Tuesday, 29 December 2009


Trust me to factor in swimming, and get up an hour earlier after a bad cold night only to find that the Oasis isn't open till 10am. Too late to make work. I love the way I do this, as though going against the stream so much that it becomes counterproductive, and miss the obvious. I like having an extra hour of gift time like this. I am addicted to the knitting again and can finish my (newly-found favourite mug of) tea properly.

I didn't write for a while. I wasn't doing anything. I sat in a reclining leather chair for the best part of three days, knitting and wishing I had some Jay-Z to jar it. I made one and finished another quite dispicable Sunday Painting, looking for some excuse for this self-indulgence, looking for some mastery in this mess. Imagine, being free enough to make a bad painting! I actually completed my bag o pastimes this year, normally not finding the energy or want to do anything, when I have the time. This year, I ate the time, along with an awful lot of beige.

I was quite depressed to be in the Midlands this time. Normally I am upset and mourning the fact that I no longer fit, parts of me wishing I had a boyfriend and a mortgage and designs on a dog. Those parts were itching to get back to London this time. I felt an overwhelming sense that I was keeping my head down, as though not to let the past and its degradation in. The voices, the shapes, the dreams, the projections; I remembered his saying 'you'm not from ere' and felt I never even had been.

Weird. So separate from my past now. Kite string thin. How can this happen? Very odd. I'm not saddened I'm intrigued. Just to recognise that people are separate and free and differences are not a bad thing, just a thing. Eschew the food tastes, the conventions, the views, the hobbies. It did quite break my heart though to be questioned 'what's philosophy, then'.

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

Stollen - part two

It would be nice to be able to sleep for just four hours without feeling like I'm not just coming down with something but coming down with the mother of all things. I went to bed long past one waiting for the stollens, and woke before six, itchy and hot and cold and hungry. My eyes were going-abroad sore, early smarts and stress.

I'm sure I did fine in the summer, the odd night of five, four, three hours even, but the winter. I am most likely getting ill today. My nose is sneeezy my throat scratchy, and a long day ahead. I noticed the table isn't particularly perpendicular and amused myself with misreadings of articles called 'Choir' and 'I had 6,000 feet and survived'. Vogue is extolling the virtues of choirs?? How fucking cool am I! No, it's just very early for no reason and you're not quite with it yet love.

It's Christmas Eve tomorrow. I felt the last-minute panic on Oxford Street yesterday, overhearing shoppers talk about their plans in wool and pants. I haven't bought one gift. I nearly got one for her, but my conscience said no, I'm not getting dragged in this year, I'm very not! I came home and started the stollen ferment. We talked yesterday about the pleasure of cakes, I worried the receiver just sees straight through to the self indulgence. But surely that's a perfect gift, something reciprocal, a transaction contained within means.

Festive adjective

Of or relating to a festival: parties are held and festive food is served. Cheerful and jovially celebratory: the somber atmosphere has given way to a festive mood.

I think I'm doing that pretty well. I would say I have felt the most festive I have ever felt this year. Completely void of material drive, submerged in singing and providing multiple baked goods to friends, family and colleagues. I really shouldn't feel like I have failed? Cakes and paintings. Surely they are worthier than wrong objects? I just hope I don't feel too guilty come the 25th...

Monday, 21 December 2009


Christ, I'm so fucking pissed off. My hands are buzzing, I can't seem to find the keys and I want to break stuff. I'm pissed off that my non stick pan got fucked. I'm pissed off that I spent my day in rounds of exactly the same fucking questions and answers and moves and turns and people dodging and shouting shouting SHOUTING LATTE LATTE LATTE DO YOU WANTA BAG DO YOU WANT ME TO GRIND IT FOR YOU HOW ARE YOU MAKING IT FRUITY OR FUCKING CHOCOLATEY. FUCK.

Sorry I'll probably delete this sometime, maybe not. It's just my capacity for chronic repetition is really at its limits. I am not learni (...) I just cried and I didn't know that the impulse to throw and to cry came from the same place. I had a pain in my chest for no seconds really and now I'm tired again. I don't want to not learn and grow everyday. I don't have any excuses to cover up this with. I am by myself and here I am and I have a bad case of Londonitus. Not enough time to do everything. What is life going to show me tomorrow? I hope slightly more than today.

Ok I've got white tea and toblerone and I feel better. I apologise for swearing, it's so meaningless but I didn't mean anything so I guess it's perfect. Don't want to go to bed till I've had some success today? Some movement. What did life show me today? Er... It showed me the Piccadilly Shamen, who I have seen three times now. A 'weird' guy with rhymes and a completed Rubics cube, tapping a mad rhythm with his shiny shoes and spreading the love. He talks shit but once said 'you gotta be healthy to be wealthy' and I thought that was fair enough and supported my excessive sleep pattern.

