Friday, May 31, 2002

Didn't get the Boston job. Coming second appears to be my specialist subject.
I'm really upset about what happened to Luke , and now I find out that other loosely-related things are not uncommon. Although I know he didn't do anything wrong. And I'm partly upset because I've been through that kinda shit. But, whatever doesn't kill me makes me stronger. Not that aphorisms help.

Bob linked his Guardian piece . It's true that there's so much technology around that anything and everything you do in the workplace can be looked at over your shoulder. But what does that mean about workplaces; surely a degree of trust is implicit in the employment relationship? When I was headhunter, their door-opening-technology even kept a record of which fucking doors you walked through. I wonder how useful that is? "Well, Sasha, we're concerned that you're through-doorput statistics are in the lower quartile, and we're concerned you might not be having as many ad-hoc mini-meetings as our current vision allows for. Do you have anything to say about that?"

I'm not sure the Big Brother world (and I mean that in an Orwellian rather than Channel 4 way) makes for good business. Or good human relationships. And also, I hate my friends getting treated like shit.
Dan showed me this ages ago and I just refound it. Feeds the inner child, for sure.
Fancy an instantaneous, TV-like experience?

Here's the kind of pointless crap I can't believe gets published. James Citrin's article Six Principles for Leading During Uncertain Times can be summarised like this:
1 be honest
2 have a good business idea
3 hire good people
4 motivate the good people you hired
5 insert current management fad here: "organise for flexibility" (quite a lot better than the previously fashionable "exhibit thought leadership". Excuse me, is the Thought Leader home today?
6 be consisent

Er, right. So that definitely gets the so-what-? prize, then. And anyway, I don't think there just has to be a recession to exhibit integrity.
Last night I did a gigette at the Hampstead Comedy Club, and I'm halfway through my act when I see T standing by the bar. My fans, they're everywhere.

The great thing about last night was that it was filmed (I was doing a favour for a mate who needed 40 seconds of a female stand-up for some film); when it's edited, and they've taken out all the crap gags, it'll be better than the real me.

And my googling has reminded me that this is the best UK comedy portal.
I've never really considered making money from blogging (it reminds me of those oh-so-1998 conversations about monetizing the business plan yabba yabba bullshit) but this is an interesting piece, nonetheless.
Glad that my licence fee goes towards something useful, then.

The only time I ever voluntary look at a BBC website is when I read someone else's link or the nice people from Blue Yonder ask me to put it in as a test page if my connection is broken.

Thursday, May 30, 2002

I really want to see this movie.

And this bit is great: the producer and director just list their favourite places in New York. On an uptown/downtown basis.
From blogs to klogs. You're probably wondering what a klog is, right? It's all about "knowledge weblogs. Knowledge management, learning organizations, and other practices to reduce collective idiocy." Whatever.

I think knowledge management databases are the way of the future. But that's not how blogs work. You ever thought to yourself, as a minion of a large international organisation: "I wonder what questions people were thinking about last Wednesday at around 11am?" Exactly. Sure there's search technology for blogs, but it's an add-on, not the raison-d'etre.

Know what this is? Blogunacy meets the blog bandwaggon.
BasicCat is a First Tuesday-alike, founded by some First Tuesday movers and shakers. It's a little bit The Chemistry, and not unlike some other people with an Orange logo.

But what it mostly reminds me of is this CAT: the coital alignment technique. Basic CAT sounds like you're in a beginners class. Or reading Cosmo. But, er, it's the business model that counts, right?
Shameless plug for a friend, but MBites is a great, free, daily tech/business newsletter. Why read all the papers when Mike can do it for you?
Am I a libertarian? Er, not sure. Whatever you say is OK with me, really.

Wednesday, May 29, 2002

Seen this? I'd like to make one for London but don't know the first thing about anything.
Just called A to see if he wants to come to my gig tomorrow, but turns out he's in France playing with Pierre BenSusan. Yay.
Can you believe that there's someone who's job-title is Cyber Sociology Expert? Anyway, Keith says that:

"the social impact of new communications technologies is a greater number of social ties, more diverse social ties, more support."

Thank God, I say. Nay, thank God a thousand times.

[via zapology]
More blogging for the blogerati in the blogosphere.
Just had lunch with D and A for tomorrow's gig, and D told me this story:

This is a "true story" in (Letters) Daily Mail.Going to bed the other night I noticed people in my shed stealing things. I phoned the police but was told no one was in the area to help. They said they would send someone over as soon as possible. I hung up. A minute later I rang again. "Hello", I said "I called you a minute ago because there were people in my shed. You don't have to hurry now because I've shot them". Within minutes there were half a dozen police cars in the area, plus helicopters and an armed response unit. They caught the burglars red handed. One of the officers said "I thought you said you'd shot them", to which I replied "I thought you said there was no one available."

Could be an urban myth, urban miss, but it's damned good.
And today's word is (trumpet roll) news-grazing.
David isn't very sure he knows where he lives. But I know. I live there. It's Cricklehamsptead.

Tuesday, May 28, 2002

OK, I hadn't seen this when I said that.

[via kookymojo]
Great evening with P (although he did say if I wrote up our conversation he'd have to get it peer reviewed). We had drinks at Bam Bou (which I know used to be the No 1 Cigar Club - it's strange how restaurants are currently relaunching/rebranding like pop groups: remember that 80s (?) sketch about bands breaking up and reforming?).

I was drinking Mojitos, because they reminded me of Cuba, for some reason, and P was sensibly drinking Chardonnay. Drinking on an empty stomach is never good. Unfortunately I had too much to drink to remember the name of the cute Thai place on Charlotte Street, but they made a mean thai green curry (but then so do I).

P was tall, fabulous, funny, charming and surreally witty. As ever. Sample conversational soundbite: "Watson and Crick were the baal-shem tov of the DNA world." I'm too pissed/woozy too write anything else right now.
The Jubilee Line train driver at Finchley Road this morning started doing his stand-up comedy routine on us, and it was bad. The only good gag was "why do they call them semi-detached houses? they should be semi-attached." Reminded me of this.
It's not becuase my friends call me Imelda, but I love the century in shoes.
Probably everyone in the wired world already knows about 37 signals.
Vaughn's got a whole Friends Reunited thang going on, but since I read this in yesterday's Guardian, I'm a little more wary.

Of course it may be more legal scaremongering/ambulance chasing, and that guy did use his real name.
I really want to see Free by Simon Bowen at the National. Not least because Andrew Lincoln is in it. But also, because I - apparently - have that late-twenty-something twenty-first-century ennui.
Word of the day: commentariat.
Ian had good stuff to say about Angus Deayton's little, er, misdemeanour.

But it did mean that I found a HIGNFY site to die for. And, in other related news, Paul Merton is my ideal man.
The ultimate 3rd generation wireless, location-aware service...
Initial Entry Screen -----> Success Screen

[via mattjones, as suggested by Yoz]
Went to the theatre tonight, with my Mum and Dad.

My Mum called during the week and said would I like to see the Vagina Monologues? Now I would, but not with my parents, ferchrissakes. I countered with Gwynnie in Proof at the Donmar. My Mum said (after I'd read her a synopsis) "it's not clever, seeing something about mental illness when there's so much of it in the family." (I've actually rewritten that line, for comedy value). We finally settled on Lady Windemere's Fan.

Joely Richardson was truly mediocre, even though her fictional mother was played by her real mother, Vanessa Redgrave. The star of the show was undoubtedly Googie Withers, who I googled on when I got home to discover that she is 85, and still evidently has both all her marbles and more dramatic presence than the whole cast put together. My Mother reminded me that her Mother was a big fan, and if my grandma Hilda was here she'd be 99.

