Archive for November 2011
Now that I’m in the lofty heights of the next demographic I feel I want to share with you some of life’s lessons I’ve gathering along this journey so far. So here goes.
10 things I know now that I didn’t know then:
1. A diet rich in beetroot can look a lot like colon cancer.
2. Never show your severed thumb trick to a 3 year old.
3. When buying lip salve, check first that it is indeed lip salve and not in fact bright red lipstick before liberally applying and walking into work.
4. Master the subtle vowel shift between ‘Lemon’ and ‘Blow Job’ before ordering tea in Romania.
5. Equally, be aware that, when serving tea in Egypt, the innocent enquiry ‘Do you have milk?’ is a serious sexual proposition in Arabic.
6. If you find yourself on a bus in a desert and think it’s raining because you feel wet splashes on the arm you’re currently hanging out the window, be warned before you stick your head out to double check, that you are, indeed, in a desert and therefore it’s unlikely to be raining and more likely to be a fellow passenger throwing up at the front of the bus.
7. Don’t fly with Ariana Afghan Airways unless you like near death experiences to feature as part of the inflight entertainment.
8. When in a field surrounded by a herd of angry cows, flail your arms wildly and scream like a crazy woman (until they are more scared of you than you are of them) and try not to electrocute yourself on the fence as you make your escape.
9. Don’t ever enquire if someone is pregnant because if they aren’t, their response will haunt you for many, many year to come.
10. Never tell a friend going through a breakup that you never liked their girlfriend anyway, because when they get back together you will never, ever see either of them ever again.
These are some of the things I’ve learned so far in life. I may share more with you later.
When I was a teenager, I went through a stage of being quite obsessed with Woody Guthrie and Jack Kerouac. If I could have found a way out of south Manchester and onto a boxcar bound for mid-west America I would have probably taken it. It must have been something about journeying, being free and lost on a road somewhere, that appealed. But downing a bottle of Lambrusco and writing crap poetry in a suburban bungalow wasn’t quite the life of hard knocks and hard drugs of my heroes.
I was also a little obsessed with Annie Hall and luckily a wardrobe full of men’s clothes and a pair of oversized specs was a bit more accessible in the late 80s! In fact, specs that spanned from your hairline to the bottom of your cheekbones were rather de rigeur I think.
I’ve changed a bit since those those days. I wear contact lenses for a start.
(But I still quite like waistcoasts)
One of my oldest and dearest friends sent me a photobook today of our friendship over the years. It was really interesting to see chapters in your life from the perspective of someone else’s photos. Your memories are so shaped by the photos you have of places and things that when you see them afresh (largely with you as subject) it makes you see them anew, events that you’ve forgotten, moments that you saw from a slightly different angle.
I have to say, though, and I did tell her this today, that the book is a fantastic testimony to 25 years of regressively awful hairstyles and appalling dress sense. We both agreed that around the age of 18 you could probably conclude that neither of us had any fashion sense whatsoever. Me in oversized Christopher Biggins bright blue specs and waistcoast. Her with half a bottle of hairspray on a bleached blonde cardboard flick (she was by far the more glamorous of the two of us).
So yesterday was the day I had been dreading for about 5 years. Now it’s passed I’m hoping that I will be more serene about it all. Today I’m very serene about it but that’s largely due to Tom Kitchen’s tasting menu we had at lunchtime today and the magnificent wines that accompanied it.
Maybe I had in my head that this was the day when the sum total of my life’s achievements so far would be fed into some Charlie and the Chocolate Factory type contraption, my now four decades on this earth applied by some complex algorithm and out would spit the summary that, like at school, would say ‘Lots of potential but fails to apply herself properly’.
I guess I can’t really do anything about the past now, so I’m just going to embrace the future. I might be a slightly neurotic fuck up but I can make a mean mojito. So here’s to life, love, friendship and the pursuit of knowledge.
(I think I’m still a little drunk)
“And indeed there will be time
For the yellow smoke that slides along the street,
Rubbing its back upon the window-panes;
There will be time, there will be time
To prepare a face to meet the faces that you meet;
There will be time to murder and create,
And time for all the works and days of hands
That lift and drop a question on your plate;
Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.
In the room the women come and go
Talking of Michelangelo.”
From “The Lovesong of J. Alfred Prufrock” by T.S.Eliot
This just proves what contrary individuals we really are. After weeks, (and I do, literally mean weeks!) of eating the healthiest of healthy, homemade granola, religiously, every morning, with a cup of Detox tea to boot.
I awoke on Thursday morning to a radio report that said ‘Eat like the English and we could save 4,000 lives in Scotland, Wales and Ireland’.
I heard it. I sat up in bed. I thought about granola and rice milk and then I had what I can only describe as an epiphanic moment.
‘Jesus, I need a bacon roll’.
Yes, with butter. Yes, with ketchup. Maximum lard. Maximum satisfaction.
Loved every bite.
The most exciting thing I brought back from Manchester this weekend is this beautiful gem. My grandfather’s old camera. This has been in my uncle’s attic for the best part of about 40 years, untouched and forgotten. I tried putting a film through it on Sunday but firstly, I was so excited about using the camera, I forgot to clean it. I was also using a film that was about 5 years out of date. Oh, and I don’t really know how the camera works.
Those are the three excuses I’m giving for why the negatives came out almost completely blank when I developed the film last night. There’s a faint turin shroud-esque shape of figures on the film but it’s not in any way useable. However, project number one for winter is to learn how to use this lovely thing and hopefully take a half-decent picture with it.
I also brought back my grandfather’s beautiful super 8 projector, which looks a bit like an old bakelite food mixer and needs a new bulb but looks amazing. I loved the fact that the box it came in had a fossilized frog in the bottom, showing how long it’s been lying dormant. I also have most of his collection of super 8 film now so winter project number two is to digitize the best of them as a present to the family.
Watch this space.
I feel a great affinity to my grandfather, although I never really knew him. He is, however, responsible for my earliest memory. I remember watching my mum sitting on the edge of her bed in tears while on the telephone and being so panicked that I started crying as well. I was eighteen months old and we’d arrived in Hong Kong only four weeks previously. She wasn’t able to fly back for the funeral as this was the 1970s and we were on the other side of the world.
He was, however, a great one for grand plans and gadgets, fine wines and foreign travel and was considered a great entertainer and raconteur by all accounts. I think there’s something of that spirit in this picture below which has to be one of my all time favourite photos .