No-one breaks their face, they can't react. The guy yesterday reading a book with 'penguin' in the title gave him a tip, it was just so cute. Today he misjudged his breaking-it-down, normally the act comes to an end at the next station but I don't think he was aware of such a large gap between Caledonia Rd and Kings Cross. It was awkward. I like him actually. What power and joy. I just want people to respond and glow, come together and have this massive train epiphany. Or something. And there's clapping.

In contrast, the woman calling the 'tea dance' yesterday was so bloody uptight. Seventeeth century dances are not rightly called those of Tea, and it was a most distressing start to the day. I don't want to see anyone with excess hair, grey white knotty plats and beards UGH for a very long time, and I feel I may even have an aversion to Cecil now. I left the concert at the interval, after our slight choir fail and unable to take and more weird folk, despite spotting a vaguely cute morris man. I lurked them in warm up, horrified by a heavy hairy in white doing a star jump. So ultimately wrong. So glad I didn't bring any foreign friends to witness such disgraceful Englishness.

Too tired to be cyclical and resolute, lets just hope I find something special in tomorrow. I should point out I don't hate my job. I just can't do the same thing for eight hours with honest glee.

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Christmas Sandwich

Have you got any other questions for us, they asked eagerly somehow after one and a half hours. Aren't you going to ask me where I see myself in five years time? I mean, I almost nearly, very nearly very nearly verynearly said. Seriously. I was tired and it felt like hours and it was all about me and I nearly dug my own hole. Perhaps I already had. Perhaps they don't want to give me the indignity, I wondered. Perhaps I am already a fool. I certainly felt feeble and starving, this dry face and cracked lips not my own.

But I got through it, some words rang true and felt right, with only one maybe two times of 'shit, this is me in this room, now', and I suddenly feel like I'm outside of myself. Shorts. Watching people, things in slight slow motion, my brain assessing the situation way too objectively for the circumstance of reality. Three against one, and one with a slight clue at that.

Anyway. Singing! I didn't invite anyone as I thought it would be embarrassing and shit, but it turned out neither despite a fail on Ye Banks and Braes. I remembered a lot of words and occasionally did that hearing myself out loud thing, in context this time, going ooh I sound alright. It helped my ego to be stood next to the out-of-tune-alto for a few songs in rehearsal, until I had to shift because they really were putting me off. The audience looked disinterested, the whiskey man took on compere with unmet glee. She bought me a wine in the interval and we made friends, perhaps I will go back in January, I said, fancying a duet.

I hung around and chatted to the quirky soloist and his Guernsey knit, well I should say listened, trying to comb the room for people that might have something interesting to say. I watched a couple of folk virgins watch a woman breastfeeding with glazed eyes, it made me really sad. I ate my gluttonous Pret Christmas sandwich, wanted more out of my evening, wondered about the pub with the irritating birthday girl. I walked to the bus stop. I found the same type of people here that I found in wind band in 1993. Odd ones. I'm there too though.

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Mince Pies

You'll be pleased to hear I made it six, nay six and a half good days. Yesterday there was sleep and painting(!) and almond pasting. Today went a bit wobbly according to the 5.30 start, never a good thing. The blip lasted a few hours, remedied by a good ol sing song in the House of Commons no less. London sometimes smacks me in the face, still. I watch it and go, no, London, you are not a miracle, and it goes BIG BEN WHITEHALL MEN WITH SILLY HATS ON HA. Westminster crabby. I'm glad I met someone else who thought the Friends box set was a good idea.

The House of Commons! Shall I take everything off, I asked the man at security, your coat will do, he said. I got an instant Polke-(new contemps)-esque photo pass, quite pleased with it but wondering whether my burgeoning tax bill is really going in the right places. I was directed by what must have been ten different jolly staff members, still not believing they let me in. I didn't really get it, the ceremony, all Malcolm Third Sector and rhetorical talk of nothingness. I drank two glasses of their wine, scooped shit loads of brandy-laced cream onto two of their mince pies, and looked out onto the THAMES. We sang a couple of songs, I wanted more. It reminded me of the town hall concerts, years of getting up at 8am on Saturdays in order to practice flute badly and wait for break time to eat penny sweets. All in order for the termly presentation of results, all made worth it by an audience.

