Two things that I have enjoyed this evening

Yannis from Foals. Oh, he’s lovely.

Never Better. If I had a cat, I would call it Chairman Miaow too.

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Jigsaw falling into place

Just as you take my hand
Just as you write my number down
Just as the drinks arrive
Just as they play your favourite song
As your bad day disappears
No longer wound up like a spring
Before you’ve had too much
Come back in focus again
The walls are bending shape
You got a Cheshire Cat grin
All blurring into one
This place is on a mission
Before the night owl
Before the animal noises
Closed circuit cameras
Before you comatose
Before you run away from me
Before you’re lost between the notes
The beat goes round and round
The beat goes round and round
I never really got there
I just pretended that I did
Words are blunt instruments
Words are sawn off shotguns
Come on and let it out
Come on and let it out
Come on and let it out
Come on and let it out
Before you run away from me
Before you’re lost between the notes
Just as you take the mike
Just as you dance, dance, dance
A jigsaw falling into place
So there is nothing to explain
You eye each other as you pass
She looks back and you look back
Not just once
And not just twice
Wish away your nightmare
Wish away the nightmare
You got the light you can feel it on your back
You got the light you can feel it on your back
Your jigsaw falling into place

Friday

Some of my very good friends have spent the last few months listening to me moaning about my job, about how unhappy it is making me and how much I need to find a new one. Thank you to those people. It probably got a bit grating so I’m grateful for them not at any point saying “get some perspective, Jenn, there are people in the world starving to death, perhaps you should be grateful you got such a good promotion and shut the fuck up”.

I suppose I’m still not happy but am taking a slightly more philosophical approach to things. It’s not my job I hate. Quite the contrary. I love my job and, when it’s going well, I’m on fire. I’m really good at it and it fascinates me and inspires me and I’m so glad I accidentally ended up doing it. It’s just the environment in which I’m currently working that presents what I initially and optimistically described as challenges but that I would now describe as barriers. I don’t know if those barriers are insurmountable. I think they might be.

In December, I threatened to move into the private sector and, in preparation for such a move, began redrafting my CV and planning my strategy. But I have to admit that it’s working in the public sector that really gets me passionate. Having the freedom of working within a local authority and not having to worry about whether or not my work is fee-earning, delivering services primarily for the people that live in the county (making a difference to people’s lives) and striving to make those services better and better by joining up the work of other agencies and departments is exciting and is all the motivation I need.

I’m writing this blog entry so that everytime I think about giving it up and going “darkside” I can read this and remember why I put up with all the crap.

Lear and London

In 2006, I managed to see a pitiful two shows during the RSC’s Complete Works. On a whim, I went to see Ninagawa’s Japanese translation of my favourite Shakespeare play, Titus Andronicus (I realise it’s not a typical “favourite” but what’s not to love about a play in which a character takes revenge on the Queen by killing her sons and making her eat them in a pie?!). It worked perfectly; the play’s themes of revenge, family loyalty and violence simply fall into place in a Japanese setting. There were some startling touches, especially the red ribbons that replaced Lavinia’s cut-out tongue and dismembered arms. It was a shame that so few people made the effort to cope with the English surtitles.

Then I took Chris to see the genius Tamsin Greig as Beatrice (my all time favourite Shakespearean character) in Much Ado About Nothing, a sultry, sexy interpretation, set in 1950s Cuba. It was the best introduction I could have given him to the RSC.

And finally, this weekend, I got to see Sir Ian McKellen in King Lear following its transfer to the New London Theatre. I don’t want to say that I was underwhelmed by it but…well, I was. I think I’d built it up a little too much and it would never have lived up to my expectations. I’d also forgotten how bloody long that play is and how little happens in that time. However, there was a moment, when Lear is at his most elderly and senile, when he holds Cordelia and says “You do me wrong to take me out o’th’grave / Thou art a soul in bliss, but I am bound / Upon a wheel of fire, that mine own tears / Do scald like molten lead” that was delivered so perfectly by McKellen that I had to catch my breath. That alone was worth the wait for me (and the price of the ticket and the four hours spent in an insufferably hot theatre).

And, yes, McKellen takes off all of his clothes, as a rather scathing Germaine Greer explains in her very brutal review here. And, yes, the Fool (played by Sylvester McCoy) is hanged on stage and, no, it’s not all that pleasant to watch. Particularly as he’s left hanging for part of the interval, which rather put me off my ice cream.

Anyway, we used it as an excuse to spend a couple of days in London. We stayed at the lovely Dolphin Square in Pimlico (courtesy of LateRooms.com), went to the new St. Pancras Station, drank at the longest champagne bar in Europe (which was shorter than I’d hoped), ate at a nice Turkish restaurant near Borough Market, did some touristy stuff around the Houses of Parliament, Downing Street, Westminster Abbey, St. James’s Park and Buckingham Palace and caught up with Jane and Ben.

