Saturday, December 30, 2006

Christmas 2006

This Christmas has undoubtedly been the best Christmas i have had for about three years.
Nothing amazing happened: but nothing really bad happened either.

Some highlights for me were:
Best Moment
Out: Myself and eight girlfriends wearing -without consultation- eight slightly different versions of 'the little black dress' on a night out (wasted on The Hi-fi Club).

In: cutting holly with red berries on it from the garden.

Best Presents
Given: 50 trees for Ethiopia from Oxfam Unwrapped to my mum (she loved this).
Received: 20 Q! Oh my God it really can read your mind!!! You think of something and it asks you 20 questions and then guesses what you are thinking!!!
It's genius- but more about that next time. I'm too knackered to make it sound funny at the moment. Going to read some of my favourite bloggers instead....

Sunday, December 24, 2006

Joy to the world

For the last two nights in a row, i have woken up with this really wierd feeling. It's like an unspecific joy bursting out from my chest in the middle of the night. I was quite freaked out the first time: to feel like that that for no apparent reason (wasn't having any fantastic dreams or anything....) The second time, i tried to go with it rather than fight it. I tried to think "Okay, i don't know why i feel like this but it's a good feeling in fact it's pretty fantastic (if a little unfamiliar)"
My theory is that it's some kind of preparation for a feeling like that that is coming pretty soon. Any time now in fact..... and it's not about christmas presents.
Apologies to all the people i offended by my geographical error. I admire your nationalism although i was a little surprised by your anger - it wasn't intended as a slight.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Lost, 1886

This weekend i went to the opening of Akselli Gallen-Kallela at the Groningen Museum in the Netherlands.
He paints women beautifully. If i was going to be painted that is how i would like to be portrayed- with the love, respect and tenderness that Gallen-Kallela obviously had for his subjects. I would go so far as to say that although he painted other subjects, his paintings are a celebration of womanhood.
The publicity image shows a beautiful pubescent girl, hair streaming into the moon behind her, looking heavenward with arms outstretched. Her eyes could be filled with tears but she doesn't look sad. She stands open and accepting, up to her thighs in a red sea.
The painting which affected me most was the one with the title above. It shows a female figure slumped at the base of a tree in a forest. When i looked at it, i couldn't decide wether i was looking at a woman or a young girl. I searched her figure for signs of maturity but still found myself stuck between a plump child and an androgynous young woman.
The figure is predominantly blue with the saddest most dejected look i have ever seen painted. She has sat down because she doesn't know what to do. It would be easy to assume that this is because she cannot find her way home.
Her hand lays palm upwards on the forest floor. She is holding a red checked piece of cloth which seems to bleed into her hand.
When i read the catologue i find that an earlier version of the painting contained a dead baby.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Text Sculpture

On Sunday 3rd December i texted to ask him, "When are you coming to see me?"
He didn't reply.

So on Monday i asked him "When".
On Tuesday "are you".
On Wednesday "coming".
On Thursday "to see me?"

Roughly at the same time every night, but a little later or earlier each day, to take him by surprise or to make him wait.

I thought it was like a text sculpture.

Still waiting.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Christmas card from Suburbia

I know i'm really here now that i have my first Christmas card signed
'from A**** at No.3'.
I have joked about this many times, but i didn't expect it to actually happen! I don't know what to do now! I mean, what's the etiquette here??? Do i now return a card to A**** at No.3?
But s/he is a complete stranger! I would feel too weird! Should i maybe go and introduce myself and say thank you for the card in person? I may pass this person many times and each time be committing an unwitting rebuff.
If i did go round i'd probably end up going into some spiel about how i wasn't going to send any Christmas cards this year because i feel they are an unnecessary drain on the earth's resources. I really like trees the way they are- not when they're pulped for banal seasonal greetings. Inevitably this would sound like a criticism if not a direct attack on the personal life-style choices of my new neighbours. That's not going to work.
I guess the only option is to go back on my principals and buy a fucking Christmas card and sign it
'from Nina at No.*' - otherwise they won't know who the fuck i am.
Then i have become the thing i am priding myself on believing i am not. My new principle about e-cards flying out of the window as i slowly collect and similar greetings from all 75 residents of the street.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Writing on the Wall

Thank you for your birthday wishes.
One of the presents i got for my birthday was a book by David Shrigley called 'KILL YOUR PETS'. I really like David Shrigley. This book is full of slogans that kind of make sense but you have to read them a couple of times to get the joke. The book is in a small square format exactly the size of a CD case. This adds to the difficulty in reading the slogans as they are all written in large black capital scrawl. I find this funny also.
When i was a kid there was some graffiti on a wall opposite the shops near where we lived. It said:


i always thought that when i grew up, i would understand what that meant. [I also thought that girls grew up they had to wear tan tights]
More recently, i went to an exhibition where you could scribble on wallpapered walls (i copied the line above).
How cool would it be if someone somewhere reading this post knew what that meant???!!!***
Even better: what if you were the person who scrawled that on a wall near my old house.....or any wall, anywhere for that matter!
That would be great if that happened.

