It is official: so far, this week has sucked enough that I want to stay in bed under my duvet, with tea and lemon-curd toast and the new Springsteen album on repeat.


Office: Right, we know this secondment role is so that you can fill in the gaps on the project that usually lead to all sorts of horrendous problems when left unfilled, but don’t fill in all the gaps. But you have to guess which ones to act on, and which ones to ignore so that horrible problems develop, but then you’ll have to sort out the horrible problems and explain why there are horrible problems when the whole point of you being there is to prevent them. ‘K?

Me: Gotcha. I’m going straight home now so I can check the job boards, while drinking wine with a straw from the bottle. I mean, I could take a paycut, right? Factor in the higher tax rate, if I earned a few thou less but was also taxed less, it could even out… Is The Gap hiring…? Mmm, folding…


(Essential background to this is the information that parking spots in Oxford are rarer than unicorns; public parking is massively expensive and inconvenient.)

Me: Hi, parking spot lessor? There’s a Porsche in my parking spot again. Could you sort that out please, ‘cos I know you said it was free and easy parking but when I parked in another spot I got a note on my car.

Parking spot lessor: Sure, I’m really sorry.

[A couple of hours later]

Parking spot lessor: So, the Porsche is actually my landlord parking in my spot because he knows I don’t have a car, and I didn’t know he was going to do that. So, I can give you this month’s rent back?

Me: [Edvard Munch style silent scream]

…time passes… later on Tuesday…

Me: Huh, I’m kind of itching and hey, look, the cats have been scratching a bit more lately. Fleas? Do they have fleas? Is my house infested with fleas? Ok, now all of me itches. Fleas!

[Shoos cats out, sprays entire house with toxic, environmentally hateful flea killer, washes all fabrics at top temperature]

Me: Ok, at least that’s done. Tomorrow I can get Frontline from the vets. Now I can just sit and have another cup of… what’s that noise? Belle, what are you…? Is that a tail under the fridge? Put the shrew down, honey.

Pictures of you

‘Cos fer, some time on Friday I made a Cure reference on Facebook, and was then reminded me of Disintegration, which I ‘kin’ loved back in 1989 (Nineteen. Eighty. Nine. Holy crap.) So, I iTunesed it on the instant, and you know what? I ‘kin’ love it now too.

I then spent a long time watching Cure videos on YouTube, and now I need to got a whole lot heavier on the eyeliner.

Eleven Questions Meme

The Queen commands, and what are her poor, unworthy subjects to do but obey?

So, eleven questions it shall be, and here are the rules for the meme:

  1. Post the Rules.
  2.  Answer the eleven questions that were asked of you by the person who tagged you.
  3. Make up eleven new questions and tag eleven new people to do the meme.
  4. Let them know you tagged them.

And let us proceed forthwith to the questions that the Queen, in her infinite wisdom and subletie, hath devised.

  1. Have you ever liked a movie more than the book? If so, what movie(s)?

I preferred the film version of About a Boy to the novel. I found the the novel flat and two-dimensional, but that seemed to give scope to turn it into a perfectly good screenplay that rounded out the book rather than detracting from it.

2. Bruce Springsteen opening for Bob Dylan would be a dream concert. And I actually struggled with the order of that. It is as well that it must remain hypothetical, because that much concentrated awesomeness would probably cause the universe to explode. Springsteen’s latest album was being reviewed on Frontrow last night, with much dedicated seriousness and I can’t wait to hear it.

3. If you’re making dinner and you don’t have to take anyone’s tastes into account other than your own, what do you find yourself having over and over again?

Cheese and biscuits. Baked potatoes. Toast. And wine. I’ve gotten very lazy about eating, and by the time I get in I simply can’t be bothered. I start off grocery shopping with very good intentions but as I don’t care and there’s no one else here, I’ll stave off immediate hunger with the minimum and then not bother.

4. You get to interview the author of the book you’re reading right now. What’s the first question you’d ask?

To what extent is Raffles an alter ego of Sherlock Holmes? I was going through the shelves to find a couple of things to lend out, and as Raffles came to hand, I dipped back in. E.W Hornung was married to Conan Doyle’s sister.

5. If the world becomes one in which all new novels are only published in digital format, what will you miss most?

Probably, new novels since I don’t like e-readers. I’ll wait until they’ve been out a bit and someone has turned them into print. Fortunately, I believe the long tail of publishing will stretch out and a lot of out of print fiction will be available in short run print editions. That suits me, since I find a lot of modern fiction distinctly ‘meh’ and look back more and more. But beyond that, I’d miss the sheer physical presence of books, which I find so warming and comforting. My house would be empty without them.

6. If you had been gifted to play any musical instrument brilliantly, what would you play?

At one point as a kid I had violin lessons. This was not initially through choice; as I recall it, I was simply plucked from class one day, handed a violin and it went from there. I was never very good but I wish that I was musical, although I would choose to play the cello. I love the depth of its sound and a plangent quality that I don’t think other instruments can achieve.

7. The ‘war between the sexes’ has been around since the beginning of time. What do you think is the biggest problem between the sexes today?

Probably that both sides still think in gendered terms, that the stereotypes are so hard to break down (because they are partially true), that both sides can perceive differences as weakness or superiority. But it’s still a war because it’s still unequal. The situation may have improved enormously but women are still second class citizens, society is still inherently bent on retaining that status quo and the extent to which women’s inferiority is embedded could make every single day a struggle if one only had the time. The tragedy is, who does?

8. If you could switch places with any celebrity for three months, with whom would you switch places?

I just wouldn’t. If the definition of ‘celebrity’ is someone who lives permanently in the public eye, then no thank you. Not even for the shoes. I would hate to be famous.

9. You can eat at any restaurant in the world. Where would you eat?

Somewhere in rural Italy, in truffle season. Because, oh my god, take some plain, good pasta, throw in fresh black truffles, good bread and a rough house red and I couldn’t ask for better food.

10. What book do you wish you hadn’t wasted your time reading last year?

It’s a toss up between Room, by Emma Donoghue, and Assassin’s Quest, by Robin Hobb. But I think I’ll go for Room, which was one of those emperor’s new clothes book that is utterly shit and yet gets lots of attention.

11. Would you like me to answer all these questions myself?

Well, yeah! Of course! But not immediately, unless you want to. You can save them for  a day when you need blogging inspiration.

Ok, so now here are my questions:

  1. How do you mark the end of the week and the beginning of the weekend?
  2. What is your idea of luxury?
  3. Tell me a book, a drink and a food that all complement each other.
  4. What is one thing you love about the house (flat, apartment, yurt, whatever) you live in, and one thing you would change?
  5. What is something about yourself that you have made peace with?
  6. If you’re browsing in a real world bookshop, what will make you pick up a book that you’ve never heard of by an author you aren’t familiar with?
  7. If you could (or do) have it your own way, what’s your decorating style? (Plain, floral, girly, austere, classic…?)
  8. What never fails to cheer you up?
  9. What are you going to do when you retire that you don’t have time for now?
  10. Given the chance, which house in literature would you move into, and why?
  11. What don’t you wear, not because it doesn’t suit you, but because you don’t think you’re the type of person who wears that style/colour/a poncho?

I nominate: