Wednesday, November 30, 2005

lazy doesn't even cover it

I'll stop apologising for the way I post.

Perhaps disjointed and confused is just my style?


How can I not love a book that starts with an introduction like this:

Once I found myself accidentally reading a learned book-review, in which the reviewer censured the author for saying things that had already been said... I found this terribly frightening because there are lots of books I haven't read and lots of my ideas have probably been thought often before. So if you value this commodity for its novelty, sorry.
Two works I know of adopt positions similar to mine, but they express their ideas with a good bit more learning and panache... All students should therefore read these texts.

Occasionally, I have been what I've been accused of being before, cantankerous. As far as I can see one isn't supposed to show anger. But as I write, the National Union of Mineworkers has been heroically pursuing its just struggle for six months; and while I worked on this book it seemed that the age of the first Elizabeth in all its brutalities was all too like the age of the second: and I think I have been insufficiently cantankerous. There's no undoing history, but I hate to see it repeated. May the miners, therefore, win - however long it takes.
The only debt of which I am aware is to Mick Wallis, of course, as ever.

Simon Shepherd, September 1984.
- Simon Shepherd, Marlowe and the Politics of Elizabethan Theatre.

Several things strike me:
1) For some reason, despite knowing the author's name, I fooled myself into thinking that this was written by a woman. Why is that?
2) I've never read an introduction that actually grabbed my attention before - who'd have thought that doing yourself down could big yourself up so well?
3) If I ever wrote a book, I too would like to be cantankerous about it.


I found that book whilst actually doing some work in Founder's Library today. Amazing. I actually managed to do work. Granted I had to put about 200 metres and a castle wall between myself and MSN messenger to do it, and managed to wash my hair, eat some cake, drink a gin, match up every single Desperate Housewives character to one of our uni friends, drink a Snapple, argue with Natwest over the phone, eat about 30 Rich Tea biscuits and hang two pairs of jeans out the window before I was done procrastinating but after that I did some work. Yes! I did some work!

Apparently I'm incapable of reading without making notes now, so reading Tamburlaine the Great is taking a stupidly long time, but it's ok. Founder's Library doesn't scare me nearly as much as it should do, but it's freezing cold. Two hours was enough for me; I came back to Runymede and I've been procrastinating ever since.

I think writing the word 'procrastination' is a waste of time in itself.


I can't help but think that it was this time last year that my brain turned to mush. In a couple of weeks it'll be a year since my nan died. It doesn't feel that long ago, but it was. A couple of weeks since I went into the Bad Place, as I so affectionately call it, and didn't emerge for so so long. I think maybe I'm only just emerging now.

If I'd known this time last year that it would take me a year before I stopped hurting I'd have given up. Good thing I didn't, huh.


Leaving the library, my CD skips to Beautiful Day by U2. It's evening, navy sky, freezing air, and I've just walked out the gates of the quad and I'm heading to the steps into the woods. This is the song that me and Liz sand crossing the Liffey in Dublin, the song I want played at my funeral, the song I used to listen to in the morning when I didn't want to get out of bed. Like, ever again. I have another of my 'I can't believe I'm here' moments, like whenever I look at my college card and see my name with Undergraduate written underneath it.

Someone got grabbed in the woods the other day, so I go the long way, and take lots of time to stop and look at Founders silhouetted against the sky. I do that a lot. With this mood, and this song, and pretty words and thoughts from the library still tattooed in my head its just perfect. I feel like dancing, listening to U2 and bobbing along in the cold I'm a complete and utter cliche. I'm just a walking, happy cliche.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

my goodness

I just realised that this blog is a year old...

Happy 1st Birthday, blog!

To celebrate, just this once, everyone who reads this post, leave a comment. I'm intrigued to know how many of you are out there in the big blogging silence of the internet...

that show messes with my head... i love it

I did absolutely nothing today, apart from go through possibly the mildest case of food poisoning I've ever had, get a book out of the library and watch several hours of Desperate Housewives.

Pointless day? No. Now I want nothing more than to go, get married, squeeze out a couple of demon brats, get addicted to ADHD medicine, have an affair with my gardener and invite the reverend round to 'talk' to my newly gay son whilst living in an immaculate and expensive house in a cute suburb with my sexy executive husband.

Don't say I don't have goals. I have goals.

Sunday, November 27, 2005

ache all over / it's all good

Thursday morning was the weirdest morning, which then evolved into the weirdest afternoon, night and morning that I think I've had at uni. Deary me, I thought, can things get any weirder?

Apparently, yes.

So, Friday morning I wake up and wonder whether last night happened, with meeting the Christians and all. I look at my phone and find three new numbers in my phone book. I conclude that either I did meet some Christians, or I pulled bigtime.

I leave the flat at 2:50pm, not to return for 24 hours. I pack a bag and head off to Space, Body, Design, wherein I do several things with my spine that seem to please my lecturer but end up hurting my back quite a bit. He said at the beginning of the term that, if nothing else, by the end of the course we would all be more aware of our spines and our breathing. Aware of them? We're obsessed by them. I can't move now without knowing exactly which vertebrae I'm moving, how open my breathing column is, with what quality my limbs are moving through the space. It's trippy.

Jo, Est and I make a run for the station and try to get to Waterloo in time to see Bronte at the Lyric Hammersmith. We're twenty minutes late due to a fatality at Surbiton. This is one thing about the trains that I will never get used to. Someone hurls themselves onto the tracks and we stamp our feet for our mild inconvenience.

At the theatre, we muse on how most of the upper circle is filled with students from the RH Drama Department. Typical of us, they tell us to see a play - we book tickets for the second to last night of the run and all show up late. Love it.

