to wake up and find that not only have all the accounting firms merged into one, and that there's one huge retailer for everything you need, but all the fucking governments will be American-stylee admininstrations, too. I'm sick of homogenized, generic blandness; I want quirky individuality back.
Oh, and it appears to be hailstoning. Again. We are clearly being punished, and not just by the administration.
So if you believe in magick or karma, or vibes or whatever - I once had a friend who insisted I should mentally "cover him in white light" whenever he had a big thing coming up that he wanted luck for - then send them my way. I just looked in my bank account, and I really need a job. Even if it does mean I have to wear a suit everyday.
So leave me comments. It'll make me feel loved and adored, which can only improve my interview performance, methinks.
Wednesday, August 14, 2002
Later, had dinner with J, her two kids, and A. J's over from Israel, and we've not seen each other for about seven years, we calculated. Although with email and IM I feel like we know more about each other's lives than if we lived next door and ran into each other ocassionally. And even though she's a mother now, two glasses of cider, and she's fourteen again. But then, so am I. I like having old, old friends; we've known each other since we were eleven, and there is something extremely relaxing and honest about someone who's known you all that time and seen you do any number of stupid things. Including spending most of my teenage years mooning over a guy who never even knew my name.
While it's an interesting collection of thinking and ideas about weblogging and its broader context, I think it's targeted at people who don't blog. Because, if you do, you'll most likely know all the arguments. And the arguments are only argued within individual articles, so there's no theme running through the collection, other than "blogging is generally a good thing". And how screenagers see the world through communications technology, and all that kind of thing. Which you already knew.
There is a difference between reading something online and off, though. Online, I tend to skim-read, pick up the main points, cut and paste things I want to think more about. Old media, I read and think, and turn back and re-read. I don't think books will ever go out of fashion, but I don't quite see the point of this collection apart from as a bandwaggon-jumping marketing activity to prove that weblogs are riding the crest of a meme or a wave or something.
I've coined a new phrase. How do I know? Google on it.
So it's a fact: I have wishlist envy. See?
It's when you browse someone else's wishlist and realise they share lots of your interests and pecadilloes and have brought together pretty much the list of CDs/books/whatever that you would like to read and listen to if only you had time and were that cool.
Associated phrase: wishlist raiding. Where you surf someone else's list, adding all the interesting items to your own.
I'm a one-woman meme. Maybe.
And I must start writing more discursively and conversationally. One day.
It's definitely Irish-themed week at Sashinka towers; saw The Lieutentant of Innishmore at the Garrick last night with P. It's an RSC production, and it shows, as well as being a fantastic comedy script. A black satire on terrorism and gratuitous violence, it's Pulp Fiction meets Lock Stock... with an Irish twist and a peculiarly british (and I use that word in its non-political context, hence lower case) sense of understatement.
The action largely takes place inside an Innishmore home, and it looked remarkably like the inside of the Enniskillen home I saw Monday night. Perhaps they're related?
It's been critics' choice in practically every UK broadsheet paper, and I know why. Despite the bloodbath at the end, which really might not be to everyone's tastes - I looked away myself a couple of times - the combination of a perfect script, laden with mind-blowingly funny one-liners, the surreal observation of a psychotic terrorist distraught at the death of his cat, direction that milks every last comedy moment from the play, and the invention of a new genre - terrorism farce - make it a must see, as far as I'm concerned.
Tuesday, August 13, 2002
"It's a beautiful day at the Dadeland Marriot, this is Audrey speaking, how may I direct your call?"
After I'd asked for reservations, she said:
"It's been a pleasure serving you. Have a nice day."
I guess for Americans this is a perfectly regular occurence, but for an old-fashioned English girlie like me, it sounds like a customer-service bot. I am conflicted about my feelings around faux-service statements; I mean, how can it possibly have been a pleasure to serve me? She doesn't even know me. She's working a script. At least she didn't try to get me into Amway or something.
I guess that means all those cute sportif style cars: MGF, MX5, Z3 (they all sound like extras in Star Wars Return of the Cheap Sports Car). And then there's the one-rung up cars: SLK, Elise, Boxster, TT... the S2000, and some others I can't remember.
My (figurative) money's on the Suzuki Cappucino or the Suzuki C2. Or maybe a Fiat Barchetta.
But enough of all this excitement: it's only web-window shopping, after all.
