Sunday, November 30, 2003

Had a ridiculous moment whilst reading the latest Songlines last week on my own...

'Oh my! Souad Massi's playing in London! Gotta get a ticket!!'

a few minutes later...

'Oh yeah, I've already booked to see her play in Brighton.... Duh.'

Indeed met P for wander, what was to be the Pub Crawl Without The Pubs. Ended up actually staying in one place drinking rather copious amounts of white wine, eating garlic bread and tia maria cheesecake and chocolate sauce. On the way back home there was some staggering, laughing and drunken pictures taken in dark graffitied alleys. Before going our separate ways we stopped and talked for a couple of hours in the cold at the bottom of my hill...

Brighton festival in May? Photos/audio/blog/diary/letters/notes? Six months of my life? Projection? Wall mounted? White room/space? Computers/slideshows? ... dot dot dot...

ARCHIVE SHIVER. That's the reason why I like paper, pens, letters, diaries. I am liking this blog malarky but it ain't no substitute to the grainy paper/inky pen consummation. Visiting an archive and being in physical contact with a letter or note written by someone connects you momentarily to that moment/person in time. Like going to art exhibitions and seeing the paintings in the flesh: nothing compares.

Saturday, November 29, 2003

"Let's become strangers so that we can be friends"
Rory McLeod

Was babysitting O yesterday and duly fell asleep whilst watching Malcolm in the Middle. He went to bed on time and seemed to understand my inability to speak comprehensibly...

Have had nothingy day of library visit. Borrowed Rory McLeod's 'Kicking the Sawdust' and a range of self-help type books on marketing and 'building your own personal brand'. Ahem. Was mildly embarrassed taking them up to the counter. Charity shopping, grocery shopping, card shopping: am today an aunt for the sixth time...!

Off to meet P now for a wander... our collective indecisiveness is quite amusing: we'll probably end up wandering round in the cold for an hour deciding what to do...

Thursday, November 27, 2003

Have been suffering from mild insomnia these days which is really beginning to impact on every little thing now... I seem to be talking to people in half sentences all of the time that don't make any sense, and then when it comes to explaining the other half of the sentence I've already lost my own interest in what I was saying and lose the energy to bother... Even at work, trying to explain to A about our subscription to Sustain Magazine was difficult: it mostly consisted of me saying "eeeeeerrrrr....." a lot. Ooops. Definitely need sleep. Soon.

Went to see O in his school play today. He played the leading role of Perseus. I was really impressed with the whole production. O delivered his lines brilliantly, including the comic ones which made me laugh. So proud to be pseudo dad figure today!

Went to choir rehearsal last night followed by a trip to the pub for an organic ale (on M's suggestion I thought the hops in the beer might help the sleeping problem). A pint and a half later and I got all earnest with A and how much the choir is doing so much good for me and makes me tingle when we get it right... Sigh! Gotta slap that yoghurt weaving tendency out of me! Afterwards I staggered back home afterwards craving chips.

I watched American Beauty again the other night. It's a film which never ceases to amaze me in its beautiful subtleties. I like the way it uses devices such as the video camera and the dream/fantasy sequences, but doesn't overdo or over-emphasise these things to undermine the overall point or to detract from the flow of the film as a whole. And the writing... ah! Still bawl at Lester's words at the very end of the film. And I found myself *really* bawling the other evening... Scary.

More later. Gotta meet M and A over from France at the Reservoir............. I'm so tired! Someone help me!

Monday, November 24, 2003

Met up with H and B today. B is such a gorgeous child! Also went to penultimate clay session and worked on the next of my series of useless vases...

Spent the rest of the evening getting on my guitar, singing with Z and playing with Fireworks some more... Had a chat with R on messenger, too: he's off to Kilimanjaro on the 10th next month! Wow! He's also posted pics from our hike to the top of Le Pouce the other month, too.... ahhhhh: to be on top of a mountain! Bliss!

Saturday, November 22, 2003

Back from J's discussing php and ftp and fireworks... ooooh and aaaaaah, indeed! 8o)

Played tennis at Preston Park in the rain today. Had words with DP, too - on his way to the library (armed with experimental guitar CDs, no doubt). It started to pour, so Z and I left the park sodden but feeling healthy.