After the play, which is good, but annoying, because that kind of naturalism always annoys me, Jo heads back to Richmond with some Holloway Honey and Est and I attempt to find Camden. Actually, finding Camden's not the problem, it's finding our way round Camden without getting lost or mugged. One out of two ain't bad, I guess. We turned the wrong way out of the station and walked all the way to Chalk Farm before we realised we weren't on Camden High Street anymore. Back the way we came, we trekked between three underground stations and one building site before we found the Purple Turtle.

Got changed in the toilets, left my bag behind a curtain, realised I was more worried about my Space, Body, Design notes going missing than my wallet. Wore my 'Jesus has a chocolate heart' t-shirt and wwjd band, got quite some attention.

"What does the J stand for?"
"Jesus!" *making cross shape* "You know, Jesus Christ!"
"Oh right... What would Jesus do?"
*leering* "Something sexy I'll bet..."
"..." *speechless*

Friday night was spent in Joe's dad's ridiculously posh flat on Old Street, minimalist decor, floor to ceiling windows and remote control EVERYTHING. Woke up on Saturday morning in an odd sandwich of Ro and Frankie. Had no idea where I was or why I could see the London Eye from my bedroom window.

And that was our night out in London, or as I like to call it - Egham to Egham via: Richmond, Hammersmith, Leicester Square, Chalk Farm, Mornington Crescent, Camden Town, Old Street, Waterloo and Burger King (twice). How we managed to trek that far without finding a Subway Sandwich is beyond me.

Saturday was l-o-v-e-l-y. Apart from realising I actually have no money at all, it was just perfect. Went for ice-cream at the pub, went babysitting, learnt to change gear while someone else is driving. Ate chicken noodles and went to see the view from the back of the Geology department. Went to sleep feeling so happy.

But of course, nothing's perfect. My dreams play tricks on me, I wake up feeling something completely different.

I went to a new church today, with one of the guys I met on Thursday. It's lovely, small, only planted a year ago, they meet in someone's living room. I made some decisions. They talked about how they need people's help in a big way, with it being such a new church, there's a lot of work to do. I figure I ended up at the Journey church for a reason, I feel at home there for a reason. I decided a while back, with Nikki's prompting, that I need to take more of a part in church life, to get out of my head and actually serve for once. So, I'm going to. I don't know how, but I will.

The weird thing about the Journey is that I got there and everyone knew me. Firstly, signing up to Fusion at Soul Survivor meant that my details were sent to Phil, one of the leaders, back in September. Secondly, signing up to the Christian Union in October meant that my details were sent to a girl called Ruth, who I've been emailing since then. Thirdly, I'd met a few of the students from the Journey on Thursday. What I hadn't bargained for was that they would put two and two together and start praying for me when I didn't show up to either the CU or the Fusion cells. I didn't realise that me bumping into the guys at the pub and then showing up today was the equivalent of the white rabbit finally hauling its ass out of the hat. Nice feeling though, might try that one more often.

I've loved the last few days. I'm completely shattered, and in a lot of pain from the combination of my Friday evening lecture and tramping all over London, but it's been great. Tomorrow things will get normal again, which is fine, because it's a better kind of normal these days. The times they are a changing. Yeah...

Friday, November 25, 2005

the plan

So, this is my story of today. It's a good one, a long one, but a good one.

Picture the scene. I'm stressed and tired, confused and lonely, disaffected with church and Christians and needing a stiff drink.

Earlier today I am told that I will have to go on my hands and knees to get my overdue essay marked. It's unlikely that the department will refuse, but if they do, I am royally boned. To express my frustration at the world and myself, I partake in the irresponsible and highly illegal permanent removal of one shopping trolley from Tesco. Consider that an 'up yours' for not paying me my overtime, bitches. I am avenged.

Having hauled far too much shopping and our sorry freezing asses back up Mount Egham, dodging sirens and generally being furtive, I headed to the pub for some ritual sorrow drowning.

And it all gets a bit weird, and lovely. I keep having these rushes of emotion for my uni buddies, where I want to just grab them all in a giant, crushing hug and keep them all forever. Before you ask, I get that feeling when I'm sober too, so there. Tonight I'm chilling with Gaz, Sam, the other Sam and Toby. I bump into Penny, Strat, Rachel, Ellie and Wil. I love everyone.

It's rock night at the Stumble Inn, and they keep playing songs from the Ag. Suddenly, equally strong, the desire to run back to Yateley like my ass is on fire, to grab my friends there and crush them too. I want Liz, Paul, Martin, Stacey, Rob, Andy, Mike... I want them too.

And there's all these other emotions too, and I'm not entirely sure what I want a lot of the time. Least of all tonight. Gaz and Sam want to know why we get obsessed with people. I wish I could tell them.

And I discover Mini Guinness shooters, and it all gets a bit fuzzy. This becomes relevant later in my story.

At the bar, talking to an old friend from college who goes here. He the cynic, he the rampant atheist, he wants to meet up for coffee. When? Sunday? Sunday I'm busy, I'm off to church. Church? he says, I don't believe but I keep getting this urge, I really want to go. Come with me, I say, that's what we can do! I'm drunk and I think this is the funniest thing ever, that I want moral support at church and here it is, in the most unexpected form possible.

I totter back to my seat. I think, do I want to go to St Johns on Sunday? Given my tendency to walking out, given that I don't feel right there, is it right that this guy's first taste of church is a place I don't particularly want to be? I cast my mind back to an email earlier today, from a girl from a different church, how am I and how's faith going? That church...yeah, maybe we'll go to that church.

Drunk. Probably going to get more drunk. Can only get more emotional. Hullo to later opening hours. I can feel myself slipping into a stupid mood, a destructive mood, so I send up a silent prayer. Father, please do something about this situation...

