Wednesday, June 27, 2007

For Fifi

I didn't go back to show that woman my portfolio for the photography job. I figure that the only reason she would be so unbelievably disdainful towards another woman whom she had never met, would be because she was in love with the previous post-holder.
I bet he was a man in his forties (or maybe a bit older) but who seemed fairly hot to a woman in her fifties (or maybe a bit older). I can see him in his leather jacket- probably brown- one of those weather-beaten ones that looks like it's been everywhere with you "and boy, have i been everywhere". I bet he was the kind of guy who made women attracted to him, not because he was especially attractive or even a good person to be with, but just because he believed himself to have that power.
A communal darkroom is a space that is bursting with awkward moments that lend themselves to interpretation. That red or amber light that you work under, the silence of people concentrating on their own calculations, the repeated and rhythmic movements from enlarger to chemicals. The swish swish of the liquids and the tapping of the prints at the ends of the tray.
His pupils will have admired him- such a contrast to their suburban experience. He hints of previous lives that involve travelling, dedicating himself to his work and make for interesting anecdotes during the class.
But she had a different relationship with him. As centre manager, it was she who gave him the work. She was impressed by his confidence, and with the stories that were attached to his photographs of places he had visited and of the things he had chosen to record. Of course she said he would be perfect for the job. He made jokes with her and made her feel as though she were not as angry as she usually was. She looked forward to Tuesday evenings more than she should. She found herself thinking about what she was wearing on those days, and undoubtedly making a little more effort. Just a touch more make-up, an extra piece of jewellery.
At closing-up time there was always something in the air. There was a hesitation when it came to leaving that she felt was mutual. It would be unprofessional of her to initiate anything, but if he were to ask her: that would be a completely different matter. She tried to communicate this with her voice, her manner and her actions but perhaps she was being too subtle. In the two years that he worked for her, she came to be attached to this ritual. It was comfortingly familiar and she never ceased to give up hope that one day he would ask her.
Then he announced the news that he had been offered a full time post in one of the colleges. It was as though the desk behind which she sat had lurched backward straight into her stomach. He was pacing around in obvious excitement and it took all she could muster to think of an appropriate response. She couldn't even remember what she had said afterwards, but it was of no consequence to him, such was his triumph that he had finally received his just desserts. She would have liked to have stood and shook his hand, but she could not.
When he finally left the room to begin the lesson, she was numb. She was at once numb and destroyed. She could not narrate her feelings, but knew that without this there was only a huge gaping hole. The only way that she could fill this hole, was to begin, angrily and immediately, to advertise the vacant post.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

WANTED: Gig Buddy

Being at home during the day has it's advantages.
I got to listen to the White Stripes do their live tracks on radio 1 this lunchtime.
Downside is, i can't afford to go and see them on Friday. Also, none of my friends want to go! I've got a bone to pick with Icky Thump though: it's 'Ecky Thump' (as in 'Eck' being short for 'Heck'); being a comedy Yorkshire exclamation. Unless they have some reason for changing it to an 'I'. If anyone has an explanation I'd be glad to hear it.
We went to see Massive Attack last year. There was a moment during Unfinished Sympathy where we all looked at each other and said, "Soundtrack of our lives".
Bit of a corporate affair that festival though. Lots of big fancy cars and couples in matching denim outfits wearing expensive jewellry. As soon as they went off stage, everyone piled out. No vibe there (man).

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

Communing with Yorkshire

We went camping and i turned into a kind of nature-driven maniac. We camped at the base of Goredale Scar. The sides of the Scar rise up above the site and naturally you'd want to run up there, wouldn't you?
In fact, i was the only person who wanted to run up there. The sun went down behind the top and i realised that there would be a fantastic sunset up there. Having failed to convince my fellow campers, i strode off at a pace (in case the sun beat me to it). It was harder going than i thought. About a third of the way up my heart was pounding so much that i felt slightly sick. i turned round to sit down and the drop /view of the bottom made me glad i was not standing. I waited till my heart rate slowed a bit and breathed through it, tried to enjoy it rather than be scared. The rest of the way was pretty much a hands and knees kind of scramble. I reached the peak that was the highest point visible from the ground, and lo and behold, this was not the top!
I thought about going back down (because i would not be visible from this point on). The sun was creeping further down. I tried to imagine where explorers get that desire to keep going and then thought how disappointing it would be if i didn't see the sun set. What if there was another bit after this one?
There wasn't. I reached the top and a limestone shelf spread out before me. The sun was about ten minutes away from setting and i sat down and watched it drop gradually. I thought about masturbating but didn't.
Later on, after i got back down (which was equally scary) i had a really bad attack of the giggles. I was crying with laughter. Every time someone said something i thought of something else which was vaguely connected but ridiculously funny - to me anyway.
One of my friends said, "God help the next man that you have sex with."