Sunday, November 19, 2006

Prozac Nation

Why am I awake at 4am?
I think it's the drugs (this effect rings a bell from last time).
However, i am not lying in bed riddled with irrational fears about everything from my life insurance to the apocolypse, so this is an improvement. The last couple of nights, i've found myself thinking creatively in my 'awake period', so tonight i thought i'd get up and make the most of it.
I watched a programme years ago (when Prozac was bigger news) where Bernard Sumner-who admitted to being slightly depressive- took a Prozac trial to see if it affected his creativity. The result was that it did! When he took Prozac and felt better he found that he wasn't so bothered about writing great songs....Personally i think depression can be crippling and destructive as well as a way to convert pain into art.
Yesterday i saw a tabloid newspaper headline with the catch-phrase above. I didn't bother going over to read it because it was inevitably going to be a load of bollocks.
I sound like some kind of advocate for pharmaceuticals, but i assure you i'm not. The next phase is to find an alternative to taking them - cue rebirth as nutritional/environmental/plant-based/religious transformation takes place. [Joking about the religious thing.]
I've just eaten a banana.
This may seem uninteresting, but i ate it because i was hungry. During my recent episode, i was convinced that i was waking up because of a blood sugar drop. My rationale for this was that i eat so much chocolate during the day. So when i was waking up with "the fear" i was caning bananas to try and get some mental and physical balance back. I also made myself a compilation CD with songs on it that i can only now describe as comfort songs. I played it over and over again to try and distract myself from the thoughts that were on constant replay.
I called it Bananas at Bedtime.
Anyway i'm going back to bed now. It's my birthday tomorrow and i've invited about thirty people over so i need some sleep. I don't need my CD, i feel better now. This is good.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Back (Like James Brown)

I'm back. In my new house, broadband connected, bring it on.
I'm proud of myself really: i managed to move house whilst feeling like shite; i took the drugs like a good girl and they worked; i've got the house in some kind of order and i have returned to work today. I did not lay down and give up. i will not be beaten.
The doctor gave me a leaflet about stress and anxiety today. As she was looking through her stock she read out the extraneous titles, "Obsessive Compulsive Disorders', 'Voices'... Oh, here we are 'Coping with stress'!"
Perhaps she was trying to put it all into some perspective for me.
The only physical symptom remaining is that if i'm feeling nervous, my left arm and leg go a bit numb. They don't completely lose feeling, but they feel weird. I need to pinch myself and say 'I don't care' like the counsellor told me to. This really works. Power of positive speech. Let nothing in my life be negative (with or without drugs) i will strive not to let negativity overtake me- either my own or that of others.
This morning as i looked out of my window, people on my new street were putting out their bins for collection (all at the same time funnily). An old lady across the road came out in a full length maroon dressing gown. As she dropped off her bin, she looked across the street and smiled and lifted her hand to greet her neighbour. This is not familiar territory for me. I found myself thinking that living here is like being part of a David Lynch movie- but the birds in my garden are real and nothing bad is going to happen because i won't let it.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Tuesday 24th October

Still can't face up to any of the things that are queueing up for my attention. Stayed at mums last night. Woke up at 1.30am and inevitably started thinking, "it's going to happen again." In a cold sweat, despite two duvets, but manage to talk myself into calming down. Picturing the chemicals draining back the other way: going out from my head, down my body and leaving through my toes. Manage to force myself to read a book. Semi-awake till about six when i get up.
Decide to take mum up on her offer and go for a walk. Can't bear thought of going home to sort eveything out. Get my boots on and pound eight miles, some of it up moderate hills. Find it really hard work. Can't make conversation, constantly replaying the events of the last few days in my head. Driving myself nuts.
I need to get it down. Get down and stay down. Get out of my head because i've got things to do, and i don't want to feel like this anymore.

Sunday 22nd October

Feeling relatively okay today, although persistent negative thoughts abound. Not been sleeping well, so probably exhaustion has taken the edge off it a bit.
Take some stuff to the tip and try and think about some of the millions things that i need to do but don't really feel up to.
Day goes by, i ring friends in the evening to try and gain further perspective.
Thankfully start feeling sleepy and go to bed.

BANG! No idea what time it is but i'm wide awake again. That feeling starts creeping over me again but this time i've got pins and needles in my left arm as well. I sit up and try and get some feeling back in my arm. I'ts not working. I'm rubbing it and moving it round but it's still buzzing. I'm really panicking now, i'm connecting the lack of feeling in my arm with my spine problem. The curve of my spine is somehow blocking the circulation in my arm. I'm sweating and stink of fear. I call my mum and tell her my mad thoughts. She says she will come over and i sit there shaking and crying till she gets here. She tells me she's had a similar thing, it's probably stress related and i eventually start to calm down.
She stays the night but i lay there listening to music trying to distract myself. Reading doesn't work. I can't wait for daylight.

Friday 20th October

I go to my sister's and tell her everything: every ridiculous irrational thought that i have been having in the hours that i have laid awake after the panic attack. I have thought of a million different reasons for this to be happening now, and i need to tell someone so that i don't feel like i'm losing my mind. I am alternatively incredibly anxious and then feel really spaced out. I've already been to the doctors and he's given me fluoxetine. It won't start working for a couple of weeks. My body is screaming, "But what about now?" but of course those words don't come out of my mouth. I don't want to take drugs for depression, i'm certainly not going to prompt him to give me tranquilizers.
My sister manages to make me feel normal. I go home exhausted.

Later on my ex rings me for a lift to the train station. I pick him up and feel like the painfully slow pace of the traffic is going to make me start screaming and crying. We get to the station drop off point and there is Alan Bennett! He's standing there looking like a photograph of himself, with his taupe raincoat and his scarf tucked in to the top, following the V of the buttons of the coat. I can't believe it!
I drop J off and drive away, thinking, "I should have stopped. He was just standing waiting to be picked up. I should have just said hello, and said, 'Hey, Alan, how funny is this? Three years ago, i started collecting stories for a book that i called Untold Stories. Then you republished your collection last year with the same name! I was gutted. You nicked my title! But it's okay because i'm using it for my blog title now and i'm going to call my book something else. Even funnier: i took my book to a published writer for some advice a couple of years ago and he said it reminded him of your Talking Heads!'"
He would have hated me wouldn't he? Lunatic thoughts.