It's about then, midnight, that the people in the booth behind us get up to leave. I turn round for some reason, to see a red hoodie with the word Jesus on it. Uh? Closer inspection reveals John 10:10 - "I have come that they may have life, and have it more abundantly." Uh?

Excuse me, mate, are you a Christian?

Stealing the trolley wasn't especially spontaneous, in that Est suggested about half an hour before we actually did it, and Kate and Endrit did it yesterday. This was spontaneous.

Yeah, I am a Christian.
Oh right, me too, are you in the Christian Union?
Yeah, in fact, we're about to go on a prayer walk.
Really? Where? How long for?
Yeah, round campus, now, til 1.
Can I come with you?

Somehow, I'm making poor excuses to the boys and leaving the pub with a group of people I've never met. This is stupid, I don't explain myself and the boys are quite rightly worried to see me wander off with some guy. I walk up to their car while one of them gets a jacket and then I'm walking through the woods to Founders with the red hoodie guy, whose name I don't even know. This, I think, is even more stupid than the trolley thing.

But it's not, it's really not. We walk around Founders and the rest of the campus, praying for RHUL and its students and employees. I feel completely at ease with them, enough so that I pray out loud for the first time in a considerably long time. How much of this is due to alcohol I'm not entirely sure yet. Between prayers, we get to talking. These guys are from the Journey church, the other church, the one I just decided to take my mate to.

They have a service on Sunday, would I like to come along? Would I ever. They're a small church, a house church, about 30 people, mainly students, only a year old. Would I like to give it a try?

We walk to the back of the Geology department, across the newly frosted grass and mud and climb up a fire escape. This bit, past Geology, is the best view on campus. I've been thinking this for two months and yet it's never occurred to me to walk round and see it fully. At the top of the fire escape I look up and see the moon first, a slightly red sky, hundreds of stars, so clear. The lights of London.

They're saying over there is terminal 5 and over there is Canary Wharf and there is London, a giant smear of orange and red lights across the countryside. I didn't know you could see that from Egham.

I take numbers, they take mine, we go our separate ways. And I'm as sure as ever that things don't just happen, that there is reason and a plan behind everything that occurs in our stupid little lives. And I'm as sure as ever about grace, that picks up pissed little girls and bumps them into exactly the right people at the right time.

Thursday, November 24, 2005

i figure that the shame of blogging this will encourage me to NEVER BE THIS STUPID AGAIN

When they say they take their deadlines seriously at university, they mean it.

Shit. What a completely stupid, self-inflicted mess I find myself in.

Can I obtain proof that I was ill last week? Um, no, other than asking Tom and showing you the empty ibuprofen packets.

Can I obtain a retrospective doctor's note to prove that I was ill last week? Um, no, because I'm not ill anymore.

Did I read the departmental handbook in regard to missed deadlines and illness extensions? Um, no, because I'm UNBELIEVABLY STUPID.


Did I not realise that we have a 'no-marking' policy on pieces of work over 24 hours late? Um, no, I thought that was just Geology...


Do I realise that that essay is worth 40% of my grade for this course? Well, yes, I realise that now...

Update: just when I thought this couldn't get any worse...

And do I realise that this course is one of two compulsory half units for the first year, meaning that I must pass it in order to progress? I do now.

And do I realise that if this essay is unmarked, this could lead to me failing not only this course but the entire first year of my degree? Yes, I realise that now.


Wednesday, November 23, 2005


Removed from my wrist, over the course of the last 8 weeks:

6 hairbands
Beads, brown and yellow
A length of white thread from Gaz's poncho
A length of black thread from someone's hoodie, a year ago, maybe Ollie's
Some pink, purple and turquoise beads that I stole from Paul
A purple beaded scrunchie
An orange shagband (yes, I still call them shagbands)
Beads, white and small
Powerbeads, turquoise (no, I don't buy that karma bead shit)
A black bangle
Make Poverty History band, lost without a trace
Purple HUG charity band
Length of camouflage thread, brown and green, taken from the set of someone's a-level devised theatre piece
Black elastic band
Reading 'O5 band

What's left:

A length of something black and plastic, hollow, possibly some kind of cable
Est's handwriting, backwards: we didn't know who the fuck shit piss we were

I've been in the habit of tying every available thing to my wrists for several years, since the time I bought 50 red and silver bangles and wore them all to school until they were confiscated. I wore them all up my right wrist, I had this weird aversion to wearing anything on the left.

Now my WWJD band (the second one, the first broke) lives on my left wrist, usually joined by the charm bracelet my parents bought me for my 18th birthday.

I've put a lot of stock in the things on my wrist these last years. The skin on my right is odd, paler and kind of softer. Since I've been at uni, the bits and pieces have come off slowly, I didn't even notice it, just my hairbands kept getting tangled in the threads so I'd have to cut one here and there, the beads I had to take off for physical theatre class... The hairbands I took off yesterday, there was 6 of them and it got confusing which ones were still elastic and which ones weren't. Now there's only one, currently in my hair.

Why the fuck does this matter?

Because I'm staring at a virtually bare wrist for the first time in 5 years. It's weird. I don't care. There's no compulsion to pull them back on, to gather up my beads and elastics, to tie anything round my arm anymore. Just, no point, y'know? Why should I?

My left arm stays where it's always been, band still in place, safely covered by my jumper, when I remember. I don't like it touched, or grabbed, or looked at.

I'm thinking about changes because I heard that song, Changes, by Tupac on the radio the other night and today I bought a book of his poetry:

"no matter where I go or how long it takes / I will never recover from this mutual heartache"

And it's lovely because it's simplistic but he knew his shit did Tupac, he writes about love and racism and stuff getting better. He knew exactly where he stood and he knew how creativity can heal. And I think I'd like to be like that, to know where I stand, and to find creative ways of getting better. I mean really get better, to not hide behind things anymore.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


I'm ok right now. I'm ok.