C-list celebrity trivia: The second male lead is played by Jack Davenport, who was (better as) Miles in This Life. Oh, and my Mum used to go out with someone who was best friends with Peter Hall thirty years ago.

Monday, May 27, 2002

There's a lot to say. First, the whole uptalk/HRT thing had me thinking about a couple of people I talked to recently, who I like to call Too Much Information People. So Sunday, I saw my father's cousin Janice (not, of course, her real name), and I aksed her how she was and she replied:

"Fine. Well, not so fine, really. I've had a banging headache all weekend." I nodded symapthetically. "Just won't go away. My doctor suggested I revise the HRT treatment, but I'm not so sure. Would you like to see pictures of my daughter and her non-Jewish partner? We're so disappointed, but what can you do?" She then went into what I call The No Neck Position; shrug your shoulders as if you have no neck and are in need of immediate osteopathic treatment, to indicate disapproval.

The previous weekend, I ran into a scary woman, X, at a party. She always answers six questions instead of one when you talk to her, and she scares me shitless. And, frankly, I'm quite hard to scare. She's generally fairly unhip, and looked uber-trendy in an of-the-moment peasant ensemble that both our ancestors would not have paid two roubels for in the Old Country. I said she looked nice. She replied:

"Thanks. My friend Sarah lent me her clothes, you see I'm losing weight and she's gaining weight, so I think I'll have them for a while. She's dieting, and plans to be in them again by September, but I had to trendy up becuase I've been asked to be [something identifying] on [major TV programme] and they said I couldn't wear a suit. I tried to get out of it, but [her professional body] put me up for it and I got the short straw. Another drink?"

I so want to tell you who she is, but in recognition of everything I said a couple of weeks back about anonymity, I won't. Shame though. For you, anyway.

FYI: this thought-link-journey went: HRT-my Dad's cousin - other annoying TMI people-great gossip.
Just for completeness sake, I feel I should file a what-I-did-at-the-weekend post. Let's just say it wasn't so much Four Weddings and A Funeral, as Two Barmitzvah's and A Stonesetting.
On my travels, found another word thing.
I know I'm getting way too excited, but I lurve the web. This morning I had no idea that there was such a thing as HRT - High Rising Terminals - thanks for the lead, Peter.

Matt Seaton wrote about it last year. James Gorman, a teacher at NYU coined the phraseuptalk in 1993. Apparently Douglas Coupland (his site's been under renovation for ever) and most Canadians are key culprits.Cynthia Lemore did her PhD in "recurrent intonational rises". And I'm going to do my PhD on Chick Lit. Like, really.

Apparently it's a kiwi meets Clueless thing, with some social anthropology thrown in for good measure. I didn't even know my friend D might be a member of a "linguistic micro community". And I certainly don't think he's a valley girl.

Diane DiResta, author of Knockout Presentations: How to Deliver Your Message with Power, Punch and Pizzazz, is quoted as saying: "I believe it is also an outgrowth of our politically correct society where people tiptoe around their beliefs by monitoring their language. It's as if a person's tentative tone allows them to retract the statement if it is met with criticism or disapproval. People are afraid to take a stand." And she agrees that it's a menace to women trying to clamber the corporate ladder: "Uptalk robs them of credibility and authority. It is especially disempowering for women."

Sure, but where did Matt Seaton get Diana from? The golden rolodex under rentaquote?

And if "uptalk is close to the spirit of postmodernism, concerned with advancing relativistic, provisional statements - in contrast with the classic discourse of modernism, pronouncing absolute truths" then where do I stand? I think there are some absolute truths. And I'm certainly not a moral relativist.

Peter thinks it's even more annoying to use "like" to mean "said". And he was like, go on. And I was like, no way. But, like, I do that all the time. Whatever.
When I was a print buyer (I've had a lot of jobs), this was just the kind of thing I needed.
Just discovered this lawmeme site; the top ten copyright crimes is a laff-a-minute.
An amusing proto-rebublican article in this morning's Guardian. There are passing references to "sundry Romanians"; do you think it's possible that I'm 315th in line to the throne? If I am, I must get a manicure.
I love everything to do with typography.
Showing my age, I guess, but Brian Eno and Talking Heads were the backdrop to my early childhood. I just loved that early techno-ish stuff. Then I got into Tom Tom Club.

In fact, somewhere around Swiss Cottage is my framed hard-to-find promotional True Stories poster, languishing in a flat I used to live in, where my former flat mate persuaded me it went so well in the bathroom. Hi, Mike.

But for some reason, I never came across the Oblique Strategies project till today. A collabaration between Brian Eno and the now-deceased Peter Schmidt, they've just released a fifth edition, and I want one.

Sunday, May 26, 2002

One thing about this weekend... I ended up hanging out with a lot of teenagery-types - don't ask why - and there's whole generation of people out there who talk like they're in an Aussie soap.

It must be a syndrome, then. Sorry, Syndrome. Terminal Sentence Questioning Syndrome. Or something. I know that someone, somewhere, out there, must have written about this. The whole thing implies a sense of constant questioning and no fixed facts that scares me.
's been a non-stop crazy weekend that I will write up one day in the future.

For now, here's another crazy story about impending fat litigation. Like, watch this space (or a bigger one).

Friday, May 24, 2002

More stuff I hate:
- people who say "what am I like?", "what are you like" or any variation on that theme. Especially in a whiney voice
- white people who braid their hair
- doing phone technical support to my brother for an hour at a time. Sample problem: Q "it won't read the software on the CD". A is the CD pressed into place?
- lack of world peace
- people who double park in Golders Green (it's OK for me to say that. if you say it, it might be racist).
- middle aged women with the sparkly clothes gene, uber-manicured looks and a gun in their - metaphorical - handbag
- people who say "we must do lunch" unironically
ABBA, so retro, I know. And now, the guys get an award. I (just) remember the first time around: my best friend Louise Hart was utterly obsessed with the sultry Swedes. So much so, that in an entrance exam for senior school, she answered the entire multiple choice section ABBA. What's amazing is, she got a place.
That American litigation thing is just going too far. Meredith Berkman, a US columnist, is suing a food manufacturer for emotional distress due to mis-labeling that fat content on her kid's food. Like, really. I don't buy that whole vicitim culture thing. It's a fear culture gone crazy. Sometimes you have to take responsibility for yourself, and not look for other people to blame. So you're fat. Get over it.
Heard Claire Calman interviewed on Radio 4 about her new book, I Like it Like That. Apparently it's all about Unsuitable Partner Syndrome. That's a real thing?

I think We Are Being Lied To. There can't really be a syndrome for everything. If there is then I have Too Lazy To Get Out of Bed Syndrome, coupled with Proto Diet Syndrome (I think I have lost my total body weight two or three times during my life, just not all at the same time). Or Not as Funny As I Think Syndrome. You do it. Anything's a syndrome in these post-modern times.
Just saw a guy sitting on the bench outside Starbucks in Hampstead, with 333 tattooed on the inside of his wrist. What is that? Half the number of the beast?
Last night I saw The Clearing at The Tricycle. Helen Edmunson's play does an incredible job of contemporising (if that's a word) the issues of seventeenth century Ireland. There's a real timelessness to the debate about land and ethnicity, and who feels passionately about something and who just wants to save their skin. It's the first time I've been to the theatre and cried: AislĂ­n McGuckin is a powerful Maddie, and her performance resonates with the anguish of historical displacement of any era. When "they" knocked on the door, I was transported to turn of the century Romania, where my great grandparents were ethnically cleansed in a pogrom.