Thursday 19th October

Went to bed with some low level anxieties, but put legs into bhada khonasana (this usually works for things like indigestion etc.). Promptly fell asleep.

3.30am: i'm suddenly wide awake for no apparent reason. A hideous creeping feeling comes over me. It's that kind of feeling that i associate with childhood night terrors. It starts in my toes and creeps upwards in a wave of all consuming anxiety. The scariest part is that i don't know what it is i'm scared of.
It makes it's way to my backside and my stomach and i feel like i'm going to have diahorrea and vomit at the same time. This feeling is almost immediately eclipsed when the wave reaches my chest and my heart goes into overdive. I realise i'm holding my breath in panic and my head starts go into that pre-faint stage just before you get the black and white dots before your eyes.
I'm convinced that if i get up to go to the bathroom, i'm going to pass out, hit my head and die on the bathroom floor. I'm immobilised by this thought and this renews the wave of fear with another flood of adrenaline.
I somehow manage a rational thought. I've had this experience before after the virus incident last year. It will go away if i think myself out of it. Think about nice things, stop thinking negative thoughts, try and breath normally, it will go away.
As the fear slowly lessens, i start crying massive sobs of relief mixed with the anxiety of wondering 'What the fuck was that?' I look at the time and wonder who it would be acceptable to wake up at this time in the morning. I ring my sister and get the answer-phone. I ring my mum and thank god, she answers.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006


It's like a test of your commitment at this stage, isn't it?
We're three months in; we did it almost every night in the beginning and in every room in the house: now we need to decide if the honeymoon period is over.
Is this going anywhere? Am i putting more into this than i'm getting out?
Am i the one doing all the talking? Does it matter if i'm enjoying myself?
What is the meaning of life?

Perhaps, i've given away too much too soon, on the other hand, there are things i haven't been so open about. If i'd been more open, maybe i would have got a better response.

Maybe i should start afresh, or should i stick with it and see what happens?

Phew. I really don't know.

Sunday, October 15, 2006


If anyone is following the different threads in my blog, you may (or may not) be interested to know that i am finally moving house.
I am moving within sight of the house that i grew up in. This is the house of my dreams: not in a future sense, like i want to live there again, but in an ongoing present where that house is often the theatre to my dreams. It is preserved exactly in every 1970's detail in my mind. I can take a tour at any time, awake or asleep, and remember every mark on the wallpaper, or the way fabrics felt, even sometimes the smell of the garden, rain or shine. I have also dreamt about the greenhouse, the garage and the passage behind it, the loft, the stairway and the cupboard underneath the stairs. Psycho-analyse that.
I noticed a couple of years ago, that i have decorated my present home in the colours of the dream house.
Why is it that some people always want to go back home and others will do anything to stay away? I wonder if, after i have moved there, i will finally grow up. My grandmother says she feels like a twenty year old trapped in an eighty year-old body; i doubt it

Tuesday, October 10, 2006

Napoleonic Goth

There was a Goth hanging around outside my window at w*** today.
He was standing half way down the path for at least forty-five minutes not moving a muscle.
That's an exaggeration, every so often he did move. His hand travelled up to move his hair away from his face; at one point he lifted his foot subtly and circled it round (pins and needles). Apart from that, he stood stock still in the same position, his left hand tucked neatly across his chest to the inside of his leather trenchcoat. Every time i looked out of the window he was still there.
I heard that Goth is back. As far as i'm concerned it never went away. They're a good seasonal barometer: you know it's summer when they get down to the purple layer.
We speculated that maybe there was another Goth somewhere else, standing in exactly the same position, waiting.
He was there one minute, and the next time i looked he had disappeared (in a puff of smoke?)

Monday, October 09, 2006

Is this a gift that you possess?

The weekend already seems like a lifetime ago.
On Friday night i went to see some crap plays that were like radio plays, but with two 'actors' reading from scripts in front of us. This was being filmed (god knows why as there was nothing to look at). It was so fucking provincial it made me embarrassed.
Then went to see some 'experimental' short films. There was a really cool one where someone had filmed a xylophone. The film and soundtrack were both speeded up and it created this crazy but catchy soundtrack that also managed to be quite funny at the same time. It got spontaneous applause at the end- as opposed to the kind of applause people feel obliged to provide in some contexts: there's no need to clap for a film, so this seems to me the ultimate accolade.
Then we went to see a performance of Long Term Happiness. This guy read out from a list of things that make him happy. It was kind of like stand-up comedy except it really just brought a smile to your face:partly because it was humorous, but partly because it made you think of similar things that you felt yourself. Hmm very interesting.
He was doing it for twenty-four hours with a ten minute break every hour. I almost resented him, i was jealous of his ability to think so positively about absolutely everything, but this is the point that he was making, that happiness can be self-generating and that godammit you can pass it on to other people!
His next performance is a dating agency. He's so happy that he's going to set other people up so they can be happy too...and in love!
I am emailing him my details as soon as i have finished this post. Watch this space.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