I think I'm happy here.

I'm different here, yeah, I'm acting different and talking different and maybe that's not good, but I feel ok here, safe here. I don't hate myself here, I like the way I look here, I'm comfortable here and I'm not scared here. So, if I'm changing then that's fine, I don't care. Because I feel happy now, and as far as I'm concerned nothing else matters. Fuck all else matters but that right now.

Yeah... I like it here.

and then suddenly...

...I have absolutely nothing to say for myself. Funny how it happens.

James 1:19
Know this, my beloved brothers: let every person be quick to hear, slow to speak, slow to anger.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

no mere film should make me this happy

The new Harry Potter film might be the best thing that's happened to me all week (read: year).

We saw it at the Vue in Staines, ended up sitting right at the front, meaning that I have a crick in my neck that'll cane for days but oh my life it was worth it. The screen was so big I had to move my head everytime someone moved, it was the trippiest experience.

I'm going to see it again tomorrow with the rents. That's right. Twice in two days. That's right.

Also v.glad I got to see it with people who were equally as excited it about it as I was (namely, on the verge of wetting myself). You either get it or you don't, and if you don't, I have little time for you.

The weirdest thing is that when I went to see Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a few months ago, with Jennie and Taz, we saw a trailer for the Goblet of Fire, and I remember saying to them how weird it was that we would go and see it in a few months time with people we didn't even know yet. I spent a good moment thinking of the people I'd never met, out there somewhere in the world, doing their thing, probably going to the cinema, probably seeing that trailer and looking forward to seeing it, having no idea that we'd all bump into each other and go out one night.

Est, Jo, Dave, Ro, Ninj: you raging Potter-philes, can't think of anyone I'd rather have bumped into.

Friday, November 18, 2005

babyshambles pwnz our souls...apparently


Look at the new Babyshambles lyrics on Esther's blog. (FUF means me, by the way). Aside from bitching, drinking gin and us talking in French to each other, we have this:

"One was a soaped up Soho mincer/ The other was a pikey with a knowledge of scripture."

Fancy that. Now all we need to decide is who is la belle and who is la bete...

Thursday, November 17, 2005


I tune into the news on the RHUL student radio station and hear the following:

Three ethnic minority students from RHUL had the shit kicked out of them by pikeys in Egham.

Reports of a rape in Englefield Green remain unsubstantiated.

The drama society are volunteering in the local community.

Perfect Pizzas two for one offer: it's not laziness; it's genius.

On the Independent website I read the following:

Channel 4 have spent millions on a hoax reality TV show in which 9 contestants will think they've flown to space when they actually haven't.

Music containing religious lyrics is now allowed to be played in civil wedding ceremonies; passages from bibles and Korans are not.

Decaf coffee is bad for you.

The US did use deadly white phosphorus weapons whilst fighting in Fallujah.

Someone died of bird flu.


Right now I'm writing an essay on the definition of art.

I think that's it.

Other headlines of mine include:

Frightened Christian joins new cell group; first meeting tonight.

Caffeinated coffee is definitely better for you than decaff.

Stomach cramps kill one in halls of residence tragedy.

Students conclude that bird flu probably is coming and wonder why no one's done anything to stop that.

Girl gets inspired, creative.

Girl feels better.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005


There are workmen in Cameron halls now. They're clearing it out, room by room, before they take it down, brick by brick, and try not to give us asbestos poisoning.

My room in Runymede gives me a lovely view of the back of Cameron. Right now there's a man in an orange jacket breaking a wardrobe into pieces on the top floor. He's hitting at it with a crowbar, and I can hear the banging over my music. He's just broken the sides from the back and the back has fallen against the window, pulling the curtain down a bit.

Now he's next door, making a heap of all the bits of wardrobe. He's taking them from each room and stockpiling them in the far left room of that section of the building. He's throwing open each window as he goes to give himself some air. Presumably because of all the asbestos.

I'm wondering if he should be wearing a mask, wondering how loud this work is going to get. The university don't seem to be in much of a hurry to get rid of Athlone and Cameron halls, but I assume it's gonna get a bit more hectic in the new year.

They've switched the power back on in Cameron now, and the lights that were left on by past students a couple of years ago are now lit. Before I go to sleep I switch off the lights in my room and open the curtains so I can see the sky out the window. Now I also get the orange glow from about ten bedroom windows. It's weird, I can see into them and there's never anyone there.

Now the man has moved into the rooms further left, the ones with the balconies. Last year in Runymede you could have leaned out the window and hollered to your mates in Cameron. I wonder if they climbed out the windows and had parties on the balconies at night. I wonder if I should stop wandering around in my underwear now that there's workmen out there instead.

What I'm really wondering is if these diligent workmen will leave any windows open when they get off today.

A couple of them just noticed me watching them and came to the window to wave. I wonder if they're the ones who saw me dancing to Head Automatica in a towel the other day. I do hope not.

On the other hand, I remember Kate's comment about chatting them up. A couple of nights ago we were pretty sure we saw someone jump out of one of the ground floor windows. Or at least, we saw someone running away behind the fences and the window they were running from was definitely closed before.

That window taunted us. We've been out there before they put the fences up and tried half-heartedly to get in, but to no avail. That window, it said, break in, you know you want to.

We do want to.

If we could convince them to leave a window open one night, just one night, everything would be fine. I'm not one for creepy deserted buildings but, really, how can we not do this? We couldn't live with ourselves if we didn't.

Workman number 1 just used a mirror to flash sunlight into my room.

There was me thinking I'd be expelled for not doing enough work. Clearly this will not be the case.

Time spent in reconnaisance is seldom wasted.