It is a little bit The Crucible, but it's powerful acting, a contemporary script, and a timeless tale. I know the Guardian reviewed it well (but luckily can't google it, which is good, as they likened it to the "current Palestinian crisis" and I could feel S bristling for the whole of the second half).

Aside from loving the whole space, yeah, man, I ran into an actress friend who's there in August, and my (famous) neighbour who was very friendly. Unfortunately, I still can't remember his name.
STILL in a bad mood. You don't have to read this. Think of it as blogtherapy. Here's why:
1 My water went off twice yesterday. Twice. For several hours at a time. I've lived in my apartment for eight years (and I'm only 12) , and this has never happened before. The friendly call centre operative I spoke to at 1am this morning said it was a coincidence. Yeah; it's a coincidence and they're all out to get me.
2 Everything I write is shit. Not here... this is just a brain dump requiring no critical evaluation. But my real writing is crap.
3 Two friends have lost their jobs in as many days. I know that feelings. That's shit too.
4 My mother has phoned four times in the last twelve hours. Sometimes, if I strip out all the messages from my family, actually, I only get called like once a fortnight.
5 Consequently, it must follow, that I have no friends. Just a lot of messages.

I know if I was on some kind of sharing thing, I'd have to say some good stuff too:
1 I have more friends to play with during the day now.
2 I really value my time and what I do with it, now. I have acheived an increased humility around work.
3 I started serious job-hunting yesterday and made two meetings already. It can't be that hard. I was once good at something.
4 when I started writing this it was good weather.
5 Two men have fancied me (who I've reciprocally fancied) in the last fortnight.
6 My nephew just left me a cute message saying he loves me

Look! There are more good things than bad. There is hope for me/the world/er, yeah.

Thursday, May 23, 2002

Don't bother reading this. It's just a bookmark for next time I get into an argument with someone.
I'm kinda half-reading Crypto by Steven Levy, which is a fascinating history of the development of public key cryptpography. I know, I should get out more. He's the guy who wrote Hackers. And the Guardian loves him.

Then I came across this, on crypto history. Is it a meme? I should stop saying that, I know.
"On the web, everyone is famous to fifteen people."
-- David Weinberger

[via lifeasithappens]
Was just talking to someone on the phone, and he was blah blah blahing on about their business model withstanding the vagaries of the market and such like.

"And then, seven eleven happened."

What is that? Attack of the killer convenience stores?
I know it's the ultimate English thing to talk about the weather, but five minutes ago the sun was shining and I was thinking of taking my laptop into the garden, and now it's hailstoning. If there's someone up there, they sure have a sense of humour. Or they work for the Water Board.
Yay. I'm so happy. Apparently there was a four inch crack in the water mains up the street from me and we've had no water since 6am. Just came back on now. Strange how I felt reassured by the details I got from John in the call centre.

I'm off to get a shower. J had to go to work without one. mmm
I like this. A weblog. Kinda. But multimedia.
Had a mellow evening with Z, with curry in (one of my many) local curry houses. Can you believe that the Crescent Tandoori doesn't have a dedicated website? Maybe because a meal for two came to £11.50. And it's truly great food.

This is my theory: there are about six curry houses on Cricklewood Broadway, and none of them are ever really busy. And they're open till like 2am. Most of them have a 25% off if you eat in deal; I think that if they all closed down and opened up as two curry houses they could make a good living.

They are so friendly in there. Whenever I go in, they welcome me like a long lost friend (which I might be; A couple of years back - when I had a job - my team wanted to do a really cheap Christmas outing, and I said this was the cheapest place I knew. The bill came to £75 for twelve of us. Including beers. Think they thought it was Christmas). It's ironic that I'm on their Christmas card list - a group of Asian men sending someone Jewish a Christmas card, but hey, that's the multicultural society for you.

So, if you live locally (you know who you are), then please keep them in business. Can't recommend them enough.

Wednesday, May 22, 2002

Bad mood. Things I hate:
1 Dogs... both allegedly friendly four-legged fiends and the on-screen kind
2 People who say "enjoy!" with an implied exclamation mark, especially if they have given you something
3 Not getting even interviewed for a job I thought I was perfect for
4 the transformative power of violence. Been giving this a lot of thought today
5 People who have had too much therapy and say things like "yeah, the cinema. I think I'd like that. But, yeah, like, I think what I might be needing right now is some quiet time, y'know? So, maybe, y'know, a movie's just not right for me right now." I think these people overlap (in the venn diagram of life) with those creatures who speak the management-therapy dialect of modern-mumbo-jumbo. I hate them too.
Just giggling over Molly's Ally McBeal piece. Molly acknowledges the show's imperfections - and there are many - but conculdes that:
"i think the show was actually a great influence in our culture. it brought feminism, however gently, however watered-down, into the living rooms of millions of people every week."

I just don't buy that. If anyone's still interested in feminism, then I think AMcB is a kind of fictional anti-feminism; where women are only motivated by getting their man, and where they get really really good jobs without doing any work. Possibly entirely based on how they look.

I wrote a piece about this when the show started. All I have to do now is get some webspace, and load my columns, and send you there. Mmm. Sure I can do it...
White Noise got into my head. I just want to say that Don Delillo's novel is in my all-time favourite top ten.

Turns out I'm not the only person with a Delillo thing. Or thang. Or wotsit. Mmm.

Wish I had a job. This is exactly the kind of conversation people have around the watercooler. I'd feel a fool talking to my tap, ferchrissakes.

Noise Action Day

Little known fact: Today is Noise Action Day. That's right, May 22nd, you've been hiding from the extensive press coverage, but I tell the truth. I found this out by seeing a Brent Council poster near Kilburn tube station.

Initially, I figured the implication of NOISE ACTION day was that we all had to try our hardest to make a lot of noise. On reflection (hard in Kilburn, you can't hear yourself think; there's always a lot of police cars going by any time of the day or night), I realised that it was an environmental health/noise programme. Noise is blighting our lives.

I've made a choice to live in an urban, noisy area, and the background buzz of sirens, drunks, cars getting smashed, articulated lorries rumbling by is the soundscape to my life. I feel surprised by true silence; last summer, up a mountain in Phongsali, the northernmost province of Laos (don't go there, believe me), I realised that for probably the first time in my life it was utterly silent. The sound of one hand clapping and all that.

There's internal silence and external silence. So I feel reassured by the sounds of my old fashioned technology; I hate how digital stuff doesn't make a noise. My wind-up alarm clock ticks, loudly. I like that. My new bakelite clock makes a reassuring low-key whirring sound. It comforts me. When my boiler comes on in the morning, it makes waking-up sounds that remind me it works and that I don't have to get British Gas men round in abundance to fix it, and I say I silent prayer of thanks. When I was a headhunter and we moved offices, we had lengthy conversations about spending £20,000 on buying some white noise, becuase we were all too English to make genuine office sounds.

And internal noise; I joke with T about meditation (he's heavily into yoga), and how I have 450 conversations going on in my head at any one time (random sample: "she's thin","did I pay the gas bill","does he like me","will I ever get a job","she shouldn't be wearing those trousers"). He says he's got his down to 175. But it's still noisy in there.

So. Enjoy Noise Action day. But be quiet out there.
Love this town building thing from ThinkBlank. Hours and hours of fun and you don't have to work in a local authority planning department.

Strange how nearly everything I look at on the web links back to Tom.

Tuesday, May 21, 2002

I have no idea what this is about, but I like the pictures.

