Thursday, July 29, 2010


I’ll do this like This American Life, in three acts.

Change – plus ça change?

In French they say that the more it changes, the more it stays the same. Like most clichés, it is both true and false. I am the same person I was when I was twelve, essentially – silly, game for most things, obsessed with books and loveliness. These days I find that I am also different. The best way I can think to express it is that my hands are hard to relax. It becomes harder to let go – harder to be generous, open, honest, emotionally free. Circumstances teach secrecy and parsimony, and I resentfully learn.

Change – unlearning

Changing is like getting chicken pox – a real bitch once you’re grown up. And yet here you are with your nose to the wall, and clearly you didn’t get where you wanted to be, and suddenly change doesn’t mean moving again (oh the lovely drug of geography), it means sitting down and talking to yourself sternly. Like science, it’s often counter-intuitive, and you think of Elvis Costello again

“The truth can’t hurt you
It’s just like the dark
It scares you witless
But in time you see things clear and stark.”

Change – bumper stickers

I saw one the other day that said “CHANGE – all you’ll have left when Obama’s done.”

Which was funnier than conservatives usually are. I won’t blame Barry, because these days his sonorous audiobooked voice helps me sleep, but I sympathise with the sentiment – too much change will bankrupt the hell out of the best of us.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Sleep, SLEEP

I need some. More than I have been getting. Also, pizza. No, wait, I just had some. Tony Blair? No, he's not very edible at all.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

A small, well-loved thing

Like this, for example

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A Nice Cup of Tea

As, this afternoon, I was trying to dispel one of those Eeyore personalised clouds, I got some tea. It was Lipton Decaffeinated, the only available option. When Douglas Adams wrote “almost, but not quite entirely, unlike tea”, decaf Lipton is probably what he had in mind. Foul, but ever so slightly better than no tea at all.

The other thing I think of is George Orwell’s eleven rules for making tea, and also of these buttons, which are a WIN. Actually, check out their Etsy store if you’re into Doctor Who, Firefly or the Hitchhiker’s Guide, they make great buttons and are very prompt and friendly.

Speaking of which, I love how tea is infused with obscure and near-magical properties in Doctor Who. (That’s my DW comment of the day. I had to make one.)

Such are small consolations. The other, by the way, is Billy Bragg – I was listening to him this afternoon, and as he sang

“One of them's off her food
And the other one's off his head
And both of them are off down the boozer”*

I laughed out loud.

Oh Billy, if I were single, and if you weren’t twenty years older with a wife and kid, I would throw my knickers at you.

*From Little Time Bomb. Mostly funny to me, and not nearly the funniest/best of Billy’s lyrics. My favourite, actually, is probably “if that face of yours could only talk, the stories it could tell” from Life With The Lions

Thursday, July 01, 2010

What the body remembers

Don’t be fooled, this is a Doctor Who post. With spoilers. There’s also some other stuff. With Jeremy Irons.

I was just thinking about Amy post Rory’s death, how she shows the grief she’s forgotten in her body. Though I don’t care much for her character, I find that both apt and affecting. We do keep all sorts of things in our bodies that our minds can’t handle. I have, on occasion, found myself crying at things I didn’t understand until much later. Maybe that’s just because I am getting to be such a sentimental one; but I find it oddly relieving to watch sad Doctor Who when I’ve had a bad day – something to have the emotions about in an impersonal, not about me sort of way.

Yesterday I watched the Jeremy Irons version of Lolita. Its arrival was badly timed, but I watched it anyway. The movie as a whole is inferior to the James Mason/Stanley Kubrick movie, I think, and a little too beguiling for my moral sensibilities – the first view of Lolita is just too much, the wet t-shirt thing... That said, Jeremy Irons lives up to the glory of his audiobook reading, with perfect pitch, humiliation, and warped grace. The smugness is a little absent, but I can’t say I mind. It’s a lovely portrayal, and as ever, the story is almost unbearable, both in its narrative and in its lyricism.

She was Lola in slacks. She was Dolly at school. She was Dolores on the dotted line. But in my arms she was always Lolita.

And my body hurts.