Tuesday, November 15, 2005


I've been thinking a lot, amongst other things, about why I blog. And I know that there were other reasons to start with but at the moment I've whittled it down to two things.

1) I need a dumping ground for the amount of thoughts that I have and pieces of crap that I writed.

2) I like documenting what I'm doing. Next year, for example, I want to be able to look in the ol' archives and see what I was up to in '05, remember what being a Fresher was like, look at the pictures and stories I left here.

I also decided that at the moment I have two kinds of post.

1) Angst-ridden, I hate/love/don't understand the world posts in which I behave like a drama queen and use tortured analogies to try and get some of it off my chest. I think this is something I need to do. Whether I should be doing it publicly or not is another matter entirely.

2) Posts in which I try and cram enough information as possible about what I've been doing. One every few days, the condensed version of what's been going on, only the interesting bits. These might well give the impression that my life is far more jam-packed than it really is - apologies for misleading you. These are because I don't want to forget all this stuff. But, again, is the internet really the best place to be doing it?

I think a blog made up of introverted monologues is boring. I also think a blog made up of lists of crazy Fresher antics is boring and kind of vain. Actually it's all a bit vain, but having made a website that's all about myself, I realise I'm running that risk anyway.

In the good old days, I used to talk about stuff, rather than just bleating about myself the whole time. Remember when I used to get angry about stuff? How we laughed. When did that stop happening? When did I stop ranting and start whinging? Hmm.

I guess all I really want this to be is a narrative. Whatever form it takes, this'll just be what I did at that time, what I thought. The fact that I'm not ranting about Europe anymore is just another way in which my priorities have changed. It's not good or bad, it's just where I am right now. I don't want to force anything, I'm not going to bullshit. If it works, it works, if not, who cares? That wasn't really the point.

Monday, November 14, 2005

too long awake

This song, because I'm so tired but in such a good place. Download it or something, the riff in the intro will make your day:

Everything is always changing
And nothing stays in the same place for too long
I've been too long awake

And everyone feels like they're slowly changing
No one stays in the same place for too long
I've been too long awake

We're younger than you are forever
Older than we are together

We had so much to do

We're younger than you are forever
Older than we are together

Idlewild, Too long awake

Sunday, November 13, 2005

christ's superfluous appendix

The Aesthetic Attitude - the notion that, in looking at something, we take an attitude that determines which of its characteristics we will consider. The practical attitude; how it can be used functionally, what purpose it will help us achieve. The cognitive attitude; its physical properties, how tall it is, long it is, wide it is. The moral attitude; what it means and stands for, whether we agree with it or find it abhorrent, what is it saying? The aesthetic attitude considers none of these; it is purely concerned with how the object looks. The practical attitude sees a waterfall that could be converted into a ski-slope; the cognitive attitude is concerned with how tall the waterfall is; the moral attitude sees the site of a suicide and is perturbed by it. Only the aesthetic attitude sees the stone and the foam, the light glinting off droplets.

The aesthetic attitude, truly divorced from the other attitudes could see beauty in a bag of rice, a spoon, in the hollows of starving children's faces. It wouldn't see the children, just the curve of their bones; it would see aesthetics and theatricality rather than atrocity.

The aesthetic attitude was mentioned in one of the Critical Theory lectures that I was ill through. Since then, 5 weeks ago, I've heard it mentioned in every one of my seminars and have only just taken the time to read the article and find out what it means. I've commented on it, argued for it, explained it to someone, but only just found out what it is. Thus, my friends, is the power of bullshit.


I walked out of church today. I don't think I've ever done that before. I'd been up a couple of hours before, tearing up the radio with Est and Frankie and I was in a great mood. I walked down on my own, got there in time for the armistice silence. Got nostalgic for the days of being a Girl Guide, carrying the flag, singing the national anthem, wearing boot-cut trousers in my uniform instead of a navy skirt.

I went inside for the family service and sat on a row on my own, a few behind the rest of the students I recognised from last time. I didn't want to sit with them. I have only one friend at St Johns, and I couldn't see him. I hoped that he'd come so I could get his attention. It was pathetic, looking round for him. Not in my usual, he's-male-and-has-a-pulse way, more in the way that you look for the person who you consider your only friend in a place. Desperately.

A group of girls came to sit in my row. The one nearest me sat down one chair away, even though there was too many of them. She'd rather push her friend on to the next row than sit next to a stranger.

I thought about the family of Christ, how we're all one body and every part matters. I wasn't feeling it. Never mind.

A family came in and sit on my row. The man, the father, sat one seat away from me. I was sat in the dead centre of a row full of people. The only vacant seats were in the middle too, one either side of me.

Next time I see a lone stranger at church I will sit next to them, even if the room is empty. Personal space be damned, I've never felt such a fucking leper. I'm used to church surrounded by friends, people leaning on me, legs on each other's laps, hugs and shoves. Not this.

Eventually I felt so uncomfortable that I moved right to the back of the church, sat myself down in the last vacant row, right in the back. In retrospect, it would have made more sense to sit next to someone, strike up a conversation, but by this time I was feeling awful, wanting to go.

I should explain that church hasn't been easy recently. Being around other Christians hasn't been easy. The old 'I'm not good enough to be here' complex that marred my first year of church has returned. I went to Exeter Uni CU last week and sat there and seethed. No one was doing anything wrong, but I revert to finding fault when I'm nervous. I just don't feel happy in new churches. I need someone to talk to me, so I can say it, explain that I'm terrified, but the only person in St John's who would do that, my one friend, wasn't there.

The same thing happened on the back row. One vacant chair either side of me.

We stood up and nobody sung. A congregation of maybe 150 people and I could hear the worship band louder than the people next to me. I could hear the rustling of newsletters. Nobody sung. I didn't know the songs, but I sang anyway, to fill the silence.

