Sunday, 28 February 2010
Wednesday, 24 February 2010
On Monday afternoon I had a meeting with a lady who works for a wildlife charity. She said, interestingly, that the charity is often criticised for devoting itself to animals in areas of the world where whole families go without food. Her response to this, which is also interesting, was that they often help animals indirectly, through improving the living standards of the people around them. For example, to help combat the abuse of horses and donkeys in east Africa, the charity has built a school, a medical centre and working facilities for the villages around the sanctuary, all in the hope of improving the lives of the animals they care for. Very admirable stuff I must say. I came away however, feeling slightly shallow and a bit jealous of her job. She must go home feeling like she's actually helping, making a difference. I won't moan though, my job might not be the most life-changing role a person could play, but it suits me just fine. It was a mere blip, a moment of 'maybe I should do something really meaningful' before I lapsed back into reality.
Yesterday also passed in a blur - not a drunken haze but a cloudy, flouncy blur of nothingness. Thanks to my manager, a founding member of the Fellowship of the Moan, I had Dean Martin's "How Do You Like Your Eggs In the Morning" stuck in my head all day long. And this wasn't all that was troubling me. Earlier in the month, in a fit of I'm-so-busy-woe-is-me that I swiftly recovered from, I told everyone I couldn't go to my boss' birthday do. I can go now, but it's all booked. So now I just look all miserable and antisocial. Alas, it's another lesson I must learn - I have made my bed, and now I must lie in it. At home yesterday night, I found myself sucked into a BBC documentary following all sorts of people as they plough their way through London traffic - this ranged from ambulance crews to a stripper who had to perform in a limo. The most infuriating was an estate agent who claimed all the driving was making him ill so he had to keep going home early. I've always thought that if my job was making me ill (and I doubt it actually was), I'd do something else.
And that brings me to today. Another odd little day. My commute was spent in a paranoid panic. I never get like that but there were police EVERYWHERE this morning. So many I thought I was either being followed or something big was on the way. So I spent the majority of my journey looking over my shoulder and turning my IPod on and off. This was nothing to do with the police - this is because every now and then my IPod decides to go on standby every five minutes or so. This happens maybe once a month. The battery was charged, the keys were locked, so why does it keep turning off? Can anyone help me with this, please? It's infuriating. How am I supposed to time my walk to the music if it keeps going quiet?
I appreciate this post has probably been as dull as dishwater, but thanks for giving me the opportunity to vent my confusion, paranoia and frustration. Tis much appreciated.
Monday, 22 February 2010
Sunday, 21 February 2010
As mentioned yesterday, I've once again pissed my wages up the wall. At least February is a short month, so I don't have to wait too long for my payslip. Roll on next Friday...
This does mean, however, that I've been under self-imposed house arrest all weekend. You see if I'd gone out, I think I would have used the credit card to fund some sort of frivolous debauchery or drunken rave up. So I locked the doors, barred the windows and made sure my food stocks were adequate, before settling down on to the sofa, from which I've barely moved. On Friday we had fish and chips - I'm not 100% sure why but I think it's something to with my mum being Catholic. I was too, once upon a time, and I'm sure that the night before Lent you were supposed to eat fish. Is that right? Even if that is why we had it, I failed, because I had a battered sausage. Yum.
And this sausage was consumed in front of the telly - the first Eastenders episode to be broadcast live in fact! Eastenders is one of my guilty pleasures - I don't follow it religously but I do have a soft spot for it (perhaps we share a common bond as we're the same age). And the 25th anniversary live episode was much fun. I particularly liked it when Jack Branning fluffed his lines and told Bradley "You've got a motive. You've...you've held it against the public!" What now? What's the public done? Sort it, Branning. The acting from everyone else was pretty much top notch if you ask me, except when Max, on seeing Bradley's body, stuck his fingers down his throat to make himself sick. Actually stuck his fingers down his front. Live. In front of 16million people. Great stuff. In all honesty though, I was well into it and thoroughly enjoyed it.