[via machete]
When I was a headhunter, I spent an inordinate amount of time looking for a CFO (Finance Director to you and me) for Eyestorm, the online art gallery with first mover advantage and serious funding to boot. For some reason, I couldn't find a qualified chartered accountant who would touch them with a barge pole, call them a risk-averse profession.

And now, as the internet bubble comes full circle - or something - they've gone bust.
I knew there was a job out there somewhere, for me. Just didn't know it was so close.
Gotta meeting? Call Dave I don't even know Dave Carter at, but he's written to me three times now, headed Your Meeting Next Week:

Dear sasha,
Regarding your meeting next week, and indeed any meeting you have in the future, wouldn't it be worthwhile knowing as much as you can about the people and companies you do business with?
Well now you can with UK-Info Business. Providing the low down on companies and directors, you can be forewarned and therefore forearmed - and in business that is invaluable.

If I'm going to get spam, I want it to look like spam. OK, so I signed up, it's not spam. Technically. But I object to Dave emailing me like he knows I have a meeting. And I'd definitely get a new copywriter. Sure, most people will have a meeting next week, even if it's with their manicurist (I realised this was fake becuase my freelance, er, unemployed status means I have no meetings next week): I think this comes from the Dying Soon (targted at old people for life insurance), school of copywriting and it makes me feel unwell.

Monday, May 20, 2002

Now you too can watch my local TrafficCam. Yay.
Interested in the contemporary obsession with branding? Check this.

And if anyone remembers a quiz that was doing the rounds a couple of months back that assesses your brand literacy (you had to tick boxes for all the logos that you recognised), I'd love it.
More blogging on blogging Ben Hammersley has a Time to Blog On piece today, where I can't tell if he was at the O'Reilly Emerging Technology conference or not.

But the mot du jour there are Journalism 3.0 (which sounds a whole lot better than Tiscali 10.0 - that's version control inflation for you), and the Old Media-New Media-We Media continuum. Gilmour should definitely have googled on WeMedia before he said it, because aside from the buzzword bingo aspect of it, it's also "the leading media company covering issues important to the millions of people with disabilities interested in a quality life without compromise." You heard it here first.

Seems like the Guardian's got the whole blog thing in the golden rolodex; they even have OnLineBlog from the guys who do Thursday's online section. "It's a blog, Jim, but not as we know it." It's just a front for a newspaper, innit?
Toby Young has written a typical (aka lazy) piece on what he doesn't like about Star Wars. That writing in lists thing, it's soo last year.

I used to work with Toby on the Modern Review, and I know him to be a gifted and talented writer; his piece on his father's death in January moved me both to tears and to call him up and tell him. His review of Elizabeth Wurtzel's new book was completely on the money, and had me laughing out loud.

Maybe all the fame's gone to his head?
Afterwards, I hooked up with K, and we sat in Pavillion Gardens talking, catching up. I'd noticed a mobile phone on the grass next to us, but I'm never sure what to do in such situations. It rang, so I picked it up. And I said "have you lost your mobile phone?" And a perplexed dutch man said "how do you know?" It was very waiting-for-godot. I told him it was in the Gardens, and he said he'd come and get it.

It's funny how if you look at people's faces properly, nearly everyone looks like they've lost something. Two typically-Dutch-but-short guys turned up, kissed us on both cheeks, and thanked us profusely. Marcel and Lex were from Rotterdam, worked in private banking and were I guess late twenties. They wanted to take us out to "thank us" for finding their phone, but when we got chatting to them (Rotterdam - immigrants - Pim Fortuyn) we discovered that we had met the only two extremely-right wing, racist dutch people I've ever encountered. We beat a hasty retreat to Moshi Moshi Sushi where we watched two guys at the next table practically have sex. Didn't know where to look; I'm not a great believer in PDA (that's public displays of affection rather than personal digital assistants), at least not when you can hear little yelps and the exchange of bodily fluids.

Great sashimi, though.
Braindump. Blogdump. Got back from Brighton this morning (which took nearly three hours due to the information wilderness that is everyone who works for Railtrack/Thameslink/insert here name of the rail provider of your choice).

Couldn't get out of bed yesterday, late night on Saturday, so made it to the beach for twoish, just missed K's friend's samba band, but got there in time for a wonderful barbeque with D, C, P, J and D (for anyone who knows anything about the Wellhausen Hypothesis, these are real people, not biblical literary strands). Despite the impromptu-ness, D was a great cook, and there's nothing like sitting on the beach with the wind in your hair eating freshly bbq'd just-caught fish and listening to live music.

Saw Catherine M interviewed by Edmund White. (Incidentally, he spoke great French, but with a so-American accent I was embarassed for him). She presents interesting ideas about a bohemian/libertine/liberal world that I've never encountered, and in a very down-to-earth way. It was billed as "art and pornography", but it's not. It's just the life mirroring art/mirroring life debate, with intimate details.

She said something that made me wonder: "Historically, the aim of sexuality was procreation. Today, we think it's orgasm. But I think it hasn't got any precise aim." So what is she on about, then? She's not militant about sexual liberty (I think she may not be militant about anything - she really, really looks like someone's mother), but the ability to talk about it. But it's not a confession. It's a recis. Whatever that is. The best laugh came from Edmund White, vying with her in the who's-slept-with-more-men-stakes, in describing 1962 to 1982 as the "golden years of promiscuity."

I think she just wants her fifteen minutes of better-educated-than-Jerry-Springer fame.

Sunday, May 19, 2002

Turned out it was zone four. I mean, practically the country. Home briefly to pick up my vaio before I hop on a train to the coast. I finished Killing Time; truly twist-in-the-tale edge-of-the-seat fabulous. I can't recommend it enough; dense, perfect writing that had me begging for more.

More about my weekend later; I'm off to Brighton and the sun's shining and I hope I get a chance to play basketball on the beach in between hanging out in coffee shops and going to artist's open houses. Times like this, I have no desire to get a job at all.

Thursday, May 16, 2002

GONE TO THE COUNTRY OK, zone three. It's the Jewish cheesecake eating festival. Back in a couple of days. Don't think I won't have withdrawl symptoms whilst I'm gone.
Wish I'd come across this frankly ridiculous game when I was writing about the BurnRate diet last week. I mean, who wants to play a game that reflects real life so accurately that it hurts. And you can only buy it in the non-virtual world in four fabulous Seattle establishments.

OK: it's a woman's prerogative to change her mind: I just took the tour. It's the kind of joke gift I might send to one of my many former CEO/VP Biz Dev friends.

[via blogjam]
No sooner do the lyrics from Grease randomly pop into my brain than I find it's happened to Stuart too. Is it a meme?
Had lunch with E yesterday (she works in TV) and she actually used the phrase "the project's been green lit for development". And not ironically. Maybe it's OK if it's reported speech.
Sorry about my pics at the top, btw. The designer hosting them has exceeded their monthly traffic. Will get it fixed, promise.
Been on a mental hyperlink frenzy, which went something like this. Ruby Wax. Alexei Sayle. The Fish People Tapes. Jon X (my best friend at school - he got me into Attila The Stockbroker). Here's another, maybe better, link.

I remember the eighties; ranting poets and crappy poppy music (which is truly the backdrop to my life). My Mum used to say (about Duran Duran) "music by drug addicts, for drug addicts." I remember seeing John Cooper Clark in some seedy Manchester pub.