We sat down to pray and I focussed on hating everything. When we stood up to sing again I found myself pushing out of the row and heading for the door. A smiling woman held it open for me.


In the kitchen, about ten minutes ago, the girls started singing songs from Les Mis. I thought of long conversations with Trevor and dropped a glass of milk on the floor. It didn't break but it spilt everywhere. Fflur helped me clean it up, and they told me to go to bed. I think they think I'm odd, but they're nice about it, so I don't really mind.


I went to Yateley in the evening. That makes three weekends in a row. Maybe when I can go to church here, maybe when I don't find reasons to avoid cell group, when I have people to talk to, I'll stop coming home. At the moment, if I don't come home, there'll be no church at all, and that's not an option. Someone was upset at Chaos and I prayed for them, which I'm rubbish at, but I couldn't not pray for her. I couldn't not give her that. I prayed that she would get better, that she would be well and happy and peaceful, and I remembered that I read James this morning - "when you ask, believe and don't doubt". For the first time, I really believed that my prayers would be heard, that she would be helped like we wanted her to be.

That was my church today.


In the corridor, I bump into Adam, my absent flatmate. He asks me about church, I tell him, he says well done for going and by the way, he might try St Judes. It's a small congregation, family like. I think of 150 people not singing, maybe I'll try that too.

I'll try anything right now.


I would compare my situation to a game of Solitaire, not because I'm lonely, that would be far too obvious. No, it's like when you're playing it on the computer, and you're looking for a certain card. You think, if I can get a black eight, I can move that red seven and see what's underneath. Brilliant. You start to click through the deck, looking for a black eight. Black eight, black eight, black eight... You get frustrated and click faster, clickity clickity and when you eventually find the black eight you go right past it and have to click through the whole deck until you find it again. Sometimes you'll get so impatient you'll go through the deck three or four times before you learn to stop in the right place.

That's me. Clicking so fast that when I find what I want I go right past it, I can't go back and by time I find it again, the cards have changed because of something else I did on my way through, they've realigned and now the one I want is at the back of the three.

I shouldn't be awake right now, playing card games on my computer. I should be asleep, but I can't sleep. I can't get no sleep.

I don't have much motivation to blog recently, but I do because I feel like I should. If I stop I won't start again. It's like any kind of writing, or bible study, or yoga, or any of the other things I'm coercing myself into doing at the moment. If I stop, that'll be it. Like with work. I stopped doing work, now I can't start again.

"What is the difference between a piece of art and a beautiful object?" 2000 words, Thursday. 2 logbooks, detailing every single thing I've done in each workshop since the beginning of term, the end of next week, two of my courses. Three books read, two plays seen, one presentation planned, two points of research done, one workshop prepared, one piece of spontaneous improvisation... not prepared. Why aren't I doing any work?

Why indeed.

Why is it easier to get pissed than concentrate? Why do I make things hard for myself? Why does nothing make me feel worthwhile?

One of the practitioners I'm supposed to be studying talks about 'getting into your head' whilst improvising. There's this game we play, where you have to steal toilet paper from each other's pockets. You don't realise until you've done, but your knees drop, your arms come up, you start moving like a crab, 360 degree awareness. It's called the low centre, your focus is entirely in the space around you, the people around you. When someone loses focus, you can actually see it, because they lose the low centre and stand up straight. It happens when people get ideas, when they start trying to be clever, start to think about winning rather than surviving. 'Getting into your head' - thinking too much, losing focus on the space, fucking up.

That's me. I'm completely in my own head at the moment. I'm paying no attention at all. Bad things happen when you do that. You lose the game, someone steals your toilet roll, you fuck up the improvisation, you get hit in the face with a ball or a stick. You stop concentrating, you forget to hand back library books, you forget to sleep, you forget to eat. People can tell when you get into your head, they can see it in the way you act.

You get withdrawn, you get moody, you don't want to talk, or chill, you want to drink and go back to your room and listen to music, you don't ever want to come out. You can't imagine how you've made such a mess of things so quickly. You wait for the email about your poor attendance in lectures, you get anxious at night and you can't sleep. You lie awake and think. You can't stop thinking. You can't stop writing, you're in the ideas place, which is great for ideas but bad in terms of the game.

You can't have all these thoughts without losing the game.

Friday, November 11, 2005

it's all very drifty at the moment

Here's another disjointed and slightly pointless post. These ones are really for me, I want to look back in a few months time and remember what I did this week, and how weird it felt. Like I say, I don't like doing this, but I know I'll regret it if I don't.

Drove down to Exeter in the pouring rain, saw a lovely sunset, listened to music, loved England. Remembered the way to the university all by myself from when I went there in February and felt pretty good. Went to the pub with Ro and got myself a round of applause from some drunk football fans:

Ro: What do you mean you don't squat when you pee outside?
Me: It's not a squat so much as a crab.
Ro: Define crab...
Me: *drops into interesting crab position on the floor, legs akimbo,*
Large group of men that I didn't notice before I took such an undignified pose: *cheers*
Ro: *dies laughing*

Trev, Ro and I drive around for three hours in the rolling bowels of Devon, find only FIVE pubs, only one of which is both open and serving food. It's in a village called Nomansland, which seems strangely appropriate, and we vegetate in front of the fire feeling so so content. Go to Exeter Uni Christian Union, have mixed feelings about it. Realise that I'm really bad at being around other Christians. When you've only been to one church in your life, you get used to people and they get used to you. Seeing new Christians is like holding them and yourself up to a very unflattering magnifying glass. Yeah.

Drive home, Little Chef, getting lost, sunset at Virginia Water. Weirdest, loveliest day. Make the grave mistake of checking my bank balance. Shit. Cannot listen to Colourblind by Counting Crows without crying. Realise that I have to find something else to do while I listen to that song, and I do.