I also used this enforced alone time to catch up on some of the episodes of Skins and Shameless that my drink-fuelled antics in the first two weeks of the month made me miss. It's been a bit like spring cleaning, a clearing of the backlog of TV programmes that I want to watch but never have time. It's something that I have to do now and then, and will continue to do so until I find a happy balance between my social life and my telly addiction (I want to avoid a repeat of the night I stayed up watching Waterloo Road until half three, then went to work feeling hungover despite not having touched a drop).So in honour of my reunion with television, here are my top 5 moments:
5. The bit in Goodnight Mr Tom when when the kid calls John Thaw 'dad'. Weep...I believe I've mentioned this before, but in case I haven't, I have a friend who invented a drinking game involving Goodnight Mr Tom - basically you have to drink every time you're impressed with John Thaw's acting. Needless to say, as he was such a high quality actor, much booze was consumed!
4. Tim and Dawn finally get together in The Office. I can't hear Only You by the Flying Pickets without thinking of it. Finally. In fact, I might watch both series again, just so I can experience the build-up, the frustration and the elation all over again.
3. "YOU AINT MY MOTHER!" "YES I AM!" This period was, for me, an Eastenders golden age. Probably because I was still at school I think, so actually watched it when it was on. I thought Kat Slater was an excellent character, although Zoe got on my wick, and even though everyone new this was coming, when she shouted it it was still a shock.
2. John Sergeant on Strictly Come Dancing. Best example of people power EVER. He couldn't dance, and didn't care, and for that the Great British public voted him back in week after week. Classic.
1. Delboy and Rodney dressed as Batman and Robin in an Only Fools and Horses Christmas special. This is my favourite programme ever - I've never watched anything that's quite as capable of making you laugh in one scene, and then tugging on your heartstrings the next. I think it's fantastically written and acted and never get bored of watching repeats - which says something, as I must have seen a hundred chandelier crashes by now...
And on that note, I must dash - I reached a personal record of 5 late mornings last week and am going to get in early to avoid the chop!
Hope everyone had a good weekend!
Friday, 19 February 2010
When I was young, I had a book on Greek mythology. The illustrations were gory and gaudy and the various myths and legends separated into tasty chapters with titles like "Wicked Women" and "Evil Men". I read it cover to cover, even spending hours on the "Who's Who" section at the back. This inspired an interest that I've never really given up - N discovered my love for all things mythological soon after we met (despite my efforts to keep it hidden, for fear of being branded a geek) and encouraged it with even more mythology books. I was in my element... Often with things like this though once you've read one version you've read them all - with them being such old and well-known stories - so it was great to read about the gods and goddesses of old in a completely new light. The Greek pantheon might be left out (perhaps being too well known?), but Odin, Kali and Anubis are all included, alongside a host of more obscure deities and monsters that I'd never heard of, but don't disappoint.
The basic premise is that when immigrants arrived in the Americas from the rest of the world, their belief in their particular gods brought their gods, or versions of their gods, over with them. So when an Irish woman who believed in leprechauns arrived in the newly formed US, leprechauns existed there, too, as well as back in Ireland. Am I making sense? Perhaps not. Hope so! Anyway, there's loads of these gods about, from all over the world. They've experienced a drastic drop in popularity though, and this has forced them underground where they are being hunted down one by one by a new group of gods who influence technology, media and infrastructure. The book's protagonist, an ex-con called Shadow, is drawn into this war when a Mr Wednesday gives him a offer he can't refuse the day he leaves prison and learns that the lift he'd hoped to return to was impossible after the death of his wife.
He accompanies Wednesday all over America, meeting old gods and dodging new ones. Every few chapters you'll be taken somewhere else entirely, to learn about another god and how they've adapted to life in the States. They stop off at various places around the US that I'd never heard of, away from the beaten track we're used to seeing on the telly or at the cinema. The road-trip builds like a crescendo, with plenty of bumps and surprises along the way, to go out with a bang with a great ending.
I appreciate that I probably haven't really sold this very well, and not everyone shares my obsession for mythology, but it's definitely worth a go - and it's definitely not one for the kids - there's a fair bit of gore and the odd lashing of something saucy on the side ;)
Tis my favourite this year.
Next up: London Belongs To Me by Norman Collins.
Tuesday, 9 February 2010
My mum's mum died before I was born, so I never had the chance to meet her. I did, of course, hear a lot about her. One particular story that recurred at family gatherings was my mum's visit to a medium the week before my uncle's wedding. During the session my nan, apparently, told my mum that she'd make her presence at the wedding known by 'making a flower fall'. During the ceremony, a rose fell out the bride's bouquet, followed shortly by one of the flower arrangements falling off the wall. Spooky stuff. [Not according to my cynical father, who stuck a petal in the guest book and wrote 'Guess who? Woooooo!' next to it.]