This evening my hormones have kicked in and I've just mullered almost a whole 150g bar of Galaxy. Still ravenous. Why did god design me this way?!

Watched Bend it like Beckham last night - not a fantastic film, but there were so many little grains of truth in it that made me laugh heartily - only those from immigrant families could understand, I suppose. This weekend is the start of attempting a new pace of life - a slower, restful and calm state of being... Well, let's just see...

Friday, November 21, 2003

Just walked into work: it's so menopausally hot in this building...

phew! Just finished j.a. and kissed it good luck with all my fingers and toes and bits crossed... Time for bed now but I am so wired I think it will take some time. I think some Tess of the d'Urbervilles on CD might be needed....! What would I do without my friends for support, good advice, proofreading and cups of tea, eh? I am so blessed.

Got a gorgeously designed "Sounds of the Limousin Vol II" from M today. AhhhhH! So cheering at just the perfect time. I have been thinking of him a lot lately and how he and A are getting on in their new married life in France. And really wanting to have a bit of a natter and catch up. I don't know his address yet, so how can I send him my crazy comps?? Maaaaaan.... I'll just have to wait.

Right, off to the old webby now to at least redirect it somehow to my new webspace, although it is still in its state of construction.... ah well!

Wednesday, November 19, 2003

no time no time no time...

Word. I resolved to blog regularly so I will, despite feeling desperately under pressure and somewhat stressed about getting this j.a. done. Ever wanted something so badly it makes you feel sick? Well, I feel sick...!


Anyway, lighter note - I still managed to make it to choir this evening and I'm loving it. Today we did Bill Withers' Lean on Me - made me think of J, Z, J, L, H and B recently being v demonstrative and looking after me with kind emails, phonecalls and nice dinners with wine. Much much needed tlc right now! I am happily pushing myself out of my comfort zones right now. Even improvised a line today and sang out on my own...


OK back to the j.a..... Will keep you posted (and wondering what on earth 'j.a.' actually means...).

Tuesday, November 18, 2003

More brief procrastination...

I just want to be able to put the brakes on just for a short while these days! So much to do! But it's exciting, too! But oh so tiring.... I must I must catch up on sleep soon...


Monday, November 17, 2003

I have just mullered a whole packet of breadsticks. They're oh so good... Mmmmm! Why are they just so exciting to eat? I think it's the crunching away at a kind of non-food shaped perfectly formed stick thing that makes it so interesting.... mmmmm.

Mood: procastinatingly happy

Ever have those days when you're so sleep deprived it makes you feel like you're going blind with pain?

Sunday, November 16, 2003

Ceramics was fun today, though am feeling somewhat uninspired. Am pretty pleased with my latest white clay piece so far for M's new home though anything could happen to it after the glazed version has been fired. And I feel like I'm in that situation where you buy a present for someone but you really really really want to keep it for yourself instead! eeeek. Check out the pic - it's the one on the left.

Had good chat with J after venturing out to get banoffee pie and chocolate cake at the local pizza take away place. She never fails to amuse, surprise and impress me. Sometimes she makes me laugh so much my belly hurts.

OK back to that j.a....

I have just renamed the subtitle of this blog "Where do I come from?"... I think I may well start recording the number of times this occurs per week. Yesterday, lunchtime in the Pump House...

"Hello there, young lady," a whitened paunched man sitting by the bar with a roll-up cigarette demands my attention. I smile and say hello and ask him how he is.

"So, where are you from?" he asks. I stand there thinking, "Here we go again..." and decide what answer I will give on this occasion. It's tiring when people always ask this as their introductory question. The people all around me are watching me: waiting for my answer, wanting to hear my answer.

"I come from the womb of my mother's belly" I reply with a grin in a possibly half-defensive, but joking manner.

"Oohh," he retorts, "Here's another sarcastic one! I think you come from the Planet ArrrrssehOoL..." We joke for a while longer and then I tell him my parents are from Mauritius. He looks at my face and says, "No! I know a guy from Mauritius, but he's a lot darker than you. Are you really from Mauritius?" And it goes on...