So I did something just now I've not done for ten years. I found my compilation audio tape collection. Remember tapes? Now there's a legacy technology to die for. And dug out a cassette player - how retro - and I'm listening to an Alexei Sayle live gig as I write. "The Russians are running the DHSS". "Reagan's Really Lenny Bruce"

Here's what I remember about tapes: my best friend at school, Louise Hart (not seen her for years, anyone know her?) taping over all her tapes one night to "make them blank". We were eleven. I think she later became a high-flying lawyer. The compilation tape exchange that went on, variously, between Louise, and two other friends J and M. Listening to Stockport's pirate radio station. Getting tapes from people that had loads of background noise.

A wave of nostalgia has just drowned me.
The hundred greatest (UK) TV ads. Well, are they?
I have strong views about Ruby Wax. I hardly ever watch daytime TV (because it addles your brain and no-one ever finishes a sentence. In fact, my attention span is so short that I can't finish this se-). But a friend told me that Catherine M was on this week.

Here's a few things I hate: almost without exception, eponymous daytime TV "talk" shows - Vanessa, Ruby, Oprah, Trisha, Esther. They chew people up and spit them out, they have an agenda generally so transparent that debate is meaningless, and an evidently self-selecting audience. Of people who watch daytime TV. Otherwise, how would they know about it. So I heard that Catherine M gave Ruby a hard time, which I'd like to see, given that she usually interviews people with a dominatrix soundbite journalism that churns my stomach.

Seemingly no Catherine M today, but Alexei Sayle, a child psychotherapist (who appeared to be in fancy dress) and child education hothouser... Mike Ryde, I think. From the Ryde College. Sounds like it's in his front room, doesn't it. (Alexei Sayle was one of my early childhood heros, schooling me in the art of the ridiculous. Obviously so ridiculous that there's not a decent web reference to be found on the Fish People Tapes.)

After an utterly facile conversation about child abuse, Ruby just went up to children and said "you're a genius, aren't you?" Made them do complex maths equations whilst their mother hens said they didn't want them to fail on national TV. Ruby played the ditz the whole time. She still thinks that if she laughs and shows a bit of cleavage she can get away with anything. Well, it's not true, Ruby. I saw her One Woman Show at the Tricycle, a couple of years back; she can't act, and I don't want to pay £12 for her to have therapy on me.

Rant over. No Catherine M, but I am going to hear her interveiwed by Edmund White on Sunday.
It's that kind of glorious-sunny weather that prompts practically every commercial radio DJ to play Dancing in the Street.
Brown paper packages wrapped up with string: these are a few of my favourite things. OK, string's gone out of style in the last few decades. This morning, totally unexpected Amazon gift from Andy . It's better than unexpectedly receiving flowers. Which, obviously, I do all the time. A book. One I want to read. I love wishlists. Providing the weather's good, I'm going to sit in the garden at C&D's tomorrow afternoon and read it. Thanks, Andy

Wednesday, May 15, 2002

The PowerBook @ The Lyttleton OK, here's my stream-of-consciousness considered view. Based on Jeanette Winterson's novel of the same name, it's a fully sensual experience (in that it's visual, cerebral, audial) that doesn't quite make it. It was the second night, and it showed; there were a few little, tiny production glitches that supended my suspension of disbelief. And Jeanette Winterson says (quite arsily, I think) "my work sits better int he European tradition of Borges and Calvino, than it does in the Anglo-American tradtion of realism and narrative."

There's no doubt that Winterson writes magically, lyrically, and often humorously. How this tranfers to the stage is a little, well, wordy. And despite her claim that she doesn't do realism and narrative, it's a straightforward tale of two lovers where one's married. Which gives some of us a certain sense of deja vu, since Jeanette had a very public affair with Pat Kavanagh, her agent and Julian Barnes' wife. And now, of course, the two leading ladies, Saffron Burrows and Fiona Shaw are rumoured to be having an affair. Not that I have a huge problem with writers using their lives as some kind of raw material.

Slightest accidents open up new worlds: themes of randomness, borderless worlds, interconnection and love abound. (On a completely separate thought: when I was a technology headhunter, we'd spend hours in client meetings trying to understand the clients' needs. Inevitably it always came down to two things, which I codenamed WEBBINESS and GLOBALITY - that's really what the play's about. Maybe that's what the whole world's about?)

With overtone's of phone/cyber sex and fantasy worlds, it's a little bit Vox , and probably cashing in on the millennial global village thang. It's slick (or it will be, by the end of the run), it's funny, not a little weird, slightly over-acted for a contemporary piece, and has an eye-candy set for the net generation. But the last word goes to my theatre companion, S:

"Sasha - thanks for organising last night. This morning I remembered that I
forgot to say that I found that manic dancing to Blondie between scenes
really irritating - what was that for?"
More about Q: Q is an old friend who was feeling powerless in the face of technology as B (her ex) wouldn't take down the posts referring to her. So I started commenting on his posts, talking about intergrity, friendship, trust. Then, unbeleivably, other people I don't know started commenting on his posts saying the same kind of thing; "Also, I wouldn't like my 'friend' to gamble my secrets with total strangers". Part of him got excited: "since when has my blog actually started gaining readers." And he capitulated; last night he posted this:

" Alright alright. I give up. You win. I'll watch what I say... (may you also be kicked when you're down by a group of people.) Several people have forced me to eat my words. Talking to a computer screen, you don't always think who's reading what. But spilling secrets is spilling secrets, no matter how veiled it seems. You may or may not have noticed, but I have pulled some posts. I don't have time right now to go through everything, but I have pulled the worst offenders already."

So peer power reigns. Or something. It's like out of Lord of the Flies. Or some group psychology text book. Only no-one dies.
Neighbours: Last week I talked about the next door flat being sold and my Jazzmatazz poster going on holiday. My new neighbours are a couple; met the girl Monday, and this morning, the bloke knocked on my door and said they had a leak in their kitchen and might it be from my flat and stuff. We talked a little, and worked out it's probably from upstairs. M downstairs had told me someone famous had moved in, but I'd never seen this guy before. So I said to him: "Are you famous? It's just I heard someone famous bought the flat." He laughed. Said it was refreshing. Turns out he's in East Enders. I told him I'm a Brookside kinda girl.

Cognisant of everything I implied yesterday about privacy, I'll say no more.
Tomorrow night is the start of a Jewish festival, shavuot. Pronounced Sha-voo-ott. There's a custom to stay up all night learning, like you're at Mount Sinai receiving the ten commandments. It's generally like having a very long after dinner conversation with some intelligent people; I'm going to stay with D&C (not a couple, they share a flat).

One of the major customs is to eat milky food, to celebrate receiving the commandments, which include not having meat and milk food together. I make a fabulous cheesecake, which is the secret family recipe of my mother's now estranged next door-neighbour's now deceased mother-in-law. I know, you have too much information already. Imagine someone calling you every day with stories that contain that level of detail.

A couple of years ago when I was working at a top tier, terribly English headhunting firm, the day after Shavuot I took my cheesecake into work, and not wanting to email people the whole story, just said "It's the Jewish cheesecake eating festival, I've made a cake, and left it in the second floor kitchen." I did not write "enjoy!" at the end of the email.

Later, I got email from one of the secretaries: "Dear Sasha, the cheesecake was delicious. I hope you won the cheesecake eating Festival."

And they say we live in a multicultural world.
Book update I wrote 1,000 words (which is not great, for me) and about 800 of them are shit. N, on the other hand, sent me prefectly formed prose that had me laughing out loud. I haven't posted mine because; I'm shy. Honest. But I could be persuaded...
I'm not that green , like I still have a car and feel like Ecover washing up liquid won't do it properly, even since they repackaged it. But I can't bear buying Tesco's roasted red pepper spicy humous for two reasons.

