Alex told me…

That my clothes

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weren’t so much

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‘clothes’

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as ‘costumes’.

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……

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I have *literally*

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no idea

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what
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he is talking about
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??????

(I should be writing)

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The Thing

Also, I found this on my hard drive last night and I enjoyed it. SO NOW YOU WILL ENJOY IT ALSO.

 

Here is a thing.

Not much. It’s just a thing.

It has bright colours and if you hold it against your face, that feels nice.

It looks pretty and your friends will like it.

It might not be strictly necessary, but it is vitally important.

This thing may not look like much, but that is the amazingness of the thing.

The thing keeps the world revolving. The thing keeps the sun in the sky and the water in the ocean and the birds singing their little songs in the trees.

That is the secret of the thing.

Other things it can do, is sit on your shelf. Or on your floor, or tucked away in your cupboard. It’s really up to you, is what I’m trying to say. Once the thing belongs to you, then you can do what you like with it.

The thing is interesting and unique. It will tell other people you are interesting and unique. At least as interesting and unique as the other people who have the thing. And, in the big scheme of things, that is pretty interesting and unique.

The thing has magic powers. It will cause you to lose weight and have a nicer nose and get better hair. It will show you how to dress properly and how to flirt with that attractive person you have your eye on.

The simple fact of the matter is that your whole life will get better if you have the thing. That’s a guarantee.

And the good news is that you too can have the thing. The thing is for everybody. Not just anybody, you understand, but if you want it enough, if you work for it and save for it and dream for it, the thing can be yours as well.

The other good news is that it really is a bargain for the price. When you think about value for money, about what this thing can do, what it has the potential to do, then I know that what we’re asking will seem reasonable. It costs a little bit of money. And a bit of self-esteem. Perhaps some hopes and dreams and part of your children’s future and their children’s future.

But, really look at the thing. Really consider it and it’s potential. I know you’ll come to the same conclusion I came to.

The thing really is the most necessary thing in the world.

 

 

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Soho as a Person

I had to write this for an application. And, look, I’m not going to lie, I was pretty pleased with it. Who knows if that means the application will go well or not, but in the meantime, you lucky people get to read it.

Also, you might have noticed I’m struggling to write things at the moment (ANY of the things), so I figured I should share WHATEVER THE HELL I HAD.

So, anyways, here it is. Soho as a person.

 

In her younger years,

Her voice was like a knife that cut through the darkness,

Because she only woke in darkness

And she didn’t talk, she screamed.

 

Even now,

When those around her are nestled in floral pastels,

Sagged in softly collapsed settees,

Their wrinkled fingers wrapped around waning cups of tea,

She has a penchant for sharp lights and sharper sounds:

Seeks them out and lets them cut her.

She likes the prettiness of glitter,

Not for its delicacy,

But for the hard edges of the sparkles and

The hidden pricks of corners that catch under your fingernails.

 

She has had a hundred lovers,

A thousand,

So many that it would take a lifetime to think back and speak their names aloud,

One after the other,

With the significance that each deserves.

(She takes a quiet pride in not favouring a ‘type’,

Because,

‘Oh, how boring,’ she’d sigh on perfumed breath,

Chin sinking towards her flattened palm and eyes rolling heavenwards).

She coaxes them still:

men, women, young, old,

The endearingly hopeful and the quietly crushed,

Her alternating faces the siren’s call making

Each new devotee feel at home.

And each new one thinks they know her

Deeply and completely

Intimately and concretely

But each is wrong

Because what one person could see

All of her at once and not be consumed by confusion?

 

Her single constant is the

Blood red still clinging to her lips,

Which on other women might cause mutters of,

‘Mutton’ and ‘lamb’,

But on her looks correct,

‘Proper’

As if she was dragged into this world so garish and so gory

(and she probably was, if anyone was left that could remember back that far)

 

But, careful.