We made chat further than fondues this time, the remove of the crowd made them normal. I slipped off for further browsing, watching some religious epistle in the House of Lords and something about water and flood prevention in the House of Commons. Hilary Benn is a MAN. I feel stupid. My day felt rescued, the interview looms. Make soup, chat twice, three times. Music. Slight prancing. Decisions? Difficult. Not doing any more thinking now but hoping I will sleep it out.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Saffron Buns

I had a good day! There was a moment around one o'clock where I was doing that staring into the void thing, the heater warming my cells into stasis, me not wanting to create an outfit or a face. As it happens my outfit came together by addition of a tshirt and worringly again I needed to put on lipstick to feel ready for things. A small amount of makeup, not a pasting, which is actually feeling quite nice. Herbs, whatever, it's just nice to touch my own face and for it to feel like a normal somebody's.

A good day! Again! The fifth in a row if I'm not mistaken. What has happened? I have begun to respect sleep more. I have had minimum eight hours per night for a week, around ten on ill Monday, eleven straight on Friday, causing me to wake up half way as though potentially finished, but it was 3.30am so absolutely loads left! Absolutely is my new word for yes. I like saying it and meaning it. I said it a lot yesterday at work. I was energised the whole way through, despite having a massive headache within 30mins of beginning the shift.

It was nice to meet the producer last night. It was nice (what's with all the nice I don't know, I'm thinking about saffron buns) that I researched and enjoyed a radio programme for my journalism course, then met the maker on my own sofa ten months later. I bloody love that. Such a warm feeling. We chatted tea dances, I felt myself becoming so predictable and talking like a script, but how fun would it be to think up ideas, journalistically, but not in terms of disposable words? Keeping the words and ideas separate. Lets just put that on the list of Things I am Never Actually Going to Get Round to Doing(!). Along with owning that many records. Such sadness.

So the day started with Strictly and breakfast in bed. Perfection. I reluctantly fixed my puncture and enjoyed going off-bus-route for the first time since October(terrible/boring excuse), popped into Timber, then to New Contemporaries and then a Lucia Party. I ate six or seven saffron buns and shrieked at a game. I bumped into them on the corner and it was (nice), sat in a big chair whilst I worried about my bike, then tried crudely to piece trends in the art. I saw work I have seen before by two people I know people of. That felt good, in the loop, real and existing, not things on this plateau of special that I'm not invited to anymore. I'm invited. I'm on it. I'm it. If I want. And I have another day off work to attack. Lets make it six.

Thursday, 10 December 2009


I got really fired up today, a few times. The first was cappuccino chauffeur laughing when I said I didn't recognise a 'version' of a Scottish note. It looked old and too colourful to be real, the image of her as my conscience roared up, and I put myself on a platter for his laughs. He smirked into himself like a slug, couldn't let me in on his joke, and I wanted to smack him in the face.

Soon after, I dropped lids into milk and he played with me about my clumsiness. I found I wasn't playing and just wanted to break stuff. It passed, I thought it out, or perhaps in, I washed dishes anyhow. Later, I got displaced on milk after unfairly having too much to do, followed by shots coming through like they were being fired out of the machine. I moved and it moved, but again I wondered where. Did it leave me, or dig deep.

Despite this, I managed to have Two Good Days at Work. By this I mean I felt very energised and like I was doing a good job and doing very good chat, hearing myself speak for once and making sure I believed everything I was saying as always. I was waiting for the day to crash, but it didn't. I am putting it down to Enough Sleep. I have only been doing it for four nights but I must say I feel pretty good. That, or I needed to be ill, to just be slowed and recalibrated.

I am sad I had to miss dancing tonight. Finishing at 10.15 would have meant getting in at 11pm and not getting to bed till 12, then up again at 6.30. I hung around the market eating chips for an hour, my subconscious trying to persuade my conscious that dancing was a good idea. I ignored it and ate chips. The man in the chip shop laughed at me too. It didn't make me angry, it made me pathetic.

Why do I still go to the Rock and Sole Plaice(sp?) when they are so fricking rude every time. I only want half chips I said, WE DON'T DO HALF CHIPS he snapped, well give me half and I'll pay full, I told him tiredly. The man in front laughed at me. He didn't share the laughter and I was mad again. I was too hungry to think of throwing chips at him or anything like that. After remaking my misheard order, he gave me an 80p refund. I got half chips for under half price. I was not expecting that.

Monday, 7 December 2009


I've spent the day in the kitchen like Women's Liberation never happened. Or maybe those women could never have pictured how knowing we'd get and the solace of the domestic would actually be quite nice. The pace of the stollen has fitted in quite nicely with my necessity for rest at this time. Mix yeast ferment, make marzipan and soak fruits in brandy, lie down, add ferment to dough mixture and leave to prove, a nap, mix fruits into dough, roll up with marzipan, leave to prove. Then I put a wash on and made a carbonara with the yellowest organic egg yolk, almost too yellow, and some chestnuts. Chestnuts are miraculous. They are everything you want an ingredient to be. I am sad when they disappear from the supermarket but their rarity makes then hallowed.