Wake up so late. Spent the afternoon with Est, making ransom note poetry (cut and paste from the newspapers. My poems say "biting in French / in death / in love / in England" and "-state abyss- americans who fight / want injury, identity, faces / not victims for home / here, votes are born from horror / heroes desirable". Played musical chairs on Joe and Dave's radio show, lost horribly. Saw Paul, went to KFC in Staines, sat by the Thames and talked religion, what else?

I rediscovered a Pink song that I loved last year:
I'm looking for a way to become / the person that I dreamt of when I was sixteen
Nothing is ever enough / baby, it ain't enough for what it may seem
Do you even know who you are? / I guess I'm trying to find
A borrowed dream or a superstar? / I want to be a star
Is life good to you or is it bad? / I can't tell anymore
Do you even know what I have?

People say life sounds much more interesting at uni than at home. This is true. I really can't complain. I have more music to listen to, more books to read and work to do than I have time to even think about. I have amazing people to hang with, and I get to be on the radio again this Sunday. I'm scared of going to church but I'm going anyway. I'm scared of a year abroad but I'm planning one anyway.

The people who intrigue me the most here are the people who aren't behaving like I am, who aren't fazed by this. There's those who get drunk the normal way, at night, too much, because they're bored. I don't like them. And I don't much like those who aren't stupid or indifferent, but pretend to be both, who talk about their hair too much. I'm not keen on those who are too idealistic, or macho, or aggressive, or nice. I like the people who aren't responding to the pressure, who aren't trying that much, but aren't trying too hard not to try.

I have changed since I've been here. I can't come to conclusions about anything here, which is why all of my posts seem to be just drifting off rather than actually finishing.

Monday, November 07, 2005


Today I:

Was on the radio with Est and Frankie. Managed not to swear or say anything particularly stupid, had a nice moment where I described my first Krispy Kreme doughnut as being "rather sexual" and then proceeded to spill Diet Coke on myself.

Went for a pub breakfast. Yes, you read that correctly.

Watched Desperate Housewives for SEVEN HOURS. I am so hooked. So utterly and completely hooked. I shouldn't love TV this much, but I do.

Didn't win at the pub quiz, but had a laugh playing "he's butters," "no, he's not" tennis with Est and got served by the lovely J-Fo. (It's ok if none of that made sense).

Was intending to cut my hair off, but didn't get round to it because of all the Housewifery and pasta. I will do at some point in the next few days, I want it short again and I think the satisfaction of the first chop should be all mine. Expect photos before, during, after and after I've been to Toni and Guy to sort it out. If I can afford it. Which I can't. So expect me looking like a mess next time you see me.

Tomorrow I:

Am going to see Ro in Exeter for a few days, so I won't be blogging. Will probably get all angsty about the fact that I loved Exeter uni almost as much as Royal Holloway, but couldn't accept their offer. It's a good thing really, I didn't get the A in Drama that they wanted anyway but still, if there's an excuse for angst...

Am handing back a three week overdue library book (hence not being able to afford a haircut).

Will apply for an overdraft (see above).

Will be a much happier bunny than I am today.

Sunday, November 06, 2005

this bed and that bed

I feel distinctly weird tonight.

I got out of my lecture at 6pm last night, the first time I've left that late since the clocks went back, and it was pitch black outside. The drama department at RHUL is on the other side of the A30 from the main campus, accessible by footbridge or by scarpering across the road as fast as your stumpy legs will carry you. I vote footbridge every time.

It's part of the ritual I guess. I could get pretentious about it, but I won't. Actually I will. I like having to go across that footbridge, though I hated it at first. 9am on a Monday morning, any obstacle is a bad obstacle indeed. But now I feel it. It's part of what I do before I get there, part of the journey, something I do. On good days, it really works for me. It feels kind of like getting into the right frame of mind to go and do some work, like, this is the end of being a pisshead, time to be a student. Good days, the footbridge is when I start to psyche myself up, I start to focus. Bad days it's just a fucking hunk of metal between me and where I have to be.

Fridays at 6pm, it's pitch black outside, the footbridge is lit up like a tunnel over the road, headlights streaming underneath, the Founder's building off to the right, Surrey straight ahead and Egham to the left. Fridays I really like that bridge.

This Friday, I switched my phone on crossing the bridge and it all got a bit stressful. I was supposed to be somewhere in ten minutes and somewhere else two hours ago, I'd given someone the wrong time and been given the wrong time by someone else. It all went tits up.

Later, in the pub, I got to chill out a bit. Had a long overdue heart to heart with a mate, spent far too long melting pennies into the ice on the hand-pumps, and then melting them back out again because money's money after all. Decided that I'm not embarassingly young, even when my friends are so stupidly old. That's just how old I am, it's where I am, if they're ahead of me that's their problem. I'm eighteen. Call me nineteen and I'll correct you. Mistake me for someone in their twenties and I won't be flattered because that's not how old I am.

Today my parents went away to the New Forest for the night, so I was left in the house on my own.

I used to love being in the house on my own so much. That was before my brother moved out though, when there were videos to watch, CDs to listen to, food to eat. There's just enough for two in my parents' fridge now, I feel like I'm stealing. My room is stupidly tidy, stupidly empty. I stayed in bed in the morning for ages, feeling strange. I've slept in that room in that house my entire life, that bed's been mine for about 6 years. I've stared up at that same ceiling, a few feet away, for 6 years. I felt really small. But kind of too big. I sat down at the piano and didn't know what to play. Couldn't really think how to start.

That's the problem. People will ask how I am, they'll ask how it's going, and it's all fine. Then they'll say, so really, how's it going. They want something real, they're saying, give me something real, tell me about the experience, tell me what's really going on. What do I say? How the hell do I start?