This closes at the Tricycle Saturday before going on a six week tour. If you get a chance, then see it. A three person, two act play, based on a true story, that looks at relationships, love and independent women (well, one independent woman) against the backdrop of Enniskillen in the thirties. It's slightly slow paced, especially at the beginning, and R, my theatre companion felt less drawn in than I was. I wonder if it's more of a girl-play? I was crying at the overwhelming sense of lost opportunity, and was probably not very good company in the bar afterwards.
With a fast-paced Irish-humour script, and beautifully atmospheric lighting, the play weaves back and forth through time, piecing together Madelyn's life and love-life (and reminded me of a less complex version of After You'd Gone). And Ann Marcuson is spellbinding as Madelyn; it's really her play. And I'm not just saying that because she's my friend. Definitely one to watch for bigger things.
Geek aside: when you google on the play's name, you get sponsored links for granite kitchen work tops. That works, then.
Monday, August 12, 2002
Now, you know as well as I do, that you rarely see anyone under fifty-ish or even with vaguely liberal views wearing a fur coat nowadays. I have no idea how prostitutes would rate themselves on the animal welfare front, but apparently, whilst you can't be too rich or too thin, you can have too many fur coats. But what does one do with a surfeit of fur coats in today's world?
So Guy hit upon the ideal business venture; he has cornered the market in the second-hand never-worn fur coat vertical. Nearly all the prostitutes in London, allegedly, come to him with their unwanted wares, and he sells them on and takes a significant cut. He doesn't have any competitors; there are serious barriers to entry to this, albeit niche, market, like you have to know a lot of prostitutes and where do you start?
Apparently, he doubles his salary. But I'm guessing that this bit is strictly cash.
And, more to the point, the New York Times uses "the internet" (whatever the hell that is) as a hook in the headline, and then it turns out that it really is an article about pamphleteers (how is a pamphlet different from a zine?) at Prickly Paradigm Press. Why can't journalism do what it says on the tin?
Nineish, I got to O's farewell do at a pub in Kentish Town that was not the Jorene Celeste. Music by DJ Sangam and San Transisto, who D described as "jazzed-up XTC with a sense of humour" but I thought were just amazing in an old-fashioned rock with balls way. I was impressed.
And tonight I made O a blog, so she can record her Japan trip for all and sundry. When I say made a blog, I mean that I did my usual cut-and-paste job, but it looks good. I'll let you know as soon as she says something.
Sunday, August 11, 2002
But I like seeing the aggregate information, it's interesting. And I like clicking on the extra links. But I think it might make the page slow to load. Dunno. Thoughts? Solutions?
Oh, and now I'm really going to the gym, otherwise I'll spend all morning pissing around. Later.
I had an obsessional desire to keep all plastic bags, because they might come in useful.
I remember when my grandma died, and we had to clear out her flat. There was drawer after drawer of neatly folded plastic bags. And cupboard after cupboard of washed jam jars. Because of The War, apparently.
Because I live in a flat and thus have limited storage space, now I have a personal rule; once my bags start overflowing from my bag-of-bags receptacle under the sink I throw them away. Terrible, I know. Perhaps now is not a great time to admit I have a cleaner (middle class, I know) but I used to have a cleaner who also cleaned for most of my friends locally, and she regularly said things like "what is it with all you Jewish people and the plastic bags?" She also said "you Jewish people, you're all very young and all very sucessful, aren't you?" (of course this was in those heady days when I had a job). I told her no, she was just seeing a very small percentage of the Jewish population. But probably a very high proportion of the plastic bags.
Anyway, once they tax us, perhaps we'll be bit more moderate about our plastic bag habit. After all, it's just a security blanket for second/third generation refugee types; my Turkish friend's parents' kitchen has more plastic bags than you can knit a tea-cosy with.
A very strange thing happens to me when I do stand-up - the desire for love and attention from an audience overcame when I eventually got there. Blackheath is a very long way from North London - I can't ever remember what I said. What I like about A's evening, is that the sound guy tapes it, so afterwards I can always listen to myself, which is quite useful. And I'm much, much better when I just take a risk and say whatever comes into my head; when I'm totally prepared and planned and it's joke 129 followed by off-the-cuff comment 76 it's funny, sure, because I know the gags work, but it doesn't have that same energy and edginess.
