Archive for the ‘La-La gets personal’ Category

What’s going on?

September 5, 2013

Fast-forward three years. I’m in Sussex.  What a random place to end up.

There are a number of things that are slightly odd about Sussex. Firstly – there’s no music. None.  The odd pubs with men with guitars, the odd Irish band. But a proper gig? No. You have to go to Brighton or to London.

Problem is – I haven’t got the money to go to London and I can’t be bothered to go to Brighton. It’s not even that it’s that far – it’s just awkward. Really awkward. Went to a Graham Coxon gig in Brighton last year – we got lost somewhere down the line and ended up at some random station in the middle of nowhere. I don’t even think the station staff knew where they were.

Interestingly – if you Google Sussex you get a few pictures of pretty churches, but most of all – chickens. Apparently many people in Sussex keep chickens.

chickesn

So what do we do in Sussex?

Good question. People round here seem to do one or another of the following:

  • Trips away at weekends – not us, we’ve no money and I have a husband (yup – husband!) who works in a bar at weekends.
  • The gym.  I hate the gym. Discussions revolve around a) how many times you go to the gym and b) which classes you attend. Yawn.
  • Generic. Outdoor. Activity. Be it sailing, cycling, tennis, camping or horse riding, you’ll do one of these (or all!) if you live in Sussex. I plumped for the latter.

Three years on from my last post and I am married and the owner of a horse. It’s fine – as long as you don’t talk to anyone else who owns a horse. They’re all a bit…horsey.

I like to think of mine as a rather large dog. He follows me round, licks my face and sheds everywhere.

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My Travels Through Time

July 18, 2008

I’m reading ‘The Time Traveller’s Wife’ by Audrey Niffenegger.  It has been years since a book has touched me as much as this does; not just due to the story, but the complexity of the writing, the attention to detail and the many layers woven of characterisations and plot.  My ambition has always been someday to complete my novel, however nothing I write ever reaches my own standards and therefore is relegated to the ‘ideas’ pile, ever increasing from year to year. 

 

My disappointment in writing is common, as ‘fantastic novels’ rarely impress as much as I am promised.  ‘The Lovely Bones’ by Alice Seobold is my most hated piece of work.  The idea of romanticising a small child’s rape and brutal murder into a dreamy heaven-like tale makes me physically ill.  At first I kept my opinions on this to myself, as those around me raved about its content and daring and I initially wondered how I’d managed to misinterpret the story.  But slowly, once the hype died down, more and more people began to admit that they found it disturbing, dissatisfying and, to not mince words, a bit sick.  Having seen the review of Seobold’s follow-up, which re-visits her own experience of rape, I can now sympathise with the way the novelist appears to be using her stories as a form of therapy, however refuse ever to put myself through the trauma of reading her work again.  The same is true of ‘The Life of Pi’, a novel I found to be entirely self-indulgent pap.  It was invented and executed purely to impress, its randomness too calculated and is set to appeal to the pretentious nation that unfortunately grows daily.  Such a shame I thought, as the references to religion at the start of the novel were clever and interesting, but it soon bored me in its desperate quirkiness and I struggled to finish it.

 

In these writers’ defence, however, at least they both are best-selling novelists, which is much more than can be said for myself so far.

 

These days I rarely give myself time to write, finding so many other distractions in life; the Internet, television, friends, chores, work.  Every day there is the nagging feeling that I am doing myself an injustice and wasting time not being true to myself by taking the time to write.  But why is writing a novel such an important ambition to me?  Why do I feel the need, when so many others are quite content to find other amusements and use other talents?

 

Are you sitting comfortably?  Then I’ll begin…

 

It all started, as stories tend to, when I was a small child.  The parental-unit spent year after year relocating with dad’s various jobs; thus my contrary and restless nature was borne from him.  As a result of the constant upheaval I have no childhood friends before the age of 8.  My brother is 3 years older therefore I was far too young to be of any use or fun (plus failed to develop a sense of humour until I was 13) and so was left pretty much to my own devices. In many ways I believe this was a blessing, as it has meant I am perfectly comfortable in my own company and enjoy spending time alone. 

 

My favourite day of the week was Saturday because it was the day when we’d visit the library and I’d get to pick as many books as was allowed on my ticket.  Every week I would get 8 and take back the 8 I’d finished from the week before.  For convenience I went to the same school my mum taught at, which was miles away in another town, therefore my school friends did not live locally.  This meant every spare minute of my time was spent in my room either inventing games or lying on my stomach on my bed, reading.  I even took my meals in my room in this fashion, when I could get away with it! 

 

In some ways my reading obsession wasn’t healthy or nice.  By age 6 I’d finished all the ‘reading bands’ as they called them at school, i.e. I’d read all the books available.  In absence of anything else to give me, my teacher would make me sit in the corner and listen to the other children read, which I disliked as I found it dull.  There were also the days when mum would ban me from reading, confiscating my books just as they were getting interesting.  I never did find out how one particular Nancy Drew story finished, although I’m sure she didn’t die or someone would surely have told me. Wouldn’t they?  My worst habit was to use words I’d only read before and not heard spoken, pronouncing them incorrectly and sounding like a precocious brat to anyone who would listen.