Anyhow: yesterday's 'gig' was great fun. After A gave me a 'Vocal Zone': a disgusting tasting strip-a-goat's-throat sweet, all was well. The ten/eleven of us were in the gallery above the huge space of the FMH where there was a Fair Trade fair happening. So the people could hear us pretty well (though we couldn't hear ourselves that well), but were too far away to throw rotten (fair trade) tomatoes (and yoghurt/oatmeal) at us.

In the evening J and I went to the Komedia for a stand-up comedy night for S's birthday. I was so tired it really hurt, so we ended up leaving after the second act, but nevertheless it was nice to sit and eat tortilla chips and salsa and people watch. Bumped into J too, down from Reading - he's such a sweet guy. Got home and collapsed into bed. I feel like I could do with a month's sleep.

Mood: better.

Saturday, November 15, 2003

Brief word before I run to make fool of myself in public... My voice is so croaky this morning - miming is the order of the day!

On "live journal" as J at work showed me the other day, you can add small photos to reflect your mood, and you start each blog with, "Mood: [picture] hopeful" or whatever. I had a look at some people's and I particularly liked the way some of the pictures weren't obviously showing the mood they were trying to convey. So, yesterday mine would have been,

"Mood: upset"

It's embarrassing when you weep at work... Alas!

Anyway, after a
or five with happy company (H, J, W, B, M, met J and friends A and J) at the QH and then the HB, all seemed so much better.... Aaaaaah! :D

Right - lots to do today - making a fool of myself, a trip to the local library, perhaps some grocery shopping, write a couple of letters, job application, comedy night at the K for S's birthday. Here we go!

Thursday, November 13, 2003

Man, I've just been playing with the ftp settings on this thing for what feels like hours... Cousin C has been very patiently explaining over msn messenger how to make blogger write to my own webspace. What exactly does "EOF while reading from control connection" mean? I will seek further help before my nerd juice runs out...

Different day at work today - lots of rushing about, frayed and stressed people, glossy speeches, photo opportunities, conference packs, chatter chatter, a busy hustle and bustle all over the place. Plus fancy sandwiches and orange juice served by people in white shirts. Aaah! Have made the most of it and taken a series of blurry art shots of the tops of people's heads from the balcony. Smooth. ;)

It's the folk choir's first 'gig' on Saturday - having only been to two sessions I feel just a little out of my depth and have an overriding certainty that I will make a complete fool of myself... which is quite nice, actually! I shall be Miming Away! :O It's so very important to look Very Stupid as often as possible! P sent me excerpts from a journal yesterday called "Responsible Stupidity". It's all about love and being extremely foolish. Aaaaah! Nice. Made me chuckle out loud on the bus on the way home yesterday.

Wednesday, November 12, 2003

Yesterday evening had most pleasant meal with H and J at the veggie George after rushing out of work. Got home to have a hot shower and a singsong with my guitar. Decided to leave a guitar message for A ("the answer is blowing in the wind....") and phoned my Orange Answerphone...

"Welcome to the Orange Answerphone... You have SEVEN new messages.... To listen to your messages, press ONE...."

Erm... messages from the past two weeks coming at me all at once: my phone has been tricking me and giving me *no* indication that I've been so popular... OK, three were from my Mum saying what she always says ("Hi Sandra, it's Mum.... call me back when-you-have-time-please---- bye!"), but hey. One from J, two from J, one from Z the other evening asking me where on earth I was... At least they weren't for "Barbara", the Theatre Royal box office or for Norwood Garage. I feel so special. :)

Tuesday, November 11, 2003

Word. Am still at work... printing one million flyers for a big conference this week. Rush rush rush! The annoying thing about doing this printing is that I need to be here, but I can't really do much but wait about and check printouts and email and perhaps write something in my blog :) And I'm just feeling so manic because all I want to do is leave and meet up with J (down from London for the day) and H who are waiting for me in the pub! My pub dinner calls!! Come On, Printer, Come ON!