Unfortunately, the sound guy's car broke down, but I asked a friend to write down a couple of key words from each story, and this morning I looked at her list of fortyish words, and I'm thinking "that worked" or "that wasn't so good." It's better than a tape, because I don't have to wait a couple of weeks to get my edited bit.
Want to know what I said? A mix of this, this and this, and some stories about going through Israeli security when I was a kid, telecoms habits of the urban middle-classes, the similarity between gaydars and jewdars, strip-tease artists.... OK, I'll stop now.
In the interval, I overhead two guys talking. One said to the other: "oh, they're very middle class. Went straight to central heating." Did not pass go? Did not collect one hundred pounds? Where is central heating, anyway? On the northern line?
OK, I really will stop now.
Saturday, August 10, 2002
Off to a soiree; A (not that A, another one) runs an intermittent gathering of creative types - it's in Blackheath tonight. People do all sorts of stuff; music, drumming, dance, jamming, performance poetry. Often, I use it as a place to test out new gags, but I'm not feeling very entertaining tonight. I think A thinks I'm going to do something (something funny, I guess) but I'm really not in the mood. I feel like skulking in the back row and being cold and unfriendly. I have, however, put on a lot of make-up, so no-one will recognise me anyhow.
That's what you call a win-win situation. Except the only person who benefited was the phone company.
Friday, August 09, 2002
I had a sudden desire to find out about stuckism; I met a woman at a party a few months back who was going on about it, and I found myself just nodding in agreement rather than admitting I had no fucking idea what she was talking about.
Now I've looked at the word STUCK more than a few times in the last few minutes, it's started to look strange. Unnatural.
Now, I know I shouldn't drive in bus lanes. It's dangerous. But I feel slightly disturbed living in a City where my every move is on camera. Am I supposed to never do anything naughty because someone might be watching?
OK, so I don't usually watch daytime TV, honest. But I was compelled to watch Trisha this morning. Generally any eponymous show on during daylight hours is to be avoided: Trisha, Esther, Oprah, Ricky, the late-TV-lamented Vanessa, et al. Oh, and Kilroy. But I'll save that rant for another time.
This morning it was Trisha's Challenge; three concerned partner/friends of fat women said how their wife/friend was really fat, ruining her life, their sex life, the universe. One guy, humiliatingly, held up the jogging pants his wife now wears in bed (I think, slightly stretching them at the waistband to make them look bigger), and then held up a black lacey thong and said he'd rather she wore that. Maybe he would, but they're not exactly comfortable, are they? I can just imagine a wet-behind-the-ears TV researcher saying to him; "OK, bring the biggest thing you have of hers, and, yeah, I see it now, something reallysmall." "But she never wore those thongs, even when she was thin." "That's OK, we'll get them for you."
All three showed before and after pictures. One guy held up his wife's size 8 skirt, and said she'd doubled in size. So she's a size 16 now; the average size of a UK women. I'm not saying this because I'm a size sixteen; she really didn't look well in the before pictures.
Daytime TV is bad enough without public humiliation rituals. When it got to the bit where the husbands gently berated their womanly wives; "it's for your own good, you know," I started feeling sick. I don't think that being fat "happens" to you (if, indeed these women were fat; I think if you can still go into a regular shop and buy clothes, you may be a little heavy, but ridicule is not required); I don't think fat people are victims.
I know how hard it is to lose weight, however well-intentioned friends and bystanders are. I don't think you have to pussyfoot around fat people, pretending they're thin to make them feel better, and telling them it's not their fault. I mean, clearly, I've eaten more than I should and exercised less than I ought; it's a simple input-output equation with some emotional stuff thrown in.
But undertaking a public flogging on national TV? Is this the modern day equivalent of a witch-hunt? Are not-so-fat people to be so demonised as to be hauled up before a jury of their peers? Hung in the market-square for all to see?
There's a delicate balance between a supportive, loving partner non-judgmentally helping you do something you want to do yourself, and him selling your relationship for his fifteen minutes of fame. Of course, I'm not qualified to judge, as I used the ultimate voting-with-my-hands tool (the OFF button) so never found out what the women really thought.
"I think she's gone off me. I told her that I wasn't a great bet, not making a living and all. She's a real City high-flyer. And I think she believed me."
You know how that is? You pitch a self-depreceating line to someone in the vain hope they proclaim: "no, no, I love you really. Money/looks/height/size/humour don't matter to me, really." Only they never do say that, do they? I think she's losing out, anyhow.