She is not just the aging party girl,

The one whose diamonds are cut glass,

And whose bronze and blonde colourings are stored in bottles.

Yes, she knows all the people you see in the magazines,

The shiny-teethed smilers from the telly.

The gods and goddesses of the silver screen,

Are regular guests, pressing their cold hands into her warm one.

But this old bird has seen things and done things,

Felt thing and said things

You wouldn’t dare face in your nightmares:

Heaving, disintegrating green-grey houses,

Sunken-eyed and leaking corpses,

A pregnant woman pierced with nails,

Are all images she tries daily to forget.

So if she spends her time now

Winking at the young and the witty,

Flattering the powerful and the beautiful,

Seeking out the rich and the stylish

Well, then, who can blame her?

She’s had her fair share of broken hearts and broken limbs.

 

Sometimes she thinks she’ll move to the country,

To search life’s meaning

In the silent significance of slow nature.

But the screech of hot rubber on tarmac

And the smell of a thousand bodies twisting through

Frenetically jumping lights,

Pull her up each time.

And she thinks,

What could be more meaningful than this great mess of humanity,

Bumping along,

Trying desperately to fit together?

 

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Things I Have Discovered in 2 Months

So the blogging has gone down the tube recently and its far too late to catch you up on everything that I have been doing, thinking and feeling (and I do know how you like those feels), so instead, please be satisfied with this list of things that last December I did not know and now I do.

1) Owning a dog is the only life goal I have can actually hold on to day-to-day. Everything else (what country should I go to next, what should I do for work, should I go and study something and if so, what should it be, should I become some kind of nomad or buy a house and settle down, am I city person or country person, should I keep dying my hair or not) is ripe for change on a daily basis (sometimes hourly! Sometimes minute-by-minute!) but having a happy fluff ball that loves me unconditionally (as long as I keep feeding it) is a no-brainer. I WANT ONE.

2) There used to be a place called Bophuthatswana. My friend used to live there. For reals.

3) There is an animal called a capybara, which is essentially a giant hamster. And it is also real:

OH MY GOD, LOOK AT IT, ITS HUGGING A CAT AND THE CAT LOVES IT from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/20/capybara-hugs-cat_n_3475268.html

OH MY GOD, LOOK AT IT, IT’S HUGGING A CAT AND THE CAT IS TOTALLY INTO IT  from: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/06/20/capybara-hugs-cat_n_3475268.html

4) I have developed a strange desire to be invisible, which I can’t say I ever remember feeling before (I’m an actor – it would kind of be a hinderance). I don’t know what this entails, or why this feeling has come over me, but it seems to have prevented me from blogging things and also meant that I was that terrified bridesmaid at my friend’s wedding whose shoulders are up near her ears and who is gripping so hard to her bouquet that her knuckles have gone white.

5) You can sell your eggs for 750 pounds in the UK.

6) There are far far far FAR more white shirts and ‘distressed’ jeans on sale at GAP than you would have ever imagined. They have confusing numbers of differences in finish and material so you suddenly find yourself passionate about white yarn as opposed to bue yarn, which is something you can’t ever remember worrying about before.  Also, ‘distressed’ jeans is a supremely funny image. I mean, think about it.

7) There are Masters that you can do in Germany and Austria FOR FREE. And they are TAUGHT IN ENGLISH. HOW HAS THIS NOT BECOME A BIGGER LOOPHOLE IN THE INTERNATIONAL HIGHER EDUCATION MARKET??

8) Hampstead Heath is the best place on earth. I already knew this, but then I found out many other reasons why it was even better than I ever thought. Including the fact that you can actually LIVE IN THE HEATH. Not around it, not with a view of it, but IN it, surrounded by mud and trees and ponds and ducks and dog-walkers. The collection of houses in the Heath is called ‘The Vale of Health’, which is also amazing and adds further evidence to my ‘best place in the world theory’ and why aren’t you all now going to buy houses there immediately (oh is it because of the certain-to-be terrifying astronomical prices of the properties, yes, well, I guess that makes sense).