'S' is for spine

Almost a year ago (on the eve of my birthday) i was taken into hospital with a mystery virus. This was the kind of virus where you can't keep water down and keep losing consciousness. I kept blacking out and hitting my head on things. It wasn't nice.
Whilst i was in A&E, they x-rayed my chest to see if there was a problem with my lungs. I asked to look at the photo of the inside of my body, and discovered that i have an S shaped spine. I was extremely disappointed that none of my yoga teachers, lovers, or anyone i had ever been on holiday with, had ever noticed this about me.
A year later, i have decided maybe i have been a little unfair to those closest to me. Perhaps it hasn't been there that long, in which case, i should get it checked out.
I have never had back pain, but since the doctor told me i might need physiotherapy, i have suddenly become ridiculously aware of my back and of the exact location of each vertebrae and muscle. I feel ok standing up - almost automatically applying the principles of tadasana- but sitting down has become a minefield of self-criticism. I don't know how to hold myself: i feel uncomfortable in every position that i find myself in. I have exhausted myself by not allowing myself to sit naturally, and by making mental lists of things that i may or may not be able to do if this gets worse.
I have been veering from nausea - through imagining the worst, to the kind of compulsion one feels when put in danger; to run out immediately and do everything i ever wanted to do, as soon as is humanly possible.
I'm having another x-ray tomorrow. Lots of people have this thing and it's not a problem. I will be fine.
I have been trying to imagine someone massaging my back, patiently, consistently, over along period of time, until every one of those pieces goes back into line.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Enchanted Evening

On Saturday night, we visited a festival of fire.
There is something primal and bewitching about looking at fire, and it was a fitting end to the time of year when one can do things outside in England without being uncomfortably cold. There were no barriers or public safety enforcers telling you to stand back. It was possible for one to judge one's own safety in relation to the fires.
The fire sculptures were impressive in themselves. The guardians of those which required human intervention looked like Edwardian show-people; they wore hats and waist-coats and a look that was suitably removed from the surroundings.
When it started to rain, the hundreds of pots of fire made the most amazing sizzling and spitting symphony. Carabosse played intruments that were hanging from a tree in the centre of the gardens. The guitars and the keyboard were suspended in mid air. At one point, one of the guitarists was making sounds by dropping his bottleneck onto the strings of the suspended electric guitar. There was a skiffle-like vocal and the same kind of other-worldliness to the music as to the installation itself.

Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I wasn't going to blog about yoga, because i take it very seriously.
But tonight was an exception.
The whole purpose of yoga is that you think about your body and not the outside world. This allows you that little inner window that could be expanded and be called Peace. No matter what is going on around you, you should (with practice) be able to filter out any extraneous sound/activity and concerntrate on the minutiae of the asanas.
There used to be a group of people who sat outside the building drinking and shouting at each other. That was when i practised this technique.
Recently though, there has been a choir singing African songs/the hits of Paul Simon in the room down the hall. There was also a meeting of the Kippax Flat Earth Society in the adjoining room. (This joke is purely for the benefit of my sister and no-one else - i don't know who they were really.)

We were all trying our best with Akarna Dhanurasana.

Homeless Homeless
Moonlight sleeping on a midnight lake

"Now bring your foot closer to your ear"

Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih
Somebody sing Hello Hello Hello

"..and closer if you can"

Somebody say ih hih ih hih ih Somebody cry Why Why Why

They actually came out into the hallway at one point. Their voices wrapping round us.

I didn't fare so well in Sirsasana. I was just getting to three minutes when i actually stopped thinking about the pose. I started thinking about something else entirely, and fell on my ass.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


This morning, Comedy Dave played Ian Brown's F.E.A.R on 'Tedious Link'. I have to admit i had tears rolling down my face. I absolutely love that song. It's one of those songs, which i wouldn't put on my i-pod (if i had one, which regrettably i don't). I wouldn't put it on my i-pod because i like to choose my moments for my favourite albums. Obviously i have played it many times since 2001, but i would hate to ruin it by hearing it too much. Also, it would be very inconvenient to be crying in that way, unexpectedly in inappropriate places.
I saw Mr. Brown perform that song on TV - i think it was that Eden Project gig last year. I really hope i get to see that for myself at some point. I cried then as well. My friend and i texted each other some of the lyrics like a couple of teenagers. There is nothing to say about Ian Brown that isn't a cliche, that hasn't been said before, so i'll stop now.

It seemed clear to the Pythagoreans that the distances between the planets would have the same ratios as produced harmonious sounds in a plucked string. To them, the solar system consisted of ten spheres revolving in circles about a central fire, each sphere giving off a sound the way a projectile makes a sound as it swished through the air: the closer spheres gave lower tones while the farther moved faster and gave higher pitched sounds. All combined into beautiful harmony, the music of the spheres.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Indian Prince

Yesterday i went for a walk in one of my favourite parks, and i saw a guy who keeps cropping up.
I first met him at the disaster-piece festival last summer. We were the only two people eating this terrible food from one of the few stalls that were there, at about 2am in the morning. He talked about what it was like being the only Indian guy where he had been to school in New Zealand.
Then he stopped me at Across the Tracks and said, "Hi, I knew i'd see you here! My girlfriend said, 'Well how are you going to remember what she looks like?' and i told her, 'I'll remember'."
So, yesterday he appears in the park with his girlfriend and three other girls. He kissed me on the cheek (platonically of course). But it all seemed too weird. I tried to make conversation with the girlfriends, but it was too much effort, so i said "Nice to see you" and went on my way.

I was actually going to the heather garden because my grandad's ashes were sprinkled there -I was going to ask him for some help with my love life. Over the last couple of years, it seems like i have had a sign above my head (that everyone but i can see) saying Men in Relationships, Please Apply Here.
I'm hoping that this is a phase of my life that will soon be replaced by some other, more satisfying phase that is not about what i cannot have.