Feeling like I am already catching my SECOND cold of the season.... why oh why oh why??

More later. Must go check printouts. Maybe get my coat and my skates on. Whhhiiizzzzzzzzzzz!

Monday, November 10, 2003

Feel like I should just keep blogging in my resolve to write more (having decided participating in this year would be the sure way to a nervous breakdown), but in fact I don't feel like writing much this minute.

Been getting my room to a state of habitability this evening; scribbling briefly on postcards, making a CD for N... it was going to have a kind of 'tidy up your life!' vibe, but then my mood changed and it's turned out to be a fairly quietly calm, invigorating, perhaps in some ways, stoical compilation. I remember why I like Low so much... (they managed to squeeze themselves in twice - Two Step and I Remember). I feel so so tired and happily left alone to my own devices this evening: a contrast to the manic running about I've been doing lately.

Souad Massi (Deb (Heart Broken))still sounds great; I can hear it in my head when I'm walking around plug-in-less. Started listening to Richard and Linda Thompson's Pour Down Like Silver this morning (another dusty tape from P from months ago) and trying to decide whether I like Linda's voice or not. Either way, it's irrelevant: I'll still like her more than Richard (and proudly remember sneakily consuming lots of his and his band's food and drink in Paris while he was on stage in June).

Think I'll finish on Stina Nordenstam's 'I See You Again'...

Ferry me to casuality...

Sunday, November 09, 2003

Remember Shakti, Brighton Dome

Well, these musicians aren't bad, are they? Ahem...

It was such a shame I was sitting underneath the balcony at the Dome: I felt somewhat distanced from the music, like being being behind a glass wall, and everything was just too loud. But I could still appreciate their virtuosity and the wonderful ways in which they communicated with each other. 'Shabba!' (sp?)

Zakir Hussain never fails to please. I feel I could watch and listen to him for hours and hours. When he and V.Selvaganesh did their tablatalk I thought I was in a happy dream where everyone spoke in rhythmic dagadada-da-da-da-das. Bliss. I also really liked the sound of them simply running their hands along the surface of their drums - such a quiet and intimate sound. Shankar Mahadevan singing was ooooooooooooooooooooh. Even with the annoying reverb his voice was just - - - - - ! Gasp! Enough said.
U. Shrinivas played electric mandolin as a sitar, sliding along the fretboard with such ease. With John McLaughlin on his electric guitar and his electric noises I think I had to accept that I'm not mad keen on electric guitars sometimes. I went home happy, though, after hearing an elated, whistling audience and watching these five men wrap themselves up in shawls and hug each other with glee. Lovely.

Brief update on yesterday's news - met P for lunch and then went off for a walk by the sea writing an audio letter for V. It's always fun watching people watching you seemingly talk to yourself...

The evening was a mass of mess: I finally faced up to the reality of needing to do a proper clear out before I start my next phase of projects. Gave up on the chance of hearing Yiddish tango (Tangele at the Sallis Benney theatre) for this. I am still surrounded by a rubbish dump now, but as the chaos theory goes, you've gotta make more of a mess before you can tidy things up...

Saturday, November 08, 2003

Ah! Friday! The weekend starts! Met up with P for leisurely Sudanese dinner in town this evening. I can't stop banging on about my trip to Mauritius, my cousins, my family, the coconuts, the extraordinary sounds of the mosques calling for prayers, the mountains, my sense of belonging, the awe and wonder. It's beginning to get cold here in the UK now but this is home.

This week has been a steady mix of work and play. It is so possible to recapture snippets of that decadent holiday feeling in your everyday life, isn't it? Extend your stay with your family in London for another night, wake up twenty minutes before your train leaves for Brighton in the morning, go to a concert on your own, meet a friend in the pub, watch a video, eat chocolate, leave work early and catch the end of the autumn sunset, join a crowd watching fire-carrying parades, stare at the biggest fire you've ever seen and stand gobsmacked at spectacular fireworks, listen to music on headphones on the way to work, go to open mike sessions in small, intimate pubs, squish six people into a three-seater van, look out at the fields and autumn-leaved trees at lunchtime, go and see some photography (Boris Mikhailov at the Gardner Arts Centre with M), play secret nerdy jokes on the biologists looking for rodents in the woods (hush hush!), pocket the latest letter from your friend in Italy and read snippets during every spare moment of the day, meet your friend with the best ears and understanding for a meal in a quiet restaurant... Not a bad week, huh?