9) In Tottenham in the 1950s, the smogs were so bad, children had to walk to school with their hands trailing along a brick wall, as there was no other way of telling where they were going.

10) London plane trees were planted to soak up the pollution from the air into their bark – which would then peel off the trees

11) In the 10th century there was an English King named Alfred and he burnt some cakes, apparently.

12) Parakeets come from the foothills of the Himalayas and that is why their flocks have done so well in the UK, as the weather is not really all that different.

13) The problem with so many people not telling the truth in the theatre industry is that even when people assure me they are telling the truth, I don’t believe them and have no way of telling whether or not they are actually telling the truth because most of them are: a) so practiced at lying in theatre bars that its second nature b) actors c) my friends and are therefore really nice people who don’t like to criticise anything (especially nothing a friend would do).

14) British people have no idea who ‘The Nanny’ is

15) A 3 years Bachelor’s Degree from Australia is in NO WAY EQUIVALENT to a 4 years Bachelor’s Degree from the USA. Furthermore, History is in NO WAY RELEVANT to the field of creative writing (hope you’re listening, Hilary Mantel) (oh, #snap)

16) Smartphones are bloody expensive creatures to keep on a UK pay-as-you-go plan. They eat up data the way locusts swarms eat up crops.

There’s probably more, but I can’t think of anything else right now.

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The Marriage Guide for Young Men (1883)

I haven’t written anything under the title of ‘My Awesome Spinsterhood’ like I said I would. And there are reasons, oh there are reasons.

Mainly, I haven’t been thinking about it all that much.

Anyways. I came across the e-book of the above title whilst doing some research for the re-boot of Operation: Love Story. And I wanted to share some excerpts that particularly got my hackles up. Not because I’m worried about how Victorian men were going about their courtship, but because I think that a lot of these attitudes have not changed in ‘courtship’ or dating or modern sex.

Exhibit A:

‘The young man has an incalculable advantage over the young woman in the matter of choosing; for she must sit and wait for the right one to come and offer himself, whereas he has the privilege of going in search of the right one until he find her. He is not haunted so much by that grim spectre, “the last chance” ‘ p 71

Which is essentially most of the arguments of ‘He’s Just Not that Into You’, a title for which I have always reserved a special irritated hatred.

I did like this though: ‘If you are a poet, it would not be well to marry a woman who never becomes enthusiastic over anything.’

Because all poets are just constantly in fits of passions, I suppose.

 

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Unanswered Questions from a trip to Edinburgh

I’ve been to Edinburgh enough and written about it enough now that I think its probably useless to attempt to write about all the things that I’ve seen. Because, I’ve pretty much seen them all. That’s right, Edinburgh, I’ve summed you up in approximately 7 trips and/or 2 months. There is nothing more to say about you.

NOTHING.

yes, ok, perhaps that isn’t true.

But I didn’t really feel like writing many words, or any descriptions, or attempting to write some kind of chronology or plot, or using some sort of annoying structure, or even attempting to give the trip some kind of logical meaning or coherence, so I thought this list would be a good way of avoiding that.

1. On the night bus, who has the right to use the phrase, ‘I paid for this seat’? The person sitting in front who wants to lie down, or the man sitting behind who doesn’t want to be squished? Did they not both pay for their seats? Does paying for your seat allow your to squish others with it? Or does paying for your seat protect you from being squished by other seats? Is it the seat you pay for, or the space around the seat? If you paid for your seat and then decided to break it away from the bus and sit it in the aisle for the rest of the journey would that be ok because you ‘paid for this seat’? Difficult.

2. Was the man sitting next to me on the night bus chewing gum? Or was he on drugs? Or both? Did he therefore have a better trip than I did?