Friday, September 22, 2006

36 m.p.h

I can't believe this.
.............for speeding!!!!**
This is great. I can't describe the relish with which i filled in the back part, thereby providing my personal details for intended prosecution. I was only momentarily distracted by the fact that i can't afford to be fined for anything, never mind something as ridiculous as this.
The funniest bit is that i was only doing 36 in a 30 zone: there is leeway that allows you to go 5 over the speed limit, so in fact , technically, i was only 1 m.p.h.over!
"Your honour, there were extenuating circumstances. I had just been subjected to the lunacy of the woman i am about to buy a house from for over an hour! In addition to this, i was made late for an extremely important hair appointment. My hairdresser himself commented that I had never been late: in the whole 15 years that he has been cutting my hair, i have never once been late for an appointment."
This is so not rock and roll. Next time i'm on that stretch, i'm going to make sure i really put my foot on the pedal.
More haste.....

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Who's that lady?

I have finally found an image for my profile!

Girls: some of you may recognise this woman.
Guys: you may have to ask your girlfriend or girl friend.

She's the woman who hides those things which should not be seen to come out.
Inevitably though, all things which are held inside for a time, must come out. Even those things which are most often thought of as unpleasant, even nasty; that are not that socially acceptable or desired to be seen in public, should have a place to go.
She's the woman who gives those things a place to hide.

Crinoline skirts- perfect for concealing all manner of secrets!

God, i love my own jokes.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Chile Day

My friend invited me to her house for Chile Day. We ate fantastic food with her family and friends, and we danced till 2 am. The older couples danced La cuenta to traditional Chilean music with white handkerchiefs for dramatic emphasis. Their children put on Brasilian and reggae variations of the same. The next generation down fought in a heap over the contents of the pinyata.
I had to dance barefoot in the end because my boots were restricting my feet.
There was a boy from the Dominican Republic who had me completely entranced. He was beautiful and he managed to lead the whole room when he was dancing. He danced with all the older women in a way that was sexy enough to be flattering but respectful at the same time. I looked at his hand on a woman's back. It made kind of an 'S' shape as he held her. He was guiding her in a really subtle but amazing way. He was setting a limit for her body without restricting the ebb and flow of the dance.
The father of one of the gorgeous Latino girls told me about growing up in a shanty town in Chile. His parents had no money and sent him out to look for food. He did not find food as often as he found books, and he taught himself to read English and French.
In order to stop Pinochet's special police force from literally washing out their homes with water cannons, the people of la favela erected a Chilean Flag in it's centre. This made the site untouchable and they named the shanty La Victoria. A. is writing the stories of his childhood, and has said he will show me the photos he took recently when he returned to visit the place in which he grew up.
This week is an different anniversary for the Chilean people. A. said that Allende was a socialist and told me that when he saw the twin towers go down he thought he was watching a re-run of a bad disaster movie. He was not happy to see those people die, he said, but that date should also remind the US of what they did to Chile.

Friday, September 15, 2006


Things are looking up.
Today Radio One had their Scissor Sisters day.
Now i have mixed feelings about the Scissor Sisters. When i first heard them i thought, 'Why would you need these guys when you could just listen to Elton John?'
However, driving home from work tonight listening to Scott Mills, i thought it would be really good if they performed 'Mary'. It's the only song of theirs that i really like. It could actually be considered to be a fitting tribute to Elton circa 1973 rather than just completely replicating his sound. It has that combination of swirly electronic break and heartfelt piano that Elton did so well.
When they played it, i felt like a small wish had come true.
We could all do with more of that now couldn't we?

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Losing the plot

I'm extremely unsettled at the moment. I think I'm on the brink of massive changes, but it's not happening soon enough as far as i'm concerned. My copying paranoia has been activated.

Therapist: Let's reframe this particular destructive tendency. After all it stops you from sharing things with people.
Nina: Okay... (desperate to get rid of it).
Therapist: You could look at it as influencing people in a positive way.
Nina: Go on. (thinks- please don't say 'Imitation is the best form of flattery.')
Therapist: After all, you've probably been influenced by many people in many ways yourself. Think of it as generosity, you could just let it go.

Maybe i just need to get laid.
Not laid by just anyone though. Laid by someone who i really, really want. Someone who really, really wants me.
There's only so long a girl can last on just masturbation and chocolate.

Monday, September 11, 2006

Where were you?

This day five years ago, i was coming back from a job interview and was calling my friend to update her. It had sounded like a teaching job with some technicians duties, but it turned out to be a technicians job, with some teaching duties. She said, "Just switch on the television a minute. There's a plane flying into a building."
We watched the plane gliding towards the towers and felt the resulting mayhem and confusion. Like everyone else, i then couldn't turn the TV off. I had been thinking of quitting my masters degree, and the programme director rang me (a minute after i put the phone down) to tell me not to leave, to take as long as i needed to finish. It was good advice, ten months later i wrote a brilliant dissertation on Sophie Calle.

I'm aware that there are tragedies and massive loss of life all over the world - and far too often; but there is something about this image that has retained it's shock value. Despite it's endless replaying, it never suffers from compassion fatigue. As well as this, this event was one which revealed one of the primary functions of blogging.

If you'd like to put the whole thing back together again, you should look at this film clip by artist Runa Islam.

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Dark, Dark, Dark

I didn't do what i was supposed to do this weekend. I've let myself be consumed by that thing that makes me look at everything as though under a microscope.
I was supposed to go and stay with N and Dimitri. I want to write about Dimitri, or make a film about their life or something. But i didn't go. The self-destruct button had been leaned on. I convinced myself that i could not do it, that the circumstances were not right: so here i am. Things are not as they should be in my life. I feel like i need somone to help, i can't do it all on my own anymore. I'm in fucking pain and i need it to go away. I can rationalize and see that i am healthy and intelligent and in many ways blessed but it does not make the slightest bit of difference when i feel like this.
I know that this will go away, and that it doesn't even last as long as it used to, but i cannot help but mourn for all that wasted time.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sting in the.....