Friday, November 07, 2003

This week is Souad Massi week... Aaaaaaaah! Amazing.

Thursday, November 06, 2003

I've just finished what feels like a rather long and arduous day at work. Sometimes, it can be really testing when you've explained something to someone over and over again and they still don't seem to grasp what you're saying... Siiigggh! At least I can start it all again tomorrow!

Off to the Rock this evening for the open mike session. Life does get better...

Why do fireworks genuinely make you go "ahhhhHHH!" and "oooOOooH!"? The fireworks at Lewes this evening made me do just that. And honestly, completely involuntarily. Coupled with the hugest, tallest bonfire I have ever seen, I found myself in tears, mesmerised by the showers of stars falling towards me. Spectacular. Much needed tonic for the soul.

The parades were pretty good. Definitely the scariest moment was watching the Cliffe parade and a mass of hot crucifixes held up high and ablaze in fire going past while a drunken (and mmm, so attractive) man shouted "Burn the Pope!" over and over again. What would my mum and dad say?!

Yesterday I was babysitting O for the evening and watched many an episode of "Malcolm in the Middle". One of the funniest comedies I have ever seen; makes me scream out loud! After O had gone to bed I watched The Virgin Suicides and then my mood changed somewhat. Ahem.

Tuesday, November 04, 2003

A much-loved chunky shawl: Kelly Joe Phelps, Pavilion Theatre, Brighton

This evening I skipped home all gooey and mushy... Two great gigs in the space of four days: how can this be?!

Kelly Joe Phelps has a voice that makes you feel like you’re curled up by a log fire and wrapped up in a much-loved chunky shawl. At the end of each song I heard both myself and the people around me involuntarily exhale with small sighs of "oooohhhh!" and "mmmmmmm!" Gorgeous.

Playing with 60s hair Scott Amendola on drums and elf beard Keith Lowe on bass, we were all invited to join a friendship of giggles and easy hours. They played together with fresh childlike energy, but with the sensitivity and ears of old companions. The music was always interspersed with knowing smiles, slapped thighs, stomping feet and bursts of laughter. The audience had no choice but to feel joyously part of it. SiiigggghhH! Oh lucky me!

After the gig I met up with J back from Madrid. She straightened me out and we began plans for the big D re-edit. Watch this space! Watch the pottiness take over again!

Brief update on the weekend's events - went to see M's new house in Surrey Quays (can already see the Bachelor Pad look beginning to emerge with his silver venetian blinds and metal plant pots...). Met N at the Tate Modern and had a catch up over loose leaf tea, Bill Viola and Marc Rothko (why does Rothko in the flesh make me go all silly?!). Then A & M for dim sum in Chinatown. Ate a substantial amount of very nice food. London London London... Could I live in London? Life could be really really hard.... :oP

Saturday, November 01, 2003

Reduced to a Puddle: Mariza at Brighton Dome

Despite not feeling well during the day today I pulled myself out of a warm bed to get to the Dome to see Mariza. I'd been excited about this concert for months, and by hook or by crook (and boy was I feeling crook) I was going to get there. And it was so worth it.

Sitting bang in the middle of the front row, mesmerised by this stunning, charismatic, dramatic woman singing with A Voice that one could only dream of having... I just melted... and was reduced to a puddle. AhhhHH! Wonderful.

The encore was the killer. Mariza and her three guitarists (Luis Guerreiro, portuguese guitar, Antonio Neto, classical guitar and Laurindo de Sousa, acoustic bass guitar) all 'unplugged' themselves and jumped off the stage to the front of the auditorium. Mariza wandered and sang while the three twangers huddled together playing by the stage. When she got to the front, and stopped Right In Front Of Me to sing to Me I thought the liquid goo I had already become was going to boil over and evaporate... Indescribably awesome.