3. Why was there random electrically-coloured Australian murals sporadically placed across my olde worlde Scottish hostel? Was it because all of Edinburgh is secretly controlled by Australians? Or at least, the Edinburgh hostel network is secretly controlled by Australians? (well, ok, not so secretly, the accent is hard to miss as soon as any Edinburgh hostel receptionist opens their mouths)

4. Why do the majority of Edinburgh museums involve displays with creepy mannequins?

5. The Scottish Parliament building: why?

6. What is that part of Edinburgh that can be seen from Arthur’s Seat and isn’t the Old Town and isn’t the New Town? (My answer to this question of my friend’s was: ‘….Edinburgh.’)

7. Would the ghost tour to the vaults have been scarier if I had done it at 10pm? Would that have been a better or worse thing?

8. How come I can’t climb up and down things as well as I used to? Is it because I’m an adult and am now only to aware of what will happen if I fall and how painful it will be and how much it will cost to fix? Or is it because I am an adult now and my joints don’t work any more?

Oh, god, now how do I get back?

Oh, god, now how do I get back?

Maybe if I lower myself over the... NO NO, TOO FAR FROM THE GROUND

Maybe if I lower myself over the… NO NO, TOO FAR FROM THE GROUND

Only logical solution. yes, hello, group of Spanish tourists, what exactly are you staring at?

Only logical solution. yes, hello, group of Spanish tourists, what exactly are you staring at?

9. How far exactly did the Romans get?

10. Why was that man dressed as a giant penis at 3pm on a Sunday afternoon sitting in a pub with his mates who were in no way dressed up?

12. How is the heater failing on the Night Bus a warning sign for the brakes failing? Why did National Express think it was a good idea for us to keep driving in a bus where the brakes were failing? Why did we all sit outside the bus in the freezing cold at 4:30am for an hour waiting for a replacement bus, instead of inside the bus, (whose brakes were now no longer threatening, as the bus was stationary)?

13. Is the Elephant Cafe really worth paying 2.5 pounds for tea and another pound for wi-fi?

14. Is the hat I bought very silly or very awesome or a little bit of both?

15. Should I have bought more fudge?

16. Are sandwiches the best food of all? And if so, why do people insist on having other foods? Shouldn’t we all just concentrate on coming up with better and better sandwich fillings and stop wasting time on attempting to make other food stuffs palatable (except for jacket potatoes, of course, which are essentially hot sandwiches in potato form)?

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Harrow

I’m crap with the blogging, I know.

[insert self-flagellation and excuses here. If looking for inspiration, just check out previous blog posts]

A week or two ago I went to a book club. Because I am almost 30 and people who are almost 30 do things like go to book clubs and wear sensible pastel clothing with good shoes rather than dancing all night and taking drugs and piercing every piece of spare skin that is thick enough to jab a piece of metal through (yes, ok, you got me, I never danced all night and/or took drugs and the only piercings I have are in my ears. And, once, at a time when other kids were terrifying their parents with their rebellious, self-destructive behaviour, I stayed up all night to read “Memoirs of a Geisha”. In fact, I would have gone to a book club as a teenager if the opportunity had presented itself, its just the other teenagers didn’t seem interested. Really, wasn’t high school just an enforced book club? Which is probably why I loved it so much and got so offended when people didn’t do the readings).

Anyway. I went to a book club. It was being hosted by my friend who lives in Harrow, which was quite exciting, because I had never been to Harrow and I had this crazy idea a few months ago that I would attempt to visit every tube stop on the map before leaving London and detailing my experience/impressions of each place on the blog. It is a crazy idea I have done nothing about, because we all know how my crazy blog ideas work out. That’s right, they don’t.

So, basically now I am just keeping score, in my head, of how many tube stations I have managed to get to. And Harrow gave me the opportunity to tick off another.