One is, that I've travelled all over the Mediterranean, and humous is humous. More or less lemon, or garlic, or olive oil, sure, but roasted red peppers? Chilli? No. It's a marketing construct, it's not an actual dip. And it's not even that nice. I like real food; pitta bread not garlic pitta bread. Yoghurt not Forest Fruit Yoghurt. Cheese without apricots and other un-cheese-like additions.

Second, though, is that they now sell it in an oh-so-generically-handcrafted pottery dish. So over a period of time, you could rack up a lot of these little dishes. Which are only really good for serving dips (or possibly, olives). Which you're buying, rather than making. So then you have to leave your job and open a dip shop; it'll all get out of hand, believe me. The new portions are smaller, for more money, with a piece of ceramic thrown in. Why, why why? I know we're all off packaging , it's so wasteful, but what's the point in this?
Talking of computers where do dead computers get buried? I have an IBM ThinkPad (my getting-laid-off gift from The Industry Standard), which is my main machine, and a two year old Sony Vaio which is my coffee-shop, travelling machine. Then I have two clunky desktop Dells that have done trusty service but need to move on. I just don't know where to. So I'm doing what I usually do in such situations: nothing.
I just got back from The PowerBook at the National. Will say more about it tomorrow, as I think I need to sleep on it. Suffice it to say that it was post-modern Shakespeare meets visual fantastica and a not-quite-ready-yet cast with a technology twist. And, of course, I reserve my right to change my mind tomorrow.

We did Yo Sushi first, as the play didn't start till 2115. That's the time, not the future. Apparently a new experiment in theatre timing and delivery. I love London; walking from Waterloo to the Eye, seeing the river and the Festival Hall and the NFT, made me almost proud to be a Londoner. Which is stupid, becuase I'm from Cheshire.

On the tube home, my inner geek noticed a sleek sub-notebook poking out of S's bag (she's a management consultant, you never know when you might need to make a powerpoint presentation); I asked her if it was a Vaio or a Portege and she seemed mightily impressed that I could tell so much from such a looklet. Then she found out that I'd been online since 1993 (which I don't think is so long compared to most of my friends) and was even more impressed. I can still reel off my ever-so-memorable compuserve address which I expected to faithfully serve me for a lifetime: Even now, it looks like home.

Tuesday, May 14, 2002

Interesting dilemma Q called me last night. She lives in a small university town, and just discovered that her (now, unsurprisingly ex-) boyfriend has been blogging about their sex life and talked about something she regards as secret. She's not a tech-lit-chick, so didn't know what it meant, till she read it yesterday. He's used her name (which he's now changed to a silly code name), revealed details about her life, her family and her financial situation which she regards as personal. For her, the whole thing is a mass invasion of privacy; "a very big version of gossip, with no social controls".

I took a look at his blog; it's shit. Lousy design, worse writing, an utterly navel-gazing experience with not a link in site/sight. The whole information democratisation thing means that I'd be surprised if two people read it. And one of them's probably him; it's mostly a vanity site to show off to his mates about him getting some. But Q feels like "the internet" is the front page of the Guardian, and I tried to explain that his blog (and mine too, no doubt) is like a trade ad in a local paper. Now he's changed her real name, it's extremely hard to know it's her, but Q's upset by his mates adding comments like "she sounds like a selfish cow".

But it's made me think; I'm extremely careful about whom and what I blog, and there's still a fine line between what's his experience, and what's hers. Is there a difference between a conversation you might have over a beer/glass of wine, and publishing it online? Or do we live in a Jerry Springer world, where what you say only counts if you have an audience? It's the attention economy meets epistemology theory. I think.

Or is the very fact that I'm blogging about Q's ex blogging about her just, well, up somebody's arse? The personal, it's no longer political, it's public.
Something I hate: people who say "here come's the science" like they're Rachel from Friends. It's laden with all that I-know-but-you're-stupid-stuff, and I just hate it. Rant over.

Here's what I've been thinking; I talked to N today, and he agreed that maybe I'm blogging when I should be writing, and we have a June 15th deadline to finish our books. So tomorrow, I'm only going to post once, and then write the rest of the time. N said I should post my writing from the day, but I'm not sure I'm brave/confident/anyone's interested enough. But if you are, say. And F said I'd have a much healthier life if I was in bed by midnight (he wasn't very happy when I phoned him at 0130 this morning. He used to be a night person, honest). So I'm off to bed.

Monday, May 13, 2002

Apparently Guilt-Trip Lit is The Next Big thing. After Chick Lit, Mum Lit, Sick Lit and the like. What's with the rhyming slang soundbite thang? A friend called me a Tech Lit Chick last week (thought I think he might have been overestimating my skills).

It's almost like, if you're a journalist, you're not so bothered about delving into the texture and subtlety of the Big Idea, more about googling on the soundbite-enabled headline before you write a thing. The whole PR hook gone crazy world. Like, even nail varnishes have fifteen minutes of fame now.
Has saying sorry taken on epic proportions? In a fascinating article on the Second Generation, Frank Furedi says:

"Politicians have been quick to embrace the ritual of the apology. The Australian government organised a National Sorry Day on 26 May 1998, when Australians were exhorted to express their sorrow for the injustices inflicted on Aboriginal people. A month later, the German government apologised for the 1904 massacre of African people in Namibia. UK prime minister Tony Blair has apologised to the Irish for Britain's role in contributing to the suffering that people experienced during the potato famine. And the Vatican has apologised for the havoc that the Crusades wreaked on the people of the Middle East."

Is the nationalised apology a response to the politicising of memory? I know, I know, I should get a job.
More body image stuff. Should she have a breast enlargement? I've said it before and I'll say it again (and I'm not going to say it's not big and it's not clever); both enlargement and reduction surgery leave you with seams, no sensation in your nipples and the inability to breastfeed - should you want to - in later life. You've got what you're born with - deal with it.

[via the breast chronicles]
I wonder where Hayley's gone. Her piece about her relationship with the bathroom scales was truly - forgive the pun - food for thought. And now, via crazy beautiful, some thinking from Heather on body image stuff.

This, especially, scared me:
"A size 1/2, which is purportedly the average size of your run-of-the-mill Hollywood starlet now is the same size as a 6/8T. That's right, the size for your average 6-8-year-old girl."

Don't know if this is the most fun you can have with your clothes on, but it made me laugh out loud.

[via Luke]
Phrase of the day: fauxhemian. It says everything my former phrase "post-bohemian reconstructed Victorian hippy, with a Trustafarian edge" says but more succinctly. Clearly. The essence of the piece is that "you can be mainstream and alternative, a grown-up and a hipster, all at the same time"; just an old-fashioned Thatcherite on-yer-bike I-want-it-all thing, then.

Coined by Rob Walker, a freelance writer in New Orleans, and first used in his fab article Fauxhemian Rhapsody in the New York Times a couple of years back.
Think I might be in love with Mark Simonson (though I suspect he is Grown Up); his stuff on the anachronistic use of typeface in film meets all the requirements of font-geekery. Oh, and it has beatiful type/layout. There's another guy who's into it too, but not sure I'm in love with him.

[via virulent memes via plastic bag via...]
When we were in Derbyshire, - Ashbourne - I bought a thirties bakelite clock from Smith's English Clock Company in Cricklewood. I have a curious sense of bringing it home.
Feeling pleasantly woozy after a merlot-induced evening at La Brocca with D. Ran into a couple of former Cheadle dwellers with whom we had the hi-how-are-you conversation. D is a recent Cheadle neophyte. There was a guy two tables along with a Hoxton peak; rare in NW6. Walking through West Hampstead, we saw a bright laser beam coming from somewhere towards Camden, making a blue-only rainbow shape across to Hamsptead. I tried to persuade D we should walk to the foot of the rainbow, in some Kafka-esque Breslover way, but she thought it was too far. D was convinced it was something to do with the Queen's imminent Jubilee. I, on the other hand, thought the whole thing was a little Mulder and Scully.