I am going start the orange knitting, watch the other half of the film. I am wallowing in my own time scale and actually quite like this. I am ill again. I had to come home early from the Warp party and miss Battles. Am I really guilty of burning the candle at both ends, as he put it, but merely with choir practice and ballroom dancing class? Not exactly hardcore, even nudged to the 5.30am starts. I was just refining my facebook photos and wondered if I had grown old suddenly this year, whether the experience shows on me. It reminds me that not everything is chronic and that's comforting.

I just shook icing sugar over the stollen and it was most pleasing. Andrew Whitley says it won't stay without the chemicals but I sometimes find him a bit of a martyr. Perhaps it is just my ills but sometimes I feel so satisfied by the smallest of acts, things that are so pleasurable, for now, it doesn't matter that they lead to nowhere. I finished 3 separate packets of past ingredients exactly in the course of the recipe, their amalgamation worthy and ringing so true. I am warmed. I love it when stuff fits, when things roll together quietly and make small sense.

I just met my postman properly. He knocked on the door, and yet again I am still in nightclothes in the afternoon. He decided I was a cynic, he a romantic, and bumbled through the pile of mail in the pouring rain. Grim weather, I commented, you see, he said. The hand that gave the rose that took the rain to make it grow. What? We started to laugh. You need to laugh, he exclaimed, look how you changed! I laughed at my laughing and hid behind the door. Part of me worried I would just cry. I agree, I need a romantic to break me, perhaps break my heart, not in a bad way, but break it into laughter. Some times the smallest things make the day worth it. And Whitley was wrong, the icing sugar is still there.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009


The weather is turning me agrophobic. My house is like a warren and I want to huddle, preferably with a boy in aran knits and a Muji-oh-eight dogtooth blanket but instead this mug of white tea and a warm laptop will do. I have been out the house for a mere 40 minutes in two days. I don't mind and actually quite like this. I don't want to go to choir. I don't want to sing with a bunch of folk nerds that I have nothing to say to because they are all weird and folky. I don't want to sit nodding off whilst the out of tune alto grates my ears and I wait for my turn and I'm thinking about tea with a capital T as she calls it like it's the most exciting thing on earth. Instead I want to sit here with twenty one of yesterdays birthday candles and look up philosophers and write an application to The School of Life.

I will most likely go. I have enjoyed working out that I don't like going. I have proved by example that I don't like the company, the style, the atmosphere and the structure. It comforts me that I disagree with something, something that I put in my own way as a choice, and my expectations were different to the outcome. It proves I can't predict everything an that I must try things out before I decide. I am glad I applied. It made me want to apply for more stuff, however flaky it feels. Don't ask and you won't get. Something is better than nothing. I have eaten too much cheese based dessert and I must get ready to leave now right now if I'm going...

postscript - 7th December

I ran to the bus stop because I wanted to run really badly, choir was excellent, we managed to talk about fondue sets for around five minutes, then I walked past a good few bus stops eating falafel. Sometimes you don't realise what you're wanting.

Tuesday, 1 December 2009


Just what is it about melted butter and digestive biscuits, all squeaky and salty underneath the spoon, squashing down, hoping some crumbs are just not buttery enough to stay. I thought about the 64p packet cheesecakes we used to make, the ones I browse in Sainsbury's on darker days, or when I don't have 12-14 to feed. Times that by 1.333forever and it's 16-19. Starts sounding like some sort of privileged cake holiday.

I am a bit grumpy that I got up so late, and that the making of the cheesecake is keeping me in the house on birthday morning. But yesterday was so grim I sometimes find hibernation a fair reward. I left work at 5pm and got in past 8. I took five modes of transport. I wasn't thinking straight. I took my return overground journey for the pointless value of it, I got off at Euston in an impromptu (and fraudulent) attempt at railcard renewal, I got the bus to Angel for Waitrose in particular, a failed thought that bulk mozzarella was cheaper there.

I got on the next bus to Northumberland Park, confusing it not only with the Donna Summer song 'MacArthur Park', but also forgetting I don't live in Stoke Newington anymore. I changed to the final bus and had already made a fair dint in the digestives, I felt gross and tired and unable to be rescued. It took me a while to realise that I was supposed to go to bed, so with my eye on that I didn't apply for the job but I painted my nails and went into hibernation mode. It is very cold.

So here we are. A bright birthday day, 12pm, still a cheesecake to bake and a hospital appointment to be made and hopefully some daylight to be had. I think I was kidding myself that drawing on Hampstead Heath would be anything other than freezing. The romance can stay locked until it's quite a lot warmer than 4 degrees. I will treat myself to Le Pain Quotidien. Birthdays are weird.