It's the story on the lips of school children world-wide.
Steve Irwin is dead.
A real life super-hero has been defeated. The man wrestled crocodiles; it was highly theatrical but undeniably real. His death is also spectacular in it's nature. A wierd reversal of the Dracula myth, we see him pulling the barb from his heart. We don't need to see the TV show footage. We can see it all. I've already seen the tape of the last moments, I've already seen the film of his life with it's dramatic and upsetting finale.
I wonder did he write his own plot? Did he think he was invincible or did he always have a sneaking suspicion that he would die in bizarre circumstances, doing what he was famous for?

I've just realised the idiocy of what i've just said. People who take more than the average quota of risk probably don't go round speculating on their own death any more than anyone else does. I don't know what i'm trying to say here. There are just some images that are collectively compelling, and oddly, this is one.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

The story so far

One of my objectives for last weekend was to put up some posters advertising my new storytelling project. I'm looking for people to tell me stories about a particular bar, with which i have had a long and meaningful relationship.
So, off i go, posters at the ready, camera in hand; to the big city.
I completely bottled it. I went home, not having visited any of the carefully picked destinations on my itinerary. When it came down to it, i was really scared that once i start this, i'm going to have to do it. And although i think this is a great idea, i was immobilised with fear. The gremlin of self -doubt was muttering in my ear.
I tried not to berate myself further and went to see SOAP, going for a drink afterwards. Looking down the pub to my left, i saw two guys who had been practically permanent fixtures in the bar in question. It was like something from a film. A perfect segue in the plot. I didn't even know their names, but i remembered their faces. One of them was bursting to tell me his story, but i managed to persuade him to save it.
I love it when an idea has a life of it's own, then you know you're on to something.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

For Kay (Mellor or Richardson)

I was coming home from town, using public transport. I was just sitting there reflecting (in a pretty patronising way) how anyone who wants to write should travel on public transport 'keeping it real'- y' know. I was thinking that writers (once they have become successful) probably never do this, except if they live in London because everyone rides the tube in London.
So, i was thinking, 'Step aside Kay Mellor etc., it's time to let someone else (er, that'd be me then) have their say!'

I was sitting close to the back, upstairs -Mistake Number One.
Five young men in baseball caps and casual sports wear got on. After shouting out of the window and calling their friends (who had not managed to catch the bus) cunts, they sat down behind me and regaled the top deck with the story of how they had just bumped into the girl that one of them lost his virginity to. It descended into a dialogue about shaved pussy. One of them had one of those balloons that zips around making a loud noise: note the weird juxtaposition of childish activity and sexually explicit conversation- freaky.
The balloon thing kept whizzing round the back of my head, and the nearest one to me said to balloon boy, 'Hey, i'd laugh if that woman came over and smacked you one for doing that.'
Mistake Number Two: I laughed.
But it was funny! The very idea of me going over and cracking some kid round the head on a bus! Fucking hilarious!
Anyway, he saw me laughing and then leaned over and said, 'D'you want me to hit him for you love?'
It was at this point that i realised that this wasn't a threat, he was flirting with me!!*** He followed this by asking me where i lived!!!***???
This was both frightening and hilarious at the same time. Hilarious because i am old enough to be this guys mother; and frightening because i realised we were propelling ever forward towards my home. I sat there thinking maybe i should get off at the stop after my own. Then i got all street and thought, 'No, i'm not doing that. I'm a big woman, they're sixteen year old boys.'
As i stood up to get off they all started jumping around and shouting, 'Fucking hell, she gets off at our stop. Where d'you live love? Where d'you live?' and then listing all the names of the streets nearby. I have not often felt that particular combination of wetting myself with laughter and crapping myself with fear.
I was saved by the fact that they weren't going straight home, and i watched the bus pull away with five kids in baseball caps banging and shouting towards me from the upstairs window of the 49 bus.
Suburbia here i come.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006


Okay, who wants to hear about what i did over the holiday weekend?
Phone lines are open; you can vote for the story of your choice by leaving me a message in the comments!
Do you want to hear how
  1. I got chatted up by some sixteen year old chavs on the bus?
  2. I got soaked at carnival?
  3. I got my new storytelling project underway?
Up to you people. Is there anybody out there?

Thursday, August 24, 2006


My first memory of this guy is thinking, 'I must have him. Girlfriend or no girlfriend.'
In the beginning i used to joke about it, but i stopped when i realised i meant it. Right from the start, i've always had this overwhelming desire to have some kind of physical contact with him-when he has held my hand, it feels like i'm holding my own hand.
I also really like it when he's in the building. I like to hear his voice if i'm upstairs and he's down.
When he told me how he felt about me, he pretty much described word for word what i had been thinking and not saying for nine months.
I have often wondered if i'm addicted to unrequited love-too much Thomas Hardy at an impressionable age.
I don't know what to do with it, this stuff, it doesn't go in a box.
He said he didn't want to end up on my blog. I can only apologise, in advance, but this is where i get to say what i need to say.

When i was a little girl, my grandad used to tease me by asking me if i was courting. This is the guy that my grandad would have wanted me to be with.

This part of the blog is getting ridiculously soppy, and for that, i can only apologise again.