And at some point in the evening, D pointed out that Sophie Ellis Bextor looks like she's been photoshopped. Never a truer word.

Sunday, May 12, 2002

Whilst I remember, I really want to read this.
Last night: two parties. K's glamorous boat party (though kinda scary walking along the river path at Nine Elms at nine thirty); it's a very strange experience going to a party where you don't know anyone. I have to resist the temptation to reinvent myself in such circumstances.

On the way home, crossing Vauxhall Bridge, I collided with hundreds, nay thousands of moonwalkers - women of various shapes and sizes in various states of undress. It's the Playtex Moonwalk, apparently; hence the bras. For breast cancer charities. I was relieved/interested/bemused (you choose) to behold a cross section of women's bodies, in a truly out of context setting.

Really late, I went to J&A's studio party. Debbie just got back from India, sooo cool to see her again. Her and DJ played some folka-like thing that was pretty much the below-ship music from Titanic. Two thirds of The Strumpits, half of Los Desterrados and a bunch of other people strutted their talented stuff. I decided against it, partly becuase I was (glamourously) over dressed, and partly cos I just wasn't in the mood. Sometimes - a lot of the time - it's better to just listen to other people. I'm trying to tame the performer within.
Set aside today to write. Write, dammit. But kinda pissed that T has tickets to Pat Metheny in Brighton tomorrow and didn't invite me.
Got home threeish last night/this morning (more, later). Was lying in bed thinking "must go the the gym, must go to the gym", when the phone rang. It was J, he met someone in a club last Sunday, exchanged phone numbers, went on a date Thursday, spent the day together yesterday. "Did you sleep together, yet?" I asked. No news. "Any ETA?" (I like to get the details. And he likes to share them). "I'm standing on a platform and there's no announcements." This is definitely a phrase I'm going to use.

Saturday, May 11, 2002

Just got back from lunch. Guess that's what you call a long lunch. My friends F&D made a fab vegetarian spread (S is also veggie), and J, an old college friend was there, who I haven't seen in like forever. Someone asked me for my earl. There's a lot of phrases I might runtogetherlikethat but URL isn't one of them.

For a reason I can't remember, we started talking about old people. When I was a kid, my life was regimented by my parents old-people responsibilities (two grandmothers, one (childless) great aunt, and an ageing, ailing, (childless) second cousin of my mother's). We spent every Sunday afternoon visiting these largely ibberbottle (senile, yiddish) women. No one could call after ten o-clock; someone might have died. We couldn't go on long holidays (we might have to, God forbid, come back for a funeral). And if we didn't visit, we had to feel guilty.

I remember about five years ago, getting a call on Saturday from my Mum, saying that Auntie Tess "really wasn't well". I knew this was code for imminently leaving us. It was up to me if I wanted to come and visit her tomorrow, they were all going. "What if I don't come, Mum?". "Well, it's up to your conscience. But if she dies..." There was a subtle perfected guilt in the conversation.

Sunday morning saw me on a 9am train to Manchester, picked up at Piccadilly, straight over to the nursing home en famille, no time to waste. And of course Auntie Tess was more lucid than she'd been for years (the past ten years had generally been having the same conversation about where her books had gone, over and over again). "What are you doing here, Sasha?" she enquired. What was I supposed to answer? Heard you were dying. We had a wonderful day, and she talked about her childhood in lots of detail, and I was glad I went. And she didn't die for... oh, another eighteen months or so.

Feeling sad about not having any old people in my life, I decided to be a volunteer befriender, and visited an old lady across the road from me for about two years. She couldn't remember my name, and just called me "ze gurl", insisted that she read German poetry to me, despite the fact that I don't speak it, and was generally bitter. And 93. The way I expect old people to be. The first time I met her, she said to me (in a thick, mittel european accent): "Tell me, are you one of zose modern gurls? Do you go viz men?" I said I'd tell her when she was older. The next time I visited her, forearmed with the knowledge that she'd not opened a window since 1976, and it was like a cross between the Bahamas and an unwashed sauna in her flat, I wore shorts. As we sipped coffee, she slapped my thighs, and said: "such polkes (literally, thighs, but has an implication of fat thighs, really), you shouldn't vear ze shorts."

I'm wittering. We had a mellow afternoon, and everyone was very taken by my pointy, rose-printed fifties shoes, and seemed to think I was terribly glamorous.

Which is good, becuase I'm going to Katy's party tonight and I'm supposed to look glamorous. Must go wash my hair, daaahling.

Friday, May 10, 2002

A friend told me about, and I just discovered that according to my biorythms, I am 80% compatible with Denzel Washington. In my dreams.

Oh, and sadly, only 42% compatible with Lenny Kravitz.

I wonder if your biorythms have anything to do with your metabolic rate? It's times like this I wish I hadn't run a charts sweepstake in biology and got kicked out for writing Fuck's Bizz.
Blogging about blogging. P-u-leese. But memeticlife sent me this and this.
Phrase of the moment: emotional labour. I was worried yesterday that there were a finite number of word combinations, but now I'm not so sure. Remember when everyone started talking about mass customisation and the experience economy? That went out of fashion about as quick as the new black. It's my stress portfolio I'm worried about.
It's good to know that even if I'm not (openly) obsessing about dieting and body image, someone else is.

Through years of training, I'm - believe me - acutely aware of my imperfections. (You want to know what they are? One eyelid lower than the other. A birthmark on my forehead. And... some other things I probably wouldn't discuss here.) I look around at other people who clearly have imperfections but don't seem to mind, and wonder how they do it. Yesterday I forgot about my imperfections for a couple of hours, and it was a an Experience. Like a Look, but better.
One of the joys of being self-employed: no IT department. Anyone know where you get those little gadgets for hoovering your keyboard?
Books. My friend Abe worked out that if you read 45 books a year and have 55 "reading years" in your life, you read a total of 2,475 books in your lifetime. I tend to read more than one a week, but it depends how much I'm writing. The Book Limit Theory just depresses me; I prefer the feeling of infinite wisdom waiting for me somewhere out there... Z keeps a notebook of all the books she's read, whereas I just try and remember. Badly.

Right now I'm reading Killing Time by Frank Tallis (after reading his second novel, Sensing Others, first). Sensing others was incredibly written, and set against a backdrop of Kilburn, which made me feel right at home, and covered issues ranging from psychotherapeutic drugs, eco-warriors, rock music and S&M. So that's me then.

Just had a book binge this morning in WH Smith at London Bridge: The Rotters Club/Jonathan Coe (I loved What A Carve Up, though not so taken by The House of Sleep, which smacked of first-novel-self consciousness) Still She Haunts Me by proto-feminist/model-a-like Katie Roiphe (a novel based on the Lewis Carrol/Alice Liddell story), and Thin Skin by Emma Forrest (I think in the chick-lit vein, though I never really got into her Namedropper).