Emergency Room

I bloody love ER. I really do. I look forward to it throughout autumn and winter and it really is, in my opinion, the best thing about January. I just love the fact that they create characters that I give a shit about. And, yes, it’s a bit schmaltzy and moral and, well, American. But then I laugh out loud several times in every episode and within the same scene I can be moved to tears.

My favourite thing about it is the way it draws its anti-heroes. They do the mean guys so well – Dr. Romano (I saw the episode where he lost his arm again the other day and, even though I knew it was coming, it still made me catch my breath), Dr. Weaver (I’m a relatively new viewer) and, now, Dr. Moretti is just great. Essentially, it’s the same character – a senior doctor (I don’t get the American intern / resident / attending stuff but I don’t think that matters) with some kind of insecurity, disability or general lack of social skills, over-compensating by being mean to the rest of the staff and only letting the mask slip occasionally, during a heart-to-heart over the body of a dying child, when you realise that they mean well. Oh, it’s clichéd but it’s believable…

I’m so excited about the new series J

(Also, not only did I watch several injections without flinching or looking away during tonight’s episode but I also watched an epidural. PROOF, if ever you need it, that hypnotherapy works people!)

Today’s songs

This is becoming something of a music blog. What I’m listening to, what I like, etc. But that’s ok, I think. That’s what I feel like I want to write about.

Today’s songs are:

Blueberry Pancakes by Fink

Sitting at the table where it all began for us…
And everything else is momentary and
Everything else just stops
Everyone else is secondary
Everyone else is temporary
and I read into the letter that is filled with beauty
the beauty of what was, what is, and what won’t be

and Videotape by Radiohead. It’s not my favourite on the new album but the driving, reversed percussion just gets under my skin. You don’t notice it at first and then about two minutes into the song, you realise it’s there (except that now I’m waiting for it to start). And then more layers come. It’s almost hypnotic.

Little changes (and some other things too)

I suppose everybody can tell you something they don’t like about themselves. But at what point to you try and change that thing and at what point do you accept that it’s the way you are and live with it? I suppose this goes back to my new year’s resolutions and not setting ones that I know I’ll never achieve because I don’t have the motivation to do so. Omar would probably tell me that if you want to do something, if you want to make a change, you will (or he might not – I just imagine that’s what he’d say). I don’t know if it’s that simple though.

I can be really quite lazy. I struggle to get up in the morning, every morning, but I’m never ready to go to bed at night. I’ve tried to reset my body clock many times – I thought making the most of getting back from NZ and waking up at 4am everyday for a week would do it – but it simply won’t work. It’s like something in my head clicks in the early evening and I suddenly become more alert then. But what it ultimately means for me is that I go to bed late (or go to bed early but lie awake for hours) but still have to function in the normal world and get up to go to work. So I’m constantly tired.

But on Monday evening I was chatting to Sue about her “new me” project and I decided maybe to make some little steps towards making a change. So, in an attempt to kill a few new year’s resolutions with one stone, I’ve been going to bed at 10pm, listening to the radio and reading before going to sleep. I figured that way I would be winding down and would get to sleep earlier. So far, it hasn’t actually worked that way and I’m still tired but I’m enjoying the “me” time.

I’m really enjoying the book – Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon – which is so good, I don’t want it to end. And I’m enjoying the radio even more. Although I’m disappointed to say that the three channels I’m enjoying the most are BBC channels. I mean, that’s not very…eclectic of me, is it?

Colin Murray on Radio 1 in the evenings plays some great stuff (don’t start, Omar) – the Seasick Steve session on Monday was flipping brilliant. And last night he played Killing by The Apple, a kind of jazz cover of Rage Against The Machine’s Killing in the Name Of, which was just awesome (if anyone can find me the mp3, I will be eternally grateful).

6music is great. I like the fact that they have a last.fm account too (and that I have “Very High” compatibility with them). I worked from home today and was listening to George Lamb who, despite being white and middle class, presents his show almost entirely in patois. It’s pretty funny. Today, he was inspiring people to leave facebook. And playing some great music. Like The Long Blondes’ Giddy Stratospheres.

Also, Listen Against isn’t on Radio 4 anymore but Omar and I listened to it on our way back from Bristol on Monday and it’s awesome. But being able to listen to Today for longer than the 10 minute car journey to work is nice and I feel informed and a little more alert.

So far, then, I’m not getting very far with the “feeling less tired” objective but at least I’m enjoying myself in the process and that can only be a good thing.

Finally (phew, long post, sorry), this song is great (and is free to download from last.fm too – woo! Although you might have to be a last.fm subscriber, I don’t know…).