Thursday, 28 May 2009
Wednesday, 27 May 2009
Friday afternoon, the tutor with the handsome trousers sprang a little surprise on us.
"Class, I have a little surprise for you," he said.
"Two stories for Monday please, one about government and/or economy, and one about whatever you like. When you all go off to work experience next month you'll be expected to do three or four stories a day, so don't look at me like that. The usual three o'clock deadline for Monday, thanks. Now off you go."
This would be fine except I am having trouble producing one story a week. I am having trouble producing one story a week because I am having trouble thinking of interesting things to write about, and also because I am having trouble forcing myself to contact people to ask them questions: I hate bothering people.
After devoting almost the entire weekend to research, I walked into class on Monday morning with one and a half story ideas.
My fabulous classmates didn't let me down: most of them only had one and a half story ideas too. Some had fewer. How much do I love my classmates? I love my classmates a lot.
We battled on through the day, united by quiet desperation, held together by caffeine.
About two o'clock, I showed Tutor Smartypants the rough draft of the story I had cobbled together and the supporting information.
"Ring Bill English," Herr Tutor said.
"Pardon?" I said. Bill English is not only the Finance Minister, he is also the Deputy Prime Minister.
"Yeah, give him a ring, see if it's true. I've got his mobile number somewhere... Here. See what he says."
I blinked. To argue with Herr Tutor is unthinkable. Herr Tutor has no time for pathetic excuses. Herr Tutor is a real deal, hard-nosed, been-there-done-that journalist, and to say you can't possibly ring the Deputy Prime Minister is to invite a soul-piercing glare from those gimlet eyes and a scything 'Why not?'.
In these circumstances, a 'because I'm scared' will just not cut it.
I made my fingers dial the number before my brain had time to object, then wondered how best to introduce myself.
'Ahem, oh, hi, this is One Fine Weasel, I'm a student journalist at a polytechnic of little regard and I'd just like to interrupt your preparation for this week's Budget and your general running of the country to ask you...'
I forced myself to let it ring ten times before I hung up.
Speaking to an anonymous civil servant in Bill's parliamentary office was a doddle after that.
I got the story in, four hours after deadline.
The other story?
I'm still wondering what to write about.
Sunday, 24 May 2009
Wednesday, 20 May 2009
Here is a quiz for you.
Inspired by this blog here, and also of course by Newbie who works at the National Theatre in London and therefore has to shake famous dudes out of her shoes and brush them from her hair each day before she leaves work, I decided to compile a list of all the famous dudes I have observed in the wild.
Also in Liverpool, I once witnessed a girl of about seven shout "Wanker!" at David James as he drove through the gates of the Liverpool FC training ground. This was the crowning moment of my time in Merseyside. (NB I was hanging around outside the gates of the training ground because I am a weird stalker type).
Total: four points. And four points only, because all the time I was stalking the Liverpool players I didn't once see my beloved, Robbie Fowler.
The music students put on a rock concert today.
The show formed part of their degree assessment. Primary school and pre-school kids were bussed in to provide an appreciative audience.
I slipped in too.
It was a pleasant way to spend an hour when you should've been working, as I'm sure the teachers would agree. The music ranged from Kings of Leon to The Wiggles and was mostly great.
There were some serious standout performers too: in future, look out for a guitarist guy who wears a hat. He is going to be HUGE.
(Remember - you saw it here first).
"Does anybody here like Abba?" asked one of the singers, leading cunningly into the next song.
The audience erupted.
In the dark, surrounded by screaming, flailing anklebiters air-guitaring to 'Super Trooper' and 'Mamma Mia', I was struck by something possibly profound but most likely just hugely sentimental.
When I was their age, I loved Abba too.
I had the posters, the annuals; I knew all the songs. I had a secret girl-crush on Anni-Frid on account of her teeth, and Benny on account of his smiley face and beard, but mostly Anni-Frid. I went with my friend Nicola to see 'Abba - The Movie' at the cinema in Sittingbourne on a cold dark Saturday afternoon (I remember this because my parents had bought me a pair of highly fashionable toe socks that day, and I was determined to wear them even though they made my toes feel strange and left me unable to do up my green flash trainers. I sat through the whole film aware of my feet).
That was... um... 1970-something, and now there I was thirty years later surrounded by this new batch of kids going wild for the might of Andersson and Ulvaeus, and the thought of that just made me go all weird and tingly.
It was something to do with mortality, or immortality, I can't decide which.
I never wore the socks again.
Monday, 18 May 2009
The exercise thing came about because last week I found a mini step machine (similar to, but not as flash as, the one pictured above) for $20 in the local hospice shop.
Spent twelve whole minutes on it today, before collapsing in a heap on my bed (fortuitously next to a packet of biscuits). Spent twelve whole minutes on it yesterday too. The machine makes a terrible noise, halfway between a clack and a death rattle, but I think we will be friends.