The first exciting thing about Harrow was that I had to take the purple Metropolitan line, which I had never taken before. I know, I know, when will the excitement end? But, seriously, guys, it is exciting, because there are no stops on the Metropolitan line in Zone 3! (People not familiar with London’s tube map will not understand the significant of this. Basically, the inner-city is Zone 1 and then it fans out in concentric circles in increasing numerical order to Zones 8, 9, 10, where you’re not really sure if you are in England anymore, let alone London. So, to not have any stops in Zone 3, its like, woah. This train is going out to the suburbs, man. And, straight out to the suburbs. Once you get on the train to the suburbs, you don’t get off until you’re in the suburbs)

Harrow on the Hill. Where I went there was colour, though. Found at: http://www.oldukphotos.com/middlesex_harrow_on_the_hill_2.htm

Harrow on the Hill. Where I went there was colour, though. Found at: http://www.oldukphotos.com/middlesex_harrow_on_the_hill_2.htm

Anyways, you get out at Harrow station and that’s when you realise you’re not in London city anymore. Because they don’t have maps everywhere for the tourists. Also, because everyone here has enough money/is grown-up enough to either own a map, or (more likely) own a smart phone. So, free maps are not really on offer, which rather ruined my normal mode of getting about in London. Instead I (rather cleverly, I have to admit), walked to the local gas station on the hunch that they would sell road maps. They did. I did a big act of picking up each road map of the area and looking at it and considering it and then finding out where my friend lived and then replacing each map, shaking my head and sighing and muttering to myself, ‘Its just not quite right’ with a look of consternation (I might point out that the nearest shop assistant was approximately 3 metres away from me. I also had my back to them, so most of this fine and subtle acting was lost to… pretty much everyone in the shop except me. But I figured it would help to get into character of a woman looking for a particular type of road map and had not found it, just in case anyone did get out from behind the counter and challenge me. I’m totes method).

I continued my journey away from the gas station and realised that as soon as you turn off the main motorway, Harrow gets pretty real quick. And that kind of tasteful, old-worldly pretty that looks like it should be in a Miss Marple episode. It also stinks of money. Actually, ‘stinks’ is unfair. It implies that I wasn’t enjoying the view. And that would be untrue. Harrow ‘wafts’ of money. It was all very tasteful, very pretty money. I liked, very much, to look at it. But I was also aware, in my cracked Docs and my black pants and my denim jacket covered in homemade badges that I didn’t *quite* belong. I was walking around very cautiously, arms pulled in, like one would walk around one’s grandmother’s living room, terrified of accidentally knocking over and breaking all of those china figurines she has so proudly displayed. In fact, I was half-convinced that someone was going to come up to me and ask me to leave. Like those sales assistants in ‘Pretty Woman’, except they’d be asking me to vacate the entire suburb. This was only enhanced by my encounter with two Harrow residents who were dressed in a fine selection of tan, white knits and high khaki wellies that looked like they hadn’t even heard of mud, let alone walked through it. These two fine elderly folk were walking down a completely empty footpath towards me and instead of going single file to allow me to pass (as one would do in busy London), they forced me to walk in the gutter. The gutter! That’s what they thought of me! They turned me into a guttersnipe!

The book club itself was delightful fun, with far too many brownies, tartlets, dip, quiche and biscuits. There was considerable discussion of the book, NW by Zadie Smith, but not too much as one of the people in the group hadn’t finished it yet. On the way back to the station, we walked over the hill and through the park, where families were setting off loads of fireworks for Guy Fawkes Day. On the pitch-black hill, trying to ignore our irrational terrors of zombies and ghosts and murderers, we looked out across the Northern London suburbs and watched as fireworks flew into the night-sky from all over the North of London, speckling the darkness in a sweetly haphazard and charming way. Sure they weren’t as spectacular and considered as the ones let off Sydney Harbour Bridge each NYE, but it was rather like comparing a homemade cake to a store-bought one. Good things about both, really and it just depends on what you’re in the mood for.

And so I thought, ‘well, there probably are some nice things about the suburbs and turning 30 and being domestic, after all.’

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Filed under 29, London