 

Where did this get me?  There is only so long you can love an art and appreciate it before you try to emulate it.  Thus I began to write.  Not being one to start small, I aimed straight for newspapers.  The teasing still follows me to this day of my ‘Saddle Club’ newsletter, written age 11 for my friends, including such ground-breaking stuff as ‘Grooming tool of the month’.  Ah the humiliation.  I followed this up with Editor of my high school newspaper, although very rarely actually was permitted to do any actual – editing.  This privilege was reserved for the Head of English teacher, Mrs Russell.  Instead she encouraged me to write for myself; stories, reviews and articles, with the opinion that someday I would do her proud and embark on a career in journalism, particularly in the form of entertainment, film and music, my lifelong interests and passion.  My parents recount having to back away warily from this formidable woman at parents evening when they broke the news to her that I was to study Zoology at Edinburgh.

 

Years later and I have managed to combine my loves, having now published a number of newsletter and scientific journal articles relating to animals and their welfare.  But what of my aspirations to become a novelist?

 

To read is to feel, to love, to empathise and to travel with the story.  All these are found within the pages of the Time Traveller’s Wife.  This novel has made me laugh, wince with pain, puzzle over timing complexities and eventually give way to feelings of such desperate sadness that I had to put the book aside for a short time, in order to return to the present.  Novels such as these remind me of why we exist; Niffenegger weaves music, science and literature into the story, using these to plant the characters in scenes to set a context of time, such as discussions of the onset of punk and the hurdle that ‘DNA won’t be sequenced until 2000-2001’. 

 

I believe that to begin a piece of writing with the ambition of masterpiece already dooms the writer to fail.  Instead writing must remain as it was originally intended; for pleasure, for expression, from experience and with heart.  I can only hope that along the way I come across more novels that spur me on to succeed as this one has as, to produce something that captivates the attention of the reader even a fraction as much as this book has done, will ensure this writer will finally be able to watch TV in peace.

 

…and here are the headlines at lunchtime

July 1, 2008

It’s official.  Today began yet another change in my land.  With one phone call I have been catapaulted back to university and am off to begin the new leg of my career in September to study Broadcast Journalism for 8 months.

Welcome back student poverty.  Goodbye money, our relationship was brief but fun.  Hello student discount.  

I aim to eventually look like the example above, although in true female form I’ll be substituting the tweed for pastels.

One kidney down, one to go

May 13, 2008

Owwwwwwwwwwwww!!!  All is not good in La-La Land.  Another trip to the ‘burgh nearly ended in disaster as having a fainting spell somewhere just outside Doncaster on a fast moving train threatened to jeopardise whether this author, plus what felt like 10 carrier bags of clothes, made it safely home.    Add to this a general feeling of sickness and dizziness.  Now before you think ‘appendicitis!’, I’ll explain that I’d had a slight pain in the left side for quite a few weeks, plus a feeling of not really being ‘with it’ but, fearing a doctor visit, plus acceptance that the latter symptom is quite normal for me, had hoped it would just melt away. 

 

Yeah.  It didn’t.  The ‘slight’ pain was now a throbbing full-blown agonising stomach-clutching affair.

Those of you who have read my previous London doctor visit will be able to understand my fear at the realisation that a doctor must be consulted – and soon.  This girl’s not daft; I hightailed it down early Monday morning to the rival surgery on the block.  ‘I’ve only just moved down and haven’t registered with anyone yet’ says me, all innocence and dramatic tummy clutching.    

 Imagine my relief when I discovered no pee sticks on the floor and a nice stern doctor, very different from the grinning previous version who had tried to get me to educate his brother about cow and goat management in Saudi Arabia. 

To emphasise this, here is a goat standing on a cow:

So – here I am.  Oh – what’s wrong with me?  A kidney infection.  Yes. Lovely.  Apparently it’s swollen.  The doctor got quite excited about this fact.  I’m all antibiotic’d-up and off the booze (well, for so long as the antibiotics are required), with people getting very excited for some reason about my ‘real’ illness.  I’m not excited. It hurts. Like a big stitch. But worse.

Although I am completely understanding that this has been a chronic, rather than acute, onset of illness, I would still like to place some blame.  So here it is.  I have decided to blame the toxic, ectoplasmic green stuff I was made to drink on Saturday night. 

Superlee!

May 13, 2008

SUPERLEEEEEEEEEEE!

La-la on tour

April 29, 2008

I haven’t written for ages properly, been too busy.  Now to cut a long story short, a summary of why:

People came to visit. REAL people.  Multiple times as well!  These included (in order of appearance):

Lee, Nina, Mum (she’s kind of obliged, but she did enjoy talking to the fish), Gary Wood, Lee (2nd appearance – star player so far!), Elaine, many people for house party including Greg and Jpo. 