Friday, August 18, 2006

Photos of me

A friend of mine recently sent me a really nice photo of me.
I don't have many photo's of me, as I'm usually on the other side of the camera. I (half jokingly) asked him to send me every photo he had ever taken of me.
It was really weird. The other half of me (that wasn't joking) was absolutely loving the fact that i could have access to the, previously unattainable, 'how other people see you'.
It's the Big Brother effect. It's the lure of that other perspective- that is not unlocked in everyday life. This is why i admit that i think Big Brother is genius. If i had come up with that idea; i would consider myself the keeper of the zeitgeist.
Anyone who looks down on that aspect of reality television is suffering from reverse snobbery. I don't see what's wrong with admitting that you want to be loved. That's what you hear time and time over in BB, "i just want to be accepted for who i am."
We all do that: at work; when blogging; in our social lives. I'm not above that.
Perhaps it's a particularly British thing - not showing emotion in public, not admitting that you have desire (whether that be for money,love or sex). They're just doing it more openly. You could look at it as sharing.
I've been getting a guilty sort of pleasure from looking at those photo's. It allows me to love myself a little bit more. I don't think there's anything wrong about that.

Thursday, August 17, 2006


I wasn't going to write about blogging because i thought it would be like one of those pictures that i really liked when i was a kid- you know the ones: it's a picture of a room, and on the wall there's a picture of a room with a picture of a room on the wall, and in that room ....and on and on forever.
Well i changed my mind.
Blogging is the thing that's been missing from my life since i was thirteen! It's a place to put all that miscellaneous STUFF that there isn't really anywhere to put. I've always kept diaries but 'What's the point in that??!!' They're under your bed in a box and no one ever reads them (except the person that you absolutely don't want to read them) and then it causes loads of trouble and it's all really dramatic.
This way you get to say whatever you want-and you're not hiding it, in fact, the opposite- you are inviting people to read it, "Come on, have a look inside my soul!"
All of this would be true if i weren't doing this anonymously. It would be true if i were inviting my colleagues and friends and family to read this, but i'm not. I'm not writing for people i know, i'm writing for people i don't know.
What's that all about then?

Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Petite Anglaise a blogger who got sacked when her employer discovered her site, and is now getting a book deal.
I was reading her entry of 14.07.06 which describes her 'feeling good about being alone' after splitting with her partner. The comments that follow are congratulatory, especially that she has reached this point so quickly.
Why does everyone else's life read like fiction to me?
There's lots of romantic symbolism about her new apartment and the freedom to choose her own paint colours. I'm about to embark on my third house move alone and i can tell you that aesthetic decisions like that are not a measure of your inner freedom. I mean, i'm the first one to admit that your environment affects your psyche (and therefore concievably your external life) but fucking hell. I think it would be more realistic to say that enjoying your new found 'freedom' as a single parent is just that- it's new found, it's novelty/romantic value is a phase of breaking up with someone- it's not something you earned yourself, it's a side effect!
It's obviously helping her get through it (and i shouldn't be such a bitch). The word 'bitter' comes to mind. I'm not bitter, i have admitted for at least the past two years that i don't want to be single any more. This is a separate issue from enjoying your singularity as i see it. I have lots of really good friends, i love my social life and after many years of repair work on this, i have a close family also.
She says that there isn't enough of her to go round: because she's a single parent!!??
This is why i am the antithesis of Bridget Jones: there's too fucking much of me for any one person. Now i sound like one of those wierd polygamists. What i mean is, that when i meet someone i sincerely hope to retain all the qualities of singularity listed above. I want to share everything with somebody, my soul mate, but i have no intention of giving up all the other things that ten years of being single has provided me with- and want to meet my equal in that respect.
Have i got ridiculously high expectations?
Perhaps that's why I'm still on my own.

Friday, August 04, 2006


I was listening to Jose Gonzales 'Veneer' and thinking something that i've thought a million times. I was thinking that i really like those bits in recordings of guitar music when you hear the fingers sliding, squeaking, up and down the guitar strings in between the finger positions. I love the fact that you can hear that, and i love the fact that as technology advances those in between bits are posssibly going to get more and more audible. It's a democracy of sound- that those bits are as valid as the actual music itself.
It also reminds me of another bit i love. i love the bit where Paul McCartney laughs in 'Maxwell's Silver Hammer'. I's not my favourite song (although it is my favoutite Beatles album)-not by any means- but i love the bit where you can hear him unable to supress an outburst in the line, "Writing fi-hi-(laughs)fty times, 'I must not be so-o-o-o'."
I wonder if he he was laughing at the ridiculousness of the song; the fact that he has to sing it like it's a music hall farce. Obviously George Martin was way ahead of his time (and now sadly techonlogy is disturbing him as it catches up with his art) and i love the fact that they left that in for people to discover.
It's those in between bits that i live for. The bits in between what's supposed to be happening. I love those.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Across the Tracks

There were two extreme ends of the festival for me. One was Roy Ayers and the other was Jamie Lidell.
We had to go and see Roy because he's part of our musical history. Even if it was just for 'Everybody loves the sunshine', you have to give him credit. Any song that has that kind of endurance (30 years in this case) has to be saying something important to lots of people.
His band were incredible. I nearly cried in one of the sax solos (which sounds really crass now). At one point the drummer, who had done this electrifying solo spot where you couldn't even see his hands, then balanced one stick on his head and carried on playing; came out to the front of the stage and drummed with the sticks on the floor- right the way back to his kit and carried on playing. The bass player played the thing like a guitar, and at one point everyone on stage got down on the floor -laying further down to a deeper and deeper chord. And Roy was so clearly loving what he was doing that of course we all loved him back. I have some great footage of this if you want to see it. We were standing at the very edge of the press area.
I only went to see Jamie Lidell on the recommendation of a guy called M who tells me stuff to listen to when I see him in the place where i go to get my lunch. The set was in one of the waterside arches which has been made into a club. It's all hot and fucked up and there's a really strong smell of rotten fruit. Jamie's in the middle of something when we walk in. He's beatboxing unintelligible sounds and playing keyboard at the same time. He also has a VJ with him on stage. It's packed in there and we can't get anywhere near the front. People are also queuing outside. He gets a mad response. In the middle of the next track he comes out to the front of the stage and sings with this deep soul voice that doesn't look like it could be coming from a white boy wearing a silk smoking jacket. Then he goes back and carries on with this really dark electronic stuff.
M is going to do me a CD.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Dancing Lavender