Went to see Paul in Unwins, discovered that you can buy G&T in a can. Ridiculously cheap. This can't be a good omen.

Waiting for Paul to finish, I walked around Yateley for an hour, headphones in. I did that a lot before I left. Nothing better than just upping and leaving, wandering round in my head. I'd take the long way, the really long way, to get to Tesco. My parents wondered why posting a letter took me half an hour.

The fireworks were like every other Yateley fireworks, cheap and cheerful, made by the company. We talked about plays and acting, oohed and aahed at all the appropriate moments, played with sparklers, went back to Tom's free house.

It was about then that I started to feel blue. Not lonely. Well kind of lonely. Weird. More that there was too many people I cared about in one place, I couldn't handle it. You forget how much you love people until suddenly they're all there, and if you sit quietly enough you can see the picture carrying on without you, and you realise that no one's life will stop when you leave. Least of all yours. I really didn't want to leave Tom's. I wanted to stay the night, sleep on someone's floor, wake up in the morning and wear today's clothes again. I wanted to go to church and hear Taz sing, to linger in the pub with everyone, to just stay.

Now, I'm back in my room. I had a think about it, this room, and how different it is to mine. I close the door in my room at home, switch the light off. Glow in the dark fish. Streetlight from two roads away, shines in through the gap in the houses. It lights up my room. The curtains hang from the broken rail, cover only a corner of the window. My whole room is illuminated. The houses opposite, the sky behind, the light at the bend at the top of the road. My walls, photos on the ceiling, light right by my head. The ladder. This step, that step, ducking my head, falling carefully into bed, the shaking of windchimes. Purple wallpaper with silver swirls. My TV, my door, the wooden bars next to my face, the dent in the mattress. I think of feeling unhappy, but never trapped. It would go like this, each night, and when my head was in the covers and the wood against my face, I'd screw up my face and I would never ever make a sound.

This room. Walk in the door, shut it, lock it. Don't switch the light off til I'm really ready. Totter across the room, pull the curtains open. Cameron halls, lit up for some reason, the purple light of Medicine in the distance, reflections from Runymede lighting up the walls. The green light on my speakers, the orange standby on the computer. The desk chair, I trip over it. The purple rug on the floor. There's not enough home to go round in this room. This bed. I think of feeling sick, the room spinning round me. I think of the u-bend of my toilet, my reflection in the mirror and how pale I always seem to look here. Waking up. Always, always being late. I feel I've been here too long. There's poems on the wall next to my bed, posters and a palm cross above my head. This room is too big for me. I never know how to feel here.

I don't care if anyone hears me. Am I obligated to be happy here? Do I owe that to anyone, that pretence of being happy? Do I fuck. It doesn't matter.

Driving home with Paul. I'm not used to him in the front seat, being responsible. I don't like the way things pan out, I don't like the way I feel shoved to the side but I like him driving, I like that it feels safer. I sit in the back like a little kid being taken home.

Founder's comes looming up like it always does. We'd drive past it every now and then the last few months, I'd trick people and beg them into driving me past it. That beast of a building. Now I'm here. I don't feel like I'm here.

But I don't feel like I'm anywhere else.

The Importance of Elsewhere
Philip Larkin
Lonely in Ireland, since it was not home,
Strangeness made sense. The salt rebuff of speech,
Insisting so on difference, made me welcome:
Once that was recognised, we were in touch

Their draughty streets, end-on to hills, the faint
Archaic smell of dockland, like a stable,
The herring-hawker's cry, dwindling, went
To prove me separate, not unworkable.

Living in England has no such excuse:
These are my customs and establishments
It would be much more serious to refuse.
Here no elsewhere underwrites my existence.

Thursday, November 03, 2005


Tonight I'm going through my old emails. I noticed today that I have 325 messages in one of my inboxes. How can this be? I decide to go through them...

It's weird to say the least, how much of my life lives in that inbox. Reading through my emails, which start just before I started 6th form, it's like watching myself meandering through life, through relationships and situations and people.

The oddest thing. I find an email from an ex-boyfriend. It's a reply to one that I sent in which I talk about 'tonight' and how cool it was. Why that night? What happened that night that was so cool? Then it twigs. That's when we started, me and him, when we got together. Suddenly I remember everything, that it was raining, that we went for a walk, sat outside Yateley Industries on a broken bench and I got my ass stuck. We had pockets full of CDs to exchange with each other but we both ended up forgetting. I finish the email by saying I'm going to listen to Dido, seeing as I still have it.

I'm done remembering, I'm just about to open the next email when I notice the date. November 3rd 2003. I walked in my front door after he dropped me off and went straight inside to send that message. Two years ago today.

While I've been writing this post, 'our song' has started playing in my media library. I could not be further stuck down memory lane right now. It doesn't feel like two years. It really is though.

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

if i had a genie and a lamp...

... I would get everyone that I loved in the same place for once. From school, college, uni, home, church, Scotland, everybody. All the pockets of people in my life, in one big party. Maybe when I get married, or just get really bored and decide to have the biggest gathering in some field somewhere. My family and everything, in one place.

Maybe that's what heaven would be like. Just everybody cool, drinking Gin on some giant quad, wrapped up in quilts, watching sitcoms and plays and talking poetry. Round a campfire. With jelly and ice cream. Burger King on demand.

Actually, that's all superfluous. I just want everybody cool.

a couple of things

1) There's now some uni pics up on the Sightings page (hands up if you didn't know there was a Sightings page), I'll get much better at posting pictures as soon as Hello starts working on my computer. Pah.

2) As promised, my update in brief:

Esther = romantic
Fi = contagious
Gaz = bruised
Elise = stalked
Spirit = willing
Flesh = weak
Gin = good