The wholesome nutritious food thing was catered for tonight by a bout of vigorous pumpkin soup-making, which is always enough to cheer up the bluest of Weasels, and the purchase of some broccoli and a beetroot. Just having broccoli and beetroot in the fridge makes me feel better.
(Re the biscuits - everybody knows that calories leach out of broken biscuits and technically they're vegetables anyway).
Harbouring zero guilt about the coursework was harder, but today I forced myself, and I really rather liked it.
I bought a present for Flatmate too; it's practical yet stylish, just like him.
I walk past a sign every day on my way to school and it always makes me titter in a puerile, juvenile manner, even though I know it refers to a leading brand of domestic kitchen applicances and not to a thick, cheeselike, sebaceous secretion that collects beneath the foreskin.
Today I unveil it to the Bloggod in the hope that he forgives me for the weekend's misery:
As I type, the sky is flinging hailstones horizontally past my window. God bless Invercargill.
Friday, 15 May 2009
There I was, struggling along with the course, struggling to stay on top of the mountain of assignments, the intensity of it all keeping me awake at nights, permanently wired and haunted with the worry 'am I doing this right; should I be trying harder?'; chewing on bread and hunks of chocolate for sustenance because I'm too focussed to stop and cook, keeping going, keeping going, because I'm not going to fail at this, because to think about anything other than the course would trip me up, make me remember where I am, make me lose this tenuous momentum that's been so hard to find; and then my MP3 spits out a song that floors me.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A warm night. August. Cardiff.
The Albany, The Claude, Milgi. As usual.
Too much beer, too many cocktails. A great evening, again.
We’ll do it all
On our own
Talking, laughter, talking, talking.
Holding hands. Kisses, smiles. More talking.
We don’t need
Time’s running out. Soon I’ll be gone.
Sit closer. Come here. Touch me.
I don’t quite know
How to say
How I feel
Walking home, our usual route. Entwined.
Silent streets, stars. Talking, talking.
Those three words
Are said too much
They’re not enough
Cool sheets. Warm flesh. Soft sighs.
Round our heads
Talk to me. Stay awake. Let's listen to music.
One earpiece each, body to body. Don't let this night end.
I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own
You fall asleep. I lie very still and listen to your breathing.
I stare and stare at your beauty.
All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes
They’re all I can see
Why am I leaving you? All my life I have been waiting to feel like this.
Please, let it work out, somehow.
I softly kiss your face.
I don’t know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that things
Will never change for us at all
You stir. You nestle closer.
You pull my arms tighter around you with a deep sigh of contentment.
You softly kiss my face.
If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me
and just forget the world?
“Yes, I’ll lie with you,” you murmur from somewhere else entirely.
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
A cold night in May in Invercargill.
I hear that song, down here at the bottom of the world; the same song through the same earphones.
I cry, just a little.
I want to go home.
Friday, 8 May 2009
Last night I had a disconcerting experience.
While waiting for my order in the fish & chip shop (one battered hoki, one sausage, four mussels, one corn on the cob, half a scoop of chips - I was hungry, ok?) I noticed that one of the other people waiting for their chow looked exactly like Paul McGann.
I have had an immense girly crush on Paul McGann since the moment I first set eyes on him in Give Us A Break, aired on the BBC in 1983 which is before a lot of people were even born.
When The Monocled Mutineer came along in 1986, it was confirmed: this WAS the sexiest man I'd ever seen. And believe me I'd seen a few:
(Adam Ant; Jimmy Baio; the drummer from Madness; Michael Jackson (when he was black). Ah, a girl can dream)
Imagine the happiness when Withnail & I burst forth. Not only the best film in the whole world EVER, containing the best quote known to man - "Monty, you terrible cunt!" - it also had a shot of Paul McGann in the bath, shaving, in exquisite profile.
Seeing a McGann lookalike in a fish & chip shop in one of the drearier suburbs of a town at the bottom of the world made me determined to track down the shaving image on the interweb.
I looked here. I looked here. I looked here. No luck, but it was heartening to know there are an awful lot of Paul McGann admirers out there. Special mention must go to Pink Soprano who has compiled a collection of photos of Mr McGann in varying states of undress for the furtherance of science.
Then I found it here. Not the greatest picture but who cares. I have shamelessly stolen it and stuck it up the top of this post so that it is forever in my clutches. Some things are worth the copyright infringement.
And speaking of copyright infringement, please do share the Withnail love.
Girly crushes are awesome. By the way, the reason seeing the person in the chip shop who looked exactly like Paul McGann was disconcerting was because... she was a girl.
Wednesday, 6 May 2009
Sunday, 3 May 2009
I remain silent. So does he. I wish I hadn't put so much water in the kettle. The wait is excrutiating. Finally it boils.