The day that I got the offer on the house, i came home from work and went straight to the garden. It had been another gorgeous hot and sunny day.
I was saying goodbye to the house and especially the garden. I have a lavender hedge that i planted as soon as we moved in, and it was full of bees and butterflies- there were too many to count. Some of the butterflies were brown like moths and the others had white wings with just one spot on each side. It was so amazingly beautiful. The collective movement was activating the scent of the flowers and i really wished i had a video camera so i could have recorded that moment. A photograph wouldn't have done it justice.
I've been trying to think of a word to describe it: it was humming; it was buzzing; it was vibrating-it was dancing.

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Drum and Bass

Last night i was listening to LTJ Bukem's Logical Progression. It reminds me of living in London, although that's the kind of Drum and Bass i used to listen to at home rather than when we were out; at the Blue Note or somewhere. At home I listened to that or Goldie Timeless or Alex Reece So Far. That was the kind of Drum and Bass that you listened to after you'd been out. It retains that repetitive hyperactive undercurrent that your body needs when you've danced a lot, but over that it has a trippy upper layer that contains sound clips and electronica that smooth the whole thing out and prepare your brain for the fact that you've got a whole five days to go before you can do this again.
Today i was listening to Marvin Gaye What's Going On, and i got that feeling that i sometimes get spontaneously from music. It was during the sax intro just before, 'Mother, mother..' I had my right leg crossed over my left, and it felt like someone brushed their fingers really lightly all the way from my ankle up to my thigh. If I get up and dance when i get that feeling i can make it spread through my whole body and keep it coming back in waves.
There was a time when i couldn't get to sleep without listening to music. My going to sleep CD was Black Secret Technology by A Guy called Gerald. This used to really annoy my sister. We only had a really thin partition door between our bedrooms, and she wasn't into that kind of thing at all.

Thursday, July 20, 2006


D's dad made me cry. It was a completely leftfield occurrence.
He hadn't recognised me, but when he did, he was really taken aback: I haven't seen him for maybe twenty years. He kept saying, 'I can't believe it. Now I recognise you, you haven't changed a bit. You look exactly the same. You look really beautiful. You've really shocked me.'
He told me all about him and D's mum splitting up-some of which i knew but i pretended I didn't. Then he started talking about D's wife-most of which i knew but i pretended i didn't. He kept shaking his head and saying that he couldn't believe it was me.
He was shaking his head and looking at me, and then shaking his head again. My eyes filled up with tears. I was sure he was either going to say something about D's accident or he was going to say that he wished we had been able to stay together. But he just looked at me and said, 'You know what I'm going to say, don't you.'
Of course this induced a more substantial flow of salt water (although i was crying discreetly, not wanting to ruin anyone elses party). He apologised for making me cry, 'But you were such a big part of our lives.' And I didn't know that at the time, it was just me and D as far as I was concerned. It wasn't just the unexpected sadness of having to think about things that happened all that time ago. It was also that he reminded me of what it was about D that I had loved. It was that ability to communicate a massive ammount without saying a great deal. He obviously got that from his dad.

Monday, July 17, 2006


I'm trying to sell my house. A couple of weeks ago I had a viewing on a Sunday morning. I was invited to a Christening that day also, so I'd asked for an accompanied viewing.
I wore a strapless sundress- white background with large bright pink flowers on it-really cool. My hair was freshly curled. The ringlets were all shiny and perfectly spiralled (the bit before they loosen up and look more natural). I'm a bit tanned at the moment and I was looking really, really nice.
Of course, it turned out that I was running late and the viewers knocked on the door just as I was finishing getting ready. I was expecting the usual estate agent female -all nails and too much makeup-but opened the door to this gorgeous guy with those kind of short, thick, surfy dreadlocks wearing a really stylish suit. I was abit taken aback, wondering wether he was in fact one of the potential buyers rather than an estate agent. Anyway, they looked round (I apologised for this room being a bit of a mess). He hung back after they'd gone and said 'Don't apologise this is a realy nice house, it just takes the right person to put an offer in.'
I rambled on about original features and character properties. Then he said that he might see me again as he did a lot of the weekend viewings. And then he went.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Single White Female

* is really starting to scare me. She has recently purchased two items of clothing that are EXACTLY like items that I own. The first is a pair of black linen trousers, and the second is a green combat dress that I bought to go to Glasgow at New Year. In February she told me she was going to buy a hat, "I know what I want, I want a black skull cap like that one you've got" - also worn to Glasgow at New Year- but as she didn't turn up wearing one, I forgot all about it.
Anyway, on Friday she asked me if i thought she should buy some ceramic curlers. (I have recently purchased some curlers after long discussing the staightness of my hair and my desire to experience ringletty tresses).
This is the wierd thing- you can't say anything about people stealing your look for two reasons: one- she probably doesn't even know she's doing it, and two (as if you need any more excuses to seethe in silence) it would make you look ridiculously vain.
My problem is that I can't fucking bear being copied. This was the single most common cause of bad feeling between me and my sister when we were teenagers. Being two years older i was copied mercilessly. Every band I was into, every hair-style I discovered: none of it was to be my own.
I have long since renounced the idea of artistic originality. In fact, the more everyday the better as far as I'm concerned. The stuff that everybody does that's the same is where it's at if you ask me.
Just dont come in wearing the same clothes as me because it doesn't fucking suit you.