A number of London-excursions happened featuring dancing, Midnight Juggernauts, a DJ set and meeting with Bloc Party, visiting the Crack, more dancing, a house party, Banksy-hunting, snow fights, visiting the filled-in Crack and I Am Kloot.

I went to Edinburgh. And Glasgow. But mostly Edinburgh.  A fun, fun, fun time was had.  Friday night had us dancing at Cabaret Voltaire to Krafty Kuts and Annie Nightingale, Saturday we were dancing at the Hive.  There were movies, faces, monkey moves, slapping and punching (of me), faces everywhere, Champ (or here), not much sleep and a hungover shopping trip which produced little to show but a camera (but WHAT a camera!).   So many of my favourite people in the world were there, one of the best trips up so far.

After the flurry of mad activity that has been the past 3 weeks, La-la is going to rest her weary legs for the former part of this weekend, in preparation for yet another Edinburgh tour next week. 

Rumour has it though that the bank holiday in London holds many a secret gathering. 

It’d be rude not to attend.

 

Skins

April 13, 2008

Before it ends I want to mention on my blog just how much I’m LOVING the 2nd series of Skins. I watched one of the first series and thought it was rubbish but this series has been one great episode after another.  The soundtrack is one of the reasons I love it.  Series 2 theme tune is by Fat Segal, who also did the song Maxxie danced to in the first episode.   I really dislike the Gossip so am really glad they changed the theme tune.   (NB spot the naked person doing a chicken dance in the title sequence – i’m not sure if i’m imagining it or not)

Crystal Castles make an appearence singing Alice Practice ; if you’ve never heard them check out their myspace site.  

Skins finishes on Monday – I need a new addiction. Suggestions…please…  

Disclaimer

March 26, 2008

I’ve had it pointed out to me on a number of occasions that my blog fluctuates in mood, subject and style.  I’ve noticed this (of course I have – it’s my blog!) and whilst I completely sympathise and understand that some of you may come for comedy on a philosophical day, or arrive for videos on an anecdote day, I have 3 things to say in my defence:

I am a Woman. 

We are emotional. 

If you don’t like it, go dance wildly (with hands in air) to Wham for 5 minutes.

 

(i’m sorry! please still come and read my blog!)

Monster Evolution

March 26, 2008

When you’re a kid, it’s the monsters under the bed that threaten your every move.  Kids lie in bed and scream for mum, sure that to put a foot down on the floor is tantamount to slow and painful death.  Trapped in bed, the panic rises when help doesn’t instantly respond, so the screams get louder and louder until a floorboard creaks next door, signalling the approach of safety.

When you’re a kid, being trapped means not being able to go out to play until homework is finished, having to wait until everyone’s finished eating before you can leave the table, or being forced to help paint the living room skirting boards when it’s sunny outside during the school holidays.  It’s that feeling of double maths when you don’t really care what x equals, or whether Chaucer was actually a genius or just a little bit weird.  I remember sitting in A-level English lessons, bored out of my skull as I’d read the book already and everyone else was just too slow.  I’d stare out of the window in frustration, dying to be anywhere but there, writing crap lines of poetry on my book about ‘love’ and ‘life’ and, um, ‘clouds’.  I always thought to be an adult meant freedom; that I would finally get to live my own way, do what I wanted to do and go anywhere I wanted to go.

10 years on, I’ve been more places, I’ve got more scars and (hopefully) I have better dress sense.    I have a ‘good job’, ‘excellent qualifications’ and no plastic surgery (yet!).  All these are ticks next to the to-do-list of life’s achievements.

But in my mind I’m still sitting by the window, wondering what it will be like when i’m an adult, when I’ll get to go where I want to go and do what I want to do.   The feeling of anticipation never leaves of what excitement adult life will bring when it arrives.   My monsters have evolved to take the shape of debt-repayment, working for a living and moving to where the work is.  I do wonder how much of my childhood will be spent staring out of windows. 

I just hope my poetry improves!

It’s a new day, it’s a new dawn..

March 15, 2008

Yet again I have adopted something recommended to me by my fellow blogger withwood but this really is worth it.

A site where everyday you upload just one photo; something that caught your eye, a picture that sums up your day, or perhaps you just think it’s a cool picture and want to share it.  Blipfoto is great. I love going onto the homepage and looking at the most recent pictures – it’s like getting a wee snapshot into all the different lives that are going on around you while you’re getting on with yours.  I was talking about this last week – about what it must be like to be someone else and whether they actually do think like I do (or perhaps i’m an anomaly and other folks’ brains work differently and I have never realised it!). 

What I love about this site is that people are SO nice to each other! I’ve yet to see a negative comment on a picture.  I also love to see what people think is interesting – you get the abstract ones of an interesting shape in a flower, even one of a gas hob which I really like! 

Then there are my favourites which are of people – I love photos of people so much.  I like to  think about who they might be, what they were thinking when the photo was taken, whether they had something to worry about or perhaps a secret that was making them happy.  I wouldn’t ever want to know though as that would ruin the picture for me.

Anyway, go look!  This is my page and here is my first effort:

snaily.jpg


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