So that's me staying in for the next...
Thinking more about Burn Rate.. wanted to list the other netwebby books that played with my mind at the time:
Nudist on the Late Shift - Po Bronson
The First Twenty Million is Always the Hardest - Po Bronson
Bull - Doug Rushkoff (you can also read this online, as an open source novel, called Exit Strategy)

Is it a list if there's only three things on it?
Remember the book that captured the zeitgeist of the internet? Burn Rate , Michael Wolff's 1999 book was a searingly insightful walk on the wildside of the boom and bust of the internet era. And now... Burn Rate the diet. The DIET. Apparently it's all about your metabolic rate (isn't everything). I'm dissapointed to realise that there's a finite number of new ideas/witty phrases out there, and now they have to get recycled, in a slightly out of context way.
I know the world and her wife will link to this, but it looks like an interesting comment on the, er, blogging revolution, and I want to go back and read it sometime. Promise.
In more mundane news, I went to Tesco's 1130ish last night (I'd been out, honest), and fell into an easy conversation with two guys by the checkout. We talked about football (they had Manchester accents) and other stuff.
They were buying like 200 Tesco Value glasses. I asked them if they were having a party. They replied "how much do you think it costs to hire a glass?" I reckoned 20p. I was right. They said you could buy them for 20p. I said, sure, but you have to get an extension on your house to keep them in. That's what's good about hiring them; you use them, then they go away and you never have to see them again. I guess we had a difference of opinion when it comes to consumerism and party products.

They did look strangely familiar, in the way that people in North London often do, and then one of them said to me "ever hurt your back?" And I realised he was my osteopath five years ago. The guy on the checkout was convinced it was some kind of chat up line. Yeah, that would really work.

And I watched a hot-off-the-press chat-up line in action; a skinny tightly be-jeaned girlie, goes up to a guy and says "do you work here?". He sneers, and says no. She walks off, ensuring that he gets a fabulous view of her behind. He runs after her....
There's been a lot of debate since Sunday about the rally. You know what they say; 55,000 Jews, 63,500 opinions (OK, they say two Jews, three opinions).

My (new) friend J (to distinguish him from my long standing cycling-friend, J) sent me this from the BBC. Note that Abu , the Palestinian militant, says:
"We would accept a transitional agreement or initiative under which there is a ceasefire between us and an Israeli entity, but we do not accept a two state solution as the basis for lasting peace. As a combatant, I would accept a ceasefire in return for Israel giving up Gaza, the West Bank and East Jerusalem, but we can never recognise the state of Israel."

Unlike most Israelis, who do accept a two-sate solution. That's pretty much what Barak offered and Arafat turned down.

And Andrew sent me this (totally unedited) email, entitled J'accuse

I suspect that like me you received innumerable e-mails in the last couple of weeks informing you of the rally which took place last Monday and like me agonised over whether to go.

I have been saddened by the whole series of events. The rally will make little or no impact on British policy (it barely made the BBC six o'clock news that evening before the news of the assassination of Pim Fortuyn). However, it is a godsend for Bibi Netanyahu's next bid for the Prime Ministership of Israel - you can see the campaign ad now - first he does the Washington rally, compares Arafat to Hitler etc, then does the London rally and does the same (cue shots of 30,000 cheering Jews at Trafalgar Square).

Here are some questions:-

Who were the people who organised it? - what political views did they represent and why were we never told?

Why were we told the rally was apolitical at a time that invitations must have been going out to Israeli politicians?

Did anyone tell Bibi that the rally was to be apolitical?

If they did, why did they think that he would follow "apoliticism" given that he had compared Arafat to Hitler in Washington and was unlikely to do anything else in London?

Why did so many Jewish organisations feel obliged to publicise this rally over which they had no control?

What have we become that Richard Harries, the Bishop of Oxford, who has a long record of friendship to Jews and Israel, gets booed when he tells us, out of friendship, things that we find painful and may not agree with? Have we become so paranoid that we only want friends who always tell us we are right?

Are we surprised that the message from sensible speeches gets drowned out when appeals to the basest fears of a crowd always bring the loudest cheer?


Please show solidarity with Israelis at this difficult time. If you have friends there, keep in contact. If you have reason to go, visit.

But please, please do not again fall for the blandishments of peer pressure without asking why.

Jews ask questions and demand answers from their texts - perhaps in future we should do the same from our leaders.

Sha'alu sh'lom yerushalyim


How do I feel about this? Part of me agrees with Andrew; Jews ask questions and demand answers from our texts. And part of me doesn't; I didn't agomise over whether to go, I was ready to stand up and be counted. Was it totally apolitical - no. Do I stand by what I said Monday - yes. Who oraganised the rally - people who care about the longevity of Israel. For me, it was just as much about combatting media bias as anything else, and the fact that it "barely made the six o'clock news" isn't accurate; I saw wide, if biased coverage, and frankly, 55,000 (mostly) Jews eat bagels in Trafalgar Square is not a news story.

Thursday, May 09, 2002

Like, you really want to know which Nokia handset you are.
[via g.r.i.e.v.e.r]
PowerBook update: P from the National Theatre box office, when I asked him why the preview had been cancelled, said to me "you've never worked with Deborah Warner, then." Obviously not, I'm not a theatre director. Anyway, I've re-booked for Tuesday with S.
This on email stalking is both scary and reassuring at the same time.
[via Luke]
I can't believe that the National Theatre have cancelled the first night preview of The Power Book tonight. A charmingly apologetic fellow called me from their call centre at 7pm last night. No explanation, just terribly sorry.
An extremely vivid dream: I'm in T's sports car, and we go to his office, only his law firm has merged with about four others (it was called Cameron XXXXX Chance), but when we got there, the office was a building exactly like my school building, but with the name over the front, and fourteen year olds doing some kind of security duty. Then T has to do negotiate a deal with one of the security people, and drops me off with all my bags. I ask for directions to my office, which turns out to be right behind (it's an office I worked in four years ago on Mortimer Street).

When I go inside, it's extremely dingy, like a victorian workhouse or something, and people have shit light and crap desks and are beavering away scared. It looks exactly like a place I interviewed in three weeks ago. I run into all the people I don't want to, and eventually hide in the toilet with my bags (small handbag, two large bags of... I don't know, and my sony vaio in a squashy canvas PC case). When I leave, I go and have a sleep on a bed on Mortimer Street. I put on a very short t-shirt (don't ask me why, I usually sleep nekkid), and am conscious of people in the cafe next door (which doesn't exist) trying to see up my t-shirt. I get into bed, it's the middle of day, and know I've left my bags on the opposite side of the street, and keep thinking to myself "I'll get them in a minute." I'm conscious that T said he would be an hour, and it feels like mcuh longer. When I get out of bed, I'm momentarily distracted by cafe dwellers commenting on the shortness of my t-shirt, and even though I've had my eye on my bags the whole time, they're all gone, apart from my Vaio. I don't lose it, but I am stressed; my cards, cash, phone, clothes have gone, and I have no way of calling T to see when he's coming.

As if my magic (as Mr Benn would say) Jane, a girl I went to nursery school with, and haven't seen for ten years (apart from when I ran into her in the Muswell Hill Odeon a couple of weeks back) appears. I'm tearful, and explain my predicament, and that I can't walk around Oxford Circus with a short T-shirt and no knickers. She's very practical, and says I should buy some new clothes, and when I explain that my cash and cards have gone, she says she'll get some. She asks me which shop to go to, and I tell her, and say that I just want leggings and a sweat-shirt, and as she walks off, I yell "don't forget I'm a size sixteen!" and the whole of Oxford Circus turns round and stares.
Inexplicably, I go off to buy some smoked salmon (I'm pretty much a vegetarian) in an Oxford Circus smoked salmon shop that doesn't exist. I'm in my t-shirt, and buy £1 worth of salmon, paying for it from loose change at the bottom of my computer bag. The man in the shop tries to organise a whip-round for me, but I refuse. I just want to get home and cancel my cards. I don't know where T is. I wake up.

Anyone have any idea at all what this means? I'm just surprised by the level of detail I remember.